Nintendo Patented a Gaming Phone in 2001?

Ever since smartphones became such a huge thing all those years ago, the idea of a Nintendo phone has been omnipresent. Whether it’s people on forums asking why Nintendo doesn’t cut out Apple and Google or bloggers thinking Nintendo should enter the Android handset market, the concept has been brought up time and time again.

But did you know that Nintendo themselves may have considered the idea? That at one time, a Nintendo mobile phone may have actually been in consideration?

Yes, it’s true. Back in 2001, Nintendo patented something called an ‘Electronic apparatus having game and telephone functions’. Possibly intended for Pokemon Crystal (or other similar titles released around that time), the device would contain both a ‘game CPU’ and a ‘phone CPU’ and switch between them as necessary. For example, if the player was playing a game, then an incoming call would pause the game so they could answer it.

And as the illustrations included show, this was very definitely going to be a traditional mobile phone. Well, of the type released in the early 00s anywhere. Remember, this was before touch screens or iPhones were ever a thing, so the design looks a tad ‘retro’ now:

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Above: 2001 mobile phone design is nothing like that of today…

They also provided some other pictures showing the games would pause if you received a phone, as well some diagrams showing the device’s workings:

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nintendo phone 1

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Above: Seems like Game Boy/Game Boy Color games would work on this device.

So Nintendo was definitely working on a phone/console hybrid at one point in time. But why did they stop?

Well, a few reasons really. For starters, it was a time when both the Game Boy Advance and GameCube were brand new. So Nintendo likely had to spend a lot of time and effort on making games for their two systems, both of which were likely seen as greater priorities than this device. Does that sound silly now? Maybe, but in 2001, mobile phones were nowhere near as big of a deal as they are now. Neither Android nor iOS would debut till about six years later, Blackberry wasn’t much of a thing yet and people likely thought mobile gaming was something akin to playing Snake on a Nokia device.

In addition to this, it was also a market that Nintendo didn’t really have the most experience in. Could they do well there? Maybe, but they’d need to work with carriers. They’d need to build in all the needed phone features like a contacts list, dialing systems, etc (remember, no Android yet). They’d have to market it as a phone, likely outside of video game stores. It was an ambitious idea, but perhaps not the right one for the market at the time.

Either way, if anyone asks about a Nintendo smartphone, tell them that the general idea was already patented back in 2001. Now that’s an interesting bit of history!

Source:

Electronic apparatus having game and telephone functions – Nintendo Patent Description

Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing Are Going Mobile!

Ever since Miitomo, people have been wondering when Nintendo will make a more ‘traditional’ smartphone game. That’s not to say Miitomo isn’t a good app (10 million people certainly like it!), but it’s perhaps not what everyone was expecting.

But now it seems our questions have been answered. Nintendo is making two new games for smartphones, and they’re spinoffs of the Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem franchises respectively. Here’s some proof, straight from Nintendo themselves:

What’s more, these are explicitly meant to be ‘games’, with a recent press release describing them as ‘pure game applications’ and contrasting them with Miitomo:

Nintendo’s Next Mobile Apps: Building on the positive consumer reaction to Miitomo, Nintendo announced that its next two mobile apps would be based on the familiar and beloved Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing franchises. Nintendo plans to release both of these applications this autumn. As for the former app, while making it more accessible in comparison to the Fire Emblem games for Nintendo’s dedicated gaming systems, Nintendo aims to offer the great value of a role-playing strategy game. Nintendo will design the latter game so that it will be connected with the world of Animal Crossing for dedicated gaming systems. By playing both Animal Crossing games, users will find increased enjoyment. Both of these are pure game applications. Compared to Miitomo, they have more prominent game elements, and the game content will tie closely into Nintendo’s dedicated games business. Nintendo will provide more details about these applications closer to their launch period, and aims to have multiple types of apps that appeal to different audiences and different groups of players.

So if you’re one of those people who was a tad disappointed by Miitomo, or wanted to see Nintendo make ‘proper’ game for smartphones, these should be exactly what you’re looking for. They probably won’t be full installments in the series (although hey, anything is possible at this point), but they’ll at least tie into the dedicated games based on the series. In other words, they might work a bit like Pokemon GO, integrating with the main series titles and working alongside them.

But what do you think about this? Are you happy to see Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem on mobile devices? Do you like that these apps are actual games? Or would you rather have seen something different?

Source:

Nintendo provides updates on mobile, NX and The Legend of Zelda along with annual earnings – Nintendo Press Release

Pokemon GO; More Beta Footage!

With Pokemon GO invites now being sent to field testers in Australia and New Zealand, it was inevitable that some new footage would make its way to the internet.

And now, thanks to Youtube user Game Previews, it has. The channel has posted video footage of Pokemon GO showing the introduction, the character customisation and both catching and battling Pokemon, all of which can be seen below.

Now keep in mind, people aren’t really supposed to be posting this stuff online. So it seems quite likely that the Youtube video will be taken down soon, and even more likely that said user will soon be banned from the game too.

With that out of the way, here’s the video:

So what’s there to say about this? Well, quite a few things actually.

First of all, the gameplay doesn’t exactly look the best. It’s not exactly terrible (at least, not for the most part), but it’s pretty disappointing compared to an actual game on a Nintendo system. This is at least partly because the Pokemon catching system is rather bland and uninteresting (due to the fact you don’t actually battle the Pokemon before catching it).

On a more positive note though, the music is certainly rather nice to listen to. Okay, that’s not surprising (given how great the music in most Pokemon games is), but the remixes here sound especially good. It’s also got quite a nice UI in general, with the aesthetics looking like the perfect blend of modern ‘flat’ design and traditional Pokemon graphics.

Either way, it’s best to take this game as its own thing rather than a core part of the main series. Because while it won’t exactly live up to those games, it’s also not trying to. It’s just trying to provide its own type of Pokemon experience for mobile players, and that’s all you should take it for.

But what do you think about Pokemon GO, based on this footage?

Source:

Pokemon GO Beta Gameplay Footage – My Nintendo News

Pokemon GO; More Gym Details

As you may or may not know, Pokemon GO has recently opened to beta testing in Australia. And now, it seems like the gym functionality has gone live as well! So straight from the (amusingly named) Silph Road subreddit, here are some details about how the gym aspect of Pokemon GO works:

Note: This information comes from the user ‘dronpes’.

Training, at least, is NOT turn based. It’s an all out brawl, from what we see.

Well, this is interesting. Though to be fair, I like turn based battles in games…

In wild encounters, the color of the shrinking circle indicates the difficulty of the catch. It starts red and will approach green. Green is a higher probability of catch, the ring can be made more green by feeding the Pokemon berries (allowed only once per encounter) and using a higher level Poke Ball.

Sounds interesting I guess. Maybe this sort of thing could be adapted to the actual games in time, we all know the Poke Ball mechanics need a bit more consistency…

We have video of ‘training’ but have not been granted permission to post it – blurred or not. It gives too much away – gym thumbnail, trainer appearance, Pokemon + it’s CP, gym level, etc. It’d be too easy to deduce who’s battle it was.

Now that’s just a cop out if you ask me. Either way, I’ll be off to Youtube to try and find the footage that these guys didn’t want to post.

When you claim a Gym, you select your Pokemon to defend it. To Train, you fight that Pokemon with another one of your own Pokemon.

Well, this is interesting. You apparently train by fighting a Pokemon than you yourself left at a gym. Of course, this could all go so badly wrong, right?

Yes. Yes it could:

Some testers have struggled to ‘train’ because they left their strongest Pokemon at the Gym – and none of their other Pokemon could beat their strongest!

Yeah, I can picture it now:

Kid: No one will beat my awesome Mewtwo! Time to leave it at the New York Central Gym!

*A few hours later*

Kid: I’m gonna train now!

Kid: Aw crap. I’m getting pulverised by my own Pokemon, and I can’t beat it. How am I supposed the level the rest of my team now?

When starting a training session, a random Pokemon in your team is selected to fight with, but you can change it by tapping on it in the screen before combat begins.

Oh, wonder how this can go badly wrong?

Never mind. I picture some poor schmuck training against a level 100 Mewtwo… and then accidentally sending out a level 5 Magikarp to battle it because they weren’t paying attention. Cue quick defeat.

In training combat, the opponent’s attacks are shown ‘targeting’ with a red crosshairs that closes in on your Pokemon. This appears to be so you can decide to ‘dodge’ or take the hit.

Huh, so it’s got an action command aspect to it. Seems a bit like the system in the Mario & Luigi games. Well, the one in the giant battles anyway, with the addition of Paper Jam’s crosshair mechanic.

Dodging is accomplished by swiping left or right. If you’re fast enough you can dodge all the way behind an opponents back.

Sounds pretty cool. Wonder how long til this aspect gets brought into the Mario & Luigi series? They’ve already done just about everything else…

AoE attacks seem to ‘always’ hit – even when a Pokemon dodges.

Not surprising (how can you dodge an earthquake without flying?) Hope there’s a counter option though, for undodgeable hits.

Attacking is accomplished by tapping (quick attack) or pressing and holding (for the charge attack)

This is interesting, though already making me a tad worried. I mean, touch screen controls are imprecise at the best of the times, and I’m the kind who sometimes struggles using a simple iPhone app. I’m just picturing myself trying to do a powerful attack, then accidentally doing a quick one instead.

Continue Reading…

Miitomo Has Launched Worldwide!

It may have been out in Japan since March 17th 2016, but up until earlier today, Nintendo fans from other regions couldn’t try Nintendo’s first mobile app for themselves.

As of earlier today though, that’s all changed. Now Miitomo is available on the app stores for the rest of the world and can be downloaded right now! Just remember though, you’ll need a Nintendo Account of some type to start using it. And a decent wifi connection too, given that the first launch of the app requires downloading a significant amount of data from Nintendo’s servers.

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So what do people think of it? Well, reactions have been somewhat mixed. On the one hand, it’s done quite well on Twitter, since you can connect your Twitter account to Miitomo to add people who follow you on the service. On the other, there’s always been a few questions about how useful the app actually is. Is it really going to be holding anyone’s attention in a few weeks time?

A few people have also ripped the music from the app, if that’s something you’re interested in. For example, the shop theme:

Either way, if you want to check out Miitomo (or just support Nintendo’s app development in general), Miitomo is available free from your region’s app store or play store. Maybe you can even add our @gamingreinvent account there too!

Source:

Miitomo – iTunes

Miitomo – Google Play