Nintendo Articles

Our exclusive editorials about the 3DS and its games, as well as Nintendo as a whole.

Where’s the 3DS’ Successor?

It’s common knowledge now; the Wii U is being phased out and replaced by the Nintendo NX. Yes, it’s coming in March 2017. Yes the Wii U is likely being discontinued the year after. We know it’s coming and that the ninth generation of video game consoles has nearly begun.

But while everyone knows about the Wii U’s successor, that still leaves one obvious question. One that’s been bugging me for quite a while now…

Namely, what’s going to succeed the Nintendo 3DS?

Because let’s face it, by all rights, the 3DS should be getting a successor. It’s been out longer than the Wii U and has at least matched the lifespan of the Game Boy Advance. It’s gotten almost all its major games already (Mario Kart 7, Zelda A Link Between Worlds, Pokemon X/Y) and a whole ton of unexpected surprises (Luigi’s Mansion 2, Majora’s Mask 3D). And both sales and third party support have been at a low point in recent years, with the latter being virtually non existent from companies outside of Japan.

So, where is it?

Where’s the next generation of Nintendo handheld system?

Is it the Nintendo NX? That sounds unlikely, especially with the level of power hinted at by the leaks and rumours. A console with higher specs than the Playstation 4 probably won’t be very portable. And that rumour about a future GamePad acting like a remote play device has been rather thoroughly debunked by this point.

Has Nintendo outright given up on portable systems? That’s another possibility, given how much smartphones seem to be cannibalising their market and how a lot more focus seems to be going to smartphone apps now. But Nintendo makes money on hardware as well as software, and a 200 quid handheld games system with 50 quid games makes a lot more money than no new hardware and free/cheap mobile apps.

Nintendo 3DS

LinkBetweenWorlds3DSXL2

2DSSystem

newnintendo3ds1

Above: Especially if they can sell people multiple versions of the same system.

Are Nintendo planning to keep the system going, even as the Wii U gets a successor? Well, that’s certainly possible. There are major 3DS games in development right now, and some of those haven’t yet been announced by Nintendo. But how much longer can the system survive on odd Nintendo spinoffs, Pokemon and eShop titles? Nintendo’s highest sellers have already been released on the system, and it’s unlikely they’ll get sequels on the exact same system. Mario Kart 9 or 10 will probably not be heading to the 3DS any time soon.

Metroid Prime Federation Force

Above: This is not exactly going to send 3DS systems flying off store shelves…

So just what is going on here? Where is the Nintendo 3DS’ successor, given that the Wii U is getting its own? And how much longer can the 3DS hold out before Nintendo moves onto greener pastures?

This Paper Mario Comic Based on Luigi’s Adventures is Amazing!

Back in Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door on Gamecube, you could encounter Luigi at various points throughout the game. There, he would mention his quest through the Waffle Kingdom to save Princess Eclair from the evil Chestnut Kingdom.

It was an interesting story (to the point it got an in-universe book written about it), and the various partners he was with seemed like fascinating people. But there was one issue.

We never saw any of it. We saw the outcome, with Luigi and his partner of the chapter. We got a small taster in some (highly exaggerated) in game books. But no one did we actually get to see or play through Luigi’s quest. So for years, the Marvelous Compass, Jazzafrazz Town and all that cool stuff were unseen subjects that the fans could only imagine.

But now this isn’t the case! Thanks to the wonders of the internet, a webcomic series has started up about Luigi’s adventures through the Waffle Kingdom, showing exactly what scrapes Luigi and his partners may have gotten into! Named Super Luigi, the series follows the basic outline of the original story while adding all kinds of new characters, places and jokes into it to make it more entertaining as a Paper Mario story. Here’s the link:

super luigi title

Super Luigi and the Marvelous Compass – Tumblr

As well as a quick preview:

super luigi preview

Above: Image from the comic, used to illustrate its concept. If anyone knows who exactly to credit, tell me via contact form or social media.

Interestingly, the art style isn’t the traditional Paper Mario style, but a cross between that and the rubberhose limb stylings of classic Disney cartoons. It’s an odd style to get used to at first, but it suits the story very well and gives it a certain charm that sprite edits wouldn’t have achieved.

Unfortunately, there’s just one snag here.

Despite being around since late 2014, the comic is only up to chapter 2. What’s more, it was last updated in February 2016, so it seems like updates for the story might be few and far between. Which frankly speaking, is an utter shame. It was fun to read, the art style look cool and damn, the little jokes and details and expansions on the original plot were really amazing. And in a time like this where Paper Mario fans have the horrors of Colour Splash to look forward to? This sort of story could be just the thing to cheer them up and bring back memories of the good old days.

Still, if you’re a Paper Mario fan, go ahead and read what’s there right now. You probably won’t regret it, and it’s a million times more interesting than Sticker Star ever was.

Source:

Super Luigi and the Marvelous Compass – Tumblr

Luigi’s Mansion 3 (and other Nintendo NX Rumours)

Corrected point about PSP sales. That said, the point is still a valid one for the most part; handheld consoles which are designed specifically for smaller, more ‘portable’ games (and which focus on things like decent battery life) tend to outsell portable versions of home consoles with home console style games. It’s why the Game Boy never lost to any of its competitors, despite them often having better technology and home console style games.

With E3 just a couple of months away, you can’t go anywhere without coming across rumours about the system and its future games.  There’s been talk of a hybrid home console/handheld setup.  There’s been speculation that Zelda U will move to the NX.  Virtual Reality has been mentioned in the context of the Nintendo NX. Basically, if there’s any possible NX related idea you can think of, someone is claiming it’s coming to the new system.

And straight from NeoGAF, here are another few rumours about the system!  Are they true?  Are they likely?  Well, let’s find out!

Like last time, I’m using the tiered rumors where a T1 means one source told me, T2 means two, Tier 3 means 3, and Tier 4 means four or more (there are no T4 this time). I will reiterate this, I am not the source of any of this information. I am simply passing along what I heard. It should all be taken with a grain of salt and not be taken as gospel. Don’t cry and flame me if by June none of this is true.

We’re off to an ‘promising’ start folks. Apparently, the person posting these rumours has so little confidence in some of them that he classifies them as T1-T4 based on how many of his ‘sources’ say they’re true.

The names also sound like codenames for Terminator models, but hey, that’s just a random thought. So moving on…

T3 Rumors

The NX gimmick. I uh….was told not to post this part by some people. As usual, take it with a grain of salt (although I don’t know why I would be warned if it was false) I’m not under any NDA though, and well, it could end up being false. But I was told a variation of this by three different sources. I don’t believe they have a reason to lie to me. Here goes….

I have no idea if I’m right, I’m probably not, this could be fake and my sources may be lying. But hey, I’ll post it anyway!

That’s not very inspiring, is it? Then again, nor’s this part of the rumour…

The NX is going to have a screen controller (whether it’s optional or standard I don’t know) and can be used anywhere to play your home console games. The controller itself will not have any processing capabilities, it’ll essentially be a dummy vita.

So we’re going down the Wii U route here, with a GamePad controller. Somehow I doubt this, especially given how much money and time went into the controller when the Wii U was being developed. It stopped the system being as powerful as its competitors and jacked the price up really high too.

It’ll likely have basic OS functions to access the NX console from anywhere, like a tiny cpu. Nintendo will use enhanced Wii U gamepad streaming tech, and allow the controller to be taken anywhere, connect to the NX console at home (likely through Wi-fi or personal hotspots and the NX console will likely have to be in stand-by mode). Basically, it’s remote play built into the box and won’t require a $200 add-on to experience it.

And here’s where it falls apart.

Remote play for games… is not quite ready to be feasible yet. Something similar works moderately well for office work (using Teamviewer to access remote computers and do stuff on them), but games require a rock solid frame rate and the bare minimum of lag.

Unfortunately, that’s not where the world is at the moment. We have terrible internet infrastructure across much of the planet, and outside of certain areas (South Korea, Silicon Valley, buildings with dedicated fibre connections), internet speeds are not as great as they should be. Want to know why always on DRM is hated?

Because for much of the planet, it’s not feasible. Having you booted out of a game every few minutes because your connection drops off or slows down would make playing video games into complete and utter hell.

This idea would fail for the same reasons. Or heck, even more so, because if your connection to your console slows down or drops out, you are probably going to lose the game you’re playing.

Imagine trying to get through this level:

And then your internet starts lagging or you leave the coffee shop/train pulls into a tunnel.

Your poor Kongs are going to go flying into an obstacle and explode with the rocket barrel. Or worse, you’ll do what’s needed, it’ll look like you’ve bypassed the obstacle, but then have the console sync up and play the ‘life lost’ screen straight afterwards.

Put simply, internet connectivity is not good enough for a gimmick like this to work well as the main draw of a system. You might as well go one step further and have them send the instructions by post:

Above: God Dr Ashens and Guru Larry are awesome!

This is likely what Kimishima meant in his interview with Sankei (http://www.sankei.com/west/news/1601…030012-n1.html) “different way to play with a dedicated machine” and the whole “new way to experience games” mantra that’s been going around Nintendo PR.

Yes, it really is a whole new way play. Or not play, if you’re in a ‘first world’ country with great internet infrastructure.

It also opens up a few censorship questions, but more on that another time.

Speculation: Nintendo could also sell personal hotspot usb adapters to get internet anywhere and plug either directly into the controller or a wall outlet to not drain the controller battery.

I don’t get it, how would this help? You’ve got a personal hotspot, it’s called a smartphone. It still doesn’t help that much if the infrastructure is bad, and hey, if you’re on mobile data, then it most definitely is.

Note: This does not mean there will not be a handheld. This isn’t meant to be a replacement for the handheld as there will still be limitations and the controller won’t have a full OS or the capability for physical game media (discs or cartridges). The needs of a handheld won’t be fully met with this feature. It’s just a nice add-on.

Which makes complete and utter sense. A good home console and a good handheld console are incompatible ideas.

The former needs:

  1. Decent amount of power
  2. Interesting, fully featured games with deep and immersive gameplay
  3. A comfortable, well designed controller
  4. A setup which is compatible with a TV screen or monitor

    The latter needs:

  1. Good battery life
  2. Simpler, quicker games which can be played for short bursts
  3. To be small enough to fit in a pocket, handbag or rucksack
  4. A lower price tag

You can have a good home console, a good handheld console or a piece of crap that doesn’t really do either type of gaming well.

That’s why Nintendo hit it big with their Game Boys, DS and 3DS, and Sony failed miserably with the Vita. The PSP did better (around 75 million systems sold), but still not quite on the same level as the Nintendo DS and its different variations.

T2 Rumors

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is in development for NX. This rumor gained popularity awhile ago from Geno but this isn’t my source. This was a T1 to start but today I got another source to give some info on it. Two different sources have told me that it is in development for NX, and one source said it’s being developed by Next Level Games, who is big enough to do this and Federation Force at the same time.

One source said it started as a Wii U game but after the disappointing performance of the Wii U and the scheduled release date for the game being late in the console’s cycle, Nintendo decided to switch development over to NX. (basically the same situation as Zelda for Wii U, but no word on if this game will also get a Wii U version). The other source said it’s a pretty big deal (he didn’t elaborate if he meant Nintendo is making it a big deal or his workplace is). To support this, an employee stealth edited his post last year.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this was true. Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon was a massive hit on the 3DS, selling near 5 million copies. Nintendo knows there’s an interest in the series, and a Nintendo NX game would be the perfect way to fulfil that interest. Heck, they’re already providing an arcade port of Dark Moon, that shows a certain level of confidence in the Luigi’s Mansion ‘brand’:

As for it being moved over from the Wii U… yeah, makes sense. The Wii U is on its last legs, and some very credible people say that popular games like Zelda U, Super Mario Maker and Splatoon are coming to the Nintendo NX as well, to capitalise on its likely higher level of popularity.

Either way, I think this part seems pretty plausible, though that could just be my inner Luigi’s Mansion fanboy speaking. Hopefully it has music like this:

And some of the ideas from my Luigi’s Mansion 3 article:

Luigi’s Mansion 3; What I’d Like to See – Gaming Reinvented

But back to the rumours:

T1 Rumors

The NX will use a custom Polaris-like GPU. Likely will be on a FinFET 14nm fabrication node. The source told me it’s on the same architecture with heavy customizations of course . It will contain the feature set of Polaris. It is “marginally better than the PS4” and theoretically could be “2x the power of PS4 GPU”. I asked about PS4K being rumored to have a gpu 2x as powerful as the OG PS4 and how the theoretical performance of the NX would be and was told “Theoretically it could be close to the PS4K rumored specs”. Of course, we know nothing of Polaris or the PS4K specs, but he gave that metric.

Not sure about this one to be honest. I’d love the Nintendo NX to be more powerful than the PS4, and I’m hoping it’s more powerful… I just don’t see it happening.

Why? Because that’s not how Nintendo usually does things. They don’t go for ‘power’ first and foremost, they go for technical innovation and price. A console like this seems like it’d cost quite a bit to make, and that only goes up with the ‘remote play’ gimmick mentioned earlier.

Talking of remote play, what I said about poor internet connections holds true here too. Especially when you’re streaming PS4 type games around the world and expecting them to run with minimal latency or lag.

I’m going to paraphrase here, but one comment from a source about the power of NX was that “Dev’s could port over a PS4 game easily and have power to spare. Even the most demanding ones”. My own theory is any game that dips below 30fps on PS4 will likely stay at 30fps on NX and maybe have some enhanced effects.

Would make sense given the earlier rumour, though I think estimations about the system’s ‘power’ level might be a bit optimistic at the moment.

Continue Reading…

Improving the Kunkel Awards for Video Game Journalism

On March 24th 2016, the first ever Kunkel Awards for video game journalism had just finished. Split into five categories (news reporting, feature writing, news video, feature video and photography) and backed by the SPJ, they were meant to reward the best of the best in the world of gaming journalism.

But while the first awards setup was okay, it was heavily flawed. The awards were barely advertised, so no one really knew they were a thing. The categories were limited. Basically, it was a good start, but it didn’t quite hit the mark.

So let’s talk about these issues in a bit more depth, shall we?

First up, a quick question:

Did you know the Kunkel Awards were actually a thing?

No?

Then you’re not involved in GamerGate or the SPJ, since pretty much no one else covered it. The large media sites like Kotaku, IGN or Gamespot?

what awards

Not a peep. As far as I can remember, they didn’t write a single article about these awards.
The subject specific sites? Nope, nothing there either. GoNintendo didn’t mention them, My Nintendo News didn’t mention them, Zelda Informer and Bulbapedia and Serebii and all those guys didn’t mention them. Nothing. Nought.

no awards 2

And the gamers? Hah, you must be joking, right? I didn’t hear one word about these awards outside of the odd GamerGate topic. As a result, there was probably more hype for the ‘character of the year’ poll at GameFAQS than the Kunkels.

http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/cb6
Above: Especially when Link and Cloud lose to the L Block from Tetris…

So the first thing the SPJ needs to do here is to get the word out of more. Get the large sites and forums actually talking about the awards and who should be nominated for them. Heck, go even further and provide a badge the sites can use in the sidebar. Or a button underneath articles that nominates them for an award.

Make it so people actually know this thing exists. Don’t make the Nintendo of Europe mistake by assuming that if you build it, they’ll magically come.

Another issue was that the categories were a bit limited. So in addition to the four categories we did get, we should have also gotten awards for:

1. The best investigative journalism. Reward the people who risk being sued or arrested (or worse) to blow the lid off the gaming world’s controversies.

2. The best ‘contrarian’ articles. In other words, an award for interesting articles that challenge people’s preconceptions about games, the media and the industry. Like Sean Malstrom’s articles about how 3D Mario games may have been a mistake, or that Tevis Thompson’s thoughts about the decline of the Zelda franchise.

yeah this article again

Above: It’s a flawed article, but it’s still an interesting perspective on the Zelda franchise.

3. An award for fact checking and verification. It’s depressingly rare in the current day gaming media, so it’d be nice to reward the few sites and writers that actually go and research rumours and claims before posting about them. Like Source Gaming.

4. Excellent in podcast/radio presenting. Audio only media deserves as much support as written articles and Youtube videos, right?

5. Best story and theory feature. Because the award nominees for the best feature article categories are all based on the industry itself and events outside of the games. So it’d be nice to see a category for interesting pieces about video game canon, timelines, theories and characters rather than industry events or problems.

waluigious

Above: Waluigious, Coin Heaven, DK Vine… all places with some interesting takes on popular franchises and their canon.

6. Author awards in general too. Like, an award for ‘best journalist’, which goes to an individual whose general quality of work is outstanding rather than someone who gets lucky with a single good article or video. Maybe lifetime awards for people who’ve contributed a lot to making the gaming media better.

7. Site specific awards. Reward sites (and Youtube channels) whose contributions and processes are top notch.

8. The negative stuff. Yeah, this is not going to be popular with some people, but negative awards are as important as the positive ones nowadays. Film has the Golden Raspberry Awards (Razzies), art has the Turnip Prize, heck, X-Play used to give bad games the ‘Golden Mullet Award’. So why not a gaming journalism version? You could give out awards for bad journalism in general.

Heck, there’s even an award called a ‘Foot in Mouth Award’, which is apparently handed out by the Plain English Campaign for “a baffling comment by a public figure”. Wouldn’t that sort of thing be perfect for video game journalists, Youtube celebrities and analysts? I bet they’d be no shortage of competition!

Either way, a few more award categories (and a lot more promotion), and the Kunkel Awards could really become something big. Something that authors and sites are willing to fight to the bitter end for, and which inspires the gaming media to become much better than it currently is.

But what do you think? Would the above suggestions make the Kunkel Awards a lot better in future? Or are there other issues the SPJ needs to overcome first?

A History of Nintendo Fanworks Cancelled by Nintendo Legal Action

As any budding fan game developer knows, the worst thing that can happen to a project is the IP owner sending a cease and desist notice to shut it down. It happened to Chrono Resurrection. It nearly killed the whole ROM hacking scene for Chrono Trigger. And heck, not a day goes by without some MMORPG private server being taken offline.

But how about for Nintendo fan projects? Well, it turns out that quite a surprising number of those get shut down for ‘legal’ reasons too. Whether it’s Full Screen Mario, Zelda 30 Tribute or Super Mario Remaker, the company certainly isn’t shy about shutting down projects that might hurt their bottom line. So let’s look at some of the many Nintendo fan works screwed over by cease and desists, DMCA notices or other Nintendo legal action…

The Legend of Zelda: The Hero of Time Movie – January 2010

First up, let’s head back to what may well be the first ever Nintendo fan work shut down by Nintendo. The Hero of Time was a Zelda movie that was in production during the early 2000s, and was known for being one of the first live action movies based on the series. Hosted on the Legends and Adventure forums, the project was going to offer a new story set in Hyrule with familiar species like the Gorons and Zoras playing important parts.

Unfortunately, the movie’s creators made a fatal mistake when it came time to release the movie. Why?

Because they tried to sell tickets to showings of the film in actual cinemas.

This got Nintendo’s attention, and give the company credit, they weren’t too harsh on it. In fact, they agreed to license the movie for a few weeks or so, up until the end of the year in fact. Once that time was over, the project stopped and any chance of things like DVDs or live showings went wth it.. Unfortunately, the next project wasn’t quite so lucky…

Super Mario Bros X – April 2011

That project being Super Mario Bros X, a fan game and game maker tool for the Mario series. Designed as a cross between Super Mario All Stars and Super Mario World (with Zelda and Metroid elements added in later), the game let people make their own Mario games in the form of ‘episodes’, with custom graphics and music.

Again, another fatal flaw came up. Namely the domain name, which creator Redigit had chosen as ‘SuperMarioBrothers.org’. This name made it awfully easy for Nintendo to say the game was competing with their own products, and they eventually sent a cease and desist notice in 2011. The result was that the original videos and posts about the game were taken down, and the domain eventually transferred to Nintendo themselves.

super mario bros org whois

Above: As you can clearly see on the Whois listing.

However, a lot of people saw this as suspicious. Hence up popped a conspiracy theory that Redigit had faked the legal notice himself to get away from Super Mario Bros X to work on Terraria. This wasn’t the truth (for obvious reasons, the domain is owned by Nintendo now) but Redigit doesn’t have a great reputation because of it regardless.

Still, Super Mario Bros X wasn’t dead for good. Just months later, forums and fan sites had popped up for the game, and those have stayed active to this very day. Heck, development has even restarted under the guidance of the community, with plugins like LunaDLL acting like stopgaps.

This wasn’t the case of the next project though.

Full Screen Mario – November 2013

Namely Full Screen Mario, a Javascript and HTML 5 remake of Super Mario Bros that went live in 2013. For a few days, this became a phenomenom. With random level generators, extra features and coverage from half the gaming community, it was featured everywhere.

Which wasn’t something that Nintendo’s legal team was all too pleased about. After all, Full Screen Mario was a carbon copy of SMB 1. You know, that game Nintendo was selling on Virtual Console.

So on November 1st 2013, the project got DMCAed. The game was immediately replaced with a ‘Full Screen Takedown Notice’ page, and the project has been dead ever since. But this wasn’t the only fan remake hit by Nintendo’s lawyers…

Super Mario 64 HD (Bob-omb Battlefield Version) – March 2015

Because a few years later, a fan called Roystan Ross posted a HD remake of Super Mario 64 called Super Mario 64 HD. It wasn’t a full remake (only containing Bob-omb Battlefield and no full missions), but it was enough to excite the internet. And with things like a Gold Mario form unlocked for getting all the coins, it soon became a big thing on Youtube and other video sharing sites:

No, it wasn’t THE Super Mario 64 HD. That was a separate fan project, as seen below:

Above: Not the original trailer

But it was enough for a lot of people, and Nintendo thought it was best to send a copyright infringement notice anyway. As a result, the project is no longer available to download on the developers website.

That was also enough for the other Mario 64 HD team to take the trailer private, go into hiding and keep their own project on the down low for a while. So Nintendo took down one fan remake, and then managed to scare the developers of the other fan remake into vanishing off the internet in response. But demakes weren’t safe from this either…

The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 2D – May 2015

Which brings us to the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 2D, Edition 2,000,199. That title’s probably not much of an exaggeration, since the idea of a 2D Ocarina of Time has been done to death over the last ten or so years. We’ve had Zelda 1 style versions, Minish Cap style versions, an Oracle series style version… and fates ranging from a faked death via car accident to team feuds to another team getting hit by a legal notice. But we’re talking about the current Ocarina of Time 2D game.

The one shown in this trailer:

It was quite an impressive project. From detailed Link to the Past style sprites to redone bosses and dungeons to even an online multiplayer mode, the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 2D was shaping up to be a great game.

Until in May 2015, the download link was taken offline with a DMCA notice in its place.

But hey, it wasn’t the end of the world. Surprisingly, Nintendo only ever went after the download on Dropbox, not the website or its social media channels. Hence as of today, the game is still in development, plans for a version 2 are ongoing and there’s even talk of a deal with Nintendo to license the IP and make it official. Pretty good, compared to the next item on the list.

Zelda Anime (Zeldamotion) – July 2015

That being an anime adaptation of the Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past. Launched as a Kickstarter project by Aeipathy Industries (that was probably a mistake in itself), the series was going to adapt the SNES classic into an anime series. You may recognise it from this MSU-1 mod for the game (which used part of the first episode as an intro):

Either way, the fact a group of fans were trying to collect money for a Zelda adaptation didn’t sit well with the Nintendo lawyers. So as promptly as it went up, the Kickstarter got taken down and the project was cancelled as a result.

Continue Reading…