Category: Nintendo

Is Super Mario Odyssey Nintendo’s response to annoying Mario canon questions?

This scene couldn't be any more Japanese

Everything in Super Mario Odyssey seems designed to rattle even the most absurd head-canon that fans have crafted for themselves over the decades of loosely connected Mario games. It started with the debut trailer back in January with Mario running around in the human-sized New Donk City and it’s only gotten stranger with this week’s E3 reveal.

Pauline, Mario’s original heroine from Donkey Kong, is the mayor of New Donk City and its streets are named after members of the DK clan. We’d seen Bowser in a white tuxedo before with Peach at his side in a matching wedding dress but now we see that Mario is also dressed for “the big day”. So who is crashing whose wedding and does Peach have any say in this nuptial knockout? Finally, just who is singing the vocal track heard in the new trailer with lines like “I’ll be your 1UP girl”? The camera sure lingers on that saucy singer at the New Donk City Festival, doesn’t it? Could this be the end for Mario and Peach?

Is Mario butting in on a harmonious union?

Things are just as extraordinary on the gameplay end of things. Mario’s traditional powerups are nowhere to be seen and he instead utilizes the sentient, mind-controlling tophat we now know as Cappy. With Cappy, Mario can do typical video game things like boomerang his hat around to hit enemies or grab coins. What was revealed at E3, though, is a completely surprising mechanic that lets Cappy possess most enemies and suck Mario into them, slapping the red cap on their heads and a mustache on their face.

Goombas, Hammer Bros. and Bullet Bills are all commandeered by Mario as well as totally unexpected objects like taxi cabs, tanks, frogs, Rapa Nui statues and rocket ships that look straight out of Super Mario Bros. 2. Then there are the scenes where Mario is squashed flat a la Link Between Worlds and things get decidedly old school.

Between this and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle I’ve never been more excited for new Mario games and there’s surely more bizarre stuff to be seen from both; at E3 and in the months leading up to their releases. Bring it on Nintendo, the weirder the better!

Quick Tallies on the Switch’s Software Lineup

Quick Tallies on the Switch's Software Lineup

Am I trying to justify not buying a Switch or do I just like making spreadsheets? With the news of “This Week’s Switch Releases” going around I decided to copy all the listings from Nintendo.com into Excel and do some quick tabulating. Of the 53 current Switch titles on Nintendo’s official site:


26
games have been released

There are 14 Switch exclusives, half from Nintendo

38 of them are (or will be) available on other platforms

29 titles are old, from 2016 or earlier


Run all those numbers through the Shawn filter and it distills down to five.
 I’ll even throw in the unlisted Spelunker World and Vroom in the Night Sky to make seven games I’m interested in playing on the Switch. Between the lacking library, JoyCon-gate and docksocks I’m having a really hard time overriding my rational, adult brain. I’d love to be enraptured with Zelda like everyone else and posting my own musings about the hardware but until there’s a deal I’ll keep busy with NieR and all my other personal projects.

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

012017-switchicons

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.

012017-switchicons2

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.