Pokemon Go down: Hacking group claims responsibility for bringing down game’s servers ‘with DDOS attack’

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HYPEBEAST/Independent:

If you’ve been having a little trouble connecting to Pokémon Go today, take some solace in the fact that you aren’t the only one: fresh off a rollout in Europe, the beloved mobile games servers have gone down across both Europe and North America.

Due to the incredible number of Pokémon Go downloads, some trainers are experiencing server connectivity issues. Don’t worry, our team is on it!” explained developer Niantic on its website. However, something slightly more sinister may be at play here: according to reddit, PoodleCorp — who has previously targeted the likes of popular YouTuber Pewdiepie — is actually responsible for the downed servers thanks to a DDoS attack.

PoodleCorp has recently targeted high profile YouTubers such as Pewdiepie, according toGearnuke.

A DDOS, or Distributed Denial of Service, is a way troublemakers crash servers by flooding them with so many requests every second that they cannot cope.

On Saturday, users across the US and Europe complained they were unable to access the game, or that it was freezing.

When news spread of the attack, players took to social media to voice their outrage.

This guy quit his job to travel the world catching Pokémon

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VICE:

Sure, Pokémon Go may be kind of boring and riddled with bugs, but who cares? How else are you going to venture into the world, catch 500 Weedle, and then go home to drop a lucky egg and just evolve like crazy to gain XP to become a master trainer?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to find the time to commit to a serious Pokémon regimen, what with the jobs and responsibilities and laundry or whatever. That’s why one brave soul in New Zealand has done what so many around the world don’t have the guts to do: He quit his job to travel around, playing Pokémon Go full-time.

I have been working for six years, and I was desperate for a break,” 24-year-old Tom Currie told the Guardian. “Pokémon gave me the chance to live that dream.”

The Guardian reports that Currie has already hit six towns in New Zealand, and has bus tickets to keep going for the foreseeable future.

Tom is a very spur-of-the-moment, independent kid, he always has been,” Currie’s mother told the Guardian. “His nana and I don’t understand the game, but I remember him loving it in his childhood. I am just glad he is out enjoying his life and seeing so much of New Zealand.

Currie has been on the road for a week now and already bagged 90 of the original 151 Pokémon. That means that if you are holding a gym somewhere in New Zealand right now with just a lame-ass 500 CP Pinsir, Currie is probably on his way to give you a very rude awakening.

Pokémon fan creates spectacular 3D hologram battle dome entirely from scratch

 

RocketNews 24 (by Scott Wilson):

Who hasn’t wished that they could have a Pokémon battle in real life? Nintendo 64 game   and its successors were fine and all, but they were basically just glorified Game Boy battles; we want to see Pokémon slamming into each other, breathing fire and ice, and maybe — just maybe — actually touching one ourselves.

And now thanks to Reddit user kennywdev, the world is one step closer to that dream

Kennywdev wanted to create a 3D game to move holograms around using QR codecards. However, what started out as a generic project suddenly got interesting when they decided to use Pokémon as the test subjects.

German toy-maker Steiff is launching a $340 limited edition stuffed Pikachu doll

German premium toy-makers Steiff are launching a limited edition stuffed Pikachu doll that measures at 11 inches tall and is made with the finest natural mohair for an added luxe touch.

The adorably plush Pokémon will be priced at $340 USD with a limited Japan-only release of only 1000 units.

Preorders are available via GoodSmile right now, with a February shipping date.

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.

BEAMS (Japan) x Pokémon x New Era Pikachu fitted cap collection

McDonald’s Japan releases Doraemon Happy Meals!

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RocketNews 24:

It’s no secret that McDonald’s Japan has been enthusiastic about collaborating with various anime and character franchises to come up with goodies for children. In the past we’ve seen toys featuring Pokémon and Yokai Watch, as well as Pretty Cure, Super Mario and Transformers, among others, being offered with their Happy Meals, and kids certainly seem to be, well, happy with their Happy Meals, since almost 100 million of these sets are apparently sold in Japan each year.

This month, none other than Doraemon, the time-travelling blue cat robot, makes an appearance as six different Happy Meal toys, and they definitely look ready to delight children across Japan!

The Doraemon toys have just been released from McDonald’s this past Friday, in collaboration with the new movie Doraemon: Nobita’s Space Heroes that is currently being shown in theaters across Japan. 

There are three types of toys available at this moment, and a different set of three toys will be offered starting March 20. Some of them feature Doraemon gadgets we know well (and wish we owned), and we can see how these baubles may get kids excited!

▼ These are the three toys currently available: the “Anywhere Door Game”, “Doraemon and the Spinning Burger” and “Look into it! Scope”.

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▼ And from March 20, these three will become available: the “Run! UFO”, “Exciting! Space Camera” and the “Memory Bread Drawing Kit”.

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Here’s a closer look at each of the items.

▼ The “Anywhere Door Game (Dokodemo Door Game)” is actually a miniature pinball machine in the shape of the Anywhere Door, which has to be one of Doramen’s most popular tools. There’s a different game on each side of the door, so you get two games in one toy.

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▼ The “Doraemon and the Spinning Burger (Doraemon to Kurukuru Burger)” features the Burger Director character that appears in the new movie. With this toy, when you place Doraemon and Burger Director close to each other, the Burger Director will start spinning.

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▼ This “Look Into it! Scope (Nozoite! Scope)” acts as a periscope, and you can look through the lens from the back of the planet on which Doraemon is sitting.

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▼ You can wind up this “Run! UFO (Hashire! UFO)” to propel it forward. What’s neat about this toy is that it can detect and avoid obstacles and also avoid falling off the edge of the table.

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▼ This “Exciting! Space Camera (Dokidoki! Space Camera) lets you see four different Doraemon movie scenes by looking through the lens and turning the dial on the side.

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▼ The “Memory Bread Drawing Kit (Oekaki Anki Pan)” contains five picture cards that you can copy and trace to create 10 different types of illustrations.

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In addition to the toys, the Doraemon Happy Meal comes in three adorable types of boxes, which should also put a smile on kids’ faces.

▼ The boxes all look cute, but we think Dorami-chan in the middle looks particularly charming. The boxes with Doramon’s and Dorami-chan’s face have a bit of a pop-up shape on the top. dora-box

Well, we think these toys actually look quite nifty, and we can easily imagine kids who’ve seen the Doraemon movie begging their parents to take them to McDonald’s for the trinkets. Hmmm … we wonder how many parents will be forced to make six trips to McDonald’s for all the items.

The Happy Meals are available at prices between 432 yen (US$3.56) and 504 yen ($4.15) depending on the food item you choose, but we expect the Doraemon toys will go quickly, so if you plan on getting your hands on one – or a few – of them, you may want to get to a McDonald’s sooner rather than later!

Zelda and Pokémon ceramic plates will add a touch of class to any gamer’s dining room

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RocketNews 24:

Even if you’re not familiar with the term, you’ve probably seen, and can recognize, what’s known as the Willow pattern. A mainstay of European ceramic tableware since the 1700s, the design takes cues from Chinese porcelain and features a characteristic blue and white color scheme.

Given its long history, even modern examples of Willow pattern dishware tend to feature quant depictions of trappings of life from a bygone era. Sailing ships and windmills are common subjects, but one artist felt the Willow pattern would also be an appropriate platform for showcasing the video game art of yesteryear, and created these plates featuring old-school artwork from Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon.

Despite the self-effacing nature of the drawing, though, it’s clear that Moss has a deep respect for the artistry that goes into creating video games. As a matter of fact, he’s even lending a bit of legitimacy to the art form himself. Although most of Moss’ publicly displayed work, as seen on his website here, is done in the style of movie posters, he recently decided to try his hand at illustrating two ceramic plates, and here are the impressive results.

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If you came into the series with Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess, it may take a moment to realize what you’re looking at, but that’s a Zelda scene done in the graphical style from before the franchise went polygonal. Specifically, it seems to be based on the pixel art from the 1993 Game Boy title Link’s Awakening, the visual style of which was in turn a derivative of that used in 1991’s A Link to the Past, the sole Zelda installment to be released for the Super NES.

Speaking of Nintendo properties that used to be on the monochrome Game Boy, here’s Moss’ Willow pattern rendition of Pokémon.

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Not only is the plate’s central area filled with lovingly recreated retro sprites, there’re extra nods to the series around the lip of the plate, which is decorated with Poké Balls and even more pocket monsters.

And to prove these aren’t just flat graphics manipulated to look like they’re on plates, here’re a few alternate angles of the dishes.

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Emojis as a new art medium

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RocketNews 24:

If you’re as addicted to your phone as we are, there’s a good chance you can draw 95 percent of the emoji you know with your eyes closed. Much to the chagrin of high school English teachers everywhere, it can sometimes seem that half of our communication is taken up by the colorful little faces. And it’s understandable–they can express quite a bit!

But thanks to a new site, anyone can freely combine emoji for a hundred times more expressiveness. That’s exactly what Kazuki Takakura, art director for a Tokyo theatre company, did–and the results are nothing short of spectacular! And slightly nightmarish.

▼Forget your paint palette, we have emoji!

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With the evocative URL emoji.ink, the website presents users with every emoji available, as you can see above. After selecting an emoji, the user is presented with a blank canvas, upon which your chosen emoji can be placed. Clicking and dragging will paste a string of the images, like a paint brush. You can quickly select other emoji by pressing any key on the keyboard or change their size. With a bit of practice, you can get something like this!

 

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Or, if you happen to be a real artist, unlike us, you can create something a bit more impressive.

But as impressive as the hip-hop art above is, things can always get…weirder. Especially when Kazuki Takakura, art director for Tokyo theatre company Hanchu-yuei, decides to get involved. While we’re sure that not all theater company art directors create bizarre works of emoji art, Kazuki has certainly gone a long way towards scarring us for life with stuff like Creepy Pikachu.

▼When you turn the lights off tonight, just remember: It’s under your bed.

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▼The only explanation offered for this was “Robo.”

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▼Sure, this might be a rooster. Or it might be the Devourer of Souls.

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▼Are those eyes…or tentacles? Or both?!

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▼This just reminds us of the Hifana “Wamono” video.

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 ▼This is supposed to be Pokémon’s Venusaur (Fushigibana in Japanese).

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▼Annnd…this non-edible version of Baymax is actually pretty cool!

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Disney’s Baymax appears in curry, hot pots, and more, thanks to cheesy food-based pun

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RocketNews 24:

You might not guess it, given the country’s well-known acceptance of stoicism as an admirable virtue, but Japan absolutely loves puns. In fact, the characteristics of the Japanese language, such as multiple potential pronunciations for the same kanji character, make it a veritable pun-producing machine.

For example, the character for “rice,” 米, is usually read as kome. When it’s combined with other characters, though, it’s read as mai or bei, with the latter being pronounced like the English word “bay.”

Of course, that also means bei is pronounced like the first half of Baymax, the loveable caretaker/combat robot from Disney’s Big Hero 6. And now that Japanese fans of the film have figured out how to put a little rice into Baymax, they’re also coming up with ways to put a little Baymax into their meals by making Baymax curry rice, rice balls, and nabe hot pots.

You can thank pop idol Haruna Kojima for kicking off the culinary trend. Earlier this month, the AKB48 member found herself with some extra time on her hands, so rather than make a plain old plate of curry rice, she decided to shape the fluffy white grains into a likeness of Baymax, adding two small, connected circles of dried seaweed to recreate his simple facial expression.

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Identifying her creation as Baymax, but written with the kanji for rice, Kojima posted the above photo to her Instagram account, where it put smiles on the faces and rumbles in the stomachs of all who gazed upon its appetite-stimulating cuteness. Even better, in contrast to the difficulty in trying to craft an edible version of Pokémon’s Pikachu or Yo-Kai Watch’s Jibanyan, Baymax’s soft, simple form and almost entirely white color scheme means that just about everyone can manage this cooking project, as proven by the steady stream of Rice-max photos that have been popping up since.

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Even six weeks after its release, Big Hero 6 is still going strong in Japan, wherepositive word of mouth about the films variety of action, comedy, and heartfelt emotion made it the highest-grossing movie in the country last weekend, just like it was for the three weekends before that. It’s a testament to the film’s broad appeal that stretches beyond just the kiddie demographic, and includes fans old enough to enjoy a little alcoholic refreshment with their Baymax curry.
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Of course, Japan has a lot more ways to eat rice than just covering it with curry roux. How about a Baymax oyako-don, a rice bowl with chicken, egg, and the cuddly robot?

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If you’re after even lighter fare, you can combine rice and miso soup, which is also a great way to make use of leftovers of the two Japanese staples.

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It’s also worth bearing in mind that the rice/bei/Baymax pun still holds up even if you’re not using plain white rice. For example, mochi (rice cakes) are just as appropriate for adding a dash of Disney to your hot pot.

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