Nintendo upgrades Super Mario Maker with keys and doors unlocking new game designs

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How anime ‘Yo-Kai Watch’ beat ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ at the box office in Japan

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Japan Times (by Giovanni Fazio):

As 2015 came to a close, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was the movie on everyone’s lips, with fans dressed up in costumes and camping out to buy tickets, and a social media presence bigger than the Jabba the Hutt. Yet, despite breaking all box-office records on its opening weekend in the United States, the new “Star Wars” ranked only No. 2 in Japan (with more than 800,000 viewers), beaten to the top spot by “Yo-Kai Watch the Movie 2: King Enma and the 5 Stories, Nyan!,” which had almost 1 million viewers. A week later, this cheap and chirpy big-screen version of a Japanese kids cartoon derived from a Nintendo game kicked Jedi butt again.

So, the story would seem to be that anime still rules the domestic box office. A quick look at Japan’s top-grossing films in 2015 reveals that six out of 10 were animated movies (three of which were domestic), and anime topped the box office for 20 individual weeks with films like “Big Hero 6″ and “Bakemono no Ko” (“The Boy and the Beast”) beating competition such as “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” and “Terminator: Genisys.”

Then again, opening weekend in Japan is still based on Saturday-Sunday figures. If the Friday opening revenue for “Star Wars” was included, the film would have beaten “Yokai Watch” by a good margin. The force finally prevailed and on week three of release, “Star Wars” is No. 1.

It’s worth noting though that despite the graying of Japan, cinemas are scoring best with films aimed squarely at the pre-teen market.

Relive your childhood on your Mac with this Nintendo 64 & PlayStation emulator

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The games of yesteryear are now within your reach with all-in-one game emulator OpenEmu‘s latest update, which adds popular titles from PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Sega, Atari and the like onto your Mac.

Free to download, OpenEmu features real time gameplay rewind, enhanced screenshot organization, improved home brew support and various interface upgrades, making the perfect game emulator to play to your heart’s content.

The below 16 consoles are now supported with this update:

Atari 5200 (Atari800)
Atari 7800 (ProSystem)
Atari Lynx (Mednafen)
ColecoVision (CrabEmu)
Famicom Disk System (Nestopia)
Intellivision (Bliss)
Nintendo 64 (Mupen64Plus)
Odyssey²/Videopac+ (O2EM)
PC-FX (Mednafen)
SG-1000 (CrabEmu)
Sega CD (GenesisPlus)
Sony PSP (PPSSPP)
Sony PlayStation (Mednafen)
TurboGrafx-CD/PCE-CD (Mednafen)
Vectrex (VecXGL)
WonderSwan (Mednafen)

Japanese gamer refuses to let game save die, leaves his Super NES on for almost two decades

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RocketNews 24 (by Preston Phro):

Umihara Kawase was released for the Super Famicom (Super NES in the west) in December, 1994, just over two decades ago. It was a popular game that has spawned a number of sequels for a variety of platforms and has won its fair share of fans, including many who loved the original cartridge game. Unfortunately, some cartridge games from the 90s featured a fatal flaw in their storage: the batteries keeping players’ saves alive eventually dies.

While most gamers finally give up and waved goodbye to their progress, lost to the ravages of time, one hardcore fan has refused to lose his save and has simply left his console plugged in and switched on for the last 20 years!

“Incidentally, I’m pretty sure my first generation Umihara Kawase, which has been on in the SNES for over 20 years, has been in operation for over 180,000 hours. If the power is tuned off, I’ll lose all my replay data. Probably.”

Though it may be hard to believe now, with all our wonderful memory options for everything from computers to phones to handheld devices, back in the day, some game cartridges featured SRAM (Static RAM) coupled with lithium-ion batteries. As long as your battery stayed charged, the SRAM would hold your save data. Unfortunately, as soon as your battery ran out, your data would disappear as well. Of course, not all games used SRAM, but Umihara Kawase did, which means that if the battery in the cartridge were to die, @UMIHARAKawase would lose his replay data.

You, like many gamers from back in the day, are probably thinking it’s just not worth it, but this Twitter user obviously disagrees. However, it seems that he did unplug his system once—while moving house. Fortunately, he was able to get it set up before the battery died, so it’s not strictly true that the SNES has been on for 20 years, but we’re not sure we’d call that much of a break either.

We can’t help imagining blackouts being far more terrifying for the Twitter user than for most people. In fact, it appears the gamer got a number of questions about it, though he says there’s not been any outages at his home, as far as he can remember.

If you happen to have an old SNES game with SRAM and you’re worried about your battery dying, it is actually possible to replace it with a bit work. In fact, it seems that it’s possible to “hot-swap” the batteries, which might actually help @UMIHARAKawase, though we wouldn’t blame him if he’d rather not risk it. After twenty years, losing it all now would be downright devastating!

TIME Magazine: Why Nintendo president Satoru Iwata mattered…

TIME (by Matt Peckham):

Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata has died at only 55 years old after battling cancer for over a year. His unexpected passing marks the end of a wildly inventive and broadly celebrated 13-year stretch helming the iconic Kyoto video games company.

Iwata, born in Sapporo, Japan in 1959, was only the fourth person to lead Nintendo since its inception as a playing card company in 1889, and the first president unrelated to the founding Yamauchi family. His ascent to the topmost Nintendo position in 2002 was unusual as it followed a career in software engineering, making him one of the industry’s only corporate luminaries with substantial hands-on game creation experience.

In an exclusive interview with TIME this spring — Iwata’s last with a Western media outlet — he talked about how personally involved he remained in helping drive and evaluate the company’s hallmark unorthodox inventions. He called Nintendo “a company of Kyoto craftsman” and joking “this is where my background in technology is quite helpful, because it means that the engineers can’t trick me.

At Tokyo-based Nintendo affiliate HAL Laboratory during the 1980s and 90s, Iwata helped develop some of Nintendo’s most memorable games. That list includes Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64, the opening salvo in a critically lauded and financially lucrative fighting series starring Nintendo characters like Mario and Donkey Kong that’s since sold in the tens of millions for the company. After he was promoted to president of HAL Laboratory in 1993, he continued to work personally on the company’s products, including several titles in Nintendo’s wildly popular Pokémon series.

Iwata’s move to Nintendo came in 2000, when he assumed management of the company’s corporate planning division. Just two years later, then-Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi, who had helmed the company since 1949, decided to retire, allowing Iwata to step in and steer Nintendo through its most inventive period yet.

It was under Iwata that Nintendo ushered in the Nintendo DS, a dual-screen gaming handheld that succeeded the popular Game Boy, eventually going on to challenge Sony for the title of “bestselling games platform of all time.” Nintendo’s wildly successful Wii, now arguably the most recognizable video game system in the industry’s history, arrived in 2006, another Iwata-led gamble that paid incredible dividends following the company’s lackluster GameCube, which launched in 2001. And while Iwata’s critics often accused the company of reacting too slowly to industry trends, Iwata wasn’t afraid to enact radical change: after years of financial downturns (exacerbated by the company’s poorly received Wii U game console), he unveiled plans this March to develop games for smartphones and tablets. The world will now remember Iwata as the Nintendo leader who tore down the wall between the company’s heavily guarded iconic IP and non-Nintendo platforms.

But it was Iwata’s playful, almost mischievous and refreshingly candid personal style that so endeared him to the company’s fans. In 2011, he helped launch a video series dubbed Nintendo Direct, personally emceeing the company’s biggest surprises, often with quirky framing twists, like an effects-laden mock kung-fu brawl with Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé for E3 2014. At Nintendo’s E3 2015 presentation last month, he appeared as a Muppet designed by The Jim Henson Company.

Iwata’s other significant public relations innovation was “Iwata Asks,” a remarkable series in which Iwata interviewed members of Nintendo’s many development teams, delving into the anecdotal history of some of the company’s best loved projects. It was a Nintendophile’s dream come true.

Above all, Iwata established and maintained a decorous tone often at odds with his competitors. In lieu of visually splashy, clamorous stage-led events at annual game shows, Iwata chose charmingly simple, almost dignified presentational vignettes. When fans responded negatively to a new Nintendo idea, Iwata’s reaction was often swift and direct: after an upcoming Nintendo DS game built on a hallowed Nintendo franchise was waved off by fans at E3 last month, Iwata tweeted his thanks to fans for their feedback and promised to meet their expectations.

Iwata’s health problems were first aired just before E3 in June 2014, when Iwata, who had been planning to attend the show (I was scheduled to meet with him), mysteriously backed out. At the time, Nintendo said Iwata’s doctors had warned him against travel, but didn’t say why. A few weeks later, the company disclosed Iwata was battling cancer, specifically a tumor in his bile duct. At that point he’d had surgery, and his prospects sounded hopeful because the doctors had apparently found the tumor early. When he resumed appearing in Nintendo Direct videos following E3, he was clearly thinner, but seemed otherwise unfazed. Though he again missed this year’s E3, he remained publicly active to the end, participating in Nintendo’s last shareholder meeting just a few weeks ago.

XLARGE® (Japan) x SUPER MARIO BROS. 2015 Summer Capsule Collection

Streetwear mainstay XLARGE® joins forces with the SUPER MARIO BROS. franchise once again, for a capsule offering of dual-branded summer essentials. The collection is comprised of graphic tees, short sleeved button-ups, headwear and athletic shorts, embellished with 8-bit motifs from the SUPER MARIO BROS. Nintendo game.

Set to drop on July 25, purchase the capsule collection at select XLARGE® locations. If you haven’t already, check out the previous collaboration here.

President of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata passes away at 55

Nintendo has officially announced the passing of Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, on July 11 due to a bile duct tumor. During his time at the video game corporation, Iwata brought to life the epic RPG Earthbound (known by Japanese gamers as Mother 2) and the early Kirby series. The Gamecube and Wii U can also be attributed to his vision, while also ushering in the success of the DS and 3DS, both of which remain popular with casual and hardcore gamers to this day. He was 55.