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Will the NX Be a Cartridge Based System With Detachable Controllers?

Just yesterday, we heard that information about the NX would be leaked today. And hey, lo and behold, Eurogamer now have an article about just that! They say some sources have confirmed to them what Nintendo’s new system is like.

So what is it? What is the NX, according to these mysterious sources?

Well apparently, the NX functions as a high power handheld console with own display. However, you can then supposedly connect it to your TV to work as a home console. So in other words, it’d be a hybrid console like some of rumours suggested.

It will also supposedly use cartridges for games. Like on a NES/SNES/Nintendo 64, except slightly more modernised. These cartridges would be around 32 GB in size. That’s not much; Call of Duty Advanced Warfare is 49 GB and Grand Theft Auto V is 80 GB.

nx cart

Euro Gamer’s ‘Depiction’ of an NX Cart

So third party support might not be as good as Nintendo was hoping. Especially not if the console has to compete with the new Xbox One Scorpio and PS4 Neo hardware.

Processor wise, the console is supposedly running Nvidia’s Tegra processor. This is because Nintendo is more interested in trying to squeeze the tech into a handheld than reaching graphical parity with its competitors.

It’ll run on a custom OS, not Android.

Backwards compatibility is non existent cause of different hardware.

And apparently, Nintendo now has a decent marketing strategy this time around. They’re pushing the ability to ‘take your games with you on the go’.

They plan to reveal the console in September.

So that’s the rumour from Eurogamer. But is it really true?

Well, I’m very sceptical to be honest with you. For one thing, this seems like the kind of business mistake Nintendo wouldn’t make after the Wii U.

I mean, think about third party support a minute. You know how the Wii U barely got any?

Yeah, this rumoured machine wouldn’t either.

Because it’s simply too weak to run it. Games like GTA and Call of Duty would take up far too much space and resources for a cartridge based machine like this, and the difference in hardware would just make them even harder to port over.

As a result, it seems unlikely Nintendo would do this. They can’t carry an entire system on their own, and they wouldn’t take risks with third party support like this again. It’d mean they hadn’t learnt from the Wii U debacle.

Then there also the matter of backwards compatibility. Or the lack of it.

This seems like another thing Nintendo likely wouldn’t want to leave behind. Why? Because backwards compatibility is a great way to give people something to do on a new system. It’s why every Nintendo handheld basically comes roaring out the gate with a full fledged software library courtesy of its predecessor.

I’m not sure Nintendo would want to lose that. Especially not if the NX is being designed like a handheld console.

Finally, there’s also the obvious issues with a ‘hybrid’ in general. What issues?

Well, read this article if you haven’t done so already:

Why a Hybrid Console is a Bad Idea

Basically, a handheld’s needs are very different from a home console’s ones. It needs a decent battery life. Size and form factor that makes it easy to carry. And for the most part, games designed to be played in short bursts.

There are rumours that games can somehow run differently based on how they’re loaded. That ‘mechanic’ might fix the last problem somehow. By say, running a game in different ‘handheld’ and ‘home console’ modes. That’s possible (albeit ridiculously complicated to implement well).

But it doesn’t deal with the problems of battery life or size. The former is a huge issue, given that the Wii U GamePad runs out of power quickly and the 3DS has a far shorter battery life than the DS ever did. A handheld that requires constant charging is nearly useless for playing ‘games on the go’.

I also wonder whether the NX as a portable is a bit of a big leap for handhelds. I mean, seems kind of unrealistic to go from this:

To this:

In the equivalent of one generation.

Cause that’s what it’s implying. Has handheld console technology really got that much better in 5 years? I’m not convinced to be honest. It seems unlikely a portable could compete as a home console in the eighth generation like this.

But it’s just a rumour. Let’s just see what happens, shall we?

Source:

NX is a Portable Console With Deatachable Controllers

Level-5 Trademarks Inazuma Eleven Ares and Lady Layton

Along with numerous others. Here’s the full list of new trademarks:

  • Lady Layton
  • Inazuma Eleven Ares
  • Megaton Musashi
  • Otome Hero
  • Yo-Kai Daijten
  • Yo-Kai Watch Geraporhythm

But what are they used for?

Well in some cases, it seems pretty obvious they’re for new games. For example, a new Yo-Kai Watch game or two seems extremely likely. Same deal with Inazuma Eleven, which is due a new game around about now.

It’s the other three that are interesting. For starters, what’s Otome Hero? Because that doesn’t correspond to an existing franchise or game. So that’s likely a new IP they’ll reveal at one point.

Megaton Musashi is interesting. Apparently, it’s the name of a Japanese warship from World War II. So perhaps Level-5 are making a strategy game for once? Maybe one like Fire Emblem or Advance Wars?

Either way, they look like possible new IPs.

And that brings us to Lady Layton. What is it?

Well, probably something to do with the Professor Layton series. But how could it work?

Because there’s not really a ‘Lady Layton’ esque character in the series. Flora is his adopted daughter, but she’s never called Layton in game. The professor doesn’t have a wife or (surviving) love interest. Who’s Lady Layton meant to be?

So it’s going to be interesting to see how this could be a real thing. Hopefully they’re not going to gender swap Layton for ‘attention’…

Either way, all should be revealed on July 27th, in their ‘Vision’ conference.  But what do you think these trademarks are for?

Source:

Level-5 trademarks “Lady Layton”, “Inazuma Eleven Ares” and more – NeoGAF

Why Miitomo Failed and Pokemon GO Succeeded

When it comes to Nintendo and mobile apps, two examples have stood out so far.

One is Miitomo, their first attempt to build a mobile app ‘in house’. It’s a question/answer app which never really caught on as much as you’d expect, and whose hype has mostly died out by this point.

And then on the other hand, there’s Pokemon GO. The big new of app the moment, which has been downloaded more than 50 million times on Android alone. This Pokemon game has been a major success with millions of loyal players.

But why?

Why did the former kind of lose steam and die whereas the latter become such a massive success?

Well, it’s not just branding. That’s an important part of it, sure. But arguably the main difference is the concept itself. Or more precisely, Pokemon GO had a core concept.

Find and catch Pokemon in the real world.

pokemon go footage

Such a simple concept

That’s it. That’s the ‘hook’ that gets people playing the app. And extra features like eggs, gyms, levelling up, etc… they all stem from that simple concept. You’ve got one good idea which has been logically built up in a whole game.

Miitomo didn’t.

Miitomo feels like it was designed to ‘be a app’.

It feels like Nintendo and DeNA decided that Nintendo needed to be on mobile platforms. So they took a hodgepodge of different ‘ideas’ and bundled them together into an app vaguely inspired by social media tools like Facebook and Twitter.

As a result, the app doesn’t have a selling point. Yes, you can answer random questions and send those answers to friends, but you can’t actually communicate in any direct way. Yes, you can customise your Mii, but it makes absolutely no difference to how the app functions. And the various mini games are just extra diversions to get you more stuff to customise your Mii for reasons completely unknown to anyone using the app.

This also explains why monetisation is so pointless in Miitomo. You can buy coins and what not, but what’s the point? It doesn’t do anything. Having nice clothing doesn’t add anything to Miitomo. Heck, the level up system itself doesn’t really add anything either. Why do Style Levels and Popularity Levels exist? Oh wait, to give you more items and clothing, which you can’t really do anything with.
Miitomo just has no core. There’s no real reason to actually play the ‘game’. It’s a series of disparate systems put into an app that exists purely to be an app.

Really, it reminds me of something the candidates on The Apprentice would design. A weird product they’re given 24 hours to design out and sell to hopefully stop themselves getting fired.

Okay, so let’s move onto the branding now. People have pointed out a million times that Pokemon GO does well because Pokemon is so recognisable and well loved. Fair point, lots of people are massively nostalgic for the series due to its popularity in the 90s, and many others play the games to this day. An app based on that series was pretty much always going to succeed.

But I think it’s worth pointing out why Miitomo failed here as well. I mean, wasn’t the Wii series super popular?

Yes. Yes it was.

But here’s the catch.

Miis are not a brand. People don’t like ‘Mii’ as a franchise.

They’re just a representation of the player. What people really care about is the gameplay the Miis are involved in.
Wii Sports? Succeeded because people wanted to play virtual sports with motion controls. Wii Play? Was a mini game deal with a free Wii remote. Tomodachi Life? Well, watching Miis do stupid things, Sims style.

And every successful Mii game was like this. It sold on the strength of the concept. No one liked ‘Miis’ as a ‘brand’.

Nintendo Land

Otherwise Nintendo Land would have sold tens of millions

Miitomo being a terrible concept meant…

Well, you can probably guess really. You take a type of character no one really gives a toss about, from a vague ‘series’ that isn’t really memorable for its characters and put them in an app with no purpose, and it’ll inevitably fail.

People care for Pokemon, they don’t care for Miis.

Finally, there’s the visibility factor.

Pokemon GO players are really visible.

Miitomo ‘players’ aren’t.

What do I mean by this?

Well to put it simply, Pokemon GO requires you go outside. It requires you go to places with other people in order to catch Pokemon.

As a result, it kind of markets itself. People see others using (and very obviously at that), get interested in the app and try it themselves. From there, the hype gets bigger and bigger until eventually millions of people are playing it on a regular basis.

Miitomo on the other hand, is an inside app. You mostly use it in your own home, away from others. Or if you use it outside, it’s virtually impossible to tell apart someone using it from someone using Twitter or Facebook. Hence there’s less ‘interest’ in this new app.

Oh, and let’s not forget (on that note) the issue of the media coverage. Pokemon GO lends itself to stories like ‘guy falls off cliff playing game’, ‘hundreds of players rush to central park to catch a Vaporean’, and ‘girl finds dead body while playing’. Because by forcing people outside and making them pro active, the app ends up being used in the middle of all manner of interesting situations that make for good stories. This then builds up interest with the people reading the papers or flicking through the BBC website.

Because of this, Pokemon GO is a perfect tool for getting media attention.

Miitomo? Not so much.

So that’s what Pokemon GO did well and Miitomo didn’t. The former had a clear idea, brand and built in marketing strategy, whereas the latter didn’t really have any of that going for it. And when you’ve got one app with a real purpose and one without… it’s obvious which one is going to ‘win’.

Mario Trivia Time; Ten More Obscure Mario Facts You Never Knew

Well, it’s been a few months since our last one of these. So guess what? It’s time for yet more Mario trivia and obscure facts!

And as per usual, there are no clichés in this list. We don’t mention Mario being called Jumpman, Mr Video or Ossan. There’s nothing about how Mario was a carpenter in Donkey Kong or named after Nintendo of America’s landlord. And there’s certainly not going to be any stupid theories here either.

Why? Cause you know about all those. Everyone does. It’s why the average Mario facts list is so boring now, because you know everything that’s going to come up.

But enough background for now. Let’s start the list!

10. Super Mario Land 2’s Friday the 13th Reference

With an interesting little fact that few people know about Super Mario Land on Game Boy. Remember those hockey mask wearing Goombas in the Pumpkin Zone?

Maskie

Above: A Masked Ghoul

The ones that look a little like Jason Vorhees from Friday the 13th?
Well, they’re a reference to him. But did you know this goes behind the design? That in Japan, they were even more clearly a reference to the horror film series?

Yep, it’s true. Here’s what they named the Masked Ghouls in Japan:

J Son

Yeah, no mistaking where that name comes from, is there?

But as could be expected, it was changed to the much less interesting ‘Masked Ghoul’ in the English speaking world. Guess Nintendo thought the original name was a bit much, it being such a clear reference to an M rated film series in a kids game.

9. Mario Kart Double Dash Uses Glitched Textures for Objects

Enough about names for now though. How about something a tad more interesting?

Like some actual glitched graphics in a Nintendo game? Like, in normal gameplay?

Because in Mario Kart Double Dash, this actually happens. As the Youtube series Boundary Break found out, the lamps in the background don’t actually have proper textures. Instead, they use glitchy textures from other random objects in place of actual unique ones. Here’s a picture:

glitched lamp

Above: A very broken lamp

As well as the episode showing where they are:

Bet you never expected to see that in a Mario game! Ah those little background details hold so many interesting secrets…

8. Super Mario Sunshine’s Goop is Shaped Like Petey Piranha

And talking of background details, here’s one that a lot of players wouldn’t have noticed in Super Mario Sunshine.

Do you remember how the entrance to Bianco Hills wasn’t immediately accessible in Super Mario Sunshine?

How you’ve got to kill a Polluted Piranha boss to reveal the entrance?

Well it seems like the goop it spawns from has an interesting secret. Namely, if you look at it from above, it’s shaped like Petey Piranha! Yes really, here’s the goop as seen from the air:

petey piranha goop

Above: This looks familiar…

Seems like the creators of Super Mario Sunshine put a lot of work into even the smallest details!

7. Sea Gull Hunting in the Wario Hop

But let’s move away from background details now, and onto interesting beta findings. Like this one in Wario Land 4’s Wario Hop mini game. Don’t remember what the Wario Hop is? It’s a mini game where Wario rides along on a tyre and has to jump over various comedic obstacles. Here’s a video:

And at a certain part of the mini game, a bird sometimes flies down in front of Wario. It’s only for decoration, and can’t be interacted with, but it’s there none the less.

However, it appears like it wasn’t only there for decoration at one point. Indeed, there are graphics for this bird being killed or knocked out in the game! Here they are:

dead seagull

Above: It’s just resting!

How would this work? Who knows. But it was likely taken out either because it was creepy (killing a random animal that never did anything hostile) or strange in context (hitting anything else causes you to automatically fail the mini game). Either way, it’s there in the ROM, and it’s not been discovered till about a month ago. The more you know?

6. Super Mario Land’s Revised Music

Back to a more traditional Mario game now, with Super Mario Land. You’ve heard Super Mario Land’s music, haven’t you? Songs like the Birabuto Kingdom, the Easton Kingdom, the Chai Kingdom…

Well yeah, and they’re great tunes. But did you know that there are actually two slightly different versions of Super Mario Land’s soundtrack?

Yeah, you heard that right. Two.

Because Super Mario Land actually got a slightly updated rerelease. And in addition to (probably) fixing a few bugs in the game, it also improved the game’s soundtrack ever so slightly. Compare (top is version 1, bottom is version 1.1):

Above: Note the updated music.

The later ones have much better percussion and a few other minor improvements, and make the game sound ever so slightly better than it used to.

Unfortunately, it seems unlikely most fans will ever hear these songs for themselves.

Why?

Because Nintendo used version 1.0 for the 3DS Virtual Console release of Super Mario Land. So if you’re buying that one, you’re getting the old and somewhat inferior version of the game with worse music and a very noticeable bug you can exploit in auto scrolling levels.

Thanks Nintendo!

Continue Reading…

Super Smash Bros Legacy XP Revealed

Do you remember Project M? That awesome Super Smash Bros Brawl mod that tried to rebuild Brawl’s physics engine and add lots of new characters and stages to the game?

The one that seemingly got shut down out of nowhere?

Do you ever wish there was a replacement? Another Smash Bros mod to continue its legacy in some way?

Well if so, you’re really going to like Super Smash Bros Legacy XP! Because this Super Smash Bros mod seems to be providing just anything a Smash Bros fan could want! Here’s the official trailer:

As you can see, there’s a ton of fantastic additions here.

You’ve got new stages, like one based on Bowser’s Castle in Super Mario RPG and another based on Wario Land Shake It.

All the characters from Melee that would cut from Brawl are back. Including Young Link, Pichu and Dr Mario.

New characters are added in, including many fan favourites. These include Lucina, Metal Sonic, Ridley and Waluigi (with others like K Rool coming soon).

And heck, there are even things like new costumes (like Pig Ganon) and Omega Forms of stages inspired by Super Smash Bros 4!

It’s quite the impressive mod pack, and it’s only going to get better with future updates. Like a hackless version that’ll be available soon, to let the game run on a non modded Wii. Or whatever other additions they add, like new music, new stages and new characters not mentioned above.

So yeah, Super Smash Bros Legacy XP looks amazing, and you’ll soon be able to find a download at Smash Boards here:

Super Smash Bros Legacy XP – Smash Boards

The initial release will need a hacked Wii, but a hackless version will come later.

What do you think of Super Smash Bros Legacy XP? Could it be an even better mod than Project M in due time?