Nintendo going to sell packaged games in the eShop?

Or at least, distribute standard retail games through download services now, sort of similarly to how services like Steam work?  It seems like this is so according to their latest financial report, with the following interesting line being included:

Nintendo is envisioning the digital distribution of packaged software and is aiming at expanding the digital business

Seems like Nintendo is learning what kind of things people actually want from a game download service, don’t you think?  Indeed, when you consider that another recent rumour is that New Super Mario Bros 2 is to be packaged as both a retail and digitally distributed title, this information is really starting to add up.

Not to mention the obvious, Nintendo’s packaged titles are already listed in the eShop, it’s just that they haven’t provided any way to buy them directly from there.  Perhaps those listings for software like Kid Icarus Uprising, Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 will eventually turn out to be places where you can actually buy the games online?  Maybe instead of it seeing the games aren’t available through the eShop you’ll one day have a button to buy such games as if they were eShop titles?

Nice to know that Nintendo is embracing digital distribution in general though.

 

Is Rayman Origins’ Sequel going to be called Rayman Legends?

Seems like it might be the case if the general myths and legends theme and the talk of castles and dragons hasn’t clued you in already.

Now it seems almost confirmed given how Ubisoft have just gone and bought two new domain names, RaymanLegends.com and Rayman-Legends.com.  Both would work very well for a new Rayman platformer, right?  I mean, look at these screens and tell me the name ‘Rayman Legends’ wouldn’t apply perfectly to them:

And if you’re still not convinced, the domain registration info kind of gives it all away:

owner-name: UbiSoft Entertainment
organisation: UbiSoft Entertainment
ns0: nic1.ubisoft.com

Should be a really good new 2D platformer, don’t you agree?

New Super Mario Bros 2; Ten Things I Don’t Want to See

Well, there are way too many articles now going on about all the cool things the author wishes Nintendo would reveal to be in New Super Mario Bros 2, but that’s getting a bit old and tired now. So instead, here are ten things found in older Mario games that I really don’t want to see in New Super Mario Bros 2. Enjoy!

1. Typical Boring World Themes

Here’s what I bet the world theme will look like, if New Super Mario Bros Wii is any indication:

  1. Grass Land
  2. Desert Land
  3. Water Land/Ice Land
  4. Forest Land/Water Land
  5. Ice Land/Forest Land
  6. Mountain Land
  7. Sky Land
  8. Dark Land
  9. Rainbow Land

I even named them as if they were in Super Mario Bros 3, because that’s what 90% of Mario game worlds seem to be based on.  But we don’t need these generic world archtypes.

Look at Super Mario 3D Land for example, there are no general world themes at all and the game works perfectly fine.  Look at Super Mario World, the map actually looks like a ‘real’ place and it works fine:

Why not just stick with a map like the one above and have the levels just correspond to their location on the overworld map?  It feels far less ‘game like’ and artificial that way, since real life countries generally aren’t ‘single biome’ in TV Tropes terms. Any one logical location will have plains, forests, caves, lakes and mountains in the same general area, not all spread out across the globe as if some omnipotent creator decided that all the mountains should be placed in area 6.

2. Saving only after every fortress/tower/castle

Does anyone ever really think this was a good idea?  I mean, the gimmick of only being able to save after certain levels dates all the way back to Super Mario World, and even that didn’t do this for any greater reason than to annoy the player.

It’s even worse in New Super Mario Bros simply because it’s a portable game.  You know, those things which are meant to be played in short bursts while commuting or visiting someone or just before your DS battery dies out.  How in the world was limiting the save feature for a handheld game even remotely a good idea?

So now we’ve got a 2D Mario platformer coming to the 3DS and the console’s battery life isn’t exactly brilliant, it’d be a good idea to do away with pointless save game limits and collecting star coins and who knows what else and to just do what Yoshi’s Island and Wario Land do; have it auto save after every level.

3. The tower music from New Super Mario Bros

Not that it’s bad music, but in a Mario sub series where near enough every piece of music bar the main theme get replaced outright on a game by game basis, why exactly did we have this music appear in both games?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQKmK1mZjeM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3Rfkzry9mE

It’s perfectly good music for the place it appears, but I’d just love to hear a new tune playing in the tower/fortress levels.  That’s what they do with the castle music and it always works wonderfully.

4. Level Limited Power Ups and Yoshi

The problem with level limited power ups seems to be generally gone since the days of Ne Super Mario Bros and Super Mario 3D Land, but it still doesn’t excuse how Yoshi has never been an ‘item’ you can bring to different levels any more.

Did we really need to ditch him at the end of the few levels he was in back in New Super Mario Bros Wii?  What exactly was all so wrong about the Super Mario World structure where you could bring Yoshi into near enough any level you felt like bringing him too?

I’m starting to think that balancing levels for Yoshi’s abilities was just seen as too much work for Nintendo and hence they took the cop out route in New Super Mario Bros Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2.  But I hope this time round we can not only use him in any level we please, but also have him able to go underwater and all that neat stuff.

5. Eight/Nine Worlds

This would be an especially lazy design choice after Super Mario 3D Land and its sixteen worlds worth of unique levels.

Nintendo, Super Mario Bros 3 may have had eight worlds, as did the original NES game.  But that doesn’t mean EVERY recent Mario game of note needs to do the same.  You could have many more like Super Mario 3D Land did, or even less like Yoshi’s Island and Super Mario Sunshine did.  There’s no rule that eight has to be the magic number.

What I’d ideally want is about 16 worlds of unique levels.  We are in the 21st century now, so what worked back in the days when consoles had less power than your standard calculator is completely irrelevant in the modern day.

6. A Mediocre Final Level (the bosses are good)

This is mainly in respect to New Super Mario Bros Wii, but in general illustrates a point that Nintendo needs to understand.

A good final boss doesn’t excuse a badly designed and quickly thrown together final level, and vice versa.  Look at the final level in New Super Mario Bros Wii for instance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrE9m8fHE5s

The boss fight is excellent.  If that’s counted as part of the level, good on Nintendo.  But the rest of it seems so poorly designed.  It’s just two rooms with a bunch of firebars and podoboos to dodge and doesn’t have anything remotely like the finale feel that older Mario games had.  Look at Super Mario World’s final level for instance, that was a pretty good final castle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmjGvlZjW0w

As was the final castle in Super Mario Bros 3:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7aJxY65QDc

Yoshi’s Island had a good finale too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7MK3UJbNRU

Even other Nintendo series did the whole ‘final castle’ thing well, I used to always like how you had to conquer Ganon’s Castle/Tower to complete any game of the Legend of Zelda series.  Sure they weren’t often perfectly well designed, but they felt climactic to say the least.  You had to know all the tricks you used in earlier dungeons, maybe refight all the bosses you defeated earlier and defeat his elite troops as you climbed the tower to the sound of him being a church organ near the top.  It really made you feel like you were Hyrule’s last hope.

Heck, Super Princess Peach did this well, I think the game actually had a final castle so big it took up a whole worlds worth of levels!

In general, it always feels best when you really have to work to get through the final level and reach the final boss, when the final level is filled to the brim with tough trials to conquer and your victory is hard earned.  Why’d you think Pokemon always has Victory Road right before the Elite Four?

Two or three rooms then the epic final boss just doesn’t cut it Nintendo.

7. Toads as players 3 and 4 in multiplayer

Sounds obvious, although we’d better first hope this game even has multiplayer.  But if it does, here’s hoping the third and fourth player characters are not just colour swapped Toads.

Who should they be?  I don’t know to be perfectly honest.  Wario and Waluigi is obviously, Peach possibly (maybe as a secret character or something), normal Toad, who knows.  As for those of you saying it’d hurt game balance or how it wouldn’t be ‘fair’ if characters had different abilities:

Are Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong in Donkey Kong Country Returns the same?

Are Kirby, Meta Knight, King Dedede and Waddle Dee in Kirby’s Return to Dreamland the same?

No.  But it’s more fun to play as unique characters in most cases than palette swapped clones.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaz9KVc2Ta8

Above: Heck, even a fan game does it better than Nintendo!

8. A meaningless bonus world

What exactly do you even get for beating the bonus worlds in Mario games anyway?

Oh yay, you got a letter in the Mario Galaxy titles

Absolutely nothing in New Super Mario Bros Wii

Another letter in Super Mario 3D Land (after world S8 Crown)

So instead of this, how about actually giving people a proper reward for putting in all that work?  Remember how in Donkey Kong Country 2 onwards you had a secret final boss and ‘best’ ending?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EARQn1kw6Qk

Or how some other games actually just had multiple endings?  I distinctly recall Wario Land 2 having about ten different endings with their own final bosses/different final worlds beforehand along with the true one you got for beating the very final chapter.

But really, anything better than a stupid ‘congratulations’ message and a star by your file would work fine here.  Maybe a secret and ridiculously broken power up you can use to screw around with the rest of the game with?  A season change like in Super Mario World complete with different enemy graphics?  I don’t know, but surely Nintendo can think of something for a decent reward.

9. Non Meaningful secret exits/access to special worlds

Even if there is a decent special world in New Super Mario Bros 2, there needs to be an interesting way to access it, not just through what’s pretty much a menu.

Why not have something like the Star Warps in Super Mario World or the Warp Whistle in Super Mario Bros 3 as the way to access the special world?

For matter, why not secret exits that actually lead anywhere?  Because it seems in the New Super Mario Bros games to date, all the secret exits just lead at best to a one or two level detour that quickly rejoins the main path rather than to any actual secrets.  It’d be much better if you could have side routes that took people from one world to another without requiring them to beat the world’s boss, don’t you agree?

Like the 2D platformer equivalent to Banjo Tooie I suppose.

10. Cheap Cut away sections of level

Please Nintendo, never bring back this ridiculous gimmick again.  It worked fine in the Yoshi’s Island games where it was generally used in a reasonable manner, but New Super Mario Bros Wii and Donkey Kong Country Returns abused it to the point every single collectable was randomly found behind some piece of foreground that to all extents and purposes looked completely solid.

Fake walls are not clever and they are not good game design.  Unless you plan to give Mario the Lens of Truth from Ocarina of Time, they’re the very definition of cheap, fake difficulty.

As you can see from that screen, that wall Mario is swimming next to is completely illusionary, despite looking identical to every other wall in the level.  That’s not a fair place to hide a star coin.

If all these things mentioned above don’t turn out to be in New Super Mario Bros 2, I will be much, much happier with the game.  They’re old, outdated and often broken elements that have no place in games released this decade, or have just outstayed their welcome in general.

What things do you not want in New Super Mario Bros 2?

Devil Summoner Soul Hackers Announced for 3DS

And the first screenshots of the game can be seen below:

If you don’t know what this game is about, it’s an upgraded port of an RPG that was originally released on the Sega Saturn and original Playstation.  It was made by Atlus (who you should probably know at least something about) and it’s a spinoff of the Megami Tensei.  It was also supposedly never released outside Japan, so if this 3DS port turns out to get localised, it’ll be the English speaking world’s first official experience of the game

I’m not sure about the storyline or various other stuff since I’ve obviously never played any games in the series that it’s a part of, but it might turn out to be a good game, and we can never have too many 3DS RPGs, can we?

Still, what does everyone else think of this game?  Does anyone wish it’d be translated and released in the US or Europe?

Purple Coloured 3DS Coming Soon?

It’s only a rumour as of this time, but apparently EB Games is listing it under Hardware recently. Now admittedly this is kind of dodgy ground already, remember what happened the last time EB Games was supposedly stocking unannounced products?

Remember those listings for Donkey Kong 3D and Super Smash Bros 3DS?  Same store/company.

It’s made even more dodgy by the fact the primary source for this information is a topic on GameFAQs, which can be found at the link below:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/997614-3ds/62623774

A lot of sites are taking this as accurate, but I’m not sure myself. It wouldn’t be too hard to make something up on that site given how many fake rumours have been spread by their members and how forums are hardly the most reliance source on the planet.  Not to mention it’s the second time in the spotlight for EB Games and rumours, and their track record isn’t too strong. The topic additionally has comments about how the listing for this 3DS edition has been coming and going on Gamestop’s sites pretty much constantly for a while.

Also, have to love how all these sites are immediately assuming a US release date when EB Games is an Australian video game retailer.

But here’s hoping the rumour does turn out to be somewhat accurate this time around, having the Midnight Purple 3DS as available to buy in more regions would be fantastic news. Some people must want a purple 3DS, right?

Here’s what one looks like: