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

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

Yooka-Laylee Capital Cashino Trailer: Playtonic’s Platforming Playhouse Arrives In 2017


Well, the really good news is this Rare-inspired platformer now has a release date and more great-looking screens to go with that trailer above. The sort of bad news is the Wii U version has been sent to the glue factory, but the silver lining is it’s headed to Nintendo Switch at some point. Screens you want, screens you get thanks to my handy YouTube channel you should probably subscribe to now that I’ve figured out how to use the darn thing. I don’t monetize, so fear not – you’ll get no spam or even a slice of stale bread to have that spam on.

Press release perusal? Jump down, watch for spikes.

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What’s Cookin’?: (Almost) Everything in Moderation…


 

Yep, I’m still alive. My brain has been percolating a lot these past two weeks on stuff galore, so it’s been tough to focus on being too entertained. That said, I do like what Nintendo is up to on a few fronts despite me not even being interested in Super Mario Run because I don’t own an Apple device (yuk!), have zero plans to buy it on Android and even it it rears its cute run ‘n jump head on Switch, it’ll be a “meh!” as far as making a dent on my playlist. While a decent platformer gets played here and there by yours truly, I just don’t get that same thrill I used to back in the arcade to 32-bit era. A new Mario game gets the same sigh and pass as a AAA first-person shooter from me, Miyamoto magic or not.

Yeah, it’s cool and all, but I just can’t. The good here (it’s only ten bucks! – take THAT, $99.99 mobile game DLC!) is counterbalanced with the need for an always online connection to play. But given that ALL mobile games need to connect online at some point during play and Nintendo’s strict requirement is to prevent piracy and cheating, it comes off as a necessary evil more than a draconian law being laid down.

Well, to me at least.

On the other hand… The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Yep, sold. I’ve even gone and bought a few Amiibo to use in order to take advantage of the freebies that drop if you’re smart enough to have a few lying around. Hell, I was Amiibo-resistant until Hyrule Warriors revealed you can get five random gifts per day just by tapping figures on the Gamepad.

Anyway, let me close here for now and get back to cooking my actual dinner. My mind clears up a lot when I cook, so this post is a result of a meat sauce with ground turkey playing the part of beef. That’s going with some linguini that…(taste!) just turned al dente. Back in a bit, a trip to planet Nom awaits.

-GW

Zelda: Breath of the Wild Site Is A Breath of Fresh Air Today

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Yep. While the disappointment of the release slipping possibly into next summer is a bit annoying, the fact that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild now has an official site chock full of too much info is a really good thing. Go poke around, please. Especially if you’re a big, cranky skeptic who didn’t get the chance to play the demo this past June and think an open world Zelda is somehow a bad idea despite the series being chock full of open world goodness from the very first entry.

-GW

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

Wii U Quickies: PONCHO, Meet Severed

With the Wii U seemingly in its final year of being a viable console to some pundits and players, it’s very important to note the console has in fact been the recipient of a number of incredible indie games over the past few months, most recently through the eShop Nindies selection.

Sure, first party titles are always key and should be on any console worth its salt. But the indie scene on Wii U is chock full of cool titles that Wii U-only gamers have either gotten in the past, are getting now or have been popping up as improved ports over versions previously released on PC or other consoles. Most are well worth an instant buy for those who want to support both Nintendo and the dev teams that cook up these gems. Here’s a quick look at two of the best you can buy (in no particular order, of course):

poncho-screenshot06 poncho-coverPONCHO (Rising Star Games, via Nintendo eShop, $9.99): Delve Interactive’s gorgeous, highly challenging side-scrolling platformer’s best tricks are the unique gameplay that has you hopping between different planes to progress through levels, and how surprisingly tough yet slyly meditative the game can be.

While a nice retro vibe is indeed here to be felt by nostalgic minded gamers, the lovely pixel visuals get kicked up into the modern age thanks to plenty of tricks older hardware couldn’t pull off so fluidly. The open world mixes in plenty of surprises to discover, with no lives system in play to drive you batty. That said, prepare to leap of faith your way in some cases where you have no other options but to cross your fingers, toes and anything else save for your eyes because you need to kind of stick that landing.

Jumping like mad through foreground, middle, and background elements like a champ, chatting up cute to not so cute robots who have a lot on their metal mind cases and overall, spending a good long time in this rich, intriguing game world learning what’s what makes this one a keeper of a sleeper. And yes, the music is pretty much perfect, emulating and enhancing its 16-bit inspired tunes that drive the action onscreen.

Score: B+ (85%)

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