Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord
Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord is the first game in the Wizardry series of role-playing video games. It was developed by Robert Woodhead. In 1980, Norman Sirotek formed Sir-Tech Software, Inc. and launched a Beta version of the product at the 1980 Boston Computer Convention. The final version of the game was released in 1981; the game was one of the first Dungeons & Dragons-style role-playing games to be written for computer play, the first such game to offer color graphics. It was the first true party-based role-playing video game; the game ended up as the first of a trilogy that included Wizardry II: The Knight of Diamonds and Wizardry III: Legacy of Llylgamyn. Proving Grounds needs to be completed in order to create a party that could play in the remainder of the trilogy. Starting in the town, represented only as a text-based menu, the player creates a party of up to six characters from an assortment of five possible races, three alignments, four basic classes, with four elite classes unlocked once the characters have progressed sufficiently.
Good and evil characters cannot be assigned to the same party. After characters are equipped with basic armor and weaponry, the party descends into the dungeon below Trebor's castle; this consists of a maze of ten levels. Classes have multiple spells, each with seven levels; the style of play employed in this game has come to be termed a dungeon crawl. The goal, as in most subsequent role-playing video games, is to find treasure including more potent items, gain levels of experience by killing monsters face the evil arch-wizard Werdna on the bottom level and retrieve a powerful amulet; the goal of most levels is to find the elevator or stairs going down to the next level without being killed in the process. The graphics of the original game are simple by today's standards. By the standards of the day, the graphics improved on the text-only games, far more common; when monsters are encountered, the dungeon maze disappears, replaced by a picture of one of the monsters. Combat is against from 1 to 4 groups of monsters.
The game's lack of an automap feature, which had not been invented at the time of its release forces the player to draw the map for each level on graph paper as they walk through the 20x20 dungeon maze, step by step – failing to do this results in becoming permanently lost, as there are many locations in the maze that have a permanent "Darkness" spell upon the square or a "Teleport" spell sending the player to a new location. A magic spell can be used to determine the current location of the party, at higher levels there is a teleport spell that can be used to transition between the maze levels. Care is necessary when teleporting as the player must enter both the level and coordinates to teleport to and it is possible to land in a trap or solid stone, ending the game; the original releases of Wizardry do not announce that the player has teleported and play resumes as if one step forward was taken. The game has unforgiving difficulty. In the event of a total party kill, play cannot be resumed.
Wizardry games made it easier by restarting at the point in the dungeon where the characters died. It can take hundreds of hours to finish the game. Wizardry saves the player's game progress onto a scenario disk. After booting, a new one may be created with an existing one used. Completion of Proving Ground of the Mad Overlord is necessary to play the sequels Wizardry II and III since they require the characters from the first game to be imported from a scenario disk. A series of exploits that involves the identification ability of Bishops allows characters to gain massive experience points and gold. According to co-author Robert Woodhead, these cheats were a bug caused by the game's lack of bounds-checking, disabled to fit within 48K of RAM; when the IBM PC version of the game was released, the bug was declared to be a feature and deliberately included. Andrew Greenberg a Cornell University student, began the project's development in 1978, the game was in an early playable state by fall 1979, when it became popular among fellow students.
Wizardry drew influences from earlier games from the PLATO system, most notably the 1977 role-playing game Oubliette. It was coded in Applesoft BASIC, but Greenberg and Woodhead rewrote it in UCSD Pascal after BASIC proved too slow to be playable, they had to not available until early 1981, before publishing it. The game took two and a half man-years to complete, but the delay benefited Wizardry by permitting one year of playtesting and game balancing before release, distinguishing it from others such as Ultima I. Frederick Sirotek, Norman's businessman father and the company's financier, insisted that the packaging and documentation be professional distinguishing the game from others sold in Ziploc bags; the Commodore 64/128 versions of Wizardry 1-3 share a common code base wi
Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura is a 2001 role-playing video game developed by Troika Games and published by Sierra On-Line. It was released in North Europe in August 2001 for Microsoft Windows. Debuting at fourth position on NPD Intelect's best-seller list, it was Troika's first game and their best-selling title with over 234,000 copies sold and with revenues of US$8.8 million. The story takes place on the continent of Arcanum, a fantasy setting, in the process of an industrial revolution; the story begins with the crash of the zeppelin IFS Zephyr, of which the protagonist is the only survivor, which leads them throughout the land in search of answers. The game employs an isometric perspective and features an open game world where the protagonist can travel unhindered. Gameplay in Arcanum consists of traveling through the game world, visiting locations and interacting with the local inhabitants in real-time. Inhabitants will require the player's assistance in various tasks, which the player may choose to solve in order to acquire special items, experience points, or new followers.
Many quests offer multiple solutions for the player, depending on their playing style, which may consist of combat, thievery, or bribery. Players will encounter hostile opponents, in which case they and the player will engage in combat, which can be real-time or turn-based. Three combat modes were included in the final release of the game: real-time, turn-based, a faster version of turn-based. Arcanum's combat design has received some levels of criticism, with reviews stating that it is poorly balanced and frantic; the player's combat capabilities are in large part governed by the character's combat skills and weapons. Attacking is performed automatically by clicking on a hostile NPC provided that they are in range of the attack. Combat skills that the player character can choose from include melee weapons, thrown weapons, firearms, a large variety of certain damage-inflicting spells from some schools of magic. Deciding whether or not to use violence in some parts of the game sometimes carries consequences for the player's party and its followers.
Some AI-controlled followers the player has in the party will find their character's conduct morally objectionable, causing the player to lose reputation with some of the followers who may leave or attack the player. Arcanum begins with the player creating their character, choosing from a large and unique variety of races, technological skills, magical aptitudes, background traits, or the player may choose a predefined character. Over the course of the game, the character may improve their skills by gaining experience through completing quests or defeating opponents in combat; every time the player gains a level, they can spend one character point to improve any attribute, weapon skill, technological discipline, school of magic, thievery skill, or social skill. Every fifth level, one additional character point is awarded for a total of 64 character points; the player can only control one character directly but may recruit additional followers during the game depending on their aptitudes and alignment.
Player characters have the choice of specializing in a technological path which emphasizes constructing weapons and items from various components. The game uses a meter to show how biased towards magic or technology the player is. Character points spent on attributes or any other skills do not alter the aptitude meter. A high aptitude toward technology renders the character resistant or immune to magic and greatly decreases the character's ability to use magic and limits the effectiveness of magical items. A high magical aptitude increases the effects of the character's magic and the power of magical items they equip, but technological items they equip will be subject to malfunctions, reflected in an higher chance of the character critically failing in combat, which can have devastating effects; the game, like its successors in the Neverwinter Nights series, features "modules". Included with the game is Vormantown, a number of official modules are available. Arcanum is the name of the fantasy world.
It consists of three islands. The world is inhabited by various races resembling those from the works of Tolkien, including humans and half-elves, gnomes, orcs and various wildlife. Players can choose from humans, dwarves, gnomes and human hybrid races, including half-elves, half-orcs and half-ogres as playable races; the continent is divided between several different political entities. The Unified Kingdom is industrializing, its two largest cities are Tarant and Ashbury, it is the most technologically advanced kingdom. The Kingdom of Cumbria is a deteriorated kingdom, consisting of Dernholm and Black Root, ruled by an old conservative king; the Kingdom of Arland, extending from Caladon to Roseborough, is a small but thriving monarchy west of the Stonewall range. The Glimmering Forest, the largest in Arcanum, is home to the elven city of Qintarra and the dark elven city of T'sen-Ang, has be
Video game music
Video game music is the soundtrack that accompanies video games. Early video game music was once limited to simple melodies of early sound synthesizer technology; these limitations inspired the style of music known as chiptunes, which combines simple melodic styles with more complex patterns or traditional music styles, became the most popular sound of the first video games. With advances in technology, video game music has grown to include the same breadth and complexity associated with television and film scores, allowing for much more creative freedom. While simple synthesizer pieces are still common, game music now includes full orchestral pieces and popular music. Music in video games can be heard over a game’s title screen, options menu, bonus content, as well as during the entire gameplay. Modern soundtracks can change depending on a player's actions or situation, such as indicating missed actions in rhythm games. Video game music can be one of two options: original or licensed. In order to create or collect this music, teams of composers, music directors, music supervisors must work with the game developers and game publishers.
Many of the most notable original sophie game composers have been from Japan, including Nobuo Uematsu, Koji Kondo, Yuzo Koshiro, Yoko Shimomura, Junichi Masuda, Hip Tanaka, Masato Nakamura, Koichi Sugiyama, Yasunori Mitsuda, Michiru Yamane, Yuu Miyake, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi, Manabu Namiki, Shinji Hosoe, Hiroshi Kawaguchi. Notable Western game composers working today include Jeremy Soule, Jesper Kyd, Marty O' Donnell, Jason Graves, Austin Wintory, James Hannigan, Garry Schyman, Peter McConnell, some of whom work in film and television alongside video games. Today, original composition has included the work of film composers Harry Gregson-Williams, Trent Reznor, Hans Zimmer, Mark Rutherford, Josh Mancell, Steve Jablonsky, Michael Giacchino; the popularity of video game music has expanded education and job opportunities, generated awards, allowed video game soundtracks to be commercially sold and performed in concert's. At the time video games had emerged as a popular form of entertainment in the late 1970s, music was stored on physical medium in analog waveforms such as compact cassettes and phonograph records.
Such components were expensive and prone to breakage under heavy use making them less than ideal for use in an arcade cabinet, though in rare cases, they were used. A more affordable method of having music in a video game was to use digital means, where a specific computer chip would change electrical impulses from computer code into analog sound waves on the fly for output on a speaker. Sound effects for the games were generated in this fashion. An early example of such an approach to video game music was the opening chiptune in Tomohiro Nishikado's Gun Fight. While this allowed for inclusion of music in early arcade video games, it was monophonic, looped or used sparingly between stages or at the start of a new game, such as the Namco titles Pac-Man composed by Toshio Kai or Pole Position composed by Nobuyuki Ohnogi; the first game to use a continuous background soundtrack was Tomohiro Nishikado's Space Invaders, released by Taito in 1978. It had four descending chromatic bass notes repeating in a loop, though it was dynamic and interacted with the player, increasing pace as the enemies descended on the player.
The first video game to feature continuous, melodic background music was Rally-X, released by Namco in 1980, featuring a simple tune that repeats continuously during gameplay. The decision to include any music into a video game meant that at some point it would have to be transcribed into computer code by a programmer, whether or not the programmer had musical experience; some music was original, some was public domain music such as folk songs. Sound capabilities were limited; as advances were made in silicon technology and costs fell, a definitively new generation of arcade machines and home consoles allowed for great changes in accompanying music. In arcades, machines based on the Motorola 68000 CPU and accompanying various Yamaha YM programmable sound generator sound chips allowed for several more tones or "channels" of sound, sometimes eight or more; the earliest known example of this was Sega's 1980 arcade game Carnival, which used an AY-3-8910 chip to create an electronic rendition of the classical 1889 composition "Over The Waves" by Juventino Rosas.
Konami's 1981 arcade game Frogger introduced a dynamic approach to video game music, using at least eleven different gameplay tracks, in addition to level-starting and game over themes, which change according to the player's actions. This was further improved upon by Namco's 1982 arcade game Dig Dug, where the music stopped when the player stopped moving. Dig Dug was composed by Yuriko Keino, who composed the music for other Namco games such as Xevious and Phozon. Sega's 1982 arcade game Super Locomotive featured a chiptune rendition of Yellow Magic Orchestra's "Rydeen". Home console systems had a comparable upgrade in sound ability beginning with the ColecoVision in 1982 capable of four channels. However, more notable was the Japanese release of the Famicom in 1983, released in the US as the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, it was capable of one being capable of simple PCM sampled sound. The home computer Commodore 64 released in 1982 was capable of early forms of filtering effects, different types of waveforms and the undocumented abilit
In role-playing games, a character class is a job or profession used to differentiate the abilities of different game characters. A character class aggregates several abilities and aptitudes, may detail aspects of background and social standing, or impose behavior restrictions. Classes may be considered to represent specific careers. RPG systems that employ character classes subdivide them into levels of accomplishment, to be attained by players during the course of the game, it is common for a character to remain in the same class for its lifetime. Some systems eschew the use of levels entirely. Dungeons & Dragons, the first formalized roleplaying game, introduced the use of classes, many subsequent games adopted variations of the same idea; these games are sometimes referred to as'class-based' systems. As well as tabletop games, character classes are found in many role-playing video games and live action role-playing games. Many of the most popular role-playing games, such as D20 system and White Wolf games still use character classes in one way or another.
Most games offer additional ways to systematically differentiate characters, such as race, skills, or affiliations. In fantasy games, where classes are more common, it is usual to find one class that excels in combat, several classes that are able to perform magic, classes that deal with professional or criminal skills. For example, the original Dungeons & Dragons provided a set of three classes: Fighting Man, focused on combat abilities, but entirely lacking in magical abilities Magic User, featuring powerful magical abilities, but physically weak Cleric, specializing in healing and supportive magical abilitiesWith editions was added the Thief class: Thief, nimble combatant focused on stealth and social skills capable of high-damage special attacks balanced by sub-par resistance to injuryNon-fantasy role-playing games fill the place of the Magic User with psychic or scientist classes, the Cleric with a medic or supportive role. There are character classes that combine features of the classes listed above and are called hybrid classes.
Some examples include the Paladin. Some RPGs feature another variation on the classes mechanic. For example, in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, players choose a career; the career works like a class with added skills related to the selected career. However, as the player advances and gains more experience he or she may choose a new career according to a predefined career path. A player might start as a warrior and choose a career path to become a mercenary or choose a different path to become a dragonslayer; the warrior's available career paths do not allow the player to become a mage, similar to the restriction that one cannot change classes. A common alternative to class-based systems, skill-based systems are designed to give the player a stronger sense of control over how their character develops. In such systems, players choose the direction of their characters as they play by assigning points to certain skills. Classless games provide templates for the player to work from, many of which are based on traditional character classes.
Many classless games' settings or rules systems lend themselves to the creation of character following certain archetypal trends. For example, in the role-playing video game Fallout, common character archetypes include the "shooter", "survivalist", "scientist", "smooth talker" and "sneaker", unofficial terms representing various possible means of solving or avoiding conflicts and puzzles in the game. Outside of role-playing games, some other cooperative video games, such as Battlefield 2, Star Wars Battlefront II or multiplayer tactical shooters, use class-based systems to leverage the emphasis they provide on cooperation. Alternate character Character class
Brenda Louise Romero known as Brenda Brathwaite, is an American game designer and developer in the video game industry. She is a graduate of Clarkson University. Romero is best known for her work on the Wizardry series of role-playing video games and, more the non-digital series The Mechanic is the Message, she has credits on 49 game titles. For Wizardry, Romero provided game design, level design, system design and scripting, she wrote the manuals and documentation for some products in the series. Romero provided documentation for the award-winning Jagged Alliance series, she was the lead designer for Playboy: Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes. Romero began her career in 1981 at video game developer and publisher Sir-tech Software, Inc. on the Wizardry role-playing team. She worked first as a tester, moved up through the ranks to designer for Wizardry 8. While at Sir-tech, Romero worked on the Jagged Alliance and Realms of Arkania series, she was employed with Sir-tech for 18 years before moving on to Atari where she worked on the Dungeons & Dragons series for consoles before joining Cyberlore Studios in 2003 to work on the Playboy: The Mansion game.
Romero's research for the game was published in a book, Sex in Video Games. In 2007, Romero was named one of the 100 most influential women in the game industry by Next Generation magazine. Nerve magazine cited her as a "New Radical" — one of "the 50 artists, authors and icons who are making the world a more stimulating place". In 2009, Next Generation magazine identified her as the woman with the longest continuous service in video game development. Romero served as Chair of the Savannah College of Art and Design's Interactive Design and Game Development department until November 2009, she moved to San Francisco to consult as Creative Director for social media company Slide, Inc. and became Creative Director of social gaming company Lolapps, Inc. in May 2010. She co-founded the social game company Loot Drop with John Romero in November 2010 left Lolapps and joined Loot Drop in February 2011. In 2013, Romero became the first game designer in residence at the Games and Playable Media Program of the University of California at Santa Cruz.
She served as the program's director. Brenda is the Program Director of the MSc program in Game Design and Development at the University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland. Brenda has won several awards in her long career; some highlights include RPG of the Year for Wizardry 8, a Fulbright Scholar award in 2014, the Game Developer's Choice Ambassador Award in 2015, the Development Legend award at the Develop:Brighton awards. Romero married game developer John Romero on October 27, 2012. Together, they worked on Ravenwood Fair, with John as lead designer and Brenda as creative director and game designer. John and Brenda had become engaged on March 24, 2012. Brenda has three children from a previous marriage. Brenda Romero was an active member of the International Game Developers Association. In 2008, she was elected to the IGDA's Board of Directors. On March 28, 2013, she resigned as co-chair of the IGDA Women in Games SIG, she had founded the International Game Developers Sex Special Interest Group in 2005.
Since working on Playboy, she has studied adult and sexual content in video games and is interviewed about the subject in the media. She has written a book on Sex in Video Games, she is a proponent of parental rating awareness. She is a regular speaker at universities and conferences, including the Game Developers Conference, Austin Game Developers Conference, Montreal International Games Summit; some of her lectures have been held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University, Clarkson University. In the spring of 2007, she was awarded the Presidential Fellowship at Savannah College of Art and Design to develop an exhibit and presentation titled, "What You Don't Know About Video Games...". In April 2008, Romero became Chair of the Interactive Design and Game Development department at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Brathwaite left SCAD in November 2009 to return to full-time commercial game development. In December 2012, she was appointed "Game Designer in Residence" at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
In March 2014, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship. In February 2008, Romero began work on a series of non-digital games known collectively as The Mechanic is the Message. According to the series abstract: The Mechanic is the Message captures and expresses difficult experiences through the medium of a game. Much like photographs, paintings and music are capable of transmitting the full range of the human experience from one human to another, so too can games. Due to their interactivity, the installation suggests that games are capable of a higher form of communication, one which engages the participant and makes them a part of the experience rather than a passive observer; the series is composed of six separate non-digital games that experiment with the traditional notions of games. The New World, 2008 Síochán leat, 2009 Train, 2009 Mexican Kitchen Workers – prototype Cité Soleil - concept phase One Falls for Each of Us – concept phaseOf the six, Train has received the most attention, won the Vanguard Award at Indiecade in October 2009 for "pushing the boundaries of game design and showing us what games can do."
Train was featured in the Wall Street Journal as well as on game industry sites including Gamasutra, where it received accolades for its ability to evoke meaning through gestures, the E
North America is a continent within the Northern Hemisphere and all within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea. North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers, about 16.5% of the earth's land area and about 4.8% of its total surface. North America is the third largest continent by area, following Asia and Africa, the fourth by population after Asia and Europe. In 2013, its population was estimated at nearly 579 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world's population, if nearby islands are included. North America was reached by its first human populations during the last glacial period, via crossing the Bering land bridge 40,000 to 17,000 years ago; the so-called Paleo-Indian period is taken to have lasted until about 10,000 years ago. The Classic stage spans the 6th to 13th centuries.
The Pre-Columbian era ended in 1492, the transatlantic migrations—the arrival of European settlers during the Age of Discovery and the Early Modern period. Present-day cultural and ethnic patterns reflect interactions between European colonists, indigenous peoples, African slaves and their descendants. Owing to the European colonization of the Americas, most North Americans speak English, Spanish or French, their culture reflects Western traditions; the Americas are accepted as having been named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci by the German cartographers Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann. Vespucci, who explored South America between 1497 and 1502, was the first European to suggest that the Americas were not the East Indies, but a different landmass unknown by Europeans. In 1507, Waldseemüller produced a world map, in which he placed the word "America" on the continent of South America, in the middle of what is today Brazil, he explained the rationale for the name in the accompanying book Cosmographiae Introductio:... ab Americo inventore... quasi Americi terram sive Americam.
For Waldseemüller, no one should object to the naming of the land after its discoverer. He used the Latinized version of Vespucci's name, but in its feminine form "America", following the examples of "Europa", "Asia" and "Africa". Other mapmakers extended the name America to the northern continent, In 1538, Gerard Mercator used America on his map of the world for all the Western Hemisphere; some argue that because the convention is to use the surname for naming discoveries, the derivation from "Amerigo Vespucci" could be put in question. In 1874, Thomas Belt proposed a derivation from the Amerrique mountains of Central America. Marcou corresponded with Augustus Le Plongeon, who wrote: "The name AMERICA or AMERRIQUE in the Mayan language means, a country of perpetually strong wind, or the Land of the Wind, and... the can mean... a spirit that breathes, life itself." The United Nations formally recognizes "North America" as comprising three areas: Northern America, Central America, The Caribbean.
This has been formally defined by the UN Statistics Division. The term North America maintains various definitions in accordance with context. In Canadian English, North America refers to the land mass as a whole consisting of Mexico, the United States, Canada, although it is ambiguous which other countries are included, is defined by context. In the United States of America, usage of the term may refer only to Canada and the US, sometimes includes Greenland and Mexico, as well as offshore islands. In France, Portugal, Romania and the countries of Latin America, the cognates of North America designate a subcontinent of the Americas comprising Canada, the United States, Mexico, Greenland, Saint Pierre et Miquelon, Bermuda. North America has been referred to by other names. Spanish North America was referred to as Northern America, this was the first official name given to Mexico. Geographically the North American continent has many subregions; these include cultural and geographic regions. Economic regions included those formed by trade blocs, such as the North American Trade Agreement bloc and Central American Trade Agreement.
Linguistically and culturally, the continent could be divided into Latin America. Anglo-America includes most of Northern America and Caribbean islands with English-speaking populations; the southern North American continent is composed of two regions. These are the Caribbean; the north of the continent maintains recognized regions as well. In contrast to the common definition of "North America", which encompasses the whole continent, the term "North America" is sometimes used to refer only to Mexico, the United States, Greenland; the term Northern America refers to the northern-most countries and territories of North America: the United States, Bermuda, St. Pierre and Miquelon and Greenland. Although the term does not refer to a unifie
Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south; the kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", it is called the "Land of the Rising Sun". Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands; the four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one; the population of 127 million is the world's tenth largest. 90.7 % of people live in cities. About 13.8 million people live in the capital of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 38 million people. Archaeological research indicates; the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD.
Influence from other regions China, followed by periods of isolation from Western Europe, has characterized Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shōguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court regained its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from Chōshū and Satsuma – and the Empire of Japan was established. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism; the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the Japanese surrender. Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation led by SCAP, the sovereign state of Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet.
Japan is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the G20, is considered a great power. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity, it is the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Japan benefits from a skilled and educated workforce. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a developed country with a high standard of living and Human Development Index, its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, but is experiencing issues due to an aging population and low birthrate. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive cinema, influential music industry, video gaming, rich cuisine and its major contributions to science and modern technology; the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, pronounced Nihon or Nippon and means "the origin of the sun".
The character nichi means "sun" or "day". The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun"; the earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, the Old Book of Tang. At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country; this name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the official history of the Sui dynasty. Prince Shōtoku, the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself "the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises"; the message said: "Here, I, the emperor of the country where the sun rises, send a letter to the emperor of the country where the sun sets. How are you". Prior to the adoption of Nihon, other terms such as Yamato and Wakoku were used; the term Wa is a homophone of Wo 倭, used by the Chinese as a designation for the Japanese as early as the third century Three Kingdoms period.
Another form of Wa, Wei in Chinese) was used for an early state in Japan called Nakoku during the Han dynasty. However, the Japanese disliked some connotation of Wa 倭, it was therefore replaced with the substitute character Wa, meaning "togetherness, harmony"; the English word Japan derives from the historical Chinese pronunciation of 日本. The Old Mandarin or early Wu Chinese pronunciation of Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu. In modern Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本; the old Malay word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect Fukienese or Ningpo – and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century. These Early Portuguese traders brought the word