Japan – White Mountain

Gamesmanship

Simply put, without Japan, we wouldn’t have the video games we know and love. Companies like Nintendo, Sony, Sega, Taito, Namco, Capcom, and Konami all originated in the land of the rising sun and gave birth to many of the most popular systems, games, and characters ever. Here are some little known facts about those great gaming corporations:

Nintendo

Nintendo has provided my favourite gaming systems growing up and even into my adult years. Titles starring the likes of Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, and others have made me a fan of the company that began operations all the way back in 1889 as a trading card enterprise. Nintendo even ventured into the love hotel business in the 1960’s, as well as a block building product meant to compete with LEGO. One of Nintendo’s first big releases, Donkey Kong, prompted legal action from Universal Studios, as they believed the character was too close to King Kong. Nintendo won the case, claiming the King Kong story and characters were part of the public domain. Finally, the company was a one-time owner of the Seattle Mariners… can you imagine a mascot Mario warming up in the on-deck circle!

Nintendo Raising

Sega

Originally a manufacturer of pinball machines, Sega entered the video game console market with the SG-1000 in 1983. While I never owned a Sega system, it was a treat to occasionally try exclusive games on it while visiting friends who owned them. Sega’s mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog was originally to have fangs, be in a band, and have a human girlfriend named Madonna, but those features were removed. Unlike Nintendo, Sega chose not to censor the bloodshed in the violent Mortal Kombat game, creating the Videogame Rating Council in response to the controversy that followed. After failed systems including the Saturn and Dremacast, Sega left the console world and became a game developer for other platforms, such as Nintendo, which is exclusively getting Sonic the Hedgehog releases.

Taito

Broski Sip and I loved a number of Taito games, particularly Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands. When a collection including these titles was released for PCs and other consoles in 2005, we were quick to snatch it up and spent hours reliving our childhood memories (and frustrations!). As a company, Taito moved from vending machines to jukeboxes, before finally settling on arcade games. In 1978, Taito released Space Invaders, which is one of video game history’s most popular titles and one which launched the ‘Golden Age of Arcade Video Games’. Today, Taito has been incorporated by Square Enix (developers of famous titles such as the Final Fantasy series) and operates a number of arcades throughout Japan, known as Taito Stations. I miss arcades, although I can’t say I ever frequented them.

Sony

Sony entered the video game console market when Nintendo ditched a partnership between the two to distribute a CD-ROM drive that would work with Super Nintendo systems. Sony decided to continue down the path they had already started and in essence, Nintendo created their own competition when Sony released the Playstation to compete with the Nintendo 64. The company’s name comes from ‘sonus,’ the Latin word for sound mixed with the slang term ‘sonny’, which for the Japanese meant smart and presentable young men, an appearance founders Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka believed they exhibited. Of course, we also recognize Sony’s branding from their Walkman and Discman music delivery devices and in other parts of the world, Sony even has financial institutions under their umbrella.

Sony Box

Namco

Namco originated as operators of children’s rides on the roof of a Yokohama, Japan department store and entered the arcade game business in 1970. In 1985, Namco would bid to purchase the struggling Atari for a whopping $800,000, dwarfing other offers, such as Sega’s $50,000. Namco’s Pac-Man, released in 1980, was one of the industry’s most famous creations, although the game could also be cited as a cause of the 1983 Video Game Crash, as Atari rushed to release the game on their home console and it failed to sell as well as hoped. Namco had plans to compete with the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis in the late 80’s and early 90’s and released the SuperGrafx console, which was another failure. In more recent years, the company has entered the amusement park business, as well as merged with Bandai in 2005.

Capcom

Capcom’s biggest title is arguably the Street Fighter series of games, which produced one of the most legendary gaming myths of all-time. In Street Fighter II, when you were defeated by Ryu, his taunt of “If you cannot overcome the Rising Dragon Punch, you cannot win!” was mistranslated to read “You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance.” This caused many players to theorize that Sheng Long was a hidden character in the game. Capcom eventually included the character in games years later and background graffiti in Wreck-It Ralph states that “Sheng Long was here!” Other popular series produced by Capcom include Resident Evil, Mega Man, and Devil May Cry. Capcom titles have been cited as some of the worst video game to movie adaptations ever, although the films are commercially successful.

Konami

While they have produced an extensive and memorable video game line-up, their Blades of Steel hockey release will be forever cherished by anyone who had the privilege of strapping on those virtual skates. The company’s name translates to “be creative” and they have certainly followed their own credo. Konami has dabbled in everything from health and fitness clubs around Japan to trading cards, anime, slot machines, and a slew of other products. Konami is also recognized for their Castlevania, Metal Gear, and Silent Hill franchises and even the most popular cheat code of all-time can be attributed to the company. Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A was usually good for some bonus power-ups and extra lives, which were usually necessary.

Japan: White Mountain

May 8

  • Rim glass with Coconut Shavings
  • 2 oz Sake
  • Top with Milk and Pina Colada Mix

While I’ve never been the biggest gamer, I definitely have a place in my heart and mind for video games. Last year, I did a two part series on my favourite releases ever and it was a wonderful trip down memory lane. You can check out those articles here and here.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (??? Sips out of 5):
xxx

May 3 – Sidecar

Sidekicking

The Sip Advisor has gone through numerous sidekicks over the years. I don’t have a good safety track-record with my associates and therefore find it hard to reel in replacements. Perhaps these guys and gals are looking for work. If so, please submit your resumes and head shots (females only) to Sip Advisor Headquarters, PO Box 84148. Best of luck to those applying!

Robin – Batman

Batman can get a lot of crazy stuff done on his own, but add in Robin and you have quite the dynamic duo. The ‘Boy Wonder’ is the quintessential sidekick. He knows his role as the number two and doesn’t overstep the boundaries of his part… except for his constant “holy, [insert something to do with their current predicament], Batman” musings.

batman-robin-cheap-budget

Dr. Watson – Sherlock Holmes

Without Dr. Watson around, surely Sherlock Holmes would go insane under the weight of his own superior intelligence. Watson is the calming force that helps Sherlock work his way through mysteries and there’s the odd time where the good doctor’s problem solving ability is crucial in cracking a case. Mmmm, cracking a case… right, we’re not talking about beer.

Barney Fife – Andy Taylor

While Sheriff Andy Taylor was the straight man and level-headed leader of the Mayberry Police Department, his counterpart, Deputy Barney Fife was his inept, hapless partner. Together, they made a good pairing that kept the town safe and orderly, although Fife usually needed Taylor’s help to keep him safe from himself.

barney-fife

Dale Gribble – Hank Hill

While Dale is the kind of sidekick that causes more issues than he solves, he certainly keeps things interesting for best friend Hank. Dale’s paranoia has frequently got the best of him and one has to wonder if his career as a pest removal specialist – and all those toxic chemicals – isn’t to blame for some of his delusions. Hank has to reel his friend in from time to time, which is easy for the serious leader.

Milhouse Van Houten – Bart Simpson

And everything’s coming up Milhouse! It’s hard to tell sometimes if Milhouse is friends with Bart because he likes Bart or if he just wants to remain closer to his crush and Bart’s sister, Lisa. If there isn’t some degree of friendship between the two boys, then Milhouse has gone through a lot just for his unrequited love. Bart has caused him to get into a great deal of trouble, and when pressed as to why he’s friends with Milhouse, Bart struggles to answer, saying it is largely due to “geographic convenience”.

Bart and Milhouse

Barney Rubble – Fred Flintstone

Fred’s little buddy Barney is always up for Fred’s shenanigans and despite warning him of what the end results could be, Barney often goes along with the scheme. The two pals are both members of the Loyal Order of Water Buffalos and even work together at the Slate Rock and Gravel Company quarry. That’s a lot of time to spend with one person, but if it works for them, who am I to judge?

Mini-Me – Dr. Evil

The pint-sized clone of Dr. Evil may be small in stature, but he’s just as wicked as his “daddy”. Mini-Me also has the advantage of being at a perfect level for biting adversaries in the shin or delivering a devastating low blow. You can never stay too mad at the little guy, though, because he has such a sweet grin… even if it is hiding his evil side.

kinopoisk.ru

Diddy Kong – Donkey Kong

These two primates play off of each other so well that they have been able to keep Donkey Kong Country safe from evil crocodiles and slithering snakes on multiple occasions. Donkey Kong played the role of mentor to his young protégé Diddy, as they bashed their way over all the baddies who meant them harm. Diddy (no relation to Puff Daddy) even branched out and took the lead in his own game, letting Donkey enjoy a comfortable retirement in his banana horde. He hasn’t been seen in years!

Dwight Schrute – Michael Scott

In his constant pursuit of a management position at the Dunder-Mifflin paper company, Dwight Schrute idolizes manager Michael Scott, even if his treatment at the hands of his boss isn’t always the kindest. Dwight is often placed into the role of Assistant to the Regional Manager, which he claims means Assistant Regional Manager. Meanwhile, he’s stuck doing Michael’s laundry and other menial tasks, while others are promoted ahead of him.

Drink #123: Sidecar

Sidecar Cocktail

When I was younger, Broski Sip was my sidekick and partner in crime. He’s since moved onto other endeavors, while I continue to pursue worldwide awesomeness. Mrs. Sip was offered his spot, but she declined, wanting to live a long life. So, I ask, who has the intestinal fortitude to join me in this pursuit? You will never regret it!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’m learning quickly that I really enjoy Apricot Brandy. It very nicely accentuates the already delicious Triple Sec. The cocktail, as a whole, was good and an optional sugar rim could have been added for those who want an even sweeter taste.

March 14 – Monkey Gland

Monkeying Around

You may not have noticed by now, but I kind of love monkeys. Along with kittens and potato chips, monkeys have made frequent guest appearances in blog posts. Even after a group of monkeys assaulted me and viciously violated me while on vacation in Indonesia, I still have a massive respect for the creatures. After all, I was guilty of holding a bag of peanuts that they wanted (that’s right elephants, peanuts are not just for you!). Thank god I had a little Indonesian woman to protect me by shooing them away with her sandal. I beg forgiveness my simian friends. Without further ado, are some of my favourite primates:

George – Curious George

You’d think with all the trouble George gets into that the Man in the Yellow Hat would send the little guy packing. And what was up with that Man in the Yellow Hat anyways? Doesn’t he realize how ridiculous he looks? Looks like a freakin’ banana if you ask me (and I know you do). No wonder Curious George was so troublesome, it was probably the result of slow psychotic breakdown from having to live with a giant talking banana. Curious George should just try to eat him sometime.

Curious George

Abu – Aladdin

I often dress my kitty sidekick, Furious B, in Abu’s trademark fez hat and vest. It may result in numerous scratches and one pissed off pussy, but it’s worth it for the half second I can see him clothed before he runs and hides behind the couch and pees on my DVDs.

Mr. Teeny – The Simpsons

The roller-skating, cigar-smoking chimp and sidekick to Krusty the Clown, has lived a life few monkeys have the opportunity to. It is one of celebrity, which comes with good and bad. Hell, I’d be Krusty’s subordinate if it meant an increase in pay and getting to wear a bowtie… even if Krusty has plans to take one of Teeny’s lungs should he ever need a replacement.

Evil Monkey – Family Guy

We later learn that this monkey isn’t so evil after all. He’s actually a nice, mild-mannered being who was just down on his luck (his monkey wife had cheated on him) and found a home in Chris Griffin’s closet. If my wife cheated on me with a monkey, I’d just be crossing my fingers that it turned into a threesome.

Donkey Kong

Originally a villain, Donkey Kong worked his way into the hearts of gamers by barrel blasting and enemy bopping his way through King K. Rool’s gang of baddies. It turns out he just wants his god damn bananas back. Poor guy has to deal with a serious potassium deficiency!

Donkey Kong

King Louie – Jungle Book and Tale Spin

This orangutan sure knows how to party. His joint is always swinging with song and merriment, especially when he and best friend Baloo were given new life in the 90’s cartoon Tale Spin. In that series, he became the owner of Louie’s Place, a tropical bar, which this Sip Advisor aspires to one day track down and go to work there.

Monkey Talents

Whether it’s the air duct-invading monkey (Community), the cigarette-smoking, drug-dealing monkey (The Hangover 2), the skeleton monkey (Pirates of the Caribbean) or any other simian performer, they’re all good in my books.

Phonics Monkey – South Park

Oh my god, he killed Kenny… you bastard!

Drink #73: Monkey Gland

Monkey Gland Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Gin (I used Beefeater)
  • 0.5 oz Absinthe
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

Monkeys and their distant relatives are awesome… there’s even a gorilla in San Francisco that has a thing for breasts. And yet some people still don’t believe in evolution! Let’s not forget the Ikea Monkey (now somehow available on Twitter), whose winter coat made us all melt.

Ikea Monkey

 

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I’d love to know why this drink is called Monkey Gland. Regardless, the cocktail was decent and one in which I actually enjoyed Orange Juice. I like how the Orange Twist came across too, as it looks more like a Blood Orange, when it wasn’t.