Posts Tagged ‘Console’

A Week With Pokemon Silver Version in 2017

I was a few paragraphs into writing this when the SNES Classic came out and ruined everything. I came back to the post afterwards and, naturally, it then turned into several thousand words.

2017 has been an insane year for new release videogames, a fact that has become even more true over the last few months. And yet my most anticipated release date of September 2017 was the 22nd, when Nintendo and the Pokemon Company would – at long last – release Pokemon Gold and Silver on the 3DS Virtual Console (Incidentally just about the only acknowledgement by the big N this year that such a service even still exists – sorry Switch owners). Patched up with wireless trading/battling functionality and wrapped in that gorgeous 3D-compatible faux-Game Boy Color shell, just like Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow last year, they presented a mouth-watering nostalgic proposition for me on paper. In fact as a testament to the sheer value that “comfort food” media can have, I even purchased and finished the VC version of Pokemon Red a couple of weeks earlier when it went on sale in anticipation of the newer re-releases, even though I had already given my full attention to Yellow in a similar manner in 2016.

Unlike Yellow, I no longer have access to my original Pokemon Silver cartridge, so I haven’t touched the original version in any form for almost fifteen years. In light of all the Pokemon generations that have come and gone in the years since, not to mention the glut of YouTube videos, podcasts and articles on the internet praising the second generation for all its once-groundbreaking qualities, I was more than ready to give Silver another go. And then write something about it, so i could feel less guilty about all the hours spent not doing anything else. This post will probably be a little scattershot in tone, and the “screenshots” will be poor and DIY in nature, but I’ll at least try to keep my thoughts aligned with the order of the game’s events.

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Switch Hype: Ranking Nintendo’s Ten Main Consoles

My my, I do love a countdown opportunity.

And so it is, dear reader, that we find ourselves here. Here at the dawn of what will be – for better or worse – a new cycle of Nintendo being Nintendo. The impending Switch console has the attention of the gaming world for now, and all the bad news has yet to come. It’s not an unfamiliar feeling for yours truly – one of bubbling excitement, of mildly tempered hope – but one in which I will gladly bask for the time being, if only because that feeling seems to be my number one most reliable source of blogging motivation. And would you look at that – the Switch will be Nintendo’s twelfth (let’s scratch the Virtual Boy) eleventh major videogame device! Yes, a nice, round top ten is ripe for the typing. How good.

I will now attempt to rank the ten major home/handheld Nintendo consoles of yore according to my own personal feelings about them. Yes, this will be a different list to your own, dearest reader. That’s OK. It is not an easy thing at all for a Nintendo tragic such as myself to see some of these wonderful machines placed below others – go ahead, try it – but I have struggled through it anyway. It’s probably worth mentioning that I haven’t owned all ten of these pieces of hardware, but I sure have played a significant portion of the game offerings they brought to the table through various re-releases and chance adventures, so I feel comfortable laying it out for your perusal. I’ve taken physical design, hardware refreshes, game library, nostalgia and all the usual good stuff into account. Here we go.

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10. Nintendo Entertainment System

Australian Release: 1987
My Favourite Games: Balloon Fight, Kirby’s Adventure, Super Mario Bros 2

Yes, the one that started it all is down here. The main reason is a boring one: The NES’ games don’t tend to hold up as well today as other later Nintendo titles, as by necessity they are visually and conceptually basic. Having said that, the very best of the NES crop represents some of the most satisfying, mechanically tight challenges to be found anywhere in videogames, not to mention some technical wizardry when it comes to working within memory limitations. Of the two-and-a-half consoles on this list that I never owned, this is the one whose game library I have sampled most widely, thanks mostly to things like the wonderful Wii U eShop games NES Remix 1 & 2 and the recently released NES Classic Mini console, and particularly in this bite-sized format there is a great deal of fun to be had with NES gems even for the less skilled gamers among us (e.g. me).

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To My Fellow Wii U Owners – This Is Probably The End

This will be a busy weekend for this blog.

Found on a Facebook fan group. Nailed it.

Looking at things that interest me in a positive light is well beyond a defining feature of my personality at this point. My default stance on just about anything videogame-related is optimism, for better or worse. But sometimes there isn’t all that much room for such a stance, and you just have to be real. If you’re a Nintendo fan of any kind, this is one of those times.

The most recent Nintendo-related announcement to cause waves online – an understatement in some corners – is the triple-bladed revelation from the company’s recent investor briefing that:

  1. Nintendo’s newest console, code-named “NX”, will be released worldwide in March 2017.

  2. The Wii U’s most widely anticipated game, a still-unnamed Legend of Zelda title, will release simultaneously on NX and Wii U, and thus will not see release until at least March 2017.

  3. Not only will the NX be absent from E3 in June this year, but this new Zelda (the Wii U version) will be the only game playable on the E3 show floor.

Still so mysterious.

There’s a lot to digest from this news, but the overwhelming, frigid-breeze-in-your-face implication here is that Nintendo is now ostensibly finished with the Wii U. Yes, Zelda will still come out for the ailing console, and I’m sure the game’s E3 presence will go above and beyond to showcase the benefits of the Wii U’s unique gamepad controller to the experience. But if the NX offers the better version of the game – and there aren’t very many great arguments around to suggest it won’t – then what Nintendo fan won’t just go for the NX version? What’s more, March next year is 10 months away, and the landscape of first-party game releases (and thus just about any game releases at all) for the Wii U in the next 10 months is looking awfully dry – I’m excited for Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, but it’s one of only three retail-facing first party games we know about, the other two being Paper Mario: Color Splash and Mario & Sonic at the Rio Olympic Games. It’s hard to see this whole situation as anything other than an admittance that the Wii U is over, and that sucks.

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A Shot in the Eyes – New 3DS XL Review

Here we go with my second and final new hardware review of 2014 – this time, amazingly, for a timed western exclusive to Australia and New Zealand!

N3DS_Main

The XL model, in glossy yet understated metallic blue.

 

A few months ago Nintendo “did a Nintendo” and announced yet another hardware revision to its successful line of handhelds. Met initially with confusion, as these things often are, followed by a wave of alternating anger and desire from videogame fans, the totally-not-badly-named New Nintendo 3DS is the result. As an Australian, I was one of the first in the western world to get my hands on one, and I’ve got to say I’m pretty glad that I did. The New 3DS, and its “XL” brother (which I chose), is better than its predecessor in dozens of tiny ways and a handful of big ones, even if some of its most impressive technological advances are wasted on the current Australian market. It may represent a tempting, if currently unnecessary, proposition for current 3DS owners, but it’s an absolute no-brainer for curious newcomers to Nintendo’s latest family of handhelds. Read on to find out why.

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Wii U eShop Advance!

Very recently Nintendo announced that it would be bringing a bunch of Game Boy Advance titles to the Wii U Virtual Console throughout April. The announcement video is above. Here’s why I think the move is a good idea:
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THE WII U NEEDS GAMES

It’s no secret that the Wii U is struggling to provide a steady stream of games for its audience, especially given the constantly shrinking pool of third party developers interested in supporting the console. The Wii U has very quickly become a console that people buy for Nintendo releases and Nintendo releases only. The company has stood up and answered the call for high quality exclusives, delivering highly polished gems like Pikmin 3, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD and Super Mario 3D World alongside surprises like The Wonderful 101, NES Remix and LEGO City Undercover. But these highlights simply aren’t arriving often enough for people to stay interested in their Wii Us for too long. This deluge of GBA goodness is very, very welcome right now.

Charming.

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The Third Option

Over the last week or so I have been working feverishly towards getting ten Best of 2013 countdowns up on the site, but before I start I just have to say something…

So the Xbox One and the PS4 are both on Australian shelves now (well, the Xbox One at least – God help you if you’re trying to find a PS4 that isn’t on preorder at the moment). That means they will be on Christmas wishlists and dare I say part of plans for the spending of excess Christmas casual earnings / Christmas gift money. They deserve to be there. They are both very impressive pieces of tech. I like both of them and have thoroughly enjoyed my time with them thus far. I eagerly await the exciting future ahead for both consoles. Games like Titanfall, Infamous: Second Son, Destiny, Watch_Dogs, The Order: 1886 and Final Fantasy XV make me feel lucky to be able to own a next-gen (now current-gen, technically) console right now, with an entertaining future secured. If you are genuinely excited for either console, all power to you – go ahead and jump in. I feel like, if I wanted to, I could leave it at that.

But I would be betraying who I was, where I’ve come from and, heck, where I am now as a gamer, if I neglected to give another mention to the Wii U, Nintendo’s now one-year-old home console. I have been playing just as much of my Wii U of late as I have my PS4/Xbox One, so I feel obliged to point out that yes, there is a third option for you this holiday season if you feel like it’s time for a new console. Here’s why you might find it a decent choice:

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Gargantuan Trios

I realise this kind of article probably has a pretty narrow audience, but on the plus side there probably aren’t too many like it on the interwebs.

Entertainment media is big business these days. Like, BIG business. Big business breeds big companies who survive because they happen to be the best at what they do. Each of these companies may emphasise its own supposed competitive advantages, but when push comes to shove the entertainment media juggernauts are still around because deep down they are really similar, whether they sell movies, TV shows, videogames or music. This hit home for me recently when I happened to notice that the apparently different worlds of console gaming and Korean pop music shared the phenomenon of a dominant “Big 3” who control market share. And public (read: internet) perception of these companies within their own contexts is kind of unnervingly similar.

So for the hell of it, I paired them up and tried to find as many similarities between the most obviously corresponding members of each trio as I could. Of course they tout many differences as well, but the amount of similarities I did end up finding is perhaps a little scary. For the sake of uniformity I’ve referred to videogame franchises and Korean idols/groups alike as “brands” here, cause that’s what they are, really.

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