Are Video Games Getting Easier?

A while back, the Japan Times published an interesting which described the “new fatalism” among young people (teens and twenties) in Japan. Based on research from psychiatrist Toru Kumashiro, young Japanese believe that effort doesn’t reap rewards, so there’s no point in trying. While I may not disagree with this, Kumashiro then used video games as a determinant to support this new fatalism attitude, saying that 1980’s games required skills, while now, “the biggest hits require the least effort.” Could this be true? Do video games these days require far less skill and effort than those 8-bit games in the …

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Social Network Addiction Becoming A Problem In Japan

It used to be video games which parents blamed for their children’s lack of study.  But these days, it seems kids are putting down their controllers and grabbing their smartphones to see – and respond to – what their friends recently posted. In a recent government survey, two-thirds of students spend 2 hours a day online, while 11.4% spend a staggering 5 hours everyday.  When asked what they’re doing online, almost 90% stated they’re using a social messaging application – most commonly Line. In the least-worst scenario, you might be walking through Tokyo, and suddenly collide into an aruki-sumaahon – …

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Tokyo Game Show 2014

Visiting the Tokyo Game Show at Makuhari Messe is always fun and exciting, but exhausting.  After a two hour train ride from my home to Chiba, then countless hours of walking, snapping photos, getting video shots, talking with developers, and gathering catalogues and freebies, I return home feeling as though I’d gone to war.  Do I ever regret it?  Never. The Tokyo Game Show 2014 was open to the press and members of the industry on September 18th and 19th, with an Open Day for the public on the 20th and 21st.  And this year broke several records in the …

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Review – Dream C Club Zero

8.5 / 10 Banzai!s The Game: “For the boy of pure heart.” Welcome to Dream Club, a Japanese kyabakura (hostess club) where all your dreams come true.  Tamsoft first developed the Dream Club dating simulation series for the Xbox 360 in 2009 in an attempt to boost Microsoft’s market in Japan.  The same idea was behind Dream C Club Zero: Portable, a sequel released as a launch title for the Playstation Vita on December 17th 2011.  Dream C Club Zero was then ported onto the Playstation 3 a year later, titled Dream C Club Zero: Special Edipyon! Essentially, the goal …

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Test Your Love With A High-Tech Bra

Only in Japan… Ravijour, a lingerie company in Tokyo, has developed the ultimate bra that knows if the female wearer is ready to allow her bo to reach second base or not. Introducing The True Love Tester, a glittery bra that is clasped shut, and only love can set it free. Connected to a smartphone, the brassier records the woman’s body heat and speed of her heartbeat, while the App analyzes the data and determines if she’s truly ready for that next step with her boyfriend.  If the App on the smartphone decides the woman is truly, passionately in love, …

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Is ANA Racist?

A few days ago, All Nippon Airways posted a TV commercial which offended so many people – mostly non-Japanese living in Japan – that it was immediately pulled, followed by an apology from an ANA spokeswoman, “We apologized to each of the customers for having caused uncomfortable feelings.” The advertisement was to promote their increase in international flights at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, by implying ANA is becoming more open and international. In the commercial, actor Hidetoshi Nishijima and comedian Hidetomo Masuno, are wearing ANA pilot uniforms and discuss in (very poor) English how they might change ANA’s image to a …

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Japan’s Problem With “Baito-tero”

It’s hot June, and at a Lawson convenience store in Kochi Prefecture, a 21-year-old employee waits until after hours for his joke.  He climbs into the store’s ice cream freezer, closes it, and poses while his friend takes a picture, before uploading it to Facebook.  The photo soon went viral across the internet, and rather than receiving “Likes,” it caused criticism and even calling people to boycott the Lawson store.  Shortly after, the owner of the shop lost his license and was forced to close down. And it’s only the beginning. These young workers have been dubbed “baito-tero,” a contraction of …

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The Evolution Of Translating Games

As we’re currently shifting from the seventh generation of consoles to eighth, games are getting more complex, requiring more money, time, and effort to develop.  The 8-bit consoles, such as the Nintendo and Sega systems, has the first games to feature “credits” at the end.  Try beating Contra or Rampage, and you’ll see a list of about 20 or 30 names scroll up the screen, from Lead Designer to QA Team.  Now, after clearing seventh generation titles like Uncharted or Gears of War, sit back and wait 5 to 10 minutes as the credits scroll, equivalent to having finished a movie. But graphics and …

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