Review: Tyto Ecology - Build Your Biome

by Ryan Thompson

After 5 hours of arranging organisms in three biomes I had created, I was confident in recommending Tyto Ecology to my science students. Tyto Ecology is 6.99 on Steam and Free on iOS (iPad only).

After 5 hours of arranging organisms in three biomes I had created, I was confident in recommending Tyto Ecology to my science students. Tyto Ecology is 6.99 on Steam and Free on iOS (iPad only).

Lindsey Tropf is a repeat guest of the Magic Hour Show Podcast, show number 5 and 10, respectively. She is the founder and CEO of Immersed Games, developer of Tyto Ecology. I received a code for the Steam version of the game from her.

Not dead yet! Yay!

Not dead yet! Yay!

Tyto Ecology is an ecosystem creation simulator. I took interest in the game because of my role as an elementary science teacher. I’ve spent my time with the game building rainforest, grassland, and desert biomes. I’ve placed giant Kapok trees and small varieties of grasses and shrubbery. Animals have been summoned forth into these habitats at my whim, and died slow, painful deaths from starvation. Some have survived, and the health of my ecosystems have stayed fairly high, but having insectivores in an environment with only a poisonous insect for food… doesn’t work so well.

The game prioritizes simplicity over micro-management. Dropping plants and animals in the environment creates groups or territories for the organisms. You won’t be able to place a single bobcat wherever you want; you choose its territory. Some players might miss the level of control this takes away from the players. You’ll spend less time figuring out exactly where to place that one mushroom, instead choosing its circle of influence. This level of simplicity makes the game more accessible in primary and secondary classrooms, as placement of organisms doesn’t require precision.

Sparing specifics of the Next Generation Science Standards (nextgenscience.org), Tyto Ecology nestles itself neatly within my science curriculum. Most obviously, the game provides an interactive way to lead to the understanding that organisms survive well in some environments, but not in others. However, since one can’t (yet) place a cactus in a tropical rainforest, or a polar bear in a desert, extremes of organisms in the wrong environment aren’t something that can be played with. Adaptations help animals survive, and some plants and animals are just better suited for survival. You’ll find tough, hearty species that can only be eaten by very specific animals (or, like the badger, species that can eat just about anything).

The strongest concept covered is that animals, plants and other organisms interact within ecosystems and these relationships can affect the survival of multiple species. Organisms that will interact with each other are clearly shown each time a plant or animal is placed in the environment. In my initial sessions, I was very content to see that I had herbivores interacting with plants, and carnivores interacting with herbivores. My quick contentment resulted in animals dying, in animations that aren’t frightening for children of any age. It was time for me to consult the biodex.

I really appreciate the biodex in Tyto Ecology. A quick-click of its page icon provides information on each organism in the game, and a glossary of terms that might help the player understand what’s happening in their ecosystem. Reading the biodex taught me that the ants I had so kindly offered to my insectivores were poisonous. It helped me discover which plants possess the best leaves or fruits for herbivores, which are used for shelter, and which are very attractive to pollinators – who will be more attractive to my insectivores than poisonous ants, for sure. The biodex is great for educational purposes, as it bristles with real-world facts, and becomes required reading to ensure balanced and appropriate interactions in your ecosystems.

There are two forms of energy currency for use in the game – Impact Points and Tyto Coins. Impact Points are required to place animals and plants in the environment. Tyto Coins are used to unlock organisms and purchase Impact Points. Should you find yourself in an environmental emergency, you can exchange your coins for points to quickly (hopefully) balance your ecosystem. These currencies could be a conceit for the iPad version of the game, as they encourage revisiting the game once your points have recharged. For the classroom, the limitation on how much can be done in one play session is a strength. This encourages small changes in the environment. I would suggest to students that they are attempting to engineer the perfect environment. Limiting the amount of changes that can be made in a session will help students to determine what’s working, what isn’t, and how to improve their ecosystems. Suddenly, Tyto Ecology is also connecting to the engineering design process.

If you’re looking for a large-scale, micromanagement zoo simulator, I don’t think Tyto Ecology is for you. The game does feel like a more casual experience. Some gameplay sessions were an hour, as I spent time in each of my three biomes. Others were just a few minutes, as I checked on my animal populations, read a few biodex entries, and placed a few new animal territories (and hoping these would outlive the last). Once more, this flexibility is strength in the classroom. Perhaps this is a beginning of period exercise, or a 15-minute reading center, or a quick reward for a class session well done. Alternatively, the game could be an entire lesson, effectively including reading, engineering, and science skills. 

Posted on June 21, 2016 and filed under Reviews.

Monster Hunter Generations releases July 15, Limited Edition 3DS XL

Monster Hunter Generations for 3DS

Monster Hunter Generations for 3DS

The Western release of Monster Hunter X, dubbed "Generations", is set for July 15th, according to Capcom today. There will also be a special edition *new* 3DS XL with a blue Monster Hunter theme as well.

Day one purchase for me, what about you?

Limited Edition *new* 3DS XL Monster Hunter Generations theme

Limited Edition *new* 3DS XL Monster Hunter Generations theme

Posted on May 12, 2016 and filed under News.

Mini-Documentary on Video games and culture, and how parents can shape their future

Andy Robertson of Family Gamer TV interviews Iain Simons, director of the National Video Game Arcade in Nottingham, England.

The National Video Game Arcade (NVA) is one year old. We talk to director Iain Simons about it's challenges and successes along with the upcoming Continue Conference and Game City Prize 2016. Here are some quotes from the interview: "It always struck me as very strange how poor the game establishment was at participating in culture.
Posted on May 6, 2016 and filed under Article.

Capcom shows off Okami outfit for your Felynes in Monster Hunter Generations

Hey Capcom, you got some Okami in my Monster Hunter... and it's so cool!

2016 is Okami 10th birthday! ‪#‎HappyBirthday‬ Okami and welcome to Monster Hunter Generations! Turn your Felyne into a celestial beast with this Okami outfit! Catch CATCOM, PANCAKE and WAFFLE on stream here: https://www.twitch.tv/monsterhunter_eu/profile MH channels: 'Like' on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/monsterhunter Follow on Twitter https://twitter.com/monsterhunter ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 'Like' on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/capcomUK Follow on Twitter https://twitter.com/Capcom_UK ©CAPCOM CO., LTD.
Posted on April 22, 2016 and filed under News.

It's Star Fox Zero launch day!

Be a Hero in Star Fox Zero!

Hop Into the Pilot’s Seat for an Intense Space Adventure in Star Fox Zero for Wii U

REDMOND, Wash., April 22, 2016 – ALERT! ALERT! This is not a drill! The galaxy as we know it is in jeopardy! The evil Andross has taken over the Lylat System and only you and the Star Fox crew can stop them! The Star Fox Zero game is now available exclusively for Wii U consoles, so pin on your pilot wings and dry clean your flight suit – it’s time to report for duty in this action-packed interplanetary adventure.

The Star Fox series makes its Wii U debut in Star Fox Zero, once again reuniting leader Fox McCloud with his memorable team composed of hotshot Falco Lombardi, reliable Peppy Hare and engineer Slippy Toad. For this new adventure, you take on the role of Fox McCloud as he pilots multiple transforming vehicles using a unique control scheme that lets you shoot in one direction while flying in another. Star Fox Zero is the first game in the series to employ independent controls for flying and aiming your lasers. By looking at the TV to identify your target and using the motion controls on the Wii U GamePad controller to aim and shoot with precision, the game lets players feel like they are right in the pilot’s seat, especially when using the game’s “3D Voice” feature to hear squad-mate audio directly from the GamePad.

Star Fox Zero is a game that’s only possible through the second-screen experience of the Wii U GamePad,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “Many video game fans have experienced the Star Fox series through the years, but never with this level of full-throttle action.”

Co-created by Nintendo and PlatinumGames, developers of the Bayonetta series,Star Fox Zero provides the planet-hopping action that fans have come to love, while introducing new vehicles, missions and a unique control scheme. In addition to flying the now-iconic Arwing vehicle, you can also pilot the ground-based Landmaster Tank and new GyroWing, a hovering drone ideal for stealth-based missions. The Arwing can also transform into the bipedal Walker, allowing for further exploration in the game’s varied levels.

The levels in Star Fox Zero aren’t just about going from point A to point B. Many of the game’s gorgeous locales contain secret exits and hidden collectibles, inviting you to retry missions to discover everything. Just like previous Star Fox games, exploring and discovering new things is part of the fun. By using your stellar piloting skills, you can destroy as many enemies as possible to try to get the highest score. You can even have another player sync up a Wii U Pro controller or Wii Remote controller and Nunchuk (sold separately) and assist in missions by flying the Arwing while you aim and shoot using the motion controls of the GamePad to take out even more enemies.

Star Fox fans are in for a special treat by tapping a Fox or Falco amiibo figure (sold separately). Tapping the Super Smash Bros. series Fox amiibo replaces the normal Arwing with a low-polygon Retro Arwing from the Super Nintendo days (complete with retro music for Corneria). Tapping the Falco amiibo unlocks a special Black Arwing: a high-powered spacecraft created for brave pilots willing to fly with very little shielding.

Every retail version of Star Fox Zero also comes with the Star Fox Guard game on a second disc. This fun and frantic game finds you defending a mining facility owned by Grippy Toad (Slippy’s uncle) from waves of enemy robots using the second screen on the Wii U GamePad controller. A full-fledged Star Fox experience in its own right, Star Fox Guard features 100 stages for players to take on, and also allows players to create and share their own challenges with other players online.

Barrel roll into this unforgettable adventure by purchasing the game in stores at a suggested retail price of $59.99. Star Fox Guard is included in every physical version of Star Fox Zero. Both Star Fox Zero and Star Fox Guard can also by purchased digitally in Nintendo eShop on Wii U or at Nintendo.com for $49.99 and $14.99, respectively. If you purchase the digital version of either game separately, you will receive an automatic discount of $4.99 through Nintendo.com or Nintendo eShop upon purchase of the other game.

To learn more about the characters and story of Star Fox Zero, you can view theStar Fox Zero: The Battle Begins animated short athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wA2-0nTxaGg. Created in partnership with Shigeru Miyamoto, Production I.G and WIT STUDIO, the short explores the backstory behind the game and its first level, Corneria.

For more information about Star Fox Zero, visit http://starfoxzero.nintendo.com/.

Remember that Wii U features parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about this and other features, visithttp://www.nintendo.com/wiiu.

Posted on April 22, 2016 and filed under News.

Monster Hunter Explore soft launches in Canada

Remember how Capcom recently reorganized their Beeline Interactive subsidiary into Capcom Mobile Business Division? Promising to focus on Monster Hunter, Mega Man, and Sengoku BASARA?

Well it looks like we might be seeing the first fruits of that restructuring, as the free to play"Monster Hunter Explore" just soft launched in Canada on the iOS App Store. If you have a Canadian itunes account and would like to give it a try, the link to the game is here.

via touch arcade

The game description is as follows:

Description

Join the hunt! The first true Monster Hunter game for mobile has arrived.
Track and hunt fierce monsters and explore an island of infinite treasures.
Become a hunter of legend on your own or form a hunting party with friends.

· Travel across the seas and explore new hunting grounds of legend.
· Hunt powerful monsters, discover epic treasures and unlock the secrets of a new land.
· Create a hunting party of up to 4 friends or play with hunters over the internet.
· Master 12 types of weapons – Powerful “Great Swords” dynamic “War Hammers” and the lethal “Gun Lance.”
· Master the art of the hunt by using monsters’ weaknesses against them. More than 100 weaknesses can be targeted to help improve a hunters odds of success.

 

Posted on April 20, 2016 and filed under News.

My Nintendo site is open

Look, there's my Mii! I've earned 280 Platinum coins already, and I can do missions to earn more!

Check it out, and start earning those coins!

my.nintendo.com

(UPDATE) I forgot to click on a bunch of the completed missions, so now I'm at 440 Platinum coins. Things like linking your facebook, twitter and google+ accounts to My Nintendo, gets you points very easily. Gold coins come from purchasing games, and the blue Miitomo coins come from activities done in Miitomo, obviously.

Posted on March 31, 2016 and filed under News.

Full details of the Nintendo Direct 3.3.2016

From Nintendo Canada:

MOMENTUM FOR Wii U, NINTENDO 3DS KEEPS GOING THROUGH WINTER, SPRING AND BEYOND

New Nintendo Direct Video Reveals Massive Amount of New Information

VANCOUVER, B.C., March 3, 2016 – In a new Nintendo Direct video, Nintendo revealed new games on the way for its Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems, as well as additional details about previously announced titles. From new games in the Kirby and Paper Mario franchises to a companion game for Star Fox Zero, this is one video that can’t be missed.

To view the Nintendo Direct video in its entirety, visit http://www.nintendo.com/nintendo-direct. Some of the highlights revealed in the video include:

Wii U

·         Star Fox Zero: Fox McCloud returns in an action-packed new adventure. Multiple paths branch out to give players plenty of places to explore, and each route gives them a completely different experience, with each battle posing its own set of unique challenges. Players will notice their skills get better and better over time, as they become top-notch pilots. In two-player mode, one player can fly the Arwing while the other player aims and shoots. The game launches April 22. The packaged version comes with a Star Fox Guard game disc at a suggested retail price of $74.99 while the digital version of the game can be purchased by itself from Nintendo eShop for $64.99.

·         Star Fox Guard: Players set up 12 cameras to find and defeat enemies who are attacking the mining site of Slippy Toad’s uncle, Grippy Toad. The game includes about 100 stages, but players can also create their own stages by editing the placement of enemies and uploading their levels online. The only way to get the physical version of Star Fox Guard is by purchasing the packaged version of Star Fox Zero. The game can also be purchased by itself from Nintendo eShop for $19.99. Customers that purchase the digital version of either Star Fox Zero or Star Fox Guard will receive a $10.00 Nintendo eShop discount toward the other game.

·         Paper Mario: Color Splash: Prism Island is being drained of its colour and it’s up to Paper Mario to stop it! Use Paper Mario’s paint hammer to splash paint on anything it hits and bring the colour back to the island in this new action-adventure game. The game will launch later in 2016.

·         Super Mario Maker: More than 6.2 million courses from players around the world are available for others to play, and now a free March 9 update will add a Super Expert mode to the 100-Mario Challenge. The mode is unlocked after players clear Expert mode. Super Expert Mode dishes out six extremely tough courses. Additionally, 12 new Mystery Mushroom costumes have been added to 100 Mario Challenge. The update also provides level creators with even more tools:

o   Shake a P Switch to turn it into a key. Shake a Door to turn it into a Key Door. Creators can make enemies hold keys, meaning players can’t advance without defeating mandatory bosses.

o   Shake a Coin to turn it into a Pink Coin. Players must collect them all to make a key appear.

o   Shake a Thwomp to turn it into a massive Skewer column from Super Mario World.

o   Additionally, the Super Mario Maker Bookmark site will see additions such as ranking categories for world records and the number of first clears on courses, inspiring new ways to experience the main game.

·         Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games: The Wii U version of the game launches on June 24 and includes two events new to the series: Rugby Sevens and Rhythmic Gymnastics Clubs. Every event in the game takes place in locales modeled after the actual venues in Rio.

·         Splatoon: The hit multiplayer game is getting more updates. An update on March 8 balances some gear abilities to improve some of the lesser-used ones and make them more appealing. Additional tweaks to matchmaking, Ranked Battles and Splatfests aim to improve the overall user experience. Another update arrives in two waves, with the first coming in April. It will adjust some existing weapons and add new weapon set recommendations as “Sheldon’s Picks.”

·         Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE: Slay monsters—and slay like a pop star—all at the same time, in this brand-new RPG from acclaimed developer Atlus. A sinister force from another dimension has invaded modern-day Tokyo, resulting in a fantastical barrage of style, fashion, music and, of course, danger. So play to your strengths in high-energy turn-based battles, then fuse items to craft powerful weapons and crush your foes. Around every corner you’ll find fan-service—including Fire Emblem references—original songs by Japanese entertainment giant Avex, dungeons themed after the entertainment industry and eye-catching music performances. The one-of-a-kind game launches June 24.

·         LOST REAVERS: BANDAI NAMCO’s latest free-to-play online co-op action game asks players to team up with other adventurers online to fight zombies and solve puzzles as they search for valuable treasure. As players complete missions, characters will level up, unlock additional skills and increase their in-game funds to acquire new weapons. An open beta version is launching April 14 with the full version coming to Wii U on April 28.

 

Nintendo 3DS

·         Kirby: Planet Robobot: Invaders have mechanized Dream Land. To restore his home to its original form, Kirby must use their technology against them with the new Robobot Armor. The Robobot Armor can even destroy a variety of obstacles in his way. The Team Kirby Clash mode lets up to four players join forces to battle against powerful bosses. Players select one of four roles, and participate in a co-op quest to defeat a boss while supporting their team. Completing a quest earns experience points to level-up and grow more powerful. The game is compatible with a large variety of amiibo figures, and some give Kirby character-specific abilities. A new series of Kirby amiibo figures that includes Kirby, King Dedede, Meta Knight and Waddle Dee gives Kirby attributes specific to each character. Tapping the Kirby figure is the only way to get the UFO ability. The game and new amiibo figures launch June 10.

·         Metroid Prime: Federation Force: This next chapter in the Metroid Prime series is a first-person adventure fused with puzzle solving, focused on shooting and co-op gameplay. Players take on missions that tell the story of the battle between the Galactic Federation’s elite Federation Force unit and the Space Pirates. Each player must select and carry specific sub-weapons based on their preferred roles, then proceed to complete each mission. The game will launch in late spring.

·         Rhythm Heaven Megamix: The game offers more than 100 rhythm games, 30 of which are new to the series. An additional 70 have been selected from previous games in the series, including the original Game Boy Advance title, which was never released in North America. The game launches later this year.

·         Monster Hunter Generations: The newest installment in the popular Monster Hunter action RPG series from Capcom is making its way to the West. The game will feature a special collaboration armor set based on Marth from the Fire Emblem series. Anyone who plays Monster Hunter Generations on Nintendo 3DS with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate save data present on it will receive bonus content in the new game. As a special promotion, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is being offered at a special price of $27.99 in the Nintendo eShop for 48 hours, starting today at 3 p.m. PT. The game will launch this summer.

·         Disney Art Academy: Discover your inner artist to capture the stunning visuals of over 80 Disney and Pixar characters. With advice and lessons inspired by Disney art and Pixar animations, learn to use a bundle of different drawing tools to create Elsa and Olaf from Disney Frozen, characters from Disney Inside Out, Mickey Mouse and more! Even share your creations with your friends! Disney Art Academy launches May 13.

·         Hyrule Warriors Legends: The game launches March 25, at which point players can buy a season pass to get access to four DLC packs and a bonus costume for Ganondorf. These packs will also be available for purchase individually in Nintendo eShop during the next few months. A transfer code will allow purchasers who also own Hyrule Warriors for Wii U to use Ganondorf’s Trident weapon and play as the five new characters from Hyrule Warriors Legends in the Wii U game. Medli from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker will be available as a free download when the first DLC pack is released.

·         Bravely Second: End Layer: A free demo of the game hits Nintendo eShop on March 10. Playing the demo will earn play bonuses that players can transfer into the full version of the game when it launches on April 15.

·         Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past: Travel to the past to save the present in this classic Dragon Quest adventure that has been completely remade from the ground up for Nintendo 3DS. The world has been rebuilt, the characters have new 3D models and the story has been completely re-localized. Even customize your party with over 30 classes and rank up in turn-based battles to learn new spells and abilities. The game launches later in 2016.

·         Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation: This third path in the story reveals many secrets not available in the Birthright or Conquest versions. On March 10, players can purchase Revelation for $24.99. Once purchased, a third option will appear at the Branch of Fate moment of the game: “Refuse to Choose a Side.” Today two new maps (Museum Melee and Ghostly Gold) are being released for purchase in the Dragon’s Gate in-game DLC shop, with Royal Royale launching on March 17. After March 17, additional maps will be released on a weekly basis through April 21.

 

Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS

·         Virtual Console Update: Super NES games are coming to New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL systems. At the conclusion of today’s Nintendo Direct, Super Mario World, F-Zero and Pilotwings will be available, mirroring the original Super NES launch lineup. On March 24, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Kart and EarthBound will join the lineup. And on April 14, watch for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid and Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Quest. The New Nintendo 3DS hardware enables Perfect Pixel Mode in these versions, which gives players the option to display the games in their original resolution. Find a full listing of Virtual Console titles at Nintendo.com.

·         Azure Striker Gunvolt 2: Gunvolt’s rival Copen joins the fray as a playable character. Players can dash into enemies to lock on to them, then unleash a devastating homing shot. Copen can also copy the abilities of all seven new boss characters and use them as his own. The game launches this summer. In the meantime, the original Azure Striker Gunvolt game is available for $10.49, now through June 1.

·         Pocket Card Jockey: Solitaire meets horse racing – really! Game Freak’s new mashup puts players in the saddle as a jockey who must complete a fast-paced, simplified version of solitaire to propel the horse through intense races. It’s all about leveling up the horse through strategic positioning and placement on the track. Over time, players can win trophies for high-ranking races to secure sponsors. The game launches in May.

 

amiibo

·         Mini Mario and Friends amiibo Challenge: Tap an amiibo figure on the Wii U GamePad controller or New Nintendo 3DS system (or to a Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL or Nintendo 2DS system using the Nintendo 3DS NFC Reader/Writer accessory) to guide one of 11 minis across more than 60 levels. Players can tap any compatible amiibo figure. Or, by tapping specific amiibo figures, players can guide minis that have exclusive level sets or their own unique abilities, like mini Mario’s wall jump or mini Yoshi, who can eat enemies. It will be available to download for free from Nintendo eShop on April 28.

·         Isabelle amiibo Figure: In June, Isabelle will be available separate from the Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival bundle, in her winter outfit. A new Isabelle figure featuring her summer outfit is also coming. Both figures launch on June 10.

·         amiibo Cards: Series 4 of the Animal Crossing amiibo cards launch on June 10.

Posted on March 4, 2016 and filed under News.

My thoughts on the Nintendo Direct 3.3.2016

Here are my play by play thoughts as I watched the Nintendo Direct 3.3.2016.

- Wow, Bill Trinen looks red. And Shigeru Minamoto looks pasty. Who colour corrected this video?
- Star Fox now includes what was previously known as Project Guard, so that's good. I think we're getting good value here, aka Star Fox itself might be a little light on content? Talk of branching paths and replayability aside, I wonder if there isn't really that much there?
- Splatoon is not dead, there will be some more updates, with balancing, new groupings of weapons, some changes to splatfests, and so on.
- Mario and Sonic at the 2016 Rio Olympics actually looks fun, if the rugby, beach volleyball, and soccer games are any good, it could be pretty good sports game for the WiiU
- Update for Super Mario Maker looks nice, addition of boss battles
- SMTxFE finally has a name, it's now Tokyo Mirage Sessions # FE (and that's a musical "sharp", not a hash). The best news, they're keeping the Japanese VO track and just adding subtitles!
- Lost Reavers is Bandai Namco's new game that was announced at last E3. It's free to play, multiplayer dungeon hack and slash.
- Paper Mario Color Splash for the Wii U in which Mario splashes paint with his paint hammer... Paper Mario meets Splatoon, perhaps?
- Pokken Tournament looks cool, and for those who buy early, there will be a Limited Edition Mewtwo amiibo card in the box. Included in the first production run only. March 18
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD Mar 4 - hype the development videos online, go watch those
- Talk about My Nintendo, and sign up for Miitomo
- Mini Mario & Friends amiibo challenge - free for Wii U and 3DS with amiibo purchase March 25, but then free to download April 28.
- Virtual Console gets an upgrade, but only for NEW 3DS models. Will release SNES VC titles, including Perfect Pixel mode. Games coming March 3, and then more will continue to roll out over the coming weeks
- This horse racing card game looks really weird Pocket Card Jockey
- Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is coming, and yet Mighty No 9 is still not done... hm
- Fire Emblem Revelation is the third path available March 10, as well as more DLC rolling out starting today
- Hyrule Warriors Legends for 3DS, will also have DLC with Season Pass giving access to 4 packs for 2016
- If you have the WiiU game already, you can transfer characters from the 3DS game and play them in the WiiU version
- GameStop has a softcover art book with pre-order
- Disney Art Academy May 13 for 3DS
- Bravely Second End Layer jobs highlight, blah blah blah, catmancer, what? Free demo March 10, might as well try it
- That art book is niiiiice and big
- DQ VII completely remade for 3DS, story has been completely re-tranlsated... uh oh, cue the censorship complaints!
- Monster Hunter Generations!!!!!!!!!!! Oh Yeah!!!! Coming summer 2016. Bonus content if you have save data from MH4U present on the system. Marth crossover armor and weapon set crossover.
- Kensuke Tanabe talks about Metroid Prime Federation Force, started in 2009 (!) but took a break because hardware. Ah, makes sense. "Absolutely belongs in the Metroid universe, that I guarantee." Addressing the critics who have said that this isn't a Metroid game. Trailer is shown Not a fan of the voiceover voice. Sorry.
- Rhythm Heaven Megamix on 3DS sometime this year. Looks like my kind of crazy jam
- Kirby in a mech, the Robobot armor looks cute/awesome... Kirby Planet Robobot, comes with a new Kirby series of amiibo, wow. Only one is new, Waddle De. Kirby, Meta Knight, and King Dedede are repeats. Now they have blue bases, and different poses from the Smash amiibo

Well, that's it for the Direct summary. I'm very excited that Monster Hunter Generations is coming!

Posted on March 3, 2016 and filed under News.

Nintendo's weekly digital download highlights for February 18, 2016

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

  • Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS
    • Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright – Two kingdoms are on the brink of war. Whose side will you choose? Torn between two families, you’re an heir of Hoshido, raised by Nohrian royals. If you walk the path ofBirthright, you’ll battle the corrupted king of Nohr beside a family of strangers. Command them expertly and forge deep relationships to master this next entry in the beloved turn-based strategy series. TheFire Emblem Fates: Birthright game will be available on Feb. 19.
    • Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest – Two kingdoms are on the brink of war. Whose side will you choose? Torn between two families, you’re an heir of Hoshido, raised by Nohrian royals. If you walk the path of Conquest, you must fight to change your misguided kingdom from within. Command warriors with expert precision and forge deep relationships to master this next entry in the beloved turn-based strategy series. The Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest game will be available on Feb. 19.
    • Fire Emblem Fates: Map Pack 1 – Map Pack 1 features 11 maps plus bonus content upon release. These maps shine new light on the cast of characters from Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, as well as old favorites from the Fire Emblem Awakeninggame. Discover new background stories about these beloved warriors, while earning more experience points and exclusive weaponry. By purchasing Map Pack 1, players will receive the downloadable content as it releases. Maps will launch weekly through April 21. Players must own Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright or Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest to access all DLC, which is available for purchase in-game after completing Chapter 6. The first map, Map 1: Before Awakening, is now available for free to owners of either game.
    • Project X Zone 2 – In the sequel to the original world-crossing adventure, legendary characters from some of Japan’s most prolific video game publishers come together to create the biggest mashup strategy game ever! Team up with classic characters from dozens of the most popular franchises in video game history like Chrom and Lucina from Fire Emblem Awakening and Fiora from the Xenoblade Chronicles game. Click here to view a trailer for the game.
  • Virtual Console on Wii U
    • Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos – In this NES classic sequel, the Emperor of Darkness, Ashtar, is on the move following his servant’s failure. It’s up to Ryu Hayabusa to save the day again. Pick up items that will provide increased abilities, like splitting Ryu into three. Destroy enemies with the Invincible Fire Wheel and other powerful ninjutsu techniques.  
    • Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom – Join master ninja Ryu Hayabusa, last member of the famous Dragon Clan, in the third and final chapter of the legendary Ninja Gaiden saga on NES. Help Ryu defeat the forces of evil once more and discover the real culprit behind – spoiler alert! – Irene’s tragic death!
    • Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones – Join the Lee brothers as they head on a worldwide search for their friend Marion and the powerful Sacred Stones. Defeat your enemies using a collection of martial arts moves, including those of enemies that join your quest. Play solo or together with another player as you finally reach the evil mastermind behind Marion’s kidnapping.

 Nintendo eShop sales:

 Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS:
·         New themes this week include:

o   SEGA Dreamcast Theme
o   Pokémon: Champion Steven
o   Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright – Available on Feb. 19
o   Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest – Available on Feb. 19


Also new this week:

Posted on February 19, 2016 and filed under News.

Nintendo Accounts and Miitomo Preregistration now open

It's a brave new world, people. Nintendo Accounts are now open for sign up. You can use your pre-existing Nintendo Network ID, or use something new. Sign up at https://accounts.nintendo.com/

Also open for preregistration is Nintendo's first mobile game, Miitomo. Available in March 2016 for both iOS and Android, you can sign up to be first to experience the fun. Sign up here: https://miitomo.com/en/

Posted on February 17, 2016 and filed under News.

Nintendo Canada hosts Fire Emblem Fates Special Event in Toronto

Nintendo Canada gave fans and media a special advance look at the upcoming Fire Emblem Fates games last week. Featuring both side of the new game, participants were invited to choose their fate and side with either the Kingdom of Hoshido or the Kingdom of Nohr. If you haven't heard the story of the game, you are an heir of the Hoshido family, taken and raised by the royal family of Nohr. Your choice: stay with the Nohrians and fight to change the misguided kingdom from the inside, or go back to your birth family and fight Nohr, but with a family that are strangers to you.

On display were replica Falchions and banners for each side, and pedestals with multiple 3DS units loaded with the game. I chose the Hoshido side for my demo (aka Birthright), and was handed a New 3DS XL with the game at Chapter 13. My demo rep walked me through some of the new elements of Fire Emblem Fates, and wisely let me know that I could skip the cut scenes if I wanted to avoid spoilers.

From what I saw in the demo, it really feels like more Fire Emblem, which is a good thing. The battle animations are slicker in this version, zooming in from the above angle down to the field level. Also, perhaps most importantly, the character models now have feet. Cut scenes are well done as always, but disappointingly there is no Japanese audio option this time around, unlike FE: Awakening.

This will be on my list for 2017 once our No Buy 2016 challenge is over, that's for sure! Fire Emblem: Birthright and Conquest release on February 19th, 2016.

Check out some photos from the event:

Posted on February 16, 2016 and filed under News.

Ryan’s Not Buying Any Games in 2016!

Eugene, Mikey and I discussed our resolution to not buy any new games in 2016 on episode 38 of The Magic Hour Show. This, on our way to become the ultimate versions of ourselves – the Mega Evolution of gamer parents: well-rounded, balanced and financially responsible. I plan to update progress here – what I didn’t buy (that I totally would have in 2015), and summaries of the games played during this trial.

Since I’ve not purchased any more games since 2015 ended, quite a few have already been completed.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Stick of Truth is a Paper Mario inspired 2-D RPG title to play when kids are asleep, or are already allowed to watch the series. Stick of Truth made me feel that I was playing through an episode of the series. There were moments that made me a little uncomfortable, and I prefer the cursing in the cartoon beeped out, but I had a blast playing it. After 18 hours of playtime, there are still some achievements I would replay for, as I’d also like to experience some of the other character classes.

Bastion

I finally completed a little game called Bastion, and I enjoyed this isometric adventure. The manner in which the story is told is simply charming, with extremely well-voiced narration unfolding the events of the world, as the world itself unfolds before you. A wide range of weapons, skills and upgrades allowed for lots of experimentation to find the best build suited to my playstyle. I resisted the urge to go too far in New Game +, but plan to in order to complete some challenges and see an alternative ending.

Lifeline

I finished an iOS game. That’s a first. Lifeline is a text-message style choose-your-own adventure sci-fi experience. I looked forward to communiques from my space friend each morning.

About the Author
Ryan isn’t a game journalist, but he enjoys writing about his hobby.
He hopes you’ll chat and play some games with him @zoso1701 on Twitter, Miiverse and Steam.
Hear him on the Magic Hour Show Podcast from gamerparent.net!

Bioshock 2

Bioshock was a cool game. So is Bioshock2. I didn’t know who my character would be heading back into Rapture. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. I don’t remember the original game having as much combat as its sequel, but I may be misremembering – it’s been a long time. Chaining together plasmids and physical attacks was so much fun, though, I didn’t care. Rapture remains an interesting place to visit, and I was glad to see more of it. I managed to finish the game a good dad, playing only during nap times, late at night and early mornings. Time played: 16 hours.

Undertale

So, Undertale is like a real popular game. I played it. I liked it. If you like quirky RPGs, you’ll probably like it, too. But, I’m guessing you’ve already played it. Undertale was totally safe for play around the kids, and made for some interesting read-alouds of in game text, in place of story time. I enjoyed Undertale enough that, after investing 12 hours in two endings, I’ll definitely play through a third.

Portal

Portal was the first Steam game I acquired. It’s hard to believe that wasn’t until 2014. After four hours spread out over 2 years, I finished the story puzzles and saw those awesome credits. My daughter was very interested in the idea of a three-dimensional puzzle, and how something you don’t put together on the floor is considered a puzzle. I’m excited for Portal 2, as I’ve heard on good authority that it’s a near flawless game.

Posted on February 13, 2016 and filed under Countdown.

NINTENDO DIRECT HIGHLIGHTS STRONG HOLIDAY AND EARLY 2016 FOR Wii U AND NINTENDO 3DS

Cloud from FINAL FANTASY VII Headed to Super Smash Bros.; The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD Revealed; Original Pokémon Games Return and More!

VANCOUVER, B.C., November 12, 2015 – Nintendo debuted a new Nintendo Direct presentation today, revealing details about several new and upcoming Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games. Some of the exciting news included the reveal that iconic video game character Cloud from FINAL FANTASY VII will be added as a playable DLC fighter in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. Other notable announcements included the reveal of an HD remake of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Wii U console, a new Wii U bundle featuring Splatoon and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and news that the Pokémon games that started it all – Pokémon Red Version, Pokémon Blue Version and Pokémon Yellow Version – will launch with new wireless communication functionality on Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo 3DS system on February 27. To view the Nintendo Direct video in its entirety, visit http://www.nintendo.com/nintendo-direct.

“There’s never been a better time to join in on the fun with Nintendo,” said Pierre-Paul Trepanier, Nintendo of Canada’s General Manager and Senior Director. “From new experiences like Xenoblade Chronicles X that you can enjoy this year to re-imagined favourites like The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon coming in 2016, we have you covered with games you’re sure to love.”

Some of the highlights revealed in the video include:

 

Wii U and Nintendo 3DS

 

·         A New Challenger Approaches!: Cloud Strife, the legendary protagonist from the classic RPG game FINAL FANTASY VII, will enter the battlefield as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS in the future. A special video presentation will be released in December, which will share more updates about the hit fighting games. More information is available at http://www.smashbros.com/us/dlc/.

 

Wii U

 

·         The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD: Originally released for Wii and Nintendo GameCube systems in 2006, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is a visually-remastered remake of one of the most critically-acclaimed games in The Legend of Zelda series. The new game launches on March 4 in a bundle with a detailed new amiibo figure modeled after the Wolf Link and Midna characters in the game. The game will also be compatible with five other The Legend of Zelda amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. series.

·         The Legend of Zelda for Wii U (name not final): Next year marks the 30th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda series. And with that comes The Legend of Zelda for Wii U, the next entry in the storied franchise. During the Nintendo Direct presentation, it was revealed that certain saved data from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD on the Wolf Link amiibo can be carried over to this new game.

·         New Wii U Bundle: A new Wii U Deluxe Set that includes the Wii U console and pre-installed versions of hit games Splatoon and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U launches this holiday season. More information about this bundle and other holiday deals from Nintendo will be shared later this month.

·         Pokkén Tournament: A collaboration between The Pokémon Company and BANDAI Namco Entertainment, Pokkén Tournament is a new fighting game for Wii U that lets players use their favourite Pokémon characters to battle it out in fighting arenas. Fans who purchase a first-run version of the game at retail will receive a limited-edition Shadow Mewtwo amiibo card that immediately unlocks the character in the game after tapping it to the GamePad. Pokkén Tournament launches exclusively for Wii U in Spring 2016.

·         Star Fox Zero: Star Fox Zero delivers a new beginning for the classic shooter series. With a unique control scheme that uses both the TV screen and the screen on the GamePad, players pilot multiple vehicles through intergalactic levels with Fox and his classic crew in Star Fox Zero. The game launches exclusively for Wii U on April 22.

·         An Ink-redible Splatoon Update: Today at 5 p.m. PT, a free new update for Splatoon adds more than 40 pieces of new gear, including more winter items and some slick bandanas. And on November 13 at 6 p.m. PT, another free new update adds a new stage called Museum d’Alfonsino. Further stages and features will be added in future updates through January. An official Nintendo Treehouse Splatoon Tournament will happen in December, featuring competitive game play as well as tips for players about setting up their own tournaments. The tournament will be live streamed at www.youtube.com/nintendo, www.twitch.tv/nintendo and live.nintendo.com

·         Super Mario Maker Powers Up Once Again: In December, a new Web portal will offer a more robust search function to find and filter levels in Super Mario Maker across a variety of Web-enabled devices to play when you get home!

·         Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival: By tapping any of the Animal Crossing amiibo figures, players can play as that character in the game’s main mode, a dynamic board game. Players can also tap in their Animal Crossing amiibo cards to play other modes like an Animal Crossing quiz. The Wii U game that includes the Isabelle and Digby amiibo figures and three amiibo cards launches on November 13 at a suggested retail price of $79.99, the same day as the standalone Animal Crossing amiibo figures.

·         Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash: On November 20, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash launches exclusively for Wii U at a suggested price of $64.99. The game includes a fun New Super Mario Bros. power-up, the Mega Mushroom, which is featured in the over-the-top “Mega Battle Mode.” Players can also select “Classic Mode” to enjoy a more traditional game of tennis. Players can compete online or together via local play, and the game is compatible with amiibo in select modes, including online matches.

·         Xenoblade Chronicles X: Massive RPG Xenoblade Chronicles X launches exclusively for Wii U on December 4 at a suggested retail price of $74.99. For people who purchase the physical version of the game, four free high-speed data loading packs are available to download from the Nintendo eShop starting today. The data packs greatly increase the speed of loading times in the game, but are not required to play.

 

Nintendo 3DS

 

·         Where it all Began: The original Pokémon games – Pokémon Red Version, Pokémon Blue Version and Pokémon Yellow Version – are coming to the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS on February 27, the same day that the original games first released in Japan in 1996. And there’s no need to pull out those old Game Boy Game Link cables while playing. Using the wireless communication on Nintendo 3DS, players can trade Pokémon with other players.

·         Hyrule Warriors: Legends: Take the epic Hyrule Warriors experience on the go! Hyrule Warriors: Legends offers players the entire Hyrule Warriors game on Nintendo 3DS … but with even more content! This time, Tetra, Toon Link and the King of Hyrule from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker join the Skull Kid from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask on the battlefield. In addition, new character Linkle, a girl who lives in a small village filled with Cuccos and wields two crossbows, joins the large cast of playable characters. Players will be able to command multiple characters, taking direct control of them at any time, leading to new strategic options on the battlefield. Hyrule Warriors: Legends launches for Nintendo 3DS on March 25.

·         Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam: The hilarious Mario & Luigi series meets the charming Paper Mario series in the Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam game, launching exclusively for Nintendo 3DS on January 22 at a suggested retail price of $49.99. Using compatible amiibo, players can create a corresponding character card in the game, which has powerful effects during battle.

·         Fire Emblem Fates: There are multiple adventures waiting to be experienced in Fire Emblem Fates for Nintendo 3DS. By purchasing one of the two main games – Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright or Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest – either at retail locations or in the Nintendo eShop starting February 19, players choose to embark on a unique quest with a different story and different experiences. The decision that the player makes early in the game will dictate the game’s story and difficulty. After purchasing one game, the downloadable version of the other will be available as a reduced price via an in-game purchase. There will even be a third downloadable version in the near future, Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation, for players who own either Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright or Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest and want to take on a new challenge and experience an alternative version of the game. For fans of the series, a special edition will be available that includes all three games, an artbook and a Nintendo 3DS XL pouch.

·         The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes DLC: New free DLC is coming on December 2, adding Linebeck’s Uniform and Fierce Deity Armor outfits, each with unique powers, as well as the new Den of Trials with more than 30 stages to conquer. The upcoming software update also makes it more convenient to get Friendly Tokens by purchasing them from the Street Merchant once the princess’ curse has been lifted. Additionally, two adjustments will ensure a more comfortable online experience: By answering a question before matchmaking, you will be matched with other players who gave similar answers, plus players who leave a game in progress through the Pause menu can be added to the blacklist.

·         Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon: Players can become one of 20 Pokémon in Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, launching for Nintendo 3DS on November 20 at a suggested retail price of $49.99. With turn-based battles and ever-changing dungeons, players can encounter every single known Pokémon in the game – all 720 of them!

·         Nintendo Badge Arcade: Now available in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Badge Arcade is a free-to-start game that lets players control a classic arcade-style crane machine to earn badges from popular titles to customize their Nintendo 3DS HOME menus. The game is constantly being updated with new badges, so it’s always great to keep checking back!

·         Two Dragon Quest Games are Better than One: The lineup of RPGs on Nintendo 3DS continues to grow with classic games Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past and Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, both remastered for Nintendo 3DS and coming in 2016.

·         Pokémon Picross: The popular Picross series meets the lovable world of Pokémon when free-to-start game Pokémon Picross launches exclusively in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS in early December.

 

amiibo

 

·         January 22nd sees the release of Lucas in the Super Smash Bros. series, amiibo figures for Resetti, Blathers, Celeste and Kicks in the Animal Crossing series, and Series 2 of the Animal Crossing amiibo cards.

 

Third-Party

 

·         FINAL FANTASY EXPLORERS from Square Enix, Inc. (Nintendo 3DS): In the first FINAL FANTASY action-RPG on Nintendo 3DS, players journey to an island filled with mystical crystals protected by powerful eidolons. More than 20 jobs can be learned, each with its own set of special skills. When FINAL FANTASY EXPLORERS launches exclusively for Nintendo 3DS on January 26, it will include all the DLC that was previously released in Japan. Multiplayer functionality for up to four players is enabled through Nintendo 3DS local wireless communication.

·         Mega Man Legacy Collection from Capcom (Nintendo 3DS): Capcom’s iconic Blue Bomber has been a classic part of Nintendo history since the NES days. Mega Man Legacy Collection launches for Nintendo 3DS on February 23 and features faithful reproductions ofthe first six NES Mega Man games (Mega Man 1-6), plus new ways to experience these classics with Challenge Mode’s remix stages and Museum Mode’s repository of original production art. In addition, the game comes with exclusive new challenges that can be unlocked using the Mega Man amiibo. But that’s not the only amiibo that can unlock these bonus challenges! A new gold-coloured Mega Man amiibo figure also launches as part of the Mega Man Legacy Collection Collector’s Edition.

·         Hive Jump from Graphite Lab (Wii U): Players shoot their way through dangerous alien infestations in Hive Jump, a frenetic run ’n’ gun platformer for one to four players. Hive Jump launches in the Nintendo eShop with exclusive Wii U features in early 2016.

·         Kerbal Space Program from Squad (Wii U): By using the Wii U GamePad, players can take part in the complete space agency experience, from building a spaceship part by part, to mission control by flying their creation and conquering the planets and moons of the solar system. Kerbal Space Program launches in Nintendo eShop for Wii U in early 2016.

·         SteamWorld Heist from Image & Form (Nintendo 3DS): For a limited time, players who purchase side-scrolling, turn-based strategy shooter SteamWorld Heist in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS when it launches this holiday season will receive an exclusive Nintendo 3DS HOME Menu theme.

·         FAST Racing Neo from Shin’en (Wii U): It’s almost here! FAST Racing Neo, the high-octane racing game with up to eight-player online multiplayer, launches exclusively in the Nintendo eShop on Wii U in early December.

·         Typoman from Headup Games and Brainseed Factory (Wii U): Typoman is a puzzling platformer that tells a dark tale of heroes and monsters, where words can either be a blessing ...or a curse! Using the GamePad in a unique way, in Typoman players set out on an adventure to explore the incredible power of words and how they can be used to survive the environmental hazards and overcome vicious enemies. The game launches exclusively in the Nintendo eShop on Wii U on November 19.

·         Mighty No. 9 from Deep Silver (Wii U / Nintendo 3DS): From Keiji Inafune, the creator of the Mega Man series, comes Mighty No. 9. This action side-scroller can be played solo or with two players in online co-op and competitive modes. The Wii U version of the game launches on February 9, with a Nintendo 3DS version following shortly thereafter.

·         LEGO Marvel’s Avengers from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (Wii U / Nintendo 3DS): With an extensive roster of new characters to play, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers features storylines and locations from six different films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as classic Avengers content seen in Marvel Comics, all retold with a unique splash of LEGO humor. The game launches for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS on January 26.

·         Project X Zone 2 from BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America, Inc.  (Nintendo 3DS): Everyone’s favourite Capcom, SEGA and BANDAI NAMCO characters are crossing over once again in Project X Zone 2. But this time Nintendo is also joining the fun by adding Chrom and Lucina from Fire Emblem Awakening and Fiora from Xenoblade Chronicles to the game. Project X Zone 2 launches exclusively for Nintendo 3DS on February 16.

·         Terraria from 505 Games (Wii U / Nintendo 3DS): In Terraria, players explore vast fantasy worlds and wage war on hundreds of enemies and giant bosses using weapons and armor they craft themselves. They can even use the touch-screen interface on the Nintendo 3DS system or the Wii U GamePad to reach directly into the world of Terraria, fashioning elaborate and amazing structures with their fingertips. It’s also possible to share the adventure with friends, with online and split-screen multiplayer for Wii U and local play for Nintendo 3DS. Hundreds of hours of entertainment await in Terraria, launching in the Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS in early 2016.

For more information about Nintendo, visit http://www.nintendo.com/.

Posted on November 12, 2015 and filed under News.

My Steam Controller came

My unboxing video on Periscope is here.

My new Steam Controller came and I opened it. After putting in the batteries, I tried it on my Mac. And while it let me navigate around Big Picture Mode, it didn't seem to be recognized in Hotline Miami.

I'll give it a try on my PC tomorrow. Also, did you know that it can do motion control? That means I can play shooters on my PC with motion control like in Splatoon. Boom.

It's a whole new world, baby.

Posted on November 11, 2015 and filed under Reviews.