Short visit at Comiket 90

My busy weekend impairing my plans for my third day of Comiket 90 last Sunday. The original intention was to go there and write an article about it, but then realise the sites I write for actually wants news—like when I reported in French about whether or not Comiket will happen during the Olympics of 2020—not just photos of cosplayers.

That, plus me forgetting a few things about my camera, turning some of my photos into a blurry mess. I promise myself I’ll do a better reporting job at Tokyo Game Show later this year.

I could complain more about that day, but do you really care? Do you really want me to also rant about the hot humid weather? Nah. I certainly don’t need to tell you how busy Tokyo Big Sight is during that event, if you really need a reminder:

Now moving on to the reason why you’re here. Check out below photos of the place and a few cosplayers I managed to capture during my short visit on the last day of Comiket 90:

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Nairu was a Pokemon trainer on the lookout for creatures to catch.
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Paula incarnated her original character, Ninja Hina, and she writes about her love to ride her motorcycle.
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Tidus (by Shion Kaito) and Yuna (Shion Takamura) from Final Fantasy X.
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Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman from Batman vs. Superman.
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From Idolmaster, Airi Totoki (by Watapachi) and Shiki Ichinose (Rise).
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Maev of Fate/Grand Order by Chigoku Yuugi.
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Kyoko of Madoka Magica decided to let her beard grow this time. I get that.
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I still believe Tokyo Big Sight is a dormant Transformer just waiting to manifest itself one day.
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Big letters for Big Sight.
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The organising committee estimated 530,000 people attended the 3-day event last weekend.

See you at Tokyo Game Show 2016! I’ll be at Tokyo Big Sight again for Comiket 91 in December.

Playing Super Mario Maker with a live orchestra

What’s better than playing Super Mario Maker? Playing Super Mario Maker while having an orchestra perform the soundtrack for you, of course!

In a cute attempt of recreating the experience of playing the Wii U game in a living room, if your living room happened to have a giant projector screen and a stage dedicated to musicians and a concertmaster, L’Orchestre de Jeux Vidéo (Orchestra of Video Games) in Montreal, or OJV for short, accompanied a gamer playing one of the levels by GiantBomb.

As any game soundtrack would, the orchestra changed their matched their melodies to the events happened in the game, e.g. when Mario fell of a cliff and cleared a level.

Be sure to check the other performances by the orchestra, like their Super Mario Bros. medley, if you’re now in a Mario mood.

 

NESPi: the DIY mini NES

Why wait for the NES Classic Edition by Nintendo to have that old 8-bit console replica in your living room?

Daft Mike is an electronics geek and loves retro games. He wasn’t going to sit around for the release of the official mini NES on November 11! Oh no… He has a 3D printer, a Raspberry Pi 2, the will, and the skills. He wanted to make his own and nothing was going to stop him.

Sure! There are endless 3D models available to download. But that wasn’t enough. He wanted it to be a perfect replica, to scale, with the original north-american design by Lance Barr.

So, he did. Behold, the NESPi.

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At first sight, it’s simply a NES and its controllers at 40% of their original scales. But look closely and you’ll notice the nice touches Mike added to make the experience more authentic. One of them, notably, is the cartridges.

The cartridges for the NESPi also look like their normal-size counterparts. Each of them are made to look like the original game, label, colour, and all. The interesting part is what they have inside: an NFC chip. It contains the name of the game file stored on the SD card inserted underneath the NESPi. Once the cartridge is inserted and the Power button is pushed, a program Mike wrote will read the datum in the NFC chip and load the game ROM if found on the SD card. With the amount of games an SD card can hold, the library of titles can be far more varied than the one offered with the NES Classic Edition.

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Actually, since it’s just a file name, you can also load any ROM of any platform supported by EmulationStation, the emulator manager used on the Raspberry Pi. He showed an example with the Pokemon cartridges he made to look like if those Game Boy games were initially released for the NES.

Everything feels authentic, albeit small, especially the controller. Maybe that should have stayed at scale. And let’s hope Nintendo doesn’t react to this with a cease-and-desist.

After his detailed blog article and his first video about the NESPi (shown above), Mike has released two videos with updates already. He’s also currently releasing the blueprints for his mini console while he teased his new project to miniaturise the Japanese Super Famicom.

Photos from blog by Daft Mike.

First Chōrai Mobile gathered aspiring and experienced electronic music talents in Tokyo

Since last year, I’ve been joining other participants of the Tokyo Electronic Musicians Collective, also known as Chōrai, organised by Katohmy, a music producer in Tokyo. People joining the regular gatherings are fans of electronic music, clustered in groups within, each with its own theme: DJs, singers, hip-hop, etc. Some members are experienced and famous, others have hidden talents they want to polish and show the world. I’m of the latter.

My friend Dan and I discussed about the wide range of apps to produce electronic music on the iPad and the iPhone. We know there are a lot of tools available. But they are so new to us, and there are so many, that we spend more time discovering more things available than we spend time actually producing anything. It was like discovering filters the first time someone uses Photoshop.

While we are exchanging knowledge between us, we thought it might be a good idea to invite others who might want to learn from us, and put their know-how into the mix. So, we have. Yesterday, about a dozen people joined us for the first Chōrai Mobile Monthly.

We spent the evening listening to Dan showing us the hidden power of GarageBand for iOS. (Version 2.1 for iOS 9.2 and up, to be precise.) While I’m not too keen on using its desktop version, and I thought the iOS was a watered-down of what I already didn’t want to us, GarageBand is surprising flexible and polyvalent on iOS. Multiple tracks, volume automation, electronic instruments, automatic drums, loop pads, etc. There are many features that I didn’t even imagine available on that simple-looking app.

Thoughtful Dan also brought a few splitters to let us all listen to the sound of his iPad while he was demonstrating all the features he knew about, and not disturb the customers around us, at the coffee shop where we were.

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“Live Loops,” one of the many features we reviewed in GarageBand 2.1 for iOS yesterday.

Our first assignment for next month is to make up a track by using GarageBand. I can’t wait to hear what others will make, and what I’ll be able to come up with!

The next Chōrai Mobile Monthly will be on Wednesday April 27 in Shibuya, likely in a studio. Location details will be announced on our Meetup page and our Facebook group.

Bash shell, now on Windows

At this year’s Microsoft Build Developers Conference, Microsoft has announced they’re bringing the Bash shell to Windows.

Rich Turner and Russ Alexander, senior program managers at Microsoft, gave a presentation of Bash running on Windows with demonstrations of what it lets you do.

The title describes what it is in simple terms. It’s not just Bash on Windows, but the entire Ubuntu usermode interfacing with the Windows API.

Microsoft has partnered with Canonical to take their popular Ubuntu OS, strip it from its Linux kernel, and let the rest run on Windows. There is no VM involved, no need for Cygwin, and Bash is not recompiled for Windows—it’s an actual chunk of Ubuntu running on Windows; even the binaries think they’re being executed on Linux.

In the video above, we can see how it’s possible to not only run Bash, but also browse the C: drive mounted in /mnt/c like it was in Linux, compile binaries, use apt-get to install Git, run Vim, Ruby, etc. One can imagine it’s possible already to install another shell like zsh if you don’t like Bash.

Either way, this should be quite promising for those who prefer Linux for Web development, but would rather stay on Windows for other things, like Office or games.

This is only a preview, however, and they did underline some of the problems they’re trying to resolve. These include MySQL and many Ruby gems not yet working yet.

Given OS X having a UNIX-like core was one of the excuses to make me move away from Windows and desktop Linux, I wonder if this will be enough to make me go back to Windows, or at least tolerate it more.