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Nintendo has finally launched Pokemon Go in Japan, the birthplace of the little virtual monsters.

Amid a flurry of social media excitement, Niantic Labs, the software company behind Pokemon Go, announced it was “finally broadcasting” in Japan.

First released in the US, Australia and New Zealand on July 6 and now available in more than 30 countries, Pokemon Go has been a global phenomenon.

The Japanese launch comes with a McDonald’s sponsorship deal.

McDonald’s restaurants were expected to be advertised as places where people were guaranteed to find Pokemon, or as “gyms” where players can train up their captured monsters for virtual fights.

However, a McDonald’s spokesman said restaurants would “call on players not to become a bother to customers who are eating”.

On July 22, excited Japanese fans began tweeting that they had been able to start playing.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

After weeks of stories about people in other countries running into trouble playing Pokemon Go, Japanese authorities have taken precautions and issued a nine-point safety guide, in cartoon form.

The warnings, by the National Centre of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity, included asking users to register with “cool names that are different from real names” and cautioning them against heatstroke as they walk around in the sun.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on July 21: “I want people to abide by the warning so that people can play it on smartphones safely.”

Just a few hours after the launch, there were already reports of an accident.

A student at Osaka’s Kindai University reportedly fell down the stairs while playing Pokemon Go and was taking to hospital, said users on social media.

Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game on smartphones which has millions of people worldwide obsessively capturing small creatures in public spaces.

The game works by showing you a picture of your real surroundings as caught by the phone’s camera, then uses GPS to place virtual little monsters within that picture on your screen.

The mix of virtual and real worlds allows players to, for instance, fight a dragon circling Big Ben or chase a spaceship moving down their street.

Pokemons were first popular in the 1990s when they started on the Nintendo Game Boy. Back then, trading cards were a huge hit in school playgrounds and the new game manages to build on that legacy.

Nintendo shares have seen a stellar rise since the release of Pokemon Go, gaining more than 50%.

Shares shot up 16% on July 13, making an overall increase of 56% since trading closed on July 8 – the day the game became available.

Pokemon Go players search locations in the real world to find virtual Pokemon creatures on their smartphone screens.

The game has become a global phenomenon since its release.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

Pokemon Go topped the app store download chart on both iPhone’s App Store and Google Play just days after its initial release in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Nintendo shares had already started the week with a 25% jump on July 11 alone.

The Pokemon creatures first emerged in the 1990s on Nintendo’s Game Boy device.

For Pokemon Go, Nintendo has partnered with Niantic and the Pokemon Company, which owns the rights to the characters.

Nintendo, which is also behind the iconic Super Mario game, has traditionally relied on sales of its gaming consoles.

However, sales of those have been slowing in recent years as more gamers move online and onto portable devices.

Analysts have long criticized Nintendo for lagging its rivals like Sony and being late to the game in catering to the growing smartphone market.

Nintendo World Championships, super-rare Nintendo game, is expected to fetch thousands of dollars in an eBay auction.

Only 116 copies of Nintendo World Championships were ever made, as part of a special event in 1990.

The first bid came in at $4,999, but the game is likely to fetch more, one Nintendo expert said.

Unfortunately for collectors, the cartridge is in poor condition – with a ripped label and “Mario” written on it in ballpoint pen.

“This is quite unfortunate but happened many decades ago,” explained the seller in his description of the “super-rare” item, adding that whoever wrote on the label did not have “a clue what they actually had”.

Nintendo World Championships was designed for a competition, and never went on general sale

Nintendo World Championships was designed for a competition, and never went on general sale

Created for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Nintendo World Championships was designed for a competition, and never went on general sale.

The game features shortened versions of three classics – Super Mario, Tetris and Rad Racer.

Competition entrants were given six minutes to amass points on the games, with whoever came top winning a trophy, a trip to Universal Studios and various other prizes.

Each of the 90 semi-finalists was given a grey cartridge like the one now up for auction.

Rarer still are the “golden” cartridges of the same game, sent out as part of a separate competition by Nintendo Power magazine.

Genuine copies of the game are hard to come by, and so the poor condition would not be too much of a deterrent to keen collectors, predicted Chris Scullion, games editor for Computer and Video Games.

The eBay auction is set to end on January 25.


Danny Wells, whose real name was Jack Westelman, died on November 28 in Toronto at the age of 72.

Danny Wells died on November 28 in Toronto

Danny Wells died on November 28 in Toronto

The Canadian actor starred in a plethora of TV series throughout his five decade career in the business, playing Charlie the bartender in The Jeffersons and Luigi in the TV adaptation of popular Nintendo video-game franchise Super Mario Brothers, alongside wrestler-turned-actorLou Albano.

Dany Wells also appeared in TV shows such as Columbo, The A-Team and Kojak, and films including Private Benjamin and The Last Kiss.

Nintendo has revealed it will launch two versions of its Wii U console in Japan on December 8th.

The basic edition will cost 26,250 yen ($337) and a premium version 31,500 yen ($405).

Details of the international release will be discussed in New York later.

Nintendo’s stock has fallen 29% since March on fears casual gamers will instead opt for tablet computers while hardcore players will wait for a new PlayStation or Xbox .

Nintendo has revealed it will launch two versions of its Wii U console in Japan on December 8th

Nintendo has revealed it will launch two versions of its Wii U console in Japan on December 8th

The difference between the two versions of the Wii U is that the basic model features 8GB of storage, while the premium version has 32GB and additional stands for the games machine and its touchscreen controller.

Consumers wishing to buy an additional GamePad controller will have to pay 13,000 yen ($167).

The device features a touchscreen offering players to ability to carry out in-game tasks, such as checking their inventory or setting an explosive, while the main action continues on their television. Gamers can also continue to play a title using the device when they do not have access to their main screen.

Nintendo has claimed it would help “revolutionize” gaming.

However, the gadget has been criticized for lacking multitouch – the ability to recognize different fingers on a hand.

It also faces a challenge from both Sony and Microsoft who have introduced similar facilities for their existing consoles: the PlayStation 3 can be controlled by the firm’s Vita handheld, while the Xbox 360 can be connected to existing tablet computers via software called SmartGlass.

Nintendo’s president, Satoru Iwata, highlighted the fact that the Wii U would launch alongside New Super Mario Bros U – the first time a title in the series’ release date had coincided with a new console in 16 years.

Nintendo will host a press event with more details in New York at 10:00 local time.