Friday, January 27, 2012


Yay, another of Capcom's box art mistakes, and another game that will become a collector's item because of it. Who's got this pre-ordered?

Capcom has issues public apologies for the mistake and is fixing the next batch of copies.

Nintendo Network

Nintendo's investors meeting just passed, and with it came a ton of statements from the big man Iwata himself. A lot of interesting things this time around: from the announcement that their next console, the Wii U, would be released towards the end of 2012, that the final product may not even be called the Wii U at all, lots of sales figures showing positive growth for 3DS, projected earnings losses for the past year, and this year's games to look forward to. A ton of games.

But by far the most interesting was the mention of Nintendo Network (top pic); Nintendo's own step into the online world which the other console makers have inhabited for years now. Typical of them to be late to the party, but better late than never!

The details Nintendo were willing to disclose about the new service are:
  • Free and paid DLC (downloadable content) for 3DS and Wii U games, the first of which will be Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, in which you can download extra songs online
  • Digital distribution of physical copies of games, much like what Sony was gunning for when it launched the PSPGo and subsequently ran both physical and digital in tandem
  • Personal accounts, so family members can share games
  • Games to make use of online networks, like in Mario Kart 7's Communities, which are usergroups that can be set up so everyone in it can race together easily.
I'm actually quite stoked about the idea of Nintendo finally offering downloadable content, so hopefully it comes at a reasonable price and will not seem like an attempt to rip anyone off like in cartridge-locked content that has to be paid for. Current DLC packs for most games, for me anyway (I'm a stingy bastard when it comes to digital downloads), are still too pricey. A costume pack in Marvel vs Capcom 3 for $5, which add virtually no functionality to the game? I'd pay that price for an extra character or two, but not extra aesthetics that go to waste because all your attention is focused on fighting instead of marveling the new threads. Nintendo's DLC better be worth the money, and storage problems need to be solved as well.

Even more so because of their plan to offer digital downloads. Everyone in Nintendo 5-Star is mixed on the issue; some view it as a blessing because digital downloads cost less to produce than physical copies, others don't think so because they're more inconvenient to share around and hard drive space is always limited, more so on a Nintendo console. If things go the way they should, Nintendo would end up with a tandem strategy of selling physical copies and digital downloads as well like Sony is doing, which is win-win for both sides of the argument. Personally I'll still stick to physical. Call me old-fashioned but it just feels more secure to me. Having a physical copy means the game is in your hands for good. A digital one runs the risk of being deleted at any time and you can't lend it to your friend or little brother or whatever who wants to try the game out. Legally speaking lending games to others is frowned upon but with Nintendo being so community-based and family friendly, will this strategy work?

Also for the Wii U, we are planning to introduce a personal account system compatible with Nintendo Network. With this, for example, the ease of using a video game system when the hardware is shared by multiple family members, which has been a challenge we needed to tackle, shall be improved, and we will also be able to construct and offer the system by combining a variety of different services and content. ~Satoru Iwata

Which is why the 3rd point excites me. Profiles for each family member so they can access the same games as you? It would work on the Wii U regardless as everyone uses one console anyway, but I really hope for something like this to be implemented on portables as well. Something that links a few 3DSes together and then digital games can be transferred freely to and fro between them, for family usage. It's exploitable, but that's the only way I can see digital downloads as being slightly more appealing, cause currently they seem like a legally bound, cold area of gaming to me. I'm sure the console makers can figure this one out, maybe extra security measures or something.

The problem now is as I mentioned above, other console makers have been in the online space for years and are more hands-on experienced in it, while Nintendo is just starting out. What does Nintendo have to make its own online offering relevant? What does Nintendo plan to do to entice those already accustomed to online networks on other consoles to support their own? What does Nintendo offer that its competition still doesn't? Nintendo being late to the party is fine, but if it's a party that no one has interest in joining then they are still in trouble in terms of online.

Not to say there's no hope though, we've always trusted Nintendo to pull off miraculous things when we least expect it (well, except for the bloody Friend Code system which is being phased out to much fanfare). No matter how they decide to improve from here on it's definitely going to look better than Nintendo's current online service. The only question is how much better. Good luck there!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Future Zelda Games We'd Hope To See.

What's in store for the next Zelda? 

A new Zelda game is always great news to cheer about. The time in between then...well, it's just speculations, rumors, and unfortunately a few hoaxes here and there. We can't say for certain what the next Zelda will be for certain, but we sure hope a future Zelda title will be along the lines of... 

Wii U/3DS Four Swords: It's been over 6 years since a new Four Swords games has been released, which is quite odd when you think about it. With today's wireless tech you'd think the Wii would've been a great candidate for the game, but alas it never came to the system. And then came the rumors of the Wii U's screen pad controller, and we thought for 100% certainty that a four Swords would be announced for this new system. E3 came, no Four Swords. All we got was a port of the GBA Four Swords that was originally included with Link to the Past. Which isn't bad, but a Wii U-to-3DS Four Swords would be amazing. With the Wii U's best gen graphics, this could look like one of the best 2-D games ever made. If a Four Swords isn't announced next E3, you'll be sure to know that I'll be the one scratching his head. 

8-bit Zelda: I'm putting on my "nostalgia glasses" for this one. Hey, if Mega Man can go 8-bit so can Zelda! Take me back to the glory days, Nintendo! I want to do everything that modern Zelda games do: ride Epona through a broad overworld, travel from dark to light worlds, and upgrade my weapons via RPG style! But, of course, if you don't want to, Nintendo that's alright with me... (you could always make an 8-bit Super Mario Bros. 4 instead. *hint, hint*) 

Tetra's own adventure: In Wind Waker, Tetra was the sarcastic (but secretly nice) pirate, helping Link throughout his quest, and shocking players by being revealed as the direct bloodline of Zelda. But the rest of Tetra's backstory is a mystery. That's where a spin-off would come in: you'd play as Tetra the pirate as she forms her own group of sailors, and travels the seas looking for treasure. The game will explain more details about Tetra, give in def backstories about her crew, explain how she obtained the Triforce of Wisdom, and give a more clear link (pun not intended) of Ocarina of Time to the Wind Waker series. And how many modern games let you play as a pirate? We need more pirates!  

A cross-over: Yes, I'm treading territory that will get me flamed, but there needs to be at least one cross-over! Mario and Zelda? Dynasty Warriors and Zelda? Final Fantasy Zelda? Marvel vs. Capcom vs. Zelda???? 

....Okay, maybe I'll let Nintendo decide what the next Zelda will be.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Dual Version Zelda games coming to the 3DS?

Said to originate from the forum site 4Chan, the above image apparently hints of two dual version Zelda games in the making for the 3DS. Translated, their sub-titles are 'Fire Prophecy' and 'Ice Prophecy' respectively. Fake, or are these the next Zelda titles we can expect?

All I can say is, if it's legit, I have dibs on Fire Prophecy.

UPDATE: The games are confirmed to be fake. Oh, well.


Monday, January 2, 2012

What is the future of Nintendo Home Console Support?

Are Wii U ready?
In an attempt to broaden an audience of a new fan base of paying gamers, it would seem logical to release a game on every system not only to benefit the gamers that don’t have the other systems, but also for the game developers themselves to gain more feedback to make even better games. So why on earth do the developers opt to the pick-and-choose option to releasing a game(s) on a select few systems rather than all of them, and shun a perfectly good fan base just because of fear that the potential buyers would be few and would rather buy the same game on HD supported systems? Yes, I’m talking about the third parties, and that system I was referring to is the Wii . 2011 was both a hit-and-miss for third party games on the system: on one hand we did get Rayman Origins out of nowhere, but on the other hand we could’ve gotten more for a system that’s on it’s last life. It’s times like these when the Wii’s hardware comes back to haunt it and the system not supporting HD graphics is a big turnoff for third party developers that want their games to look perfect. Wii’s first-party support this year is nothing to sneeze at though, and I have to hand it to Nintendo for handling yet another stellar year, and Skyward Swords delivered what it promised, but I just wish third parties did the same.

Here's a couple of examples of third-party ignorance: Capcom could have very well released Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on the Wii, but shunned it downed, and as if to point the middle finger at Nintendo gamers later released Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and made Pheonix Wright of the prior DS exclusive Ace Attorney series one of the playable characters. And most recently SEGA announced that they would not be releasing Sonic 4: Episode 2 on WiiWare because of updated graphics from the first episode (and at this point you know that whenever a developer comes up and says, “This game will have improved graphics…” you know it won’t be coming to the Wii). SEGA also didn’t release Sonic Generations on the Wii last year, but oddly released it on the 3DS instead. It was later made clear by the “In 3-D!” logo on the Xbox360/PS3 versions of the game that SEGA didn’t release the game on the Wii because it didn’t support 3-D. You can easily say: “But they gave us exclusives Tatsunoko vs. Capcom and Sonic Colors a few years back so stop whining!” but again I question why they would shun a new fan base and release the game on all systems except the Wii when they could’ve made more profit off of it. And they choose not to do it when 2011 looked like it was the last year of the Wii? Come on now!

This is what I originally feared for the Wii U: third party developers would look at the system, think they would have to use a gimmicky controllers whether they want to or not, and just doom the system with cash-in shovel ware and give other systems actual games just like how they treated the Wii (I‘m staring at you SoulCalibur Adventure). We’ve already lost Capcom, and other companies like Ubi-Soft have just used the Wii as a dart board to randomly shoot shovel ware at the system until the whole Wii game aisle at Best Buy is infested with garbage games shadowing good games like weeds choking on flowers, because Wii remote wagglin’ is so compulsory and necessary it must be in every game they make NO MATTER WHAT! (meanwhile, the Virtual Console controller stares on blankly)     

But I got news for you: the Wii Isn’t done just yet, shovel ware is on all systems and we must accept it, and Crapcom was always Crapcom (just sayin‘). In it’s life time, the Wii has accomplished creating a whole new fan base of people that never have played games, gave us exclusives that you can’t play anywhere else, and made us feel young again with Virtual Console, but I still feel only 60% of the system has been really tapped and explored. Nonetheless, the Wii will not die in infamy and just be considered a “fad toy”. No, it’s legacy will live on forever - in a new form called the Wii U. Here’s to hoping that third parties will give the Wii U a chance; make us proud to be Nintendo gamers.