Wii U Press Event, NYC, Sept 13th

Nintendo are reportedly holding a press event in New York City on the 13th of September. We can expect it to be a similar deal to the similar event held in honour of the 3DS a couple of years ago. The smart money is on pricing and release information for The States, as well as perhaps some information on what launch line up to expect.

It follows the growing trend of Nintendo’s love for ‘information-drip’ events, with small things being announced throughout the year as opposed to the E3 blow-outs of yore.

Source: The Verge

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Nintendo Power Powers Down

issue 250, january 2012

Nintendo Power, a much loved magazine that has run from 1988 as the official magazine of Nintendo in the US, is to cease publication as of the near future. Exactly how many more issues will run going forward is as yet unknown, but it won’t be many.

The problem apparently stems from Nintendo’s lack of support for the publication, and unwillingness to support Nintendo Power’s forthcoming digital efforts. Future, the publisher, sees these new digital initiatives as a necessity for the coming years, with print magazines becoming rapidly less popular across the board and so has seemingly decided that the brand will not stay economically viable.

Source: Ars Technica

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Review: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

OK, I’m going to start off this review by saying that I’m a huge fan of Zelda. I have been a huge fan of Zelda for a Very. Long. Time. But this review is going to come across as surprisingly negative, because Skyward Sword was a game that had far too much to live up to for me, and it didn’t manage it.

There are two ways of looking at this game, I can look at Nintendo’s mission statement, and judge it upon whether they reached that goal, or I can judge it on what I believe it should have, could have, been. So I’ll do both.

Miyamoto originally described Zelda, at it’s inception, as a “miniature garden that they can put inside their [the player’s] drawer.” In many ways Skyward’s mission statement goes back to this, which is both good and bad. The series has been drifting into an ever more open-world, expansive, ‘epic’ persona since those beginnings, epitomising at Twilight Princess. Which burned them. The series to me, felt as if it were going in the right direction, exploration. But Skyward Sword seems to go back, if I were a Nintendo PR rep, I would describe it as ‘refocusing’, a condensing of the formula.

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Molyneux’s Curiosity Dated For August 22

Peter Molyneux’s first game since leaving Microsoft Game Studios for 22 cans has been dated for August 22. The experimental title is called Curiosity and will be released on iOS, Android and PC. It sees players digging at a massive cube which is made of 60 million little cubes with only one player being able to access whatever turns out to be at its core. The game will support 1 million players at a time and, perhaps controversially, micro-transactions; with standard pickaxes being available for 50 cents and diamond ones available for $50,000.

What could be at its core? Molyneux said, perhaps knowingly, during a presentation at Rezzed in Brighton that it “is so valuable, and so life-changingly important.” He also went on to claim that “It’s so amazing I think it will appear on news reports.”

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One To Watch: Reset

The debut of a small, indie, studio based in FInland, Theory Interactive, comes the intriguing Reset.

With a team of only two you might expect the game to have corners cut in all the usual places, ie: graphics. Well….

All of that was in game footage of their custom built engine, Praxis. ‘No rezzed up textures, what you see is what you’ll get’, as Theory informs us. ‘Except hopefully a little bit better’.

Judging by the trailer, the atmosphere created by this game will be a pretty stellar one, with a fantastic art direction and a potent musical score.

Not too much is known about the game-play itself, they are still in pre-alpha so everything is in flux, but we do know it’s principle game mechanic: Single player coop.

Made possible through the wonders of time travel.

Sure, it’s been touched on before (*cough* Braid *cough*) but you can’t deny that it still sounds pretty awesome.

Release probably won’t be for a while, it’s a two man team, here’s hoping it gets completed, and that I have a slightly better computer by then.

Follow the project here: http://reset-game.net/

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New Final Fantasy VII PC port announced

The previously-leaked announcement of a new PC port of legendary RPG Final Fantasy VII has been made public.

The official website for the port went up two weeks ago. This was assumed to be an error on the part of developer Square Enix who soon took down the website. Today however, the website is back online.

Unlike the PC port released in 1998, this new version includes additional features, such as 36 achievements, a “Character Booster” which seemingly allows you to fill your HP, MP and Gil to maximum if you get stuck, as well as the ability to keep save files stored online, so you can continue where you left off, even if you’re using a different computer.

Although it has not been confirmed, it is likely that this release will fix bugs present in the original PC port. No word has been given on whether the graphics will be upscaled.

With fans still clamoring for a complete remake of the game, it would appear that Square Enix are trying to satisfy their demands, if only partially.

Update: The Square Enix Store website indicates that this new port of Final Fantasy VII will be available as a download only and will not be available in physical form.

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Program your own games with DSiWare software “Petit Computer”

Publisher Gamebridge has announced that Nintendo DSiWare software Petit Computer will be released in North America this summer.

Compatible with Nintendo DSi and Nintendo 3DS systems, the software will allow you to create your own games using the BASIC programming language.

Unlike previously-released WarioWare: DIY, Petit Computer enables the user to make longer and more complex games.

Check out this port of Out Run for an example of what can be done with the application:

We have contacted Gamebridge regarding the possibility of a European release, and will update this article if they respond.

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AX2012 roundup

This year’s Anime Expo was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center over the weekend. Although primarily an event surrounding the anime fandom, it is also attended by a number of video game publishers. Continue reading

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EU court Rules End-user Digital Re-sale Mandatorily Legal

The EU court of justice has ruled that end-users must be able to re-sell their digital purchases, for instance a game bought from Steam or on iOS.

This comes out of a law suit against ‘UsedSoft’, a company that makes its business selling used licenses,  by Oracle who denounced it as piracy.

The judge has ruled that Oracles exclusive rights to their software license sale are “exhausted” after they make the sale, handing over the rights to the end-user.

The implications of such a ruling are huge, Apple’s App Store for instance is now illegal in Europe, as is Valve’s Steam and all other digital distribution services, unless they provide a way of allowing the end-user to re-sell their purchased software.

This law is in effect even if the user has agreed to a EULA that condemns re-sale, the relevant clauses are voided:

“Therefore, even if the licence agreement prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy.”

So we can hopefully expect facilities for digital license re-sale to appear across European services some time soon, to avoid being banned from Europe entirely, which of course publishers, however much they hate this, will hate less.

Source: NeoGaf, The Verge

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Why Cut-scenes Are Silly

Xenoblade’s world is a breathtaking and storytelling one by itself, set on a ancient, fallen giant. The cut-scenes pale in comparison.

Tetsuya Takahashi, the director of the recent Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii, said just before the game’s release over here in the UK, in an Iwata Asks interview (an interview conducted by Nintendo), that he saw cut-scenes as a “creative dead-end”. At first that sounded insane to me, I thought that, even if they were over-used, they weren’t a ‘creative dead-end’. But then I played Dear Esther, I played Bastion.

And I realised, I was wrong.

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