Tag Archives: wii

LEGO: Lord of The Rings Available to Buy

I appear to have gotten myself some kind of a reputation around these parts for being the ‘LEGO Guru’. Yes, I’m a fan. Yes, I own most of the games (all the Star Wars, Harry Potter and Batman LEGO games *whistles nonchalantly* ) and I grew up playing with the famous plastic bricks, as is now my daughter. So yes, you could say I’m some what of a fan.

So when I did my first piece about the Lord of the Rings trilogy being immortalised in brick form, my heart leapt in joy while my stomach flipped like some tumbling acrobat. Happy days! Watching the trailer a few months ago, this game seems to break a few of the usual LEGO rules which TT Games started in the second Batman game. The tongue-in-cheek humour isn’t there so much, it’s a lot more obvious now. But the main thing is voice actors. And it’s actually pretty cool. As usual, TT Games came out fighting and it looks like they have another smash-hit in Lord of the Rings. Does this mean that there will be more of the game like Harry Potter and Star Wars? I assume so, but we will just have to wait and see.

For those of you out there chomping at the bit for this game- you can buy it now in the US and on November 23rd in Europe. Ah, you were attempting to buy Christmas gifts this year? Pfffft. I don’t think so…

Jumping The Gun On Release Dates

I walk past a gaming store every day on my way to work and the other day I had to do a double take. There is a poster in the window of the store and it states as gospel that the Wii U will be coming this Christmas.

Now, I am wondering if gaming stores are actually allowed to do this when the general public doesn’t actually know when the release date is? There’s been no actual press statement from Nintendo quoting this as truth and to me it just seems like false information and building the public up for something that might not actually happen. At this point in time, it’s just assumed that the console will be released at Christmas. The Nintendo Wii is coming to the end of it’s natural life cycle, gaming houses are running out of ideas and so many more fresh, new games are coming out for the Wii U instead.

Even Nintendo itself seems to be focusing more on the Wii U rather than the original Wii console. With the promotion of staple house games- such as Super Mario Bros, Pikmin and Zelda already being rolled out by the Big N- it’s almost certain that the console is looking for a release to the general public, and soon. But like always, Nintendo is keeping the date very close to their chest until their major press conference on September 13th in New York City. Maybe at that point, we shall actually know for certain the date of the fabled machine.

A Christmas release for Nintendo would spell nothing but financial lottery for the company. With the Wii U, they beat out both the Microsoft XBox 360 and the Sony Playstation 3 for the bulk of the public sales. They jumped the gun and beat the other companies to the punch with the motion control hardware- which without the Wii would seriously have been nothing special. They tapped into the previously-unclaimed social market with this console, enabling groups of people such as schools and retirement homes to play games like bowling and tennis. Can Nintendo do this again or are they going to attempt to climb the ladder of gaming once again? Aiming for the dizzying heights of console gaming?

Who knows? Watch this space and let’s see what Nintendo says…

Happy 20th Birthday!

It’s everyone’s favourite racing game- Mario Kart! How many times have you played the game, trying to beat your score or even beating your little sister? Which was the first version of the game that you ever played? I can remember the first one I played, and it was Mario Kart 64. Which for me is still one of the best versions that Nintendo have ever released.

Designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and first released in 1992 on the Super Nintendo or SNES, the game opened to a massive welcome addition for the franchise. It went on to be one of the best-selling SNES games, and seeing many variations afterwards. The idea of the game is that you drive like a bat out of hell on a little go-kart with Mario sitting atop it and racing against your friends like Luigi, Princess Peace, Bowser, Toad and other alike. Using the power-ups and speed-ups to propel you faster along the course, it was almost like a Nintendo version of Pole Position in the beginning. With up to a possible eight people racing on the track, the idea was to come first in the race and win the cup. To do this, you had to slow down your opponants by tossing out Koopa Shells and laying banana peels on the track. Each race is on average about three laps long. In multiplayer mode, you can challenge friends for the three cups available- the Flower Cup, the Mushroom Cup and the Star Cup. Once those three were collected, the Special Cup was then unlocked and available for you to get.

The series of games were:

  • Super Mario Kart (1992, Super Nintendo)
  • Mario Kart 64 (1996, Nintendo 64)
  • Mario Kart: Super Circuit (2001, Game Boy Advance)
  • Mario Kart: Double Dash! (2003, Nintendo Gamecube)
  • Mario Kart DS (2005, Nintendo DS)
  • Mario Kart Wii (2008, Nintendo Wii)
  • Mario Kart 7 (2011, Nintendo 3DS)
There have been variations on each game, with Mario Kart Wii giving the ability to use motorbikes and Mario Kart 7 having hang gliders and submarines- as well as the usual go karts.

I’ve personally never owned any of the games, but I’ve played Mario Kart 7 a couple of times and I’ve been giving some thought to downloading a copy of Super Mario Kart on the Virtual Console. Have you ever owned any of the games? And if so- which ones?


Super Smash Bros and Namco Bandai

Namco Bandai have recently revealed that they will be handling the next Super Smash Bros. Does this mean that we will be seeing more Tekken characters rather than our loveable old Nintendo favourites? Director of Namco Bandai Katsuhiro Harada says that this will not be the case. He personally will not have any kind of oversight into the development of the game- as this will be left to Masahiro Sakurai.

Now, if you remember back to a story of mine a couple of weeks ago about Kid Icarus- you’ll remember that name. He’s one of the guys that put together the fated company of Project Sora. So we know that he has the chops to put together amazing games. It seems though since Project Sora fell apart, Namco Bandai appear to have taken him under their wing. It’s not known as yet whether we shall see Tekken characters appear in the game, and Harada is leaving it up to the fans to decide.

We shall have to see what happens down the line. I personally enjoy the Super Smash Bros. games and I imagine that this will be as fun as the others.

Nintendo and the Future

In a discussion recently with the media, Saturu Iwata has been chewing over some thoughts in his head about various things to do with Nintendo, the Wii U, the 3DS and lots more besides.

The console wars have begun to heat up once again, with the Wii sales now dipping dramatically and the 3DS struggling to compete with sales of the DS. But it’s not even just the wars between their own consoles- it’s the other two big guys trying to push them out of the market that Nintendo are also trying to keep an eye on. Microsoft have a year head start over Sony with their Xbox 360- which some people believe why Microsoft’s sales have been better for their console in the long term. So thinking of this business strategy- does this hold a bucket of golden coins for Nintendo?

The Wii U is due out this Christmas, which is way ahead of anything Sony and Microsoft have planned. This surely should mean that Nintendo can get the jump on the others by putting out their next-generation console first. But Iwata isn’t really that bothered. He says it’s a nice bragging right to be first in the queue, but when it comes to business matters- it’s pretty meaningless.

“Being first in the next generation race is not important at all, one of the reasons we believe this is the time for Nintendo to launch the Wii U is it’s going to be important for the world.”

Think back to when Nintendo launched every console they’ve ever designed for the home entertainment system. First was the NES, which bought with it the idea that families could get involved and play together with games like Duck Hunt. SNES advanced on that idea with a faster system and better graphics. Nintendo 64 was the first 64-bit console on the market. Gamecube was cute, compact and didn’t take up a whole lot of space- bringing with it classic games like Luigi’s Mansion and the Nintendo GameBoy Advance link-up to share information.

The Wii was the ground breaker for the company though. When it was released, HD video gaming was not common place and neither were HD television sets. Both Sony and Microsoft tried to play catch up with the motion-controls that Nintendo released to the public. But as successful as the Kinect system is, it was certainly never going to be a Wii system. Sony tried to join in the fun with the Playstation Move concept- but frankly, it fell a bit flat.

So they’re at it again with the revolutionary tactics. With the Wii U, the mini-tablet controller aims to be the Wii Remote with a touchscreen attached. Iwata states that devices like iPads and iPhones are expensive. Yes, they have the motion control sensors built into the machine, but if you don’t have that kind of cash to splash around- the Wii U is aiming to offer a cheaper, more fun alternative. I believe they are trying this tactic to take some of the money from the handheld, mobile market and redirect it back towards Nintendo.

The 3DS has been selling at a production loss for a few months now, and Iwata publicly declared that Nintendo had it’s first corporate loss as a company. But they don’t expect to repeat that next year, especially with the 3DS XL coming out in a matter of weeks and the Wii U in a matter of months.

The company is not dead in the water just yet though, even with all the naysayers and statements how Nintendo should cease making hardware and just license out their game titles instead. Iwata says that these spiteful comments have been circling since before the Wii was released, so how can they keep saying these things when the consoles that Nintendo are released just keep innovating and going from strength to strength.

“Even when we were going to launch the Wii system, there were a lot of voices saying ‘Nintendo should stop making hardware’,” he says. “The reasoning behind that was Nintendo would not have any chance against Microsoft and Sony. The fact of the matter was: I did not think Nintendo should compete against these companies with the same message and same entertainment options for people. 

“We have not changed our strategy. In other words, we just do not care what kind of ‘more beef’ console Microsoft and Sony might produce in 2013. Our focus is on how we can make our new console different than [others].”

Innovation is the name of the game then, it seems. I for one, am excited!

Nintendo 3DS At Comic-Con 2012

As we know, the brand-new Nintendo 3DS XL will be on sale before we know it- are you planning on buying one? I’m not as I find the console too big for my teeny little hands and spindly fingers. The XL version of the Nintendo handheld (both DS and 3DS) I’ve never purchased but for those of you that have- you are in for a treat with the new games coming out.

It’s Comic-Con from the 12th to the 15th July 2012 and Nintendo have shown up with  the goods once again. There’s more games being showcased for the the 3DS than anything else but there’s still quite a hefty list for the three Nintendo consoles. From New Super Mario Bros 2 and Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon for the 3DS to Kirby’s Dream Collection for the Wii. There’s sadly no Wii U presence, so no Super Mario Bros Wii U to play for those of you attending the con. But without further ado, here’s both the press release fresh from Comic-Con and the list of games Nintendo shall be showing off.

Nintendo News: Nintendo Reveals Comic-Con 2012 Lineup, Including Nintendo 3DS XL

Comic-Con 2012
REDMOND, Wash.-(BUSINESS WIRE)— At this year’s Comic-Con International 2012 event taking place July 12-15 at the San Diego Convention Center, members of the general public will enjoy an early chance to get their hands on Nintendo 3DS XL, a new version of the Nintendo 3DS system with 90 percent larger screens that launches Aug. 19.

In addition to Nintendo’s booth at the show (#5135), multiple activities will take place at a special Nintendo Gaming Lounge in the San Diego Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis & Marina at 333 W. Harbor Drive, adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center. A Comic-Con badge is not required to gain entry to the Nintendo Gaming Lounge.

Games that are scheduled to be playable at the Nintendo Gaming Lounge include:

Nintendo 3DS / Nintendo 3DS XL

New Super Mario Bros. 2
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Mario Kart 7
Super Mario 3D Land
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate (Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.)
HEROES OF RUIN (Square Enix)
KINGDOM HEARTS 3D [Dream Drop Distance] (Square Enix)
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)

Nintendo DS family

Pokémon Conquest


Kirby’s Dream Collection: Special Edition
Just Dance 4 (Ubisoft)

On The Eve of Gotham City…

Are you looking forward to the new Lego Batman game? Do you want to finally kick ass as Wonder Woman or The Flash? Well, now is your chance. It’s currently half an hour away here in the UK from being the 22nd of June and that means it’s almost release day for Lego Batman 2: DC Heroes. The game is being released on multiple platforms, I believe it’s being released on ALL gaming platforms. (checks Nintendo Magazine). Yep. It really is:

  • PC
  • Xbox 360/Xbox Live
  • PS3/ Playstation Network
  • PS Vita
  • Wii
  • Nintendo 3DS
  • Nintendo DS

Along with being pegged as one of the best Lego games to date (it’s always going to take a lot to beat the Star Wars series in my opinion), it’s the first game other than the up-coming LOTR Lego game with actual voice acting. No more of the mute Lego figures, but hopefully just as much as the slapstick humour. Lex Luther and The Joker team up to become the ultimate super-villian and it’s Batman’s job to take them down with a little help from his friends- The Justice League. Superman AND Batman in the same game? Wow.

How can you go wrong? And c’mon, who doesn’t enjoy a bit of Lego fun in their lives? I’m not sure if the promotion applies in outside of the UK, but for a limited time you can get a free Lex Luthor Lego figure when you buy the game. Awesome. Also, as I found out tonight- the game is already for sale on Xbox Live along with a downloadable demo if you’d like to try before you buy. I’ve got the demo downloaded and primed for review on my Xbox. It’s my day off from REAL LIFE (hurrah!) tomorrow so I shall be shooting you all a review based off the Xbox version. Until then, download the demo and tell me if you’re looking forward to playing this game too!

Wii U: The Nintendo Fangirl’s Opinion

So. E3 is over and all the stalls, vendors, dude-bros and booth babes are heading home for another year. As we said on the current podcast (Yes! I was on the GKick podcast, no word of a lie!) it was a very underwhelming and bland E3. There were almost no console news to be had other than another glimpse of the Nintendo Wii U. (No Steve, please don’t make the joke about the British police car again…lol).

Anyway. (puts on sensible, editorial head). The Wii U.

I, am one of the biggest Nintendo fangirls you will ever meet. I have owned almost every single Nintendo Game Boy/SP/DS/DSi/3DS console every made, but never any of the tv connecting consoles. The reason for this is that I was forced to play on a Sega Mega Drive (Genesis in the US/Japan) for my 11th Christmas. I wanted a NES. I think that my parents must have gotten their wires crossed, and I can remember my brother and I ripping off the wrapping paper with glee- only to be greeted by a giant blue hedgehog on the front of the box. I can remember the look of expectant joy on my parents faces. But we looked at each other with puzzled looks, and I threw an almighty tantrum while my 7  year-old brother cried.

We wanted Mario and Duck Hunt. Well, I wanted Mario. And my brother just wanted to shoot the ducks with a gun. (Certainly not a surprise that his favourite game is Call of Duty these days.) Instead, we had to make do with Sonic The Damned Hedgehog. (Dear Readers: I still play Sonic, purely for nostalgic reasons.) So, Sonic 2 came with the machine and I never remember having anything else to play. Or if we did, I never played. I bought Sonic and Knuckles too, I was obsessed with Sonic. Not with Sega. Or the Mega Drive system.

The Christmas or two beforehand, I had recieved a Nintendo Game Boy for my gift. I had begged and pleaded with my parents for months on end to buy it for me. There was no Duck Hunt, but there was Mario! And Kirby! And Tetris! Actually, I got the pack that came with Tetris. I would take my Game Boy to school with me, sit behind the wall on the playground and be absorbed in the world of Super Mario World for ‘playtime’. Other kids would play netball, or catch, or skipping, or kiss chase. Me? Oh no no no. Far too much energy. It was Nintendo or nothing for me. The problem is, the word got back to the head of the school and he conviscated my console until the end of the day. Then when I went to retrieve it, I was told never to bring it back because it was ‘for my own good that I got some exercise.’ Well, pffft. Exercise, schmexcersise.

I enjoyed being the weird kid at school, always with my head buried in my Game Boy or in some kind of a book. I didn’t like sport and I didn’t like socialising really. Unless it was to trade stickers for my Mario sticker book or to go up to the village to buy sweets. I would try to involve my friends in my little world of Nintendo, but people didn’t really give a crap. Sure, they had consoles. One of my friends actually had a Game Boy too and we would exchange games from time to time, but I could never get into an excitable conversation with her. My other friend had a Sega Master System, and she would challenge me to Alex Kidd competitions. Split screen afternoon fun.

It wasn’t until my male cousins got a Playstation 1 when I was about 13 that I really started to find people to discuss gaming with. But then, all they wanted to do was discuss the size of Lara Croft’s boobs or answer the question of why Crash Bandicoot was orange. I didn’t really want to talk Playstation, I wanted to discuss Nintendo but it was nice to have someone I could actually play games with instead of being questioned why I was playing games in the first place and not off gossiping about boy bands or make up. I wasn’t a typical girly girl and I didn’t want to talk about girl stuff. I wanted to talk games and gaming. My aunt would try to do girl stuff with me, but I wasn’t interested in any of it all. My parents became unsettled in case I wanted to become a raging lesbian or join the circus or something. (Not that there is honestly anything wrong with that- I’m bisexual.)

I was called all the names under the sun by my peers at my new secondary school, I didn’t fit in because all I wanted to do was play games. I began to draw Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario on my school books. I became very good at drawing them. They became almost my logo. If someone saw a book with my drawings on the front of it, they automatically knew they were mine. I was proud of who I was. The boys were threatened and pissed off at the fact that I could easily beat them at Street Fighter II while playing Chun Li. The girls hated it because they were crap at games and I tried to teach them, but they never wanted to learn.

I dealt with this for the next ten years. Fast forward about ten years. I was having a really hard time, suffering from post-natal depression after having my daughter. I’d got nothing to play other than my husband’s Xbox. Which I wasn’t allowed to touch. I wanted a Nintendo DS so badly, I had seen a special edition one I had my eye on. It was black underneath with a red lid. Black and red are my favourite colours. So again, I begged and begged and begged for it. My 24th birthday came around and my husband put the rest of the money towards it. As I walked out of Target clutching my shiny new purchase, I thought I was the bees knees to have a DS. Mind you, I did have a GB Advance SP at home as well as a GB Micro. (I still miss my tiny little Micro.) But the problem with those was that they only played Advance and below games. I had the have a NDS to play the new games. And I played that machine until it came time to move on. I got divorced. I lost everything. That means my entire Nintendo collection. All my GameBoy stuff, my NDS stuff…everything. I was saddened and trailed off back home to the UK with my suitcase and lost dreams in my back pocket.

E3: What Happened to Zelda?

Out of all the news I’ve posted about Nintendo console releases recently (Final Fantasy, Mario, Luigi)- for me there was two glaring omissions. No Pokemon and Zelda. I mean, come on. How can you NOT mention these two stalwart champions of the Nintendo platform? Pokemon aside, what happened to Zelda?

I mean, I know we’re not due another Zelda game on the 3DS console for a while as we’ve got really enough to be going on with. But with the Wii U coming out, you really would have thought that Zelda would have been up there with Mario at the top of the pile for a chance to be played. When I personally think of Nintendo games that need to be launched with consoles, I think Mario and Zelda, Pokemon and Metroid, Donkey Kong and Bomberman, Kirby and Phantasy Star. You get the drift. I know that the Wii U didn’t make the massive splash that it was hoping with it’s next-gen console, but when you think of Nintendo- you can’t ignore Shigeru Miyamoto who’s also known as that bloke who created Mario and Zelda.

So what does he have to say about the absence of Zelda at this year’s E3? Oh he was there, in his usual flamboyant way with his hilarious t-shirts. I mean, to me that man is as much of a legend as say Chris Metzen from Blizzard. Shigeru was there to tout his other big franchise creation though, Pikmin. Pikmin 3 is one of the titles being released as a new release for the Wii U, HD graphics and all. So why all this work on a non-Zelda game? Surely there has to be some kind of a reason? According to Shigeru, Pikmin 3 is being released for the Wii U instead of the Wii because of the processing power. It’s a lot more graphically intense and it runs far better on the new console. It’s been in development for about two years and it’s finally ready for a beta testing. Zelda on the other hand, is sadly not.

Last year’s E3 saw demos of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and most people were utterly blown away by the quality of the graphics on the new next-gen HD Wii U. But according to Shigeru, it’s still not ready for prime time. They want a multiplayer version of Zelda, which to me sounds pretty damned cool. Here’s what Shigeru Miyamoto said:

“But one thing that’s interesting is we’re seeing how the way that tastes are broadening in video games and you have some people who prefer more casual experiences, and you have some people who prefer sort of those more in-depth experiences. Obviously, as a company that’s been making games for a very long time, we tend to be more on the deeper, longer game side of things. But really what we continue to ask ourselves as we have over the years is, “What is the most important element of Zelda if we were to try to make a Zelda game that a lot of people can play?” So we have a number of different experiments going on, and [when] we decide that we’ve found the right one of those to really help bring Zelda to a very big audience, then we’ll be happy to announce it.”

With the Wii release of the last LoZ game, Skyward Sword; it was like a typical Zelda game with the controller becoming your weapons and it pretty much turned the player into Zelda incarnate. But players are said to have become bored with the game about half way through when they just decided to stop playing. It also had logistical issues for those players that were unable to swing a weapon. So the motion-controller idea of Zelda is being kept on a back shelf by Miyamoto and is hoping to improve and enhance it for the Wii U game.

E3: First Look at the Wii U

Today, we finally got our first look at the Nintendo Wii U for the first, official time. I mean, we’ve all seen snapshots of the odd-looking controller before and to be perfectly honest, it still boggles my mind. Supposedly though, the touchscreen controller is going to ‘revolutionise gaming forever’.

At E3, Nintendo showed off 23 of the first games being released for the console, including a Batman spin-off and a violent zombie-themed game called ‘Zombie U’. The latter is designed to target the more ‘hardcore’ market, which as someone who has been playing Nintendo consoles for years, I know that hardcore is certainly not a word that usually comes to mind. I think the most hardcore game I’ve ever played on a Nintendo console is Metroid. It seems as though with this console, they are trying to steer away from the retirement homes, the families, the five year olds playing the dancing games. Which is always a bad marketing move, as they were the people that made the Nintendo Wii one of the most popular consoles in the market.

First look at the console, it almost looks like they’ve tried to combine the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo DS. It’s the first HD console in the Nintendo line-up, but the touchscreen pads are attached to the console. Which, is weird after the wireless controllers on both the Gamecube and the Wii. It’s the first of the next-generation consoles to release an official working model. We’re still sadly waiting to see anything from Sony or Microsoft.

But don’t be alarmed. It seems as the casual gaming market isn’t being left behind, with new titles coming out of the Mario camp. The console also comes with a game called ‘Nintendo Land’, which seems to capitalise on the favourite game, Wii Sports. Also, the Mii’s are staying around with the new social integration called ‘MiiVerse’ - which allows players to pass on tips and share scores across the network.

Last year, after seeing a dip in profits for the company- Nintendo are hoping that the new Wii U console will appeal to both hardcore and casual gamers alike. It will be hard to capture the hardcore market, especially with the Xbox and the PS3 still going strong. Experts are hoping that the release of the new console and the games will be released sooner rather than later, if Nintendo expect to turn around their negative profit margins.

You can see further information here, including some more pictures. Release date for the console is expecting somewhere around Christmas- get your checkbooks at the ready!