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

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November 8 – Sweet Tweet

Technologically Traditional

Yesterday, we looked at my favourite apps and while I’ve embraced the games and information tools available to tablet and smart phone users, there is a lot of technology I refuse to adapt to. Kicking and screaming, I’m trying to hold onto my familiar way of life. Here are some items I refuse to give up or learn.

Laptop Mouse

It may surprise some that the Sip Advisor, this internet guru you’ve come to love, still uses a mouse with his laptop. I hate that little square built into the actual computer that you’re intended to use. I find that it completely slows my progress down. I occasionally use Mrs. Sip ‘s laptop for some site work and I wish she’d regress back to a mouse so that I’m more comfortable operating her computer.

Mouse Hunt

Touchscreen Keyboard

Recently, my old phone died on me and I was forced to upgrade. I had dreaded this day for some time, as I knew it meant losing my pullout keyboard. I think too many errors occur with the touch screen typing system and don’t even get me started on Mrs. Sip’s swiping texts that are littered with spelling errors and unrecognizable words. I often respond to her with a simple “?” because I have no clue what she’s writing me about. And sometimes I do it just to be a dick!

Websites (Instagram, Linked In, Foursquare)

While I’ve joined sites like Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest, there are numerous other social media hubs that I just can’t get into. I don’t get the rage over Instagram and the weird filters people use on their low-resolution pics, I don’t care to meet business contacts through Linked In (I mean, my contacts would just be winos and alcoholics anyway), and I don’t need to let everyone know I’m still sitting on my couch through Foursquare!

Cell Phone Photos

Speaking of low-res photos, I really don’t understand why people are relying on their cell phones to capture the greatest moments of their life. I get it that you’ve shelled out a fair amount of money for these devices and that bringing along an actual camera is another hassle to deal with, but you just can’t replace the quality of image a real camera provides. No matter how good cell phone pixel quality gets, it will never supersede the ol’ digital camera.

Camera Phone

Ear Buds

Am I the only person in the world who absolutely despises these sound delivery devices? Everywhere I look, people have ear buds jammed into their head. That’s not to say I don’t like listening to music, but I prefer to have an actually set of headphones and not something that constantly feels like it’s going to fall out of the snugness of my earlobe. Perhaps my ears are made to the specifications desired for bud usage, but I hate those little things.

Tablets

I have nothing against tablets and I think they are actually pretty neat with the big screen and all the functions they can provide. That said, between my laptop and phone, I have no intention of ever purchasing one. Donations will be accepted (they always are!) at the Sip Advisor headquarters, however. If anyone is tired of their iPad, Tab, Surface, or Nexus, you know who to ship it to.

ihad-ipad

E-Reader

I barely read enough print books to justify having eyes and a brain, let alone an e-reader. Mrs. Sip spends countless hours on her digital book, which infuriates me to near madness. No, I don’t see the Sip Advisor picking up a Nook, Kindle, or Kobo anytime soon; unless it becomes the only way for little sippers to read my awesome work… then I’ll practically become the face of the industry!

Video Game Systems

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably have to say it again: I will not buy another video game console. After the Nintendo 64, I held out for years without buying a system until finally caving an buying a Playstation 2 near the dying days of the console. Then I said it again before becoming enamored with the Nintendo Wii, again in its later years of existence. Clearly, I’m not an early adopted and I may own all of these products right before they become useless!

Drink #312: Sweet Tweet

Sweet Tweet Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Rum
  • 0.5 oz Galliano
  • 0.5 oz Peach Liqueur
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Cherry Syrup
  • Garnish with Lime Wheel

Which items do you refuse to purchase and accept as the way things are done today? Am I the only one who refuses to give up the Discman, Sega Genesis, and MySpace!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I “borrowed” this recipe from a photographed menu from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York, which also offers guests the Garden of Google, Brbon Tumblr, and… the SipAdvisor. Hey, wait, hold on a second. Should I be asking for royalties? Perhaps a cease and desist order? I’ll have to contemplate my legal options! As for the cocktail, it wasn’t bad, but it was a little too sweet. I guess that was implied in the drink’s name.