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

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Ghost in the Shell cast adds Beat Takeshi as Section 9 chief

SuperHeroHype (by Max Evry):

Japanese comedian and actor Beat Takeshi (Hana-bi, Battle Royale) has joined the Ghost in the Shell cast and will play Public Security Section 9 founder and chief Daisuke Aramaki. He will star opposite Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Michael Pitt and Sam Riley. Takeshi, also a respected director and TV host, had previously appeared in another American cyberpunk film, 1995’s Johnny Mnemonic.

Announced last year, the Ghost in the Shell movie is set to be directed by Snow White and the Huntsman’s Rupert Sanders from a screenplay adapted by Straight Outta Compton’s Jonathan Herman, who took over from previous writers Jamie Moss and William Wheeler.

The new Ghost in the Shell movie will offer a live-action adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s iconic cyberpunk manga series about the members of a covert ops unit that take on technology-related crime. “Ghost in the Shell” was famously adapted into an animated feature in 1995.

Produced by Avi Arad, Ari Arad and Steven Paul, the Ghost in the Shell movie also has the backing of Steven Spielberg. The rights to Shirow’s original manga were picked up several years ago with plans to use the latest 3D technology to film it.

In Japan, the huge success of the original “Ghost in the Shellcomics have led to a number of anime film adaptations, a TV series and a series of video games.

Ghost in the Shell Cast Adds Beat Takeshi as Section 9 Chief

 

Japanese teen whose chalkboard art went viral gets an art commission before a high school diploma

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RocketNews24:

A while back, we took a look at an amazing piece of artwork by student and Twitter user Rena Rena. Almost finished with her last year of high school, Rena realized her opportunities to indulge in youthful abandon were about to become that much scarcer, so she grabbed a piece of chalk and drew an amazing scene of Frozen’s Elsa standing on a snowy mountaintop.

Two months later, it looks like Rena’s life has indeed become so busy that she has no time for such ambitious amateur chalkboard art projects. On the bright side, that’s because she’s now doing professional chalkboard art, having been commissioned to create the cover to the newest book from one of Japan’s most celebrated fantasy authors.

Even if you’re not an avid reader of Japanese literature, you may have some experience with the works of Miyuki Miyabe. A recipient of both the Naoki and Yamamoto Shugoro Prizes, the Tokyo native has had a handful of her works adapted to TV and film. Among her titles best known to Western audiences is Brave Story, a 2003 fantasy novel that served as the basis for an anime theatrical feature, manga, and video games.

Publisher Kadokawa is just about to release Miyabe’s newest book, The Castle of Kingdom Gone (Sugisarishi Okoku no Shiro in Japanese). Amazon Japan describes the novel as centered on a pair of middle school students who come across a mysterious sketching of an old castle, and discover they can enter its world by adding pictures of themselves to the drawing.

Between Miyabe’s renown and Kadokawa’s financial resources, they probably could have taken their pick of artists for the novel’s cover, and the pick they made was Rena.

View image on Twitter

As Rena revealed in this tweet, she’s landed a professional project even before leaving high school. While her Frozen fan art was lighting up social media, it caught the attention of Kadokawa’s executives, who decided “Her art would be perfect for Miyabe’s new book,” and approached the teen to formally offer her the position of cover artist.

▼ Kadokawa tweeted this side-by-side comparison of Rena’s inadvertent job application and the drawing she made for The Castle of Kingdom Gone.

 

View image on Twitter

And here’s how the final cover will look.

View image on Twitter

Amazon Japan is currently taking preorders here for the book, which is priced at 1,728 yen (US$15) and scheduled for release on April 24. Ordinarily, we’d say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but as for judging this cover itself, it’s an awesome piece of artwork, and perhaps just the first step in Rena’s budding artistic career.

Jealous Japanese girlfriend erases game from boyfriend’s phone, destroys relationship in process

RocketNews 24:

As a girl who has been playing video games almost since birth, it’s sometimes annoying to be pigeon-holed along with other girls who have no interest in or understanding of video games. As just another medium of entertainment – and one with vast scope for artistic expression at that – I’ve never quite understood people who claim that they “don’t get” games. That’s like saying that you don’t “get” movies, books, or music; there’s bound to be some genre out there for you! Still, it’s probably fair to say that more guys play video games than girls, and there are a lot of girls out there who really don’t like it when their boyfriends pay more attention to their games than to them.

Today we’d like to bring you the comic tragedy of a ridiculous couple in Japan whose relationship ended up in the toilet, all over something as simple as a mobile game

It all started with the mobile game Puzzle & Dragons, aka Pazudora. Apparently, the jealous girlfriend of this story just couldn’t handle her boyfriend paying so much attention to something other than her when in her company, so while he was in the bathroom, she DELETED the app from his phone. But let’s not judge her before we’ve heard her account of the story, okay?

▼ Pazudora. It looks pretty addicting to us!

Here’s Jealous Girlfriend’s account of what happened, as posted on an online forum in Japan:

My boyfriend’s addicted to Pazudora, and he doesn’t even LIKE video games!

So, my boyfriend’s never been interested in games, but then a coworker convinced him to start playing. He’s mean with money, so I never expected he would spend money on micro-transactions or anything. He also gets bored with things easily, so I thought he would get sick of Pazudora straight away, too.

HOWEVER, one day we were out and he said “Get me this capsule toy”. So I got him the capsule toy, and it was like this yellow egg, and inside, was “Metatron”.

▼ Metatron, the sexy female character from “Pazudora”. Okay, we’re starting to see her problem. 

My boyfriend was like, “Oh, she’s a super strong monster” and seemed really happy with it. And so of course I was happy that he was happy…  at the time I had no idea that Metatron would be the cause of our breakup…

So, one day, I deleted the game.

My boyfriend had started totally neglecting me, so a madness overtook me and my finger just slipped. He got up and went to the bathroom, and I took the opportunity to quickly uninstall Pazudora.

Uninstalling the app was surprisingly simple. It took less than 10 seconds. 

When my boyfriend returned, I said, “Ta-da! Pazudora has been erased!” and his response was, “What? Why did you do that? I don’t get you at all! We’re finished!” Just like that, my boyfriend left my life, right before my eyes.

Did the time we spent together mean less to him than Pazudora? What was more important – the 500 hours he’d racked up playing Pazudora, or the entire  year we spent together?!

 

500 hours! Gone in 10 seconds! Ouch! Here’s what the online community had to say about this silly, silly story:

 

“Who needs a girlfriend who goes through a guy’s phone and starts deleting apps?!”

“Why would she say ‘Ta-da’, at that moment, though? That’s what I can’t understand…”

“I can’t understand how you could justify deleting things off someone else’s phone. She doesn’t even seem to feel guilty about it.”

“If he’d stayed with her after that, her behaviour would just get more and more annoying with time. He made the right call.”

“We don’t know how much money he sank into the game. Maybe it was out of concern for his finances?”

“A guy messes with a girl’s phone: ‘How dare you?!’ A girl messes with a guy’s phone: ‘What are you getting so upset for?’ Double standards.”

“It sounds like it took him about as long to break up with her as it took her to delete his app: 10 seconds. Ha!”

“Don’t blame Metatron…”

 

Feel lame and old by watching kids react to a Nintendo Game Boy for the first time

 

In the latest episode of their popular “React” series, YouTubers The Fine Bros decided to give their group of tech-savvy kids none other than an original Nintendo Game Boy to see what they’d make of it. As you might expect, what with the portable console now being roughly 25 years old, many of the kids had absolutely no idea what it was, nor even how to turn the thing on.

So join us after the jump to see little kids fumbling to insert game cartridges, failing to find the power switch and saying things like “You have to actually press buttons” and “I kinda feel sad for the people in the past.

Aged between six and 13, the kids are given a chance to play around with the Nintendo portable before being asked for their thoughts on it. Their reactions are at once amusing and slightly depressing for anyone who once owned and treasured one of these chunky little consoles, and hint at how far technology has come in our lifetimes.

“Video Games: The Movie”- A feature-length documentary about the video game industry & the culture it has created

 

Video Games: The Movie is an upcoming feature-length documentary by Variance Films and executive producers Zach Braff and Cliff Bleszinski. It takes a close look at the beloved video game industry, how it has grown by leaps and bounds throughout the years, and the amazing culture that it has created.

Video Games: The Movie will hit select theaters and be available to purchase online on July 15th, 2014.

 

From executive producer Zach Braff comes an epic feature length documentary chronicling the meteoric rise of video games from nerd niche to multi-billion dollar industry. Featuring in-depth interviews with the godfathers who started it all, the icons of game design, and the geek gurus who are leading us into the future, ‘Video Games: The Movie’ is a celebration of gaming from Atari to Xbox, and an eye-opening look at what lies ahead.

 

 Video Games The Movie

Nolan Bushnell

Chris Hardwick

Wil Wheaton

Clare Grant

Video

Toledo Museum of Art presents “The Art of Video Games”

The Art of Video Games shows the striking visual effects, player interactivity and creative use of new technologies in games. By focusing on four game types—action, adventure, target and combat/strategy—the exhibition reveals the emergence of video games as a means of storytelling and audience engagement.

Visitors will be able to connect with the content of the show across generations, from those who remember classics such as Pac-Man and Super Mario Brothers to those playing more recent games like Flower and Super Mario Galaxy 2.

The Art of Video Games is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from Entertainment Software Association Foundation, Sheila Duignan and Mike Wilkins, Shelby and Frederick Gans, Mark Lamia, Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, Rose Family Foundation, Betty and Lloyd Schermer, and Neil Young. The C.F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the museum’s traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go.

The showing in Toledo is made possible through the generous support of Toledo Museum of Art members. Free admission.

Link

New York City’s Barcade is all about the classic Japanese games

 

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RocketNews 24/Japan Culture NYC:

 

Nostalgic for Japanese video games from the late 1970s and ‘80s? Barcade, a combination bar and arcade, recently opened in Chelsea, Manhattan with about a dozen classics from Japanese game developers such as Taito, Nintendo, Namco, and Konami.

The games are still only a quarter (there are change machines on site), and the machines are in great condition. Marvel at the old-school graphics of Space Invaders, Galaga, Mappy, Crazy Climber, and Frogger.

 

▼ Space Invaders

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▼ Galaga

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▼ Mappy

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▼ Crazy Climber

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Box against Piston Hurricane in Nintendo’s Punch-Out, and test your strength in that game’s spin-off, Arm Wrestling, which was released only in North America in 1985.

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You won’t find Pac-Man, but Ms. Pac-Man is here. There’s generally a crowd of people around that console.

But who needs Pac-Man when there’s one of the most popular arcade games in the history of arcade games: Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong, with its barrel-throwing ape and barrrel-jumping carpenter, was one of the first video games to be a narrative. Rather than simply shooting at things, video game players could follow a storyline that was the precursor to the wildly popular Mario franchise.

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▼ Jumpman, the original Mario

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“Newer” Japanese games are Konami’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989) and X-Men (1992).

 

There are a host of non-Japanese games as well; click here for a full list.

The best part of Barcade is that it’s a game room for adults. There are shelves between each machine on which patrons can rest their beers. It’s important to have both hands free while playing games, of course.

The original Barcade opened in Williamsburg in 2004 and has locations in Jersey City and Philadelphia. The Chelsea location is reportedly twice as large as the Barcade in Brooklyn, with 24 American beers and tap and pub food on the menu.

Barcade’s next location will be on St. Mark’s, in the space formerly occupied by Mondo Kim’s.

 

Check out this link:

New York City’s Barcade is all about the classic Japanese games

 

 

 

Link

10 things Japan does better than anywhere else, according to the international community

 

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RocketNews 24:

 

Advertising agency Dentsu recently released the results of its annual Japan Brand Survey, in which it asks people from around the world for their opinion on the country. This year’s study involved 3,600 men and women living in 17 different countries, whose responses were used to compile a list of 10 things they feel Japan does better than anywhere else in the world.

In carrying out the survey, Dentsu spoke with people living in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, the U.S., Brazil, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and Russia. All participants were between the ages of 20 and 59, with middle or upper-class incomes.

Roughly 80 percent of those questioned said they had either plans or a desire to visit Japan, a jump of more than seven percent from last year’s survey. When asked what intrigued them about Japan, the most common response was the country’s cuisine. Its numerous travel destinations, both urban and rural, came in second, and Japanese fashion rounded out the top three.

Being an advertising firm, though, Dentsu’s primary concern is with the perception of Japanese goods and services. To get a better grip on how people abroad feel about things stamped “made in Japan,” researchers asked participants what they felt Japan does better than anywhere else, resulting in the list below.

10. Video games

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It’s a sign of the times that Japan’s video game makers, who created and for years dominated the modern industry, only barely managed to crack the top 10. Still, even as overseas companies continue to make strides in the arenas of smartphone and social gaming, for some fans there’s just no substitute for a Japanese-made game.

 

9. Transportation infrastructure

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It’s telling that the list was compiled from responses from people who live outside Japan, and not in it. Residents have a number of valid complaints about the country’s narrow roads, expensive expressways, and difficult to find parking. If you’re a traveler though, or anyone else using public transportation in Japan, there’s a lot to be thankful for, as it’s hard to imagine the train and subway network being much more efficient or punctual than it already is (quibbles about service ending shortly after midnight notwithstanding).

 

8. Environmental engineering

7. Food

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No arguments here. While sushi was the dish most respondents reported eating, wanting to try, or just simply knowing about, Japanese food has a wealth of delicious dishes, ranging from subtle delicacies like tofu and lotus root to heartier fare such as ramen and the cabbage-and-pork-filled crepes called okonomiyaki.

 

6. 3D technology

5. Precision engineering

4. Cars/motorcycles

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Japan still may not be able to match Germany’s cachet in the luxury segment, and it’s facing ever-increasing pressure in the economy class from American and Korean manufacturers. That said, Japanese marques are still the go-to choice for many looking for reliably-made transportation, eco-friendly hybrid and electric vehicles, or a lightweight rear-wheel drive sports car.

 

3. Robotics

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Build a dancing robot like Honda’s ASIMO, earn a rep for robotics. Simple as that.

 

2. Anime/manga

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This one might be a bit of a linguistic technicality here. While in Japanese, the words anime and manga refer to cartoons and comics respectively, regardless of country of origin, among the international community, the terms generally refer to works made in Japan. For a lot of people, saying that Japan makes the best anime and manga is like saying Alaska produces the best Alaskan king crab.

Also, some fans are looking for completely different things from Japanese and non-Japanese animation. This makes the question of whether Japan produces “better” cartoons a tricky one to answer, sort of like asking, “Which is superior, a bicycle or an ocean freighter?” Sure, they’re both vehicles, but designed with completely different things in mind, and one isn’t really a substitute for the other.

Setting all that aside, though, if you want to see robots fighting, giant-eyed characters slowly falling in love, or some combination of the two, odds are the Japanese anime industry’s got you covered.

 

1. Audio/video electronics

Once again, Japan doesn’t have the same iron grip on this segment that it used to. Even as manufacturers from other countries offer alternatives with lower prices and passable quality, though, Japan still has the image of making some of the best-performing consumer electronics money can buy.

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Source: Niconico News

 

Check out this link:

10 things Japan does better than anywhere else, according to the international community

Link

Nintendo CEO outlines plan to move into health-related entertainment

Nintendo CEO outlines plan to move into health-related entertainment

Nintendo chief executive Satoru Iwata.

Boxed in by rivals in video games, Nintendo outlined its plan to redefine itself as a health-oriented entertainment company in the coming decade. In a letter to shareholders, Nintendo chief executive Satoru Iwata said the company plans to expand beyond games to make entertainment that improves “quality of life” for people.

It is a risky strategy to expand beyond video games at a time when its core business is losing money and rivals like Sony, Microsoft, and Apple are gaining ground on it. But it’s also the kind of “blue ocean” strategy that Iwata has tried before — something that worked with the Wii console.

Iwata talked about Nintendo’s history since its founding as a seller of Hanafuda, or traditional Japanese playing cards, 125 years ago. It innovated and shifted to becoming a toy company, then an electronic toy company, and then a video game company. Nintendo launched its first game console, the Nintendo Entertainment System, in 1983. Its Wii console in 2006 was a big success, but the Wii U has been a disaster, and the 3DS handheld isn’t selling as many as its predecessor, the DS.

So to adapt to the shifting market, Nintendo is expanding into health.

Vitality Sensor

The Nintendo Vitality Sensor.

 

As the business environment around us has shifted with the times, we have decided to redefine entertainment as something that improves people’s quality of life (“QOL”) in enjoyable ways and expand our business areas. What Nintendo will try to achieve in the next 10 years is a platform business that improves people’s QOL in enjoyable ways,” Iwata said.

Back in 2009, Nintendo hinted at a health entertainment strategy when it announced a “vitality sensor” that could measure your heartbeat and input that data into a Nintendo Wii game. But Nintendo never shipped that sensor.

He said that Nintendo will still remain focused on dedicated video game hardware and software platforms.

But he added, “We will attempt to establish a new business area apart from our dedicated video game business. We have set ‘health’ as the theme for our first step and we will try to use our strength as an entertainment company to create unique approaches that expand this business.”

Nintendo wants to expand its base of users, much like it did with the Wii, whose motion-sensing controller was so easy to use that it appealed to people who weren’t traditional video game fans. With its new health products and services, Iwata said that Nintendo wants to “create an environment in which more people are conscious about their health and in turn expand Nintendo’s overall user base.”

What has remained the same from the past is that we have always tried to create something new from materials and technologies available at that time, to position entertainment as our core business and to improve people’s QOL in enjoyable ways,” Iwata said. “We will continue to value self-innovation in line with the times and aim for growth.”

Check out this link:

Nintendo CEO outlines plan to move into health-related entertainment