Scott: For the most part the social interaction stuff has been harmless. Most folks are content to scrawl a little fun graffiti with their stickers, or comment on such and such level. The Miiverse posts are so antiseptic and innocent, it’s a nice alternative to what we usually see when anonymous gamers share their thoughts. It must be tough to moderate this content considering it’s not just text but also drawings and clipart mashups. What could be a dicey environment for kids has turned out to be pretty pleasant. The nice lady in the above screenshot even helped me spot an easter egg.
Tom: Love the driveable ice skate! Just when you’re on the verge of saying, “okay, enough with the damn ice”, the ice skate comes along and you’re a little sad there isn’t actually more ice.
Scott: The ice skate is a great example of how creatively rich Mario games can be. As far as I can tell the ice skate is confined to one level. The skate is a great nod to Mario fans. I remember a similar level in Super Mario Bros. 3 where you get inside a big boot and stomp around. It only appears in that one level. Bad examples of this are the levels where you ride that seamonster around. Is it supposed to be some Yoshi stand in? Is Yoshi too big time to show up in a Mario game?
Tom: Hmm, Shadow Play Alley is certainly stylish. And, hey, look, it’s the Mystery House Melee, a sort of quick n’ dirty combat chamber with increasingly difficult enemies. Basically a 30-second horde mode, with a star for each wave you pass. This is more like it. In fact, it occurs to me that short levels always make for a better game. If I don’t like a level, it’s over quickly. If I do like a level, it’s convenient to replay!
But what really won me over was Double Cherry Pass. Who can resist a small army of Princess Peach clones raising holy hell with fireballs? And I even got the sticker to show for it. It’s a picture of Princess Peach with a fireball in her hand. It’s like they knew I was going to take Princess Peach in this level! Here I am, caring about a sticker.
Tom: Hey, you don’t have to be Mario! I can instead think of this as Super Princess Peach 3D World. The next two weeks are going to be much easier. Furthermore, it has cat suits. Cat suits! It’s a little weird and I can’t help but think of that scene in The Shining when Shelley Duvall sees people in bear suits or cat suits or whatever doing things to each other, but I’ll gladly take weird over that insufferable little plumber.
Scott: Mario loves getting weird. The cat suit is just the latest in a long line of animal skins: Frog Mario, Racoon Mario, freaking Tanooki Mario (Tom’s previous fave) and that’s just canon. I’m sure there are plenty of bizarro suits in Mario games I haven’t played. It’s surprising it took this long to get to cat. Seems like a massive oversight.
Tom: Nintendo is clearly more of a dog person.
Scott: Or maybe the folks over at Nintendo were waiting for a desperate moment like this — Wii U on the rocks, stockholders getting anxious — to break out the cat.
Tom Chick and Scott Dobrosielsky will play through all eight worlds of Super Mario 3D World, writing an entry after each world for the next two weeks. What makes these grown men qualified to guide you through the worlds of Nintendo’s latest family-friendly platformer? Glad you asked.
Nintendo has suspended Swapnote. In a terse announcement on the news page, Nintendo informed users that the 3DS Swapnote feature was turned off yesterday at 7PM Pacific time, due to inappropriate use.
Nintendo has learned that some consumers, including minors, have been exchanging their friend codes on Internet bulletin boards and then using Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in other regions) to exchange offensive material. Nintendo has been investigating ways of preventing this and determined it is best to stop the SpotPass feature of Swapnote because it allows direct exchange of photos and was actively misused.
Nintendo added the ability to trade photos to Swapnote in April. Sadly, conducting a Google search for Swapnote results in a distressing number of inappropriate images of Nikki, the application’s animated guide.
There’s nothing quite like getting blindsided by a new release. The Wonderful 101 is the latest from Platinum Games, the folks who made Bayonetta, Vanquish, and that weird recent Metal Gear game where the albino cyborg slices up watermelons and whatnot. Wonderful 101, which comes out in North America on September 15, is exclusive to the Wii U for some very particular control reasons, including using the touchscreen for gesture controls, playing interior areas on the gamepad while you watch what’s happening outdoors on the big screen, and five-player coop where everyone else has to waggle a Wiimote. You do have a Wii U, right?
Nintendo announced the 2DS today. It’s sort of like the hand-held 3DS except it doesn’t do the 3D part. It also doesn’t have the familiar DS hinge in the middle. The 2DS comes in what Nintendo calls a “slate” form factor. The 2DS will be compatible with all DS and 3DS games, sans the 3D of course. The system will come with a 4GB SD card for storage. Curiously, the 2DS does have the front-facing cameras like the 3DS so it can take stereoscopic pictures for eventual transfer and viewing on a 3D system. Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aime, said that the device is not aimed at the hardcore gamer.
“We definitely believe there are consumers looking for value in handheld devices. We have always thought about the entry-level consumer.”
The Nintendo 2DS will launch on October 12th in North America for $129.99.
The internet gave us BadgerBadgerBadger, Keyboard Cat, and twerking, but sometimes it gives us good stuff as well. Coming from two far-off corners of the internet is some news of industrious hackers from the homebrew scenes bringing great games to platforms they’ve never been on.
RetroCollect has the scoop on Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting. It’s Street Fighter II on the Nintendo Virtual Boy. Now you can Hadoken in red and… More red. Getting it to work depends on a specific flash cartridge, but someone calling himself “Mr.Anon” toiled to bring Street Fighter II to all the Virtual Boy owners out there.
From another part of the internet comes the news that two fellows going by the names “smealum” and “Lobo” are bringing Portal to the Nintendo DS. According to the programmers, it’s buggy and incomplete, but they have 14 levels of Portal gun goodness and there’s even a level editor! It’s based on an original story in which you play Doug Rattman, the guy that left all the cryptic graffiti on the walls of Aperture Science. The Companion Cube is even more adorable in tiny DS form.
Thanks, internet! Sometimes you can be pretty swell.
Cubemen 2 is the first game announced for the Wii U to support cross-platform play with non-Nintendo devices. The blocky game coming to Nintendo’s console in Q4 2013 features a mish-mash of real-time strategy and tower defense. According to the publisher, Nnooo, the strategy title will support cross-platform play between the Wii U, iOS, Mac, Linux, and PC. Players will also be able to share their user-created levels between platforms.
Like many decent sequels, especially when they’re on a Nintendo system, Pikmin 3 is just more Pikmin. The basic experience doesn’t differ from the usual slight cute puzzles, all very Nintendo, all very Wii, all very candy colored and conveniently soluble and cheerfully chirping and rather irresistable, all very Pikmin. But there are four things to recommend Pikmin 3 over the previous Pikmins.
Nintendo reported that quarterly profits for April through June were up while sales of the Wii U console were low. Although Nintendo made 8.62 billion yen in profit, they also revealed that only 160K units of the Wii U console were sold in the world during this period. The disappointing sales of the console were attributed to the lack of key software titles released during the quarter. The primary driver of profits for the company appears to be the Nintendo 3DS and 3DXL. The handhelds sold 1.4 million units worldwide.
Nintendo plans to continue to push the 3DS in all territories with key software titles such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Pokemon X and Y. For the Wii U, their strategy will be to concentrate on proactively developing first-party titles to attract hardware buyers. Nintendo also plans to leverage their console communications systems to reach out to consumers.
Nintendo strives to improve sales by communicating the compelling nature of our hardware and software to as many people as possible through our new netwrok service called “Miiverse,” which offers an environment where people can empathize with others and share their gaming experiences. We also strive to improve hardware profitability by reducing its costs.
In related news, Siliconera reports that Nintendo will be allowing customers to make digital eShop purchases through the web on PC and smartphones soon.
Fans of smashing undead bobbies with cricket bats won’t be doing it again on the Wii U anytime soon. Ubisoft’s ZombiU was not profitable enough to warrant a sequel according to CEO Yves Guillemot. Speaking to GamesIndustry International about the Wii U console, Guillemot revealed that the innovative title featuring a zombie apocalypse set in London performed below expectations.
ZombiU, one of the most popular launch titles for the system with players, was not profitable, he says. Not even close. As such, he says, there are no plans (or even desire) for a sequel.
It was, in fact, because of that game’s performance that Ubisoft decided to make Rayman Legends a multiplatform game.
ZombiU was favorably reviewed on Quarter to Three.
Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto told shareholders during an annual meeting that the company underestimated the amount of work needed to create HD visuals in games for the Wii U console. In the translated text of the 73rd Annual General Meeting of Shareholders Q&A posted by Nintendo, Miyamoto offers this explanation for the delays in shipping new software like Pikmin 3.
When it comes to the scale of software development, Wii U with HD graphics requires about twice the human resources than before. Please allow me to explain that we may have underestimated the scale of this change and as a result, the overall software development took more time than originally anticipated just as we tried to polish the software at the completion phase of development.
Miyamoto went on to say that the company was building a “Nintendo Web Framework” to facilitate development. The network will allow teams to share resources and use open web technologies to assist in creating assets for Wii U software production.
The Pokemon Company has issued a statement concerning hacked pokemon. (Polygon has the translated summary.) The site warns players that using hacks to acquire “illegal” pokemon may damage saved files, and runs counter to the spirit of the game. Neither the Pokemon Company nor Nintendo will restore saved games or fix corrupted data. They also advise cheaters that if they are caught they will be banned from participating in any official tournaments.
You’ll never beat Team Rocket with those black market pocket monsters!