AOL to close joystiq

Sad day for fans of the gaming site joystiq, as AOL officially announces that it will be closing down the site. Rumours of its impending closure began early this week, but AOL did not make it official until today.

I will miss the Super Joystiq Podcast and the whole crew there. I wish them the best in wherever they may land next.

Posted on January 30, 2015 and filed under News.

Meta Knight amiibo won't make it to Best Buy store shelves in Canada

Best Buy exclusive Meta Knight amiibo won't see the store shelf in Canada

Best Buy exclusive Meta Knight amiibo won't see the store shelf in Canada

According to Best Buy's Gamer Club twitter account, the exclusive Meta Knight amiibo won't even make it to the store shelves. Pre-orders have accounted for their entire inventory, so they won't have any left to put into the stores at all.

So if you missed the pre-order, and were hoping to maybe pick one up in store, you won't be able to.

Looks like I'll be trying to obtain a Meta Knight from elsewhere. Sigh.

Posted on January 29, 2015 and filed under News.

Nintendo releases Q3 financial statement, 3DS lagging, Wii U performing well

Nintendo keeps blasting away on the Wii U with over 9 million units sold to date

Nintendo keeps blasting away on the Wii U with over 9 million units sold to date

Nintendo released their financial summary for the period from April 1 2014 to December 31 2014., as well as comparisons to the same period in 2013.

Some of the major points:

  • Net sales are down by 11.3% compared to the previous year, but overall income is up significantly
  • since making their sales forecast in May 2014, they have now adjusted their net sales expectation down 3.8% to 550 billion yen
  • sales of 3DS family in Japan continued to sell well with the introduction of the NEW 3DS
  • in territories where the New 3DS has not launched, 3DS sales "did not grow sufficiently"
  • global sales of 3DS family hardware was 7.08 million units Pokémon Omega Ruby/Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS did very well with 9.35 million units and 6.19 million units sold respectively
  • 47% of 3DS sales were of the 3DS XL model, 21% of the 2DS, 8.2% of the New 3DS, and 17.8% of the New 3DS XL
  • global sales of Wii U hardware reached 3.03 million units over 3 quarters
  • Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U sold 4.77 million units and 3.39 million units globally
  • the Wii U has sold 9.2 million units to date, with Nintendo projecting sales of 3.6 million units for this fiscal year ending March 2015
  • Nintendo showed a gross profit of 172,944 million yen, and an operating income of 31,604 million yen, up from previous year's negative operating income of 1,578 million yen
  • sales distribution across territories were as follows: Japan (27%), The Americas (41.4%), Europe (28.2%), Other (3.4%)

You can read the Consolidated Financial Highlights here.

UPDATE: Wii U sales projection corrected to include the whole year, instead of the remaining quarter

Posted on January 28, 2015 and filed under News.

Dragon's Dogma Online announced for Japan

Capcom officially announced Dragon's Dogma Online, the follow up to the popular action RPG Dragon's Dogma. Expanding on the idea of AI pawns of the original game, Dragon's Dogma Online features 4-person multiplayer, with 8-person multiplayer planned for future expansions.

The game will be coming out in Japan in 2015, on PS3, PS4 and PC. The game will be free to play, with in game micro transactions. No word on whether it is headed for the west yet.

via Destructoid

Posted on January 27, 2015 and filed under News.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate - Details of Story Mode

Capcom reveals the story behind Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, releasing 13th February 2015, exclusively on Nintendo 3DS. Age Rating: PEGI 12 (http://www.pegi.info) Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is available here: http://ow.ly/HHhnn Official site: http://www.nintendo.co.uk/monsterhunter4ultimate Nintendo 3DS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Nintendo3DSuk Nintendo UK on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/NintendoUK

Posted on January 23, 2015 and filed under News.

Now Playing: XCOM Enemy Unknown

xcom-enemy-unknown-cover.jpeg

Last year I played through Fire Emblem Awakening on 3DS. It was my first Fire Emblem, and my first real Strategy RPG. If you know anything about Fire Emblem, you'll know that permanent character death is a big feature of the game, and that the developers tried to make Awakening a more beginner friendly iteration by giving the player a non-permadeath mode. I didn't choose to use that mode, instead opting for the more traditional mode. In practical terms, however, I couldn't let my characters die. Should one of my beloved team fall in battle, I would simply restart the game and do the battle over, adjusting my strategy to try not to die.

Enter XCOM Enemy Unknown. I've been waiting to play this for a while, all the time knowing that it was probably my kind of jam, given my love for the whole Fire Emblem experience. I'd heard podcasts speak about about squads dying permanently, and players getting attached to their soldiers, even going so far as to name them after their friends and acquaintances. Could I subject myself to that same level of attachment, and invariably, that level of loss?

Turns out I can. I'm now in my sixth game of XCOM. Not because I've finished it six times, oh no. Because I've restarted it six times. I've yet to assault the Alien Base, which I understand is about one-third of the way through the game. Steam tells me I've been playing XCOM for a total of 22 hours now.

Hello, my name is Eugene, and I'm a perfectionist.

It's not that soldiers are dying. I've been naming them after twitter friends, gaming podcast personalities, family members, friends. I had my cousin, a sniper at the Major promotion level die on a mission. Whoops. I let it go. Losing soldiers is not as problematic in XCOM as it is in Fire Emblem. In XCOM, you can replace a soldier very easily, The training and experience that they gained is lost, but there's always another soldier to take their place.

I have restarted XCOM six times because I'm obsessing. One of my restarts was because I discovered that if you start the game without doing the tutorial, you can complete the first mission without losing three out of your initial four squad members. Another 2 of my restarts were because I didn't like the fact that I only had one Steam Vent area in my base on which to build a Thermal Power Generator. Finally I've been restarting over the council members leaving XCOM. If a countries' panic level gets too high, at the end of the month they will leave the XCOM project. The only way to reduce their panic level is to place a satellite over their county, or to successfully complete a mission in that country. I'm trying to achieve a play through where nobody leaves the council. So far on this current try I have lost two countries. I almost thought about starting again, but I think this time I'll just see it through, if just to try to make it to the end. I've only got 21 days until my other jam releases, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.

I can always try it again at a higher difficulty level once I finish. Because it seems I don't mind punishing myself with a great game.

Posted on January 22, 2015 and filed under Reviews.

UPDATE: Club Nintendo is shutting down

According to IGN, Club Nintendo is shutting down, and Nintendo will be replacing it with another membership program:

NINTENDO DISCONTINUES CLUB NINTENDO TO MAKE WAY FOR A NEW MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM

Update: Nintendo has posted a notice on Club Nintendo's imminent closure

The full text of the discontinuation notice follows:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

January 20, 2015

Important Information on Club Nintendo Program Discontinuation

Dear Club Nintendo Members,

Thank you for your continued loyalty to Nintendo.

We launched Club Nintendo 6 years ago in North America, and we’re grateful for all of the feedback that our members have provided on your experiences with our products.

In order to focus on planning for a new customer loyalty program for our fans, we’ve decided to wind-down the Club Nintendo program. We are deeply thankful to our members for being a part of Club Nintendo for all of these years.

We will share details about our new program at a later date. For now, please see the schedule below for information on the discontinuation timeframe for Club Nintendo.

All Coins will be deleted when Club Nintendo accounts are closed on July 1, 2015. As a result, to give our members the best opportunity to use their Coins, we will add dozens of downloadable games and a limited quantity of exclusive reward items to the rewards catalog in February. In addition, as a small token of appreciation for your loyalty, all Club Nintendo members will receive a free download code for Flipnote Studio 3D in February 2015. Please visit here for information on the software and how to get the download code.

Club Nintendo program discontinuation schedule

1/20/2015

Products released after this date are not eligible for registration with Club Nintendo

3/31/2015

Last day to earn Coins, register products with Club Nintendo, and sign up for new Club Nintendo membership

6/30/2015

Last day to redeem Coins or access your account on the Club Nintendo website. Club Nintendo program shuts down at 11:59pm PT on 6/30/2015.

Your Account and Coin Balance

The information in your Club Nintendo account will not be transferred to the new loyalty program. We are adding multiple items to our reward catalog, so please be sure to redeem your Coins before the deadline on June 30, 2015. Unused Coins will be deleted as of July 1, 2015.

2015 Elite Status

In order to reach Elite Status, you must earn 300 Coins (for Gold Status) or 600 Coins (for Platinum Status) between July 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015. Members who reach Elite Status will be able to choose a downloadable game from a wide selection of Nintendo 3DS and Wii U titles. Your free Elite Status gift will be available between April 1 and April 30, 2015. A list of the Elite Status 2015 gifts will be posted here once announced.

FAQs about Club Nintendo program discontinuation

  1. How long can I keep earning Coins?
    1. The last day to register products with Club Nintendo, take surveys, or earn Coins is March 31, 2015. Surveys in your To-Do list will be deleted after March 31, 2015, so please be sure to register products or take surveys by that date. Please note that products released after January 20, 2015 cannot be registered at Club Nintendo, and will not be eligible for surveys or Coins.
  2. But I have Club Nintendo PIN # that is valid past March 31, 2015.
    1. Products cannot be registered after March 31, 2015, regardless of the expiration date written on the PIN card.
  3. Will the games I download still be registered with Club Nintendo?
    1. Club Nintendo-eligible games that you download will continue to be registered to your account automatically until March 31, 2015 if your Nintendo eShop account is linked to your Club Nintendo account. After that date, games will no longer be registered with Club Nintendo. To find out which games you can register, please see Eligible ProductsClick here to learn how to link your Nintendo eShop account to your Club Nintendo account.
  4. When is the last day to join Club Nintendo?
    1. You can join Club Nintendo until March 31, 2015.
  5. When is the last day to redeem Coins on Club Nintendo?
    1. The last day to redeem your Coins is June 30, 2015. Any unused Coins will be deleted on July 1, 2015. We are offering a large number of digital games, and select physical rewards, so we are sure you can find something you like. Limited quantities are available for the physical rewards, so please be sure to check out our Get Games & Rewards page for each item’s availability.
  6. What happens to my Coins if I don’t use them all?
    1. Any unused Coins in your Club Nintendo account will be deleted on July 1, 2015.
  7. When is the last day to get the download code for the digital games I chose?
    1. The last day to access your Club Nintendo account is June 30, 2015, so please be sure to get your 16-digit download code(s) for any games you’ve received before that date.
  8. Will the download code ever expire?
    1. Yes, all download codes redeemed from Club Nintendo will expire on July 31, 2015, so please be sure to download your game from the Nintendo eShop before that date.
  9. Do I need to cancel my membership?
    1. No, your account will automatically be cancelled on July 1, 2015, so there is no need for you to cancel your account.
Posted on January 20, 2015 and filed under News.

Hate Rosalina & Luma? Don't forget about Rosetta & Chiko!

The Japanese Rosalina & Luma amiibo has a different English name, "Rosetta & Chiko"

The Japanese Rosalina & Luma amiibo has a different English name, "Rosetta & Chiko"

Do you hate Rosalina? So much that you're willing to spend a ton of money to buy as many as you can to keep her off the market? Well, to prevent too many people from having her, you might want to import her Japanese counterpart as well, "Rosetta & Chiko".

You can try your luck importing it, or even travel to Japan to buy them in person. Either way, you can rest in the knowledge that you're keeping this horrid character out of the hands of those that really like her.

Posted on January 19, 2015 and filed under Article.

MH4U: Goodbye Cha-Cha, hello Palicoes

Something new that you'll notice in going from Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate to 4 Ultimate is that your companions, Cha-Cha and Kayamba are not around. Instead you will be accompanied by creatures that you will recognize as Felynes. For Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, they are renamed as "Palicoes", and executive producer Ryozo Tsujimoto explains why:

The support Felynes are being rebranded as 'Palicoes' this time around and they don't have such a central story aspect, they'll be involved a little bit but not as much as Cha-Cha and Kayamba were. They're part of a system where you can bring these support characters with you out on quests; you can bring two of them with you with one being yours that you can customise, and the other one can be a different one, perhaps one you met on StreetPass from another player and you can even collect them. They're very much involved in the gameplay but not so much a story element this time. The differences, if you like, were that Cha-Cha and Kayamba were unique characters, and the Palicoes are kind of in a category of their own rather than being a character. You can enjoy collecting them, customising them and you can even rename them, for example my main support character is called Fujioka (MH4U creative director), and he gets to help me out on quests just like at work.

You can read the entire interview here on NintendoLife.

Posted on January 18, 2015 and filed under News.

ICYMI: Nintendo eShop New Releases and Specials this week

via Nintendo PressRoom

This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content:

Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS

  • 3D After Burner II – 3D After Burner II is a remastered version of the arcade classic. Pilot your F-14D fighter through enemy territory while blasting away squadrons of enemy fighters. Click here to watch a trailer for the game.

Virtual Console on Nintendo 3DS

  • Lufia: The Legend Returns – Join a cast of 12 playable characters in this classic Game Boy Color turn-based adventure filled with love, hope, terror and revenge. Complete quests to open up new paths, level up by battling monstrous enemies and gain new abilities by finding Ancient Texts hidden within dungeons and caves.

Virtual Console on Wii U

  • Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight – In this NES classic, Ken has retired from his glory days in the Street Fighter world, but he must return to his roots when he finds his friend missing. Jump, climb and fight past monstrous enemies as Ken teleports across the galaxy to set things right.

Nintendo eShop Sales

  • Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS 
    • The Throwback Sale is on! Generations of fun come together as we pair classic games from past Nintendo systems with their newer siblings on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Going on now until Feb. 5 at 8:59 a.m. PT, we’ll offer weekly discounts on select game pairings like Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Mario 3D World. Buy one or buy both games in each pairing – either way, you’ll get great savings during the sale. Check out www.nintendo.com/eshop/offers#throwback-sale for more details.
  • Nintendo eShop on Wii U 
    • Loads of indie hits are now on sale during the Super Indie Connection Sale #2. Now through 8:59 a.m. PT on Jan. 29, fans who own any of the participating games already – or purchase one at full price during the promotion – qualify to receive 60 percent off any of the other participating games. Check out http://www.nintendo.com/eshop/offersfor more details.

Price Reductions

Also New this Week

Posted on January 18, 2015 and filed under News.

Mario Party 10 Trailer in depth

Mario Party 10 (Available March 20/2015)

The trailer opens with the introduction of Bowser, who is crashing the party. The game will feature a new Bowser Party mode. Two boards are shown: Bowser's Castle; and an underwater coral sea area. 

New to the series is the ability to play as Bowser, using the Wii U Gamepad to send fireballs at the other players, or to spin a hamster wheel in which the other players are trapped.

This amiibo Party board looks like Hungry Hungry... Yoshis?

The all new amiibo Party mode showcases the integration of the new Super Mario line of amiibo within the game. Place your amiibo on the NFC sensor on the Wii U Gamepad, and your amiibo becomes your playing piece on the board. amiibo Party boards resemble cakes, which makes you think that you could use your amiibo as cake decorations. Hmm. Just clean off the cake before you put them on your Gamepad. amiibo Party boards shown in the trailer are Mario, Peach, Yoshi, and Luigi's Mansion themed.

There are over 70 mini-games in Mario Party 10. Here is one of them:

This one reminded me of Dark Souls.

Mario Party 10 looks sharp in HD, and after the disappointment that was Mario Party 9, let's hope it's a return to form for the boardgame/minigame series.

Posted on January 16, 2015 and filed under News.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate demo hits North America

Nintendo sent out a special email to select customers today with 4 download codes for the new demo of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. The criteria for receiving such an email is not clear, but if you purchased and registered the previous Monster Hunter on Club Nintendo, you're likely to have received your codes today.

The demo features a Beginner mode for those new to the series, and an Experienced mode for those who have played a previous Monster Hunter. The Beginner mode includes helpful hints during gameplay, and serves as an extended tutorial to the game's complexities. Monsters are also easier to defeat, as your hunter is stronger. This directly addresses one of the greatest weaknesses of previous demos, which would simply plop the player directly into a quest, with no explanations of any kind, making it a difficult introduction to the game.

The demo also features Local and Online multiplayer, and unlike the Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate demo, has no play count restrictions.

I had a chance to go through the demo quickly, and a few things stood out to me:

  • the text, although small, is much more readable as compared with MH3U
  • Circle Pad Pro is supported and works well
  • gameplay seemed silky smooth on my original 3DS hardware, at least in solo mode

I encourage you to check it out for yourself, if you can snag a code from someone. All mine are accounted for already, but they're floating around. Just ask your Monster Hunter obsessed friends for one, I'm sure they'd be happy to share!

Happy Hunting!

Posted on January 15, 2015 and filed under News.

Sales for Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros, Wii U, and amiibo

Nintendo reported today that Wii U sales were up 29 percent compared to 2013, and software increased 75 percent year-over-year. Sales in the US for Mario Kart 8 rang in at 1.7 million and Super Smash Bros sold 1.3 million copies. Nintendo's numbers include both physical and digital versions of the game.

Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America executive VP of Sales & Marketing, proclaimed 2014 as "Wii U's strongest year yet." It's a positive sign for a console that has had difficulty finding its footing amidst slow initial sales, and the superior processing power of Sony's PS4 and Microsoft's Xbox One, despite a near one year lead.

Nintendo also revealed that over 16 3DS releases have passed the 250,000 sales mark, and that three of those exceeded 1 million copies.

Amiibo sales were touted as "nearly twice the sales of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U", which would put it at roughly 2.5 million amiibo sold.

Posted on January 15, 2015 and filed under News.

Target Closes? Rosalina... Noooo!

Target announced today that it will be ceasing all operations in Canada and shutting down all of its stores. The retailer was struggling in Canada, and losing money to the tune of over $2 million a day. Even in the best scenario, they couldn't forecast profitability until 2021.

Unfortunately for Nintendo fans, it means that the fate of the retailer exclusive amiibo, Rosalina & Luna, is up in the air. Will Target stores shut down before the release? Who will pick up the figure if Target is no longer in business?

What does this mean for the Rosalina amiibo? It’s likely the store will halt, or at the very least, be light on shipments. If you’re Canadian and were hoping to rush into Target to get your hands on one, you really should think about importing it from an international Amazon venue or a Japanese import site.
— Chris Carter, desctructoid

The frustration is compounded by the fact that Target would not accept any pre-orders on amiibos at all. In hindsight it's probably just as well, given the headache of getting refunds from an out of business company.

Personally I will have to go the import route, as I do really want one of these. Maybe that angry person who hate pre-ordered 100 of them will relent and sell me one? :)

via destructoid, ctv news

Posted on January 15, 2015 and filed under News.

Why is Nintendo only bringing the NEW 3DS XL model to the North American market?

UPDATE: article corrected to reflect that the New 3DS XL does not have coloured buttons like the Famicom, only coloured lettering on grey buttons

During today's Nintendo Direct, Reggie Fils-Aime came on camera to introduce the New 3DS XL hardware. And only the New 3DS XL.

Not the smaller size New 3DS, the one with interchangeable faceplates. Not the one with the coloured Famicom buttons.

Many were disappointed with this news, myself included. My reasons for wanting the smaller New 3DS are many, besides the faceplates, I just prefer the smaller size. It fits into my life better. I also am not a big fan of how jaggy everything looks on the larger 3DS XL screen, a byproduct of making the screen larger without increasing the pixel resolution.

What makes this decision more vexing is that Europe is getting both sizes. So that leaves North America as the odd market out, so to speak.

Nintendo of America's statement on the matter is typically guarded:

"Different territories make their own business decisions regarding individual products and timing. We think New Nintendo 3DS XL makes the most sense for our market. Nintendo makes different systems at different price points for a whole range of consumers, and New Nintendo 3DS XL simply expands those choices even further."

Uh, ok. That's not an explanation, it just says that you made the decision, but not why you made it. "Just because" isn't really an answer. I'm sure they have actual reasons, but until they divulge those secrets to us, we'll never really know.

Speculation time:

  • Nintendo has difficulty with shelf space at retail, and since the introduction of amiibo now they require even more. To introduce a whole line of faceplates to the mix simply exacerbates the problem.
  • Nintendo believes that North Americans only like big things, so bigger is better.
  • Nintendo feeling the sting from amiibo shortages and collectors buying up 'rare' characters wanted to avoid another situation where certain faceplates would become rare and unavailable.
  • Nintendo wants to make more money, so by only offering a higher priced XL model and no mid-priced regular size, they stand to bring in more revenue (although not necessarily more profit, unless we're assuming that the profit margin is higher on the XL)

These are just theories, I don't really know why there will only be the New 3DS XL in North America. All I know is that since I can't get a regular size one with the faceplate I was set on (the Monster Hunter Blue Stripes of the Poggie, if you must know) I will wait it out. Seeing as my current 3DS is a Fire Emblem Edition, perhaps I'll bide my time and see if there will be a Fire Emblem New 3DS XL.

A man can dream, can't he?

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let me know! And please hit the Like button if you like this post. Thanks!

via polygon

Posted on January 14, 2015 and filed under Article.