Possibly Illegal Lengths To Get Xbox 360s In Japanese Homes In Japan, generally speaking, you cannot rent video games, nor can you rent consoles. It's just not done.

Software and hardware companies successfully pushed for a ban on rentals, which is why used games in Japan are in such good shape. Players buy new games, complete them very quickly and then sell them second hand. Pristine condition means higher resale. (However, it is possible to rent CDs, so sort that one out!)

For a limited time, at least one retailer is offering players the chance to buy an Xbox 360 and then sell it back for only ¥2,000 (US$25) less than the console's original price. The catch is that players only have seven days after purchase to decide whether or not they'd like the hardware.

So essentially, this is renting an Xbox 360 for ¥2,000! But this retailer should be warned. Back in 2003, a Fukuoka-based game shop was caught "renting" video games due to its system of buying back week-old games for 80 percent of their sticker price, which would mean it was essentially renting. The shop was investigated by the police and even brought up on criminal charges by the district prosecutor. A similar fate could await this Xbox 360 seller.

疑似レンタル!? Xbox360の買取保証付き冬季限定キャンペーンを行う店発見 [オレ的ゲーム情報]


What Did You Think Of Gaming In 2010? It's Friday. Friday, Friday, Friday! Let's talk.

Here's how it works: We ask a question, you answer it. Simple and no strings attached! This isn't some marketing survey or whatever. It's an emotional investment in you. Yes, we're interested in knowing you, Kotaku reader person.

You probably know oodles about us - more than you even want to, we're sure. But, hey, we'd like to know about you. That way you won't be some faceless blob - and we might feel a tinge of guilt when we ban ya. Or not, because really we're incapable of human emotion.

Question: 2010 is almost over. What did you think of it?



New Year Brings New Anime Girl Shrine Hopefuls December 31 is the eve of Japan's biggest holiday, New Year's. Why not celebrate it with a beautiful anime girl?

The entire country will descend on temples to (literally) ring in the new year as bells are rung 108 times in what's called joya nokaneto, which aims to purify the souls of the 108 worldly desires. During New Year's, people also visit Shinto shrines to pray for the coming year.

New Year Brings New Anime Girl Shrine Hopefuls Hatsumode is the customary first shrine visit of the year. As website Otaku2.com points out, the hatsumode of rural Ibaraki Prefecture is being promoted with an anime style miko, or shrine maiden. While traditionally mikos were shaman with oracle-like functions for the shrine, these days their spiritual meaning is more figurative. It's not uncommon for college students to work as mikos during the New Year's holidays to pick up some extra cash.

Japanese tourism has used anime girls in the past in hopes of promoting travel to the country's interior. Some shrines, like the Washinomiya Shrine in Saitama, are capitalizing on their anime connections. The Washinomiya Shrine is one of the oldest in the greater Tokyo region and features in the opening credits of Lucky Star.

After the show debuted in 2007, fans began visiting the shrine in droves. Those numbers increased after a popular magazine printed directions to the shrine. At first, many in the area vocally opposed the influx of fans, because they did things like left messages for their favorite Lucky Star characters. Critics didn't like what the shrine had been reduced to and that people seemed to be worshiping deities (here, anime girls) that were not the shrine's own. But Shintoism is a flexible religion. If blessing cell phones and cars is kosher, then accepting anime girls can't be too far behind. New Year Brings New Anime Girl Shrine Hopefuls

But the fans kept coming and coming and coming. Last year, over 300,000 visitors. flocked to the shrine, which is 130,000 more than the previous year. Protest and opposition died down with the shrine and surrounding shops largely catering to the shrine's otaku ("geek") visitors. Fans apparently spent millions of yen on Lucky Star goods. And fans snap photos of the shrine's gates, not because of the shrine's long, rich history, but because it appears in an anime.

Many of these shrines in rural Ibaraki could only dream of record attendance like that. Though, is the price worth it? New Year Brings New Anime Girl Shrine Hopefuls

Culture Smash is a daily dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome — game related and beyond.

[Pic, Pic, Pic, Pic]


Career Mode, New Controls On Serve For Top Spin 4Tennis sim Top Spin 4 teased more realistic controls when it was announced three months ago; a retail listing says it'll continue sports gaming's trend of moving commands to the right analog stick. A singleplayer career mode also is coming.

"My Player," which debuted in MLB 2K10 last spring and has been a moderate success in 2K's NBA series for two years, will arrive with Top Spin. The game also will feature "all new intuitive controls" and a player roster featuring 25 current professionals "dozens of talented up-and-comers" as well as licensed superstars from the past.

Top Spin, like much of the rest of the pro tennis tour, has been a solid entrant in sports gaming without much attention. On their face these features don't represent the kind of game-changer that will drag people over to the sport. But PlayStation Move support - and 2K's NBA game was the first major title on the platform - might.

Top Spin 4 is due for release in February.

[via Operation Sports]


Not the Zerg, but a Sugar RushStarCraft is the latest contender in the too-good-to-eat gamecake category. As seen on Reddit (via Hot Blooded Gaming).


Reigning King Of Kong Goes After Own RecordAfter Steve Wiebe reclaimed the world record high score in Donkey Kong in September, the Seattle teacher said there still was "room at the top" left for future challenges. He'll try to beat his own mark in about two weeks.

Wiebe, whose 1,064,500 in Donkey Kong is currently the top mark, thinks a score of 1,150,000 is feasible despite the notorious "Kill Screen" glitch that keeps the game from running infinitely. He'll take three cracks at the mark on Jan. 15 at Chicago's Logan Hardware, and also will conduct a class on how to play Donkey Kong. A seat in the class, if you're in the area, will cost $12.

Logan Hardware is reopening with a collection of 30 golden age arcade games, including Asteroids, Centipede, Frogger, Pac-Man, Joust, Zaxxon, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr. and many more. Wiebe will go after the Donkey Kong marks in three 90 minute sessions beginning at 3 p.m.

News Release [Logan Hardware]

Dec 30, 2010

The Year, NSFWSome year-end retrospectives play out to the accompaniment of a tinkly piano. Others to a cheese-cloth montage. Our subject here plays out to strains of bow-chicka-bow-bow and the censor bars. It's Kotaku's Year, NSFW. (Warning, NSFW, duh.)

The Year, NSFWHeavy Rain is Light on Clothing: Midway through the PS3 thriller Heavy Rain, Kotaku reader kuroner declined a kiss from female lead Madison Page, one that ordinarily triggers a steamy love scene. No matter, Madison still got nekkid - for the rest of the game. Playable, too, as this video shows. Happily, the nude bomb affects only her and not Ethan, or Scott. Or the clown.

The Year, NSFWMafia II is Watching You Masturbate: Mafia II's period-piece aesthetics extended to the game's unlockables, a collection of 50 vintage Playboy centerfolds. Some of these were unsafe for Japan (which, despite all of its unaccountably weird fetishes, can't show bush.) The game's stats include a timer counting down how much time you spend gazing at boobies from the 1950s and 1960s. And you can't say you were spending that time reading the articles, either.

The Year, NSFWKinect-the-Dongs: Kinect arrived in November, and proved that for every advancement in technology, man's first instinct is to create porn with it. Shortly after the device was hacked and open-source drivers became available, sex game maker ThriXXX showed off a fondling simulator that skeeved pretty much everyone and threw local television reporters into predictable hysterics. Microsoft quickly stepped in to assure everyone such a game would never see the light of day on the Xbox 360. ThriXXX is still eyeballing Kinect support for its PC lineup.

The hijinks didn't start or end there, though. Once Dance Central hit the living room, folks realized that the game takes pictures of your performance - even if you play it in the nude. And the sex tech website Slashdong did pioneering research in the field of Kinect penis recognition, finding it can't recognize a dildo the length of the average schlong (5.75 inches). So those of us with rolling pin-sized cocks must wait for Microsoft to detect more subtle protrusions of male equipment before we get the FPFer we deserve.

The Year, NSFW Videos Worth a Thousand (Four-Letter) Words: NSFW isn't just T&A. It's also wirty dords like shit, fuck, and "bitch, eat that ho." "Snickers" took it to some next-level shit with this two-minute jeremiad about bitches, hos, ho asses and ass hoes. Fahey called the ball perfectly: "I swear at one point he starts remixing his own profanity on the fly, while playing Street Fighter. Now that's talent." Not to be outdone, Team Fortress 2 enthusiast ChoZo went on this 10-minute tirade that included the first ever usage of "rape banner." Oxford's English Dictionary is sure to come calling now. For in-game swearing, after seeing this video (above) by Rooster Teeth, Guinness World Records certified Mafia II as the video game with the most instances of "fuck" (or any of its permutations) in its script.

The Year, NSFW The Notorious S.M.A.L.L. For some reason, in the middle of a viral spot for Def Jam Rapstar, wrestling icon Hulk Hogan decided to yank up his nuthuggers and flash the camera. Censor bars thankfully spared everyone - Hulk included - from the image. Steroids, I hear they do emasculating things.

The Year, NSFW Mario Kart Meets Erotic Asphyxiation This is a guy sealed inside a plastic bag playing Mario Kart. What else is there to say?

Crush My Feelings: Back in the spring, GameCrush launched, offering its roster of "attractive," "ladies" for one-on-one gameplay sessions ranging from $6 to $8.25. GameCrush's lasses broke down into categories "Flirty" and "Dirty," snagging 1,200 "PlayDates" within the first week of launch, and furthering the cause of gamer gender equality by spreading the idea that all girls who play Modern Warfare 2 want to screw your brains out. For money.

Alright, Privates! Pioneering studio Zombie Cow boldly took platform shooters where, uh, many men have ventured before, I suppose - an infected vagina. Nominally figleafed as educational on the subjects of sexual health and promiscuity, Privates' first five levels revealed it was, well, the clinical term is "gross." Unsurprisingly, Xbox Live Arcade refused to certify the game, and so it went off to PC-release-only-land. Slated for release next year, Zombie Cow has promised some penis-themed levels in its first DLC extension.


From the Mouths of Babes, Withering CriticismTron: Legacy has been, at best, a critical disappointment. At worst, well, "a Dora the Explorer movie would be more interesting." Who said that? The eight-year-old daughter of noted video game academic Ian Bogost.

Bogost, whose "Cow Clicker" Facebook application this year masterfully blended his talent for games criticism and design, today received a four-paragraph review of Tron: Legacy from his daughter, who suggested that it was "appropriate for blogging." She doesn't mince words: "Now if you've already seen the movie and don't agree with me, then you probably have really bad taste."

Slamming it as "worse than Dora," and delivering fatal levels of boredom, Miss Bogost concludes the $10 ticket would be better spent on the animated Rapunzel biopic Tangled. That's not to say she liked nothing about Tron: Legacy, "The only part I liked was when they played "Separate Ways" by Journey," she said, identifying a song released 19 years before she was born.

"I guess if you like to sit and watch Boom! Boom! Boom! for two hours you can go see it," she writes.

I think we know from which side of the family she got her criticism gene.

Review of Tron Legacy (by my Eight-Year-Old) [Bogost.com]


There's a difference between dead and lifeless, as this iPhone port of Dead Rising unfortunately demonstrates.

Tedious mission design, bad frameskip and close - I mean very close - redraw distances, plus a slapped-on social networking feature, don't do the Dead Rising brand any favors in Dead Rising Mobile. Its sludgy virtual stick controls are the least of your worries.

It may be tempting, especially for those looking for meatier, console-style experiences on this platform. There certainly are a lot of bullet-point features that on paper might justify a $6.99 price tag. But they don't come together in any kind way that compels your attention, and the return to a bland, Willamette Mall is devoid of nostalgia.


To: Ash From: Crecente Re: Some Things I Like About America

Sweet Baby Rays! I love that stuff. But how could you, a Texas guy, leave out barbecue. You know that means you're going to Texas Hell... El Paso.

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