nintendo

Bill Loguidice's picture

Thoughts on Nintendo's Figurine Platform for Wii U and 3DS

The Nintendo Figurine StrategyThe Nintendo Figurine StrategyNintendo doing a Skylanders/Disney Infinity-like take using their impressive stable of characters (news story here and seemingly everywhere else) was one of my past unsolicited suggestions for helping to goose the Wii U's listless sales, but I fear that their intended implementation, which seems to involve the figures working across a range of games is too non-specific. Critically, I think they also need a triple-A Disney Infinity-like open world/mini-game title for fans to rally around and where all of the figures will work. To my mind, having that (and future sequels) in conjunction with letting the characters work in several future games (Mario Golf, Smash Bros., their platformers, etc., all immediately come to mind) would be a slam dunk. It might even help turn the Wii U's fortunes around, but even if it didn't, it could certainly point to a great plan for Nintendo's future and an all-in-one successor to both the Wii U and aging 3DS (whose sales I expect to remain fairly steady, if no longer on a growth trajectory) that could incorporate the needed technology from day one. The only major hold up for incorporating connected figures in future Nintendo titles and, even with a possible triple-A open world/mini-game showcase title, is the company's continued sluggish software release schedule, which has plagued them for many years now. This inability to iterate quickly might also be why their strategy is just to bake use of the figures into select future titles--that would clearly take less time.

At its core, a correctly implemented figurine concept would indeed be a killer business plan, but not if Nintendo continues at their current glacial release pace since this is the type of thing that needs to feed on its own momentum. In any case, we'll know more about Nintendo's intended strategy for this concept around E3 in June. Let's hope they get it right.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Just what exactly is going on with Nintendo?

This new Bloomberg article sums everything up nicely, with some much needed direct quotes from Nintendo's president, Satoru Iwata. It's both stunning and kind of sad we're getting this "we're going to embrace a new business model" rhetoric from Nintendo leadership, and that they're "going to study" mobile markets and what-not. It's stunning in that Nintendo is finally acknowledging that it may not be a bad thing to not always go against the grain and follow their own path. It's sad in that this smacks of Nintendo's snail-like move to HD and other modern technologies, which caused a lot of their problems in the first place, i.e., slow to produce new games, behind-the-times online services, etc. Once they're done with their studying and assumed eventual embracing of at least some of these things, how much more time will have passed? Maybe it's indeed time for Iwata to step down like promised and have new, more inspired - and quicker acting and reacting - leadership to take his place. Sometimes it's just time to move on and let someone younger have a crack at the future of the company--just ask Microsoft's Steve Ballmer.

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... Trog (NES)(NTSC)


Trog is a classic arcade game released in 1990 by Acclaim. You are a dinosaur collecting your eggs, protecting them against the cloned Trog cyclops. I couldn't show the excellent multiplayer mode in this game now, but it's there. Do you think the gameplay is a little familiar? Well, that's because it's similar to Pac-Man and Amidar.

From searching the Web, I learned there are MS-DOS and the arcade original versions of this game as well. Enjoy.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Thoughts on the future of Xbox One, PS4, Wii U after E3

Sony PS4Sony PS4Before the year is out, we'll have the choice of the latest console systems from the three big manufacturers, with three very different value propositions. I'll briefly break each of the three down, one-by-one, then I'd like to continue the discussion in the comments.

First up, there's the Wii U, relying mostly on the same type of technology found in the current generation's Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles, with its primary hook being its tablet controller that allows for touchscreen interactions and off-TV play, priced between $300 - $350. There's a good chance, despite Nintendo's insistence that they won't or can't, that this will drop in price just before the launch of Microsoft's and Sony's new consoles. I base this on the jockeying Nintendo already seems to be doing, for instance with eliminating the $300 BASIC version of their system in favor of the DELUXE (and no doubt different future bundles). The negatives for the Wii U are that, for various reasons, third party support has already dried up, and there's no evidence that their tablet controller hook has resonated (or will) with the public. There's always a chance for things to change, but right now, I don't see how Nintendo recovers a dominant console position, particularly since there's really nothing that reeks of "next gen" in their forthcoming software line-up. Certainly with their first party software they'll continue to appeal to the Nintendo faithful, and that should be enough to help the platform stick it out for the next few years. Beyond that, it's impossible to speculate, particularly since we don't know how Microsoft and Sony will ultimately fare (it could just be the new norm, in light of smartphone, tablet, and PC competition to have a tough time with traditional consoles and gaming handhelds).

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... Nano Assault NEO (WiiU)


You need to stop the spread of a deadly Nano virus. You must fight to make cells healthy again. Sounds like a boring biology themed bit of educational software disguised as a game but it is far from anything remotely educational. Nano Assault NEO is a great twin stick analog shooter on the WiiU - available as a downloadable game. Read more below...

Bill Loguidice's picture

Upcoming Release: Hyperkin's RETRON 5, the Ultimate Retro Console? (kitchen sink included)

Hyperkin RETRON 5 (mock-up)Hyperkin RETRON 5 (mock-up)Although we've been following the developments of Hyperkin's upcoming RETRON 4 closely, Slashdot reports that the company has surprised everyone by going straight to the RETRON 5. Hyperkin has had a spotty history at best of promising the moon and stars with their modern consoles that play classic cartridges, i.e., often falling down on compatibility and emulation, but it looks like they're determined to finally nail it, publicly stating they want 100% compatibility. The RETRON 5 can play the actual cartridges for nine systems, with transparent NTSC and PAL support: Famicom, NES, SNES, Super Famicom, Genesis, Mega Drive, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, and the Game Boy. Hyperkin hasn't ruled out support for other platforms, pending parts, and it's certainly easy enough to imagine scenarios where systems like the Sega Master System and Game Gear would work just as well with the right adapters. In any case, even if it's just those nine systems/four system families, that's still a mighty versatile single console, particularly since you can update the firmware.

In terms of controls, the system will come with two nice looking six button bluetooth controllers (in fact, the d-pad looks a lot like the superb control found on SNK's Neo Geo Pocket Color), which can be charged with the console's USB port, but there are also six controller ports to use any combination of classic controllers in any combination of system modes, meaning two NES, two SNES, and two Genesis controller ports, and the ability to say, use an SNES controller for Genesis or NES games, as just one example (this includes full user configurable button remapping in all modes). Video is upscaled 720p over HDMI (composite audio/video is also supported for older televisions), with all kinds of options to support different aspect ratios and other video modes as the user desires, plus Hyperkin has claimed that all kinds of technological wizardry is in place to make these standard definition systems look and sound the way they're supposed to on modern high definition displays. Finally, of the remaining key features among a laundry list of them, the console will also allow users to create save states, support auto-save for when the system is suddenly turned off, offer a "cheat menu" (built-in Game Genie/Action Replay support?), and also offer "Manual & Passive Overclocking," which means both slowdown and fast-forward at any time (perfect for those overly chatty text-bubble-based classic games).

Obviously, all of that is a lot to promise, particularly at a sub-$100 price point, but we'll certainly be waiting anxiously for the official release after June to put this potential flying unicorn through its paces. Check out the video presentation for the RETRON 5 at the Midwest Gaming Classic below:

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... Burnout (Gamecube)

Burnout - this is the first iteration of a great series of racing games. I explain a little about the game and then I do some gameplay. Neither of which is really good as it is tough to do both at the same time :P

I touch on the new 2013-03 YouTube layout too.

Bill Loguidice's picture

A Critical Look at Today's Videogame Landscape and the Possibilities for the Future

My Nintendo Wii U (2013)My Nintendo Wii U (2013)I've been quiet on the blog front of late as I've been focused on writing three new books for 2013 (and hopefully do what I can to help get the documentary out as well). However, with the latest NPD figures for videogame consoles being dissected across the Web-o-sphere, and Sony likely firing the next salvo for next generation platforms with their upcoming PlayStation-centric announcement (and Microsoft to follow soon thereafter), I thought this would a good time to break my silence and chime in with my perspective on the current videogame-centric happenings.

First off, it's clearly not looking good for pure videogame stuff with three lackluster hardware launches in a row: 3DS, Vita, and Wii U. The 3DS recovered sufficiently with a dramatic price cut that was very much against Nintendo's previous corporate policies that discouraged losing money on hardware, which allowed it enough time to hold out for the software situation to pick up. While it will never reach the sales heights of the blockbuster DS, considering how much competition both direct and indirect there is now versus then, it should still end up selling quite well when it has run through its complete lifecycle.

Mark Vergeer's picture

Revo K101 demonstration and comparion with the K1GBA - Other handhelds & the future of gaming

This hand-held is a 99-100% GBA, GBC hardware compatible game system. It is 99-100% software compatible with GBA, GBC, GB, NES through loading game files off a SD-card. The form factor and looks of the system can seem familiar as it uses the same case as the Gemei A330 aka Dingoo - but mind you this is not the same system. Compared with the original GBA case the system is about the same size, also the screen is about the same size but of a much higher resolution. The angle of the B and A buttons on the original is less steep than the diamond orientation of the Y X B A button layout on the Revo. The screen is not protected by a layer of glass, just a layer of plastic so you need to be a little careful. Don't put it in trousers but put it in the provided sack or pouch.

The camera I use barfed in this video - footage is very blueish so doesn't do the screen of the system justice - the camera makes it very blue with very little red. That's a camera thing. Just check out how it picked up my Nexus 7 - also quite blue so the camera :(

The system touts PC Engine and SMS, GG compatibility but the PCEngine emulation is far too slow. The GG and SMS games don't run full speed. GBA, GBC, GB and NES does.

Last year a SoC was designed based around the hardware of the original Game Boy Advance. It uses a dual core ARM architecture and instead of relying on software emulation to run GBA games, it is capable of running them natively.

Basically it is a hardware-reimplementation of the original GBA. And as a result it supposedly functions in almost exactly the same way as the original Nintendo hardware.This should provide a higher compatiblity- and accuracy-rate. It is possible to use GBA accesories and link the system up to another GBA, K1GBA or RevoK101. It also features video-out that works on a separate jackplug so the link cable can be used while the system is used on the television. The cable (composite) provides monoaural sound.

The real time clock allows for the Pokemon games to function 100% which is a big plus for a lot of Pokemon gamers out there.

What I wonder is if this system has any more advanced features compared to the original GBA (is there overhead) that allows for the installation or implementation of another operating system that opens up the hardware to more advanced emulation software of other systems. But that may not be the case as this seems to pretty much hardware duplicate the original GBA hardware.

The battery used in the K1GBA (the GBA-SP clone is the same one as the battery used in the original GBA-SP). The battery used in the RevoK101 is a clone of the Nokia BL-5B. Order one of these and you got an excellent replacement for the built-in battery.

Where can you get this system? The price is about $60 (~£40) €50 and for that price you practially can't refuse this.

Well you can get one here:
http://www.k1gbasp.com

The GBA-SP one you can get here:
http://www.k1gba.com

The RevoK101 website:
http://revok101.com

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Mark Vergeer's picture

Clone GBA-SP system - the k1gba - a demonstration

A demonstration of a hardware compatible Gameboy Advance SP system that has the capabilities to run real GBA game cards as well as run files from an SD-card. The screen is much brighter and of a higher quality thn the original GBA-SP's screen and they seem to have used the exact same plastic molds as the original. Read more below...

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