Tagged "Nintendo"

Oct 26
By Jake In Features No Comments

I was thinking about handheld screens recently – don’t ask – and a question occurred to me: when did everyone decide that, yes, widescreen definitely is the answer?

There’s only one way to answer that question: a scatter graph of screen width by year. WITH A TREND LINE.

Handheld Aspect Ratios

Look at that: what a trend line! Thanks to him, the gradual shift from nearly square screens (1:1) to widescreen (1.78:1 being the standard 16:9 widescreen TV aspect ratio) is clear to see. What a hero.

In fact, there was a square screen, on the not particularly legendary early ’90s Supervision – Quickshot or Watara, depending on your persuasion. The Game Boy and Game Gear were barely more rectangular, mind, at 1.11:1.

Around the same time, the Atari Lynx was being much more ambitious. The 1.57:1 aspect ratio nicely illustrates that: there’s nothing closer to widescreen on our graph until Sony with the PSP, 15 years later.

Around 2000, the next generation of handhelds started to move to slightly wider screens. Nintendo were strange ones around this time, the DS retreating back to 1.33:1 from the Game Boy Advance’s 1.5:1. They got back in line with the 3DS though, and a more respectable 1.67:1.

In fact, over the last few years it’s the iPhone 4 which looks most anachronistic, matching the Game Boy Advance’s aspect ratio of 1.5:1. Again, Apple got back in line though, with 1.78:1 – which looks close to an industry standard now – for the iPhone 5.

Analysis over. Source data follows, if that’s your thing.

(more…)

Jun 14
By Jake In Blog 2 Comments

The web made a step towards being a whole lot bigger yesterday, when ICANN revealed the full list of potential new generic top-level domains – because .com is terribly 1985.

Sony have gone for .playstation, .xperia and .sony. Microsoft are after a handful, including .microsoft, .xbox and .live – giving them the option of both xbox.live and live.xbox. Another Microsoft application is for .bing, which opens up the delightful possibility of badda.bing.

It’s presumably all a bit too online for Nintendo, so there’s no .wii or .virtualboy on the cards. But they’re in good company – Twitter, Facebook and eBay were among the other companies conspicuous by their absense.

At the other end of the scale, Google and Amazon have gone after 101 and 76 new gTLDs respectively. They’re both among the five companies interested in .game, but Google is one of only two parties interested in .dot – and I would have thought that dot.dot alone would hold more allure than that. But with just the application process costing $185,000, that’s a lot to pay for basically one novelty domain name.

The only other games company that jumps out of the list is Konami, but they’re only after .konami, which isn’t terribly interesting. Nothing from the likes of EA and Activision, for example.

There are some oddities in the list – which is worth a look if you’ve got half an hour to scan the 1,930 applications – but also some inspired choices. Who wouldn’t want a .ninja domain? Or what about .ooo – gamesasylum.ooo has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

No sign of .cotton though, sadly.

Jun 08
By Jake In Blog No Comments

By now, it’s no secret what Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo wanted to say at E3. In some cases it was never a secret, even if it was supposed to be.

But what about how they said it? What can we glean from the the words they used?

Unfortunately – and surprisingly – no-one on the internet appears to have been sufficiently bored to transcribe the platform holders’ press conferences. So to engage in a nice spot of textual analysis, I’ve had to resort to the platform holders’ press releases.

So be it. Let’s have a look at which words cropped up most. That’s right: let’s word cloud.

Microsoft

Microsoft E3 2012 word cloud

Okay, Studios isn’t really fair, since so many of their games are by Microsoft Studios. And lots of those games are right up there: Halo and Gears and so on.

But with the announcement of SmartGlass – which Microsoft are definitely keen to stress is new – there’s an absolute shed load of entertainment. An awful lot of which is exclusive to the U.S.

Sony

Sony E3 2012 word cloud

Sony are evidently incapable of mentioning any one of their formats without suffixing it with system – so that’s why that’s huge.

Plenty of games there, but like Microsoft there’s almost as much entertainment and, in Sony’s case, content. But it’s obvious which property is key to Sony at the moment: LittleBigPlanet. It’s ruddy everywhere.

Nintendo

Nintendo E3 2012 word cloud

By contrast, Nintendo clearly consider themselves to be in the game making business – increasingly unlike Microsoft and Sony. Not much entertainment here, then, but a lot of Mario.

And with the new Wii U to promote, there’s quite a lot about the GamePad, and why they think it’s kind of a big deal.

It’s not only about games, it’s also about players. Which is probably how you’d expect Nintendo to differentiate themselves – from Microsoft, who make no noticeable mention of their public; and from Sony, who prefer consumers.

Notes

  • Word clouds created with Many Eyes.
  • The platform holder’s name and formats excluded from the word clouds, because obviously they’re mentioned a lot.
  • Microsoft: two press releases combined – one on games, one on entertainment and SmartGlass.
  • Sony: one neat, wide-ranging press release.
  • Nintendo: two press releases combined – one each for Wii U and 3DS.
Jun 03
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

Nintendo’s decision to release a special pre-E3 edition of their news show Nintendo Direct has a slight knee-jerk feel to it. Most have assumed it’s because EA and Ubisoft are planning to show their Wii U titles at E3 on Monday, which is something they wouldn’t be able to do without showing off the new and improved Wii U hardware. Nintendo’s full-blown conference isn’t until Tuesday, lest you forget.

So what’s new? The controller, now known as the Wii U GamePad, has improved analogue sticks and NFC has been confirmed allowing for Skylanders-style scanning of physical items. The button to activate it is circled in yellow in the image below:

As well as the new Wii U GamePad, a comfortable looking Wii U Classic Controller has also been shown which resembles an Xbox 360 controller. The blue lights on the bottom suggest four can be synced to a system.

The software which instantly appears when switching the Wii U on is known as Miiverse – a Mii Universe – which allows you to see friends who are online. If you become stuck on a game, it’s possible to contact other players and ask for help via software rather like Twitter. The Miiverse will also be viewable on 3DS, PC and mobiles after the Wii U launches.

During a demonstration, a player stuck on a generic zombie shooter video-chats with his trendy grandad for assistance. A black controller was used, complete with a matching Wii U. It’s probably safe to assume the Wii U will launch in two colours, just like the 3DS did.

There’s an internet browser built-in too, which can be viewed either on the controller or on your TV. Nothing fancy, but it should come in handy when a quick trip to GameFAQs is in order. Images on the TV can be covered up and then unveiled with a curtain pull and a drum roll. “Ta da! Here’s a picture of me in the nude!”

No games were shown apart from a few clips from last year’s tech demos but we only have to wait until Tuesday to see what Nintendo has been working on. Something a little more exciting than New Super Mario Bros. Wii U, we hope.

Apr 27
By Jake In Street Viewtiful No Comments

Nintendo made the real news this week, with news that they’ve made their first ever annual loss. Ever the helpful sort, I thought I’d employ Street Viewtiful – out vaguely regular jaunt around the gaming globe via Google Street View – to look around their properties to see where they might be able to save money.

Closest to home, Nintendo UK is holed up in part of a building in Windsor. On the negative side, Windsor is not a cheap place. But on the positive side, at least the building’s not Windsor Castle. And Windsor’s proximity to Heathrow means cheaper taxis journeys when Reggie comes to visit. That makes good business sense.

Gently moving further afield, Google Street View hasn’t bothered to visit Grossostheim in Germany, where you’ll find Nintendo of Europe. So it must be remote, and therefore cheap. Again, good business sense.

What of Nintendo’s global headquarters in Kyoto? Bleak functionality is the order of the day from the look of the outside of the building. More good business sense, there.

Which leads us to Nintendo of America.


View Larger Map

Oh dear. Flowers are not good business sense. That’s an immediate cost saving right there. Hedges? Trees? Those can go too. Lighting and road signs in the car park? Gone. In fact, scrap the whole car park; everyone can walk to work.

There we go then: an instant solution to Nintendo’s deteriorating financial results, which it turns out were all down to Nintendo’s opulent American base.

Nintendo – you’re welcome.

Feb 07
By Matt Gander In Blog 1 Comment

The recent announcement of Platinum Games’ involvement with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance just goes to show how unpredictable the world of video games can be at times. If only it were a little more unpredictable then maybe would we end up with one or more of the games below, fabricated from our very own imaginations.

We’d like… an Earth Defence Force developed by Volition – the brains behind Red Faction (RIP).

Why? While Red Faction and Earth Defence Force share the same focus on destruction, Volition’s games were backed with their own Geo Mod technology that let buildings explode in a spectacular fashion. Earth Defence Force’s buildings merely crumbled amidst some crudely drawn clouds of pixel dust.

What are the chances? Slim seeing as D3 publishes the EDF series and Volition are owned by THQ. If THQ go bust and Volition are sold off, then maybe.

We’d like… a Duke Nukem game developed by People Can Fly – the Bulletstorm chaps.

Why? The similarities between Duke Nukem and Bulletstorm are vast. They both star a foul-mouthed lead character who’s quite happy to kick the opposition when they’re down. The weapon assortment is likewise similar, with a mix of imaginative weapons such as shrink-rays and a gun that fires rocket-propelled drills. If there was one company that we know full well could turn Duke’s fortunes around, it would be People Can Fly.

What are the chances? Although the ending to Duke Nukem Forever hinted at a new Duke ‘em up, People Can Fly are reportedly working on a new Gears of War trilogy.

We’d like… to see Nintendo’s take on Sonic.

Why? It would be interesting to see how Nintendo would handle the blue blur if tasked with making a Sonic game. Would they play it safe and go for 2D or try to apply the things they’ve learned from the Mario Galaxy series and have a stab at making a decent 3D Sonic game? Would they redraw Sonic and give him a new look? What new power-ups would Nintendo devise? The mind boggles.

What are the chances? It would certainly gain a lot of press attention if Nintendo were to announce such a thing for the Wii U, and the Mario & Sonic games have proven to be very big sellers despite not quite being triple-A quality. What would be in it for Sega though? And do Nintendo really need to borrow another company’s character when Mario games shift plenty? Again, lots of questions.

We’d like… Star Wars: Battlefront 3, developed by DICE and running on the Frostbite engine.

Why? Battlefield 3’s multiplayer gives Call of Duty a run for its money and the large maps, use of vehicles and different character classes would apply to the Star Wars universe with ease. Seeing as the technology is already in place, DICE could probably knock it out in a year or so. EA could even call it Star Wars: Battlefield 3 if they were worried it wouldn’t sell well. We wouldn’t mind.

What are the chances? EA’s future for DICE no doubt consists of Battlefield, Battlefield and more Battlefield. However, EA is very good at sharing resources with their other in-house studios and they’ve dabbled with the Star Wars license recently for the MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic. They’d have to snag the Star Wars rights from LucasArts, mind.

We’d like… a fitness game disguised as an adventure game.

Why? There’s a stigma attached to fitness games such as Zumba Fitness. We won’t beat about the bush here – that stigma is that these games are primarily for females. Sure, a few male-focused fitness games exist such as UFC Trainer but they’re still not every gamer’s cup of tea.

We propose an adventure game controlled entirely by motion via the Kinect, split into 30 half-hour segments with a new chapter available every day. Previous chapters can be played if you’re wanting a longer workout. Along the way the main character will have to climb up mountains, fight bad guys, run away from trouble and engage other energetic pursuits that’ll require the player to run on the spot, kick and punch and jump around. Perhaps the main character could even get more toned as you play, reflecting your hard work. Doesn’t that sound more appealing than having Mel B yell “Feel the burn!” repeatedly?

What are the chances? Something like this already does exist – Jillian Michael’s Fitness Adventure, which has an adventure mode set within jungle temples. It’s still not something we’d leave out on view when our friends popped over though.

We’d like… a game based on the Asian movie extravaganza, Battle Royale.

Why? Battle Royale is perfect fodder for a non-linear, open world, video game. Not seen the movie? Allow us to bring you up to speed. A coach full of Asian high-school students gets hijacked. When the students awake they find themselves on a small island where they’re told that they must kill each other to survive. The last student standing gets to go home. Each student is handed a random weapon, from crossbows to frying pans, and they’re left to decide their outcome. The rebels get stuck into killing, the girls find refuge in a light house and have what can only be called a slumber party and the nerds get busy on their laptops to try and find a way to defuse the explosive collars around their necks.

Just think about the possible number of endings, which would add replay value, and how the random weapon selection would alter the way you play. Then there’s the potential boss battles against the school rebels, and having to decide who you can trust. The collars also prevent the students from staying in the same place for too long, so you’d be constantly kept on your toes.

What are the chances? Stranger things have happened, and it’s not like older movies aren’t made into modern day video games. Gremlins, Jaws and Back to the Future have all hit Wii recently. Just don’t let Techland, of Dead Island fame, near it. Y’hear?

Jan 06
By Matt Gander In Blog 1 Comment

Nintendo’s Star Catalogue was a load of old tosh back in the day of Game Boy Advance and GameCube. What good was saving up the Stars from inside first party releases if all there was to spend them on were dull wallpapers and ringtones? ‘Physical’ goods did appear now and then, but in such short supply that they were snapped up within a matter of minutes.

Thankfully Nintendo pulled their fingers out from wherever they had been by the time the Wii rolled out. Club Nintendo has had lots of lovely exclusive goods to spend virtual currency on. At the time of typing there is a reproduction Game & Watch up for grabs, along with a SNES pad Classic Controller. Previously there has even been a gold Link statue with a CASH4GOLD value of at least £7.

Here are some things we’d like to see added to the catalogue:

  • A strand of Shigsy’s hair
  • Replica Mario shoes (size: “novelty”)
  • A hand-picked piece of rubbish from Shigsy’s bin (with a choice of ‘home’ or ‘office’)
  • A real life Nintendog
  • A trip to one of Yamauchi’s infamous ‘Love Hotels’
  • An antique Hanafuda card stained in Yakuza blood
  • A hilarious novelty DS stylus shaped like a severed finger
  • A written apology for Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary
Aug 17
By Matt Gander In Blog 2 Comments

To celebrate the release of the Flame Red 3DS in Japan – or Fire Truck Red 3DS, as we would have called it – our friends over at 3DS Buzz are giving you the chance to be one of the first people to own one. By winning a competition, not by dipping your current 3DS in red paint.

If you already have a 3DS, or for some reason really dislike the colour red, then that’s not a problem – an alternative prize of four 3DS games is available. You can even pick the games yourself, in case you’re worried about four copies of Asphalt 3D falling through your letterbox.

To enter you simply need to hop over to 3DS Buzz and leave a comment at the bottom of their competition page.

The winner will be picked on 15th September.

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