Cerulean-tinted Glasses in Pokemon Blue

Pokemon Blue


As part of the 20th Anniversary of Pokemon, Nintendo has re-released the original games – Pokemon Blue, Pokemon Red, and Pokemon Yellow on the 3DS eShop. I’m a huge Pokemon fan, so I was pretty geeked out, but a little worried about how the game would play after all the quality-of-life improvements from subsequent generations.  While I agonized over which version to purchase, I eventually succumbed to nostalgia and picked up Pokemon Blue, the version my middle schooler self played.  I have to say, I’m surprised at how well the game has held up over the years.

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Nintendo Posts Slightly Less Huge Loss – What’s Ahead?

Nintendo posted another loss this year — not as big as last year, but still pretty substantial.  Just shy of 18 billion yen (or $220m USD according to Joystiq) net losses.  Again, substantial but not as bad, and the company does sound hopeful, since their 3DS sales grew 162% and they are no longer selling the systems at a loss.  With the launch of the 3DS XL and the WiiU, Nintendo is poised to make a come-back. 

However, as with any of the Big 3 manufactorers, the hardware will be the deciding factor.  The interest in the 3DS XL is pretty substantial, with the device getting good reviews from bloggers to date and many current 3DS owners planning on the upgrade, plus those brand new sales.  Forecasting sales of the 3DS XL should be a substantial amount of initial sales at the end of the Summer 2012 with the forecasted launch, and I’m sure we can expect to see another spike in sales roughly 2 months later once we hit the Holiday shopping season. 

The WiiU the verdict is still out on.  Currently reviewers seem cautious but hopeful about the platform’s marketability.  The success of the product will likely be determined by the software line-up at launch.  If the software is there to entice people to purchase the platform, the platform will likely sell well.  Nintendo already has a 2 screen proof of concept with the success of the DS, this is simply a larger scale implementation of an idea that already works other places. 

With two huge losses 2 years in a row, Nintendo really needs a solid launch to make the WiiU a success.  The 3DS has sold strongly, and will likely continue to sell, potentially even increase with the 3DS XL launch.  But a slow burn with the WiiU could really damage the company at this point. 

Let’s hope it does well, I really love Nintendo products, and their first party games are hands down, the best of any platform.

Via: Nintendo posts $220 million net loss for first quarter – Joystiq.com

MarioKart 7 Review

Image from dualshockers.com
As I said, I’ve been playing a lot games in my time off from school and the just general slow down in my work load in general.  I have to say that beyond the shadow of a doubt, MarioKart 7 has been the one to hold my attention the longest.  The game is amazingly well done, polished, gets a 10/10 in nostalgia induction.

Edit: Typos 

Rating: 95 / 100

The game is more of the same turtle-slinging greatness we’ve come to expect from such an established franchise.  The game is polished, addictive, fun, and just fresh enough to not feel like a clone of the previous iterations.

There are some race exploits that if you are playing online might be a bit annoying because people will use them, somewhat ruining the spirit of the game. It’s unclear whether Nintendo plans to do anything.

The game, at it’s heart, is the same tutle-shell slinging fun that we’ve come to expect from a MarioKart game.  The game is just as fun and addictive as previous iterations in the series, but makes some really exciting improvements.  
The game starts off and you pick one of several cups (you unlock more as you race more) and select one of 8 characters — all returners to the series.  Again, more characters are unlocked — you have the option to play as your Mii after getting first in all the 50cc races, and getting first in certain 150cc rates unlocks new characters for you.  
After selecting your character, you go on to your kart customization.  This is probably the biggest change over the previous iterations — characters are no long tied to karts, and any character to jump in any kart.  The karts themselves are now customizable with different wheels and different gliders.  So there are thousands of combinations of cart-wheels-gliders.  To start though, you only get a few options of karts and wheels, and only one glider.  You unlock the rest through one of the new mechanics in game – collecting coins.  
Harkening back to Mario adventure games. the tracks all include coins now which can be collected as your race.  You can collect up to 10 at one time, and any time you are hit by a weapon, or fall off the track, you lose coins.  It’s actually quite a challenge to finish some of the races with the max 10 coins because of how often you get hit with shells, or hit bananas, or anything like that.  Every 50 coins you get, you unlock a new customization, until you collect approximately 500 coins, then it goes every 100 you unlock a new customization.  In other words, it’ll take you a while to collect all the customizations.  
The nice aspect of this system is that the character is the center of all the coins – so coins I collect in single player, local multiplayer, and online multiplayer all add to your total.  So if you prefer to just race online against karters from around the world, you will continue to unlock customizations.  Overall, a very intuitive system.  
In terms of the tracks themselves, Nintendo makes excellent use of their technology and the tracks all feel unique and are fun to run again and again and again.  The use of the glider in the game adds a new dimension to the race, as depending on how you fly it, you can extent your flight quite a ways (but don’t worry, red shells will still be able to hit you in the air, heh).  Additionally, players can also drive under water in most of the tracks, but there are still some places that trigger the “you fell off the world” animation.  
Overall, the game is great.  It’s addictive, and fun and provides a lot of different opportunities to play different ways.  The kart customizations are a welcome and fun addition to the game, and you’ll spend hours just trying out different configurations to determine which one fits your play style.  If you have a 3DS, my verdict on this game 100% purchase.  I’ve played it more than any other game over the last month, and don’t regret of moment of it.  

Nintendo drops 3DS price – early adopters rage and giggle

Nintendo finally account a price drop for the DS – a pretty substantial price truth be told.  Starting August 12th, Nintendo will drop the price of their latest handheld from $249 to $169.  Making early adopters (like myself) cringe and rage (I pre-ordered from Amazon)…rage for a few minutes anyway.  For anyone who connects to the Nintendo eShop before August 11th gets 20 free games – 10 free NES Virtual Console games and 10 free GBA games from the Nintendo eStore.

 It’s not 100% clear yet whether these are specific games we are being given for free, or whether we have credit for up to 20 free games (I’m hoping it’s the latter, truth be told).  Anyway, hopefully this will calm down some of the “Nintendo is failing and dying!” BS that’s been flying around, and maybe we can get back to focusing on what a great platform Nintendo has created, and what great things we can do with it.

So, crossing my fingers next for an SDK (slim chance I know, but a man can dream…)

Via USA Today – Nintendo drops price of 3DS to $170