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Bizarre merchandising, tabletop Nintendo and new releases for Wii U

by Brian Ashcraft

Armchair underworld

Gangsters. Hostesses. And lots and lots of street fighting. No, this isn’t a night in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho red-light district. It’s an evening with “Yakuza,” Sega’s crime opus on the Wii U.

This long-running series sends players to the underworld of Japan’s organized crime, where they may find themselves collecting hush money or smashing some punk’s head in with a garbage can. When you need a break, you can hit the batting cages or the bowling alley, play blackjack or slot machines and hang out with hostesses. The setting is “Kamurocho,” a fictionalized nightspot modeled after, you guessed it, Kabukicho.

In Japan, the “Yakuza” series is called “Ryu Ga Gotoku”. And until now, it had only been available for PlayStation. This August, the first two games, originally released on the PlayStation 2, are coming to the Wii U in high definition. Titled “Ryu Ga Gotoku 1 & 2 HD for Wii U,” it takes advantage of the Wii U GamePad for in-game maps and GamePad-only play.

“Ryu Ga Gotoku 1 & 2 HD for Wii U” will be released on Aug. 8 at ¥5,229. A downloadable version is available for ¥4,700.

“Ryu Ga Gotoku 1 & 2 HD for Wii U”

That’s a pretty monstrous fan

Oh dear. Super-popular franchise “Monster Hunter” is getting what must be, unfortunately, the most phallic-looking game-related merchandise in recent memory. But, relax! It’s just a fan! One that’s been attached to the tip of a “Monster Hunter” character’s giant lance …

USB-powered, adjustable to different heights, and featuring LED fan blades that light up when in use, if the shape of this fan doesn’t make you blush, it’s ideal for keeping the desktop cool in the blistering summer. The Hunter USB Tabletop Fan was released last month and is priced at ¥3,980.

“Monster Hunter” fan website

It’s a wonderful gaming life

In “The Wonderful 101,” citizens with superhero alter egos (identified as Wonders) recruit others to join the fight against alien invasion. To get other citizens to join your army of superheroes, you simply encircle them. How they fight is what makes this game unusual. Citizens “unite” to form giant weapons — a giant red punching fist, a huge blue sword, a green gun that shoots out superheroes or a pink whip. To form a weapon, you just draw a shape on the Wii U GamePad’s touch screen— for the whip, for example, you draw an “S.” These morphed weapons also have double functions — the giant fist can open combination locks and the giant sword can be a key.

The colors should be familiar to Japanese superhero fans — think “Super Sentai Goranger” (or “Power Rangers”) — and some of the invaders look like something out of a Godzilla film. All of this is delivered in a cute Pixar-like cartoony style.

“The Wonderful 101,” to be released on Aug. 24 at ¥6,930, is the latest from Platinum Games, which is well-known for unusual offerings like “Bayonetta,” which featured a witch with dual-pistol heels and a body suit made out of her own hair.

“The Wonderful 101″

Your own personal Ada Wong

“Resident Evil” is just as famous for iconic heroines as it is for its zombies. And now you can admire one such character in person — or rather in a pricey poseable figure form. Say hello to a 29-cm tall secret agent Ada Wong.

Decked out in her “Resident Evil 4″ garb, Wong brings with her an arsenal of guns, a crossbow, a dagger, a briefcase and a cell phone. She also comes with seven hand gestures that can be changed for holding different weapons. She even has a pair of wearable sunglasses.

Wong is made by Hong Kong-based Hot Toys, which is famous for incredibly realistic and very expensive figurines. From her pouty lower lip to her fine eyebrows, Wong’s face is stunningly detailed, and unlike many figures, her hair doesn’t look too plasticy. But realism like this comes at a price and at ¥22,000, you do need to be quite the fan.

Ada Wong website

Take a break from the screen

Gamers don’t have to stare at a screen all the time. Let’s not forget tabletop games — some are even based on video games.

“Wild Crash! Koopa no Daigyakushuu Game” (“Koopa’s Big Counterattack Game”) is a “panic game” in which players balance “Super Mario” characters — such as Mario, Luigi and Peach — on a pedestal as it rumbles and shakes. International Nintendo fans will recognize the menacing creature in the middle as “Bowser,” aka “King Koopa.” In Japan, he’s simply called “Koopa,” a word that in the West is used to refer to the turtle-like creatures in “Super Mario.” In Japan, those critters are called “Nokonoko”. Confused? Thankfully, “Wild Crash!” is a lot simpler to play.

“Wild Crash! Koopa no Daigyakushuu Game” is priced at ¥3,129.

“Wild Crash! Koopa no Daigyakushuu Game”

Brian Ashcraft is a Senior Contributing Editor at us.Kotaku.com.

  • http://junpeijump.tumblr.com/ タイガー&ドラゴン

    It’s funny because the WiiU version looks worse then the PS3 HD edition. I’m upset with the RGG team for opting to release that for the WiiU and not localise 5 or Black Panther.