Category: Nintendo

Wii’re here for anything relating to Nintendo and its platforms. Look to the tags for anything more specific.

Yes, of all the Switch Games, it’s Spelunker I’m writing about

Minna de Waiwai! or as Google calls it, Everyone is crazy! Speller Car

The only game in the entire Switch presentation that sent my fists pumping triumphantly into the air was Minna de Waiwai! Spelunker. It’s not a system seller for me like it was on PlayStation 4 but beyond Breath of the Wild it’s the only thing they showed that I was eager to play.

The gameplay (and stages) look to be the same as in Spelunker World but the trappings around them have been refreshed. There’s a new art style to the menus, a new world map and base camp screen, and the multiplayer lobby looks to be more informative about what gear everyone is bringing. Speaking of multiplayer, the game is reduced from a max of 6 players to 4, all of which can play together locally via splitscreen in TV Mode. It even supports 4 players in Tabletop Mode, though I can’t imagine staring intently at 1/4th of a 6-inch screen would be any fun. I was worried that the game would be local play only but word has it that online multiplayer is supported as well.

Visually the graphics feel pared down to me, lacking the reflections and sharp detail that frequently surprised me on PS4. Forgive me, but on the Switch it looks more like a Wii game in HD. It’s not a knock on the hardware, I think the flatter, more cartoony style just doesn’t play so well in screenshots. I’m still waiting to see it in motion beyond the 1.5 second snippet from the sizzle reel. See if you can spot it!

4 player local Spelunker is a brawl waiting to happen!

Possibly the biggest change is that the game isn’t free to play anymore! For roughly $45 you’ll be able to download the game or pick it up at retail. I am especially tempted to import the game just to have a physical Spelunker to hold and love and hate and love again… and smash against a wall for all the times it killed me. The price tag also means there’s no concept of buying Retries, at least there aren’t any Moon Stones in the screenshots released so far. New players will never know the real agony of death unless they come up with a new system to take its place. Maybe you lose coins or experience and it just takes longer to level up your gear.

But maybe my favorite thing about Minna de Waiwai! Spelunker is that Google translates the title to “Everyone is crazy! Speller car” which is the follow up to one of my favorite games, “Everyone with Sprank Car Z”. If I do somehow end up with a Switch you can expect much reporting on Speller Car after its Japanese release on April 20th (and then again whenever it hits the U.S.).

A Few Thoughts on Nintendo Switch Cases and Configurations

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The backs of Nintendo Switch cases are going to be so very, very busy. With the freedom to “play it your way” comes the need to inform consumers of all their options. The ‘Number of players’ and ‘supported controllers’ icons are commonplace but now we’ll have three more just to depict the various console configurations. Alongside the boilerplate safety notices and tri-lingual game descriptions it should make for an awfully garish sight. No wonder the front of the box is so simple in comparison.

The above image isn’t from the back of a box though, it’s from Fast RMX’s website so the final iconography could be more succinct. Nevertheless, all that information has to be present and will eat up even more space on boxes for marketers to tell you anything about the actual game. It’s not a big deal as there’s a whole internet out there to explain what a game is like but with most news on the Switch these days, this little tidbit raise more questions.

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It’s been taken for granted that all games would support all three Switch configurations (TV, Tabletop and Handheld modes) but could some games simply refuse to work on the go? With the alleged performance drop when the Switch is undocked could some games run so poorly that Nintendo would require them to disable on-the-go play?

If there’s a performance edge to be gained by prohibiting undocked play then at least a few studios will use it. If that gamble pays off — or if demand just isn’t there for portable play thanks to the battery life —  I could see the majority of Switch games going “TV Mode” exclusive. It’s just a thought, I’m sure there are details out there already in subreddits and forums but I wanted to throw it out there in the crazy chance that I’m onto something.

Here’s the art that might have inspired Miyamoto’s “Samurai Mario”

 

The artwork that inspired Miyamoto's Samurai Mario t-shirt?

There’s a ton of speculation in places like the Nintendo Switch subreddit about just what was going on with Miyamoto’s “samurai Mario” shirt on Jimmy Fallon. I haven’t had time to read through much of anything outside of Polygon’s post on this mysterious Tease-Shirt but at first sight the above is all I could think of.

It’s from one of the final Club Nintendo rewards before the service was shut down in lieu of My Nintendo. It’s probably the classiest thing they ever produced for the U.S. and, ironically, it’s full of Mario & Co. in traditional/mythical Japanese attire. The samurai outfit isn’t quite exact to Miyamoto’s shirt but the designs for the calendar (which was potentially conceived 2 or more years ago) may well have been the inspiration for whatever is coming.

I’ve got no fully formed theories to throw out there, I just wanted to share this fantastic artwork since that shirt reminded me of it. Click to take a much bigger look at it.

Nintendo Reveals the NX as the Nintendo Switch

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“Nintendo Switch. We decided to.” The Google translated text on Nintendo Japan’s official site is probably all the explanation anyone really needs. Nintendo does what Nintendoes and that is almost always “100% Weird”. They did not disappoint us today.

So the NX is officially the Nintendo Switch, named as such because — look at it — it’s a home console tethered to a TV, it’s a tablet-sized portable, it supports multiplayer by breaking apart the controller and it even has a traditional Pro Controller option. You can switch to play however you want.

Peripherals and Game Carts
It looks like a peripheral bonanza for Nintendo to profit from. I fully expect at least one necessary charging cable to be sold extra along with a myriad of color options, battery packs, cables and headrest mounts (?). Games come on DS sized cartridges and slip into the Nintendo Switch whether you’re playing on the go or docked to a TV. I assumed the processing guts were in the large docking station but it seems that the Switch is fully encompassed in the tablet device.

Backward Compatibility?
Speaking of being docked to a TV, that base station features 2 USB ports on the side and seemingly no space for a disc drive, ruling out backward compatibility with any Wii U, Wii and GameCube discs we may own. If it is backward compatible we’ll likely be re-buying our games or engaging with an elaborate system to send in discs and have them exchanged for downloads. That sounds exhaustive for consumers and Nintendo alike. I expect a full break from disc-based backward compatibility, possibly ALL backward compatibility, from here on out.

Now I’m just Arguing with Myself
The number of permutations of this hardware reminds me of this old GameCube promo booklet. It took a 2-page spread to show all the ways you could hook a GameCube up to a Game Boy Advance for features that hardly anyone, even Nintendo, implemented. With the Switch it seems like people could just be confused by what to do with it. Being built around a tablet is a smart move but I think a lot of people may be put off by that familiar form factor inundated by controller add-ons and docking bases. “Why bother with that when my iPad already plays great looking games without extra stuff?”

However, while it wasn’t shown in the video the tablet may be all we need to play a whole bevvy of Nintendo games. Those who don’t want the bolt-on controllers can stick to a new Touch Generation of games à la Miitomo and even Pokemon GO. “The kids play with those controller doo-dads, I’ll stick to the brain scientist man myself,” Grandad could be seen saying in an advertorial in Home & Garden magazine. Rather than winning non-gamers over with a new motion control gimmick the Switch’s secret weapon may be that it can cater to everyone. Cue the advertising slogans urging family members to each buy their own.

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Oh right, Games!
Every generation Nintendo trots out an image like the one above as proof that, this time, third party publishers are going to be on board with their wonky new console for the long haul. So let’s just say I’m not totally won over by this roster but I am nonetheless excited to see what people release on it. Here’s the official list without all the sneaky middleware names that Nintendo slid in:

505 Games

Activision Publishing

ARC SYSTEM WORKS

ATLUS

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment

Bethesda

CAPCOM

Codemasters

DeNA Co.

Electronic Arts

FromSoftware

Frozenbyte

GameTrust

GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE

Gungho Online Entertainment

HAMSTER Corporation

INTI CREATES

KOEI TECMO GAMES

Konami Digital Entertainment

LEVEL-5

Marvelous

Maximum Games

Nippon Ichi Software

PlatinumGames

SEGA Games

Spike Chunsoft

SQUARE ENIX

Starbreeze Studios

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.

Telltale Games

THQ Nordic

Tokyo RPG Factory

TT Games

UBISOFT

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

It’s an appreciable mix of all the big names from both Western and Eastern territories along with a handful of feel-good indie-sized studios. Are they all bringing totally new, original titles? Probably not, but having some of the games from these studios available on a portable only adds value to the Switch’s proposition.

No Gimmicks, Just Games
It didn’t hit me until an hour or so after the reveal (and well after I started this rambling post) but the Switch isn’t trying to revolutionize how anyone plays a game. Nintendo didn’t flaunt motion controls, accelerometers, dual screens or bean-shaped button layouts. Instead they showed us a series of gameplay options that caters to practically everyone, all with one device.

With the Switch we’ll be able to engage with Nintendo’s games in seemingly any form factor we choose. And probably more importantly, third parties don’t have to run their games through a gimmick machine to bring them to Nintendo’s new platform. Translating a game from PC to PlayStation to the Switch’s NVIDIA Tegra hardware may be more complicated than a simple copy and paste but the whole game doesn’t have to be re-designed for a change.

There’s still much, much more to learn about the Switch before it’s March 2017 release (price, hard drive capacity, battery life, launch lineup) but I’m pretty impressed with what has been shown. A TV is where I prefer to play but every now and then I’ve enlisted the Vita to remotely stream the PlayStation 4 and always wished it worked better. Clearly there are cases when even I want to play on a handheld device and the Switch caters to that out of the box. I’m impressed but not completely sold but that’s a fair deal better a response than I had from the Wii U.

Watch, Listen and Reminisce About Boulder Dash

Ever since Giant Bomb did that Quick Look of Boulder Dash: 30th Anniversary I’ve been feeling the feels for the Atari PC and NES versions that my sister and I used to play. It’s taken way longer than I planned but I finally finished a new videOST series for the game’s soundtrack and recorded a little session with the game full of stories and memories. I also managed to finish the game without an excessive amount of cheating. It’s the first time I can remember ever seeing (and hearing) the ending!