RIP Satoru Iwata

It’s extremely unfortunate that we’re having to write this article for Gaming Reinvented, but Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has passed away at the age of 55 due to a bile duct tumour.

He died this Saturday, with his ill health being the reason for a lack of presence at E3 2015.

283578-iwata

Either way, Mr Iwata was someone who brought a lot to Nintendo. Programming games back when it wasn’t really seen as a legitimate career choice, he was involved in programming games for HAL Laboratory and Nintendo back in the 80s and 90s.  In fact, he was so good at doing this that he managed to turn around the likes of Earthbound and make it actually playable (leading to one of the best RPGs of its era).  He also worked on Pokemon Gold and Silver, compressing the data enough that the entirety of Kanto from the previous games could be made to fit in the space left on the cartridge.

Iwata Luigi Cap

And that’s even before we look at his achievements as Nintendo CEO.  When Iwata took the helm in 2002, Nintendo was in trouble.  The Gamecube was underperforming compared to its competitors, the GBA was then Nintendo’s least popular handheld console and their reputation in many regions was summed up in one word as ‘irrelevant’.  But Satoru Iwata managed to use the Blue Ocean strategy to turn things around.  He marketed the Wii and DS to people who’d never played games before and ended up making two of the most popular and success systems ever released on the market.  From there, his work on the 3DS was extraordinary and again managed to turn around a failing system by releasing a near endless stream of great games for it and actually making it worth owning.

Iwata

Yet he never lost sight of the customers or the fans.  With comments such as:

On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.

And:

The only person who has the right to be selfish is the customer

He never lost sight of who Nintendo’s real audience was.  He never got driven into the world of cheap ‘freemium’ mobile games by investors wanting to take part in the app ‘gold rush’.  He never turned Nintendo in a game driven by endless DLC releases and horse armour.  He never told the developers to rush out games that weren’t ready just because the company spotted a quick sales opportunity.

Continue Reading…

Devil’s Third Won’t be Published by Nintendo in North America

It’s a strange piece of news to receive, but apparently the upcoming Wii U game Devil’s Third (which was hyped up by Nintendo back in their 2014 E3 conference) is now not being published by Nintendo in North America.

No, it’s not cancelled.  It’s just… not being published by Nintendo of America for some reason, with the game being released in the region by a different publisher instead.

Either way, here’s a video from Unseen64 about the strange circumstances surrounding the game and its change of publisher, one which has now been proven to be true:

So why won’t it be published by Nintendo?  It’s honestly quite hard to say.  Perhaps it has something to do with its 18+ age rating, given that the last game not to get published by Nintendo in various regions was Conker’s Bad Fur Day on the Nintendo 64 (which ended up being published by THQ in Europe and practically buried by Nintendo Power in North America).  But what do you think?  Is there a reason that this game is now not being published by Nintendo in North America?  Did the word ‘devil’ put off a bunch of overly conservative people at Nintendo of America or something?

Source:

Devil’s Third Won’t be Published by Nintendo of America – Siliconera

Minecraft, Nintendo and their Indie Problems

As of earlier today, Mojang has confirmed that they want Minecraft to be available on all systems.

Which explicitly includes the 3DS and Wii U.  Indeed, when asked about the possibility of Minecraft on the Wii U or 3DS, they said:

I’ve never heard a reason why we haven’t ended up on Wii U or 3DS. It just hasn’t happened yet.

But while it’s nice to see the Minecraft developers themselves keen to work with Nintendo and promote their work on Nintendo systems, it raises an issue that very few people seem to be discussing about the company. Namely that Nintendo has a huge issue figuring out which new games are going to be successful and which aren’t, or trying to get said times on their systems.

Because it’s true, isn’t it? The best time to get Minecraft on Nintendo systems isn’t now or a few years in the future.

Above: Something like this (fake trailer used for illustration purposes) should have been a reality years ago.

It’s already gone.  The best time to release Minecraft on those systems was back in about 2010 or 2011, when the game was brand new.  A decently run business should have figured this out; after all, that’s how business works.  Spot what’s going to work (smell what sells/is about to sell) and then try and be the one to promote or sell that product.  Kind of like how on The Apprentice the candidates have to find out what the public will buy and then stock more of it to meet demand.  If you’re selling say, coats and hats, and only the latter sells, you buy more hats knowing that people are willing to buy them.

Nintendo on the other hand, seems to have completely missed this class in business school.  Instead, they’ll completely ignore the high selling product and simply push whatever the hell they feel like pushing regardless of whether anyone actually wants to buy it.  In a world where hats are flying off shelves, Nintendo are the company that ends up doubling down on coats and trying to force them to sell, demand be damned.

And that’s been their biggest issue throughout their history, at least in terms of third party games on their platforms.  They don’t spot the obvious breakout hits and instead keep trying to push franchises that no one outside of Japan is even buying.

Oh, and trust me, there have been plenty of examples here.  Take the RPGs from the 8/16 bit era.  Dragon Quest was popular in Japan, but not so much internationally.  Final Fantasy was popular internationally but less so in Japan.  A sane company would probably try and get both on their systems, or if that didn’t work, go for the one with more international appeal.  After all, the rest of the world kind of outnumbers Japan in terms of population by a significant margin.

But no, Nintendo stuck with Dragon Quest even outside of Japan, despite the fact their attempts at trying to make it a success weren’t really working that well.  Meanwhile, Sony ended up luring Square over to its platforms, and Final Fantasy 7 ended up being a success on par with the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time (and a significant reason why the Playstation outsold the Nintendo 64 in its era).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G57vtB6NU-Y

Above: Then we got this, and Nintendo’s E3 was overshadowed even more…

And it goes on and on.  They completely overlooked Rare’s successes, before selling them off to Microsoft and losing the best second party partnership they ever had.  They completely ignored that the likes of the Five Nights at Freddy’s series was selling out on services like Steam and that half of Youtube was seemingly uploading videos of it.  And despite the sales clearly proving that a more realistic Zelda art style was the better choice (Twilight Princess sold around double what the likes of the Wind Waker did), they kept trying to push cel shaded and ‘experimental’ art styles regardless of whether anyone would actually care for it or not.

Continue Reading…

LEGO Dimensions; Doctor Who Trailer

Everyone loves Lego, and everyone loves Doctor Who, right?  So what better crossover idea than to put the two together in the one game! Behold the newest Lego Dimensions trailer, featuring Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor teaming up with the likes of Batman and Homer Simpson:

Yep, it sure is something to behold isn’t it?  Indeed, it’s got the feel of Doctor Who down perfectly, along with all the comedy value we’ve come to expect from the Lego adaptation games.

And did we mention how they included his regeneration mechanic?  No?  Well they did!  If you die as the Twelfth Doctor, you respawn as the First one. And so it continues through all his different incarnations from over the years, including the Day of the Doctor specific War Doctor.

So yes, what do you think of the newest Lego Dimensions trailer?  Are you excited about the possibility of playing as the Doctor in a Lego crossover game?  And for that matter, about what is arguably the first good Doctor Who game ever made?

Eight Awesome Nintendo Music Covers You Need to Listen To

When it comes to great covers of Nintendo songs, there are plenty to choose from.  Indeed, with such projects as Zelda Reorchestrated, OC Remix and Pokemon Reorchestrated out there making covers of entire soundtracks, you could probably find a ton to listen to from those sources alone.

But here are some… slightly more obscure (but still fantastic) Nintendo music covers.  The kind on Youtube that don’t ever seem to get enough views for their quality and that arguably deserve the attention more than the big names ever will.  Here are eight awesome Nintendo music covers that any of you fans just have to listen to!

8. Mario & Luigi Bowser’s Inside Story Final Boss; Orchestral Remix

Now, there have been many, many covers of the fantastic final boss theme from this game.  Like, 8 bit ones, 16 bit ones, rock ones, techno ones… you name a music style and someone has probably redone this theme in that style.

But here is possibly the best of them.  Behold, the epic orchestral remix of Bowser’s Inside Story’s final boss theme:

Yes, it’s loud as hell.  Your ears could well be blasted clean off the side of your head if you play this at maximum volume.  But either way, it is epic.  Just the perfect thing for a grandiose final boss showdown, regardless of the game.

7. Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga Soundtrack; Orchestrated

Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga is already a game with a phenomenal soundtrack.  But do you know what would make it even better?

If the whole thing was redone in an orchestral style using decent instruments.  And what do you know, there’s actually someone on Youtube who’s doing just that!  Behold Bryan Hermus’ fantastic covers of the Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga soundtrack.  Including Stardust Fields:

The main battle theme (as you’d expect):

And the main boss theme, which sounds even better with updated instruments:

You can keep track on his progress on his Youtube channel, as linked here:

Bryan Hermus (Purple 1222119)’s Youtube Channel

He’s only done four tracks so far, but hey, he’s only started this project in June 2015, so give him some slack.  Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll get to hear some fantastic covers of songs like Cackletta’s theme and Bowser’s Castle too!  Or even something that makes Joke’s End actually sound cool rather than repetitive!

6. The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past; Metal Dark World Cover

Enough said to be honest:

It’s already a great song, and this metal cover of it just makes it even better than it already was.  Very well done to CSGuitar89 on Youtube for this cover!

5. Donkey Kong 64; Mad Jack Theme

The original song was already menacing as all hell.  This?

Is at least ten times more so than even that.  Seriously, if hell had a soundtrack (in the good sense), this would be it.  It’s arguably the best Donkey Kong 64 music cover ever made.

4. The Legend of Zelda Link’s Awakening; Ballad of the Wind Fish Remake

It’s rare that any Nintendo song (or remix) could actually drive us to tears, but this one seems to actually come close to doing so.  Remixing the original ending song from the Game Boy classic in a way that makes it sound like a current gen title (or better), Fox Amoore’s amazing Ballad of the Wind Fish remake is one of the best Zelda music covers out there.  Brings back the sadness of seeing Koholint Island disappear like the dream it ever was.

Continue Reading…