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Penelope Cruz And Her Sister Play Nintendo DS

Can you imagine the internet comments on this if Nintendo hadn’t disabled them?


Nintendo E3 2012 Press Conference Liveblog


Nintendo’s Pre-E3 2012 Wii-U Controller Announcement

Apparently Nintendo decided to post a little primer on their upcoming Wii-U controller on the eve of E3.

My thoughts (in a running diary format):

  • Looks like the tablet controller may be more comfortable than it looks. It’ll have to be if they assume you’re going to play “hardcore” games on it.
  • Real sticks instead of thumbpads are good.
  • Having the Wii-U controller act as your TV remote is cute, but I’m guessing most people have a smorgasbord of home entertainment equipment that need to be controlled at the same time as the TV. It doesn’t look like the Wii-U will be replacing that Harmony remote just yet.
  • NFC Reader/Writer – Most smartphones (including iPhone) don’t have NFC chips embedded yet. Color me skeptical on this being used in a non-novelty way anytime in the near future.
  • The asynchronous dual-screen display could open some interesting possibilities in game design. Think DS, but on a larger scale.
  • I like how they’re making existing Wii peripherals compatible with the new system. However,with the sheer amount of controller possibilities, how in the world is a developer to know what inputs to design their games for?
  • Wii U Pro Controller – Finally Nintendo decides to stop ignoring the fact ergonomics matter and clones the Xbox 360controller (definitely the most comfortable console controller ever made). It even looks like it has anon-crappy directional pad as well. But what’s up with the right stick being all the way up there? It looks like it’s going to be uncomfortable to hit the face buttons while using the stick at the same time.
  • Ok, cheesy video dramatizations aside, Nintendo is clearly out of its mind with its “WaraWara” initiative. While the Demon’s Souls-esque message board game tips functionality is a neat novelty that probably went over well in the brainstorming session, I can’t think of many things I’d want less than an impromptu video chat with a random internet troll to ask for clarification on his “tip.” In case Nintendo’s forgotten, the web exists! I can look up walkthroughs and tips on my own without the fear of some idiot spoiling the rest of my game for me. Something tells me Nintendo’s in for a rude awakening when they find out the horrors of moderating message boards.
  • Let me get this straight, one of the main criticisms of Nintendo products so far is a clumsy UIthat is lugubrious to navigate through, and their solution is to make the home screen of the system be a digital manifestation of noise?
  • The reason why we don’t use handwritten notes as much anymore is because people have awful handwriting.
  • I don’t get the continuing obsession that Nintendo has with Miis. Hasn’t anyone learned anything from the trainwreck of uselessness that was PlayStation Home yet? Please just make it easy to find, play with, and interact with my friends when I want. Everything else is, to use their term, Wara Wara. Create something unique, sure, but keep the end user in mind, please.
  • I dunno, Mr. Iwata, the Wii-U doesn’t really seem like a solution to multiple problems as muchas it’s a solution that will cause multiple problems.

I have no desire to see the Wii-U fail, but the best thing I’ve seen so far (other than an Xbox 360 controller clone) is the promise that developers can use two screens in fun and innovative ways. Unless Nintendo shows some really mindblowing applications of this on Tuesday, that’s all the Wii-U will be, a promise.

Watch the whole thing here:

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Shigeru Miyamoto Changes Roles At Nintendo

Shigeru Miyamoto to Wired:

“Inside our office, I’ve been recently declaring, ‘I’m going to retire, I’m going to retire,’” Miyamoto said through his interpreter. “I’m not saying that I’m going to retire from game development altogether. What I mean by retiring is, retiring from my current position.”

“What I really want to do is be in the forefront of game development once again myself,” Miyamoto said. “Probably working on a smaller project with even younger developers. Or I might be interested in making something that I can make myself, by myself. Something really small.”

Sad to see Miyamoto not overseeing Nintendo’s blockbuster titles anymore, but perhaps this is for the best. Bigger teams and bigger budgets on established franchises doesn’t really afford much room for radical innovation. You can bet I’ll be very interested to see what sort of games he cooks up himself or with a small team. Imagine if Miyamoto put his talents toward revolutionizing smartphone gaming just as he did the console industry way back when…



Nintendo Confirms New Console To Succeed The Wii

Originally published on lalawag

(image credit: IGN)

Remember that Christmas of 2006 where finding a Wii was akin to finding the Holy Grail at retail? Well, get ready to relive those fun times soon because Nintendo just announced that its new gaming console will come out in 2012.

From a note posted to its investors this morning:

To whom it may concern:

Re: Wii’s successor system

Nintendo Co., Ltd. has decided to launch in 2012 a system to succeed Wii, which the company has sold 86.01 million units on a consolidated shipment basis between its launch in 2006 and the end of March 2011.

We will show a playable model of the new system and announce more specifications at the E3 Expo, which will be held June 7-9, 2011, in Los Angeles.

Sales of this new system have not been included in the financial forecasts announced today for the fiscal term ending March 2012.

(Gotta love their salutation: “To whom it may concern.” It really gives you a sense of warmth for investing in the company.)

While it’s not surprising that Nintendo has been working on a successor to the once-monolithic Wii, it does come as somewhat of a surprise that they will already have a playable version of the hardware (codenamed: Project Cafe) at E3 this year. But what’s the “gimmick” for this new system?

According to a quote in Reuters, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata hints that it probably won’t be 3D:

“We would like to propose a new approach to home video game consoles. It’s difficult to make 3-D images a key feature, because 3-D televisions haven’t obtained wide acceptance yet.”

If it’s not 3D, then what is it?

According to speculation by IGN, the controller will have “integrated touchscreens and be capable of streaming games to each controller.” Those who remember the VMU functionality of the Sega Dreamcast back in the late 90s will have an idea of what IGN is getting at, except the Project Cafe implementation will be far more advanced, with presumably HD color displays wirelessly streamed from the console and tighter integration with the games.

IGN’s sources also say that the console will be in full HD and more powerful than the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360:

Additionally, IGN has learned that the system will be based on a revamped version of AMD’s R700 GPU architecture, not AMD’s Fusion technology as previously believed, which will, as previously reported, out perform the PlayStation 3’s NVIDIA 7800GTX-based processor. Like the Xbox 360, the system’s CPU will be a custom-built triple-core IBM PowerPC chipset, but the clocking speeds will be faster. The system will support 1080p output with the potential for stereoscopic 3D as well, though it has not been determined whether that will be a staple feature.

In terms of the design of the console itself, the overall size will be comparable to that of the original Xbox 360 and the system is likely to resemble a modernized version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

Hopefully, this won’t be too hard on our wallets. It sounds like Nintendo might not enjoy the same “budget priced console” market segment when this baby comes out.

via Kotaku


Who Are These Early Adopters Helping Nintendo Claim A Sales Record For The 3DS?

Lost in the midst of the hubbub over a possible iPhone 5 delay and Amazon’s launch of a cloud music playing service is the fact that Nintendo launched the first glasses-free 3D handheld console this past Sunday, the 3DS. According to a statement issued by The Big N, the first day unit sales of the 3DS were the highest of any Nintendo hand-held system in its history. That includes the original DS, DS Lite, Gameboys, you name it.

U.S. day-one sales numbers for Nintendo 3DS were the highest of any Nintendo hand-held system in our history. More details about U.S. sales numbers will be made public on April 14, when first-week U.S. sales figures will be tallied by the independent NPD Group. Nintendo worked hard to get as much product as possible to retailers on day one to meet demand, and we will continue with these efforts moving forward.

-Nintendo of America

It’s important to note that they are indeed talking about unit numbers, because at $249.99, the 3DS is undoubtedly the most expensive hand-held console Nintendo has ever launched. Reporting the gross revenue as a “new record” would be just… silly.

Personally, I’m just surprised at the number of early adopters Nintendo convinced to buy the 3DS. I’m a self-identified gadget fiend and even I had trouble talking myself into getting one. There just aren’t any titles out for it that justify the splurge for the 3DS. A quick look at Metacritic shows a sea of mediocrity with one stand out title (Super Street Fighter IV). Unfortunately, that title has already been released twice on a multitude of devices prior, so chances are that you’ve already played it in some incarnation.

Greg Miller of IGN also had similar sentiments on the quality of launch titles:

As I write this, 11 3DS games have been reviewed for IGN — I’m counting Nintendogs + Cats once — and the average review score is 6.7. That’s “Okay” on the IGN scale. Admittedly, most of the games reviewed landed in the 7 out of 10 range and just a few crappy games pulled down the average, but that’s still not stellar.

To add insult to injury, the 3DS shipped without internet browsing or Virtual Console support, taking a page out of Motorola’s playbook for its Honeycomb tablet Xoom. “Rush to ship now, patch in the promised features later” is a disturbing trend for hardware manufacturers to be following, but it’s the world we live in.

Like Android tablet, without any “killer apps,” you’re essentially buying the 3DS for its potential in the future. Now, being a betting type of man, I would actually expect there to be many reasons to own a 3DS in the future. Nintendo’s had a sterling track record of success, plus with these great day-one numbers, things are looking up for the 3DS to become a successful platform with a large user and developer support base.

But Nintendo’s also had a track record of refreshing their handheld hardware within a couple of years of the original devices’ launches. In the 3DS’s case, this hardware update cannot come soon enough, with battery life being reported at a scant 3-5 hours for the current device. Until we see a truly “must have” title for the 3DS, you’re better off waiting until one of those two things happen before diving in.

Originally posted on lalawag


What You Need To Know About The Nintendo 3DS

This piece was originally posted on Lalawag here

Yesterday, Nintendo announced that their latest handheld console, the 3DS, will be available on March 27th for $249.99. We’ve got the quick and dirty rundown of what you need to know about the system and also our take on whether you need to buy one.

Read the rest of this entry »


Kid Icarus 3DS Control Problems

Uh oh.

Perhaps I take back what I said yesterday about Kid Icarus: Uprising. Control issues tend to point to fundamental problems with game deisgn that rarely get fixed in time for launch.

We can always hold out hope though…

From IGN’s preview of Kid Icarus: Uprising:

The controls proved to get in the way during our sampling, though. You control Pit through a combination of button and stylus controls. You move Pit via the analogue pad (the “3D Slider,” as Nintendo calls it), aim by moving a curser around with the stylus, and fire with L. You can hold down L for a continuous stream of fire, or you can release L momentarily to charge up a more powerful shot. On the ground, you can perform a melee combat attack by getting close to enemies. You can also make Pit do an evasive dash by tapping the analogue pad in a given direction.

Our problems centered on the fundamental control system: it’s just tough to move Pit around while consciously pressing the L trigger and also thinking about aiming. It almost feels like the game would be easier to control with a Wiimote and nunchuck pair.

Read: Kid Icarus Soars on the 3DS – Nintendo 3DS Preview at IGN.


Kid Icarus: Uprising Gameplay Video From Nintendo World 2011

Aerial gameplay reminds me of Panzer Dragoon or Space Harrier while the ground battles look like a really fast paced 3D Zelda meets Metroid hybrid.

I had a chance to see a non-interactive video of Kid Icarus:Uprising on the 3DS at E3 last year and suffice to say, it looked pretty nice with the 3D depth of field. This could definitely be a killer launch title for the 3DS.

Although with the reported 3-4 hours of battery life of the upcoming handheld system, I kind of wish they would have just released a proper console instead.


Nintendo Wii’s Sales Decline Has Some Wondering If the Game’s Over

My Wii gathers dust for about 80% of the year. The only time I turn it on is for exclusive AAA releases and those are few and far between nowadays. Once people have seen the Kinect in action they want no part of the Wii anymore.

Reggie Fils-Aime:

“The back half of any system cycle always attracts a higher proportion of buyers who are concerned with price, ease of use and group play.… [T]his late-adopter group is the next audience for the Wii,” he said in an e-mailed statement.

Call me edgy, but it seems to me that once you’re depending on the “late-adopter” group, your product is on its last legs.

Read: Nintendo Wii’s sales decline has some wondering if the game’s over –