Travis questions his love for Nintendo for the 634th time

Nintendo is like that badass biker dude who has no care for education and I’m the young goody-two-shoes protagnosit depicted in most teen hearthrob drama movies. I know I should stay away but damn he just keeps pulling me back in in new ways that surprise me. I’ve shared with a lot of people over the last year why I love and why I also find troubling times with the big N and now with production stopping on the NES Classic Mini I feel it is time to talk about Nintendo some more.

I have started and never finished many stories on Nintendo on both this blog and others and I wonder why that is. I end up being a massive hypocrite basically and realise whilst coming to my conclusion that, even though Nintendo might be one of the most problematic companies in the history of video games that I could look back on and shake my head profusly…I just love their video games and franchises. When the NES Mini was announced I thought it was a neat concept and looked pretty cute but, I had easy access to the majority if not all of these re-released games on my Wii U. The big difference was the playing styles such as CRT, 3:4 and HD along with save files that weren’t possible on the original Nintendo Entertainment System.

One Sunday at my old work place I saw a NES Mini and bought it due to my thoughts on this being a very limited item and I wasn’t wrong. Now I am an owner of an original NES and I love it to pieces but I also enjoy the modern copy. It’s quick and easy to use and those save files are a life saver. They save me some money from buying expensive games like Metroid, Mega Man 2 and The Legend of Zelda II. The main issue I had was the cable length of the controller and how I had to sit on the floor to play games…it’s not really an issue but the original controller is nothing like this. The other issue is the 30 games capacity on a box which only has a motherboard inside and tonnes of empty space. I guess it’s because it’s a greatest hits and licening would have amped up the price but obvious hacks have shown how pointless it can be.

Where does Nintendo become a real problem in all of this? Oh it’s the fact that there’s a high demand for their product and they had limited numbers once again. They thought there wouldn’t be much hype and that sounds like they don’t even know their own products. The NES is one of the most iconic pieces of tech that ever existed. To make matters worse is that even now there is and has been high demand for the NES Mini but oh guess what? They cancelled production just like they cancelled production on the Wii U as Breath of the Wild was just around the corner. For a company that still rakes in billions but is also a shadow of the titan it once was is really bad at decision making. Maybe the NES Mini was expensive for the demand but, the fact that a lot of people won’t be able to own it and the capitalisting owners of said console are really exploiting this with outrageous pricing.

Nintendo or sources are trying to make everything sound better by saying “hey remember that other great console we had, yeah you know the one, the Super Nintendo, we’re going to do the same thing with that” and by the sounds of it it’s going to be even more limited. The main appeal is to collectors like myself but as nostalgia is the main selling point of products these days, lots of people who played on the NES and SNES in their hey-day will really want to play them again in an easier way. I imagine this list of games will be featured: ‘Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Mega Man X, F-Zero, Donkey Kong Country, Yoshi’s Island, Kirby Superstar, Super Mario Kart, Contra III, Star Fox, A Link To The Past, Super Tennis, Tetris Attack Super Punch-Out! and Castlevania IV’. These are all solid games and in terms of prices, another £50 pricing is great in terms of physical comparisons of these games. What would really seal the deal would be Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana which aren’t the cheapest.

The Snes list is wonderful and reminds me of why I love Nintendo but jeez I really hope they produce enough because I mean isn’t it all just about money incentives? I get asked daily for Nintendo Switch’s at work and there are so little produced at a time. The demand for Nintnedo is as real as it would have been in Christmas 1991/1992 and we are all suckers for a good time and a good price. I enjoy buying retro but damn I’d even pay out a few more pennies for a Snes Classic Mini. No doubt this will also be hacked and is probably a reason that Nintendo has cut production. It’s hard to blame them when thinking about that but at the same time a lot of people would not do that.

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Before the Switch was released I was writing a 2000 word article on how I’m angry at everything about the console and then guess who buys one of launch day. Guess who is buying Mario Kart 8 again, guess who loves Breath of the Wild on the Switch and the portability aspect and has not yet bought a pro-controller…yet. I mean it’s still not the perfect console but I have a good time with it and Super Bomberman R has also been a pretty sweet game to play on it. This console still needs a bunch of highly and longly requested franchises getting a new game, new ideas for those existing franchises and brand new ones. Splatoon was brilliant and I loved playing it, Nintendo can make so much money from one franchises alone with merchendise like amiibo and new franchises keep everything fresh. Look at Sony and the Playstation 4 for example. I mean console wars are bad enough but they really do give a lot to their fans.

So Nintendo halts production on a popular product that lots of people wants and tries to move on to the next stage in development. They don’t see the brilliant money incentive which video games are about a lot of the time and they shovel out a lot of the same old game. Those games on the other hand are great and I’ll play the time and time again. Their new console has so much promise and E3 really changes everything for its future.

You can’t survive on Mario and Link forever even if they comfort the nostalgia. Don’t be stingy with third parties even if cartridges do cost more for production. Communicate well with third parties for their online games on the eShop to be competitive with Xbox and PS4 (I am Setsuna, Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+). Console launch pricing was fine and obviously peripherals are a bit high and 1, 2 Switch! should have been a complimentary add-on but you can’t win ’em all. (Am I just bitter?)

The big N is a company that could once again claim the gaming world with so many easy alternatives to what they are currently doing and as it pains me to see such a wonderful console like the Wii U fade away and a console like the GameCube not given more time, I finally hope the Switch and other novelties can really shape up the content we are given.

At the end of the day there won’t be another gaming company that makes you feel the way Nintendo does. Maybe Sega back in the day but, both had different genres of games. Mario Odyssey should remind us of that potential.

The Wii U: It’s not so bad is it? (Five things I like)

Now most of you might not have played on the Wii U and you probably hold a valid opinion as to why, I mean where are those titles we truly deserve on the console from Nintendo? To be fair if certain titles did come about then we probably would view the machine more fondly and appreciate how the tablet worked well on this bit of Super Mario 1080p Galaxies. However, some of our much loved characters remain absent and the dainty Wii U slows begins to collect dust, but what are the positives from having one?

Viewing experiences

Now this might be a feature of modern gaming systems such as the Xbox One, PS4 and PC but, I felt it was important to mention. With the Wii U you get Netflix, YouTube and internet (in which you can watch movies online). With a good TV any of the consoles would do fine and so I feel the Wii U stands up amongst the rest. The only downsides are not having Spotify like the PS4 or Amazon Prime like the Xbox One. However I enjoy using this as everything you have is layed out nicely on the tablets screen and with the stylus you have precise control. The Wii U is just another easy step to a great home entertainment system.

The Tablet

The Wii U tablet was definitely one of the main selling points when the console was first announced. The benefits of this controller is that with the majority of games (excluding Splatoon and Starfox Zero) you can play them without actually having the TV on. Other people who share the TV can watch whatever they want, all you need is your Wii U plugged in and ready to go. The problem with that is that it makes it just sound like a handheld you can’t travel far with. Something Nintendo are supposedly looking into with the NX.

The eShop

This is a feature by Nintendo that you can either love or hate. The eShop or virtual console enables us to pay out a fairly resonable price (depending on the console) to play some of our old beloved games. Now Nintendo is not unfamiliar with constantly re-releasing the same games (GameBoy, GBA, Wii) but it is nice to have everything wrapped up in one nice place. The eShop came about with the Nintendo 3DS but you were able to previously purcahse old games on the Wii shop. With a 32GB hardrive, you can store a lot of these games on your console. It’s a pretty handy device and more keep getting added each month. A tonne of Mario, Zelda, Mega Man, Donkey Kong and Metroid games are on there so you are spoiled for choice. The consoles that are on there include the NES, SNES, N64, WII and the TurboGrafx-16. There is also Wii U content where you can buy the games as well as DLC. Seeing as the Wii U doesn’t have an online subscription like its rivals, you will not receive free games each month. You can however, download demos from the eShop. The only major disadvantage is that with handheld ports from the GameBoy and DS, they don’t really present well on television screens.

Peripherals and add-on content

Unlike the 3DS which is constantly changing and getting new models, the Wii U has stayed as a solid machine that changed its colour once. However, one of the big additions was amiibo. amiibo really appeal to collectors as they are figurines that interact with many of Nintendo’s Wii U titles. You get new add-on contact like character skins in Yoshi’s Wooly World and Mario Kart 8, but they also add enhancements to your characters in Super Smash Bros. This is where the amiibo really first took off. If you’re a collector like me then they appeal in a different way it’s great to have all of your favourite Nintendo characters (especially now there’s Waluigi). On top of this you can get different cases for your controller and sweet question block carry cases for the amiibo for easy transportation.

The games

Of course, what more do we love about consoles than the games we play on them. Now we might not have the Mario title we were hoping for and we have to wait til March until we get The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild which may not even get much attention to this console, but there is a good line of video games.For me some of my favourites include the next installments to Mario Kart and Smash series’ which remain solid games for years. Smash for instance remains that good that it may see a port to the NX. Other popular titles include Super Mario Maker which has been one of the most creative titles Nintendo has put out in years and enables you the player to recreate or re-imagine memorable Mario titles. Super Mario 3D World is one of my favourite games as it shows a nice blend of 3D and classic Mario hunting and platforming. The game does re-hash a lot of the same enemies and does over-use the cat suit power up until it is saturated, but as a collecting Mario game, it is probably the best in 10 years.

There’s plenty of other games such as Yoshi’s Wooly World, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Splatoon (one of the most fun and creative shooters in such a long time) and Pokkén Tournament. Where Nintendo does slip up is titles such as Starfox Zero for its difficult and hard to use controls and inability for us to use both screens at the same time. Kirby’s Paintbrush also changes the series but really takes away the ability to use anything but the stylus like early DS titles.

Ignoring the negatives, I believe the Wii U is still a fun console that provides hours of entertainment, nostalgia and viewing credibility. I’d say as the Wii U does not have much shelf life left, get one before they’re gone!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – One of the most promising video games to date

Where do I even begin? The Legend of Zelda for the Wii U and NX finally has a name and it is: ‘Breath of the Wild‘. Reggie Fils-Aime started off the show very sombre and took a moment’s silence for YouTuber Christina Grimmie who was murdered last week and was supposed to attend Nintendo at E3.

Reggie then took a sharp right-turn and said how Nintendo is always expressed in different ways at E3, like last year we had Reggie, Miyamoto and Iwata as puppets to mark the announcement of Starfox Zero. This year there was less joking around and Nintendo got straight into the footage of The Legend of Zelda. It’s disappointing that we didn’t see anything from the NX at E3 but there’s no doubt we’ll hear plenty in the coming months. So what is there in the new Zelda game?

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Link showing off his climbing skills. You climb on a lot of things.

Well this is a new format for a Zelda game which could change the thinking of gameplay like the original did 30 years ago. Now the open world style is familiar to AAA titles like The Witcher, but this game incorporates a lot of physics and unlike other Zelda titles, let’s you play the game however you want. One of the more interesting aspects was that there are small instructions at the beginning, but besides that users don’t have much guidance which is quite interesting like in the original.

The kingdom is in ruins and the game begins with Link in a technological gene pool-like pod with a Sheikah design on the rocks. One of the interesting additions was the use of actual English when Link is told to open his eyes. It is The Legend of Zelda with a modern twist with technology being one of the main focuses this time. The trailer showed realistic creatures as well including ducks, deer and birds. Link has a Sheikah stone at the beginning which helps guide him after waking up and can also be used to access shrines as it will know that he is the hero who will bring light to the darkness in Hyrule.

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Link using the Sheikah tablet on a shrine.

One of the things to point out about this game is the graphics. It has a Skyward Sword but with a beautiful hand drawn Japanese animation look. It is just the prettiest game yet. There’s so much new but at the same time with the feel of an old Zelda title. Link can now climb as well on pretty much anything, there’s no waiting and there is still an energy meter that was in Skyward Sword. Whether this is beneficial at all is debatable. Link can also jump as well. There’s so much choice.

The game is so huge and we were really only treated to ‘The Great Plataeu’ which is just one of many areas in the game. Each area will also have different enemies and in the Plataeu we found many Bokoblins, Chu Chu’s ad Keese. This area has many mountains and beautiful meadows. There is also an old citadel which has not been used for a long time and is falling apart. Outside are ‘Guardians’ who were the crab-like creatures chasing Link and firing lasers but here they are no longer working. Although in the trailer it appears that they do come alive and so there may be a timelapse in events for Link, maybe a light/dark world crossover.

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Using the paraglider to get around the world, will you make your destination?

Now there is all this new stuff, especially how physics plays an important roll with the pushing of boulders, climbing and destroying objects (like setting grass on fire), it’s all just natural. On the other hand there’s still some tradition like Link waking up at the beginning. It shows many similarities to the original and that’s a great thing. Everything is buffed up with Link not requiring the powerglove thus far and you can combine objects and use fire better to blow up stuff.

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Using fire sticks to burn grass, this game is very realistic.

There’s plenty of novelties/items like the magnet which picks up metal blocks to use on enemies and breaks, the ice block that link can climb on and use on water and the para-glider which you get after completing missions in the four shrines and receive it at the Shrine of Oman Au (Oman Au is the goddess of Hylian) and there are around 100 shrines. A new feature is an axe which Link can use to chop down trees to collect firewood but also to use to get through different areas like creating a bridge. In the trailer it appears Link has also mastered cooking, because you can set up a campfire and cook food such as apples and steaks. Certain foods when consumed can give extra hearts (like in The Binding of Isaac.) You have your bow and arrow with different arrows which is an age-old favourite however in the new game you can dive an swim for longer and also harvest ore from rocks with traditional or square bombs. Square bombs have better control and you can get ore such as topaz.

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Chopping down trees with the woodcutter’s axe.

At the beginning of the game, in the Shrine of Resurrection where you start, you find chests which have old clothes in them that haven’t been worn before. Later on in the game you find more clothing and gearing up will be important due to the fact that the weather in the game changes randomly and you have to be prepared. On top of this it is colder at night as the world is a 24 hour clock and there are cold snowy areas as well. Having the wrong clothes can cause you to lose health. It is very realistic. However, you can also play the game in the nip. What adds even more realism to this is that Link’s breath can be seen in the colder areas.

Weapons are also interesting in this game as there is a weapons reel you can open up and have items such as Bokoblin clubs, the axe and rusty swords which break over time in a real-time mechanic. Link can now also rush at enemies when fighting and perform sweet backflips. There are items scattered around the world and the animation has shaved off elements, making it easier to find stuff in this vast landscape. When battling, Link can have perfect timing as the game slows down, enabling  better hit on enemies. After battling you can take enemies weapons which helps with the real-time breaking.

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A huge rock titan enemy which looks like something from The Hobbit.

Let’s have a roundup of what else there is in the game. There’s different areas that cover different elements like mountains, snowy areas, desert areas and volcanic areas. There’s a bit of everything in store. You can ride horses and shoot boars. Hopefully we will be able to ride Epona. There are lots of areas in the Plateau including the Temple of Time and Hopwell Pond. In the snowy areas you can surf on your shield. There’s lots of ways to experiment with the environment by creating puzzles and you can scope for waypoints on the map from a top-down perspective which really helps in getting around this vast world. The map also looks very technological.

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Link after pushing a boulder off of a cliff onto some unsuspecting Bokoblins.

Finally, if you buy the game on the Wii U. It is R to move the camera, L to move, start for the menu, select for the tablet and to attack with Y. Just thought that was a fun little bit of information!

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Could we see Epona return in this game?

The game is a seamless adventure of a lifetime and is breaking the boundaries of other Zelda titles that we know and love. There is no music constantly playing with really just piano which will definitely create emotions in all of us and I just can’t wait to play and be immersed. That sort of feeling matches this grand landscape that will clock in 100’s of hours of gameplay. There will be no two similar ways to play this game due to its size and will be breathtaking. This will be a Nintendo experience like no other that we haven’t really felt since the beginning of the Wii 10 years ago. Like its name: ‘Breath of the Wild‘ this landscape and all of its elements certainly feel alive. I was worried Nintendo could flop this year’s E3 but I couldn’t be more wrong. Oh yeah, what’s that sword?

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