Nintendo Articles

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

What’s Killing Pokemon GO?

Since its launch, Pokemon GO has been a massive success. With downloads and numbers higher than any other app before it, it’s basically become the most successful mobile game in history. Heck, it’s already a good third of the way to its first billion dollars in a matter of weeks.

But alas, Pokemon GO seems to have a small bump in the road. More precisely, various mobile stat sites have found the game is gradually losing a fair amount of its players every day or so, with recent figures having it as lost 10 million daily users already.

So what’s going on? Why is Pokemon GO losing its popularity? Well, let’s find out!

Hype Die Down

First off, let’s start with the obvious one. Namely, that the game is leaving ‘fad’ status and stabilising in its popularity. Like how Pokemon got less popular as ‘Pokemania’ died out. Or how various other fads pretty much died out completely a couple of months or years in.

And heck, with Pokemon GO being the biggest mobile game in history… there really is only one way to go from here, right?

Well, I guess so. Pokemon GO won’t always be the worldwide phenomenon it was when it started out. That part is inevitable.

But Pokemon GO also seems to be dying out a bit quicker than some other ‘fads’ did. I mean, look at the Pokemon games themselves. They only really got that much less popular by generation 3 or so, a good three or four years after the series took off.
Pokemon GO on the other hand seems to be losing popularity a little quicker than that. In July, it had about 45 million daily users. Now, it’s down to 30 million. That’s a good 10 million user drop in about a month, which is kind of worrying for the game’s future.

So it seems like there may be a little more to it than hype dying down. Like…

Broken Gameplay Balance

The completely broken game balance. What do I mean by this?

Well, it’s basically the kind of game you can’t do well at outside of a major city. That’s because Pokestops and gyms tend to be located where more notable buildings and landmarks are, and the amount of wild Pokemon appearing seems to be roughly in line with the number of smartphone users nearby.

As a result, those who live in the country or suburbia… well, they’re probably not gonna finish the Pokedex or get to level 40 odd any time soon. The amount of Pokemon and Pokestops is just too low for that.

So it seems possible that a fair few rural and suburban players are simply giving up on the game, since they know they’ll never be able to do as well as those in places like New York City or San Francisco.

Additionally, it could also be due to…

Third Party Maps Being Killed

Niantic and the Pokemon Company shutting down various third party mapping services and what not. Like Pokevision.

To some degree, this is understandable. These services work by using a dummy account to send requests to the servers and ping back information on Pokemon in a certain area. So to Niantic, it might be a convenient way to lower some of the server load.

Unfortunately for them though, these maps are also kind of a necessity for a lot of players. For example, remember those rural players mentioned above?

Well, the maps actually give them a decent indication of when a Pokemon might actually spawn in the local area. Without it, they’re just wandering blind and seeing hardly any Pokemon at all.

So by getting rid of them, it’s made the game exceedingly hard for people in those locations.

It’s also a thing a lot of urban players in those large cities appreciate too. I mean, remember all that hype over players rushing towards where a Vaporeon spawned? Or where a Dragonite appeared? Yeah, that’s much easier with these maps, and gives players in cities like London actual targets to head for and a reason to explore more of their city.

Remove the three step feature that once pointed out where Pokemon would spawn, and well, it’s not hard to see why going after these maps and sites may not have been the best idea Niantic ever had. It literally reduces the game to pure trial and error.

Continue Reading…

The Lost Precursors to the Mushroom Kingdom?

In recent times, I’ve been looking at a few of those ‘theory’ videos. You know the ones, The ones about Mario being ‘communist’. About E Gadd being evil. About the Stone Tower from Majora’s Mask being a Tower of Babel to slight the Golden Goddesses. That sort of thing.

And it got me thinking. Namely, about Luigi’s Mansion. Why are the ghosts seemingly human? Why does the mansion resemble a Victorian mansion in a world’s that closer to a medieval fantasy land? Where did everyone come from?

I’ve also been thinking about Wario Land 4 in general. You know, Princess Shokora’s story. The Golden Pyramid. How that sort of stuff actually works.

And that’s when it struck me.

Could the Shokora’s fallen kingdom possibly explain where the ghosts in Luigi’s Mansion came from?

Yeah, I know. That’s crazy as all hell. I mean, why would a Wario Land game link to a Luigi’s Mansion title? And if so, how could a long dead princess help explain the existence of human ghosts in Luigi’s Mansion?

Well, in quite a few ways actually. For example, let’s look at Wario Land 4 for a minute, and assume that all the locations we visit were once part of Shokora’s kingdom. You know, the one the Golden Diva seemingly took over and left in ruins.

Do you notice anything odd here?

They’re very… modern compared to most Mario locales.

For example, look at the Curious Factory. Does that robot look like something you’d expect to see in the Marioverse? At least, pre Mario Galaxy?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Y0ygF_C1Cg

How about the generally industrialised feel of the Toxic Landfill, 40 Below Fridge and Pinball Zone? Or the weird 70s esque Hotel Horror?
Because they don’t seem that way to me. And even the Topaz Passage seems to be made of toys presumably invented in ‘later’ eras. Those board games and little toy cars and what not don’t look like ancient technology.

So it got me thinking. What if… Shokora’s kingdom wasn’t as ‘primitive’ as it looks from the pyramid itself?

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Ten Great Fan Remakes That Tried to Overhaul Nintendo Games

In today’s gaming world, fan remakes are everywhere. Whether it’s a classic Mario game, the latest FPS or anything in between, some plucky group of fans is likely out there trying to make it even better. It’s like a rule of the internet; if something exists, someone out there is trying to remake it.

But even with this flood of remakes, there are some that really stand out from the crowd. Games which take an early title and make it a full 3D extravaganza with all the trimmings. Remakes that make you wonder how the project is even possible. Or fan recreation of classics that even match up to commercial games on a quality level.

And so that’s what this list is all about. Fantastic fan remakes that tried to overhaul Nintendo games and make them much better than ever imagined. Some got cancelled (those are marked with a [C} icon). Some are still in progress. And some? Well, they just vanished off the face of the planet for no apparent reason.

Either way, let’s begin the list shall we?

10. Conker’s Pocket Tales Remake (Project Spark)[C]

Namely with a lesser known title. Does anyone remember what’s Conker’s first video game was?

No, we’re not talking about Bad Fur Day. We’re talking about Pocket Tales, an obscure Game Boy game that was closer in tone to the cancelled Twelves Tales title. Here’s a video, in case you haven’t seen it:

As you can see, it’s got its own charm. But something doesn’t really work about the game. Namely, the whole 2D top down perspective. Why? Because it doesn’t really lend itself well to the collectathon/puzzle platformer type gameplay. It comes across as confusing and a tad bland.

And so that’s where this game came in! Conker’s Pocket Tales HD was a fan remake of Pocket Tales in an editor called Project Spark. What was Project Spark? Well it was basically a game maker program released by Microsoft for Windows 8, Windows 10 and Xbox One in late 2013 and early 2014 respectively.

It’d already got a Conker’s Bad Fur Day asset pack (for an episode called ‘Conker’s Big Reunion’), and so the remake took this, added in lots of stuff from Pocket Tales and tried to present it as a prequel to Bad Fur Day. Here are some pictures:

Pocket Tales HD

Pocket Tales HD 2

Looks good, doesn’t it? Yes, yes it does. And based on the topic about the game by Agent Ape on DK Vine, that was only a small teaser of what was to come.

Alas, it wasn’t to be.

Why?

Because Microsoft killed off Project Spark. Yes, the company decided their ‘game maker’ wasn’t popular enough, so they discontinued the game and shut down the servers for good. As a result, Conker’s Pocket Tales HD became the first fan remake to die because it’s engine went the way of the dodo. Talk about some miserable luck!

But let’s move on from that now. Onto an interesting little remake of Wario Land 1 for the Game Boy…

9. Super Mario Land 3 Remix (SMW ROM Hack)[C]

Or as the creator called it, Super Mario Land 3 Remix. This ROM hack was meant to reimagine Wario Land 1 as a Mario title in the Super Mario World engine, complete with all new graphics and level design tweaks.

And on the graphical front… it certainly did look impressive. I mean, here are some screenshots showing Wario Land 1 in a style almost reminiscent of a Game Boy Advance game:

sherbert island

stove canyon

syrup castle

parsley woods train

Heck, it was even going to be a base hack at one point! You were going to be able to make your own Wario Land style game by using this one as a base, complete with all those lovely graphics and what not!

Unfortunately, it never came to be. NeonSwift (the creator of the game) eventually stopped updating his blog and SMW Central topic about the title, and hasn’t been heard from since 2009 as of this article’s writing. End result? It’s pretty likely that Super Mario Land 3 Remix will never see the light of day.

Still, it’s not a complete loss. After Super Mario Land 3 Remix was cancelled, someone else decided to make their own Wario Land remake in SMW’s engine. This one (dubbed ‘Wario Land SNES’) was eventually released and can be found here:

Wario Land SNES Download from ROM Hacking.net

It’s not as good as the cancelled one might have been, and it does have a few glitches, but hey, at least something good came out of the ‘Wario Land remake’ idea.

But how about something a bit more positive now? Like a remake that’s not been cancelled?

8. Banjo-Kazooie Grunty’s Revenge Redone

Such as this remake of Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge. We already wrote a full blown article about the game a few days back, and you can read that one here:

Grunty’s Revenge Redone Article on Gaming Reinvented

Or see a few (reused) screenshots below:

Cliff Farm Mill

spillers harbour

Cliff Farm Alpha

Corn Mill Rafters

It’s a really impressive game, and definitely one that’ll be an amazing recreation of the original if it’s ever completed.

Which is a bit like what the next project would have been. In a much better universe…

7. The Ura Zelda Restoration Project [C]

Well, it does count as a remake, right?

After all, just because it’s remaking a cancelled game doesn’t make it original. And hey, if that wasn’t enough, it even tried to restore the game’s beta content too! So it’s a remake of two games in one!

Either way, the URA Project looked incredible when it was in development. We were going to have a whole new set of dungeons! With new enemies, bosses, story, final boss, items and everything else besides! A whole new soundtrack was being composed and sounded incredible!

It was big. It had an official site on The GCN. There were pages upon pages off discussions on every Zelda fan site and forum under the sun.

And well, based on the trailers, the game really was living up to its own hype:

So what happened to it?

Why did we never get to see the URA Project get released?

Massive, massive amounts of team drama. Basically, the people involved absolutely flipped out, with the team leader Zeth and various others on his team ending up at loggerheads due to personal disagreements. Eventually, this got so severe, the entire GCN forum was literally hacked in a fit of rage. It was quite the spectacle, and if you really need to hear more, you should read the comments here:

URA Zelda Article on Zelda Informer

And here:

URA Zelda Article on Zelda Dungeon

It’s… a long, convoluted story. The game had more internal strife than Duke Nukem Forever by the time it imploded.

But hey, you can’t keep a good idea down. And so the legions of followers have made their own versions. Some got cancelled, like you’d expect. Some are still on going. And this one looks to be the latest of the bunch:

URA Zelda Revival on Zelda Fan Games Central

Perhaps in the next few years, this remake might actually get finished and released in some form. We can only hope and dream…

6. Legend of Zelda Project

Talking of Zelda, URA Zelda wasn’t the only interesting attempt at a Zelda remake. Oh no, the first game got one as well. In 3D!

But wait, you may say. Isn’t this the one Nintendo shut down?

The one you played in your browser window?

Ah. No. No it isn’t.

That one was a sort of 2.5D Zelda 1 remake, with the same retro sprite graphics turned into simple models. This Zelda remake is full 3D, complete with the possibility to use a third person camera like in the 3D Zelda titles!

Here’s some footage of the first dungeon done in this way:

As you can see, it looks pretty awesome really. Oh sure, Link doesn’t have animations yet. And various sprites and enemies weren’t implemented.

But damn, the creator was going the full distance with the modernising here. Nods to modern games were being added. Like statues of Nabooru in the dungeon renamed after her. Or various extras like the Gerudo symbol, falling sand, etc to give each dungeon it’s own atmosphere.

Basically, it was going to take Zelda 1, and genuinely tie it into the world of Hyrule in a way not possible on the NES. It would make the classic less barren and samey and more like the modern Zelda games.

Unfortunately, it’s unknown whether the game ever got finished or cancelled. Like Super Mario Land 3 Remix, the official dev blog just stops in 2013. It’s a shame, but for now, there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

Continue Reading…

10 Underrated Gaming Channels to Check Out in 2016

When it comes to popular gaming channels on Youtube, we all know the big ones. Pewdiepie. Markiplier. Game Theory. All channels with millions of subscribers and huge fanbases following their every beck and call.

But channels like this aren’t the only ones worth checking out on Youtube at the moment. Oh no, there are tons of great channels with nowhere near the attention they deserve. People who talk about all manner of cool things, yet only have 2000 subscribers after multiple years. Channels that take on interesting topics like glitches and beta content. That sort of thing.

So here are ten of them. Here are ten underrated gaming channels to check out and subscribe to right now!

BlueJackG

So let’s start off the list with a channel that Gaming Reinvented readers may be pretty familiar with already. Namely, BlueJackG, the Wario remix aficionado who redid the entire soundtrack of Wario Land 4 in HD with modern instruments and cleaner voice effects.

But that’s not all he’s done either. Oh no, he’s also remixed various songs from Castlevania, WarioWare and Super Mario Bros, done Let’s Plays of games like Ghost Trick and posted walkthroughs for a good ten or twenty games before even that. BlueJackG has posted tons of great videos over the last six years or so.

Which makes it all the more depressing when to know that his channel is still under 2000 subscribers after nearly two thirds of a decade. That’s sad, especially when your average Game Theory rip off or Youtube rant channel will seemingly end up with about 50,000 subscribers within its first week nowadays.

So if you want some great video game remixes (and the odd Let’s Play), subscribe to BlueJackG on Youtube today.

NoteBlock

Talking of music remixes, that’s the speciality of our next Youtuber. NoteBlock has uploaded a massive 126 video game remixes since he started on Youtube in April 2014. These range from remixes of familiar songs from popular titles (like the Lost Woods or Gerudo Valley in Ocarina of Time) to slightly ones based on slightly more unknown ones like Cheese Land from Mario Kart Super Circuit.

They’re all really well done remixes too, taking a familiar song and changing it up in all kinds of interesting and novel ways. For example, their version of Ashley’s theme from WarioWare Touched is perhaps the only remix I’ve heard that actually changes up the order of the vocals and mixes it with other ‘spooky’ songs from the series.

Yet even despite the uniqueness of these remixes and their general high quality, the channel is still overshadowed by a lot of competitors. Yes, the popular ones can get about 20,000 views and a few hundred likes. That’s good.

But when you compare it to the legions of other Mario and Zelda remixes with hundreds of thousands of views a piece, it’s tiny. How can a MIDI get hundreds of thousands of views for merely changing the soundfont whereas a more interesting remix gets maybe about 10,000 if its lucky? It makes no sense at all!

So let’s give ’em a bit of support, shall we? Let’s get NoteBlock’s remixes up there with the most popular gaming music channels on the service!

Tanooki Tails

But enough with the music for a minute, let’s move on to game analysis videos. Like the ones posted by Tanooki Tails, which often focus on the Paper Mario series.

These videos make a lot of interesting points about games and (in Paper Mario’s case) their various shortcomings. Like how in this video, he calls out Intelligent Systems for putting the minimum effort into Paper Mario Color Splash:

It’s a really emotional video, and it brilliantly summarises where Nintendo is going wrong with the Mario series in the last few years.

Yet nowhere near enough people have seen it. Heck, not enough people have seen the channel in general to be honest, since it’s not even at 200 subscribers as of this point in time. Either way, it’s well worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of the Paper Mario series.

Shesez

Another interesting channel this one. Why? Because of one key video series that’s well worth subscribing to the channel for on its own.

Namely, Boundary Break.

So what’s Boundary Break?

Well, it’s a series where Shesez uses free camera codes and cheats explore the world outside of various video game levels. For example, he goes outside various Mario Kart tracks and Super Smash Bros battlefields to see what interesting details he can find in the distance.

This leads to some cool discoveries. Like the weirdly creepy low poly versions of characters from Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2:

nightmare peach

Or the two cities surrounding Wario Colosseum in Mario Kart Double Dash. Again, it’s something that you would never see if playing normally.

It’s a very interesting series, and one that pretty much doesn’t exist anywhere else on the internet. Definitely one to look at it if you’re fascinated by what lurks behind the boundary walls in the worlds you visit.

Continue Reading…

The Mystery of Devilish Brain Training

Back in the DS era, the various Brain Age games were a massive success. With the first one selling around 20 million copies and the sequel about the same, they were hugely popular just about everywhere in the world.

Including Europe. Yes, none of the games really worked that well with British accents, but we loved them none the less.

Which just makes the case of Dr Kawashima’s Devilish Brain Training such a strange one, With a series so popular all over the world, why did this game never get released in Europe? Why at random did the series just end without any rhyme or reason whatsoever?

Why is the game not out in Europe?

Because it’s nothing to do with the content. Sure, the ‘devil’ aspect might be controversial in some areas. But the UK isn’t one. I mean, we tend not to care very much about whether something is ‘Christian’ or not. Our population as a whole generally isn’t a particularly religious one, with only 30% identifying as religious in a 2015 poll.

Add the ‘devil’ aspect remaining in the title, and it’s pretty clear that content isn’t a reason the game hasn’t come to Europe yet.
Technology doesn’t seem to be a reason either. Yes, I’m not a programmer. I don’t know what sort of technology this game might be using behind the scenes.

But it’s most likely not something that could cause it to never get localised. Its not like the game has a gyro sensor, like the one misblamed for WarioWare Twisted not getting a European release. There’s no feature here that would go against some EU regulation or another.

WarioWare Twisted

WarioWare Twisted never got released in Europe either. Rumour says it’s because of the gyro sensor

And while Brain Age is less of a big deal, it doesn’t seem to be popularity based either. Remember, there is still an audience for ‘casual’ games on the 3DS. Okay, it’s not as massive as it was on the DS where games like Nintendogs sold in the tens of millions and New Super Mario Bros easily broke the 20 million mark.

But it’s there none the less. Nintendogs + cats sold 5 million copies on the system since it’s release, and that mostly appeals to a similar audience. Heck, that game even sold about 2 million copies in its first two weeks on sale. That’s pretty impressive for a title on a system that appeals to core gamers more than any expanded audience.

Add the decent sales of other franchises popular in Europe like Professor Layton, and it’s quite clear the game would still have potential on the 3DS. Even at its lowest, it’s likely the game would sell at least a million copies to 3DS owners.

So why’s it not been released? Why did the US get it in 2013, while Europe never got the game at all?

Well, I did find one small ‘clue’ in an article by Game Asylum. There, they mention that Nintendo of Europe delayed the game “to optimise the best possible launch timing of this title within the European market.” So it seems like Nintendo of Europe wanted to wait until a more ‘appropriate’ time to release game.

And I also found comments that the game apparently didn’t sell too well in Japan or North America. So based on this, Nintendo of Europe would apparently decide the series was ‘dead’ and wouldn’t release the game in Europe.

But I’m not convinced by this logic. For one thing, while this game likely isn’t a success (it’s not broke the 1 million mark as of this article), actual sales data seems quite hard to find. No, VG Chartz and various wikis don’t really count here.

So did it sell only a few thousand copies in any region? Eh, seems a bit extreme, even for a failed 3DS game. Based on the charts some sites have, you’d think this game sold worse than even the worst selling games on the Wii U, despite being on a console about 6 times more popular.

And even if it did sell that badly, it makes me wonder why Nintendo wouldn’t just release it anyway. I mean, it’s already apparently been localised. Would Nintendo of Europe really not release a game in that state? Cause that seems unlikely. They’re part of a company that’s shown themselves willing to release anything even remotely viable regardless of whether the market actually wants it or not.

What’s more, who’s to say it couldn’t potentially do better in some European countries? People like games like this over in the UK, that’s why they became such hits back in the DS’ heyday. So again, seems strange that Nintendo of Europe wouldn’t at least take the chance here.

So there’s not really any immediately apparently reason I can see for the delays. And somehow, it seems like Nintendo hasn’t forgotten about the game anyway?

Why?

Because it’s still on the 3DS release schedules they put out every year. Oh sure, it doesn’t have a release date (just something like ‘TBD’). But it’s there, along with various other ‘missing’ titles like Project Giant Robot. So it seems someone at Nintendo has some sort of plan for this game and its eventual release. It just never seems to come to fruition for whatever reason.

Project Giant Robot

So what do you think? Why is Devilish Brain Training still not out in Europe despite it being available elsewhere for more than 3 years?