Tag: Japan »
EA is taking SimCity BuildIt to Japan in this latest update, Tokyo Town. The game will now allow you to unlock the international airport, which allows you to ship cargo and earn Tokyo Town items, like a Lucky Cat. You can also build the Himeji Castle landmark, post-modern skyscrapers, and Japanese style residential zones. There is a new Mailbox to receive rewards, gifts, and game update news. Lastly, your city's sky will be filled with blimps and hot air balloons.
There is a lot of Japanesey goodness coming to SimCity BuildIt, so download it today for free on the App Store.
Appspy has found a Japan only Gremlins movie tie-in game! Hacha Mecha! Gremlin Wars was officially released by Warner Bros. and is a free-to-play tower defense game. Players collect Mogwais in order to prevent the gremlin forces from attacking Gizmo, and the graphics are chibi-style adorable.
Hopefully Japan will see fit to share this bizarre little game with the rest of us soon.
Pocket Gamer reports that two new free-to-play Final Fantasy games from Square Enix have sneaked their way onto the App Store in Japan - Final Fantasy: Record Keeper and Final Fantasy: World Wide Words.
In Record Keeper, players take on the role of an Apprentice that jumps into paintings that take them to famous scenes from previous games in the series. The battle system is similar to that found in Final Fantasy: All The Bravest, with players getting to fight alongside Cloud Strife, Zidane Tribal, Luneth, and more.
Meanwhile, the word-battling RPG World Wide Words features the same art style as Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, with players given the task of typing out words to perform attacks against monsters and fast typing rewarded with more powerful attacks.
Nothing has been announced regarding the release of either of these games outside of Japan, but both can be found on the Japanese App Store now and are free to download.
Japan is a hotbed for RPG games that are both intriguing in gameplay and sexy in design. Now, there's one more that has been ported across the Pacific. Japan-based mobile gaming company KEMCO recently announced that its RPG Eve of the Genesis is now available in English on the US app store. To celebrate, they've reduced the price 67 percent to $2.99 for a limited time.
As for gameplay, gamers are introduced to ancient times in the Empire of Gadalia, a powerful state who controls the land and is run by mechanical beings. There's a bit of a Terminator flare to it as these mechanical beings are masked in the form of men and they have the humans under their control. After a battle royale and 2,000 years later, the humans are still under the machines control and it's up to the player to discover and unlock the key to freeing the enslaved population.
This summer I did something a little unusual: I went to Japan. For two months, I lived with a host family, studied Japanese, and explored the small city I was living in. Quickly, one of my possessions became my most prized...my new iPod Touch, purchased just before my trip to replace a broken, older one. My iPod is my companion and entertainment source during normal life, but while in Japan it took on some extra uses.
For any international traveler or student, I think that having in iPhone or iPod Touch can be an enormous help. Here are some of the ways I used my iPod while in Japan.
As a study tool
I was enrolled in a summer language intensive program at the Hokkaido International Foundation. Theoretically, we fit a year's worth of language instruction into two months. (Yikes.) As a result, I was doing a lot of studying, and my iPod was a huge help in this regard.
First, my Japanese/English dictionary app. I used Japanese, but other students used the free Kotoba or other apps like Midori. Regardless, all of these apps had marked advantages over traditional dictionaries. First and foremost, iPods and iPhones are far more portable than paper dictionaries or even "electronic dictionary" devices. Using an app was easy and fast. Furthermore, Japanese in particular is interesting because the kanji, or characters, are difficult to look up in a traditional dictionary. iPhone dictionary apps generally let you input kanji using a number of methods, including "handwriting," making them much more useful.
Hardly anyone used a traditional dictionary. In my program, of the 50-odd students I'd estimate that 75% of us had iPod Touches or iPhones, and just about everyone who did used either Kotoba or another dictionary app on a regular basis.
Secondly, I was desperately trying to learn quickly enough to keep up with my daily quizzes and weekly tests, which meant, for me, flashcards. My commute to school included a half-hour on the bus each way, making my iPhone an excellent way to discreetly study. Using a flashcard app was great because I could fit study time in during all my little breaks: standing in line, while commuting, waiting for dinner to be ready...it really was incredibly convenient.
I personally made extensive use of Anki. Anki is a stellar flashcard program that is primarily for the desktop, where it's free. The iOS version costs a somewhat-steep $25 and is less polished than its desktop counterpart. However, for me it was still a good buy. Anki's magic is that it uses a spaced repetition algorithm, introducing cards at intervals according to previous response data. So, I would see my new vocabulary and kanji very often while older cards would show up occasionally. I've yet to see a better way of handling data retention; reviewing hundreds of paper flashcards quickly becomes unfeasible. I flirted with other flashcard apps but none met my needs like Anki, though Anki does have its problems...and that pricetag.
Homesickness and the iPod's "Normal" Features
One thing I hadn't counted on was how much I would miss "stupid" things like the sound of English.
In an environment that was all Japan, all the time, sometimes I wanted something familiar. So, I turned to my iPod for things like familiar music, photos from home, e-books, and TV clips from childhood shows. Also, since I didn't really have internet access with my host family, my iPod became my primary device for using the Internet. Facebook might be a form of procrastination, but when it came to keeping in touch, a mixture of email, Facebook, and Tumblr—all of which I accessed and used from my iPod—helped me to stay connected with people from home.
On the non-homesickness front, I used the iPod's camera when my "real" camera died or filled up with photos, or when I wanted to be more discreet. I used the Notes app frequently, too.
Do these uses sound trivial? Perhaps; and yet, they're part of why my iPod was so precious to me while in Japan.
Really, my dictionary app and my flashcard app were a killer combination when it came to learning and living. With my dictionary app, I could save words I encountered in real life for later study, or look up crucial words on the fly to facilitate conversations. With Anki, I could engrave those words in my memory. And beyond the purely pragmatic, it was comforting to have my favorite songs, TV shows, and yes, apps with me when everything else was unfamiliar. The iPod and iPhone can do so much that it's easy to overlook the little things.
I really do count myself lucky to live in an age where I don't have to lug around a physical dictionary for when my vocabulary fails, and when my camera's batteries die I always have a backup device. My iPod Touch made itself integral to my experience living and learning in Japan. Particularly for language students, I think that such resources are really invaluable.
A riot in your hand? It appears that's now possible thanks to TinyRiot. I've not seen an app like it but essentially it's a kind of stress relief tool that also produces some fascinating results.
Upon loading the app, users simply hold their iOS device tightly and shake it with all their might. As the user shakes it, noise and music comes out to invoke some satisfaction. While doing that, it also records the entire thing via the camera while flashing a light around too. Essentially, it's a mini rave in your iOS device. Once something has been created, users can then upload their production to YouTube for all to see.
It's absolutely bizarre, certainly as bizarre as the summary makes it out to be. It's also quite cool though. It does somehow relieve stress a little, or at least make its users laugh at the absurdity. It's from a Japanese developer, Qosmo, who explains that TinyRiot was created as a way of relieving frustration after the terrible earthquakes in Japan which makes a heck of a lot of sense.
If this kind of thing sounds compelling, TinyRiot is out now priced at $0.99. It works with all iOS devices but works best with the iPhone 4.
Check out the video below to see how it works.
Strange Flavour, the developer of such games as Slotz Racer and Flick Sports Fishing, both released by Freeverse, want to send a message to the Japanese government about its sponsorship of the illegal whaling industry. Here's a note from them:
With Japanese government sponsoring illegal whaling in the Antarctic whale sanctuary, Strange Flavour no longer feel that they can trade in a country where tax money from sales of their games is sponsoring the illegal extermination of endangered species.
Recent attacks with military acoustic weapons and metal projectiles on Sea Shepherd crew and their helicopter as well as multiple attempts to ram the Sea Shepherd’s ship the Steve Irwin have shown just how violent the illegal whalers are prepared to be.
As such, Strange Flavour Ltd. will be donating all their proceeds from their games, including the best selling SlotZ Racer and Flick Sports Fishing from the Japanese iPhone app store to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
“While donating our proceeds from the Japanese App Store is very minor in the scheme of things, we’d like the Japanese government to see that the antics of its illegal whaling industry are both embarrassing Japan and its people and causing it to lose face in a world where modern nations are realising the need to protect the environment and work together to avoid the extinction of critical species. All we can do is show our disgust at the illegal whalers and the government that wastes its tax payers money in propping up their loss making industry.
We hold our Japanese gamers in the highest respect, so we decided to do this rather than penalise them by removing our games from sale in Japan.” - Aaron Fothergill, Managing Director Strange Flavour Ltd.
A very good cause. Here's hoping that it brings a little more light on this issue.