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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

J-POP Update: Vast Volumes of Vocaloids in Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai Complete

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 9:30 AM


Every genre or franchise in pop culture is a rabbit hole, and one that I’ve been enjoying falling into these past few years is that of Hatsune Miku, the Vocaloid icon. A Vocaloid is the avatar of a voice synthesizer, and Miku is by far the most popular; she’s appeared in countless videos and remixes, live in concert, and quite a few video games, including the Project Diva F games for the PS3 and PS VITA, and Project Mirai games for the 3DS. It’s the latter series that’s covered in the limited edition Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai Complete box set, which the Kawaii Kakkoii Sugoi Shop is releasing in the United States this week. Among other things, it’s a swell crash course into this particular niche of Japanese pop culture. 

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Subscribe to This: Extra Credits on YouTube

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 4:00 PM


I'm not as much of a gamer as I used to be (RIP, Festival Game Palace), but I'm trying to become more of a gamer than I currently am. I inherited an Xbox 360 last year, have completed Beatles Rock Band, and am currently making my way through BioShock, mostly because of its similarities to last year's second-best film, Snowpiercer. I even occasionally play games that were made during Obama's second term!

I also like to keep up with gaming culture, which is no less vital than movie or television culture. Indeed, how much more money video games make, it's arguably the most vital of the three. And that's where the terrific YouTube channel Extra Credits is indispensable.


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Friday, April 10, 2015

Subscribe to This: Wisecrack on YouTube

Posted By on Fri, Apr 10, 2015 at 2:00 PM


Like the rest of us, I watch a lot of movies and televsion shows, and try to read a lot of books — I'm currently making my way through Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed, which I can't recommend strongly enough — but I also watch a lot of YouTube, particularly the educational channels. Learning new things is fun! Especially when it's presented by people who try to actually make it fun without talking down to their viewers. Among my favorites is Wisecrack, which describes itself as "the channel where you'll learn your ass off."

Three of their best recurring shows are Thug Notes, 8-Bit Philosophy, and Earthling Cinema.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ubisoft Re-imagines Fairytale RPG with Child of Light

Posted By on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Take that! - UBISOFT
  • Ubisoft
  • Take that!

For me, video games have always been about the epic experience. Games like Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Kingdom of Hearts definitely molded the the RPG and action/adventure genres with their production packages that infused engaging story lines and moving music with stunning imagery. Ubisoft announced, April 9, partnerships with Cirque du Soleil Media™ and the singer and pianist Coeur de Pirate to take epic proportions to the next level with the new title, Child of Light.

While I'm in my late 20s and more drawn to Call of Duty, the Batman Arkham series, or Assassin's Creed and the like, this game looks awesome.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

If You Like Video Games, You Should Go To This Event

Posted By on Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Flier for Serenade at the Arcade - THE ALAMEDA MUSIC PROJECT
  • The Alameda Music Project
  • Flier for Serenade at the Arcade

Remember when we told you about The String Arcade -- the string quartet that's releasing a CD entirely made up of orchestral covers of video game songs?

Well, the album is finished, and they're throwing an epic release party to celebrate.

Called "A Serenade at the Arcade," the party will take place at Rhythmix Cultural Works in Alameda from 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m. on March 7. It will feature several rooms with arcade and console games, as well as live performances from the quartet playing the music from the CD, from video games such as Tron, Minecraft, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Also performing will be Steve Kirk and Nils Frykdahl, whose voices you may have heard on the soundtrack of the game Scurvy Scallywags.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Video Game Music Gets a String
Quartet Makeover

Posted By on Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Even if you haven't played Mario Brothers in years, you likely remember the music just as much as the images -- you can hear the music now, can't you?

Video game music composer Dren McDonald creates these electronic sounds for various games, but it was his passion for other music, specifically string music, that got him wondering -- "What music would I make right now, if I could make anything?"

During the time he was debating this question, an opportunity to help fundraise for the Alameda Music Project -- an after-school music program -- emerged. But he knew a CD of him playing string quartet music wasn't going to sell.

McDonald says, "I started listening closely to some of my favorite game music from my youth (Altered Beast, Legend of Zelda, Galaga) and wondered how those might sound if arranged for string quartet."

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

SF State Students Pitch Social-Justice Video Game to CEOs and Politicians

Posted By on Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Nicu Listana, co-creator of new game Founder's Quest, strikes a pose in D.C.
  • Nicu Listana, co-creator of new game Founder's Quest, strikes a pose in D.C.

Social justice and gaming don't seem to have too much in common. In fact, we're willing to venture that if placed in a Venn diagram, the overlap would be a small sliver between those circles.

But the first ever ESA LOFT Video Game Innovation fellowship was poised to change all that. Pseudo youngsters ages 14-25 were asked to create video games that could solve problems within their communities. The winners each got $1,000 to develop their concept and a trip to Washington D.C. to hobnob with political movers and shakers.

We caught up with San Francisco residents who are part of this fellowship, Nicu Listana and John Funtanilla, in the first wake of their White House foray this afternoon.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Super Mario Brothers Gets HTML5 Makeover, Play the Classic Video Game for Free

Posted By on Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 10:55 AM

So we meet again - FULLSCREENMARIO.COM
  • So we meet again

Cancel all your plans for tonight -- go ahead and cancel your plans for tomorrow too. You're going to be playing Super Mario until you get severe hand cramps.

Recently released Full Screen Mario is a complete remake of the 1985 Super Mario Brothers game, plus it contains "literally millions of possible random maps." And the best part? It's free.

That actually may not be the best part if you can program HTML5, because there's the option to create a level. That's right, a new level of mushrooms and coins designed by you.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Old-School Arcade Games on Demand: How the Sharing Economy Might Save Pac-Man and Donkey Kong

Posted By on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 8:08 AM


Even after Nintendo and Atari put home video game consoles on the market and induced gamers of the '80s and '90s to barricade themselves in their bedrooms, a few diehard arcade operators still did things the old way. And their die-hard fans continued pumping quarters into the refrigerator-sized machines, ensuring that Donkey Kong and Ms. Pac-Man would still have a place at the local movie theater or bowling alley. Home systems put a major hurt on the arcades, and then smartphones came along and ate up a few more lives. Suddenly, everyone had Angry Birds right at the tips of their fingertips, and many gaming companies doled out their apps for free.

Old-fashioned arcade games -- with their coin slots, hokey plastic guns, and grainy color palettes -- gathered dust and graffiti, and had all the appeal of an ice box that hadn't been touched in years. Renting them out to arcades was a horrible value proposition, says Antioch stockbroker and old-school gaming enthusiast Seth Peterson, who mourned the changing times. You might earn $15 in quarters, $7.50 of which would go to the house. You'd spend $10 on gas just to cart the machine over.

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"