Taiko no Tatsujin: THE Music Game

I have been a music game lover since forever. The first game that I played for over one week is a Chinese music game, and after that, I explored many kinds of music games on different platforms. I have tried OSU!, Lovelive!, Deemo, Jukebeat, etc., but the music game that I think is the most interesting and challenging is Taiko no Tastujin (太鼓の達人).

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Taiko no Tastujin is a music game produced by Bandai Namco, a Japanese game company. It first appeared in 2001, and it can be found on a lot of platforms such as arcade game, PSP, 3Ds, Wii U, and it is said that there will be a version for the new Nintendo Switch. That is how popular this game is.

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An arcade of Taiko no Tatsujin

In this game, there are five kinds of keys in three categories. the red key means the middle of the taiko (traditional Japanese drum), the blue key means the border of the taiko. If the red and blue keys appear in a larger form, the player needs to hit the certain button on both side of the console at the same time. All keys of other style means to hit the middle of the taiko for multiple times.

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This is how a typical game looks like.

The version I play is Taiko no Tastujin Deluxe on PSP 3000, and I have played it for about 3-4 years. Here are the reasons why I want to recommend this game to other music game lovers, and why I think it is THE music game that you would like to try.

First of all, it has tons of songs, and each song has four levels (easy, normal, hard, devil). My version has 197 songs to choose, but since I am a relatively high-level player, I only play the hard and devil level. That are still 394 choices. I can easily spend hours with this game if I do not have anything else to do.

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The iPad version has much less songs, but the PSP version has a lot.

Another awesome thing of this game is that you can play it for a long time without quitting the game to wait for your “hearts” to recover. Many games have introduced the system of “hearts”.

For example, in Era of Music, my first music game, a player only has 6 “hearts” to play for a period of time, so he/she can only play 6 songs in a role. It usually takes 10 minutes to finish them all. After using all the “hearts”, the player has to wait for them to recover very slowly for a couple of hours, or spend money to buy more “hearts”.

This system is designed to prevent the players from indulging in playing games, but for many players who have the ability of self-control, this system seems to be superfluous and annoying. In Taiko no Tatsujin, the system of “hearts” does not exist, and you can play ten or fifteen songs continuously.

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The Wii version even has mini physical taikos. This has been my dream…

The third advantage of this game is that it is challenging, but you cannot make anything easier by spending money. Nowadays, almost every game has in-app purchase currency for the players to enhance their ability, and music games are not exceptions. They either ask the players to buy props and “pets” that can eliminate a certain number of missed keys, or ask them to buy higher-level characters that has better ability such as adding extra points or deciding whether a key should be “perfect” or “great”.

Taiko no Tatsujin does not have this system. The players cannot spend money on this game to become a better drummer. For instance, there are many difficult songs that I can barely read, but when I find out that it is too hard, the only thing I can do is to practice more to become better. It is fairer for players who do not want to spend money on games, or for people like me who do not have much extra money.

The video below is one of the most difficult songs in Taiko no Tastujin. It is called “Buddha 2000”, and is played by a master on Wii 3. Remember, this player made it all by practicing but not purchasing any magical potions.

I really want to share and recommend this game to you because I think it is one of the most interesting, free, and fair music games. It may be challenging, but the difficult songs can train your fingers and brain together. If anyone asks me to recommend a music game for him/her, Taiko no Tatsujin would be THE game that I recommend. Surly I have played many other great music games, but this is definitely my first choice.

What kind of music game have you played? What games are you currently playing? Feel free to share your thoughts with me. I am a huge fan of music games, and I am waiting for your recommendation. What is your favorite one?

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3 Fun Facts about Rick & Morty

The world of ACG does not only include Japanese stuff, but animation, comics and games all around the world. Recently, an American cartoon, Rick & Morty, shows some preview of its 3rd and new season, and the preview makes it harder to wait for the real show. After all, the fan of this show has been waited for “about a year and a half”, which was announced in the final episode of the 2nd season.

Rick & Morty is an animation show on Adult Swim. It tells the story of the adventures of Rick Sanchez, a crazy scientist, and his grandson Morty Smith. Sometimes the family members would also join the adventure.

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Rick is that kind of old and clever person who can find the way to get whatever you can or cannot imagine from wherever in the space (or even parallel space), while Morty is just a normal boy. Rick appears in Morty’s life suddenly, and they have gone through a lot of interesting events.

To show my excitement of this new season, let me reveal some fun facts about this show for you. I have read some of them online, and I picked 3 to share. I hope you can enjoy them. (And here is the wa-a-a-ay the news goes.)


FUN FACT 1: Rick and Morty are played by the same guy!

If you are more familiar with Japanese ACG, you might understand why I am so surprised to see one person playing two characters in the same show, and the two characters are totally different from each other.

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Justin Roiland, the voice actor of Rick and Morty

Japanese voice actors usually do not play two characters in the same show. If they had to, usually they play one main character, and the other would have only a couple of lines. However, in Rick & Morty, the voice actor Justin Roiland plays two main character. The most incredible thing is that we can easily recognize the two voices.


FUN FACT 2: The bur… the burps

Another fun fact about voice acting. Rick, the crazy scientist, burps randomly when he talks. With this setting, Justin Roiland has to really burp when he is reading the lines. Secretly telling you, I tried it and I gave up. This is not a very easy thing.

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“Burrrrrrrrrrrp.”

However, the voice actor of Beth (Morty’s mother and Rick’s daughter), Sarah Chalke, can burp when asked. Justin Roiland has been very jealous about Sarah’s special talent because he is the one that burps constantly.


FUN FACT 3: Some monsters are created randomly

I don’t want to be a spoiler, but in the 6th episode of Season 1, countless kinds of monsters appears, and they all look weird, creepy, even a little gross. These monsters are actually somehow also connected with Justin Roiland.

Justin sometimes doodle random things, and he would send the pictures of the strange monsters to the animators for joke. After laughing, the animators seem to like the designs, so they give these monsters a chance to be in the show.

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Some of the alien and monster characters

Actually, I personally think this specific episode is THE most thrilling and deep episode of the current 2 seasons. If you are interested in this show, I suggest you to see this episode twice, and you will find something that you didn’t notice before.


What do you think about these interesting facts? If you are interested in watching Rick & Morty, please follow this link and watch it for free. (Since it is an Adult Swim show, I will suggest minors to let their parents check before watching.)

http://www.adultswim.com/videos/rick-and-morty/

If you have seen the show or if you have anything you would like to share, feel free to contact me. As a big fan, I would be very happy to discuss about it with you. Also, make sure to check your storage of popcorn and soda, because Season 3 is on its way!

Interview: The Path And Future Direction of Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch has been on the top of a lot of gamers’ shopping lists for a while. Many of my friends and classmates have received their own Switch, and I have chosen one of them to interview about his thoughts about it.

Steven Osmolski has been a game since forever. As a fan of handheld consoles, he owns almost all kinds of consoles of different platforms. Therefore, he has compared Nintendo Switch with other consoles, and we talked about the advantage and disadvantage of this new gaming device.

Since NS is still a new device, there are only several games publicized on this platform. Steven bought Legend of Zelda so that he can start playing as soon as possible.

“The game is really good I think, Nintendo has focused on good games and they do well.” Said Steven.

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We have also talked about the experience of the new platform system. On this topic, Steven seems to be a little disappointed because the system of the Switch does not match his expectations.

“It’s good that the system is simple. It’s easy to understand. But on the other hand, it is too simple.” said Steven, “I think Nintendo really focuses on game designing, so it focuses less on the system and custom experience.”

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FAN DESIGNED The Legend of Zelda edition of Nintendo Switch.

Steven also thinks that Nintendo will go back to the path of focusing on system design in the future. He thinks the machine design and the game design are not so important as a system that has a lot of useful and helpful functions to enhance the experience of the players.

“In general, I like the Switch very much. I think it’ll have a higher selling point than 3Ds, and I’m looking forward to play more games on it.” said Steven.

What is your experience with Nintendo Switch and other handheld consoles? Do you have any interesting stories with your device? Which game do you want to see on Nintendo Switch? If you have any comments, ideas or questions about this new game device, feel free to contact me for more discussion.


 

Picture source of the fan design:

http://www.polygon.com/2016/11/8/13563254/nintendo-switch-mario-zelda-kingdom-hearts

 

Don’t Lose Your Direction When Spring Comes

You know what’s coming in this period of time if you are a student in the U.S.. SPRING BREAK!! It means home, sunshine, actually good food, friends, sofa and blankets, Netflix, YouTube, Crunchyroll, local comic store…and so on. You name it.

Me, as a student, am also going to enjoy my Spring break with a lot of sleep, a lot of food, and no homework. That means, I will not post anything for the next week (Mar. 13 – Mar. 19). If I have something interest to share, I will probably write another post, but if nothing special happens, I am going to stay in bed watching anime with my cat and party size Doritos.

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This will be me during Spring break.

To make you feel better and not miss me too much, I have a recommendation of an anime movie that fits the atmosphere of Spring. It is an old one, but trust me, you will like it. Especially if you like detective stories.

Detective Conan: Crossroad in the Ancient Capital is a 2003 Japanese anime movie, and it is the 7th movie of the anime series Detective Conan. By the way, the anime first started in 1996 and is still on TV every week, it is surly a very old anime show. The TV version currently has over 700 episodes, so you have enough episodes to amuse yourself.

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The official poster of the movie

Edogawa Conan, the main character of this anime, was called Kudo Shinichi, and he was a high-school student detective. He helped the police to solve many cases, but one day he witnessed a secret organization doing illegal trading, and he was forced to consume a pill, which caused his body to become like a 7-year-old child.

Luckily, his mind remained the same, so he found an excuse to live with his life-long friend Mori Ran and her father, and they started to solve all kinds of cases while finding the chance to beat that secret organization.

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Conan (Shinichi) and the Black Organization

The story of Crossroad in the Ancient Capital happens in Kyoto in the season of cherry blossom. Three murders happen at about the same time in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, and the three cases has a significant similarity: the victims all have a copy of Gikeiki (a Japanese historical story book), and the books are all taken away by the murderer.

Edogawa Conan was invited to go to Kyoto with the Mori family for solving a case. During their visit, they met Hattori Heiji, another high-school student detective, who comes to Kyoto to find his first crush.

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Little Heiji and his crush…awww

When this group pf people travel together for their goals, the unsubs of the murders slowly appears to them, and they finally find out that some historical secret is becoming more and more clear.

A fun fact is that this movie is the only Detective Conan movie that does not have any explosion scenes. If you are not a fan of bomb and love the atmosphere of romantic Spring, this movie will be a great choice for your Spring break.

Also, the theme song of the movie is one of the most classic songs of Detective Conan. It is called Time after time~花舞う街で~, and the Japanese word means “the street where flowers fall”. It is performed by Kuraki Mai, who has cooperated with this anime for a long time and sung many famous theme songs for the show.

 

Detective Conan is THE anime that accompanies me through my childhood, and it is still one of my favorite. I really hope you like my recommendation, and please share your thoughts with me through any possible method. And finally, enjoy your Spring break!

Food in “Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma”: How Many of Them Can Be Real?

If you are a food-lover, I mean, if you are obsessed about different kinds of food, then Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma should be on your must-watch-anime list.

The anime tells a story about Yukihira Soma (幸平創真), a young man who goes to this chef school when he needs to inherit his father’s restaurant. In this school called Joichiro, only the top 10% student can manage to graduate, and they all become the best chefs in the world.

To become a great chef and to graduate from Joichiro, Soma has to study hard about food and cooking. During his life in this school, he also has to face the Shokugeki, which is the traditional way for students in Joichiro to solve all disputes.

Shokugeki is a ceremony that the two students make their best dish for the judges, and the judges will taste each dish and decide who the winner is. The winner will also win in the dispute, while the loser loses a lot, including the past status at school, and sometimes friends.

Audiences are attracted not only by the exciting plot of the anime, but also by the food items that Joichiro students make during Shokugeki. On the Internet, many fans of this anime make their own versions of the dishes according to the recipe described in the show, and I have read about one recently.

This chef is called Stanlick in the world of Internet, and he has his blog at AniTAY, a blog website specifically for anime lovers. I have read two of his recipes, and I can’t wait to share them with you. All the information below and pictures comes from this blog, and I will put the link for you to check it out more.


No. 1   Fake Pork Roast (Gotcha Pork)

This is the first main dish that appears in the anime. Although the dish is mostly made of potatoes, and you will be eating potatoes, you will feel like you are eating pork instead. The secret of the dish is to use bacon to wrap the potato when cooking, so that the meat juice can penetrate the potato.

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It looks like this in the anime.

To make this dish, you need to prepare:

  • About 2 hours of time
  • 6 white potatoes
  • 3 Eringi mushrooms. or substitute with 1/4 of a head of cauliflower.
  • 1 large white onion, or 2 medium white onions.
  • 1 sprig of rosemary.
  • Butter. I suggest 2 tablespoons (30ml), but you could always used a bit more.
  • 2 packs of thick-cut bacon.
  • 1 Cup, or 250ml of red wine. We used a Pinot Noir since its preferable for cooking.
  • 1/4 cup, or 60ml of sake. Any sake that is labeled as “sweet” should do.
  • 2 tbs, or 30ml of soy sauce.
  • 1 spring of parsley or any garnish.

Source: Stanlick from AniTAY

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And it looks like this in real life.

For more detailed recipe and instructions to make this dish, please visit the link below.

http://anitay.kinja.com/food-wars-recipes-in-real-life-1-fake-pork-roast-1703359028


No. 2   Transformation Rice (Furikake Gohan)

Have you had egg fried rice in any Asian restaurant? This dish looks as simple as those that you have tasted, but there must be some difference that makes it special enough to be written into an anime.

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The contrast of this dish in anime (left) and in real life (right)

The critical ingredient of making this dish is called Aspic, and it is made from bonito broth and chicken wings. According to Stanlick, although the bonito broth is a fish product, the final product does not smell or taste like fish. Therefore, you can be chill when buying the bonito broth.

You actually need to add gelatin to the broth and freeze the Aspic a little bit to make it look like jelly. After cooking the rice with the meat on the chicken wings, scrambled eggs, and green onion, simply use the broth jelly to flavor the rice and watch it to melt into the warm rice. It would definitely be a pleasure for your eyes and your taste buds.

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Ohhhhh…look at how it melts!

To make this dish, you need to prepare:

  • About 4-5 hours of time (there will be a 2-hour waiting time for the Aspic)
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) of sesame oil.
  • Un-breaded chicken wings (14 medium sized, or 21 small sized).
  • 10 grams (⅜ ounce) of the bonito soup stock (AKA Katsuobushi).
  • 1.5 Litres (6.5 Cups) of water.
  • 10ml (2 teaspoons) of minced ginger.
  • 50ml (3 tablespoons) of sugar.
  • 75ml (⅜ cup) of soy sauce.
  • 100ml (.5 cup) of sake.
  • 10ml (2 teaspoons) of gelatine.
  • 100ml (.5 cup) of water (for the gelatine).
  • 350ml (1.5 cups) of white rice.
  • 4 green onions.
  • 8 eggs.

Source: Stanlick from AniTAY

For more detailed recipe and instructions to make this dish, please visit the link below.

http://anitay.kinja.com/food-wars-recipes-in-real-life-2-transformation-rice-1711019009


How do you think about the two dishes? Feeling hungry? Share your thoughts with me by leaving comments or contact me! If you have developed any other recipes from any anime, comics or game, you can also share the links with me so that we can be hungry together >w<

Anyways, I am going to make myself some food, and I will see you in the next post!

Don’t Stop Playing “Don’t Stop! Eighth-note-chan”

New games come and go. Some of them are fun to play, but none of them are like this simple, interesting, cute, but difficult and noizy game. This new game has been quite popular online in Japan and China these days. It is produced by Unity Co., and its name is “Don’t Stop! Eighth-note-chan”.

Generally, the porpose of the game is to control the little eighth-note-like creature to jump over the pits and hide from the enemies such as the pause symbol, but you don’t use the mouse or keyboard to control your creature. You use your voice, and only your voice.

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You need to make this little guy move or jump by literally yelling to your computer. 

When you hum to your computer or microphone, this little note will walk on the flat ground. If you want it to jump, you need to make larger sound. The louder you are, the higher and farther it jumps. However, you do need to control height and distance of its movement because sometimes the danger comes from above.

There are multiple stages for this game. I have tried it myself, but I even have not passed Stage 1. It is a cute and interesting game which is easy to learn, but it is definitelly not easy to clear all the stages. There are many YouTubers making videos of themselves playing this game, but most of them are either Japanese or Chinese.

The good thing is that you don’t need to understand their talking to understand the funny part of the game, because everyone is screaming. I watched about 20 videos and I picked the one with the lowest voice for you to see, but still remember to turn the sound down a little before starting.

If you are interested, please follow the link below to download the game for free. Unfortuanely I could not find any website all in English that provides this game, but don’t worry, I will show you the way to download it.

The only thing that I need to remind you is that this game only supports Windows system for now. So if you have an Apple laptop, maybe you should ask your friend to download one and play with them. The only thing you need to do is to go to http://www.freem.ne.jp/dl/win/13993, and click the link in the large font. The web page will look like this:

 

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Click the link in the red rectangle to download the game.

 

You will receive a zip document. After you unzip it, open the folder and click the software named “yasuhati1.09.exe”, and you can start your journey with your note from there!

If you have any thoughts, ideas, or critics when you play this game, feel free to leave me comments down below. Finally, Purdue ACG Association will hold a “Don’t Stop! Eighth-note-chan” game contest next Thursday, March 2nd in HEAV 105. The contest will start at 6 p.m., feel free to join and play with us!

 

 

5 Facts about ACG subculture

One of my favorite things to do is to search for random interesting things online, and a lot of them are different kinds of facts. Some of them are really fun, but some others are not. However, I believe knowing more about different aspects of ACG is generally helpful.

If you think you know a lot about the ACG subculture, read through these following facts, and count how many of them you don’t know! Ready? Let’s start!


No. 1     Anime is not cartoon

The word “anime” comes from the Japanese pronunciation of “アニメ”, which is originally from the word “animation” in English. Japan has a lot of loan words from Western languages during its development, so it is not unusual to see the origin of “anime” as English.

However, anime is not cartoon. Although we tend to consider both as animation in the U.S., anime is on a higher level than cartoon. Anime is generally considered more mature with more revealing of human nature, while cartoon is mostly roughly made and is designed for children only.


No. 2     The Japanese rating system of anime is STRICT!

Japan’s ACG industry is one of its largest industries, and it has a strict rating system similar with the movie rating system in the U.S..

In manga and anime area, “G” represents general audience, and “PG12” has the similar meaning to the PG17 movies in the U.S. except the age limit. However, Japan has its own standard of “R” rated manga and anime.

“R15” anime may contain a little violence, nudity, or sexual suggestiveness, and “R18” anime mostly contains the same amount of adult-only content as the R-rated U.S. movies. In the recent years, the “R21” rating appears, and you can imagine what is in those anime and manga.

Basically every ACG-related games has to go through the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization’s assessment, and CERO will give the production a rating and general description to put on the cover of the production.

In this system, “A” means this game is suitable for all; “B” is for children at 12 or above;  “C” is for teenagers at 15 or above; “D” is for people over 17, and “Z” is adult only.

In general, people under the certain age cannot get the certain ACG-related goods in officially registered stores, but because of the development of the Internet, there are always young people who want to break the rules.


No. 3     “Japanese high school girls’ uniform” is a fashion

Let’s turn away from the depressing truth, and talk about girl’s fashion. There are so many strange but good-looking fashion around the world, and one of them is “JK uniform”. Girls or young women who follow this fashion would wear the Japanese high-school style uniforms as their daily outfit.

Japanese high-school uniform, like all kinds of clothes, has its own style and specifications. You can tell the difference by the style, the color, the number of lines on the collar and sleeves, etc..

Some high-schools use suits as their uniform. One set usually includes a blazer, a shirt, a tie or bowtie, a skirt, and a pair of leather shoes. Other schools use the traditional sailor outfit with a top, a skirt, any kind of ties, bowties or neckerchiefs, and a pair of leather shoes. The students can choose their own socks or pantyhose, but mostly limited to the color of black and white. Some schools even limit the styles of socks.

Because school uniform has become a part of Japan’s culture since late 19th century, many girls and women like to wear the uniforms to re-create the old school time. Certainly, they wear not only the official school uniforms, but also uniforms with different colors and designs.


No. 4     Many anime and manga are still hand-drawn

Maybe you will think that manga artists tend to use the new technology to do their work. However,  on a lot of occasions, the artists keep their old techniques of hand-drawing. They certainly use technology to be more efficient, but a lot of them think hand-drawn pictures are irreplaceable.

One of the most famous hand-drawn anime is Ponyo produced by Studio Ghibli. While making this movie, the director Hayao Miyazaki minimized the use of computer technology. Instead, he hired about 70 artists, and used over 170 thousand hand-drawn pictures to create this movie.

The director himself even attended the drawing process and painted a lot of the sea wave scenes. He thinks anime artists should never abandon their basic drawing skills. They need to go back to the origin of anime making.


No. 5     U.S. brand in animes

People around the world are getting closer to one another, so does people in the world of ACG. A lot of U.S. brands sponsor the anime production, and the anime producers would put the brand in the show in order to increase the brand’s popularity.

Pizza Hut used to sponsor the famous anime Code Geass. To show the gratefulness, the producer group let the characters ordered Pizza Hut for many times. The story actually happens in an alternative reality, so we can assume that people in another reality have the same love towards pizza just like us.

Food brands usually appear more in anime and leave more impression because food represents a society and culture. In the anime Hetalia where each country is designed as a typical person of that certain country, the personalized America is a huge fan of McDonalds and coke. Although the stereotypes cannot show a culture comprehensively, it is still interesting to see the influence that American food brings to the world.


After reading this post, do you think you know more about ACG now? Some of the facts are not so pleasing, but knowing the difference under the happy cover is always a fun thing to do. If you have anything to say, feel free to leave comments to discuss with me!

Arigato, and see you next time!