Pokemon Black and White 2; Keldeo Footage

Well, not just Keldeo footage, but we have two new videos of Pokemon Black and White 2 to post here, one showing Keldeo learning Secret Sword or whatever that comes from the Japanese Pokemon TV show, and some miscellaneous extra footage from wherever.  First up, here’s the Keldeo footage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PX9zQB9OgI&feature=youtu.be

Secondly, here’s the other footage of the game.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByzC6y-P1eQ&feature=youtu.be

It shows the new Kyurem forms in action, the movie part of the game and a battle with Misty from Pokemon Red and Blue/Gold and Silver.  Looks pretty nice I’d say.

So yes, there’s some new Pokemon Black and White 2 footage, which looks pretty interesting.  What do the Pokemon fans here think of it?

Nintendo Comments on ‘Yellowing’ 3DS Screens, says there’s no problem

If you’ve been reading the news on our various competitors and a few other general Nintendo news sites you can find online, you’ll probably recall some stories accusing Nintendo of using lower quality screens for recently produced 3DS consoles to lower costs.  There’s the usual arguments about how this is ripping off the consumer or saying that it’s necessary to keep costs down so Nintendo can make a profit off the system, but Nintendo are now saying its nothing to worry about at all.

First though, here’s a comparison picture or three showing the difference between the screens.  As you can see, there seems to be less clarity and a generally lower quality display on the Flare Red 3DS, hence the accusations of Nintendo deliberately using lower quality screens to save costs.

But here’s what Nintendo says:

Due to LCD manufacturing processes it is possible for system screens to look different from one another. The image may appear slightly darker, or have a different tint when compared to another Nintendo 3DS. This is within manufacturing specifications, and the unit does not need to be repaired.

In other words, they say this difference is perfectly normal and is no sign of Nintendo trying to ‘cheapen’ the quality of the screen to save money. I guess everyone’s concerns were kind of unwarranted.

Source:

http://www.zeldainformer.com/news/comments/nintendo-on-3ds-screen-controversy-this-is-within-manufacturing-specificati

Well, it’s a slow news day…

No updates here I’m afraid.  I mean, I upgraded the forums a bit to the latest versions and hopefuly hence added some features to them, but as far as Nintendo news goes, it’s pretty much an extremely slow day. Doesn’t help that this site is 3DS specific and doesn’t generally post about the Wii U, since that’s the console most discussion nowadays seems to be about.

But yes, keep watching the Nintendo 3DS Daily home page, since some new general Nintendo related articles will be available tonight, and I’ll be updating with more news whenever there’s actually something to talk about.

Want to make Zelda fun again? Scrap the tutorials!

As you may or may not know, Shigeru Miyamoto and his team are thinking hard about how to make the Legend of Zelda series more fun again.  No wait, they’re thinking about how to make it so the player reaches the entertaining part of the game more quickly and how to teach them to play in a way that doesn’t feel like a dry, boring tutorial or add more and more obstacles in the way of the game’s content.

But I don’t think they get it.  The problem with the Legend of Zelda series now is a simple one, there is too much pointless fluff present before you actually get to the core of the game.  Ocarina of Time introduced what was in essence a tutorial (Kokiri Forest), but it was fairly simple and over with quite quickly, with full freedom granted to Link right when he entered the Deku Tree.  But every Zelda game since then seems to be putting up more and more barriers and more and more pointless chores in front of the actual game.

Majora’s Mask had you mess around doing various errands for the first three days, The Wind Waker had you do various things on Outset Island before heading off on the adventure (and the forced stealth section at Forsaken Fortress was a pretty bad idea too, maybe it should have been the second or third dungeon instead), Twilight Princess had Link doing various farm/village related tasks and learning all those basic controls and Skyward Sword had quite the intro/tutorial on Skyloft and the whole bird racing/ceremony thing that took up a fair amount of time.  But what if there was a way to avoid all this?

How about if Nintendo took a leaf out of Donkey Kong Country Returns’ book and had small Wii mote icons or things pop up in the first level?  They were unintrusive, they didn’t pose an obstacle between the start of the game and the first level and they were never seen again afterwards.

Or how Wario Land 4 had neat little animated pictures on the back wall with the necessary controls and a picture of Mr Game and Watch doing the required action. That was fairly low key as well, at least compared to ‘lets do a bunch of sword training with the old guy in the village’.

But why even go that far?  You could just do what Super Mario World and Yoshi’s Island did and have message boxes you use to get small tidbits of advice littered throughout the early levels.  Seems quite easy to build that into Zelda, just make it so you get advice by reading the signs or talking to NPCs.  It’d at least be less annoying and intrusive than having Fi jump out and give advice every four seconds or that owl from Ocarina of Time give a monologue about your next location.

And if you’re really, really ‘smart’ about it, you could pack in a tutorial DVD and have no tutorial in game whatsoever.  Maybe label it ‘How to play Zelda for the complete moron’.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KrsCx7GBSc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rD5AskvHWc

^Or like that parody

But for a video game, there’s a much simpler way to make a tutorial.  Instead of acting like the game’s reading an on screen instruction manual and assuming your players are complete idiots, you design the levels so they encourage the player to figure out how to play the game themselves.  For example, do you ever wonder why the start of Super Mario Bros 1 looks like this?

It’s because the level is meant to be a sort of tutorial in itself.  Not a blatantly obvious one that forces itself down your throat because some executive thinks players are complete morons

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYBysOqQujc

Above: The problem with modern video games and tutorials in a nut shell, they assume people have the attention span of your average fictional goldfish.

But a subtle one that teaches you without you really realising it.  Mario faces right, the screen only scrolls right, all encouragement to get the player to go right.  The Goomba encourages Mario to avoid it, at which point he’ll probably either land smack on the Goomba’s head (realising you can jump on enemies to defeat them) or hit the ? block (realising you can do this to get items)  Even the Mushroom has been placed so it automatically comes towards Mario and so the player often gets it and realises that getting items is beneficial.

That’s how quite a lot of Super Mario Bros 1 works. Heck, that’s how Nintendo’s NES era games as a whole work, they teach people how to play in a way which is all but invisible to te end user.  Pity they seem to forgotten this recently, complete with the giant arrow sign added in New Super Mario Bros:

Ideally, something similar would be how The Legend of Zelda 3DS/Wii U would have a tutorial work.  Instead of having a huge part of the game devoted to running around the starting area/village and doing various menial tasks with assistance from NPCs (hey Japan, we don’t like playing as kids and boring everymen with no interesting abiities!), you’d just start off in the field somewhere and have the exploration be designed in just the right way that you’d figure out how to play the game as you went.  Not sure how this could be achieved, 3D games are always a bit trickier to make good tutorials/first levels for and the increasing complex combat only makes things even harder in this respect, but I think maybe either a small outside area or a first dungeon could be a great place to introduce a sort of ‘invisible’ tutorial.

So in conclusion, the answer to Miyamoto’s questions is simple, make the game’s ‘level design’ teach the player rather than including a dull, lengthy intro and tutorial to start the game off.

Source:

http://www.officialnintendomagazine.co.uk/39262/miyamoto-wants-to-make-zelda-more-fun-more-quickly/

http://www.auntiepixelante.com/?p=465

Could Paper Mario Sticker Star be better than people are expecting?

With the massive internet popularity of the Paper Mario series and the fairly dedicated fandom the series has dedicated to it, expectations are already pretty high for Paper Mario Sticker Star.  But like with all new games, some changes seem to be making people a tad wary.  Are there really no more partners?  Is the game too like the original Paper Mario for its own good?  Is it potentially too linear with end of level goals and other such elements?

For example, take the whole issue of linearity and the sticker based battle system.  Do you know what other Mario RPG had a gameplay structure quite like this one?

That one.  It had Bros items replace special moves in battles and had you refill them by actually going out and purchasing more.  It had areas that were linear enough that it made The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword look like a wide open sandbox in comparison.  But more importantly, it was still a fantastic game.

So what if we’re now trying to reach a star shaped block to end sections of an area in the style of Super Paper Mario?  So what that we can’t go around and explore everything on a whim?  It’s not like making the mainstream Mario games increasing linear has done too much harm, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D Land work fine.  Hell, it’s not like we had much more freedom in the Paper Mario series before then either; Super Paper Mario was basically split into levels and Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door had you access completely distinct areas by warp pipe from the Rogueport sewers (or various modes of transport like the blimp or train).  What really matters is how much charm each area has, the interesting characters you can meet, the new bad guys running around making everyone’s life worse and stealing the star spirit/crystal star/pure heart.  Did anyone ever really play Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door and go ‘oh, that was way too linear, why couldn’t I walk from Rogueport to Twilight Town/Poshley Heights/Fahr Outpost’?

Did you ever stop and think that technically, these were basically like different worlds in Super Mario Bros?

You never walked between any of them.  As far as the game/programming is concerned, they might as well not even be on the same continent/planet.  They don’t really have that much freedom to let you explore either, you’re railroaded from place to place and the amount of attractions in any one area and the amount of paths to take is usually just one or two.  Same with the original Paper Mario.  This isn’t Pokemon and its route system you know…

Same applies to Mario and Luigi Partners in Time, and same might apply to Paper Mario Sticker Star.  It doesn’t matter how ‘open’ and ‘interconnected’ the areas are, it matters how interesting they are to visit/explore and how many characters you can talk to, side quests you can partake, etc.

As for the sticker system and its use in battles, as well as potential lack of partners, I’m not sure that matters as much either.  It’s basically the same system Partners in Time used for Bros items.  Battling will probably be near enough the same mechanically, it’s just there’s a different way the action commands and stuff are presented.

And for Bowser being a villain, that’s not necessarily a bad thing either.  Remember he was the main antagonist in Paper Mario on the Nintendo 64, but no one cared because he had a personality.  He had ‘character’ in that game.  More importantly, so did the chapter bosses.  People love the Koopa Bros, Tutankoopa, Tubba Blubba and General Guy among the cast, and near enough all bosses were distinct and ‘interesting’ in their own way.  Also, keep in mind that despite it being a ‘Bowser captures Peach’ story, it never ended up feeling that much like one because each chapter had its own unique ‘subplot’.  You were finding the ancient tomb in the desert.  Helping Bow and the Boos stop Tubba Blubba.  Exploring the island with Kolorado… That kind of thing.  As long as the story of each chapter is deeper than the generic New Super Mario Bros style ‘reach the end of the levels’ plot, and the bosses have interesting designs and motivations, then I don’t think Bowser being the main villain would be much of an issue.

Other than that, it could be even turn out to be one of the best games in the series.  So Bowser’s supposedly behind all this?  Maybe that’s just what Intelligent Systems want you to think, they’re not Nintendo EAD and they do seem like the kind to pull a surprise on everyone and have it turn out someone worse is behind the main plot.  And even if they aren’t going to, it seems likely Bowser will have some interesting tricks up his sleeve. After all, he didn’t attack in the original game without the Star Rod, so perhaps he’s using some of these stickers to power himself up in some way.

There’s also a surprising number of shout outs to Super Mario Bros 3 and the Mario series as a whole.  Look at these stickers:

Is that a Raccoon Leaf?  An Ice Flower? A POW Block?  The first two never even appeared in Paper Mario yet!

So that’s how many classic Mario power ups?  Oh yeah, Fire Flower, Frog Suit, Raccoon Leaf, Ice Flower…  Talking of which, Mario and Luigi Partners in Time also had the Ice Flower, it even introduced the item to the series as a whole!

And if the partners are stickers this time around, and we’ve seen both a Toad and a Chain Chomp already, what other interesting enemies and characters could be on Mario’s team?  A Thwomp or Whomp partner?  A Magikoopa or Hammer Bro partner?

Finally, when has a Paper Mario soundtrack ever let us down?  The first game had great music, as did the second and Super Paper Mario.  This game looks to be no exception.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR31OnoDNgk

Could Paper Mario Sticker Star be a great Paper Mario game, or even one of the best in the series?