Nintendo Articles

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

Why the Nintendo Switch Online Service is Terrible

A few days ago, Nintendo revealed various additional details about the Nintendo Switch Online service. Including various features like voice chat, save backups and video game subscriptions, the service is meant to bring Nintendo’s online infrastructure into the 21st century, as well as offer something comparable to Microsoft and Sony’s affairs in the same space.

It’s an ambitious task for sure, but have Nintendo succeeded?

Is the Switch’s online service finally on par with Sony or Microsoft’s? Or heck, even something people will actually want to pay for?

No. No it isn’t.

In fact, the service feels exactly like we feared it would: the same old crap as before, made worse and stuck behind a paywall.

And the Direct made that pretty obvious within the first five minutes of the presentation for the feature, with the first item on the list. Why?

Because said item was ‘this lets you play games with people around the world’. Yeah, pretty self-explanatory really.

Which is evidence Nintendo never really had enough selling points to market this service. Why advertise the obvious like this? Why promote the obvious? It’s like promoting Amazon with the words ‘you can buy stuff’ or marketing Google because it searches for websites. Yes it does. That’s the point. It’s not gonna make the service stand out from others.

And the Switch online fiasco continues even after that. Namely, with the last item on the list, the one about exclusive deals for the service.

Which in turn doesn’t actually offer any examples of said deals. Hmm, okay. Feels like another ‘feature’ meant to pad out a list, not a priority of the service.

Still, the Switch online setup does offer some new things, so it’s not quite as pathetic as it could have been. Cloud save backups are a nice include, as are the NES games you get access to through the service.

Unfortunately, like with most things Nintendo do, these promising inclusions aren’t done anywhere near as well as they could be.

For instance, cloud backups don’t actually work with every game. Instead, anything multiplayer focused (Splatoon 2, Pokémon Let’s Go games, etc) disables the feature for ‘security’ reasons. In other words? Cause Nintendo is so paranoid about cheating, your save data is put on the line. It’s pretty sad really.

And it’s indicative of how old fashioned Nintendo’s attitude is in general. Things like cloud saving or screenshots should not be ‘game specific’ things that devs can disable, they should be across the board OS ones. For instance, imagine if Windows let programs disable print screen, or the clipboard, or keyboard use or saving to certain directories. It’d be seen as rightly ridiculous.

Yet Nintendo allows just that. It’s proof of their very old fashioned/very Japanese salaryman sequel attitude that you can only use their products one way, and to sod off if you disagree.

But the cloud backup woes don’t end there. Nope, if your subscription runs out… well your cloud saves are toast. Gone. Kaput. Unrecoverable.

That means you’d better make sure your card is set up right and what not, otherwise you’re stuck up a creek without a paddle. It’s very consumer unfriendly, and jarring given how other systems give you a certain amount of leeway here (or keep your data save until you renew access/say you’ll leave).

Then there’s the NES games. When you subscribe to Switch Online, you get access to a set of NES games you can play ‘free’ as part of the deal. In theory, that’s a decent enough deal. You’ve got some classic games, and they’ve been fixed up a bit to have online multiplayer and what not.
Problem is… well they’re the same games we’ve seen a million times already. Seriously, imagine being a Nintendo fan who buys their NES games every time they’re released. How many copies of these games might you have by now?

  1. The originals on NES/Famicom
  2. Nintendo e-Reader card versions
  3. NES Classic GBA versions
  4. Wii Virtual Console versions
  5. 3DS Virtual Console versions
  6. Wii U Virtual Console versions
  7. The ones on the NES Classic
  8. And now the new ones available on the Nintendo Switch Online service.
Mario Bros e-reader Cards
Granted, most people probably didn’t buy an e-Reader/these cards

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Beyond the Edge of Reality; Exploring the World Outside Breath of the Wild’s Trial of the Sword

Back in the first DLC expansion for the Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, a new challenge dungeon called the Trial of the Sword was added to the game. Including [number] of floors where players have to defeat all the enemies present to progress, the area is basically BoTW’s equivalent to the Savage Labyrinth or Cave of Ordeals from the prior games, with all the setup that implies.

Yet despite all this, one thing we never got to see here was exactly where this trial takes place. Where are the rooms located on the map? How do they connect together? What exactly is beyond those walls?

For the most part, it was impossible to tell. And despite the bomb clipping glitch giving us a very small hint about the matter, it too didn’t offer too many thorough answers here. That’s because bomb clipping drops us through the floor, and the only thing down there is an endless ocean with no practical way back to the surface.

But thanks to a new glitch, that’s all solved. Yep, a new way has to be found that lets you clip out of bounds in the Trial of the Sword, and this one keeps you on ground level. How does it work?

Well, you know those small boxes you can move with Magnesis?

Yeah, if one is launched at you quickly enough, then it’ll often knock you straight through thin walls and objects. This means that by building up energy with Stasis and then standing in front of the box as it blasts forward, Link can get sent hurtling through the Trial’s walls and out of bounds.

Here’s a short video showing the glitch in action:

As well as another showing how it can be used to skip to the end of the first part of the trial:

Which obviously breaks the speedrunning scene for this ‘bonus area’ wide open. What previously took hours now takes mere minutes, with most of the rooms being completely pointless as a result.

Yet as neat as all that is, it’s not what we’re talking about today. Oh no, we’re interested in what else is outside those walls. What kind of ‘world’ the trial actually takes place in.

And as it turns out, the answer is ‘a damn huge field you can explore at your own leisure’. Seriously, this place is enormous, and with the exception of the trial rooms in huge cubes, virtually empty and lifeless to boot. Indeed, it may well be about as big as the normal world map for the game, just far flatter and lacking in buildings or varied terrain.

A New World
The open world of the Trial of the Sword

That said, there’s still stuff to find here. Like the fact the main area is actually set on a giant cliff overlooking an equally large lower continent:

A Large Continent
The continent the trial rooms are located on, viewed from the world below

Or how the area with the Monks at the end is actually located at one of the edges of said cliff, and fades in as you enter:

The Final Room
The Monks room is just off the edge of the map

If you do go to the lower level however, you’ll find some oddities there too. Like the water which quite literally comes above ground level at the edge of the world…

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Is Nintendo Planning a New Adventure Mode for Super Smash Bros Ultimate?

Earlier today, Nintendo hosted a massive Nintendo Direct livestream for Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Featuring Masahiro Sakurai himself, the Direct showed off everything from new characters to new stages, items, assist trophies and Pokémon.

And also, as expected, tons of new modes were shown off there too. These ranged from the traditional Tourney mode to the Squad Strike and Smashdown modes, with all kinds of new features to go around.

However, there was still one mode that wasn’t shown off at all. Namely, whatever mode was behind the blurred-out button on the main menu screen.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate Mystery Mode

Which is why we believe it leads to an adventure mode. What’s the reasoning there?

Well, think about it like this. When has Nintendo ever blurred out modes in a Super Smash Bros video?
Pretty much never. They’ve never done this at all so far.

Which in turn means it’s very likely that whatever is behind said button is a trailer worthy feature in and of itself. It’s not Classic or All-Star Mode, since those are guaranteed anyway. Its not tournament related, since that was in the Direct trailer.

And it’s probably not something minor either. Seriously, would you hide the presence of say, Master/Crazy Orders or Tour and have it as a major announcement? No, of course not. That’d be ridiculous, since very few people care about said modes anyway. Even Smash Run would be more of a neat ‘extra feature for the Direct to show off’ type of deal.

Add to this how it’s smack bang on the main menu screen (and not in say, games and more like other minor extras), and it seems like it’s a major feature that Nintendo’s going to be promoting heavily this time around.

So only adventure mode really fits that bill. It’s big, its heavily requested, and it’s something Nintendo may want to keep hidden for a future Nintendo Direct or announcement. Obvious really, and we’ll bet anything it’ll be in the new game.

But what do you think? Do you agree that adventure mode will be in Super Smash Bros Ultimate? If so, what do you think it’d have this time around?

Tell us your thoughts here in the comments or over at the Gaming Latest forums today!

Yes, a Non-Political Video Game Site Can Work Fine

Earlier this week, the Escapist was acquired by Enthusiast Gaming. This went along with Russ Pitt’s reappointment as editor in chief and led to talk about how the site was not going to cover politics at all.

And like many such announcements in past years, this didn’t go down too well with journalists on Twitter. In their eyes, any coverage has a political slant to it, and by merely choosing what to cover you’re making a political statement of some sort.

However, I don’t think this is the case. In fact, I think a video game site can work perfectly without politics, and plenty out that show that’s the case.

For example, look at GoNintendo. RMC has never covered political content on said site and has mostly kept his political views out of coverage even when Nintendo gets into the news for political reasons. Remember that idiocy with Paper Mario Color Splash and GamerGate? Yeah, no politics about that on GoNintendo, just Nintendo’s statement and a message that the news happened at one point.

And he’s definitely not the only one. No, dozens of Nintendo news sites keep their political views out of their coverage. My Nintendo News? No politics. Nintendo Everything? No politics. Japanese Nintendo? No politics. Instead, they just focus on what their audience cares about, news related to Nintendo games and fan works.

In fact, this pattern is legion on more specific, niche websites about video game manufacturers and franchises. Zelda Dungeon is mostly non-political. Serebii.net and PokeJungle and various other Pokémon fan sites are non-political. Nintendo wikis in general tend to be non-political too, with Mario Wiki and Zelda Wiki and Bulbapedia not tolerating political claims and rants about social issues on their pages.

As they all prove, a non-political stance is 100% doable for a gaming site.

But wait, you may ask. Isn’t non-political coverage boring?

Well, no. Firstly, if you’re bored by simple video game news, then I should probably ask you what you’re doing visiting a video game news website. For the rest of us, stuff like this:

Or this:

Or even this:

Is exciting on its own. And those are just trailers released by Nintendo PR teams! All of them can provide easy jumping off grounds for articles and forum discussions without a hint of politics and social commentary involved at all.

(They’re also great examples of amazing, exciting trailers that DON’T lie about their work’s content, but that’s another story)

Still, if you don’t find ‘typical’ news interesting, it’s not like no politics limits you there either. Here are a few bajillion other things a non-political gaming site can focus on:
Unused content in video games. For example, all this stuff that was planned for Breath of the Wild is absolutely fascinating:

As are all of Liam Robertson’s articles about cancelled games, or GameHut’s videos on game development for titles like Mickey Mania and Sonic R.

You could also take about game design too, another fascinating field of study that’s had whole books written about it. Like that one Daniel Johnson wrote about Wario Land 4, or what not. It’s the focus of tons of great YouTube channels too, like Mark Brown’s Game Maker’s Toolkit or Extra Credits or First 30 of Game Design.

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Going Outside the Boundaries In… Super Mario Odyssey!

Just like Breath of the Wild before it, the worlds in Super Mario Odyssey do not stop at the level boundaries. Indeed, whether it’s the distant metropolis of New Donk City or the giant dome of Steam Gardens, the backgrounds to the very levels sometimes seem even more intriguing than many of the places you actually visit.

As a result, the game’s basically crying out for a Boundary Break episode about now. It’s one where a free camera hack and a bit of time seems like it could find hundreds of interesting details and secrets in the distance.

Problem is, the Switch hasn’t been hacked yet. Or at least, it hasn’t been hacked enough for free camera codes to be made available for its games.

This means that Shesez cannot make a video on it, and nor can any of the other people out there talking about off camera secrets like Slippy Slides either.

Well, unless they realise that a free camera isn’t the only way to get this information. Nope, snapshot mode and out of bounds glitches can give you a pretty good look beyond the boundaries too! Which is why in this article, we’ll be doing just that.

So, sit down, get the tea ready and keep reading to see just how Mario Odyssey’s kingdoms work beyond the view of the player!

Cap Kingdom

Starting with the first kingdom you encounter in the game, the Cap Kingdom. Yeah, we know. It’s technically not the first on the list, but hey that’s postgame content for you, and we’ll be delving into that one later in the article.

Either way though, going of bounds here reveals some interesting little tricks the developers used to set up various mechanics in the level. For instance, you know that pond that appears near the shop? Do you ever wonder just where the water comes from there?

Well as it turns out, the answer is exactly what you’d expect:

Underground Water

The water just sits under the ground, and removing the stake raises the layer up so it covers the hole and creates the pond. It’s pretty much what you’d expect from a setup like this one, but it’s nice to have confirmation none the less.

However, what’s less expected is how Nintendo coded the poison pit in the Paragoomba bonus room. You see, here the poison appears to go off screen, with the poison river passing through a gate and off into the distance. Based on this, you’d assume it’d just cut off shortly afterwards, perhaps with a V shaped endpoint like in so many other games.

And you’d be right… initially.

However, if you wait around out of bounds a bit (say, half a second), then even more poison materialises underneath you! Yep, for whatever reason Nintendo coded the poison river to spawn based on the player’s coordinates in the level and set it up so going further and further out of bounds would just make the river longer and longer to make up for it. It’s a very weird trick, especially when you consider that the river neither dynamically loads when you’re in the room nor is meant to be encountered past the walls of the area. Guess their poison spawning mechanics originally had a few more uses planned out!

Cascade Kingdom

Still, enough with the Cap Kingdom for a moment since there’s really not much more to be seen there. In the Cascade Kingdom however, there is a rather… interesting discovery to be found outside the main playing field.
You see, if you clip through the wall near the waterfall and make your way around, you eventually land on this invisible platform. It’s a round platform that’s basically about the size of the Odyssey, and it’s never encountered while playing normally.

Or at least, that’s what we initially thought. In fact, it seems like the mystery platform is in fact the Odyssey. The version found when you first visit the kingdom.

Cause ya see, on the first visit, the Odyssey is found broken down just after the bridge. It’s then reactivated, which removes it from that location and puts it back at the start of the kingdom like normal.
For whatever reason though, Nintendo seemingly couldn’t just remove the collision for the thing, so they just plonked the whole kaboosh outside the map and left it there for safekeeping. Interesting development tactic there.

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