Switch-ing: With Reservations (And Some Ironing), Yes.

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Not surprisingly, actually getting out and about to lay eyes on and try out something for oneself is a hell of a lot better than sitting on one’s rump in front of a computing device babbling nonsense about what one thinks they know about something they haven’t touched yet. Be it food, books, movies, or in this case, Nintendo’s upcoming Switch game system, you really aren’t doing anything other than heavy guessing and heavier petting of your own negativity until you try the darn thing out.

Spending about three hours with the system and way too many games for one event revealed at its recent NYC showcase reveals it’s a solid bit of kit with a few big to little issues around things like software/peripheral pricing and a to be announced (imperfect) online service that sounds as if will need some major tweaking if it’s going to compete with the (less imperfect) services Sony and Microsoft offer for their game hardware.

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Let’s get the first point out of the way: that live press conference from Japan was somewhat awful if judged by western perspectives. The droning English narration, the greatness of Goichi Suda trying to work the room off-script and failing spectacularly as he revealed work not yet started on the return of Travis Touchdown, the too-sedate responses to every announcement – none of these made for good optics.

Couple that with too many YouTubers and a few games journalists putting out quickie bash pieces so quickly that by the time a bunch of post-conference trailers that weren’t shown dropped online, many complaints about the small software lineup were rendered invalid and worse, the short attention span theater antics didn’t take into consideration that early announcements change into more concrete plans that make better sense as launch windows open.

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But let’s talk games from this point onward until I get to the problem stuff I see that needs ironing out. Continue reading

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Time To Switch. But Not Tonight, I’m Pooped

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I just got back from the Nintendo Switch event here in NYC, but I’m wiped out from being awake since 4am. My hands-on will go up tomorrow, but I did like much of what I saw and played. Back in a bit, Zzzzzzzz…

– GW

Nintendo Switch: Waited, Dated – Sated? We Shall See


So, as you can probably guess from the general lack of Nintendo Switch posts until now, I’ve been wholly avoiding the nonsense rumors, speculation and generally pointless gossip about Nintendo’s new console until this official reveal event just so what remained of my sanity stayed intact. This quickie post will actually be a preview to my hands-on later in the week where I form actual news based on what I see and play during my three hour time slot on Saturday. Tonight’s event was what I’d call entertainingly sedated with some expected releases, a few surprises and at least one must-buy launch title that should have been a pack-in. EDIT Of course, with only an hour to show off stuff, the event seemed… lacking in thrills to some extent. However, post-show, a small flood of reveal trailers for other games have dropped online, making the Switch a lot more impressive.

March 3, 2017 is the official mostly worldwide street date for the console which will launch with a $299.99 price tag in North America. The package will include a system, dock, two Joy Con controllers, HDMI and charging cables plus an AC adapter. A new Pro Controller is a separate purchase (and yes, third party peripherals are coming from a few companies. More on those in a separate post). A full list of features is here. The Switch will also be the first Nintendo system to require a fee for online play (Wii U and 3DS are unaffected), but there will be a free trial period at launch with some features disabled and the full paid version with a few perks to follow later this year. There’s also going to me mobile device implementation so players can communicate far better than possible on Miiverse.

As for games, well… it was a mix of oddball new stuff, the return of a few classic characters, a few sequels and… not much else for the moment. Some 80 games were said to be in the works, but the event revealed a mere 15 including a number of works in progress and very brief non-gameplay teases, trailers for a few below the jump. Oh, by the way… the Switch seems to be region-free. Huzzah! But this doesn’t mean the Asian territory e-Shops will be accessible if you can’t read the languages on them. Continue reading

4D Cityscape Makes For A (Not So) Puzzling Last Minute Gift Idea


 

Need a super cool last minute gift and you just so happen to be within fast traveling distance of any of these retailers? Well, here you go. 4D Cityscape’s wonderfully awesome and complex takes on some pop culture faves. I personally haven’t put a puzzle together in too many years, but these all stand out as more than welcome chances to get by brain firing up in spots where it’s been snoozing too much. Someone get these guys a few more licenses, as I bet Star Wars fans would love to see some iconic locations represented in 4D puzzle form.

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-GW

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If You Want That NES Classic, Just Remember This One Handy Trick…


 

While these two absolutely hilarious spec ads by director Ryan Prows aren’t official Nintendo issue, I’d be more than happy to see them pop up on TV during Adult Swim or some other not-quite for the kiddies channel that the 18-35+ crowd checks out from time to time. Yeah, yeah, they’re kind of “fan-made” in their own way. But there’s a great enough difference in the means to an end between a spec ad and a game project that it’s easy to make the distinction between an IP being reworked into a free game and an example of a director putting out work that can get him more work and not necessarily at Nintendo.


 

So yeah, I heard through the grapevine that some retailers are restocking those NES Classic Minis one more time before Christmas. Feel free to take emergency measures as seen in these vids as a means to your own end of obtaining one, I say. Who knows? With luck (and a few onions or fresh mint depending on your own naughty or nice quotient), you just may walk away with your prize after all.

-GW

KontrolFreek Makes My Day (And Yours, Too)

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If you own any current gen game console with a wireless controller (or a PS4 or Xbox One, to be precise) or play PC games on a big screen TV while planted on the couch across the room, you very likely despise the way too short charging cables packed inside the box. Well, KontrolFreek has you more than covered with its magnificent, essential 12 foot USB Gaming Cable ($12.99 MSRP). This inexpensively perfect no-brainer gift idea makes that charging time smarter and faster, getting you back into your gaming session while still camped out and comfy.

Designed for PlayStation and Xbox controllers, PC, and micro USB-compatible mobile devices, you can plug it into your phone, tablet or anything else it supports once your game controller of choice is all juiced up. As that silly stock PS4 cable has already caused me to knock my console off its perch once, that KF cable came in really handy when it arrived this afternoon. My PS4 is sightly bruised on the lower front right but working fine, thanks.

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Actual Usable Nintendo Switch News: Price/Launch Titles Reveal In January

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Yay. Something worth running about Nintendo’s new console that’s NOT a rumor-filled rumor rolled in opinionated analysis! It’s also boring because it’s an untrimmed press release. But, hey. I want you to know what a chunk of my inbox looks like on the best of days. Dull.. but *EXCITING!*

REDMOND, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– In a presentation to financial analysts today in Tokyo, Nintendo Co., Ltd. president Tatsumi Kimishima announced that major details regarding the company’s new Nintendo Switch home gaming system will be shared at the Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017. This will be an event for invited media, financial analysts and trade partners in Tokyo that will be globally live streamed on Jan. 12, U.S. time. The presentation will include the launch date and pricing for Nintendo Switch, as well as a look at the lineup of games currently in development.

The Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 will include the launch date and pricing for Nintendo Switch, as well as a look at the lineup of games currently in development. (Graphic: Business Wire)

Kimishima also announced that Nintendo Switch sampling events for invited media, partners, and consumers will take place in the U.S. and Europe after the presentation at later dates. There will be opportunities for the public to participate in other hands-on events around the same time, details of which will be announced later.

The exact time of the Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 will be announced through Nintendo’s social media channels in the coming weeks. Last week, Nintendo Switch was first revealed in a video, available at http://www.nintendo.com/switch.

Source: Nintendo

-GW

Switch: Your New Nintendo Console, Folks


 

So, here we go. As someone who pre-ordered and owns a Wii U and was/is relatively pleased with the system (albeit less than thrilled it didn’t reach its full potential), this new system intrigues me significantly. Does that portability, HD screen and home/away play element kill off the 3DS’ market? Probably not (yet). 3DS games are faster to make from what I gather, but I’m gathering we’ll be hearing from all those developers who’ve been quietly working away on new and old IP exactly what’s coming. Not a fan of the “lifestyle” video with impossible stuff happening at all… but that’s PR doing its thing trying to make the Switch “cool” to those who buy into this sort of thing.

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If that too brief The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild footage is any indication of how upcoming titles will look, I’d say we’ll be seeing a few more beautiful games in less open worlds calling wallets out of pockets and purses an March 2017 rolls around. Here’s the Wii U version for comparison’s sake, if you need to do that. Both look spectacular, but you know how some folks are. Anyway, color me really intrigued and on that pre-order list.

-GW

#TBT: NES Classic Edition Headed to Retail 11/11

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Well, Nintendo can REALLY keep a secret, huh? Between the current Pokémon GO madness, blowing fans away with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at E3, STILL keeping the specs and images of its upcoming NX system offline other than a few patents found online for what looks like a pretty interesting new device, and now THIS. Holiday Gift Guide 2016 alert, that’s for sure.

What, you don’t have a facebook account? Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. Fear not, I got your back. The full press release is right below the jump, if you feel like feeling old and reading a lot like you used to.

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Converse All Wah: Shocking New Way To Rock Out


 

All kidding aside (keep reading, it’s coming), I’d love to try a set of these kicks out. Hell, they’ll get me to pick up a guitar again after too long just to see how long I can “play” in my atonal way until the neighbors call to cops because they think someone is boiling a sack of howling piranha. I haven’t owned a pair of Chucks for ages, but these Converse All Wah demoed by Dinosaur Jr’s J Masics (who looks like Dinosaur Sr. these days, but he can rock it harder than the younger set any day of the week) got some of my own parts vibrating giddily. Boom chicka-wah-wahhhhh!

That said, I can only see wearing these indoors or only a dry day outside because of the obviously eeeeeee-lectrifying reason. I’ll let you think about that while I wind up a joke that some of you got already.

Yeah, try playing that star-spangled electric gitbox while wearing these sneaks in the rain and you’ll get maybe get five notes into Jimi Hendrix’ Purple Haze before you’re totally:

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…but without the icky upskirting powers, kid. Just extra crispy and clutching that axe in a death metal grip. Eh, I kid Converse, shoe developers Critical Mass and Cute Circuit. These ARE pretty damn cool. All we need now is that Marshall sound coming from a jacket of some sort and it’s instant entertainment anywhere.

Sign up here to keep updated on the All-Wah. I predict a sellout and yeah, they better make ladies sizes too because asses will be kicked when the gal rockers can’t get their kicks and want to kick back.
– GW