I hate rumors, but…

New Super Mario Bros. On iPhone…when it comes to the two companies that make some of my favorite products to idly pass the time by, I have to at least note their existence. Some random tech rumormill I’ve never heard of called Noheat claims that Nintendo is going to produce games for Apple’s rapidly impending guaranteed-hundreds-of-millions-seller iPhone. The games will supposedly sell for $29 through the iTunes Store, will be “catered to an older audience” and will utilize a virtual D-pad on the touchscreen.

Can I just say… bullshit? Why in the world would Nintendo risk cannibalizing sales of their own wildly successful DS games? And even more importantly, their own wildly successful DS hardware? Can anyone remember the last time Nintendo made even a single game for someone else’s hardware? Donkey Kong‘s licensing by Coleco and various other companies in the early 80’s is all that comes to mind. And would anyone spend $29 on a cellphone game? iPod video-based games force us to only part with a single Mr. Lincoln. No matter how insanely great the iPhone’s gonna be, a gaming platform it ain’t. Oh yeah, and a touchscreen D-pad would blow chunks.

I don’t normally try and convey terribly strong convictions one way or another when it comes to rumors (I’m actually waiting on a computer purchase based on what I’ve read on various Apple rumor sites), but yeah, I’ll just go ahead and say it. Bullshit.

(courtesy of TUAW)


That LEGO MMOG I mentioned before has a name and release date!

LEGO Universe - “Coming 2008″ Banner
Name: LEGO Universe
Release date: Q4 2008

Beyond that… not a lot new to report. The text blurbs tout the game as “bring[ing] the construction and creativity inherent to LEGO into a new, safe and fun virtual experience”. I’m all for an MMOG that strives to be kid-friendly, and I’ve got an awful hankerin’ for building an entire universe of LEGO, so Q4 2008 couldn’t feel further away right now. Both NetDevil’s portal and the official site are equally devoid of content, but at least the latter has the ubiquitous mailing list submission form. We’ll see if they actually make use of it.

I’ll send them suggestions and the like when solicited, but since there doesn’t seem to yet be any such avenue of communication: PLEASE RELEASE THIS GAME ON THE MAC OR YOUR ONLINE-CAPABLE NINTENDO CONSOLE OF CHOICE.

(thanks kotaku, you know how to start my morning awesomely)


N coming to DS! (I don't own a PSP, but yeah that too)

In the proud tradition of free Flash games being converted into non-free console and handheld games (cough hack ptooie), the amazingly awesome N will be ported to the DS and PSP! If you haven’t played this game yet, you very well might be a tool. So click through and try it out, lest we all summarily consider you a tool. Go ahead, I’ll be here when you’re ready to keep reading.

All caught up now? Good. The paid version, cleverly re-titled “N+” (looks like a cryptic ESRB rating to me), will be revamped with “some pretty cool new features and graphics, and will retain the gameplay you know and love”. Whatever that means. I was heavily addicted to this game when Paul dropped me a link oh so many months ago (he’s a lot better than I am though; lousy friggin’ seeking missiles), so this gets the official Mario Is Pumped Seal Of Approval. Here’s hoping Ned (the game’s robust level editor) makes it through the conversion process.

(courtesy of DS Fanboy)


Smash Bros. Blog Opens

Super Smash Bros. Brawl - Free For All Everyone and their dog was dancing around like they had to pee when they saw the official Smash Bros. site start to count down toward some mysterious end. Was it a trailer? Confirmation of new and old characters? Hardly! The site has been updated with an official blog by the game’s overseer, Masahiro Sakurai. Personally, this excites me just as much as that other stuff might have! The blog provides a neat insider perspective on the creation of the series, and has already let loose a few new details on what’s probably the most anticipated title on the console (I’m sure we’re all getting a little tired of playing minigame collections by now).

Right off the bat, the first post reveals a flurry of composers from Gaming Past contributing to the project; even if you don’t recognize the names, you probably know a lot of the games. But really, we should all know names like Koji Kondo and Kenji Yamamoto. Crazy speculation: does Yoko Shimomura’s presence indicate Kingdom Hearts characters, or Tomoko Sasaki’s the inclusion of the eponymous androgynous NiGHTS star? Please let Motoi Sakuraba herald the appearance of Issac and co. from Golden Sun!

*ahem* Sorry, geeked out for a sec.

Rest assured, I won’t be making a blog entry every time Sakurai-san does (I’m not some glorified news-aggregator site, after all), I just wanted you all to make sure and bookmark the new blog (with RSS feed! Go Nintendo!), so we can all get excited every time he posts about how dealing damage makes characters fly farther! How very revelatory!


Ganbare Goemon soundtrack coming to iTunes! Maybe some other stuff too

Konami has signed a deal with Sony BMG Music Entertainment to bring their entire back catalog of video game tunes to all major online music stores. This is awesome! Of course everyone will shout out their usual squeals of “Ooh, Castlevania on my iPod!” and “OMG METAL GEAR SOLID”, but I’ll take my Legend of The Mystical Ninja any day over those other chump games. Ooh, and Tiny Toon Adventures 2: Trouble In Wackyland had some fine tunes as well.

Which Konami songs would you buy up at $0.99 a pop? That’s right, I’m soliciting comments! Like some kind of blog comment whore. Here’s a list of the games they’ve made over the years. I’d certainly enjoy the occasional ORION.78 (AMeuro-MIX) when shuffling through my library. Your turn.

(courtesy of Playlist)


We've Got A Lot Of Catching Up To Do

Well this just makes my ability to play Mario Kart 64 upside-down seem small and insignificant in comparison. This guy can beat the first level of Super Mario Bros. without looking at the screen! He even gets a mushroom! Granted, he takes the weak man’s shortcut (though he gets bonus points for getting all the coins), but I don’t think I’d be able to pull off something like this. Click on to the TV In Japan blog to take a look-see, and be shamed once again by our so-called friends across the Pacific. Of course you know, Japan, this means war.

Also, watch more TV In Japan in general. I’m consistently entertained by the zaniness.

EDIT: YouTube took the video down, but I found an American kid doing much the same thing. He even gets partway into World 1-2!

Next task: Beat The Lost Levels blindfolded.


Freakonomics wants a Wii

Paul Kimmelman made a short guest-bloggin’ over at Freakonomics, mostly to pose a question that a lot of people I know are asking: why can you still not find a Wii after five months and five days? Even though I did finally obtain the system (after waiting outside a Best Buy in the rain one Sunday morning with my girlfriend), it amazes me that you still can’t run down to your local game shop and pick up a Wii on a whim (whiim? Nah, whim). While Nintendo probably can share some of the blame he tries to lay upon it (such as insufficient planning regarding manufacturing), I thought one of the later comments made a lot of sense: no one’s ever sold this many consoles in such a short period of time. There is hope, though, as Nintendo has recently stated that it’s gonna ramp up production shortly. Hopefully we’ll soon get past siutations like “Toys R Us will have three Wiis on the shelf Sunday morning, camp out in front a week early to get one”.

Well, you gotta have hope.


A Brief Praising Of Super Paper Mario

Super Paper Mario - Dimentio - Bad Joke

Super Paper Mario is quite possibly my favorite game to come out for the Wii so far. Yes, I am indeed comparing it to Twilight Princess, and the Zelda game pales (pales, I say!!) in comparison. It’s been a long time since I’ve played a game from the Big N that so perfectly captures the fun and joy of 2D platforming (New Super Mario Bros. didn’t even come close), while at the same time bringing in a fascinating new game mechanic (flipping into the Z-axis) and pulling it off so well. It certainly doesn’t hurt that they combine it with a great story and excellent writing; I can’t remember having laughed so hard at game dialogue in a long time (besides the unintentionally funny stuff… JOSEEEEEEPH!!!). And as a big fan of the 8-bit scene, I can’t help but appreciate it when Mario turns into a giant NES pixellated version of himself, or when he gains a tiny NES Mario posse to assist him (though they end up having the opposite intended effect: instead of them protecting me from enemies, I try to protect them from harm, but they really don’t make it easy; they seem to be designed to fall off ledges and bump into Goombas). If there’s one thing I could change, I’d allow the non-Mario party members to use the flip technique. I hate not being able to stay in Peach form for any extended period of time.

Oh, second thing: they really dropped the ball by removing a dash button. What kind of 2D Mario platforming game doesn’t have a dash button? The answer is the Super Paper Mario kind.

That’s about all the naysaying I’ve got about the game. Here’s a part I thought was God-damned awesome:

Super Paper Mario - Fracktail “I AM ERROR”

Of course, I’m the biggest Zelda II: The Adventure of Link fan on the planet (I checked), so I may be a little biased. Still, awesome beyond belief.

I’m fairly certain that anyone reading this blog is already intimately familiar with the game, and probably bought it before I did (lousy GameStop with their only having enough copies to satisfy pre-orders… at least Best Buy came through for me this time), but I cannot stress enough that this is a game that all Wii gamers need to own and play. So I’ll stress it some more! This game rocks the Wiizzy.

And now for some puns. The flipping mechanic adds a whole new dimension to gameplay. It really does provide a certain sense of depth that 2D games often lack. Okay I’m done.


Italy and Mobius Compete For The Gold

Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games - LogoI won’t pretend to be revealing breaking news here; I’m sure you’re all aware by now that long-time rivals from Nintendo and Sega will finally be in a game together, titled Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games. Frankly, I’m still getting over the fact that this probably isn’t some massive April Fool’s prank. I don’t have much extra to contribute to the topic, but I did want to point to an interview conducted by IGN with Mike Hayes (president and COO of SEGA Europe) and Laurent Fischer (marketing director of Nintendo Europe). It’s pretty straightforward early hype (a few too many “I don’t know”s and “it’s too early to tell”s for my taste), but at least it further confirms that it’s really happening.

I’ll assume most of the people that read this blog are old enough to remember the bitter rivalry between Nintendo and Sega fans back in the 90’s. That was back when a console war reallly felt like a battle, when gamers would trash talk each other about which system had the better game library, when we’d have serious “who would win?” discussions about the plumber and the hedgehog. I have always wanted to pit the two against each other on a level playing field and, since the interview pretty effectively shoots down the possibility of a Sonic cameo in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Olympic Events will have to do. Of course, the results of the 2008 Olypmics are pretty easy to predict:

100m dash: Sonic
High Jump: Luigi
Long Jump: Peach (maybe Tails, if flying is allowed)
Shot Put: Toad


Mii Would Like To Play

Nintendo’s ramping up the commercials, now focusing on the system’s not-really-best-kept-secret of the Mii Channel. Let’s all be honest now. It’s not about Zelda, or Excite Truck, or WarioWare, or upcoming games like Smash Bros. Brawl, or the growing handful of Virtual Console games. When it all comes down to it, the most fun aspect of the Wii has to be Mii creation. I’m glad to see Nintendo capitalizing on this, and even using the actual Mii Channel music! Here are the two commercials, starring the borderline creepy “Wii would like to play” Japanese salarymen:

Well done, Nintendo! Now let us give our Miis mohawks and tattoos.

(courtesy of destructoid)