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Posts tagged ‘Nintendo’


Here’s how Nintendo’s Amiibo toys work in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Nintendo was dropping Smash Brothers info-bombs left and right last night, but the company also felt compelled to dive a little deeper into how the Wii U version of the game will play with those curious little Amiibos. You know, the Nintendo character-themed figurines that both look adorable and store game information via NFC? Now, thanks to the marketing wizards in Redmond, we’ve got a four-minute chronicle of young love, combat and tiny figures that explains just about everything. Key takeaways? You’re not actually playing as your Amiibo character — instead, the little avatar springs to life as a support character, getting in people’s faces and generally having a grand ol’ time once you tap the figure to your Wii U’s gamepad.

Once they’re in the game, you can level up their stats, too (the cap sits at Level 50, or so the video would have us believe), either by wailing on your Amiibo directly or lugging it into battle against others. Since all of that stat and level data can be stored on the Amiibo itself, it should be a piece of cake to lug your partner to and fro (it doesn’t appear in the video, but you’ll presumably touch it to the Gamepad once more when done to lock all that data down). Perfect companion for those ridiculous eight-person Smashfests? Nintendo certainly thinks so, if only because deep integration into already-popular games means its little figures are more than just your run-of-the-mill Skylanders knock-offs. Just remember that Amiibo pickins’ will be a little slim at first: the first batch of twelve are all Smash characters and will hit in late November, followed by another wave of six just in time for the holidays.

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Source: Nintendo (YouTube)


‘Don’t freak out!’ and other tips for surviving layoffs as a video game developer

Halo Spinoff

The game industry is capable of building incredible worlds, engrossing us with believable characters, and empowering us to destroy (or create!) both. The unfortunate side of all that enchantment is the shaky business models that much of the industry are built on, which leads to cyclical, annualized layoffs that affect even the most successful franchises. Just look at the recent history of Joystiq‘s layoffs tag: it’s ridiculous. Why is this the case? Kotaku‘s Jason Schreier did an excellent job reporting that last year, right here, so we’re not going to duplicate efforts. This piece is about what you can do, should you find yourself being put through the wringer this holiday.

Oh, and yes, the annualized layoffs tend to happen around the holidays (which coincides with many companies’ financial quarters ending). Sucks, right?

Seattle-based animator Floyd Bishop took to his website, GameDevTalk, and laid out a list of best practices should you encounter the ever-swinging scythe of layoffs. First and foremost? Make sure you actually listen when human resources is walking you through the proceedings.

“There will be lots of information, and you’re still reeling from the initial shock. Try to write things down, if you can. If you didn’t hear something, or have a question, ask it now. They may also have some hand outs ready for you that tell you what happens next. Be nice! This is not a fun day to work in human resources.”

Okay, okay — that’s pretty general “I got laid off” advice. Fair enough. If you’re of the game developer variety, though, Bishop’s got targeted advice too. For instance, get your work online immediately, and sign up for job newsletters from the biggies. “Sites like Gamasutra, Creative Heads, and even Indeed have both job listings and job alert email lists,” Bishop points out.

Despite video games going mainstream, the industry that creates those games remains surprisingly small. As such, Bishop recommends, “Do not instantly talk trash about the studio you were just let go from.” Is it tempting? Sure is! These are the bastards who just fired you, right? Yes, they are, and they may also be the people who hire you for a new project in five years.

Bishop of course has far more detail than we’ve put in here, so we suggest heading over and reading the full piece if you’re in the regrettable position of being laid off as a game dev this holiday.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson]

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Source: GameDevTalk


‘Super Smash Bros. for Wii U’ adds an eight-player mode for double the madness

Think you know everything there is to about Super Smash Bros for Wii U? Think again: during today’s Smash-centric Nintendo Direct event, the gaming giant announced an eight-player mode for absolutely bananas action. How will you even keep track of all that madness on the Wii U? We’re willing to find out. There are sure to be some more announcements coming out of the broadcast, and we’ve embedded the live player just after the break.

Update: Remember the create-a-stage feature from Super Smash Bros. Brawl? Well it’s back in the Wii U version and it’s gotten a pretty big upgrade thanks to the console’s touchscreen-based Gamepad. You can now draw out your custom levels using the stylus (sorta like Mario Maker) and even share them online with others. Pretty neat!

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Source: Nintendo


Let’s look at each game console’s lineup of exclusives for holiday 2014

Can you smell that? It’s the aroma of game lovers’ tears everywhere as they realize their bank accounts likely can’t sustain buying every title coming out in the annual deluge of fall video game releases. That’s to say nothing of the amount of time you’d need to play absolutely everything that’s come out since September. Or even on November 18th alone! But what is each console offering exclusively this holiday? That’s a bit more manageable, and we compare them below.

With a few exceptions, nearly everything made by a third-party developer (i.e., one not working solely with Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony) is available on PC, so we’re going to leave those out of the conversation. Platform-exclusive goodies don’t count here either — adios, Far Cry 4!

Sony’s PlayStation 4

Sony made its bed at E3 this year and is now getting comfy under that (likely luxurious) comforter. During its near-two-hour-long media briefing, it mentioned first-party retail games exactly three times. And in that trio, only one title was an original game for the PS4 that was coming out this year. That was none other than the adorable 2D platformer, LittleBigPlanet 3. The other two? The Last of Us: Remastered and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. While LBP3 will likely be every bit as whimsical and charming as previous efforts, it isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind as a tentpole fall release that’ll move loads of consoles — especially not when it releases the same day as Far Cry 4 and the Grand Theft Auto 5 remaster: November 18th. Not that the PS4 needs much help with that anyway; last we knew, over 10 million of them have been sold so far.

Considering what we’ve been able to experience of it, it’s pretty apparent why the already-released racer Driveclub wasn’t given any time on the stage at E3 this past June. The game is pretty in spots, but an absolute bore to play, which is all the more disheartening given that the developer’s previous work was the over-the-top (and excellent) MotorStorm franchise. That’s to say nothing of how the game’s been hamstrung by connectivity woes that render its key feature, a socially driven online experience, utterly unusable.

PlayStation’s fall commercial featured third-party games exclusively.

No one really expects a system’s launch to have amazing games, but here we are almost a year later and the PlayStation 4 still doesn’t have a killer app. Even Sony itself seems to acknowledge this with TV spots that feature third-party games exclusively. Hell, the PlayStation Twitter account’s header image is for the trio of those titles in the commercial — not one of its internally developed games. At this point in its predecessor’s lifecycle there was the first Uncharted as well as Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction to look forward to; neither Driveclub nor LBP 3 look to stand up to that legacy. Looking ahead, Sony’s got The Order: 1886 (originally scheduled for a fall 2014 release) coming early next year, in addition to the hugely anticipated Bloodborne, the next game from the Dark Souls team. For now, though, the PS4 is a hard sell when it comes to games that you can’t get anywhere else.

Nintendo’s Wii U

Super Smash Bros. Those three words alone could be enough to carry Nintendo through this holiday season, but the gaming giant has a pair of other games to help lighten Mario and Co.’s load too. Not only is Smash absurdly anticipated — the 3DS version beyond whet our appetite — but it’s also releasing on two platforms and has its own set of Skylanders-esque figurines (dubbed amiibo). Nintendo’s had a relatively good year so far, and if Mario Kart 8 was any indication, we can expect the Wii U version of its mascot-laden fighting game to flex some serious muscle when it comes to moving a few consoles come November 21st and beyond.

Then we have the just-released Bayonetta 2 (like, this week), a game that’s likely to please the hardcore crowd with its frenetic pacing and old-school approach to action and combat. Granted, it earns every bit of its Mature rating, but series fans know what they’re getting into with this one. You’re a witch who fights angels and demons on the back of a fighter jet, among other places. Seriously. Who can’t get behind a premise like that?

Taking a step away from the violent side of things is Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, a spin-off from last year’s incredibly good Super Mario 3D Land. In Captain Toad, you’re navigating the adorable, mushroom-adorned Toad through a variety of puzzles in themed worlds that should be familiar to anyone who played 2013’s Mario release. Wait, you didn’t? For shame! At least you can make up for that this year.

Surprisingly, Nintendo’s first-party line-up is incredibly strong this season. The Japanese company’s reputation rests on its ability to make games that no one else can or seemingly wants to. Even without a proper Mario or Legend of Zelda release this holiday (we’re excepting Hyrule Warriors as a side game rather than series entry), Nintendo proved that it has what’s needed to compete against the likes of its relatively younger opponents with practiced ease.

Microsoft’s Xbox One

Perhaps more than any console maker, Microsoft has the most to prove this fall. Redmond came out on the losing end of a PR battle when it announced confusing (and somewhat consumer-hostile) policies for the Xbox One last year, not to mention it costing $100 more than its closest rival, the PS4. Phil Spencer and Co. responded in 2014 by doubling down on games, hoping to shed the image forged by a previous management regime. At the firm’s media event at E3 this year, it spent the entire time talking about games and a majority of that was devoted to platform exclusives and first-party titles. The company line that it was all about “games, games, games” wasn’t a hollow promise and this fall’s crop of Xbox One releases shows it.

Let’s start with Forza Horizon 2: It’s excellent. Unlike Driveclub, it’s a social-based racing game that worked as promised from the outset. Beyond that, though, it’s an absolute blast to play. From racing against a bullet train as The Clash’s “Train in Vain” blasts over your car’s stereo, to challenging a buddy’s ghost to a head-to-head race only to see it drive his Hemi ‘Cuda up a hillside in effort to gain the lead, there’s loads to see and do in the game. In fact, both Ben Gilbert and I have stopped playing Destiny to soak in as much of virtual Nice as possible. You should not miss Forza Horizon 2.

When it was first teased at E3 2013, no one quite knew what to make of Sunset Overdrive. It was a parkour-style open-world something from the folks at Insomniac Games (Ratchet and Clank and Resistance franchises for PlayStation), but that’s all anyone really knew. What a difference a year made, however. What we played of the punk-rock take on Crackdown and to a certain extent, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, though, at E3 this year made us believers. It’s unapologetically a video game; bright, stylized and flashy, with a highly saturated color palette that emphasizes cartoony fun over everything else. Hell, there’s a weapon that shoots ricocheting vinyl records at energy-drink-crazed mutants and an RPG that uses teddy bears as ammunition. It’s the best kind of ridiculous.

And how could anyone forget Halo: The Master Chief Collection? We broke the news that it was coming, and since then it’s been impossible to ignore. Microsoft is going all-out for this release and including every multiplayer map that’s ever been in a Halo game into the package, as well as fully remastered versions of classic Halo 2 arenas and a totally overhauled campaign for the sequel. What else? The other three numbered Halo releases running at 1080p and 60 FPS.

Perhaps even more than Nintendo, Microsoft was in panic mode this past year. Given the improvements that’ve been made to the Xbox One’s system software and the price drop that brings parity between it and the PS4, the Xbox One is the best environment to play games that you can’t get anywhere else this fall. If all goes well, maybe Redmond will take to touting sales numbers of its own soon enough.

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Playdate: We’re livestreaming ‘Bayonetta 2′ on Wii U!

Nintendo’s big exclusive game for its Wii U home console is Bayonetta 2. It was Nintendo’s big coup announcement ahead of the Wii U’s launch. Bayonetta‘s notable not just for being good — the first game is critically-acclaimed — but also for being made by a developer other than Nintendo. And hey, it’s October, so that means games are being released into the wild. Among them is Platinum Games’ Bayonetta 2, featuring the stylishly appointed, combat-ready Rapunzel-alike you see above. The series is known for its over-the-top, goofy-yet-calculated style, and we’re gonna put the latest one through its paces in a stream for you just below starting at 4PM ET. live video from Engadget on

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Watch the start screens for nearly every Game Boy title ever made

Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

Up for a long nostalgia trip? You’re in for a treat. NicksplosionFX has posted a video showing the start screens for almost every original Game Boy title ever made, ranging from 4 in 1 Funpak to Zoop. Each opener only lasts a matter of seconds, but the sheer volume of games amounts to 2 hours, 42 minutes of monochrome animations and chiptunes — watch it all and you’re bound to find something that evokes your childhood. It’s thankfully in alphabetical order, so you can quickly scrub through if you’re just trying to find that one game you always played after school.

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Source: NicksplosionFX (YouTube)

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‘Super Smash Bros.’ coming to Wii U on November 21st

The launch of a new Super Smash Bros. game for the first time in six years on 3DS was great news, but it left us wondering: when the heck is it coming to Wii U? Luckily, Nintendo has quickly answered that question. It’ll arrive to the big console on November 21st in North America for $59.99, and in the UK on December 5th for £39.99 (see the new game trailer below). Being Nintendo, there’s more, of course. You’ll be able to pick up a set of 12 Amiibo figures for $12.99 (with six more coming by December) and even use a GameCube to control your Wii U too, thanks to a $19.99 adapter. In fact, if you want the whole shebang — GameCube, Super Smash Bros. and the adapter — Nintendo’s also offering the complete bundle for $100.

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Source: Nintendo

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Nintendo’s 3DS software finally gets a new look with custom themes

You can replace your Nintendo 3DS’ outer hull anytime you want (provided you’re willing to buy a new system), but that system menu has always been that same void of transparent white space. Not anymore. The handheld’s latest update (much like the PS Vita’s from last week) gifts the 3DS with five basic color themes in red, blue, yellow, pink and black. Looking for something more complex? You’ll have to pay for it — the new theme shop sells character and pattern-based themes for $0.99-$1.99 a piece, including one that harkens back to Nintendo’s origins selling Hanafuda cards. Oh, and if you want to show off your redesigned 3DS, Nintendo’s thought of that too: pressing up / down while holding the Y button now takes a screenshot of the 3DS upper and lower screens, respectively.

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Source: Nintendo Support

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The first ‘Smash Bros.’ in six years is available now, and you should play it

Smash Bros.-themed 3DS XL

There is a new Smash Bros. game, and it’s available as of last Friday. You know when the last game, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, was released? In 2008! Six years ago! So today is a pretty exciting day, at least for me. Hi, I’m Ben Gilbert, and I’ve been playing Smash Bros. with far too much sincerity for 15+ years. The new Smash Bros. for 3DS, however? I’ve only been playing that for about two weeks. The reviews are out! Our sister site Joystiq is pretty into it. I am also way into it, and I want to tell you why.

Look, we don’t do this — whatever “this” is — at Engadget very often (ever?). In leading our game coverage, I’ve intentionally skipped previews, reviews and other standards of game coverage; our sister site Joystiq does a great job with that, and only so many of you want to know about the minutia of every video game. I’m making an exception for Smash Bros., mostly for selfish reasons: I desperately want to talk about the best game Nintendo’s released this year.


Don’t know what Smash Bros. is? Here’s the launch trailer for Super Smash Bros. for 3DS:

Smash Bros. is a Nintendo-made fighting game starring everyone’s favorite game characters. The cast ranges from Mario to Mega Man, and even includes recent cult classics like Xenoblade‘s Shulk. The latest game has “over 40″ characters in total: the rest of the experience is tailored around supporting and extending the nostalgia conjured by those dozens of characters.

If nothing else, Smash Bros. is a trip down gaming history’s memory lane. No other game allows you to pit Sonic the Hedgehog against Pac-Man, on a stage based on Pikmin, while deploying Pokémon balls as weapons. You know how mash-up artists take hit songs and turn them into something new? Smash Bros. is that, but with video games, and it’s made by the company that created most of those games.

Rather than mashing up the gameplay systems from those various games, though, Smash Bros. takes the characters, their characteristics, and some of their game worlds, and brings them into a 2D, four-player fighting game. Players take those characters into one of many game-themed arenas and fight until time or lives run out.

Here’s where things get a little weird: rather than a life meter, Smash Bros. relies on a percentage meter. The higher your percentage, the more likely your character is to be knocked out of the ring. If your character is knocked out of the ring, you either lose a point or a life. Here’s a video that helps to explain:

Like much of Nintendo’s best work, Smash Bros. is blessedly simple: there is one set of moves that applies to every character in the game. The challenge isn’t in memorizing move lists, but in applying one set of basic controls across a vast swath of variables: which character you’re fighting, the items on-screen, and how much more your character can take before being knocked out (among many other things). It is simple to understand, challenging to master.


Smash Bros. for 3DS is the richest addition to the franchise’s history in over 10 years. It’s a game focused intently on catering to both casual Mario fans and tattooed Nintendo hyper-loyalists. One mode allows you to quite literally fight your way through gaming history, era by era. You start by battling Mario and Donkey Kong, and end up facing off with Wii Fit‘s demo trainer. Yes, really. It’s a game where you’re just as likely to see Brain Training‘s Dr. Kawashima referenced as you are to see Super Mario Bros.‘s iconic goombas.


Beyond the initial hook of nostalgia, enthralling as it is, lies a game of immense complexity. Smash Bros. is a game of variables, and knowledge of those variables makes a huge difference in how you play the game.

If you’re new to the series, the bare bones variables are all you need to know: which buttons do what actions. It’s entirely possible to have a great time playing Smash Bros. with a base level knowledge about its many, many systems.

Perhaps you play as Starfox‘s Fox McCloud, and you enjoy firing lasers at your friends as they engage in hand-to-hand combat. Plenty of fun to be had there! But maybe a Pokémon ball lands next to you — one of the random items that drops mid-battle — and you decide to pick it up. You throw it in the general direction of your friends, and a massive Snorlax erupts, sending your friends sky high and netting you two knockouts. Now you know a new variable!

Smash Bros.’s greatest asset — beyond the all-star cast and rich library of worlds to draw from — is its fighting system. It’s no surprise that in tournaments Smash Bros. is played with all items turned off, primarily in an arena known as “Final Destination”: a flat plane. That’s because, though there are only two action buttons and jump, each character is highly nuanced in battle. More than simply replicate reminiscent actions from their respective games, each fighter has a wide variety of moves that are tuned to precision.

Yes, Mega Man has his traditional blaster and Link carries the Master Sword, but it’s what you do with those weapons that makes playing Smash Bros. so fun. For instance, learning which moves have “priority” over your foes is just one of dozens of systems underlying the games’ combat. “Priority” is knowing that your strike is going to beat out your opponent’s strike — if you nail the timing, that is — and it’s that stuff that hooks longtime players like myself.


Smash Bros. on 3DS is a game you should play. There! I said it! Did you grow up with video games? Then you should play it. Don’t like fighting games? That’s okay! It’s still a ton of fun, and there’s plenty of stuff to do that isn’t fighting.

Simply put, Smash Bros. on 3DS is the best game Nintendo’s released this year (and that’s saying a lot considering how good Mario Kart 8 is!). It’s the best Smash Bros. game since the last best entry, Super Smash Bros. Melee.

No, it’s not the full console game we’re all waiting for on Wii U (where is that, Nintendo?). And yes, your hands do occasionally get cramped from playing a fighting game on a handheld console (even the 3DS XL). And yeah, the online still isn’t where it should be (nowhere near as good as Mario Kart 8, anyway). Despite all that, Smash Bros. for 3DS is a fresh addition to the franchise, an excellent game, and an easy suggestion to both newcomers and longtime fans. It is the full console Smash Bros. we’ve all been waiting for, only it’s available on your 3DS right now.

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iPad, I choose you: ‘Pokémon’ officially hits the App Store

Remember that Pokémon iPad game that was teased not too long ago? Well, if the mere mention of it stoked a fire inside that made you want to abandon Blizzard’s Hearthstone forever, Joystiq has spotted that the pocket monster trading card game is available on the App Store now. Pokémon TCG Online is free to download, but there are a few catches. As the name suggests, it requires an internet connection to play and your Apple-branded slate needs to be of the Retina-display variety — your first- and second-gen iPads won’t cut the mustard, according to iTunes. If you’re already heavily invested in the game on OSX and Windows, Time points out that progress you’ve made in the last three years transfers over to the mobile version as well. Handy! And just like that, a Nintendo property is appearing somewhere other than on one of its own devices. Somewhere, an investor is probably smiling.

[Image Credit: Josh Wittenkeller]

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Via: Joystiq

Source: iTunes

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