Archive for the ‘Nintendo’ Category

Bowser will replace Reggie Fils-Aimé as Nintendo of America president

February 22nd, 2019
Promotional image from a video game featuring plumber Mario being threatened by malevolent turtle Bowser.

Enlarge / If your name is Mario and you work at Nintendo of America, watch out. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

After 16 years at Nintendo of America, president, COO, and famed spokesperson Reggie Fils-Aimé will retire from his roles this year. His last day is April 15, at which time he will be replaced by senior VP of sales Doug Bowser, according to a press release.

Fils-Aimé joined the company in 2003 as executive VP of sales and marketing before becoming its president and chief operating officer in 2006. For years, he has been the public face of Nintendo in the United States at press conferences and online marketing streams, and he has become the personification of the gaming brand for millions of consumers, players, and onlookers. He became the subject of numerous memes, and he sparked the "my body is ready" meme popular on Internet gaming forums.

A new age of gamer memes seems to be upon us, though, because his replacement bears the same name as the primary villain of the company's beloved Mario video game franchise. Doug Bowser has been with Nintendo since 2015, when his title was vice president of sales. He was promoted to senior VP in 2016.

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Posted in bowser, Gaming & Culture, Mario, Nintendo, Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils Aime | Comments (0)

How did Yoshi’s Island music end up in an official US gov’t Web game?

February 20th, 2019
A shot from the EPA's <em>Recycle City Challenge.</em> Not shown: The <em>Yoshi's Island DS</em> music that played in the background of the game.

Enlarge / A shot from the EPA's Recycle City Challenge. Not shown: The Yoshi's Island DS music that played in the background of the game. (credit: EPA.gov)

A flash game available on the Environmental Protection Agency website since at least early 2017 made surprising use of copyrighted music from Nintendo's 2006 game Yoshi's Island DS.

Recycle City Challenge is an extremely simple educational Flash game that asks players to answer basic questions about how to reduce waste and energy use. But yesterday, fan site Nintendo Soup was among the first to publicly notice that the Web game used a looping version of Yoshi's Island DS' "Underground" theme in the background.

The music, which played in a version of Recycle City Challenge accessed by Ars as recently as this morning, has since been removed from the live version on the EPA's website. You can still hear it in this Internet Archive copy of the site, though, and compare that directly to the same song on the Yoshi's Island DS soundtrack. Perhaps not coincidentally, a file named "yoshidsunderground.mp3" containing a copy of the song in question was in a music subfolder on the EPA website (as cataloged in this Internet Archive link) until earlier today.

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Posted in copyright, Gaming & Culture, law, Legal, music, Nintendo | Comments (0)

Why is this copy of Super Mario Bros. worth $100,000? We asked a buyer

February 15th, 2019
Of the millions of copies of <em>Super Mario Bros.</em> ever sold, this is the rarest and most valuable known to exist.

Enlarge / Of the millions of copies of Super Mario Bros. ever sold, this is the rarest and most valuable known to exist. (credit: Wata Games)

A sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. for the NES has sold for $100,150, setting a new record for the video game-collecting market and perhaps ushering in a new era for the valuation of gaming rarities.

Before you go searching to see if that old cartridge in your attic might be your gateway to riches, note that this copy of the game is so valuable primarily because it’s one of the earliest known copies of the game, and in near-perfect condition. The box in question comes from Nintendo's extremely limited "test market launch" for the NES in New York City and Los Angeles starting in late 1985 (no one actually knows the exact date). These copies didn't come in the usual shrink wrap but were instead sealed with a small matte or glossy sticker (this handy guide outlines the many different Super Mario Bros. box variants released between 1985 and 1994).

Deniz Kahn—CEO and cofounder of game-grading service Wata Games, which evaluated this specimen—estimates that only 2,000 to 10,000 copies of each of the 27 test market games were ever made in this sticker-sealed style. That makes finding even an opened box decades later rare enough. Finding one with the sticker seal intact is even rarer; Kahn estimates only a few dozen exist across the whole test-market line.

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Posted in collectors, Gaming & Culture, Nintendo, Rare, Super Mario Bros. | Comments (0)

Dealmaster: As Switch sales slow, Nintendo launches a new bundle

February 15th, 2019
The bundle includes the neon red and neon blue Joy-Cons.

Enlarge / The bundle includes the neon red and neon blue Joy-Cons. (credit: Mark Walton)

Nintendo has released a new Switch bundle that pairs the popular game console with a $35 credit to its eShop digital store. The company announced the bundle last week, but the deal has now become available at various retailers, including Walmart (which lists it as being up for pre-order as of this writing), Amazon, GameStop, and Best Buy.

The bundle retails for $299.99, the Switch’s standard going rate, with the $35 credit available in the form of a download code packed with the console. Nintendo says the credit can be put toward any purchase in the eShop. The company has not provided a specific time frame for the new promotion, only saying that the bundle will be available while supplies last.

This isn’t the absolute best deal we’ve seen for the Switch—a handful of coupon codes and one-off promotions have dropped it as low as $225 in the past year. But those deals have typically been brief, and getting what effectively amounts to a $35 discount is still a pleasant bonus for those who have been interested in picking up the console. For reference, Nintendo’s primary Switch deal for Black Friday was simply bundling Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with the device.

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Posted in consoles, dealmaster, Gaming & Culture, Nintendo, Nintendo eShop, nintendo switch, video games | Comments (0)

Nintendo: 3DS sales falling “faster than anticipated”

February 8th, 2019
Just a few of the many 3DS hardware options still being supported by Nintendo.

Enlarge / Just a few of the many 3DS hardware options still being supported by Nintendo.

Since just before the Switch launched and as recently as October, Nintendo has continued to insist the 3DS can exist alongside the Switch as a lower-cost, lower-powered portable gaming alternative. Over the last two years, there have even been some signs of life for the aging portable's continued market health.

But 2018 might be seen as the year the market finally starting slipping away from the aging 3DS. Hardware sales for the 2018 calendar year were just 2.85 million, down over 57 percent from the year before. That's a marked change from the 2016 to 2017 period, where 3DS sales worldwide fell just nine percent year-over-year (despite the intervening launch of the ultra-hot Switch in 2017).

Nintendo's new president Shuntaro Furukawa admitted in a recent Q&A that "the Nintendo 3DS market has contracted faster than we anticipated." But in practically the same breath, he once again committed to supporting the system alongside the Switch going forward.

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Posted in 3DS, Gaming & Culture, market, Nintendo, sales, Switch | Comments (0)

Nintendo bringing Dr. Mario to iOS, Android this summer

February 1st, 2019
The logo for <em>Dar. Mario World</em>.

Enlarge / The logo for Dar. Mario World. (credit: Nintendo / Twitter)

Nintendo announced last night that it will be bringing the classic color-matching puzzle game Dr. Mario to Android and iOS devices in 60 countries as Dr. Mario World early this summer.

Nintendo said the game will be "free to download with optional in-app purchases," but didn't go into detail on how exactly the monetization system would work. Many mobile puzzle game (such as the Candy Crush series) use timer-based "energy" systems to limit the amount you can play without paying in a certain period. Nintendo has used similar cooldown timers in games like Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes, though other Nintendo-developed mobile titles have used other monetization methods.

Dr. Mario World is being co-developed by Line, a Japanese mobile developer mainly known for the messaging app of the same name. Nintendo had previously partnered with Line for sticker packs in that app, but had relied on a partnership with DeNA for games like Super Mario Run and Miitomo. Nintendo also owns a five percent share of mobile developer Cygames, which released action-RPG Dragalia Lost with Nintendo last year.

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Posted in Android, dr. mario, Gaming & Culture, iOS, Mobile, Nintendo, puzzle | Comments (0)

Nintendo’s next Switch model will reportedly shrink the size, cost, features

January 31st, 2019
Artist's estimate of how small the rumored Nintendo Switch revision might look, based on a Nikkei report. (To be clear, this image is sarcastic.)

Enlarge / Artist's estimate of how small the rumored Nintendo Switch revision might look, based on a Nikkei report. (To be clear, this image is sarcastic.) (credit: Aurich / Walt Disney Pictures)

Nintendo's rumored plans to produce a revised Nintendo Switch model picked up steam on Thursday with a tantalizing bit of new information. Last year's rumor mill simply predicted a new model could arrive in 2019, but a Japanese report has narrowed fans' expectations based on its sources' intel: Nintendo may have a new SKU with portability and price, not power, in mind. (And the news outlet uncovered one other possible "service" to come, as well.)

The report from official stock exchange news outlet Nikkei.com (helpfully translated by Nintendo Everything) cites a combination of hardware partners and game developers, who all suggest the next Switch model will be "miniaturized." The resulting system will reportedly emphasize "portability" and "playing outside," and it will "cut features" to bring the retail price down.

Nikkei's report does not include more specifics, which still leaves plenty of questions about this rumored SKU. If we add up the details offered by Nikkei, though, we can guess that one of its cut features might be the removal of a bundled Switch TV Dock; this product can currently be purchased separately at an MSRP of $89.99. Cutting that combination of chipset, plastic mold, and increased box size and weight would be the easiest way to cut the system's current $299.99 MSRP.

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, Nintendo, Nintendo 3DS, nintendo switch | Comments (0)

Putting Switch’s 32 million shipments in context

January 31st, 2019

With two full holiday seasons of public sales data now under its belt, the Nintendo Switch continues to help right a company balance sheet that was nearly decimated by the Wii U. Last night, Nintendo reported 9.41 million Switch shipments in the holiday 2018 quarter, contributing to 32.27 million consoles shipped worldwide since the system's March 2017 launch.

Those numbers sure sound big, but they can be hard to judge in the abstract. So, as we have done in the past, we decided to provide some quick comparisons that put the Switch's continued success into the proper context. Use these numbers to calibrate your impression of how well Nintendo's new system is really doing and to adjust your projections of how it may do going forward (as Nintendo has).

(Lifetime sales measure slightly different calendar periods due to staggered release dates through the year, but all include two holiday seasons. Monthly periods rounded up for partial launch months).

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Posted in context, Gaming & Culture, Mario, Mario Kart, Nintendo, smash bros., Switch, Zelda | Comments (0)

Nintendo throws out Metroid Prime 4 work, restarts with Retro Studios

January 25th, 2019
This continues to be the only image Nintendo has released of its apparently troubled <em>Metroid Prime 4</em> project.

Enlarge / This continues to be the only image Nintendo has released of its apparently troubled Metroid Prime 4 project.

Nintendo has announced that it is "essentially... restarting development from the beginning" on the highly anticipated Metroid Prime 4, saying the game as it currently exists "has not reached the standards we seek in a sequel to the Metroid Prime series."

The surprise announcement comes from Nintendo General Manager for Development Shinya Takahashi. He said in a YouTube video posted this morning that current Metroid Prime 4 producer Kensuke Tanabe will begin "collaborating" on the game with Retro Studios, the studio responsible for the original Metroid Prime trilogy. Tanabe has previously worked as producer on multiple Retro-developed Metroid Prime titles.

"The current development status of the game is very challenged and we have made a very difficult decision as a development team," Takahashi said in the subtitled video. "We have decided to reexamine the development structure and change it."

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Posted in delay, exclusive, Gaming & Culture, metroid prime 4, Nintendo, Retro Studios, Switch | Comments (0)

Hackers find Super NES games mentioned in Switch’s emulated NES files

January 14th, 2019
This cat's reaction of a real SNES mimics our reaction to the existence of SNES game references in the Switch's NES emulation files.

This cat's reaction of a real SNES mimics our reaction to the existence of SNES game references in the Switch's NES emulation files.

Dataminers have discovered references to numerous Super NES games in the files for the Switch's "Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online" subscription emulation service, suggesting that the company could be planning to expand the system's emulated offerings in the future.

Switch hacker KapuccinoHeck—who has previously shared mods and hidden data for Splatoon 2 and other Switch games—used Twitter to link to the text of a file full of internal string variables purportedly stored in the NES Online's file system. Fellow modder OatmealDome confirmed that file's authenticity via Twitter. Though Ars has not been able to independently verify the file's existence in the Switch's NES Online app, the information comes from hackers who have provided reliable datamining information from Switch games in the past.

In addition to information about the current NES Online software selection, the shared file also includes references to the following Super NES games, many of which include extensive descriptions of those games in Japanese and/or English:

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Posted in Datamining, emulator, Features, Gaming & Culture, Nintendo, online, SNES, super nes, Switch | Comments (0)