Category Archives: Technology

Nintendo, 129 Of History and FanArt Trends

Nintendo celebrated its 129th birthday. The company that brought life to Mario and Zelda and to Pokemon started as a producer of handmade hanafuda playing cards. It was first established in 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi.

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Regarding the hanafuda playing cards – there are twelve suits, representing months. Each is designated by a flower, and each suit has four cards. Typically, each suit will have two normal cards and two special cards. The point values could be considered unnecessary and arbitrary, as the most popular games only concern themselves with certain combinations of taken cards.

In 1889, Fusajiro Yamauchi founded Nintendo Koppai for the purposes of producing and selling hand-crafted Hanafuda cards painted on mulberry tree bark. Though it took a while to catch on, soon the Yakuza began using Hanafuda cards in their gambling parlors, and card games became popular in Japan again.

Today, despite its focus on video games, Nintendo still produces the cards in Japan, including a special edition Mario themed set previously available through Club Nintendo. This is mostly in recognition of its own company history, rather than specifically for profit. In 2006, Nintendo published Clubhouse Games (42 All-Time Classics in the United Kingdom) for the Nintendo DS, which included the Koi-Koi game which is played with Hanafuda cards.

There has been released also a book about the history of the company – presenting known and unknown facts about the Nintendo’s works – hundreds of cards, toys and board games developed even before Nintendo entered the video game industry.

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Title: The Story of Nintendo Vol.1
Subtitle: 1889-1980 Playing Cards at Game & Watch
Author: Florent Gorges
With the collaboration of: Isao Yamazaki, 
Erik Voskuil and Fabrice Heilig
Edition: 3rd edition
Pagination: 276 color pages
Format: A5
ISBN: 978-2-919603-40-4
EAN: 9782919603404
Official release: 15/11/2017

After experimenting with other types of businesses like cab services or love hotels, Nintendo finally found that it could have success as a consumer electronics and video game company.

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On Nintendo’s official site – in the Company’s history section there are descriptions to all the released consoles by Nintendo over the years.

Nintendo Entertainment System

Introduced in 1985, the NES was an instant hit. Over the course of the next two years, it almost single-handedly revitalized the video game industry. Selling over 60 million units, people brought games like Mario and Zelda into their homes for the first time on the NES.

Game Boy

The screen was four-colors-of-gray but the device defined portable gaming and was enormous fun. Game Boy, which came out in 1989, was closely associated with the classic game Tetris when it debuted. Game Boy is the most successful video game system ever released. Since its introduction in 1989, Game Boy has sold well over 150 million systems worldwide. Originally bundled with the game, Tetris, this little handheld became an instant phenomenon.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System

The SNES was released in 1991 and featured 16-bit technology. More processing power meant more entertaining games which helped the SNES sell more than 49 million systems worldwide.

Nintendo 64

The N64 set new standards in realistic 3D gaming when it came out in 1996. Super Mario 64 was the system’s showcase game and thrilled millions with its amazing graphics and gameplay.

Game Boy Pocket

The same year the N64 came out, the Game Boy Pocket found its way into gamers’ school backpacks all over the world. It was smaller than the original Game Boy and came in a variety of colors.

Game Boy Advance

Featuring a larger screen and better graphics than previous versions of the Game Boy, the GBA would go on to sell tens of millions of units worldwide after its North American debut in 2001.

Nintendo GameCube

2001 also saw the release of the Nintendo GameCube which one-upped the graphics and gameplay of the N64. It was the first Nintendo system to use optical discs instead of cartridges for its games.

Game Boy Advance SP

Released in 2003, the Game Boy Advance SP had the same size screen as the Game Boy Advance, but the GBA SP was dramatically smaller, lighter, and folded in a clamshell design to become truly pocket portable. It also featured a rechargeable battery and backlit screen.

Nintendo DS

Featuring two screens, including a touch screen, a microphone, built-in Wi-Fi capability, and backward compatibility, the DS is an incredibly successful portable gaming device beating its rivals in the marketplace by a wide margin.

Nintendo DS Lite

The Nintendo DS is smaller, lighter, and has brighter screens than the previous model and has been embraced by fans. Tens of millions of DS Lites have sold worldwide since its release in early 2006.

Wii

In 2006, Nintendo introduced the Wii and with it several advanced, revolutionary features. Wireless motion-sensitive remote controllers, built-in Wi-Fi capability, and a host of other features have made the Wii the best-selling latest generation console system in the world.

Nintendo DSi

In April, Nintendo DSi introduced a revised portable system with two cameras and wireless access to downloadable games via the Nintendo DSi Shop. Wii Sports Resort built on the Wii Sports phenomenon and included the new Wii MotionPlus accessory, which made motion controls even more precise. Wii Fit Plus brought new options and activities to the fitness software and New Super Mario Bros. Wii brought the hand-held game to the home console. The Nintendo DS family of systems set a new all-time calendar-year U.S. sales record for any console or hand-held system.

Nintendo DSi XL

Nintendo DSi XL debuted with screens that were 93 percent larger than those on Nintendo DS Lite. Nintendo and Netflix announced a partnership that would allow most Netflix subscribers to stream movies and TV shows directly through their Wii consoles. The American Heart Association and Nintendo of America formed a multifaceted strategic relationship aimed at helping people create healthy lifestyles through physically active play. The iconic American Heart Association brand appeared on boxes for the Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort software and for the Wii system itself. Super Mario Galaxy 2 was just as well-received and well-reviewed as the original, Metroid: Other M took the franchise in a new direction and Donkey Kong Country Returns revisited a classic franchise. The Wii Games: Summer 2010 competition brought thousands of people of all ages together in fun competitions.

Nintendo 3DS

In 2011, Nintendo launched the Nintendo 3DS system in North America, and for the first time ever, users could view and play 3D content without special 3D glasses. The Mii Maker™ app let players create their own Mii™ characters to use as virtual avatars, while the online gaming community known as Miiverse™ let users connect with Nintendo fans around the world.

Wii U

Released in 2012, the Wii U™ system included the innovative Wii U GamePad controller that offered users new ways to play together, including off-TV. Wii U was the first Nintendo system to play new games in HD, while remaining backwards compatible with Wii™ games. This system also introduced support for amiibo™ accessories, figures and cards that gave players in-game bonuses in compatible games.

Nintendo 2DS

The Nintendo 2DS™ system joined the Nintendo 3DS™ family in North America in 2013. Its form factor, features, and price made it an excellent option for young gamers. The system played the Nintendo 3DS games only in 2D.

New Nintendo 3DS XL

In 2015, Nintendo released the New Nintendo 3DS XL system in North America. The system offered super-stable face-tracking 3D and screens that were almost twice as large as those of Nintendo 3DS. Built-in amiibo support meant players could more easily tap in amiibo accessories to get bonus in-game content in compatible games.

Nintendo Switch

Released in 2017, the Nintendo Switch™ is a home console that can transition seamlessly to a portable handheld that gamers can enjoy anywhere. The included Joy-Con™ controllers attach to the console while in handheld mode, and can be removed and used separately with compatible games in TV or tabletop modes. The system’s features include built-in amiibo support, motion controls and HD Rumble to makes games more immersive, and the Nintendo Switch Online* service.

New Nintendo 2DS XL

The New Nintendo 2DS XL system debuted in 2017 with screens that are 82% percent larger than the screens for Nintendo 2DS. The system offers customers the power and features of the New Nintendo 3DS XL system in a streamlined, affordable package, and plays a huge library of Nintendo 3DS games in 2D only.

The most popular video-game titles released could be stated: Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Double Dragon, Metroid , SimCity, Killer Instinct, Bomber Man, Pokemon, Fire Emblem, Fatal Frame, Bayonetta.

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For a more completed list you can follow the link – List Of Nintendo Games.

And since this celebration occurred – fans of the massively popular Mario Universe created a new character – Princess Bowser – depicting the series villain in a different gender and linking its origins to the Mario stories. Twitter has been boiling with fan-arts and discussion about this new character all day long.

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Image submitted by pixiv.net user – 新米(アッテンボローP).

So – who doesn’t remember what it was like to stay up late to finish the Mario game and it’s 99999 variations from the recently purchased cartridge? The feeling of anger when that dog laughed at you for not shooting the ducks… The feeling of starting a new game of Pokemon Red, the tenacity when thugs ganged up against you in Double Dragon and the old master wasn’t there to aid you… The laughs when someone died because of a stupid mistake in Bomber Man or… The deliciously relaxing tunes from Final Fantasy?

Nintendo helped creating these memories and priceless moments from our childhoods.

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Nintendo 3DS LL Available Starting With July 2012

Nintendo announced the launch of a new console – the Nintendo 3DS LL.

The new device will consist of a 4.88 inch top screen and a 4.18 inch bottom screen – larger that it’s predecessor by almost 50%. The battery life will be improved to 6.5 hours – allowing the customers to spend more on their favorite games.

Fans of the Nintendo technology will be able to choose from three different color combinations – red & black, silver & black and plain white. In Japan and Europe – the Nintendo 3DS LL will be released on 28 July, while in the US the launch date is 19 August.

The established price for the new console is 18,900 yen.

Portal: No Escape

A short movie set in the Portal Universe has come to my attention and to the other Portal fans.

I never imagined that a concept of Valve will appear in a live-action production.

Portal: No Escape is directed by Dan Trachtenberg and it’s quite intense. The heroine wakes up and realizes that she is being held captive. Nothing to do around other than keeping your mind occupied and your body in shape. But things are about to change…

Ohh what memories brings back the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device. I really need to play these games again very soon 🙂

Interactive Fiction

Every time we choose to walk a bit into the unreal – choosing a fantasy world to explore, we are accepting a session of interactive fiction.

This concept was the basic of the video-game, by offering the player a chance to concoct a story just like he wanted to.

Interactive fiction is about two things: using different commands to control the character and to influence the environment. Of course that this element evolved as a part of an adventure game.

By choosing the desired continuation of the story, each one of the involved persons can contribute personally to the complexity of the story.

Interactive fiction was first represented by text-only games. Dialogues, actions and other parts of a plot were used to complete a production.

From the different types of interactive fiction we can point: – hypertext fiction [the story is non-linear, the reader can choose the way he wishes to progress with the lecture], – collaborative fiction [one story shaped by several authors], – participatory fiction [shaped only after the implication of a person].

In many games, there are put different ways to pass an obstacle, to clear a path or to complete a mission.

With the correct command, the player can easily obtain info about the action he has to complete. At first, the text adventure games were able to understand simple commands as constructions of verb-noun nature.

Later, the technological progress permitted the player to use full sentences.

From here just one step to the modern-age visual novel [which will be presented in a future article].

Interactive fiction is the perfect combination to describe how video games work in the mind of those who choose to spend their time this way. Every movement and every action is just a part of this whole concept – the one who permits us to enter a fantastic universe.

Gaming 101: Penumbra Overture

When a first person shooter meets an adventure and survival horror game – we gain what is titled Penumbra Overture – the first episode of the Penumbra Trilogy.

Dark, creepy, yet classic and with style, this game is just perfect for a raining afternoon – when you want to experience something a little different.

Explore, put the pieces together, stay alive, this is your battle against a demonic force.

The story seems unusual from the beginning. You end up in an uninhabited part of Greenland, in an abandoned mine, trying to find out the truth about the disappearance of your father.

Thing is that once you are here, strange things will happen.

For example, you find out about the feral creatures that appeared out of nowhere imposing threat to the mine workers. The ugly cave spiders that became sustenance for the last survivors, the natural deposits of lysergic acid which is causing hallucinations and provokes uncontrollable behavior – that ends up with suicide.

Would you like to visit a place like that…I guess not – but the way things are presented in the game makes you to want to know more [at least this is how I felt when playing].

The environment can be used to your advantage. Block doors, set obstacles, carry objects [barrels, pieces of wood, lamps, bottles and so] or use them to hurt enemies or destroy other things. There are different puzzles to solve, but most of them are very easy [I played on Normal Mode]. For example, in the abandoned cave you have a key combination for a door. The way through it is simple, just pay attention to the notes you encounter.

As you go deep within the mine, you’ll find out that you’re not the only one in here. Meet Red, the one who will guide you through this dark journey.

He will try to explain what happened in there and help you find your way to the source of this disaster.

Of course that it won’t be easy as wild creatures like the demonic dogs will try to hunt you down.

You will discover that the construction of the mine was influenced by the discovery of an ancient artifact that offers you bits of another world – something quite hard to comprehend. This is why the player is tempted to work some more to find out what is going on.

Detail over detail you’ll finally come to see what you’ve been missing.

In just four chapters [pretty short] Penumbra Overture can establish a link between a survival horror and an intensified existential drama.

 

Gaming 101: Portal 2 [part 1]

It’s been a long time…

And finally – the unexpected occurred…Portal 2 became a reality – and I thank God for it.

This article will explain and comment parts from every chapter of the game..why I like it and for what reasons.

There are spoilers in here so before continuing reading…you should play the game.

Okay…you monster…let’s put our differences behind us..for science.

Portal 2 being the sequel to the first Valve game to introduce us to Aperture Science – it’s about applying the laws of gravity and using the environment to gain advantage in order to reach different checkpoints.

Testing…a word the Valve team became legendary for. From the old-school Half-Life to our 2011 game – testing was a subject of putting one’s brain to work.

In the first chapter you encounter Wheatley – which is going to become a most powerful tool [if I might say].

Also, through his plans – he will revive GLadOS. Now…the testing will begin. You will be surprised to see the old Portal Testing Chambers [which are in ruins] along with new, better ones.

GLadOS will be not happy about you killing her [which obviously was just an electrical interruption and not real death].

Test after test, we gain knowledge about GLadOS’ new plans for the Aperture Science Facility [which is now presented as a huge complex].

Putting aside the sarcasm and the cruel jokes..let’s ride the elevator to the break-room and talk about the time I saw a deer.

But before reaching that point, we just have to talk about the new impressive elements of Portal 2. The Aerial Faith Plate is one of them. This device let’s you jump high and reach different points that usually are not accessible.

The laser cube is very useful and you can use it to redirect laser beams and open doors or activate lifts.

About the difficulty I can say it is moderate…if you are smart enough you can easily observe the elements of the puzzle you have to resolve. By the way – I managed to find alternative solutions to one test – so everything is relative but acceptable.

More about the plot and other Valve unique marks in the second part of this article.

[to be continued…]

3D Fog Projection

If you wondered when holograms will become a part of modern technology – now it is the time for you to know that this thing is acctually happening and of course is brought by the Japanese scientists.

In the video below you’ll see the work of a team from Osaka University – using a few projectors to recreate the 3D image of a bunny.