Welcome to the first edition of the Joystiq Weekly Wrap-up, where we present some of the best stories and biggest news from our beloved sister-publication. After the break you’ll find, among other things, Pokémon, the Big Bad Wolf and the final word on Titanfall’s ongoing multiplayer examination. Our brothers and sisters in arms are on the ground in Boston this weekend for PAX East too, and you can find all of that coverage right here. Pour a frosty beverage and join us for the week’s gaming news, won’t you?
Arguably the biggest news this week came from Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros-themed Nintendo Direct broadcast. The franchise hits the 3DS this summer and the Wii U this fall with two online modes (For Fun and For Glory) and a unique spin on series-staple Adventure mode, Smash Run. Perhaps the biggest news, though, is the addition of all around bad-ass Charizard to the game’s roster.
One of the more intriguing games shown at Microsoft’s E3 press event last year was indie-puzzler Below. It’s being developed by Capybara Games (Super Brothers Swords and Sworcery EP) and news hit this week that if you don’t feel like shelling out $500 for an Xbox One — it was previously announced as a platform-exclusive — that the game is coming to Steam, too.
In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel you’ll travel to the moon when it releases this fall for PS3, PC and Xbox 360. The last-gen title takes place between the first two games, and you’ll be fighting for antagonist Handsome Jack this time around.
If you’ve beaten Bastion countless times while waiting for developer Supergiant Games’ follow-up Transistor to hit, it’s almost time to let The Kid rest. The action-RPG releases on the PS4 and PC for $20 on May 20th.
This week Joystiq reviewed Xbox One exclusive Kinect Sports Rivals and episode three of Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us. Critic Jessica Condit lamented Rivals is another instance of Kinect’s crippled functionality.
The Xbox One Kinect is more responsive than its predecessor, but it still doesn’t seem ready for this level of gameplay. My set-up meets the requirements – a clear, open floor and seven feet of playable space from Kinect to the front of my couch. Still, Kinect had trouble deciphering who was playing if anything moved in the background or just off to the sides, and it tracked motions inconsistently.
Joystiq‘s managing editor Susan Arendt was much more positive in her look at Biggby Wolf’s latest chapter. Although The Crooked Mile narratively occupies the middle of Telltale’s Fables yarn, that shouldn’t be held against it she says.
Taken by itself, it’s unsatisfying and half-missing, but of course it’s not meant to be taken by itself. It’s the centerpiece of a larger whole, the lock that will let everything eventually make sense.
Road-trip season will be here before you know it, but with the price of gas still pretty high, getting out and exploring the open road can be an expensive proposition. If you’d still like to see some of the US though, Ubisoft’s The Crew will let you do just that, virtually. The constantly-connected racer lets you and three buddies drive from San Francisco to Salt Lake City and other cities (including Detroit), completing challenges and collecting cars. Joystiq‘s video preview gives an overview of the game’s look and feel.
As part of its ongoing look at crowdfunded game development, Joystiq notes that the month of March continued the space’s continued slump. What’s more, March was the second-worst month of pledges in the prior 10 (when Joystiq started the series).
PC gamers are a proud people: they tend to invest heavily in their rigs and expect the best possible experience from their games as a result. For them, playing a console game that’s been ported can be a crap shoot in terms of performance. With the brutally difficult Dark Souls 2, however, that isn’t the case. The PC version is prettier than its PS3 and Xbox 360 counterparts, and is the best version of the game that’s available.
In the wake of games like Battlefield 4 and its still-rocky performance, Joystiq has started an ongoing look at how a game’s multiplayer fares in the first month after launch. With Titanfall, the outlet says that despite a few brief outages, the experience remains solid, dubbing the game’s state of service “good.”
That’s it! Be sure to check back next Sunday for another recap, or if you’re impatient, click over to Joystiq and catch the news as it happens.
Before you send in your angry emails, comments and tweets that decry me as a hatchet-wielding antichrist, let’s begin by saying that I’m not a gamer. I do play games, but I have no specific allegiance to a console or manufacturer — I simply go where the fun is. My console history, for editorial balance, includes the VIC 20, Commodore 64, NES, Mega Drive (Genesis), PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360 and the Wii. That means that I’m about as much of a dilettante as you can be, and there’s no bias or malice in the following. Just disappointment.
My wife, you see, isn’t a fan of technology. And yet, despite never joining in games, she holds a soft spot for the Super NES. She takes on (and beats) all-comers on Super Mario Kart, but her favorite game, and the one that she’s probably devoted the most time to, is Tetris Attack. For those not in the know, it’s a reskinned version of the Japanese puzzle game Panel De Pon, which was later reskinned as Pokémon Puzzle League and, later, Puzzle League for the DS. Anyway, my wife’s friend recently came over, and we dug out the SNES so the two of them could while away the time. Unfortunately, the console is now 22 years old, and both controllers are now nearly unusable. “Never mind,” said I, dusting off our unused Wii. After all, I’d heard plenty about the Virtual Console service that promised nearly every SNES game had been added to the digital store, and it wouldn’t take long before they could play the game with the Wiimotes doubling as controllers.
This is where things start to fall apart. Nintendo, for some capricious reason, has declined to release Tetris Attack for the Virtual Console. I say for some “capricious reason,” but it’s because Henk Rogers, CEO of the Tetris Company, is annoyed that the game carries his beloved branding. Heartbroken, we decided that as a sop (and to get the evening’s frivolities going), we’d buy Pokémon Puzzle League, despite how annoying Pokémon is for anyone who isn’t a Pokémon fan.
Before you can buy the game (or click on the entry in the store), the console requests you buy Nintendo Store credits. So, after another five minutes of trying to put credit card information onto the system (which isn’t the easiest in the world, I assure you), we’re finally in a position to purchase the game. Except it’s at this point, when you click through, that Nintendo decides to tell you that you can’t use this game without purchasing the Nintendo Classic controller. Which wasn’t going to be possible at 8 p.m. on a Saturday.
What’s the moral of the story? There are two, I guess. Firstly, don’t be the sort of self-absorbed ass who just presumes a company would make logical decisions instead of doing the research. That level of self-absorption could also manifest itself in the decision to write 700 words on the subject and attempt to pretend this isn’t merely the most first-world of first-world problems. I’m happy to accept the charge, and my hubris will linger forever in the £7 that sit on my Wii, unused for time immemorial.
The second, of course, is that for the sort of novice consumer looking to buy a product from Nintendo, the company doesn’t make things easy. After all, it could have shown me before I added my cash that I didn’t have the necessary accessory. It could have also simply rebranded the title as Yoshi’s Puzzle League, since a short trawl of the internet shows there’s more than one aggrieved, self-absorbed Brit wanting to see this game on the Virtual Console. I don’t expect a company to bend over backward to cater to my every need, but I do wonder why Nintendo couldn’t have made this process easier.
Nintendo’s had some success with approximating the mundanity of real life in the past, but its latest attempt looks like it’ll amp up the crazy rather dramatically. In Tomodachi Life you import a collection of Miis (Nintendo’s avatar system) and watch as they interact with each other on an island. We know what you’re thinking, but trust us, it’s the opposite of boring. For example, one scene from its recent unveiling involves Nintendo’s senior product marketing manager Bill Trinen professing his love for Samus Aran on a beach when a shirtless, musclebound president Reggie Fils-Aime runs down the shore to do the same. And then, CEO Sartoru Iwata emerges from the water and joins in on the action. Yes, really.
You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours — all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.
Google has been alerting users when downloading apps of questionable origin for some time. But now the company’s taking its security a step further by checking up on your apps after you’ve already installed them.
There’s a new sheriff in Xbox town, and his name is Phil Spencer. While most of us know him as the E3 guy who speaks about games during Microsoft’s keynote, Spencer is a longtime Redmond employee who worked his way up from the bottom.
In an effort to keep you on top of your privacy settings, Facebook’s giving its existing controls more visibility. By rolling out a new “Privacy Checkup” box in the near future, the company hopes people will become more aware of their sharing habits.
Back in the 90s, Nintendo released 90 copies of a three-part, competitive play cartridge called Nintendo World Championships. In the spirit of nostalgia, the company’s adding said game into its next iteration of NES Remix for the Wii U.
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Filed under: Misc
Nintendo World Championships is a game for Nintendo’s first major game console, the NES. It’s notorious for popping up every few years on places like eBay and fetching a ton of dough. You won’t find articles praising its thrilling gameplay or beautiful soundtrack, and that’s because it’s not really a game. Nintendo World Championships is actually pieces of three games — Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer and Tetris — and was used for competitive NES play in the early 1990s. It’s rare because only about 90 copies exist, but now you too can play it on your Wii U. Well, sort of.
Folks who already own NES Remix on Wii U can purchase its sequel in the coming weeks, which unlocks “Championship Mode.” Therein you’ll find a similar challenge to the one immortalized by Fred Savage in The Wizard, albeit with Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros 3 and Dr. Mario. Head below for a video taste of the nostalgia-laced madness in action.
Jonesing for a new Super Smash Bros. game? Hope you own a 3DS: Nintendo has announced that the mobile version of the series’ latest entry will land first, debuting this summer. The Wii U version will arrive this year too, but it won’t be available until winter, presumably to make the most out of the holiday season. Nintendo teased the launch windows with a tweet right before today’s Super Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct, where Masahiro Sakurai (the game’s director) updated players on the game’s latest development.
In addition to showing off the standard deluge of stages and new characters (Sheik, Zero Suit Samus, Yoshi and Pokemon’s Charizard and Greninja, specifically), Sakurai explained the new games’ disparate multiplayer modes: “For Fun” and “For Glory.” Gamers playing “for fun” will play with randomized items and stages, counting only victories to the players record – gamers looking for glory, however, will play on simple, flat stages with no items. In “For Glory” mode, both wins and losses count against the player’s record. Finally the 3DS version comes with an exclusive battle game called “Smash Run,” where up to four players navigate a timed obstacle course to collect power ups and fight enemies before ultimately facing each other in a final battle. Miss Nintendo’s live broadcast? Not to worry: we’ve embedded the full presentation after the break.
The Wii was, undoubtedly, the success story of the previous console generation, encouraging millions of novice gamers to wave their arms around like a crazy person. The Wii U’s big gimmick, touchscreen gaming, made plenty of sense, considering the quantity of mobile and DS users out there, but it never seemed to take off in the same way. Launching well ahead of the Xbone and PS4, the general opinion of our reviewer was that it simply wasn’t ready for the big time, and sales seem to have backed that up. A year has passed now, so it’s high time that we asked you what Nintendo should have done differently? Sign up at the forums and talk us some change.
Source: Engadget Product Forums
Don’t worry if you gave away your Game Boy Advance years ago — you now have an easy way to indulge your nostalgia for the early 2000′s. As promised, Nintendo has released its first batch of GBA Virtual Console games on the Wii U’s eShop at a cost of $8 per title. The early roster is small but instantly recognizable to veterans. Strategy lovers can check out Advance Wars, while Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and Metroid Fusion are on tap for fans of role-playing games and side-scrolling shooters. And that’s just the start of Nintendo’s planned launches this month. The studio is releasing Kirby & The Amazing Mirror and WarioWare, Inc. on the 10th; F-Zero, Golden Sun, Super Mario Bros. 3 and Yoshi’s Island are on deck for the following weeks. We wouldn’t pick up a Wii U solely for the sake of the GBA catalog, but it should give you something to play while you’re waiting for more contemporary games.
Even if you’ve only played a handful games with online multiplayer in the past dozen years, chances are that at least a few of your sessions have been powered by Gamespy’s back-end tech. On May 31st, the company is shutting down its servers for good, and as a result, a bunch of games are losing their online capabilities. For console games, that largely amounts to multiplayer. For certain PC titles though, that also includes authentication servers for CD keys — losing those means losing access to the game itself. You probably weren’t playing most of what Gamespy’s listed anymore (WWE SmackDown vs Raw 2009 on PS3, anyone?), though, and a good deal of what’s there are somewhat obscure Wii, DS and PC titles. There are, however, high-profile stand-outs: most anything from Rockstar Games and Activision, or the PS3 version of Borderlands and the hardcore military-sim (and basis for DayZ) ARMA series, for instance.
What about those? Well, according to IGN‘s sources, GameSpy’s parent company has been working with some developers and publishers, including Rockstar, to migrate to different platforms for around two years. Activision said that its players won’t be affected, and ARMA-developer Bohemia Interactive is “very near” to finding a solution, but couldn’t share many details. Gearbox Software, the studio responsible for Borderlands, passed the buck to its publisher 2K Games, which declined to comment. As gaming moves further into a future that’s ever-more reliant on the internet, these types of things will likely (perhaps inevitably) continue to happen. After all, justifying the cost involved for keeping servers active for a relatively small number of people can be hard to justify. We’ve reached out to 2K ourselves, and will update this post should we hear back.
Google’s known for its weird and wonderful April fools jokes, but this year’s edition might be the best we’ve seen to date. Because it’s already April 1st in Australia and Japan, Google has introduced its “latest” build of Google Maps, laying down a “Pokémon Challenge” that requires you, a budding Pokémon Master, to discover and capture all of manner of creatures to fill up your Pokédex, simply by navigating around your local area. To start playing, make sure you have the latest version of Google Maps for iPhone or Android, hit the search bar and select “Press start.” You’ll have to be quick though, you’ve got until 2am on April 2nd to catch ‘em all.