Thursday, March 30, 2006

Good gravy

This blog is starting to turn into a gaming blog... but that's just because of the times. It will soon turn into a Japan-trip blog as I get ready to go to Japan with my wife Jennifer.

Linking to last night's posting, I found a guy in Canada (NES Reproductions) that will put a legal NES rom onto a cartridge for you. You choose the game and buy a 'donor cart' and send it to him. He then puts the game onto the chip of the donor and puts on a NEW label and sends it back to you. All-in-all it costs $25 plus the cost of the donor cart. Pretty sweet deal considering there are roms of games that were never released in America, home-translated games never released in North America, and homebrew games! These are all legal!

I'm ordering Earthbound Zero (the original Mother for the NES that was never released) this Friday. If all goes smoothly, i'll be getting some more with future paycheques.

Here's a site
that had 'virtual' students and they made some games. Interesting...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A NEW Sega Genesis game!!! ...well, kinda'...

...but it's still new.

There was a game for the Mega Drive/Genesis (in Japan) that was never translated. Well, some people got the rights for the game, translated it, and are now selling it.

This intrested me and I think I'll look for other 'new' and 'home-brew' games and post them here. Who knows, maybe i'll get some for the CHEET museum. Also, if you come across any sites let me know.

Found this (even though it's going to be a download and not an actual cart as I am looking for):

*Grand Theft-tendo

Very cool


Monday, March 27, 2006

Cool stuff time

Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom part 1

Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom part 2

Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom part 3

Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom part 4

I love my Nintendo DS...

Another Japanese game that I pray makes it to the US:

Tabi no Yubisashi Kaiwachou DS: DS Series 4 America

Ever wanted to travel to a foreign land but eventually steered away because of the language barrier? At the end of the month, Japanese citizens finally get a friendly and interactive way to "converse" in five different languages by way of five customized pieces of software which allow for point and tap conversation translation services.

For example, you're in South Korea and have just sat down inside a restaurant. You look at the menu but can't figure out what is what. You've heard of bulgogi (barbecued beef strips) but you're vegetarian. Instead of starving, flip open the NDS, boot the Korean phrasebook and direct the waiter's attention to your Nintendo DS. Click on the phrase which reads, "I am vegetarian" and wait as a voice emanates from the Nintendo DS which says "ch’aeshik juwi imnida" in perfect Korean. The waiter nods knowingly, disappears for a few minutes, and returns with a Todok salad followed by a heaping bowl of Bibimguksu noodles. After slurping, tap the "Thank you" phrase and listen as the NDS says "kamsa hamnida" to the waiter.

The five versions of Conversation Phrasebook DS support travel to the following lands: United States (titled: America), South Korea, Thailand, China, and Germany.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Metroid on your browser


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

DS Helps the elderly

I'm re-printing a very cool report here. I found it at THIS WEBSITE. I have the game they're talking about, but it's in Japanese... it comes out in America on April 17th.

Video games for the elderly: an answer to dementia or a marketing tool?

Nintendo product proves addictive to over-45s anxious to ward-off effects of old age

Justin McCurry in Tokyo
Tuesday March 7, 2006
The Guardian

Forget the idea that being good at computer games is a sign of a misspent youth. If millions of Japanese are to be believed, it is the secret to a happy and healthy old age as millions of them take up brain training, the country's latest computer game craze that is due to arrive in Britain by the summer.

Designed by a prominent neuroscientist, Brain Training for Adults, a package of cerebral workouts aimed at the over-45s by the Japanese game console and software maker Nintendo, is said to improve mental agility and even slow the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Players have to complete puzzles as quickly and accurately as possible, including reading literary classics aloud, doing simple arithmetic, drawing, and responding rapidly to deceptively easy teasers using voice-recognition software. The player's "brain age" is then determined. A physically fit, yet cerebrally past-it 30-year-old might be told after his first few attempts that his brain is into its 50s; a retired woman could, over time, end up with a brain age 20 years her junior.

The challenge, to reduce one's brain age, is proving addictive among Japan's baby boomers, many of whom say their only contact with game consoles was limited to bemused glances over the shoulders of grandchildren.

Targeting grey gamers is proving a smart move by Nintendo as software makers try to wean themselves off the shrinking teen market. About 20% of Japan's 127 million people are 65 and older, and the number is expected to rise to almost 30% by 2025. More than 3.3m of the games have been sold in Japan since they went on sale in May, with the second package in the series selling 500,000 units in the first week.

The first in the English-language series of games, Brain Age, is due for its US release on April 17, followed by Big Brain Academy in May. The games are expected to go on sale in Europe in June.

In Britain, Nintendo is reportedly gearing up for a £2m advertising campaign that will include adverts in Saga magazine, and promotions through Mensa. The game is expected to feature all of the exercises popular in Japan, as well as the sudoku number puzzle.

The game's success has taken even its maker by surprise. Soaring demand is behind Nintendo's struggle to produce enough of its new dual-screen DS game consoles. A new batch is not expected in shops for two weeks.

Brain Age (known in Japan as Brain Training) was part-developed by Ryuta Kawashima, a 46-year-old professor of neuroscience at Tohoku University, who has spent years studying the possible cerebral benefits of solving straightforward mathematical and other problems. His series of No o Kotaeru (brain training) books, first published in 2003, quickly became bestsellers, and were followed by a glut of TV shows and board games all extolling the supposed virtues of regular mental workouts.

Some commentators say that Japan's elderly people have seized on the fun and easy-to-use consoles to confront fears that without mental, as well as physical, well-being, they can expect to spend their twilight years miserable and lonely. "The idea of training the brain gives us hope," Rika Kayama, a psychiatrist, told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. "I think many of us are overly frightened of getting old, or even refuse to admit it."

Prof Kawashima says he has proof that a few minutes every day spent exercising a particular part of the brain brings improvements. During research he captured images of various brain functions and found the organ functions better when confronted with simple calculations than when multi-tasking during a conventional computer game.

In his learning therapy experiments, he claims to have seen marked improvements in people with dementia who are set simple mental tasks that require them to use the prefrontal cortex to restore brain function. "In future, those with Alzheimer's disease may not have to take drugs to delay the symptoms if they keep up with the learning therapy," he said during a recent interview.

Brain Age-equipped consoles are even available in waiting rooms and wards of several hospitals, including Uchida hospital in Kyoto, which runs a memory loss clinic for people with dementia. "The game won't cure dementia, but it's a good form of stimulation, especially for old people living alone," Takeshi Kihara, a neuropsychiatrist at the hospital, told the Associated Press.

Some researchers are sceptical. "There's not a single study that they can rely on showing this," said Torkel Klingberg, a neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. His research has shown that training "working memory" - like remembering phone numbers for a short time - can bring benefits. But he added: "That doesn't mean every kind of cognitive activity improves the brain in some kind of general way."

Another problem is whether the training helps with other tasks. "You might get better at sudoku, but you don't get better at much else," said Guy Claxton, a learning expert at Bristol University. "This has kind of been swept under the carpet by people who sell intelligence-improving devices."

Exercise your mind ...

Mozart, sudoku, chess, a good book, a walk, a good sleep - all are claimed to help turn your brain from jumble to genius, but which ones work?

Memory tasks
Torkel Klingberg and his team at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm gave 50 children five weeks training on either easy or hard "working memory" tasks - such as memorising phone numbers for short periods. Only the tough training brought a general improvement in attention and problem solving. But the training has to be intensive and prolonged, he said.

Routine change
Some researchers suggest tricking your brain with a new routine improves cognitive abilities, for example by brushing your teeth with the "wrong" hand or by taking a different route to work. There's no evidence this actually works. "Is it enough of a challenge to give you a training effect? That's a totally open question," said Prof Klingberg.

Playing the violin
One study of nearly 500 Americans aged over 75 found playing a musical instrument, reading, board games and dancing were associated with a reduced risk of dementia. The study recorded each subject's activities over five years and associated their leisure time with whether they developed Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Only regular, intensive activities were beneficial.

A stint in the gym can boost your brain as well as biceps. Studies suggest walking for half an hour three times a week boosts mental abilities such as abstract reasoning by 15%.

One famous study suggested Mozart boosts mental abilities - even rats find their way around a maze faster. But not all follow-up studies have replicated the effect. It seems the benefit, if there is one, is due to the relaxing and stimulating effects of music. People who feel better perform better in mental tasks.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

For Grace

Preview of the PS3.

Preview of the Revolution.

"Ken Kutaragi, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, has gone on record to say several times that PS3 will be expensive, stating "our goal for PlayStation 3 is for consumers to think to themselves, "I will work more hours to buy one"."


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Famitsu Top 100 Games of All Time

Famitsu is THE Japanese gaming magazine. It not only comvers Nintendo, but all game systems. In its history it has only give 6 perfect scores of '40'. Games have lived and died by its reviews, I kid you not. It has been around forever.

Now. I told you that to tell you this.

Recently it has posted its Top 100 games of all-time. I don't know how they came to this list, but wow! What a list! It gives me a good list to work on. (bolded items are in the C.H.E.E.T. museum):

1. Final Fantasy X (2001)
2. Final Fantasy VII (1997)
3. Dragon Quest III (1988)
4. Dragon Quest VIII (2004)
5. Machi (1998)
6. Final Fantasy IV (1991)
7. Tactics Ogre (1995)
8. Final Fantasy III (1990)
9. Dragon Quest VII (2000)
10. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)

11. Dragon Quest V (1992)
12. Far East of Eden 2 (1992)
13. Sakura Taisen (1996)
14. Dragon Quest IV (1990)
15. Final Fantasy V (1992)
16. Xenogears (1998)
17. Dragon Quest II (1987)
18. Sakura Taisen III (2002)
19. Kingdom Hearts (2002)
20. Streetfighter II (1992)

21. Super Mario Bros (1985)
22. Final Fantasy VIII (1999)
23. Tokimeki Memorial (1995)
24. Final Fantasy IX (2000)
25. Final Fantasy VI(1994)
26. Metal Gear Solid 3 (2004)
27. Valkyrie Profile (1999)
28. Chrono Trigger (1995)
29. Kingdom Hearts II (2005)
30. Dragon Quest (1986)

31. Zelda 3 (1991)
32. Final Fantasy X-2 (2003)
33. Resident Evil (1996)
34. Dragon Quest VI (1995)
35. F-Zero (1990)
36. Sakura Taisen II (1998)
37. Mother 2 (1994)
38. Mother (1989)
39. Virtua Fighter (1994)
40. Dragon Quest 5 (PS2 remake) 2004

41. Zelda Windwaker (2002)
42. Metal Gear Solid 2 (2001)
43. Animal Crossing (DS) 2005
44. Tales of the Abyss (2005)
45. Ogre Battle (1993)
46. Legend of Zelda (1986)
47. Virtua Fighter 2 (1995)
48. Mysterious Dungeon 2 (1995)
49. Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
50. Metal Gear Solid (1998)

51. Pokemon Red and Green (1996)
52. Y's 1 and 2 (1989)
53. Romancing Saga (1992)
54. Tokimeki Memorial (PC Engine) 94
55. Super Robot Taisen Alpha (2000)
56. Resident Evil 2 (1998)
57. Tales of Eternia (2000)
58. Digital Devil Story Megami Tensei II (1990)
59. Shin Megami Tensei (1992)
60. Final Fantasy II (1988)

61. Super Mario World (1990)
62. To Heart II (2004)
63. Final Fantasy (1987)
64. Puyo Puyo (1992)
65. Family Stadium Pro Baseball (1986)
66. Wizardry (1987)
67. Hokkaido Murder Mystery (1987)
68. Fire Emblem (1994)
69. Super Mario Kart (1992)
70. Dynasty Warriors 4 (2003)

71. Monster Hunter (2004)
72. Best Play Pro Baseball (1988)
73. Grandia (1997)
74. Resident Evil 4 (GC) 2005
75. Gran Turismo 4 (2004)
76. GTA: Vice City (2004)
77. Super Monaco GP (1990)
78. Torneko Mysterious Dungeon (1993)
79. Tales of Destiny (1997)
80. Streetfighter 2 Turbo (1993)

81. Dynasty Warriors III (2001)
82. Final Fight (1990)
83. Monster Hunter Portable (2005)
84. Final Fantasy Tactics (1997)
85. Monster Hunter G (2005)
86. Mysterious Dungeon 2 (2000)
87. Kung Fu (1985)
88. Tokimeki Memorial (Saturn) (1996)
89. Tales of Destiny II (2002)
90. Kamaitachi No Yoru (1994)

91. Sakura Taisen IV (2002)
92. Tales of Rebirth (2004)
93. Sim City (1991)
94. Saga 2 (1990)
95. Pro Baseball Family Stadium 87
96. Tetris (Gameboy) (1989)
97. Secret of Mana (SNES)(1993)
98. Gradius (1986)
99. Super Mario Bros III (1988)
100. Resident Evil IV (PS2) 2005

Monday, March 06, 2006

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Illustration Friday: TEA

Click the image to see it bigger.

Jeez... haven't done a still-life in YEARS!