Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nintendo 5-Star ChristmasCon!

Pokefreak here. Remember how we did a SummerCon back in, you guessed it, summer? Well, it's back for the holiday season with ChristmasCon! We're starting all sorts of new and fun events! Here's a rough list of things that'll happen.

-Pokefreak's Writing Contest
-Pikaby's Find Me, Find V
-Pikaby's Game Quiz
-Christmas/New Years Promotion

We're still in the planning stages, so this list is sure to grow! Want in on the action? Have an event idea? Click the forum button up above and share your idea with us!

Greatest Wii bundle ever

Written by pikaby

Just LOOKING at this mountain of plastic is impressive enough. In it is one Wii system, a Balance Board and all 408 (four hundred and eight...!) Nintendo-published Wii games, for the princely sum of one million yen. It's like an epic sweepstakes prize you have to pay for. It's mostly used games (the bundle being from a used games store in Japan), but reportedly all in good condition.

It's the deal of a lifetime! You don't see this lying around on Black Friday.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

DodoGo Challenge

Written by pikaby

Wait, what? There's a 2nd DodoGo game now? Talk about coming right out of thin air...Anyway, consider me excited! I gave the first game a favorable review. Let's see if I can't muster up enough DSi Points to get this sequel. It came out yesterday, on November 26th.

Looks like you can befriend the local animals now.

When triple Pokemon battles go wrong

Wailord/Wailord/Wailord versus Wailord/Wailord/Wailord. Suddenly you wish the DS screen was three times bigger. Where's the XL when you need it?

Found by fellow member Zekira

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nintendo coming back to CES

Written by pikaby

Quote from the IGN article:

After a 16-year hiatus, Nintendo will be returning to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) as an exhibitor in January 2011. It's expected the Nintendo 3DS, which is slated for release in March, will be a major focus for the company as it prepares for a worldwide launch.

"With the gaming market expected to generate $20.3 million in 2010, the International CES is the must-stop hub for innovative gaming products, and will allow CES attendees to experience the future of gaming from an amazing range of innovative companies," said Karen Chupka, senior vice president, events and conferences, CEA.

They're 'back' at the CES? I never even knew they left! Well Nintendo was always notorious for not turning up at most major games conventions outside of E3. 3DS is a pretty significant piece of kit so I see why they'd want to finally lurk out of the shadows to show us stuff. Bring the 3D on!

Pikachu joined by Gen 5 mascots in Thanksgiving Parade

Written by pikaby

The giant inflatable Pikachu's being joined by Pokemon Gen 5's legendary mascots Reshiram and Zekrom, and instead of being pulled by a bunch of people in yellow, they're going to be dressed in black and white, obviously. It's a great marketing trick, using the Macy's Thanksgiving parade to advertise for Pokemon Black/White. I can't comment much further since I never get to even get close to the parade (although I want to though), but sounds like win to me.

Source: Kotaku

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kirby's Epic Yarn: Hands-on

Written by pikaby

I hung from a dandelion made of cotton wool. I unzipped an entire building facade revealing a hidden passage. I tied a knot around an erupting felt volcano. I swam through thread rings as a dolphin. I collected beads as a tiny music note. I tore the patch off a crescent moon, revealing a sun. All that in the first 3 hours.


Pokemon Gen 5 Starter US names revealed

Written by pikaby

The US names for our Gen 5 Pokemon starters are now out on the official Pokemon US website. I'll let the screenshot do the talking:

Tsutaaja, the grass snake, is named Snivy.
Pokabu, the fire pig, is Tepig.
Mijumaru, the sea otter, is Oshawott.

Isshu, the region where Pokemon Black/White takes place, is named Unova.

Then the two legendary mascot Pokemon, Reshiram and Zekrom, keep their names, as expected, and they are the Vast White Pokemon and the Deep Black Pokemon, with the abilities Turboblaze and Teravolt.

Snivy is plain and simple, a combination of the words 'snake' and 'ivy'. In fact it was so simple that some Pokefans have actually predicted this name long before it was revealed. At least it's not Smugleaf...There is an interesting bit about Tsutaj- I mean, Snivy's name, which I found on Urban Dictionary. 'snivy' is an adjective also meaning horny or randy maybe even reckless at times when thinking about sex. Okaaaaay.....It's not a bad name though. Moving on to the next one.

Tepig, Pokabu's new name, is also a combination of two words, 'tepid' and obviously 'pig'. Tepid meaning lukewarm, or low level of enthusiasm. The word is played well, but it certainly could have been better (being of a neutral/slightly negative connotation). No more sexual innuendo though.

Oshawott is tougher to crack. It could be a mixture of three different words, 'ocean', 'water' and 'otter'. I swear it's this close to matching the fan name of 'Wotter' (imagine how ridiculous that would sound if that were real). And just like 'Miju' is a corruption of 'mizu' (water in Japanese), 'Osha' could be a corrupted form of 'ocean'. The name also sounds oddly Canadian. Does the water starter come from Oshawa, Canada? Anyway, it's a brilliant name. I like it more the more I say it. Oshawott!

Unova, could mean UNited States OV America (silly, but makes sense. I'd lol if this was the real inspiration) or based off the Latin words meaning 'one new', or the Italian derivative of 'new' too. Wonder why they didn't keep the name Isshu though- this makes Gen 5 the first generation with a region name difference between the JP and US versions.

Overall, it's fine, it's not the end of the Pokemon world as we know it. The new names didn't make me puke. Sure, I was taken aback for the first ten seconds, but the names are comfortable and easy to get used too, even if Oshawott still sounds a little weird. Looking forward to know more!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Scribblenauts FINALLY gets a Japanese release

Written by pikaby

And we thought we were the disadvantaged regions who always get good games later than the Japanese do. Scribblenauts is a rare reversal in fortunes.

It's the original Scribblenauts released ages ago in English, and finally ported to Japan and reincarnated as 'Hirameki Puzzle: Maxwell no Fushigi na Note'. Being in Japanese, we can expect a crazy overhaul of the dictionary and probably some special Japanese objects/stages added in. The logo is also made a tad more charming than the old English Scribblenauts. Are the developers planning to cute up the entire game? Maybe not, but a guy can dream.

Hopefully they can do something about the original's bad touch-screen control instead of porting the whole mess over when Super Scribblenauts already rectified the problem months in advance. It will be out in Japan by the end of January.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii in Taiko Wii 3

Written by pikaby

Mario songs in Taiko no Tatsujin isn't terribly new (there have been two different medley remixes of the 1985 original Super Mario Bros.), but this looks really special for some reason.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii, composed from the ground up with the Wii in mind! This song is making its debut in the 3rd Taiko no Tatsujin Wii game. Namco  has thrown a lot of weight behind the Wii Taiko games seeing as both the first and second game did so well in sales, but this just pushes it to the next level! One of the best selling Wii games of all time is being used as a song here in one of my most favorite rhythm games! I am so stoked...

By the way, Taiko no Tatsujin has never had any 3D models in its games before. Until now. Mario is awesome.

Taiko no Tatsujin Wii 3 will be released on December 2 this year.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Super Famicom, as old as I am

Written by pikaby

Just reminded at gonintendo.com that today was the 20th birthday of the Japanese SNES, or Super Famicom. Good times, they were. Between Miyamoto's favorite Mario game, the most complete 2D Metroid game, and Nintendo fans' most favorite top-down Zelda, SNES was Nintendo's golden generation (before Wii).

Guess what? Super Famicom was released on November 21st, 1990. My birthday is also on November 21st, 1990. It's like I was born to play.

I got Kirby's Epic Yarn!

Written by pikaby

With my reduced access to my Wii I don't get to play most of this holiday season's rich offerings...but at least I got to spend 2 days with the cutest Kirby game ever made. In one sitting I've breezed through the first two worlds, and going back to play some more! I'll post a report on my hands-on soon (more than a month later than everyone else, but what can I do), but for now, I can confidently say that you won't be disappointed. Unless you have an aversion to cute or easy games or not dying.

By the way I just figured this out my myself though. 'Yarn' can mean 'story' in addition to the woolly fabric, so Epic Yarn can mean 'epic story'. 'Epic story' is overstated (Kirby's stories have never been that deep/complex!) but it makes more sense now that you think about it, right?


Nintendo 5-Star Toolbar

Written by pikaby

I've seen a lot of crazy things people have done for Nintendo 5-Star. But I really never expected something like this!

It's an entire toolbar dedicated to Nintendo 5-Star, designed by, of all people, our regular member blubbermarble! You can see a lot of buttons leading to the forums, RSS (I didn't even know we had RSS), games news....wait, the Flipnote Feature? Isn't that nostalgic...I stopped that due to time constraints. Maybe if I have more time I can start making 'em again. Anyway, an amazing effort from him, to the majority of us who don't know simple programming. Thanks!

Want to download the toolbar and get access to Nintendo 5-Star at all times? Get it here!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shieru Miyamoto turns 58 today

Written by pikaby

*fails at looking for most recent picture of Miyamoto*

Did you know today is Miyamoto's birthday? Yeah, me neither. But at least we all know now (after lots of spreading through the internet- wonder why this didn't happen last year). He's approaching retirement age, yet he can still fool people into thinking he's about 40 years old. I know I was shocked when I heard he was that old. Look at that full head of hair! He's still got it, the old coot.

Wait, retirement age? Nah, he'll never leave Nintendo. His teeth will fall out if he even thinks about it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Super Kong picture

Written by pikaby

A few days ago, we talked about Donkey Kong Country Returns having a Super Guide of its own (not on this blog though, on the forums), as in Mario Galaxy 2 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Finally there's a single screenshot of Super Kong in action.

...Doesn't he look kind of familiar?

Donkey Kong Country Returns partial stage list

Written by pikaby

And some sweet gameplay footage of the later worlds! If you don't mind spoiling DKCR for yourself before it gets released in stores this weekend, knock yourself out. This video is a doozy.

Reggie puzzled by poor Metroid Other M sales

From NintendoEverything...

“We believe that it could be, should be a million unit title. We’re not going to get there, not through the holiday. And we are doing a lot of thinking as to why. Because it’s a great game. The consumer reaction because of the quality has been strong. We’re doing a lot of thinking about why we didn’t get there. I think the marketing was strong, advertising was very good, the social media we did was very positive. [Other M is] getting close to half a million.”

Following the comments above, Reggie also discussed the reaction to the portrayal of Samus…

“First off, [I have] nothing but the greatest respect for the development team. Mr. Sakamoto [co-creator of Metoid] did a wonderful job. His partnership with us in promoting the game was stellar. Team Ninja [is] absolutely fabulous. I’m not going to sit here and criticize a style of the game, but have I read the same feedback that said, broadly, that the portrayal of Samus felt different than how the player in the past had internalized the character? I’ve heard and read the same feedback. Do I think it’s warranted or not? I’m not quite sure yet… I don’t yet believe that that is the driving factor to the performance of the game.”

Lastly, Reggie was asked if Metroid has a future…

“I certainly hope so. I’m a passionate fan of Samus and the Metroid series.”

That sounds like a really hypocritical excuse for what people see as a better-than-average game. Did they not know what made Metroid Prime sell? I know they're all trying to go in a different direction, portray Samus as a more colorful character with emotions, etc., but in doing that they took away what made Metroid Metroid, in the fans' point of view. When fans are pissed, nothing saves a game from being damned. Even if they're being nitpicky/unreasonable/whiny, it's not good to displease the majority. Then there's the argument that game creators aren't bound to the whims and fancies of game fans, because simply, they don't owe them anything. Except maybe by wallet. Your thoughts?

Critics giving Other M bad reviews didn't exactly help the game sell either.

Me? I haven't had a chance to try the game yet, but hopefully I will soon. Very soon.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pokemon Black/White- November CoroCoro scans

Written by pikaby

Scans from Pokebeach.com. Continuing from October's issue, more Ken Sugimori artwork of the 5th Gen Pokemon have been revealed. This issue filled in many gaps in evolution lines revealed in previous issues, completing them. Not many Pokemon remain to be covered...one more should finish the job!

Left, Chobomaki and Agirudaa on top, Shubargo and Kaburumo on the bottom. The evolution method is unique- Kaburumo must be traded with a Chobomaki in order for both to evolve to their final forms. Chomobaki gives its armor shell away to Kaburumo, it seems.
Right, Aakeosu, evolution of the bird fossil, Aaken. Abagoora, evolution of the turtle fossil Protooga.

Oh man, all the Pokemon look so GOOD in their Sugimori art! You gotta love 'em all.

Left, Zuruzukin, evolved form of Zuruggu, the lizard-like Dark/Fighting Pokemon back in October. Iwaparesu (giant rock lobster), evolution of the hermit crab Ishizumai. Doredia (the large flower), evolved from Churine. Erufuun (the cotton sheep), evolved from Monmen. Both Doredia and Erufuun need Sun Stones.

Right, the evolution line of Otomaro, the new tadpole Pokemon. It evolves first into Gamagaru, then into Gamegeroge (follow the arrows on the scan, upwards), gaining a Ground type as it goes up. Roobushin (old man carrying concrete blocks), final evolved form of Gen 5's Machop, Dokkora. Warubiaru, final evolved form of the ground croc, Meguroko.

Bottom block, from left. Shinpora, a Psychic/Flying...thing. Looks like a hieroglyph drawing. Doesn't evolve from or into anything. Yabukuron, the garbage bag Pokemon. Hitomoshi, the cute ghost candle Pokemon. Shibishirasu, the electric eel Pokemon. Pururiru, the Tentacool replacement, with male and female differences. Next, Tesshido, the spike ball Pokemon with a unique type (Steel/Grass), the adorable ice-cream Pokemon Banipucchi, and Koaruhii, pre-evolution of Swanna. Koaruhii aside, the rest of the Pokemon should have their lines completed within another issue, I reckon.

From top. Murando, final evolution of the puppy Pokemon Yorterrie. Daburan, middle form between Yuniran and Rankurusu. Gochimeru, middle form between Gochimu and Gochiruzeru. Pendoraa, final evolved form of the centipede Pokemon Fushide.

Just a little more to go! And then there's the legendary Pokemon that haven't been revealed yet- there's a decent number in Isshu.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fascinating Mario facts from Mario Creator

Written by pikaby

A portion of a news interview with Shigeru Miyamoto. Source: GoNintendo

So, Mario. How does he manage to stay fresh and relevant even though he's already 25 years old?
Q: What is it about Mario that resonates so well with players?
SM: When we create games, the gamer really is the main character. In that regard it may not really matter who the main character is onscreen. But you know, Mario is someone who has become very familiar and I think it is that people are comfortable with becoming Mario. … Mario really has grown and changed and evolved with the evolution of digital technology. The new technology is fresh and exciting and the next thing you know it becomes familiar and Mario follows that. He's a familiar character, but he is also fresh because he is always doing new things based on what the technology allows him to do.
He's the digital Mickey Mouse- he can do almost anything and still manage to somehow fit in seamlessly. You know, even though a lot of gamers in my country are damn brainless (and have never played a Mario game before in their lives), anyone and EVERYONE still knows the name Mario, the game character, the one who jumps on top of turtles, when I mention it to them. That's how influential he is, I guess. Now I'd wish more people here actually play his 'fresh and exciting' new games. I want someone to discuss Mario Galaxy 2 with.

The interviewer also asked Miyamoto abou this favorite Mario game. You'd think someone would have already asked that question a long time ago.
Q: What is your most favorite Mario game and why?
SM: Super Mario World (1993) is something that included of course all the action you saw in Super Mario Bros. but it also had the map features, so it also had that element of players having to think about where they were going and what they were going to do next. I also think that it is a game that developed a large number of staff people who became producers and directors.
High five, Shigsy! You and I have some great things in common. Super Mario World wasn't the first game with map features though, so I don't know what he was going about there.

New Mario games for Wii and 3DS? The latter's pretty inevitable, but I wonder about Mario's fate on Wii after Sports Mix comes out.
Q: So I assume we have not seen the last of Mario. Can you say anything about his future adventures on the Wii or Nintendo 3DS?
SM: Of course, we are working on a Mario product for the Nintendo 3DS, I can tell you that. One of the things we have looked at, you know when you are in a 3D world but on a 2D screen it is difficult sometimes to tell distance, whether an object you are looking at is in the foreground, in the background, is the object above you? Sometimes it's a little bit harder. So it's going to be really exciting for us to make that easier for the player to understand using the Nintendo 3DS technology. And for the first time ever Mario will be on a handheld system with an analog stick for controls. That's new.
3DS is going to be exciting. A couple of weeks ago he did mention both 2D and 3D Mario being in the works though. The Wii is slowly turning cold. Not for me, I still have to clear that games backlog before the next Nintendo console comes.

Then there was a question on why Mario was Italian. Just a random thought. And of course, they're beavering away on the new Zelda (Skyward Sword and the OoT remake. They've got a lot to cover) and aren't stopping. *waits*


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pokemon Daisuki Club November gifts

Written by pikaby

Okay, I know, a lot of my recent blogs have been about nothing but Pokemon. I'm going to change that in a few days, starting with the news backlog that has accumulated over the past...I dunno, month. But one more for now.

Daisuki Club's November giveaway! Another DS pouch and a cartridge storage case, all with the 3 Isshu starters on them. These are for the grand prizes. The consolation prizes are two epic looking Pokemon cushions.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Pokemon Dream World Arceus event

Written by pikaby

At launch, the bods in charge of the Pokemon Global Link asked players far and wide (in Japan) what Pokemon they wanted to own in the Dream World via a massive, two month poll that involved all o493 old Pokemon. The winner was announced yesterday, and it was pretty obvious.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Jonas Brothers cosplaying Mario

Written by pikaby

First, Cole and Dylan Sprouse promote Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver. Now we have this. Now to wait for Jonas-heads to figure out which member of the trio is in this shot.

Miyamoto making both 2D and 3D Mario for 3DS

Written by pikaby

- 3D polygonal visuals give players a greater sense of being part of the action
- they also allow for more freedom and choice
- some people are turned off by 3D polygonal visuals because they feel they're too complex
- "When Super Mario became Mario 64, the range of players narrowed greatly."
- Miyamoto feels the dev team made great strides in making a 3D polygonal game for everyone with Super Mario Galaxy, but this still wasn't enough for some players
- that's why Nintendo created New Super Mario Bros.
- "When asked 'what will we do on 3DS,' the answer is, of course, we'll make both (2D and 3D). They both have their own appeal."
- the 3D effect on 3DS can help make it easier to determine depth, which would greatly help those players with issues feeling out that mechanic while playing
- this could be of benefit to Zelda as well
- "gives a great feeling of existence to Mario, Link and others."
- this also goes hand-in-hand with character weight, which also is very important to making the characters feel real
- in 2D Mario..."It's difficult to tell when they will hit the player, so we were only able to use these (depth visual tricks) lightly. However, we'll be able to use this type of thing quite a bit on the 3DS."
- Iwata: "You went more in-depth than I'd been expected. This is the first I've heard of this."
- Miyamoto: "No good? Don't tell any game magazine people."

Source: GoNintendo, which in turn came from andriasang.com

Making both a 2D and a 3D Mario game for 3DS? Miyamoto's trying hard to please both sides of the coin this time.

Sometimes I don't know if 2D is the way to go when it comes to increasingly advanced consoles. I mean, even though New Super Mario Bros. Wii sold a lot more (pleasing many retro Mario fans), the fact is Mario Galaxy and its sequel were far superior games, and sold quite a lot as well. Not to mention Galaxy 2 had a fair chunk of 2D sections in its stages, in addition to being mainly 3D. The trick here is striking a balance between the two dimensions. 2D makes for simplicity and ease of control, and anyone can pick up, play and enjoy. But at the same time, 3D gives an extra dimension in freedom of level design. You can make more things happen with three dimensions than you can with two. NSMBWii's mistake with fans wasn't because it was 2D, but because most of the level elements were old and played out. It felt bland and boring to half the people playing it. That same half would be the ones to herald Mario Galaxy 2 as the new coming.

Miyamoto was right in saying 2D and 3D both have their own appeal, but 2D has to be done right and brought up-to-date, or risk being stuck with one foot in the past like NSMBWii. He talked about depth perception in 2D Mario for 3DS...will we be seeing Bullet Bills flying out from the background of the screen into our eyes? Sounds like an exciting prospect. Time to reinvent the wheel.

...he also mentioned Zelda didn't he? 2D Zelda? Remember how the last one turned out? Oh well, there's no stopping him anyway, and what he makes is usually right on the money.