Nostalgia abounds at Chengdu video and arcade game festival

Strolling around a video game exhibition, Liu Wei found many things to channel memories of the good old days-Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Super Mario Brothers.

The “Game on” sign at the entrance has activated a “time tunnel” for the 36-year-old white-collar worker, whose eyes began to well-up when the music from Contra came to his ears.

Starting from July 6, this year’s Game On Blooming Global Gaming Trends Exhibition and Festival, simply referred to as “Game On Blooming”, which has been co-organized by China Blooming Investment, the London Barbican Center and the London city government, will run through Oct 28 in Chengdu, the capital of southwest China’s Sichuan province.

Visitors can experience both the nostalgia of early-stage PC and arcade games and an introduction to the next generation of state-of-the-art gaming technologies. Game music and movies are also on display.

“It feels like I’ve traveled through time back to my childhood,” Liu says as he plays Steel Battalion on an antique game console developed by Capcom in 2002 that simulates heavy-duty armored operations.

With 18 exhibition areas, Game On Blooming has put more than 150 games from different time periods on display, including Pong, the first ever arcade game, released in 1972 by Atari.

The exhibition has provided hands-on experiences for visitors to immerse themselves in the storylines of their avatars and the gaming process.

Wang Yuqian, a 20-year-old college student in Chengdu, is captivated by virtual reality games. She regards gaming not only as an art form that combines visual, musical, film, design and technological elements but an industry that requires integrated skills.

“I’ve just experienced Andy’s World, a cyberpunk game that combines elements of both sci-fi and philosophy,” Wang says. “The VR devices have brought more realistic immersion.”

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The exhibition has been very popular since the launch of its world tour a decade ago, says Neil McConnon from the London Barbican Center, noting that it was China’s flourishing gaming industry that brought him and his Chinese partners to Chengdu.

Last year, actual sales revenue in the Chinese gaming market hit 214 billion yuan ($ 31.1 billion), accounting for 23.6 percent of the world’s total, according to a report on China’s gaming industry co-issued by the China Audio-video and the Digital Publishing Association.

“Games are cultural experiences. As China’s cultural consumption continues to upgrade, edutainment will become the future trend,” says Chen Yang, executive vice president of Blooming Investment.

McTominay reveals ambition of becoming 'regular box-to-box player' for Man Utd

The Scotland international is nearing his 50th appearance for the Red Devils and has his sights set on nailing down a regular starting berth

Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay backs himself to nail down a spot in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad this season, despite rumours of the club looking to sign another midfielder.

The Scotland international has been used as a rotation player by the Red Devils over the last two seasons and has racked up 47 appearances for the club across all competitions, scoring two goals.

He netted his first ever goal in United colours during a 2-1 defeat to Wolves in April 2019, with his second coming in the penultimate game of the season against Huddersfield.

And despite the club’s rumoured interest in Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff, the 22-year-old believes he has what it takes to become a regular starter.

“Regardless of what other signings come in or who plays where, you have to back yourself to be a Man United player,” he said.

“That’s one thing that I’ve done over the last two years, I’ve always backed myself.

“I’ve tried to train hard and I’ve always wanted to do extra things to try and give me that one per cent difference.”

“It’s my ambition to be a regular No. 6, No. 8, a box-to-box player — that’s my main ambition.

“That’s always been my goal. It’s important that I really go for that now.

“Obviously there is an opportunity there and you’ve got to take it with both hands.

“Last year I had some decent performances and it’s important that I carry on from that.”

The Red Devils endured a largely disappointing campaign last season, finishing sixth in the Premier League and failing to pick up any silverware as they were dumped out of the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Champions League.

Their placement means there will be no Champions League football at Old Trafford this season, but McTominay says that everyone at the club is desperate to return to their glory days.

“That’s the desire from kitchen ladies at Carrington, to the kit men, to the physios to the players and all of the staff and the manager,” he added.

“That’s the sole aim of the football club, to get it back to where we want to be.

“That’s the top of the league and it’s important we get there.”

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Lucas backs 'amazing' Leonardo to do right by PSG amid Neymar uncertainty

The man at the heart of Paris Saint-Germain’s transfer wrangle with their star man has been given support by one of his former signings

Lucas Moura expects Leonardo to do right by Paris Saint-Germain amid the uncertainty surrounding the future of Neymar. 

Brazil star Neymar is keen to leave Parc des Princes, with a return to Spain via Barcelona or Real Madrid considered his most likely escape route. 

Despite the forward’s apparent eagerness for a transfer, sporting director Leonardo says they have yet to receive a concrete offer for a player who only joined two years ago for a world-record fee of €222million. 

Tottenham forward Lucas left Brazil for PSG in 2013 after Leonardo helped to broker a deal with Sao Paulo for the much-coveted winger. 

The 26-year-old has never forgotten Leonardo’s impact on his career and believes his return to PSG will be a huge boost to the club, although he does not know what the future will hold for Brazil team-mate Neymar. 

“It’s amazing,” he said of Leonardo returning.

“He is a friend who helped me a lot. He is an incredible person; he is very smart.

“I am sure he will do good things for the club.” 

On Neymar, he added: “I don’t know, it’s difficult. He is a great player.

“I’m sure PSG want to keep Neymar. But I don’t know what will happen. We will see in the next days.” 

Lucas was speaking after Tottenham beat Juventus 3-2 in an International Champions Cup meeting in Singapore, in which he scored his side’s second goal and set up Harry Kane to net an incredible winner from near the halfway line. 

“It was a very difficult game, with the heat,” he said. 

“But I am very happy. We played very well, we worked very well.

“It’s important to start like that, with a success against a great team. We have to keep going. I’m very happy.”

Lucas reserved praise for Tanguy Ndombele, who marked his first appearance for the club with an assist for the Brazilian’s goal. 

“He is a great player,” the Brazilian added.

“He will help us a lot. I am happy for him.

“He is a young player with a great [football] culture. It’s a good thing to have him with us in Tottenham.”

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Pochettino preaches patience to Tottenham supporters following Ndombele's impressive debut

The French midfielder was a key player in Spurs’ win over Juventus, but his new manager is keen to manage fans’ expectations early on in his career

Mauricio Pochettino has urged Tottenham supporters to be patient with record signing Tanguy Ndombele despite his impressive debut against Juventus on Sunday.

The France international joined the club earlier this month in a deal worth £63 million (€70m), eclipsing the £42m spent on Davinson Sanchez in 2017.

Ndombele was introduced for Erik Lamela shortly after the hour mark in the International Champions Cup clash in Singapore and made an immediate impact.

He teed up Lucas Moura for an equaliser within just a minute, which set the scene for Harry Kane to score a spectacular stoppage-time goal from the halfway line to seal a 3-2 win.

Pochettino was impressed by the 22-year-old’s contribution but was quick to manage fans’ expectations.

“Ndombele is a player that has the capacity to do what he did today,” he told a media conference.

“But still it’s too far away in his adaptation. It’s only been one week with us.

“Today he played more than I expected because our plan was to play him for only 15 minutes, but with the tempo in the second half it was good to give him 30 minutes.

“We are happy with him but still we don’t expect too much. We know his talent and what he can add to the team but it’s step by step and we will try not to put too much pressure on him.

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“Everything is new for him but I think with the first touch of the ball he started to show his quality.

“It was amazing and you can see when he runs something can happen.

“He has the capacity to add to the team different things and I hope during the season he can help the team achieve all that they want.”

The game was played at a more frenetic pace than Pochettino would normally like at this stage of pre-season, but he acknowledges that it will have done wonders for his players’ fitness levels.

“I think they’re very good games, very competitive,” he added.

“To be honest, we are very sure in our preparation. This has always been a period that we used to play friendlies against League Two sides or games in our training ground.

“Of course, we are happy because the atmosphere when you beat a team like Juventus is fantastic.

“The result, though, is not important; it’s about the performance and how we are doing in our fitness. That is our priority for the rest of pre-season.”

'I know he's looking down on me' – James driven to succeed at Man Utd by late father

The 21-year-old suffered a personal loss just weeks before making his dream move to Old Trafford, but revealed his father is still pushing him forward

Daniel James feels driven to succeed at Manchester United following the loss of his father prior to his transfer from Swansea City.

The Wales winger has enjoyed an encouraging pre-season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side following his move from the Championship club for a reported £15million.

James’ father, Kevan, passed away only weeks before he completed his dream switch to Old Trafford.

Speaking after United’s 1-0 International Champions Cup victory over Inter, James said: “Every day, I miss him. He always drove me on when he was here.

“There are times when I am a bit down about it but what he would say is just keep playing and working hard.

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“I know he is looking down on me now, still driving me on.”

The 21-year-old made the move to the Red Devils with a great deal of pressure on his shoulders, but has so far flourished under the guidance of his new boss.

James has started all three of United’s pre-season games so far – against Perth Glory, Leeds United and Inter – and has been praised for his performances by manager Solskjaer.

He almost scored his first goal for the club against Leeds when he sprinted beyond Marcus Rashford and shot against the base of the post after being played through on goal.

But James is not getting carried away by his performances, with United still to play Tottenham, Kristiansund and AC Milan before beginning the 2019/20 Premier League campaign against Chelsea on August 11.

“It is pleasing but there are three more games to the start of the season,” he added.

James arrived at Old Trafford seen as one of Wales’ biggest up and coming talents after breaking through to Swansea’s first team last season, scoring four goals in 33 league games for the club.

The Red Devils’ next pre-season fixture is against last season’s Champions League finalists Tottenham this coming Thursday in the International Champions Cup, with the pair both overcoming Serie A opposition in their opening games.

James will be part of a Manchester United squad hoping to bring glory back to Old Trafford this season after the club missed out on Champions League qualification during their last campaign.

VIDEO: Kane scores stunning winner from centre circle against Juventus

The England international sent the ball sailing over Wojciech Szczesny from the middle of the pitch to seal the win for his side

Harry Kane scored an incredible last-minute winner from the centre circle as Tottenham beat Juventus 3-2 in the International Champions Cup in Singapore on Sunday.

The striker smashed home from distance with a single touch when the ball rolled into his path after Spurs attacker Lucas Moura challenged Adrien Rabiot in the middle of the pitch.

The shot caught Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny off guard as he rushed back and dived in an attempt to get a hand to the ball, but ended up in the net with it.

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Kane’s impressive strike capped off a thrilling match between the two sides. 

Spurs took the lead in the 31st minute when Erik Lamela headed past Gianluigi Buffon, but Juve struck back in the second-half with goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lucas equalised for Mauricio Pochettino’s team before helping set Kane up for the decisive strike.

Kane is coming off the back of a 24-goal campaign for Spurs, helping the north London side reach the Champions League final and finish fourth in the Premier League.

The England international was limited to just 40 appearances in all competitions because of injury. The 25-year-old missed his side’s last six league games but returned on time to play all 90 minutes in the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool in the European decider.

Spurs are hoping to improve on last season’s performance and have splashed out a club record €60 million (£54m/$68m) fee to sign Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon so far this transfer window. 

Meanwhile, Jack Clarke completed his move from Leeds, but was loaned back to the Championship for a season.

They continue their preparations for next season when they travel to Shanghai to face Manchester United on Thursday, a day after Juve face Inter in Nanjing.

I might have to leave Arsenal if they sign Zaha – Iwobi

The Nigeria international says he’ll fight for his place if the Ivorian joins, but won’t sit on the sidelines

Arsenal wide-man Alex Iwobi claims he may be forced to quit the club if they fulfill their ambition of signing Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace.

The Gunners have made no secret of their desire to sign the 26-year-old Ivory Coast international and have already had a bid of around £40 million ($50m) rejected for a player the Eagles value at closer to £80 million.

The presence of Zaha would limit Iwobi’s minutes at the Emirates and he says sitting on the sidelines would force hm to consider his position.

“I am not one to chicken out,” the 23-year-old told The Sun. “I have had it all over the years, being told I’m not good enough.

“So whenever the chance comes I always try and prove I should be starting. But it’s going to be difficult if Zaha comes. He will add more stress.

“Obviously my joy is to play football and not just sit out.

“If it comes to that I would have no choice but to leave. But I would always put up a fight to play – that is what I’ve done all my life.”

Along with Zaha, pressure has been placed on Iwobi by the promotion of Reiss Nelson to the first-team by manager Unai Emery.

In addition the Gunners have been linked with Brazilians Malcolm and Everton, who also play as wide forwards.

The Ghana international says he’s used to people writing him off and that his preferred position is in the middle of the field, where he plays for his country.

“I was still at school when I was hearing [I wouldn’t make it at Arsenal],” he added.

“Maybe you think: ‘Football is not for you and you don’t want to play no more.’ But it’s good to have that self-motivation to believe you can prove your critics wrong.

“But I do play in a different position for Nigeria, as an attacking midfielder with a sense of freedom. I am more comfortable there.

“However, if I’m told to play on the left or the right, or left-back, like I have sometimes, I will always do my best.”

 

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'It has not moved' – No concrete offers for Neymar, insists Leonardo

The Brazil superstar has been heavily linked with a return to Barcelona but the sporting director is adamant no offers have been tabled for him

Paris Saint-Germain have not received a “concrete offer” for Neymar, the club’s sporting director Leonardo said.

The Brazilian forward has been heavily linked with a move away from the Ligue 1 champions during the close season, with his former club Barcelona looking the most likely destination.

He caused controversy earlier in the off-season when he failed to report for training with the rest of the squad on July 8.

Despite the club insisting he would be disciplined for his unauthorised absence his father insisted he had PSG’s approval to remain in Brazil to work with his charitable foundation until July 15.

Neymar has yet to feature for PSG so far during pre-season and was again absent as Thomas Tuchel’s side laboured to a 1-1 draw with Nurnberg on Saturday.

Leonardo has previously said the 27-year-old can leave for the right price, but he told reporters after the game in Germany that no offers have been tabled for him.

“Honestly, there is nothing different from the last time we talked,” he said, according to Le Parisien. “Nothing at all.

“It has not moved. There is no concrete offer for Neymar, he is with us. He is a player for Paris Saint-Germain.

“I repeat, there is no concrete offer. It’s been the same situation for 10 days.”

It has been reported PSG would look to recoup their €222 million investment in the player, and have rejected a bid from Barca for €40m, plus Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele.

Tuchel refused to be drawn on where Neymar’s future lies, two years after becoming a world-record buy, insisting he remains part of the French club’s squad.

“The situation between Neymar and me is clear; it’s now something between him and the club,” the PSG boss said.

“He is part of the dressing room and will train with us tomorrow.”

Leonardo, back at PSG this year for a second spell as sporting director, was evasive on the subject of other transfer targets.

He said the mooted signing of Idrissa Gana Gueye from Everton was ‘just a possibility,’ but admitted his club was looking for a new central midfielder, while saying the current composition of the squad was a strong one.

“The squad is already competitive, there is a bit of everything, young players, very experienced players.

“We targeted a central defender and a defensive midfielder. The central defender has arrived with Abdou Diallo, and now we are looking for the midfielder.”

 

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