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Gaming History You Should Know – The History of Rogers: The Musical April 1, 2022

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Happy April Fool’s Day! No one could ever forget where they were during the events of the Battle of New York, where the Earth survived its first-ever alien invasion due to the heroic intervention of a Billionaire, a Norse God, The World’s Greatest Archer, The World’s Greatest Assassin, a gamma-irradiated supergenius, and a WWII-era super soldier. We’ve come to know them as The Avengers and for the past decade they’ve been Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, capable of fighting the battles we never could. Personally, I’ve lost track of the amount of times they’ve saved the world, either individually or as a group, so you’ll forgive me for glossing over their reputation. I for one am just grateful for their service.

Following the events of The Blip and The Battle of Earth, which saw the tragic deaths of Iron Man, Black Widow and Captain America, The Avengers have all but dissolved. In the time since the Battle of Earth, video game adaptations of The Avengers’ exploits continue to live on with the phenomenal Ultimate Alliance series, and the upcoming Spider-Man and Wolverine games by Insomniac. But recently, there has been a different kind of adaptation over the past year, the Tony-Award Winning Megablockbuster, Rogers: The Musical. Based on the life of the late Steve Rogers, who we know as Captain America, the musical has been a tremendous success setting ticket records Broadway hadn’t seen in years.

YouTube Channel Wait in the Wings, which we’ve featured before on this website, did a phenomenal history video on one of the greatest musicals ever made. How do you create such a masterpiece when half your production staff disappear for five years? To say it was an Avengers-Level challenge would be an understatement.

Gaming History You Should Know – History of Computer Smartwatches March 27, 2022

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It’s Sunday and what better day to kick off the restart of GameXcess.net than to celebrate with another look back at the history of gaming! This is Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight and share some of the best independently produced content on the history of gaming.

Nowadays, everyone is rocking some type of computer watch, be it an Apple Watch or Gear device. Most of these have full color displays, are capable of wireless data transmission, and keep track of time, alarms, appointments, and even health biometrics. Some of them are even able to play games! (Apple Watch gamers, I recommend Lifeline, Lifeline: Silent Night, and Cosmos Rings as must-play games!)

However, before the Apple Watch found its way on nearly everyone’s wrist, there were many other attempts, some by major companies, to sell computer watches to consumers’. So where did all of this begin, at least as far as consumers are concerned? Fear not, YouTube Legend Techmoan has us covered with a look at what I’m pretty sure is the first consumer level computer watch. It was not cheap, and it was likely meant to be used by wealthy pilots, lawyers and other businessmen, but it had incredible features and the ability to do time-based calculations that I haven’t even seen modern smartphones capable of doing! I present…the HP-01!

Unfortunately the HP-01 was way before my time. When I was growing up, I fondly remembered the classic CASIO wrist calculator watches my father would never go anywhere without. In the days before I got my first Game Boy, the fact my dad could do calculations on his wrist was something incredible. While I did eventually get a CASIO of my own, I had no idea CASIO and other companies like them released several revisions of LCD watches with a bit more of a gaming focus. Seriously.

YouTube channel Nostalgia Nerd, who I remember fondly for his knowledge of British Microcomputers, produced this great look at some of the more obscure calculator watches. Some of these just blew my mind with how they were able to innovate with the tech of the time. Heck, some of these used infrared transmitters to not just swap information, but to play multiplayer games against each other. Check it out!

Finally, I wanted to talk about one of the most obscure designs for a watch that harkened back to the days of Palm. Now that Palm figured out the most basic functions a tech enthusiast needed on the go (calendar, address book, clock, alarms), the watch maker TIMEX made the evolutionary step to put a PDA in a high-end watch. To sync, you merely needed some software that could transmit your settings and features through your CRT’s blanking signal (or a separate transmitter if you used a laptop). Sound insane? YouTube channel LGR has that part covered.

Japan Travel Tips – Pokemon Manhole Cover Search March 1, 2022

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Time for a new Japan Travel Tips, where we highlight some of the best independently produced videos about the country to help English-speaking tourists interested in visiting. There’s no question of the undeniable influence Pokémon games have had on the entire world. Their franchise is now in its twenty-sixth year and new Pokémon games have constantly been major system sellers. In their home country, Pokémon is a cultural phenomenon, reaching heights we’re going to showcase today!

The Pokémon Company has created exclusive manhole covers with unique original art and distributed them throughout Japan. Tourists who find the manholes can keep track of each landmark they’ve visited by stamping their a collector’s passport at an accompanying stamp station nearby.

The adorable Sharmeleon has been doing incredible Japan Vlogs for years. I had no idea this event is happening in Japan, and I appreciate her producing these videos to show the rest of the world just how awesome the country is to do this. The best part about these videos is Sharla likes to highlight the best features of every area she visits in her search for the manholes! If you’re a Pokémon fan or have any interest in seeing how diverse and beautiful Japan is, you need to give these videos a watch!

Pokémon Go is out now for Android and iOS devices.

iOS and iPadOS 15.2.1 Released January 12, 2022

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Apple has just released important updates for the iPhone and iPad. The new updates, iOS and iPadOS 15.2.1, include fixes for opening iCloud links while in iMessage alongside other general fixes. The new update weighs in at around 650-950MB, depending on your device.

This should be a lighter evening. There doesn’t seem to be corresponding updates for the Apple Watch or Apple TV

Gaming History You Should Know – Video Game Lost Media January 9, 2022

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It’s Sunday, and that means it’s time for us to once again discuss Gaming History You Should Know. Recently, I’ve been impressed by the deep documentaries produced by YouTube Channels like BlameitonJorge and All Things Lost, where they have gone into deep searches for obscure media. In fact, we even did our own lost media search last week. However, I’m sure you’ve seen that there have been much more of video game related content that is considered lost. This title can be bestowed on content that has either been finished and withheld from release or released before the opportunity for archiving

First off, we’re going to highlight one of the biggest franchises in the world, Pokémon. Due to the fact it has been releasing games, movies, toys, television shows and spin-off games for twenty-five years. YouTube Channel PaPaSec has created what is probably one of the tightest videos I’ve seen about the most well-known Pokémon lost media. Check it out!

Next up, we’re going to highlight the work of the adorable YouTube Channel Sakura Stardust. In this video, she talks about some of the most obscure lost Pokémon media. How obscure is some of this? I’ve been following Pokémon for years and I hadn’t even HEARD of some of this stuff. Enjoy.

Moving on from Pokémon, let’s talk about another classic game franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog. YouTube Channel All Things Lost, one of the best Lost Media channels on the web, has us covered. He highlights some of the lost media and incomplete Sonic games that have not been archived. Sonic X-Treme is not featured, as it has been found.

So that was just the tip of the iceberg for some video game content that is currently considered lost. I’m sure in the future we will have another article like this, so until next time, Happy New Year!

Gaming History You Should Know – Springboard: The First Smartphone December 19, 2021

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I know what you’re thinking, we already had a Gaming History You Should Know earlier in the week. Merry Christmas, here’s a bonus article that was too good to save for later!

Back in the late 90s and early 00s, Portable Digital Assistants (PDAs) were the go-to option for people who needed a digital device on their person. A PDA, like the famous Palm Pilot, could keep digital notes, addresses, schedule, and some of the later models were even capable of mobile e-mail. However, unlike today’s smartphones (which can also do all of that) you couldn’t make a call with a PDA. If you wanted to make a call on the go, you’d need to pull your cell phone out of a different pocket to make that call.

The original founders of Palm knew that the future of PDAs would require the ability to make calls. However, Palm’s owners and the cell phone providers at the time disagreed, preferring to keep business as usual until time itself ended. So, Palm’s owners left the company and formed a new one, Handspring. The rest of that story is the subject of today’s history lesson.

The guys over at The Verge just produced this fantastic documentary on the history of Handspring. In it, they interview some of the company founders, dig deep into the products the company released, and talk about the enduring legacy of the smartphone. Check it out!

Gaming History You Should Know – Where Did Street Fighter’s Hadouken Come From December 17, 2021

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I know it isn’t Sunday yet, but this was too good a scoop to not talk about. One of the most famous fighting moves in the history of video games is the Hadouken from Street Fighter. When done correctly by a trained artist like Ken or Ryu, the move allows its wielder to throw a ball of fire out of their hands towards their opponent.

Of course, in real life the Hadouken doesn’t exist…or does it? Sadly, there is no known way to actually perform a fighting move that will enable you to create fire out of nothing. However, we have seen in the game Ken and Ryu both perform a very distinctive move with their hands before the fire is thrown. Does that move have any basis in real martial arts? YouTube historian Mr. Dan, host of Art of One Dojo, has gotten to the bottom of this age old question. He was able to interview the legendary Johnpaul Williams, who was used as the model for the original arcade games. During this interview, we’ve discovered the real history of the iconic move. Guys, we’ve been doing it wrong this whole time.

Street Fighter games are out now on multiple platforms including the arcade.

Japan Travel Tips – A Closer Look at Capsule Hotels November 23, 2021

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Happy Tuesday! Welcome back to Japan Travel Tips, where we have highlighted some of the best independently produced travelogs about Japan in the hope to assist anyone interested in traveling to the country. One of the first articles we posted highlighted some of the various options travelers have for finding a hotel throughout the country. My intention with that article was to show a smattering of different hotel options in that first article, and then expand on each option in later articles. Today, we’re going to talk about one of the most unique options to stay while traveling in Japan, and possibly the best option tourists who plan to travel light and see as much of the country as they can might have, the Capsule Hotel.

Japan’s Capsule Hotels are world-famous. Instead of providing a guest an individual room with a bed, Capsule hotels are communal hotels where rows of beds are provided throughout the floors. However, each capsule is self contained with its own bed, power outlets, and a small television. For a cheaper fee per night than any hotel I could find, guests are provided their very own capsule to sleep in, and also provided lockers for their belongings, robes, pajamas and travel toiletries. There’s even communal areas for social exchange with the other guests. It is very popular among locals who stayed out too late and happen to miss a train home.

I wanted to start this article by re-featuring the best overview video I could find on the internet about the subject. Only in Japan produced this video about the Capsule Hotel, and I thought it would be the best way to outline what the experience is like to people who may not be from Japan.

So now that you have a better idea of what a capsule hotel is, you probably want to know what the experience of spending a night there was like. Well, I wanted to feature the great work of Tyler Williams, who traveled with his wife Safiya Nygaard to Japan and documented their experience staying at a capsule hotel. The video is incredibly in-depth with them talking about every aspect of their stay.

Next up, I would not be able to continue this article without providing another fantastic video by Abroad in Japan. In this video he does a great job showing the common areas available to guests.

I must stress some major takeaways from these videos. There are positives and negatives to staying at a Capsule Hotel.

  • Capsule Hotels are among the cheapest accommodations for spending a night in Japan. They are a perfect option for people traveling on a budget.
  • Capsule Hotels are a good option for travelers who are traveling alone or traveling with a companion of the same gender. In some cases, Capsule Hotels could be marked “Men Only” or “Women Only”. In the case of a hotel that accommodates men and women, they will usually assign separate floors for men and women that cannot be crossed. Married couples would likely be happier staying at an alternate accommodation such as a Love Hotel or Onsen.
  • Guests are provided access to a personal locker while staying at the capsule hotel. Pack light if you plan to stay overnight at one as you’re going to want all your belongings to fit in your locker.
  • I wouldn’t recommend staying at the same capsule hotel for their entire stay in Japan. Your best option is to stay at one while visiting an area for one or two nights, then taking a train, boat or plane to your next destination and stay at a different accommodation.

Hope you’ve all been enjoying Japan Travel Tips. We are going to take a break on this series for the time being. At the time of this writing there are still travel restrictions on visiting the country, and I felt that while this information is fascinating and has been useful to me in the event I could ever take a vacation there, I will probably not be able to visit for some time. Until next time!

Japan Travel Tips – Vending Machines October 19, 2021

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Welcome back to Japan Travel Tips, where we highlight some of the best independently produced videos about the beautiful country of Japan. We’ve touched upon Vending Machines in one of our earliest articles, but I felt we barely skimmed the surface of just how cool and unique Japan’s vending machines are. So sit back and relax because we have found so many great videos about vending machines that we had to devote an entire article to all of them.

First off, I want to re-highlight a video we featured in the previously mentioned article. Produced by the reference-quality channel Only In Japan, this is a great video to provide an introduction to Japan’s vending machines, how they work, and just what makes them so great and unique. Check it out.

Next, I would be remiss to neglect the legendary YouTuber Safiya Nygaard, who spent some time in 2019 traveling through the country. Here’s a video of her trying to find some of the country’s most famous vending machines and giving her thoughts about them.

I know what you’re thinking, “That sounds kinda cool, but just what can these machines do that machines in other countries don’t?” Glad you asked. The YouTube channel DancingBacons does a great no commentary video series where they highlighted some of Japan’s more unique vending machines. Did you know you can order a frozen Coke or Sprite right out of one of a vending machine? Watch and see for yourself.

And to follow up, here’s their look at a pizza vending machine.

Finally I want to highlight the spot that is probably the most famous row of vending machines in the entire world and highlight the original YouTube video that put it on the map. YouTuber Ericsurf6 highlighted this row of vending machines for his series Eric Meal Time. The food options of these machines have to be seen to be believed.

This video was so popular when it was posted it was actually highlighted on a Japanese late night tv show. Apparently I’m not the only person who thinks this is really cool. Here’s the clip.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s look at Japan Travel Tips. Did you like this expanded article on a dedicated subject? Post a comment below with your thoughts. I’ve gone through my archives and looked up several videos that I think could be part of further expanded articles. I don’t know if there will be a new article next week, but stay tuned because Japan Travel Tips will return!

Japan Travel Tips – Where To Learn How to Stay Safe During Natural Disasters October 12, 2021

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Welcome back on this Tuesday for a brand new Japan Travel Tips, where we highlight some of the best independently produced travelogs from across the internet intended to help those interested in visiting Japan. Today, we’re going to get a bit serious, but I can assure you it’s for a safe and practical way. It is a well-known concern that Japan experiences seismic and volcanic activity on a more frequent basis than other regions of the world. Because of that Japanese citizens are instructed by their government in how to best deal with dangerous natural events if it happens to occur by offering access to a fully immersive interactive practice disaster venue. I’m not kidding.

Free safety training is a valuable service made available by the Japanese government and typically can be visited by anyone ranging from tourists to schoolchildren on field trips. YouTuber Akidearest, who we’ve highlighted previously in this series, recently posted this video about her experience. It is something you absolutely should watch if you plan to visit Japan, enjoy.

Hope you liked this video! Stay tuned for next week where we will follow up with something we teased back when this series began. That’s right, we’re finally going to go all out on highlighting how cool Japanese vending machines are!