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Games

The collectables

by Brian Ashcraft

Naruto’s Dragonball treatment

This fighting game is like playing an anime. Naruto and friends return in “Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3,” the latest entry in the popular “Ninja Storm” series. The one-on-one battles are fast-paced and the beautiful graphics are crisp and stunning. There are more than 80 playable characters for gamers to choose from. And to please anime fans even more, the game’s limited-edition, first-print version in Japan comes with a neat anime crossover: a Dragonball costume for Naruto to put on and do the kamehameha in.

“Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3″ was released in Japan on April 18. It’s priced at ¥7,480 and available throughout Japan.

New life given to ‘Tomodachi Collection’

With “Tomodachi Collection Shin Seikatsu” (or “New Life”), Nintendo’s wildly popular, “Sims”-like simulation game now has a sequel. In “Tomodachi Collection,” you can interact with your Mii avatars as they live their virtual lives and make new virtual friends. To mark the sequel’s recent launch, Nintendo also released a special 3DS bundle that comes with a “Tomodachi Collection”-themed 3DS XL and the game’s downloadable version for gamers to get friendly with.

“Tomodachi Collection Shin Seikatsu” was released in Japan on April 18. The special 3DS XL bundle with the “Tomodachi Collection”-themed 3DS XL retails for ¥22,800.

‘Metal Gear’ turns 25 with Snake figurine

Can you believe it? The Japanese stealth-game series “Metal Gear” is more than 25 years old. To celebrate the franchise’s anniversary, famed collectible-maker Kaiyodo has snuck out a fully poseable figure of protagonist Naked Snake from “Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.” Besides being equipped with plastic guns for imaginary stealth takedowns, the 14-cm figurine even comes with a little cardboard box for him to hide in — just like in the game.

Kaiyodo’s Revoltech “Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker” figure was released on April 15 for ¥3,980.

Sega Dreamcast gets cute

Sega’s final home console, the Dreamcast, featured one of the most interesting and divisive controllers ever. Some thought it was comfortable to use. Others hated it. But there’s a more pressing question: How does it look as a backpack? Sega’s newest brand Segakawaii (Sega “Cute”), a collaboration with apparel maker Galaxxxy, just released a Dreamcast controller-shaped backpack for ¥13,860. While the Dreamcast’s ill-fated demise in 2001 forced Sega to leave the console market, its rebirth in backpack form is bringing Sega into one of Japan’s biggest businesses: Cute, Inc.

The Dreamcast controller backpack is on sale April 25 and is available through Galaxxxy’s webshop

Android gaming gets serious

Android smartphones offer an array of games. But for many players, the touchscreens are small and fiddly and are unable to replace the comfortable feel and responsiveness of a traditional controller. That’s exactly what the MOGA hopes to change.

A compact controller called the MOGA Pocket Controller was released last fall, outfitted with a docking port for gamers to connect their Android phones. This month, a full-sized controller called the MOGA Pro was also added to the lineup, promising a more comfortable Android gaming experience.

Both controllers sync with Android phones via the MOGA Google Play App. Smartphones connect directly to the controllers. It’s also possible to play wirelessly with Android tablets. Big-handed gamers, rejoice!

The MOGA Pro was released on April 22 and is available on Amazon Japan for ¥12,800, while the smaller version is ¥9,980. Android games on Google Play that support MOGA include retro shoot’em up “R-Type” (¥257), platformer “Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II” (¥481), and crime saga “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” (¥409). More than 60 Android games can currently be played with MOGA controllers.

Brian Ashcraft is a senior contributing editor at gaming website Kotaku.com.