Today Nintendo announced quite a bit of info for their upcoming Wii successor, the Wii U. First and foremost, they reviled a release date and price point, with the date being November 18th and the price being $299. Though if you want to pay 50 bucks more, you can upgrade to an edition that features a black Wii U, Nintendo Land, and more storage space.
Arguably the biggest unveiling was in the form of Nintendo’s video player, the Wii TVii. Nintendo describes it as an “application that will let Wii U owners in the United States and Canada find, watch and engage with their favorite video entertainment in fun new ways. Using the GamePad controller, Nintendo TVii lets viewers seamlessly explore available video content from a variety of sources – including live TV, their TiVo DVR and video-on-demand services such as Netflix – all in one easy-to-use interface.” The most intriguing part to me is being able to watch my DVR”d shows, which is something I’ve always wanted from a portable device. Now I just need to know if it will work as well as I want it to, though I do have some faith in Nintendo.
“The wait is almost over — in just 66 days, Wii U will arrive with the strongest lineup of launch software in Nintendo history,” said Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. “With the integrated second screen of the included GamePad and features that instantly enhance the way people play games, watch video and interact with each other, consumers will see how Wii U delivers a completely unique experience and a remarkable value right out of the box. The new system also creates extraordinary new possibilities for game developers, bound only by the limits of their imaginations.”
To wrap it all up, Nintendo showed off their extensive launch and “launch window” lineup, which consists of a ton of titles, featuring both major franchises and original IP’s. For the record, the launch window is described as being in between November 18th and March 31st. Some of the games include “Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros.™ U, LEGO® City: Undercover, BAYONETTA 2, The Wonderful 101™, Capcom’s Monster Hunter™ 3 Ultimate and Activision’s Call of Duty®: Black Ops II, and New Super Mario Bros. U.” what are your thoughts on the Wii U? Does Nintendo already have your $300? If so, what games are catching your eye?
Last night during Nintendo’s Direct conference, Satoru Iwata revealed the second 3DS Mario title that had been confirmed to be in development: New Super Mario Bros. 2.
Where the original title, the top-selling game on the DS, borrowed many of its elements from Super Mario Bros., this one seems to strongly influenced by Super Mario Bros 3. In one of the screenshots shown during the announcement, Mario is shown utilizing the classic raccoon tail as a p-meter tracks his remaining flight time on the bottom left corner of the screen. As someone whose earliest gaming memories are of traversing the skies of SMB3, this is quite a treat. I wonder if Kuribo’s Shoe will make it in, as well?
The game is currently set for an August release.
As E3 approaches, more and more pieces of news will continue to trickle down to the media. After all, E3 is one of the biggest gaming events of the year. Therefore, in order to have big reveals for the show, there has to be extensive preparation on the part of those participating in it. This of course, leads to the infamous press leaks. The most recent leak is a trailer for Kratos’ latest adventure, which is titled God of War: Ascension. I’m sure a lot of fans are going crazy over this. I’m not. Basically, this upcoming title features Kratos (duh!) and takes place during his service under the Olympian gods. Yes, it takes place before the original God of War. No, it is not God of War: Ghosts of Sparta for the PSP. This is another prequel.
So far the God of War series has 3 main titles, 1 mobile game and 2 portable games. If we exclude the mobile game, then Ascension becomes the sixth title in the series. That’s a lot of titles for a series that started in 2005. Don’t get me wrong, the God of War series is a testament to the quality of games that can be played on the Play Station. However, I wonder why there is more excitement and coverage on a leaked trailer for an existing franchise on an existing console, than say Pikmin 3, which is a relatively new series on a brand new console. Why doesn’t Pikmin get any love? Is it because it doesn’t have a trailer yet?
Every console right now has a great line up (well except the Wii who is headed towards the chopping block) and each console has their signature games. It is foolish to think that there won’t be any more God of War, Halo or Mario games. These franchises are money making machines and are here to stay. Then why do we act surprised when we see franchises returning time and again?
Is there another action/adventure console-exclusive title as popular as God of War III on the Play Station 3? No, I believe there is not. So why do we even doubt that there will be any more installments to the series? Take a look at Nintendo, this company survives on the charity of third party developers and a back bone of strong first party titles. It is not a question of whether there will be a Mario game, but when. The same goes for the Xbox’s Halo series. Master Chief’s original trilogy might be concluded, but how can Microsoft pass up on the idea of bringing back the franchise that single-handedly made Xbox a household name?
But in this industry it doesn’t matter that we keep rehashing the same news over and over again. It matters who get’s the news piece out first. It is not about content, it’s about speed. So there you have it, new announcement for God of War. Here’s a shocker: There will be a Zelda game for the Wii U! Also, the moon orbits around the earth! I know, things are getting wild in here.
This week’s list is the second console specific top 10. I have previously covered my top 10 favorite games on the Gamecube, and this week I am going to count down my 10 favorite games on my favorite console of all time, the Nintendo 64. The N64 may not have been as popular as the Playstation in the mid to late ’90s, but that sure didn’t stop some of the best games of all time from releasing exclusively for the N64. While the PS1 excelled at JRPGs, specifically ones with a lot CD quality music and pre-rendered cinematics, the N64 dominated the action/adventure and 3D platformer genres, and also blew the PS1 away in terms of pure graphical fidelity. Also, for any of our younger readers who only know Rare for Viva Pinata and Kinect Sports, by the end of this list I hope it becomes clear why they were once considered one of the best developers ever.
10. Banjo Kazooie (Rare, 1998)
Let’s get the Rare train rolling early with Banjo Kazooie. After Nintendo basically wrote the blueprint on how to make a 3D platformer with Super Mario 64, many other developers tried to emulate it, with varying to degrees of success. Rare was by far the most successful of the N64 era, and there first attempt, Banjo Kazooie, is still one of the best examples of the genre. They really did take most of the elements from Mario 64; the large worlds, the move set, and even the concept of stars was simply re-branded as “jiggies”. Despite the similarities, the game could stand on its own because of solid controls, cleverly designed levels, and an element of humor that set it apart from the gameplay focused nature of other platformers.
9. Diddy Kong Racing (Rare, 1997)
Another Rare game, and another game that “borrowed” from a popular Nintendo franchise. With games like Banjo Kazooie, Star Fox Adventures on Gamecube, and now Diddy Kong Racing, Rare certainly wasn’t afraid of taking a lot inspiration from Nintendo when making games, but they got away with it because there games were generally really good. Diddy Kong Racing obviously borrowed heavily from Mario Kart, but there were a few key differences that actually set it a notch above Mario Kart 64, at least in my opinion. The biggest thing that really makes Diddy Kong Racing awesome is the single player component. It had an adventure mode very similar to a platformer in that you would travel to different worlds, moving on as you won races. There were even boss races and coin challenges that made the game more than just a few cup races. The other element of Diddy Kong Racing that I think makes it better than Mario Kart is the way it handles power-ups. Instead of the extreme rubber banding of the Mario Kart series, the power-ups were dealt much more fairly. You could see what the power-up was before you picked it up, adding a layer of strategy to multiplayer matches.
8. Goldeneye 007 (Rare, 1997)
Rare is now three for three on this list, with number 8 going to the split screen classic Goldeneye. Goldeneye makes this list not simply out of the quality of the game, but for the impact it made at the time. If I were to judge Goldeneye simply by how it plays today, it doesn’t hold up nearly as well as most of the games on this list. First Person Shooters, console shooters in particular, have really come a long way in the time since Goldeneye first came out, but at the time it was amazing. What made Goldeneye doubly impressive was that it did two things most people never though possible, it was both a good first person shooter on a console, and an outstanding movie licensed game that not only played well compared to other game, but did justice to the film it was based on. It may not not have aged very well, but at the time Goldeneye was the best choice, and really only, choice for multiplayer first person shooting on a console.
7. Conker’s Bad Fur Day (Rare, 2001)
I swear, not every spot on this list will be a Rare game, but number 7 has to go to Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Conker’s Bad Fur Day really succeeds in two key respects. First, it is the culmination of several years of Rare making 3D platformers on the N64, and is without a doubt the best 3D platformer they have every made from a design and gameplay standpoint. Secondly, it is one of the funniest games ever made. Conker’s Bad Fur Day is such an odd creation; it is 100% a Rare platformer in the style of Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64 in terms of gameplay and level design, but on the other hand it is crude, crass, and full of foul language and poop jokes. Rare’s other platformers certainly had some innuendo and winks and nods to the older audience playing the games, but Conker’s Bad Fur Day is made specifically for that older audience. It also somehow manages to be both very immature, and very mature at the same time. Some of the jokes are obviously immature toilet humor, but it does have a lot very clever writing in it as well.
6. Star Fox 64 (Nintendo, 1997)
As promised, not ever game on this list is a Rare game, and number 6 is the Nintendo developed Star Fox 64. Back in the late ’90s, I played Star Fox 64 so much I don’t think I could even hazard a guess as to how many times I completed it. While it was mostly on an on-rails space shooter, it is one of the best, if not the best, examples of the genre. It took everything that made the SNES original interesting and simply improved upon it. Even though it was released quite early in the N64′s life cycle, it is still one of the best looking games on the system, and one of the few to have full voice acting. The game had a fun and movie reference filled story and a many different possible paths through the game, making it highly re-playable.
Just in time for the holidays, the 3DS Ambassador program does right by its early adopters. According to Andriasang, the following GBA titles will be available for download this upcoming Friday:
- F-Zero for Game Boy Advance (aka, Maximum Velocity)
- Super Mario Advance 3
- Zelda: The Minish Cap
- Fire Emblem Seima no Kouseki
- Kirby & the Amazing Mirror
- Mario Kart Advance
- Mario vs Donkey Kong
- Metroid Fusion
- Wario Land Advance
- Made in Wario
The information came to the Japanese gaming blog site via a notice sent directly to Japanese 3DS systems. As of this time, no such notices has been issued to 3DS systems from other territories.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is at it again. This time they have released a flash parody of the Super Mario video game series named Super Tanooki Skin 2D. The game, drawing from the recently released Super Mario Land 3D, features Mario flying though a 2D level in a bloody tanooki suit. Chasing after the mustachioed plumber is the playable character: a tanooki raccoon dog that was apparently skinned alive and is now seeking to recover its fur. PETA claims that by allowing our plump hero to wear a tanooki suit, Mario is “sending the message that it’s OK to wear fur.”
This is not the first time PETA has taken the liberty to parody titles from the video game industry. In the not too distant past they released Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals, which featured a psychotic looking mama slaughtering a turkey for thanksgiving. This was done to protest the slaughter of thousands of turkeys each year during the month of November.
It is obvious that PETA’s only goal is to fulfill their objective of turning everybody into brainwashed grass-eating robots (okay, I admit, that’s stretching it too far). Mario, a beloved icon of Nintendo and the video game industry in general, is portrayed as angry and/or aggressive in PETA’s website. The usually-jolly plumber sports a blood-soaked tanooki suit and holds the head of a deceased tanooki dog.
No official word from Nintendo yet.
Nintendo kicked off the second day of E3 2011 with a orchestra symphony playing the tunes of The Legend of Zelda series. After the symphony ended, Miyamoto stepped up to the stage to make his opening announcements.
- Announcements of Legend of Zelda franchise’s upcoming titles such as Skyward Sword (Wii), Four Swords (DSi) and Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS).
- Symphony Orchestras will be playing The Legend of Zelda soundtrack in every major region starting in the fall.
- Two soundtracks will become available throughout the year during the releases of Ocarina of Time 3D and Skyward Sword.
- Nintendo will be producing a gold Wii Remote in honor of Zelda’s 25th anniversary.
- Link’s Awakening available as first Game Boy Color title for Virtual Console.
Upcoming 3DS Titles
A small trailer showing upcoming 3DS titles including Mario Kart and Super Mario World.
- Mario Kart will feature 3D and become available this holiday season.
- StarFox will also come to the 3DS, available in September. It will feature motion control by moving the 3DS handheld console as well as live video feed of multiplayer’s faces as you fight online.
- Super Mario Bros. will be available for 3D before years end.
- Kid Icarus Uprising will feature 3D as well as multiplayer battles, 3 on 3 multiplayer battles to be exact. It will also feature augmented reality player cards to do battle as well. Available this holiday season.
- Luigi’s Mansion 2 is coming to the 3DS at an unspecified time.
- New titles coming to 3DS were shown via a video montage including new Resident Evil games, Driver, and Pac- Man.
- 3DS will be launching a Virtual Console that offers 3D Classics including 3D Classics Excitebike and 3D Pokemon games and a free Pokedex.
Wii U was unveild, a system catered to you.
- Wii U has a touch screen/iPad style controller that allows drawing, coloring and a feature allowing you to play the system right on the controllers screen. The controller also offers motion control and new, exciting veiws to the games you are playing. Video calls can be used will the new controller as well as web browsing. The new controller also allows you to play what is on your controller and “flick” it to your television screen. The controller offers a 6.2 inch screen for your gaming pleasure.
- Smash Bros. will be available for both 3DS and Wii U and they will be compatible together.
- An amazing graphics display was shown, using Wii U technology.
- LEGO City Stories, an open world LEGO game and will be exclusive to Wii U and
- Assassin’s Creed, Batman Arkham City, Ghost Recon Online, Dirt, Aliens, Metro Last Light, Tekken, and Ninja Gaiden will all be available for the Wii U system.
- Electronic Arts steps on stage to talk about the possibilities the Wii U will be capable of. Battlefield 3 hinted.
- Wii U was made available for demonstration on the E3 floor via hands on.
- Wii U promises better graphics and online community.
- More information on the Wii U is available at e3.nintendo.com