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Posts tagged ‘Nintendo’


‘Super Mario Maker’ for the 3DS only plays in 2D

If you were hoping that the handheld version of Super Mario Maker played in three dimensions, take a seat. Polygon has stumbled across the GameStop listing for the 3DS edition, the box for which comes with a prominent caveat that it only plays in two dimensions. It’s not that much of a surprise, given how few 3DS titles really harness stereoscopy in a meaningful way — even Pokémon X and Y mostly saved it for battles. Not to mention, of course, that Super Mario Maker is the most two-dimensional of games, and certainly won’t need any extra depth. If you can’t wait to try your hand at becoming the next Miyamoto (spoiler: it’s hard), then it’ll set you back $39.99 on December 2nd.

Via: Polygon

Source: GameStop


Pokémon Bank update gives you a multi-game Pokedex

We’ve known since the game was announced that players would eventually be able to transfer Pokémon from older titles to the upcoming Sun and Moon, which will be released on November 18th. The only way to do so is through the cloud-based Pokémon Bank 3DS app, which will get an update in January 2017 allowing you to port your old monsters into the new game. To sweeten the deal and better connect the franchise, they’re including something else when you connect to the app: An index that tracks all the Pokémon you’ve caught across every 3DS game in the series.

Sadly, that means the other games, even the Virtual Console re-releases of the classic trio on the handheld system, will be left out of the index. There’s plenty of time between Sun and Moon’s launch in two months and the update in January, so get catching. Come the beginning of 2017, challenging players to fill the index’s comprehensive list may breathe new life into the old games.

If you’re not savvy on the bank’s transfer rules, here’s a graphic rundown. Note that the black-and-white “Poké Transporter” option is a one-way ticket, so think carefully before you send your old friends to Sun and Moon:

Via: Polygon

Source: Nintendo


Pokémon chief says Nintendo’s NX is both handheld and console

The head of The Pokémon Company has let slip that his outfit is working on a pocketable monster title for Nintendo’s NX. Given that TPC is part-owned by the Japanese gaming giant, he’s probably seen the new handheld/console/tablet hybrid up close and personal. The Wall Street Journal quotes Tsunekazu Ishihara as saying that “the NX is trying to change the concept of what it means to be a home console device or a hand-held device.”

Like the fable of the blind men holding an elephant, there’s been a lot of conflicting reports about what the NX will be. At this point, it looks like the device will be some sort of handheld device that has a TV component, or the other way around. Given that Nintendo has already developed a tablet-based console which, you know, didn’t do so well, it’s enough to be concerned about history repeating.

Our own Sean Buckley has gone deep into what Nintendo’s NX could look like, and how it would work up close and personal. His feeling is that the device will operate like Razer’s old Edge tablet, with hardware controls (and a TV link) at home, detaching to offer a lesser experience while out and about.

Ishihara, the naughty tease, declined to mention anything about the Nintendo NX, or when Pokémon NX would land. He did mention, however, that the obscure, niche mobile title Pokémon Go, has sent sales of related titles and merchandise through the roof. In addition, plans are underway to bring Go to China and South Korea, where mapping still needs to be enhanced.

Source: WSJ


The Pokémon Go Plus bracelet is great for grinding

My Pokémon Go survival kit keeps growing. It started simply enough, with just my iPhone 6 Plus happily running Pokémon Go, but it quickly became apparent that I would need backup battery power in order to comfortably catch digital monsters for extended periods of time. After all, this is a game that takes players away from their outlets and into the great wilds of the real world, so I shoved a portable power pack and cable into my purse. I happen to live in Arizona, so I soon added an icy water bottle to the mix. Now, with the launch of Pokémon Go Plus, my kit also includes a lanyard bracelet, a plastic vibrating teardrop painted like a Poké Ball and a tiny screwdriver.

I’m starting to suspect Ash Ketchum was hiding more than hair under his iconic hat.

Pokémon Go Plus is a $35 accessory that connects to iOS or Android versions of Pokémon Go via Bluetooth. The main gadget is a teardrop-shaped hunk of plastic with an opaque button in the center that glows different colors depending on the feedback it receives from the actual game. The whole device vibrates and lights up when Pokémon or PokéStops are nearby.

The teardrop comes with a clip on the back so you can wear it on a belt, collar or backpack strap, or you can pop it into the included lanyard bracelet. It’s more complicated than just shoving it into the plastic holder, though (as anyone who watched my live unboxing video can attest). You have to unscrew the back of the teardrop with a teensy screwdriver, removing the clip and exposing the battery, and then re-screw it into the bracelet case. The bracelet screw is found under a length of lanyard running under the back of the plastic holder, so you have to move the bracelet itself out of the way before tightening the teardrop into position. It’s not necessarily difficult, but it is delicate work.

With the tools and screws involved in moving the Plus from bracelet to clip, I imagine folks will pick one way of wearing the device and stick with it. Both options are viable, though I personally prefer the bracelet option. However, I’m not wearing a watch today; if I decide to put one on, it’s possible the clip option will be more attractive. Apple did just unveil Pokémon Go support for the Apple Watch, after all. In daily life, it may simply depend on whether I can find my tiny screwdriver.

The bracelet option is my favorite because it’s the most convenient. The teardrop vibrates powerfully enough to feel even if the lanyard isn’t digging into your skin and it’s natural to flick up your wrist to check the notification colors. The button pulses green when you’re near a Pokémon you’ve previously caught, it flashes yellow for new Pokémon and it glows blue for PokéStops.

This is where Pokémon Go Plus is most useful: PokéStops. Once the teardrop flashes blue and vibrates, press the button and viola, a bounty of Poké Balls, potions and miscellany are added to your inventory. That is, unless your inventory is full or you leave the PokéStop’s range before collecting the goodies. The bracelet lets you know if you’re successful by flashing in a rainbow of colors; if it doesn’t work, the device flashes red.

The same goes for catching Pokémon, though there are a few caveats here. The teardrop vibrates and lights up when a Pokémon is near, but there’s no way to tell what kind or what level that Pokémon is. Nor is there a way to change which type of Poké Ball you throw — if you want to use an Ultra Ball or raspberries, you’ll have to pull out your phone. With Pokémon Go Plus, you could unwittingly walk by a 2000 CP Charizard and attempt to catch it with a single standard Poké Ball, which is highly unlikely to work.

It’s crucial to note that with Pokémon Go Plus, you get just one chance to catch each creature; they always run away if you’re not successful on the first throw.

I walked around my neighborhood, which is thankfully littered with PokéStops, and tried the Pokémon Go Plus on my wrist and clipped onto the top of my jeans. Both options worked well, though I happened to be wearing high-waisted jeans and whenever the device activated there, it felt like a fat worm attempting to wriggle across my stomach. Its vibrations are definitely powerful enough get your attention — and maybe the attention of anyone nearby. I entered my building’s elevator with four other people and felt just a little ridiculous as the Plus vibrated and lit up at the top of my jeans. At least on my wrist I can fool strangers into thinking it’s a new kind of fitness tracker, rather than an accessory for a mobile game about trapping exotic fictional monsters in palm-sized prison balls.

Pokémon Go Plus is not a replacement for the game on your phone, but it’s good for the simple stuff, like hitting PokéStops and catching stray Rattatas, Pidgeys and Spearows. It’s a grinding machine. And, in a game where grinding is crucial for anyone who wants to dominate a gym or two, that’s not a terrible thing. Just be prepared to pack a few more items in your Pokémon Go survival bag.


Introducing the world’s smallest way to play ‘Donkey Kong’

Once upon a time, video games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong were the absolute height of entertainment technology, imperfect pixels packed into six-foot-tall cabinets in arcades and pizza shops around the world. Now, those same games run on a machine that fits inside a teacup. Adafruit tinkerer Phillip Burgess created the world’s smallest Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator cabinet using a Raspberry Pi Zero computer, 0.96 inch RGB OLED displays and an audio amplifier. It’s fully playable and totally adorable.

The tiny MAME cabinet was a spontaneous weekend project and it’s not as polished as Adafruit’s serious endeavors, nor is it a complete kit that the company sells. However, Burgess published a fairly detailed guide that includes the hardware and software tricks he used to create the teacup cabinet. The project’s final dimensions are 67.2 mm tall, 33.6 mm wide and 35.8mm deep.

“Could it go smaller? Undoubtedly!” Burgess writes. “Other than clipping the corner off the audio amp board, these are all stock parts and no extreme measures were taken to further reduce their volume, Ben Heck-style.”

Burgess says that actually playing Pac-Man, Donkey Kong or Xevious on the teensy machine is wildly impractical. The screen’s resolution is extremely coarse and definitely not conducive to twitchy movements.

“I suspect a lot of the ‘playing’ is just muscle memory from past experience,” Burgess says. “Honestly the whole thing’s a bit gimmicky for the sake of smallness. Sharing it for a laugh.”

Source: Adafruit


The RetroUSB AVS just replaced my childhood Nintendo

When I was a child, I fought with my brothers. A lot. It was part of being the youngest, and part of being a family. Most of our sibling rivalry died with our youth, but one single, never-ending quarrel outlived our childhood: the Nintendo Entertainment System. My oldest brother and I have been bickering over our original NES for decades. Who really owns it? Me, the guy who scoured garage sales to build our collection of classic games, or him, the firstborn who — by sibling law — is right by default? To this day, we still argue about whose house our childhood console should live in. Today, that war finally ends. I don’t need our old Nintendo anymore. I have the RetroUSB AVS.

Think of the AVS as an unofficial hardware refresh for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. It plays the same games and even uses the original controllers, but everything else is brand-new. Instead of pushing a fuzzy, ugly picture through ancient composite cables, it pipes a crisp, high-definition signal over HDMI. In lieu of a cumbersome AC adapter, the AVS uses a humble USB cable — and can be powered solely by the media port on your HDTV. And, unlike the RetroN 5 or Analogue NT, the AVS is all new hardware: a custom FPGA board programmed to replicate the NES’ original processor. No emulators. No repurposed hardware.

OK, that might sound like splitting hairs. After all, don’t all three of these consoles pipe HD NES games to modern televisions via HDMI? Well, yes — but how they do it varies wildly. The RetroN 5, for instance, is actually a $160 Android device that runs cartridges through an emulator. It’s also widely derided in the gaming community for allegedly stealing code. The Analogue NT is completely legit, and actually uses repurposed Famicom chips to run the games on a mix of old and new hardware — but it’s also a premium device, costing a steep $500. The AVS is something of a happy medium: It’s not made from original parts, but it authentically replicates their functionality without legal ambiguity. At $185, the RetroUSB AVS is comparatively affordable too.

Nostalgia by design

The RetroUSB AVS’ trapezoidal chassis is nothing short of a love letter to the NES’ iconic design. Obviously, the monochromatic color scheme is a nod to the black and gray tones of the original’s case, but it’s the little things that make this homage truly delightful. This includes the shape of the lid that covers the console’s cartridge slot, and “power” and “reset” buttons that look and feel identical to their 1980s inspiration — but the most wonderful (and pointless) details can be seen only when you turn the console over.

Here you can see three trenches leading up to an empty recessed square that represents the original NES’ unused expansion slot, vent placement that mirrors the layout of the original console, and foot pads that look identical to the rubber nubs on my childhood console. All of these design nods are completely unnecessary, and on a part of the device most users will never even bother to look at. Clearly, the designers love the original Nintendo. It shows.

As much as I love how weirdly accurate the AVS’ retro design is, it might be nostalgic to a fault. That cover over the console’s cartridge slot does look exactly like the old NES chamber lid, but it’s a lot longer too. It feels like a compromise, designed to ensure that users can more easily insert and remove games — but opening and closing it feels awkward. I’m constantly worried it’ll bend too far and snap off. With front-loading US region games, it at least feels secure when the lid is closed, but Japanese region Famicom titles use a separate top-loading cartridge slot that forces the door to stay open. It looks weird, and it makes me nervous.

Speaking of games, loading them can be a bit tricky. US titles slide in horizontally, just like on the original, but I never managed to seat a cartridge into the connector on the first try. Wiggling them back and forth a little usually did the job. The connector also holds on to games tightly — removing them was just as much an exercise in wiggling as putting them in. It’s not a deal-breaker, but I do wish changing games were a little easier.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the AVS features four controller ports and a Famicom expansion slot — which enables compatibility for the rare four-player NES game (they do exist!) and for extra controllers compatible with the original Japanese Famicom.

Practically pixel perfect

Playing NES games on the RetroUSB’s console is like putting on prescription glasses for the first time: It brings a blurry, indistinguishable mess of light and color into focus. OK, the original NES isn’t that bad, but the difference between composite cables and 720p over HDMI is startling. Did you know that Mega Man’s sprite actually has white behind its eyes? I didn’t. It always blended in with the character’s pale skin tone. Backgrounds that were once a blurry haze of color now appear as distinct patterns; characters and stages are flush with “new” details and brighter colors. It’s a surreal experience: I’ve been playing these games for 30 years, but now it seems like I’ve never really “seen” them before.

I know what you’re thinking: Can’t I already play NES games in HD through the Nintendo Wii U’s Virtual Console? You can, but they’ll look worse. For some reason, the Wii U’s VC implementation presents classic games in dull, muted colors with a side of blur. I tested Punch-Out!!!, Dr. Mario and a couple of Mega Man games side by side, and the Wii U versions looked worse by every measure. The games are no less fun on the official hardware, but they lack pop and polish compared with how my old cartridges look on the RetroUSB AVS. Here, the AVS does better than even Hyperkin’s RetroN 5 — which looks much sharper than the Virtual Console but tends to have overblown, inaccurate colors.

Best of all, every classic game I own ran perfectly on the AVS — and that’s not something I can say about every NES clone console I’ve come across. Most of these products use NES-on-a-chip solutions that either gets audio wrong or simply won’t play certain games. Paperboy, for instance, isn’t playable on either the Retro Duo or the FC Twin, and both consoles play off-key audio in specific games. Not so with the RetroUSB AVS: Everything I played looked and sounded exactly as it was supposed to. It even got the glitches right, faithfully reproducing minor visual hiccups in Mega Man 3 and Super Mario Bros. 3 that were present on the original hardware.

Of all the devices that play NES games in my house, the RetroUSB AVS is the most accurate, hands down — but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. When compared directly with my childhood NES, it’s clear that the AVS color palette is just a bit brighter. It’s not overblown or washed out like the colors on the RetroN 5, but it does come across as a bit richer than the original hardware. I noticed it most in Castlevania and Mega Man 3. On the AVS, the bricks of Dracula’s castle have more red in them, and Mega Man’s helmet appears to be a darker shade of blue.

When I asked RetroUSB’s Brian Parker about the difference, he chalked it up to differences in televisions. “NTSC,” he joked. “Never The Same Color.” I’m probably just seeing the difference between a clear digital signal and the fuzzy output of the old console’s composite cables. Even if the colors are wrong, Parker says it’s just part of the console’s NES/RGB lookup table. “Easily changed with a firmware update,” he says. The AVS also outputs only in 720p, but considering it still looks better than the RetroN 5 and Wii U at 1080p, it’s a flaw I’m happy to overlook.

Extra features

If you’re looking for a console to imbue your classic games with fancy graphics filters, instant-save-state features and other bells and whistles, look elsewhere: The AVS keeps things pretty simple. Beyond simply playing classic games in crisp, high definition, this console doesn’t do much. In terms of visual options, the AVS allows users to switch between NTSC and PAL modes, adjust the screen margins (to hide overscan garbage in specific games) and adjust scanline darkness. The console’s controller menu allows you to turn on some basic turbo features and see how many gamepads are connected, but that’s about it.

At the end of the day, there are only two special features that the AVS adds to the vanilla NES experience: built-in cheat codes and an integrated scoreboard. The first is self-explanatory: The AVS automatically recognizes the game in its slot and offers players a short list of the most popular Game Genie codes. The second takes a little more legwork; if the AVS is being powered by a PC or Mac’s USB port, users can download companion software that will keep track of their in-game score while they play and allow them to upload it to an online leaderboard.

Unfortunately, the AVS itself doesn’t make this process clear, presenting users with only a menu that fails to connect to an amorphous server. There are no setup instructions for the scoreboard in the console’s menu or the manuals that came in the box, or even on the product’s website — I had to ask Parker via email. Still, it’s a neat feature if you can get it up and running.

Finally, RetroUSB offers one special feature that no competitor can boast: new NES games. The company has kind of made a name for itself in manufacturing new cartridges for homebrew developers, and it’s neat to see that business cross over here to create a series of “launch titles” that work on both the AVS and the Nintendo’s original hardware. I tried Twelve Seconds, a simple jumping game that challenges you to race to the top of the screen as fast as possible. None of the $45 launch titles seem particularly complex, but there’s definitely a thrill to playing a new NES game after all these years.


For me, the AVS is the ideal replacement for my original hardware — it plays my cartridge collection perfectly, with better visuals than the original — but it’s not for everybody. Gamers who need modern conveniences like save states and graphic filters will probably rather have a RetroN 5. Folks seeking a nostalgic experience, but who don’t already own a library of classic games will probably be happier with the 30 built-in games that come with Nintendo’s NES Classic. Even hardcore collectors who demand that their games run on original hardware have other options in the expensive Analogue NT Mini or a Hi-Def-NES mod.

If you have a classic game collection, however, and you don’t care for the prestige of original hardware or the allure of added bells and whistles, check out the RetroUSB AVS. It’s probably the best modernized NES experience you can get for under $200.


The Engadget Podcast Ep 5: Applesauce

Editor in Chief Michael Gorman, executive editor Christopher Trout and managing editor Dana Wollman join host Terrence O’Brien for a special all Apple edition of the podcast from San Francisco. On the show they’ll search for the definition of courage, tell you what it’s really like on the floor of a major press event and give a state of the Apple union.

The Flame Wars Leaderboard



Winning %

Chris Velazco
Christopher Trout
Devindra Hardawar
Nathan Ingraham
Cherlynn Low
Michael Gorman

Relevant links:

  • The new Apple Watch mostly looks like the old one
  • The Apple Watch Nike+ is a running watch I might actually use
  • Two years later, Apple has figured out what its watch is good for
  • Apple announces the water-resistant iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
  • The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are all about subtle, powerful changes
  • Apple’s AirPods are smart wireless earbuds with a new W1 chip
  • Apple’s AirPods toe the line between usefulness and gimmickry
  • Apple adds real-time collaboration to iWork
  • What happened at the iPhone event
  • Courage is not how you sell iPhones
  • Nintendo loses a little piece of its identity with ‘Super Mario Run’

You can check out every episode on The Engadget Podcast page in audio, video and text form for the hearing impaired.

Watch on YouTube

Subscribe on Google Play Music

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Subscribe on Pocket Casts


High-profile Kickstarter games see delays, port cancellations

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, was crowdfunded to the tune of $5.5 million last year, with an ETA of March 2017. It promises to be a spiritual successor to the Castlevania series, but this week, project lead Koji Igarashi (known colloquially as IGA) personally announced via Kickstarter that the game will now be pushed back to “the first half of 2018.” The delay, IGA says, is because the game is currently at risk of not “meeting [his] quality standards.” To that end, he’s adding additional developers to the team, who will hopefully be able to put the project back on track. He also offered his apologies to anyone affected by the delay.

Separately, Hyper Light Drifter developer Heart Machine updated its Kickstarter, informing backers that the planned Wii U and Vita ports of the game are canceled. Speaking directly to backers, Heart Machine-founder (and director of the game) Alex Preston spoke about a need to prioritize his own health — he has a congenital heart disease which served in part as inspiration for the game — after several years of solid development. Despite his best efforts to complete both ports, the task proved impossible, he said, and after missing many treatments, he’s making the call to cancel development. “I’m sorry,” he told backers, “[but] I have to prioritize my own health right now.”

Explaining why these ports were so problematic, Preston said the Wii U port was down to issues with the game’s engine, GameMaker: Studio. Despite promises made, GameMaker owners YoYo Games and Nintendo couldn’t come to an agreement that would allow a native port on the system. The Vita version, meanwhile, was not performing to an adequate level despite “months” of work attempting to optimize it. The team will continue to push ahead with updates and fulfilling other rewards, with a large update planned in the coming weeks. Backers who requested a Wii U or a Vita copy of the game will be able to choose between other supported platforms or a refund.

Hyper Light Drifter backers’ responses to the news have been varied. There were many delays leading up to the original release earlier this year, with quality issues and Preston’s health largely to blame. The cancellation of the two ports after a three-year wait has provoked anger from some backers, and that’s understandable. But for every angry response, many more encouraging comments can be found.

For Bloodstained, backers have made comparisons to another high-profile not-a-reboot, Mighty No. 9. A spiritual successor to Mega Man, it was plagued by multiple delays. The original “Spring 2015” date was only pushed back in April 2015, then the “September 2015” release date got switched in August 2015. The final insult came when a February 2016 release date was only scrapped on January 25th, 2016. But while Mighty No. 9’s developers were slammed hard for missing their targets, backers of Bloodstained have so far been more understanding. That’s partly down to this being the first delay, but also due to IGA revealing the news six months in advance, and a generally being better at communicating the development process in general.

Bloodstained and Hyper Light Drifter are but two examples of a wider trend: troubled Kickstarters. For every successful project, like Republique, there’s a game that never materialized or failed to deliver on all of its promises. Mighty No. 9 was one such game. The 2D platformer was supposed to be a retro-modern fantasy, bringing the Mega Man series back to life. But the game was near-universally panned, and fans’ disappointment was compounded by the fact it had been delayed so much.

High-profile failures have tarnished Kickstarter’s reputation, and made it harder for games to get funded. But there’s a lesson consumers are beginning to learn. It should be clearer than ever that you’re not buying a game when you’re backing a project like Bloodstained. You’re giving money to a person or a team that wants to try and make something, because you want them to make it. If they’re successful, you’ll get what you asked for. If they’re not, you might get nothing. Head into every Kickstarter with that attitude, and only part with your money if you’re willing to accept the risks.


Shigeru Miyamoto Hopes ‘Super Mario Run’ Will Draw Users to Nintendo’s Hardware for More In-Depth Experiences

One of the first major surprises out of Apple’s September 7 event was the appearance of game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, and the announcement of an all-new Mario game for iOS called Super Mario Run. In the game, players will help Mario navigate various worlds by tapping on the screen to help the plumber jump, dodge, and slide past obstacles and enemies until they reach the flag pole at the end of the stage.

During Apple’s event, Miyamoto and senior product marketing manager for Nintendo, Bill Trinen, explained the mechanics of the game and its intent for quick burst, one-handed smartphone gaming. Now, in a recent interview with The Verge, Miyamoto divulged more information on the iPhone game, potentially hinting at what the company’s outlook on mobile gaming could mean for the other two upcoming DeNA iOS games, Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem.

Image via The Verge
In its time with Super Mario Run, The Verge commented that the game underscores the company’s strategy of introducing addicting, but modest experiences on mobile in order to win more players over with full-fledged console games. Super Mario Run ultimately started as an idea that “was too simple for a home console device,” Miyamoto said, and that the company’s “main focus” is still convincing players to migrate over to its first-party hardware.

Still, Miyamoto said he hopes people are “going to want to play a much more in-depth and a more challenging Mario experience … it’s going to increase the population of people interested in coming to our platforms, which is of course is our main focus.

It looks to be everything a Super Mario game should be, but also, what it shouldn’t be. Miyamoto’s game has been carefully designed so that it’s simple enough to attract a new audience of iPhone lovers, but not satisfying enough to supplant a console experience.

As suspected, the success of Pokémon Go has helped Nintendo push forward in the smartphone space, and helped dictate the experience of Super Mario Run. In the way that Pokémon Go is inherently tied into the GPS and camera functions of a smartphone, Super Mario Run was built around a similar, play-anywhere universality, leading to its “simple… one-handed gameplay” and “shorter play time.”

Miyamoto cited the success of Pokémon Go as validation of this smartphone-centric approach. “Pokémon Go is obviously a game that uses your GPS and it’s synced into the camera and Google Maps, so it’s a piece of software that’s really geared towards that mobile play experience,” Miyamoto said. “So, similarly with Mario, what we’re looking at is simple game play, one-handed gameplay; shorter play time, playing in shorter bursts; and then really bringing the joy of Mario to that much larger audience.”

With its new iOS Mario game — which will eventually make it to Android — Nintendo is also admitting that most kids’ first interaction with technology is no longer with one of the company’s consoles, but the smartphone or tablet of a parent. This convinced Nintendo to finally put its most famous IPs on mobile devices, and helped them decide to make Super Mario Run a one-time-only paid game, so parents don’t have to worry about their kids spending large amounts of money on in-game ephemera.


Miyamoto noted that there was a point in time when “[Nintendo’s] hardware system was really the first device that kids would interact with, and that’s starting to shift.” The first device kids interact with now, he says? Their parent’s smartphone. This notion of the smartphone “being the first place this kids are encountering games, is what helped us to decide to bring this to smartphones,” Miyamoto said.

The first Nintendo and DeNA partnership game was Miitomo, which launched earlier in the year, but failed to gain much traction due to its social-focused features that lacked much in the way of a main gameplay hook. Coming next, besides Super Mario Run, are Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem, but details on the games have been scarce. In the original announcement, Nintendo said that Fire Emblem will be “more accessible” in comparison to the console entries in the popular RPG series, and Animal Crossing “will be connected with the world of Animal Crossing for dedicated gaming systems.”

With the new context of Miyamoto’s interview for Super Mario Run, it’s possible that the two other upcoming mobile games will continue Nintendo’s focus on introducing a pared-down version of each franchise, so that players are encouraged to play the full-fledged titles on Nintendo’s consoles. Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem are also said to support a free-to-play structure, so there still remains a chance that Nintendo will differentiate the two titles from its simplified mobile gaming strategy and present gameplay closer to the console titles.

Super Mario Run will launch in December, and Nintendo has said that Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem would debut sometime in the fall, but the company has yet to give more specific launch details for those games.

Read The Verge’s full interview with Shigeru Miyamoto here.

Tags: Nintendo, Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, Super Mario Run
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$35 Pokémon Go Plus accessory will go on sale September 16th

Pokémon Go players will have their choice of accessories soon, since the $35 Pokémon Go Plus accessory will be available September 16th “in most countries.” Earlier today the game’s makers reported over 500 million downloads and announced a way to play using the Apple Watch. Now, Niantic says this $35 device will make playing possible “without having to look at your screen all the time.” It links to your phone with Bluetooth Low Energy, letting players collect items from nearby Pokéstops or catch Pokémon with the press of a button.

It’s almost here! Pokémon GO Plus will be available in much of the world on Sept. 16:

— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) September 8, 2016

The companion device was announced nearly a year ago along with the game, however it has been delayed in order to make it work better with the game. The big question is if adding on a $35 device that makes catching monsters (apparently) as easy as just pressing a button when it lights up will ruin the game for both casual and hardcore players. Despite those massive install numbers, the number of active players has clearly dropped since the hype peaked this summer. Now, we wait and see if adding dedicated hardware to the mix will keep players invested or drive them away just as weather in the US gets colder and gyms are harder to get to.

Pokémon Go Plus

The Niantic Team:

As you pass by a PokéStop, Pokémon GO Plus will vibrate and light up and alert you to the location. You’ll even be able to collect new items just by clicking the Pokémon GO Plus. If there’s nearby Pokémon hiding in your area you’ll be alerted with lights and vibrations; catch the Pokémon with a button on Pokémon GO Plus and then continue on your way (later, you can check your Journal to see which Pokémon you’ve just caught).

Source: Pokémon Go Live, Poké

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