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Posts tagged ‘Nintendo’


I’ve accidentally joined the cult of Pokémon

Pokémon passed me by when it arrived in the UK back in 1999, and I’ve never really been a fan. The way my friends were suddenly gripped by its cult-like lure made it seem like the worst thing ever. In my mind, 15-year-olds shouldn’t be hunched over their Game Boy Colors; they should be trying (and failing) to talk to girls. I also objected to the title on moral grounds, since it glorifies bloodsports like dogfighting for an audience that isn’t old enough to appreciate nuance. My stance between the ages of 15 and 30 was simple: fuck Pokémon. Which is why it’s so galling that I spent last weekend roaming the city for Pokéballs. Thanks to Pokémon Go, I’ve become everything that I hate.

I’m not much of a gamer, but I installed Pokémon Go out of a sense of obligation to the site I work for. I figured that at some point I’d have to cover the title, even if the only game I play is FIFA 13 on Xbox 360. But I decided to have some fun with it, using the Pikachu workaround to capture it first and then wind up my colleagues and friends. I sent them a screenshot of my captured Pikachu and told them that I’d won the game on my first try and therefore never needed to play it again.

I didn’t bother with it much after that thanks to the one-two punch of me not liking Pokémon and also thanks to Niantic Labs’ hilarious server issues. But, while out for a walk a few days later, my wife spotted a Pidgey close to our home and encouraged me to catch it. The further we wandered, the more times her phone began to vibrate, informing her of a nearby animal to capture. After the third or fourth capture, I started to enjoy the Paper Toss-esque mini-game in which you attempt to bounce a ball on the head of your prey.

At the end of that trip, I stumbled across a Golduck with a combat points rating of 165, far in excess of the 10-point minnows we’d been catching. Naturally, we both went for it, but I managed to rinse my supply of 45 Pokéballs attempting to capture this thing which kept escaping my clutches. That was probably the moment when I became lost to the cause, since I was determined not to let this creature get away. It meant, naturally, that I had to swing past plenty of Pokéstops on the way back to replenish my supply.

This is what a winner’s Pokédex looks like, if they suck at winning.

In the UK, it’s customary to celebrate a lunchtime Sunday roast with a long walk to balance out the Thanksgiving-level of calories you’ve just consumed. So we decided to venture out, but while we’d planned to just walk across the river, Pokémon Go had other ideas. It began suggesting that, through the older, cobbled streets that surround the cathedral, there was a litany of Pokéstops. So, we obligingly began to follow that path instead, stocking up on powerups, eggs and balls. On the way, we found a medieval defensive tower we’d never encountered before, plus a hidden riverside pathway that isn’t obvious from the road.

The walk was twice as long as planned, and I returned delighted to have found all these new spots nearby. I’d also managed to rinse my phone battery in about four hours — a new record even for me. The following morning, those same colleagues I’d ribbed the week previously were now dealing with a litany of questions. I wanted to know how best to level up, how gyms worked and what was the best way of improving my collection so that I can take over the gym across from my home.

Today, I’ve not been out on the catch, although I’ve had my phone open for much of the day picking up anything that comes within my range. When I’m done writing this, I’ll wander at least as far as my local Pokéstop to re-up on supplies, and maybe think about going a little further. I can’t believe that any game is getting me out of the house and wandering around historic sites, let alone a Pokémon game. It’ll be a while before I can get to the point where I’ll be able to fight my locals — their Pokémon all have combat points in the thousands — but I’ll get there at some point.


Level-5’s 3DS puzzle series is back with ‘Lady Layton’

It’s been awhile since Professor Layton has graced the 3DS with a puzzle-filled adventure, but the famous detective is finally back. Sort of. Level-5 has announced that the next game in its long-running puzzle series will star not Hershel Layton himself, but Catriel Layton — the original character’s daughter. That tweak aside, Lady Layton: The Conspiracy of King Millionaire Ariadne looks like a direct sequel to the original series.

The announcement trailer shows Catriel taking over her father’s detective agency, and teases both new puzzles and beautifully animated cutscenes — but long-time fans of the series will know that the new lead isn’t the only thing different about Lady Layton. The Conspiracy of King Millionaire Ariadne will be the first game in the mainstream Layton series to be made without master puzzle designer Akira Tago, who passed away earlier this year.

The game is slated is confirmed for a spring 2017 launch in Japan on both 3DS and mobile devices. So far, international audiences have missed out on Layton’s smartphone adventures — but it’s likely the US market will at least get the 3DS version of the game. Check out the full trailer at the source link below.

Source: YouTube, IGN


Nintendo’s NES retrospective book looks like a game cartridge

Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition isn’t the only nostalgia bomb the company is dropping this fall. Nope, Playing With Power: Nintendo NES Classics from strategy-guide publisher Prima Games is en route for this November as well. The hardcover boasts 320 pages of interviews from the NES era, bits of old-school advertising and “priceless excerpts from Nintendo Power magazine back issues.” Oh hey, hand-drawn maps and character art are on tap as well. Here’s to hoping some of those are from Howard and Nester artist Bill Mudron.

To complete the yesteryear theme, the whole thing looks like an old NES cartridge. In addition to the bits mentioned above, retrospectives on some 17 games will be packed as well, covering Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda among others. Yearning for your childhood yet? The book is available to pre-order now for $26.99, and it ships out November 18th — a week after the NES Classic does.

Via: IGN

Source: Prima Games


Nintendo’s lack of breakthrough games hits profits hard

Despite Nintendo’s attempts to lower expectations ahead of announcing its financial results, its latest quarterly earnings aren’t good. At all. Net sales are down 31 percent compared to the same quarter last year, down to 62 billion yen ($587 million), while it saw an operating loss of 5.1 billion yen (roughly $48 million). Nintendo managed to sell 220,000 Wii Us, nudging the total number of consoles sold over 13 million, while the aging 3DS sold just under an additional 1 million handhelds. Despite the company owning parts of Pokémon Go, it isn’t reflected in the earnings as the game was released after the quarter that ended in June. However, the company took to Twitter to announce that its curious Pokémon Go Plus accessory has been delayed two months until September.

The #pokemongo Plus accessory will now be released Sept 2016 instead of the originally expected end of July launch.

— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) July 27, 2016

The games maker is blaming a stronger yen that’s negatively affected its overseas sales, but what’s probably to blame is the lack of major game releases in the last quarter — no single game sold more than a million copies over the last three months. 36.9 million Amiibo figures have been sold so far, as well as over 30 million Amiibo cards — somehow.

When Nintendo launched Miitomo, its first smartphone title, huge initial demand fostered over 10 million users by the end of April 2016. However, income from smart devices (along with IP licensing) came to just $15.6 million last quarter. The company didn’t elaborate further.

Nintendo is very much back in the public eye following Pokémon Go’s explosive launch on smartphones — which Apple has said is the most downloaded app in one week ever. Then, there’s also the coalescing rumors of Nintendo console sequel, which may be neither a home console or portable, but something in between. The company revealed nothing new about the NX in its financial reports — or those incoming smartphone iterations of Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing.

In short, it’s still waiting on its next hit, whether that’s a new console, a smartphone game or the next Zelda title. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was initially expected to launch last year, but has already been pushed to 2017 — just like the NX. There may be more bad news to come for Nintendo.

Source: Nintendo


Report: Nintendo NX is a tablet with detachable controllers

Remember those early reports that described Nintendo’s next game console as a TV / portable hybrid device? According to Eurogamer, they were right on the nose. Eurogamer sources claim that the Nintendo NX is a handheld game console with detachable controllers, a TV base station and NVIDIA Tegra graphics. In other words, it sounds like a standalone Wii U gamepad dialed up to 11.

Specifically, Eurogamer describe’s the NX as a powerful, portable game console with its own display and detachable controllers on either side — sort of like a mix between the Wii U gamepad and Razer’s defunct Edge tablet. The detached controllers can apparently be used for multiplayer gaming (one side for each player) or possibly discarded for a more touch-focused tablet experience.

At home, users will be able to plug the device into a docking station and play games on the big screen, but the outlet’s sources say the console will be marketed with the hook of “being able to take your games with you on the go,” basically unifying Nintendo’s home and portable markets with one device.

If true, however, the report reveals that Nintendo may, once again, be bringing a last-gen console to a current-gen market. Eurogamer’s sources say that Nintendo is sacrificing power for portability, claiming that development kits use the NVIDIA Shield TV’s Tegra X1. NVIDIA’s mobile super-chip certainly isn’t a slouch when it comes to power — but it’s not going to be able to keep pace with the PlayStation 4 Neo, either.

We’re taking the report with a side of sodium — but the console Eurogamer describes does sound familiar. The proposed portable meshes well with previous rumors and Nintendo patents that describe a console capable of using supplementary processors. It also echos reports that the NX would favor game cartridges over discs, and re-confirms Nintendo’s own claims that the device won’t be running Android, despite its mobile GPU.

Nintendo says it can’t respond to “rumors and speculation,” as usual — but Eurogamer claims we’ll know more in September, when sources say the NX will be officially revealed to the public. We’re looking forward to it.

Source: Eurogamer, Digital Foundry


Nintendo’s ‘Miitomo’ app update reminds you it still exists

Nintendo’s debut smartphone game is making efforts to get you back into its weird and wonderful social world by offering more opportunities for wardrobe items and accessories without excessive in-app payments. According to an update teaser inside the Miitomo app itself, a new Candy Drop game will let you use all that accumulated candy (earned through in-game interactions and when you missed the good stuff in the original crane mini-games) for in-game upgrades. The greatly despised consolation prize finally has a use.

You could only use the candy currency to unlock extra answers from your buddies, while Game tickets, usually sparingly given out by the app as a bonus (and available as in-app purchases), are what’s needed to play for Nintendo-themed goods (or cat sweaters) for your avatar — until now. If you’ve built up quite the stockpile of candy, it’ll soon be time to go shopping.

Nintendo continues to add to the social game — its first for smartphones — but it didn’t sustain the boom in popularity after its launch. To be honest, it’s not really a typical game. The games maker’s association with smartphone hit Pokémon Go, meanwhile, is a little thinner, tied to its part ownership of both the Pokémon Company and Niantic. Truer Nintendo games (in the sense of what we’re used to playing) are expected later this year.

Source: Polygon


Nintendo loses billions in value after ‘Pokemon Go’ truth bomb

Pokemon Go is an unprecedented success, but Nintendo recently admitted it won’t directly profit from the augmented reality game, leading to a loss of $6.7 billion in Nintendo’s market value on Monday. Nintendo’s market value rose by $7.5 billion on July 11th, just after Pokemon Go went public and became an instant, massive hit across the globe. Since its launch, Pokemon Go has added nearly $12 billion to Nintendo’s market value, meaning today’s dip, while sizable, isn’t a total disaster for the company.

Nintendo published a letter to investors on July 22nd offering a reality check on the company’s involvement in Pokemon Go: Namely, it didn’t develop or publish the game. Instead, Nintendo has a 32 percent stake in The Pokemon Company, the business that markets and licenses the Pokemon franchise to outside developers. The Pokemon Company will receive licensing fees and compensation for collaborating with developer Niantic on Pokemon Go, and Nintendo will see just a sliver of that revenue.

“Because of this accounting scheme, the income reflected on [Nintendo]’s consolidated business results is limited,” the company wrote. Nintendo said it would not modify its financial forecast.

On Monday, the first trading day after its letter went public, Nintendo’s stock fell as much as 18 percent. It’s the steepest hit to the company’s shares since 1990, Bloomberg reports.

Many people associate Pokemon with Nintendo, and for good reason: The company has published the games since their inception in the 1990s and it owns a third of The Pokemon Company itself. However, Nintendo simply didn’t have a hand in developing or publishing Pokemon Go, as we noted in our previous reports on the company’s stock boosts. Nintendo and Google did invest roughly $30 million in Niantic as it worked on Pokemon Go.

Nintendo will produce and distribute the Pokemon Go Plus accessory, a plastic wearable that connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth, and then lights up and vibrates when players encounter PokeStops or Pokemon in the wild. Pokemon Go Plus will cost $35 and Nintendo had already rolled any potential revenue from the peripheral into its financial forecast ending March 31st, 2017.

Via: Reuters

Source: Bloomberg


PokeMatch is the ‘Pokémon Go’ dating app you’ve been dreading

If you’re one of the millions of Pokémon Go addicts, you know that waking life carries a new, unrelenting question: what Pokémon are around me right now? The need to keep trying to catch them all has probably soured a few dates since the game launched three weeks ago, but fear not, amorous players: the PokeMatch app has arrived to set you up with the similarly poké-obsessed.

The app is pretty straightforward and prefaces date hunting with the important questions: Are you looking for men, women, both, other or just a friend? Want to meet someone from team Valor, Mystic or those other guys? Then you swipe left or right as is standard for dating apps, and when you match with your poké-destined, lets you designate a PokéStop to meet at.

It is, miraculously, not the first service to match Pokémon Go gamers: ProjectFixup made a special version of its dating service called PokéDates, which ditches the swiping and messaging to let a specialist match compatible folks. PokeMatch is live on iOS and Android, and since it uses photos from your Facebook login, make sure it’s loaded with your best trainer pics before you go try to catch ’em all.

Source: TheNextWeb


What’s next for ‘Pokémon Go’? Custom locations and more monsters

As Pokémon Go continues its global assault, Niantic Labs founder John Hanke took to a panel discussion at Comic-Con to tease at what’s coming next to the app — and how the team hopes maintain this insane momentum. To start, more Pokémon critters will eventually make their way to Go, although Hanke’s wording makes it sound like not all of them will make the cut. “Beyond first generation [the original 150], there are some others that may make their way into our universe. We’re looking forward to finding interesting ways to make that happen in the coming months and years.” The CEO went on to elaborate on developments for the in-game world too — and that’s where it got interesting.

As you’d hope from a Pokémon title (even if it’s not quite a full-fat game), trading and training features are still a work in progress. (Niantic Labs are also looking into the Pokémon breeding inside the smartphone title.)

While discussing the game’s future direction, Hanke said that he was interested in further customizing the in-game pokéstop. At the moment you can attach a lure that ensures more Pokemon will pop up at that location — something which benefits all players in there area. Hanke suggested that other customizations could be setup at these stops, with the Niantic Labs boss citing a monster-healing pokécenter as a possible new function. “That’s a pretty cool idea that you can acquire an object that changes the function of a pokéstop and give it a new ability.”

There are currently no pokécenters — and no Nurse Joy — in Pokémon Go. This needs to be remedied immediately.

Source: The Verge


Ben Heck’s Nintendo PlayStation prototype teardown, part 1

The Ben Heck Show - Episode 246 - Ben Heck's Nintendo-Playstation Prototype Pt 1 Teardown

It was originally thought to be a rumor: a games console that combined Sony and Nintendo hardware. Now Ben Heck proves it does exist. Thanks to Terry and Dan Diebold, who approached The Ben Heck Show team with the console, Ben was able to give you an exclusive teardown of the elusive Super Nintendo / Famicom and Sony PlayStation hybrid console. While taking apart the device, called the SFX-100, Ben guides us through the post-production alterations made to fix the prototype and gives us a tour of all the components on the board, including a custom audio chip and standard Sony integrated circuits. We also compare the system to similar consoles at the time, such as the PC Engine / TurboGRAFX-16 and the Sega MegaCD. The real question is, can we get it working? Let us know what you think of the teardown over at the element14 Community, where you can also interact with The Ben Heck Show team and learn more about Nintendo and Sony’s history.


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