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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!

Gaming History You Should Know – History of TRON October 10, 2021

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It’s Sunday! Time for another Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced videos about the making of video games. Today, I know we’re going to talk about a movie but I can assure you if you stick with me this story will get back to gaming.

Known for its animated classics like Snow White, Pinocchio and Cinderella, no company is more recognized in the US for groundbreaking animation as the Disney studio. However, following the death of its founder, and a decade before Disney started taking over theaters with incredible successes like Lion King and Aladdin, Disney was in a rut. The studio had weathered several theatrical flops, and would need to weather several more.

It may seem like a hopeless time, but for creative companies, being down can get them to take some more unusual risks. In the early 80s, a man named Steven Lisberger was making a name for his company working on a new type of light infused animation that used photo gels on animation cells to create a “glow” effect. At the same time, personal computers were starting to take off, and it was becoming common for nearly every office space to require interacting with a computer.

At the time, computers were dark and mysterious things to the general public and most of the contemporary Sci-Fi stories foretold computers bringing about the end of mankind. However, Steven Lisberger became interested in telling a story about just what was going on INSIDE the computer. He theorized the programs we created would be a lot like us, and they may in fact view us in the same way we would perceive a great creator. In the end, he convinced Disney to create one of the most technologically groundbreaking film of the time, TRON.

Toy Galaxy, who is famous for talking about some of the cult classic shows from the 80s and 90s, did their most recent video about TRON. It talks about the inspiration behind the film, its reception at the time and the film’s enduring legacy.

Man, I really wish TRON 2.0 was still canon.

Gaming History You Should Know – Sir Clive Sinclair September 26, 2021

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It’s Sunday, welcome back to another Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced documentaries across the web about the history of games. If you followed the news this past week, you may have learned that we recently lost one of the original pioneers of home PC gaming, Sir Clive Sinclair. If you are a British visitor to this website the name above may be a bit more familiar. Sir Clive was of a mind that personal computers should be cheap and readily available to everyone. While this philosophy sounds great on paper, anyone with computing background will tell you that if you are sourcing cheaper parts, you will sacrifice either quality or performance. In the case of the Sinclair computer, while it wasn’t as robust as a Commodore 64 or Apple II, nor could it have as good a performance as either, its lower price made it a good choice for young people to use as their first PC.

Before we talk about the man, I want to talk a bit about the machines that bore his name. Here’s a video produced by the 8-Bit Guy, who talked about the Sinclair computers. He mostly highlights the computers that made their way over to the US, but they are fairly comparable to the more common UK units. I honestly had never experienced using these machines back in the 80s, so this is a great video to watch them in action.

Next we are going to talk about the man behind the machine, and also about the impact the man and the machine had on so many people. Here’s the work of Computerphile, a channel I appreciate for their detailed documentaries about computer history. In this special video, they interviewed many people from the classic gaming community to share their thoughts about the Sinclair platform and about their experiences with the man himself. Enjoy.

Rest In Peace, Sir.

Japan Travel Tips – Camping in Japan September 21, 2021

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It’s Tuesday so it’s time again for us to share our Japan Travel Tips, an ongoing series where we highlight some of the best independently produced videos to assist people interested in visiting Japan. In the past we’ve talked about sights to see, things to eat, and local customs. Today, we’re going to talk about something gamers don’t typically do, camp. Well, not that kind of camp at least. Camping is a novel activity in today’s day and age, but it has its own charm. The countryside is beautiful and exploring it up close is an experience everyone should have. But, if you are planning to pack up and head out, what can you expect and what should you bring with you? Well, I’ve found two videos which should assist with exactly that.

First off, I wanted to share this video from Life Where I’m From, which produced this well-narrated video of what a camping experience with an entire family can be like in Japan. Seriously this video made me hungry.

Next up we’re going to highlight Tokyo Lens, which did this great documentary about their own experience camping. This guy got himself some modern amenities in the form of a van, so let’s see how he does in it. In actuality, this video is more about what the travel experience is like less than the actual camping experience, but I still felt it was a video worth watching.

Hope you have been enjoying our Japan Travel Tips! Due to the ongoing issues with international travel, we’re going to hold off continuing our weekly posting for the time being. As travel conditions continue to improve worldwide we will be happy to resume our weekly schedule. If there’s anything you’d like to see us write about in the meantime post a comment below!

Gaming History You Should Know – Making of Jurassic Park Trespasser September 19, 2021

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Welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced documentaries on the web focused on gaming. Today, we’re going to be talking about one of the most beloved franchises of all time, Jurassic Park.

Most people remember the fact Jurassic Park had several film sequels over the years including The Lost World, Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World. However, those same people probably have no idea that there was an officially canonical sequel to Jurassic Park in the form of a video game, Jurassic Park: Trespasser. Set after the events of The Lost World, the game features the talents of Lord Richard Attenborough and Minnie Driver. The game follows Anne, played by Minnie Driver, as she finds herself marooned on Site B, the same location featured in The Lost World and Jurassic Park III. While there, guided by her memory of John Hammond’s recently published memoirs (which are narrated by the actor himself during gameplay), the player must help Anne escape the island. The game offers a deeper look at Site B and further insight into Jurassic Park’s lore that I still consider canon to this day. Heck, Steven Spielberg himself even contributed to some of the game’s design.

With all that behind it, why doesn’t anyone talk about the game? Valve even admitted it was a huge inspiration for Half-Life 2. The problem was the game was a nearly unplayable mess filled with plenty of game-breaking bugs. Reviews of the game, even at the time it was released, were not kind and the Jurassic Park name alone was only so helpful when it came to actual sales.

I vaguely remember hearing about the game shortly around the time of its release. I remember being intrigued by the demo, but as a High School student with no personal income I was never able to snag a copy. However, after reading the finished game’s negative reviews I lost most of my motivation to get it. Years later, I found an incredible Let’s Play on the internet archive by Research Indicates, and I saw for myself that while the game was clearly wonky with a lot of unresolved technical issues, it’s story, combined with RI’s commentary, absolutely drew me in. Seriously, I ended up staying up all night once because I had to watch him play through every single level.

So what is the history of this game, how was it made and what about it was so groundbreaking? YouTube creator Kim Justice produced this full documentary about the creation of Jurassic Park: Trespasser I can’t recommend enough. Give it a watch below and see for yourself.

Jurassic Park: Trespasser is out now exclusively for the PC.

Japan Travel Tips – How Japan Has Been Affected by the Pandemic September 7, 2021

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I know we haven’t done one of these in a while but it’s Tuesday and that means its time for a new Japan Travel Tips. In this series, I share out some of the best independently produced travelogs I’ve found from all over the web that can assist tourists from all over the world who are interested in visiting Japan.

When we first started Japan Travel Tips, it was to share what we had discovered about a country I badly wanted to visit. Of course, we started the series during a time when the whole world was literally forced to stay home due to a global pandemic, and unfortunately the videos I showcased up to that point did not reference that fact. I’m sure it was because the videos and tips we highlighted were produced before the pandemic, and due to international lockdowns, I’ll bet producing new video content was difficult.

Ellie, a new host at the YouTube Channel Only In Japan, has their full report on what Japan is like right now, not just for tourists but the country’s citizens.

Another concern I’ve been dealing with over the past few months is many of the businesses, venues and shops we’ve highlighted may be facing closure. Hopefully more content will be produced within the next year to keep us updated on the country’s progress.

Gaming History You Should Know – Halo 2: The Road To Glory August 29, 2021

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Sunday has arrived, and now it’s time to bring back another Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced gaming documentaries across the web. Today, instead of focusing on a documentary about a game or game franchise, we’re going to look at something that was focused particularly on the people who call themselves fans.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced the official release date of the next major game in the Halo series, Halo: Infinite, and while the hype levels for the game have been a bit under the radar due to the game’s longer than expected development time Halo has always had a major fan base excited for each new game. In fact, I cannot under-describe just how big a deal the release of Halo 2 was back in November 2004, and that was just the second game in the series. Halo: Combat Evolved was an incredible game and between 2002-2004, players were going crazy waiting for its sequel, which promised online multiplayer.

I picked up Halo 2 at midnight on its release night, and can attest how excited the crowd was. A few months later, I caught the announcement on the Halo fansite Halo.Bungie.Org about an upcoming film called Halo 2: The Road to Glory, which was going to be about the agonizing wait a group of Halo fans were enduring anticipating the release of Halo 2. The film was directed by Noah Gallop, who went under the gaming name Mortalis, and was released in 2005, a few months after the release of Halo 2. It also featured interviews with Noah’s friends, and had a cameo by the late Knuckles Dawson.

I was one of the lucky people who was able to brave the (shudder) BitTorrent release and watch the film back when it first released. Of course, that is no longer an option and I had no idea if his documentary would ever make an appearance in other mediums like YouTube. Thankfully, one of the people who appeared in the doc, Barbara Molt, was nice enough to put it on their YouTube Channel. It’s a great watch, if just as a time capsule for early Halo fandom.

I was actually able to get in touch with the film’s director about a decade ago to express to him how much his film meant to me, but sadly we lost touch shortly afterwards. I hope he’s doing well. In fact, The Road to Glory inspired several videos I’ve made over the past few years particularly my Halo 4 fan documentary, Waiting for Halo 4.

Halo 2 is out for the Xbox and PC.

Gaming History You Should Know – Epic Mickey: What Might Have Been August 8, 2021

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It’s Sunday, and that means it’s time for yet another Gaming History You Should Know, where we share some of the most interesting videos we’ve found across the web detailing the history of games.

Mickey Mouse has been an enduring figure of popular culture ever since he first appeared in the short film Steamboat Willie. Since the advent of gaming, he has appeared in countless video games (of varying quality). In 2009, Disney Interactive made a huge push for a new type of game lead by Game God Warren Spector, Epic Mickey. Despite favorable reviews, an original art style, and decent sales, the franchise eventually dissolved following a disappointing sequel.

Nowadays, everyone barely remembers the franchise, and most of Mickey’s gaming fans returned to playing the Kingdom Hearts games. But did you know, before they pulled the plug, Disney was banking on delivering a lot more Epic Mickey games? I didn’t. DidYouKnowGaming, who is legendary for being one of the biggest references on the internet for game history trivia, produced this fantastic in-depth dive into the history of the games’ development, and what we lost following the closure of Junction Point. Check it out.

Disney’s Epic Mickey is out now for the Wii. Epic Mickey 2 is out now for the Wii U, PS3 and Xbox 360.

Gaming History You Should Know – History of the Apple I August 1, 2021

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Welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced videos on the history of video games. Today, we’re going Old School, and talking about one of the very first Personal Computers. In fact, this may be the FIRST computer ever made that could be considered worthy of the term PC. Before the iPhone, iPad, Mac or even the Lisa was a thing, Apple was just a small business trying to create a computer they could sell to regular people.

Steve Wozniak, who I will henceforth refer to as “The Woz”, designed and constructed Apple’s first computer on his own time. It used custom processors in a configuration that revolutionized anything other companies were doing at the time. After getting rejections from every major company who might’ve had a legal claim to his work, Woz and Steve Jobs moved on to create the computers themselves. The company would go on to be called Apple and as of this day is one of the most successful companies in the world.

The 8-Bit Guy did this fascinating look at the original Apple Computer, affectionately dubbed the Apple-I. Enjoy.