Nintendo Japan's LINE account - bonus easter egg art!

A special treat... If you can read his Japanese message!

Daan was kind enough to post the main new weekly background images from the official Nintendo Japan LINE account earlier, but there are a couple more surprises. Only catch is that you'd need to understand Japanese to even get all three.

Inside the chat, instead of a keyboard, it gives you three images: one giant square promoting the Zelda site, but two smaller images of Toad: one with a paintbrush and one sticking out his tongue. Tap either of those to receive the following...

"Zelda striking a standing pose. At every glance, she's just beautiful."

"Hyaaa! Hoooo! I'm one to open the sail just before landing. I've got an original wallpaper gift for you. Just type 'breath [of the wild] toad' "

**If you enter ブレスキノピオくん into the chat with him you'll get a special bonus wallpaper. I won't spoil the surprise, but it's worth it! ♥️ –cort

Hey! Let's "Switch" up GoNintendo with some launch fan banners!

Because anything is better than nothing.

Tell the truth: you missed me. Ok, then lie please.

It's been ages since we've posted fan banners on the site, mostly due to promotional and contractual obligations. But who needs money!? Let's do fan banners again.

I've heard something new and Nintendo-y is coming out soon, so if there are any among you exhibiting signs of exhilaration or anxiety, why not fire up your favorite image editor and churn out some fan art as therapy? We'll feature the best/as many as we can right atop the site so everyone can marvel at your fanboy prowess.

Those interested can grab this .zip file, chock-full of assets to help you get started. Note, the blocky "Tetris" GN logo is officially retired.

When you're done, send your layered files to cortjezter at gmail or PM me. Put your heart in it, so I don't have to break yours by turning down half-hearted effort <3

Thanks...we'll chat again soon!

-- cortjezter

E3 2012 day two - G'night!

My, my how the tables turn in just one day. Last night I totally passed out hours before RMC, while he stayed up to write. Tonight, he's been out for hours and I'm up writing. Guess that's because I had more impressions to cover. Even still, because I get so wordy, I'm only posting three of mine, another three can go up tomorrow.

Time for me to get some rest before heading back to SF. Gimpee will be along soon I'm sure. Wear pants.

'Night. —cort

Nintendoland - cort's GoNintendo impressions

Nintendo is literally putting their name on the line. Maybe that's why they have spent excessive amounts of time at their presentations pounding it into people's heads... repetition is extremely important for a brand's marketing and recognition. I personally think the majority of their IPs don't need so much explanation, nor do the simplified "experiences" that this title offers, but since it's a big deal to them, it's going to be a big deal for us too, as it seems to be the flagship game for the Wii U and is probably going to take a lion's share of their future communications leading up to the console's launch.

Unfortunately, all that talking overshadows what the game is even supposed to be about, which is fun, and it turns out that Nintendoland does that quite well. Although Wii Sports was simple, new, and interesting enough to present well on-stage, it did play well when people got a chance to try it for themselves.

Nintendoland is missing ticks in a couple of those checkboxes. First, it is more or less simple, yet also being complex enough to warrant instructions and guidance about strategy, etc., and having the park's main hub area littered with so much random stuff one might expect the King of all Cosmos to have had some hand in designing it. Second, the IPs represented are not new, nor is the presentation as what most would classify as a "mini-game collection", especially on hardware bearing the "Wii" name. However, the interesting part does apply, and part of that is thanks to what the Wii U and its Gamepad brings to the table. Unfortunately, because a lot of that uniqueness relies on multiple control schemes, multiple players, and multiple game scenarios, its interest can't be properly conveyed until one tries it.

Even after RMC got a private post-conference session with all that is Nintendoland, his glowing praise for it didn't sink in, just as the game didn't truly resonate for me during the presentation; through no fault of their own. It wasn't until I got to give it a shot did I really understand why he was so excited, and ultimately why Nintendo had become so excited and proud to boost a game like this to the prominence they did.

Of the five experiences shown at E3, I played three of them, as recommended by word of mouth: Luigi's Mansion, Animal Crossing, and Zelda. Time limitations forced the choices. I would also probably rank them in the same order in terms of overall entertainment value and how much I personally liked them. I'll leave the descriptions, controls, etc. for you to research separately on your own if you are interested in that data.

Luigi's Mansion is bascially that same Pacman VS idea Miyamoto showed almost ten years ago at E3 using a Gamecube and GBA connector, but much more refined. I handled the Gamepad and controlled the ghost, while four really mean people tried hunting me. Ultimately they succeeded, but just barely. I like that a good bit of strategy and mind games are used in this, but it does feel a touch off-balance. It's already four on one, and it's relatively easy for it to stay that ratio, despite the ghost being able to disable some players until they are revived by their teammates. But as the timer winds down, lightning began frequently striking, giving away my only real advantage. I wonder if there's an equal feature when the other team is disadvantaged...like one or two players remaining? Otherwise, a great game, with plenty of depth and replayability. We had an intense match going, and even began drawing a small crowd, which says something about this experience's quality.

Animal Crossing is a similar idea--one player using the Gamepad to hunt others--but does so by splitting the player's attention between two characters, independently controlled by each analog stick. Yes, left stick controls one guard; right stick the other. My brain doesn't quite work that way, so it was a constant struggle for me to maintain any semblance of playing. Similar to my use of an Etch a Sketch, using both knobs at once to draw a circle or diagonal line is a real challenge for me; instead I'll make quick, small tradeoffs between left and right to approximate the same result. Luckily it worked in my case. Lots of little details add to the balance here, which in turns drives up the replay value.

Zelda was good, but is a different approach than the other two. It also lacks an equivalent measure of balance because of its different format, and that's no detriment. I played as both an archer and a swordsman, preferring the arrows to blades, though it didn't seem to affect gameplay much depending on which you choose. The visuals are fine, the controls work great... it really does seem to nail some of the core Zelda ideas. The only thing I wonder about is what kind of replay this will have. Enemies always spawn in the same places, the puzzles are always the same, and for now we only saw one Forest Temple level. I played it twice and felt thoroughly accomplished enough that I would probably never choose it again--even in the final retail version--if nothing significant changed. Assuming they can figure out how to add more variety and depth to this one, it will be a fine addition to Nintendoland's lineup.

We've seen a glimpse of the F-Zero experience in action and know there's a Metroid icon in the mix as well, so it's probably safe to say there will be plenty more for the media to cover. But again, until you actually get to try them, don't rely too much on our inadequately verbose praise, be an objective adult and reserve passing judgement until you have; they're really good fun. —cortjezter

ZombiU - cort's GoNintendo impressions

I have to say this: give zombies a rest. They're the new Nazis (you know, the fad from like five years or so ago that is still sort of fading), and have really lingered about beyond their freshness date. Ubisoft somehow went from a game with mutants/alients and had a totally interesting vibe, to the most cliche game this side of Duke Nukem. And the name change? Guess they just had to stick a Z somewhere in there. Z's sell, you know. Just be ready in case "Azzazzin's Creed 3" makes its appearance.

Anyway, I am not a first-person gamer. Even most third-person shooting games leave me yawning with disinterest. That said, I got to play both sides of a ZombiU flag-capturing multiplayer match with RMC today, and had an annoying, miserable time with one, and a slightly more palatable time with the other...relatively speaking.

Yes, the human side (first person) was dark, visually uninspired, and pretty much exemplified everything I hate about the genre, replete with clunky, overcomplicated controls that couldn't be adequately (clearly and simply) explained for a demo, and things attacking from behind with zero warning or way to detect it. But can I fault a game basically for its genre? Only if my ability to have fun with it is part of the equation I guess. I don't like first person, and didn't like this.

The "Zombie God" mode (as I call it) at least gives you a chance to do something completely different, though still not quite intriguing enough to keep me overly entertained. Using the Wii Gamepad, you see a partial overhead view of the map, and are able to choose from a small arsenal of zombies--each with their own attributes and benefits--and then drop them strategically into the scene and try to be as much of a nuisance to your competitor as possible. It was interesting trying to set up traps, but the zombies and interface for placing them into the scene were just too slow to be of any real threat to a decent player like RMC; lots of downtime for me as I waited for things to happen. I guess this mode is for people who get thrills out of being as a-holey as possible to other players in games--which is probably the only reason I did like this marginally better than the human side.

So my scorecard for this game: Zombies over the alien theme? No thanks. Some actual color use and a city that felt a bit alive versus a dingy, wore down dump of a place that has zero character? Again, I'll pass. Zombie God mode? Good idea, but aside from tapping the Gamepad screen every once in awhile, there's just not much to do. I'd rather spend my time being a jerk to friends in other games. Your mileage may vary. —cortjezter

New Super Mario Bros. U - cort's GoNintendo impressions

I prefer my Mario games scrolling side to side, so of course I am always excited to see, hear, or try another entry in the franchise that conforms to those limited dimensions. Some (too many) criticize the NSMB series for always being more of the same, and while there are reasons that may be a valid point, anyone who champions yearly sports releases or most FPS should be enduring the same criticism, because it's the exact same 'problem'. New Super Mario Bros U feels familiar, but from the tiny bit we've seen, looks like it will add some freshness as we come to know more about it as a whole.

We do have a new airborn mammal that doesn't fly, but glides pretty gracefully. We have some semi-mysterious online features and some level of achievements. We have some stunning new worlds; some of which are reminiscent of old school Mario titles. Those hungry baby Yoshis are back...will the adults also return? We have at least one new mode that can introduce an unprecedented fifth player to the mix using the Wii U Gamepad. About that:

Boost mode is interesting, and can definitely be a great way to incorporate someone who might not be good at or interested in games as a way to participate, or it can be a way for a more seasoned gamer to help someone less skilled. If you are the latter though, you will probably find yourself a bit bored. Even looking after four other players, helping when possible, I found myself wanting to look at the booth girls more than the TV screen after just a few minutes. My wandering eyes then became mischievous and I began trying to hinder their progress, though that actually turns out to be much harder than you'd think. With a cooperative partner, making short work of obstacles and other difficult-to-reach collectibles can become a cinch.

Controls-wise it is almost exactly on par with the Wii release. Shaking to spin feels more accurate now for me; the Wii version always felt too eager to interpret the slightest jiggle of my hand into a spin or Yoshi dismount, but not anymore! The squirrel suit allows a double jump, because...why not!? In case you take a hit along the way, I didn't notice any way to store additional power-ups though, so the safety nets we've become accustomed to may no longer be an option.

Visually the game is stunning. The backgrounds especially have a lot of beautiful detail, and some massive scale considering the distances between Mario and the looming environments. The foreground looks nice too, if not a bit too clean and plasticky, but definitely bright and colorful; in perfect harmony with the standard set by the other NSMB titles. I did also notice lots of little details that might not be immediately apparent, such as the giant 'star wheels' in the evening stage casting light, with items nearby catching the highlights realistically: a player's character will have an extra glow facing the star, and watching the light play on spinning, metallic coins is especially pretty.

I really can't find any faults in the demo levels they were sharing here at E3; assuming the final game has much more to show and depths to plumb, this ought to make any 2D Mario fans excited. If it doesn't, well, you are beyond hope for ever enjoying life or having fun. —cortjezter

Until next time...

So another date night has come to a close... always before the best parts.

Anyway, thanks everyone for your help sending stuff in, lovingly downvoting my photo, etc. We're still working out a few things behind the scenes, but hopefully RMC will get his Wednesday nights off again soon, and we can meet again.

Lots of Kojima and Icarus news tonight; so I figure it's worth mentioning that our ever-talented friend, ArmoredFrog has put together a site theme/skin (preview above) that I can hopefully get set up in the next day or so. Be sure to give him some thanks in the feedback!

That's it for me tonight... take care until next time. --cort

The surprising development history of the original Kid Icarus

Bet you didn't know most of this:

Known in Japan as Myth of Light: Palutena's Mirror, Kid Icarus was the brainchild of Toru Osawa. Although not as widely known as Metroid's Yoshio Sakamoto or Zelda's Eiji Aonuma, Mr. Osawa's hand can be seen at work in a number of famous titles, including Super Metroid, where he designed Kraid, Mother Brain, and the map system; his directorial work on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time; and the dark humor of For the Frog the Bell Tolls, which he co-wrote with Mr. Sakamoto.

Born in 1962 in Kyoto, Osawa studied arts and animation at Kyoto Seika University before joining Nintendo in 1985. Less than two years later, he asked to create his own game and was given the chance, although he was, as he put it, “neglected.” As a result, Mr. Osawa developed the entire game single-handedly throughout most of the development process. He wrote the design document, drew all the sprites, brought it to an external company for testing (Tose Co., Ltd, according to Mobygames), and saw the game through to completion. It wasn't until Metroid was completed in August 1986 that Osawa received a helping hand from the rest of Nintendo's R&D1 staff, and then only because Yoshio Sakamoto saw the game couldn't possibly meet its December deadline, which by then had been set in stone.

Definitely check out the rest of this article at the source link.

Sakurai teases Kid Icarus preorder 24-pack of AR cards

Thanks to Dark for letting us know!


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