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15 Freaky Resident Evil Facts for Your Inventory

If you still get a deep chill whenever someone says, “That was too close! You were almost a Jill sandwich!” then you probably spent the late ‘90s tackling giant spiders and zombie dogs in Resident Evil and its sequels. Between stockpiling typewriter ribbons and rationing your ammo, though, there are a few facts about the nightmarish game’s early years that might have stayed buried until now. 

1. IT NEEDED A NEW NAME WHEN IT CAME TO THE U.S. 

Although director Shinji Mikami and the Capcom crew released it as Biohazard in Japan, the original 1996 game needed a new name before landing on American shores—partly because it’d be hard to trademark the term “biohazard” as a name, and partly because there was already another game and also a New York metal band using it.

2. RESIDENT EVIL WAS A “SUPER-CHEESY” PUN CHOSEN THROUGH A CONTEST. 

Capcom organized a company-wide contest to generate a new name, and not everyone was happy with the final result. As Chris Kramer, Senior Director of Communications and Community at Capcom U.S., explained to GamesRadar in 2009, “After combing through a huge list of entries, the marketing group decided that ‘Resident Evil’ was the best, as it was a clever pun—the first game was set in a mansion, get it? I voted against the name—I thought it was super-cheesy; can’t remember what I felt was a better alternative, probably something stupid about zombies—but the rest of the marketing crew loved it and were ultimately able to convince Capcom Japan and Mikami-san that the name fit.” 

3. IT WAS AN INSTANT HIT... 

The first Resident Evil topped best-seller lists through 1996 and early 1997, ultimately selling around 2.75 million copies for PlayStation. The next two titles, 1998’s Resident Evil 2 and 1999’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis for PS1, moved 4.96 million and 3.5 million units respectively, respectively, kicking off a franchise that would expand to include a first-person shooter, a series of films, and various mobile and console versions in the years to come. 

4. ...THAT SET THE STANDARD FOR BLOOD-SOAKED GAMEPLAY. 

The first three Resident Evil titles, however, did the major work of giving an entire generation of players a serious taste for blood. When Resident Evil 2 hit shelves, one reviewer—who noted that the two-disc game “[featured] so much adventure it couldn't be contained on a single CD”—gushed that the “spooky sequel [was] was even more graphic” than the original, and “In many areas it [looked] as if the Blood Mobile had an accident."

5. THE GAME DEFINED A GENRE: “SURVIVAL HORROR.” 

While later Resident Evil titles have taken on many of the dynamics of shooter games, the series’ first few games are credited with defining the “survival horror” genre, in which characters struggle to survive—somewhat more realistically than in other genres—while managing inventories of needed items, their physical limitations, and (actually taxing) waves of enemies. 

A review of the game Silent Hill, a 1999 genre successor from Konami, notes that it was the main character’s limitations as hero that made playing it such a thrill: “His aim is awful and his running pace, though quicker than most enemies, still keeps him only a heartbeat away from being mowed down by the demons running amok on the streets.” 

6. THE RESIDENT EVIL MANSION IS BASED ON REAL-LIFE ONES THAT CREEPED OUT THE GAME’S CREATORS.

Tatsuya Minami, Senior Manager of Product Planning for Resident Evil, told Maximum News in 1996 that to "create a feeling of horror" the team needed a "solid background" and settled on a "European-style house" because it seemed like the creepiest option: "Personally speaking, I've been to America and England many times, where I visited stately homes in the country, and actually felt quite frightened!" Minami said the developers also took cues from European ghost stories, which, unlike those common to Japanese culture, feature the Devil. 

7. THERE’S ALSO A SUBTLE KUBRICK NOD. 

The game’s pre-rendered backdrops were also reportedly also inspired by the main setting of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining: the seriously haunted Overlook Hotel (a theory backed up by the fact that, in Resident Evil 2, the word “REDRUM” is scrawled in red in the Hallway area). 

8. THE SEGA SATURN PORT HAD SOME EERIE EXTRAS.

If you put in most of your time combating the Umbrella Corporation on a PS1, you likely missed out on a few features that were exclusive to the Sega Saturn port of Resident Evil. A very tough-to-kill zombie version of Albert Wesker resided in the Saturn version’s Battle Game, for example, as well as a second Tyrant (which stayed concealed in its stasis container until the first one was killed). Hunter Alphas changed for the port, too: after clearing the courtyard, Saturn owners got to grapple instead with Tick characters, whose insectoid bodies included sickle-like arms for slicing players to bits. 

9. THE GAME WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE A MULTIPLAYER MODE AND TWO OTHER CHARACTERS.

The 1996 Resident Evil we knew and loved could have turned out very differently if developers had gotten their way about a few things. From the beginning, Capcom planned for Resident Evil to support two players instead of one, allowing partners to assist each other and make tackling the infected/undead hordes a two-pronged affair. This less-daunting version of the game was nixed early on due to hardware limitations.

The game’s core cast was almost quite different, too: Jill and Chris were almost accompanied by Dewey, a ‘comic relief’ medic (who later lent his name to a STARS pilot), and Gelzer, planned to be the team’s (massive) radio operative. 

10. MISS RESIDENT EVIL’S MUSIC? CHECK OUT THE BIOHAZARD ORCHESTRA. 

Composed by Masami Ueda (who went on to score music for later series titles), Makoto Tomozama, and Akari Kaida, the soundtrack to the first Resident Evil was arranged with tunes from Resident Evil 2 and 3 for a recorded concert performance—called Biohazard Orchestra—by the New Japan Philharmonic orchestra. 

11. NEMESIS MAKES SHOUT-OUTS TO HUGH GRANT, A NICKELODEON SHOW, AND CLEANING UP AFTER YOUR DOG. 

By the time 1999’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was being readied for release on PS1, the series was already a smash hit, and its developers rewarded fans with some curious cultural nods in the form of Easter egg content. In a Clock Tower room, for example, an observant player might have noticed that a portrait of the lead character from Nickelodeon’s The Secret World of Alex Mack hangs on the wall, or that stills from Four Weddings and a Funeral and Back to the Future III are among the snippets on a bulletin board. 

Near-hidden content in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis performed a public service, too. When venturing near the Grill 13 restaurant to collect the Future Compass, a player might have seen the words "SNAILIVIC TSUM EVOMER GOD TNEMERCXE"—or, when reading backward, "CIVILIANS MUST REMOVE DOG EXCREMENT." After exiting the warehouse, they might have also spotted a longer version of the warning which advised, "DOGS, BE ON LEASH AND OWNERS MUST REMOVE DOG EXCREMENT." 

12. THE GAMES ARE OUT OF CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER.

Starting with the first sequel, the timeline of the Resident Evil universe got pretty complicated. The storyline of Resident Evil 2, for example, got picked up in two Japanese radio dramas, Chiisana Tōbōsha Sherry (Sherry, the Little Runaway) and Ikiteita Onna Spy Ada (Ada, the Female Spy, is Alive), though they’re not considered canonical. 

One continuity break that’s impossible to ignore, though, happens between Resident Evil 2 and 3: according to developers, Resident Evil Code: Veronica, released internationally for PlayStation 2 in 2001, is the true sequel to Resident Evil 2—not Resident Evil 3. And if glimpses of the 2002 release Resident Evil seemed familiar, it’s because it’s a full remake of the original. 

13. THE GAME WAS INSPIRED BY (AND GOT HELP FROM) THE GODFATHER OF UNDEAD HORROR HIMSELF. 

The original game was inspired by classic horror gore-fests such as Night of the Living Dead, one of the seminal zombie flicks from filmmaker George A. Romero, a.k.a. “Godfather of the Dead/Godfather of All Zombies.” Romero returned the compliment by directing the Japan-only TV commercial for Resident Evil 2

With key undead influences in its DNA, Resident Evil has gone down in history as "one of the finest horror-themed games ever," Retro Gamer wrote in 2004. The site also pointed out that the game, being "full of shocks, surprises and perfectly poor B-movie dialogue, [is] the gaming equivalent of Night of the Living Dead”--possibly giving context to the fact that... 

14. IT HOLDS THE WORLD RECORD FOR “WORST GAME DIALOGUE.”

In 2008, Resident Evil’s lackluster script was recognized by the Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition with the honor of "Worst Game Dialogue Ever,” a dubious honor that’s only fitting for lines like “Jill, here's a lockpick. It might be handy if you, the master of unlocking, take it with you” 

15. IT WAS, NEVERTHELESS, A HUGE SUCCESS. 

As of 2015, the Resident Evil series has sold around 64 million units worldwide, is Capcom’s top seller, continues to make ‘best games’ lists, and, as G4tv wrote, “launched one of the most successful series in gaming history and provided one of its most memorable scares.”

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Nintendo Is Releasing a Special Gold Famicom Mini, Which Will Come Pre-Loaded With 20 Games

Nintendo’s renewed focus on retro gaming continues as the company is slated to release a manga-focused edition of the Famicom Mini in Japan on July 7. The Famicom—short for Nintendo Family Computer—is the Japanese version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, and this new device will come with 20 games pre-loaded onto it.

Back when the NES Classic hit U.S. stores in 2016, Japan got its own Famicom Mini, which featured a slightly different selection of games from its Western counterpart, including Mario Open Golf and Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku: Soreyuke Daiundōkai. This new edition of the Mini will be gold-plated and is being released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the manga magazine Weekly Jump, according to Kotaku.

To go with the theme, the games on the system will be ones based on the popular manga at the time like Dragon Ball, Saint Seiya, and Fist of the North Star, as The Verge reports. These are games that most Western audiences would have never experienced for themselves in the late '80s and early '90s as the manga/anime culture had not yet spilled over into the States much, and companies would rarely waste the time and money on localizing them for an unfamiliar fanbase.

In the rare instances that these games did come stateside, they were usually altered to appeal to a different culture—the most famous example is Dragon Ball on the Famicom arriving in America as Dragon Power in 1988 with box art looking more like something from The Karate Kid than a manga series.

Now that American audiences have embraced manga, there might actually be a market for this tiny package of retro gaming in the States. Unfortunately, there's no word on a U.S. release, meaning you’ll likely have to head to eBay or your local boutique video game store in order to have a shot at landing one. If you want a consolation prize, the original NES Classic will be heading back to stores on June 29—though if history is any guide, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get your hands on that, either.

[h/t: The Verge]

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5 Smartphone Games That Let You Tend Plants and Chill Out
Ice Water Games, YouTube
Ice Water Games, YouTube

Being in nature is naturally relaxing, but city-dwellers don’t always have an opportunity to get outside. Gardening can be therapeutic for mental health, but you may not have access to a garden—or even the space to tend a houseplant. You can still have a few moments of horticultural meditation every day. It will just have to be digital.

Over the last few years, video game developers have released a number of mobile games that revolve around the simple act of tending to plants. These games are, for the most part, slow-moving, meditative experiences that focus on beautiful graphics, calming soundtracks, and low-key challenges. They’re a great way to de-stress and pursue your gardening dreams, no watering can required.

Here are five relaxing, plant-centric phone games you can download now.

1. VIRIDI; FREE

Viridi is like Neopets for plants. The game is dedicated to nurturing a pot of succulents that grow almost in real time. You can plant a variety of succulent species in your virtual pot. Spritz your plants with water when they’re thirsty and wait for them to grow. Each week, a new seedling will be available for you to plant. The game moves slowly by design. You can let it run in the background, and your plants will do their thing, just like a real plant would. These ones are even harder to kill than real succulents, though.

Find it: iOS, Android

2. TOCA NATURE; $2.99

Toca Boca makes games for kids, but honestly, Toca Nature is pretty fun no matter what your age. You can create your own natural landscapes, adding trees, water features, and mountains. Different natural features attract different animals, and the type of landscape you make shapes whether you’ll get bears, beavers, or birds living there. You can collect berries, feed the animals, or just enjoy planting trees.

Find it: iOS, Android

3. BREATH OF LIGHT: RELAXING PUZZLER; $1.99

In Breath of Light, your job is to bring a garden to life by manipulating a stream of light. Move rocks and mirrors around your zen garden to harness and direct the life-giving light emanating from a single flower. When the light hits another flower, it causes that plant to grow. The very simple puzzles are designed to help you chill out, and the award-winning soundtrack by the audio designer Winterpark features binaural tones that are naturally relaxing. “As a unique, gamified version of guided meditation, Breath of Light helps you enter a state of calm serenity without you even noticing,” according to Killscreen. Sorry, Android users—the app seems to have disappeared from Google Play, but it’s still available for iPhone.

Find it: iOS

4. PRUNE; $3.99

Prune is a puzzle game with a horticultural twist. The object is to plant a tree, then as it grows up, guide it with careful pruning, helping the branches reach the light while staying away from the cold shadows or hot sun, both of which will kill the tree. As the levels rise, you’ll need to contort your trees into ever more complex shapes.

Find it: iOS, Android

5. EUFLORIA; $4.99

If you like your gardening to be a little more high-stakes, Eufloria is out of this world. Seriously, it’s about colonizing asteroids. Your mission is to grow trees on far-off asteroids, sending your seedlings out to turn gray space rocks into thriving landscapes. Your seeds hop from asteroid to asteroid at your behest, creating a chain of fertile life. Sometimes, alien enemies will attack your flourishing asteroid colonies, but don’t worry; you can beat them back with the power of more seeds. The game can be fast-paced and competitive, but there’s a “relaxed” play option that’s more meditative.

Find it: iOS, Android

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