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• No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

developed by Grasshopper Manufacture / published by Ubisoft
1 player / Nintendo Wii / 2010.01.26

Travis Touchdown returns to the seedy town of Santa Destroy after his friend, the owner of a local video store, is brutally murdered. Little did he know that there would be a laundry list of twisted assassins itching for a chance to match swords with him. When he left three years earlier Travis was the top-ranked assassin in the United Assassins Association (UAA), but in his absence dropped all the way down to #51. He’ll have to climb his way back to the top on a mountain of corpses if he wants a shot at avenging his friend.

• The Last Story

developed by Mistwalker & AQ Interactive, published by Xseed Games
1 player with online multiplayer / Nintendo Wii / 2012.08.14

Fittingly, The Last Story is one of the last Wii titles to come out and one of the few role-playing games made for the console.  Designed and directed by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, it’s a fairly traditional role-playing game but features some progressive ideas.

AILA teleoperated with CAPIO exoskeleton

Here’s a video showing AILA’s arms being teleoperated by an upper-body exoskeleton.


[source: DFKIvideo @ YouTube]

• ISAMARO Mark II, an online store dedicated to hobby robot kits, is taking orders for a new entry-level bipedal robot called ISAMARO Mark II.  The first version of the robot cost a hefty 340,000 JPY (approximately $4,200 USD), but they’ve managed to cut the cost in half (to 168,000 JPY / $2,070 USD) by swapping the Kondo-brand servos used in its 19 joints.  They originally went with more powerful servos (19 kg/cm torque), which were replaced by those with a maximum torque of 13 kg/cm.  The kit, which was designed for use in competitions, will ship this December.

  • ISAMARO MarkII Entry Set
  • Height: approx. 350 mm
  • Weight: approx. 1.9 kg
  • Degrees of freedom: 19
  • Actuator: KRS-4031HV (× 19)
  • Optional: wireless device
  • Battery: Lithium-polymer
  • Control board: RCB-4HV

Video (ISAMARO Mk. I):

[source: ISAMARO (JP) & Robotma (JP)] via [My Navi News (JP)]

HUBO dances, prepares for DARPA Challenge

Here’s a couple of videos of KAIST’s HUBO 2 dancing, first a smooth original creation followed by one based on PSY’s Gangnam Style.


HRP-4C Gets Immortalized As Action Figure

A figure model based on AIST’s female android is being manufactured by WAVE Corporation, a model company which previously sold kits based on Honda’s P2 and P3 humanoid robots.  The 1/12 scale model kit (14 cm tall) requires assembly, but the parts are already painted and feature easy snap-fit construction.  It is also fully posable, and comes with three heads for different expressions (“normal,” “surprised,” and “angry” ).  The kit won’t be shipped until February of next year, but it can be pre-ordered online at stores like Ami Ami and Hobby Link Japan for around $28 USD (not including shipping).

Hopefully this kit will prove popular enough for WAVE that they’ll make more based on the other HRP series robots.  I’d love to have them all! More photos follow after the break.

Goomba Roomba & other 8-bit robot covers

The iRobot vacuum cleaner got an 8-bit makeover at the SUPER iam8bit art exhibition, which featured hundreds of works inspired by retro video games. Artist Kelice Penney handmade the colorful covers based on the lowly Goomba (Super Mario Bros.), rock-spitting Octorok (The Legend of Zelda), and weaponized turtle shells (Super Mario Kart).

The Roomba’s erratic movements seemed to suit the aimless game characters perfectly. Unfortunately the custom covers, which proved quite popular at the showing, aren’t being mass-produced.

The iam8bit gallery, located on Sunset Boulevard, hosts group art exhibitions at their 4,500 square foot event space. The Roomba covers appeared at an event that took place late last year, but is making the rounds on the internet once again thanks to the video below.

[source: iam8bit Productions] via [IT Media (JP)]

• Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

developed & published by Capcom / 2011.01.11
1 player / 1 save slot / Nintendo DS, iOS

Capcom gets its fair share of criticism for milking its franchises to death, so when it takes a chance on something different it’s usually worth a look.  Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective certainly qualifies: it’s a totally original IP that puts a unique spin on the adventure genre, which has sorely needed some innovative ideas.

The player takes on the role of a ghost who’s spirit can interact with nearby objects, like a poltergeist playing tricks on unsuspecting victims.  You’ll have to use whatever you can, including your wits, to find out who you are and why you died.  The plot and characters are a big part of what makes this game special, so any further details would only ruin the fun.