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Pachter: Nintendo financial earnings greater than expected

Michael Pachter is of the mind that Nintendo made a whole ton of money during the second quarter. Nintendo is supposed to release figures on the 30th, but that hasn't stopped Pachter and Wedbush Morgan from coming up with some figures of their own. Pachter says the company will report earnings of ¥421 billion ($3.91 billion) and raise their yearly estimate to ¥1,907 billion ($17.7 billion).

"Nintendo's recent financial performance has been spectacular and we expect this to continue in FY:09," Pachter commented, going on further to state that "Nintendo's Wii and DS appear to be selling even better in FY:09 than in FY:08, and we believe the momentum will last through the end of FY:09." This is likely due to some smart advertising campaigns, which had female celebs showing off how awesome the handheld is. Plus, you know, the handheld has tons of amazing games.

Trackmania DS is not Touchscreenmania

It seems like a pretty bold move to make a DS racing game that doesn't use the stylus to control an onscreen steering wheel, but then it's a pretty bold move to make a DS version of a PC racing game. According to Trackmania DS producer Dan Fletcher, the team felt that touch controls "do not fit" for driving.

That's not to say that the stylus has no place in Trackmania. The one aspect of the game that is perfect for touch control -- the editor -- uses it awesomely. In addition to the basic stylus control used to place tracks, Trackmania DS also features a "free draw" mode that lets players draw tracks directly!

Iwata: iPhone not a threat

Think Nintendo overlord Satoru Iwata is bothered by suggestions that Apple's iPhone poses a threat to the DS? Then think again, chump!

Speaking to Forbes, Iwata admitted that he uses the iPhone himself, and regards the device as an attractive product. Yet in the Nintendo President's eyes, the iPhone and DS are just about different enough to find their own markets. "When I look carefully at the iPhone's users vs. the users of our Nintendo DS, I understand there are some overlaps," remarked Iwata-san, cool as a cucumber. "And if you ask 'Is the overlap too big?,' my answer is no, not so much."

We're right behind Iwata on this one. People aren't about to suddenly drop the 70 million DSes sold worldwide to date, and let's not forget how the DS convincingly beat another sleek, multimedia device to occupy top spot.

LOL makes a lot more sense now

This Gamasutra interview with Q? Entertainment's Reo Yonaga is interesting not just for the talk about the history of Tetsuya Mizuguchi's company (and the Sega UGA studio that preceded it), but also for little-known insights about Japanese gaming culture. For example, did you know that there were expansive, gaming bulletin boards populated entirely by women and children? "Because kids are so blunt, for WiFi games that involve rescue missions - you know what I'm talking about - crazy verbal battles break out. "

The most interesting bit of the interview has absolutely nothing to do with Q. Yonaga describes the creation of Route-24's Archime-DS, known here as LOL. "I don't know how many months it took them, but the staff created that game by getting together every Saturday like you would for any extracurricular activity."

LOL seems a bit less ridiculous as a side project that just ended up getting published than as a product created for a market. A multiplayer-only game with no premade content almost seems anti-commercial. But, as a "product of indie activity initiated by existing industry members," it seems very cool.

Gallery: LOL

IGN and 5th Cell boss construct Lock's Quest interview

5th Cell co-founder and creative director Jeremiah Slaczka has taken time out from working on Lock's Quest to chat to IGN's Matt Bozon about the forthcoming construction/Tower Defense game.

In the resulting interview, there's plenty of discussion about 5th Cell's commitment to innovative games (something we can totally believe, considering 5th Cell created Drawn to Life), and also some concrete details passed on. Slaczka reveals that Lock's Quest's story mode should last for around 20 hours, and also clarifies the game's multiplayer for us: apparently, there'll be no Wi-Fi play, but wireless local play for two players, in the form of a Vs. mode.

On an unrelated-to-Lock's-Quest note, Slaczka also appears fairly keen to distance 5th Cell from THQ's licensed Drawn to Life spin-off, Drawn to Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition. "With SpongeBob for example, that's our IP, but we didn't make it," he points out. "That's cool that THQ wants to move in that direction, and that's fine, but that's not something we're interested in personally."

Gallery: Lock's Quest

Another reason to love Ernie Hudson

As if brilliant acting in films such as The Basketball Diaries, or his great TV work in shows such as Oz, weren't enough to love the man, we now find out he's addicted to one of our most beloved puzzle games: Tetris. During an interview regarding the upcoming Ghostbusters game, Hudson let the cat out of the bag.

"Years ago, I bought my son Tetris. He said, 'Wow, this is cool, Dad, but are you sure you don't want to play? Here, this is how you do it...' So I start playing Tetris. I have to be at work at six o'clock the next morning. Then it's 4.30am and I've been up all night, playing Tetris." It didn't end there, as Ernie (we're allowed to call him by his first name, it's cool) continued his affair with the puzzle game for a lot longer than you might think.

"For 15 years, I was hooked on Tetris. I played it every single day. I can still hear that stupid song in my head. I thought, if that one game did that to me... I just don't have time for that. So I'm not a gamer. But the kids, they spend more time than I'd like to see them spend playing games." 15 years, only to kick the habit cold turkey? Man, Ernie, talk about impressive.

[Via Go Nintendo]

DS Fanboy interview -- Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

Rare's Viva Piñata first charmed gamers back in 2006, when it appeared on the Xbox 360. Instantly, the title's original premise of nurturing beautifully animated piñatas in a garden of your own making helped it stand out in the crowd. On a system more renowned for third-person adventure games and futuristic shooters, Viva Piñata was a delightful revelation.

Soon, the candy-filled creatures will be making their debut on the DS in Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise. Based on the original Viva Piñata title, what we've seen so far suggests that the team have achieved something we'd have never expected: they've managed to squeeze an Xbox 360 title on to Nintendo's handheld, while preserving every feature and trinket that was available in the original.

With its fertilizer and shovel prepared for Pocket Paradise's release later this year, DS Fanboy sat down with Pocket Paradise Producer Paul Machacek and Software Development Engineer Joe Humfrey to chat about why they brought Viva Piñata to the DS, the jump from analog stick to stylus control, and the emotions involved in seeing your very first Mousemallow perish. Go past the break for our full interview!

Gallery: Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

Continue reading DS Fanboy interview -- Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

Composer explains what to expect from the Chrono Trigger DS soundtrack

Yasunori Mitsuda is probably just as excited about Chrono Trigger as you are. If that name doesn't ring a bell, those of you who've played the original SNES title might know his work -- he composed most of the soundtrack, after all.

Mitsuda's reaction when he heard about the remake ... er, we mean, port? "Finally!" That pretty much sums it up in one word. In an interview with 1UP, he told the gaming site, "I had the music for the Nintendo DS version stay as close as possible to the SNES original, so I think you'll like how it turns out. Whether you're playing for the first time or reflecting on the past as you go, I hope all of you enjoy it." It sounds to us like the music is almost as similar to its roots as the rest of the port, but that's one element that's completely timeless in our eyes to our ears. To find out more about Mitsuda and the Chrono Trigger soundtrack, though, we recommend checking out 1UP's interview with the composer.

Do those of you that played the game remember the music in it at all? Or was that one aspect that's evaporated from your brain over time?

Broken Sword dev continues to mercilessly tease us

Evidence of a Broken Sword game for the DS is mounting. First, there was a petition posted by Revolution Software designer Tony Warriner to register player interest (which, predictably enough, was sky high). Then, a Broken Sword game cropped up in the database of the rarely wrong GameStop. And now, Revolution Managing Director Charles Cecil has dropped some heavy-handed hints about such a title.

Speaking to, Cecil admitted that the petition was "really inspirational," and that the DS was "an ideal platform" for the point and click genre. His final comment on the matter was far more suggestive, however: "I just wish that we were having this interview in about a month's time," he told's Wesley Yin-Poole. "Then you'd be asking me much more direct questions!" Hmm.

Even though Broken Sword for the DS remains a rumor, we're struggling to think of other ways in which Revolution can hint at the game without, you know, announcing it. Petition posted by developer? Check. Appearance of Broken Sword in GameStop records? Check. And now Cecil's comments? Frankly, you don't have to be a heavily pixellated, world-saving law graduate called George to figure out where this might be going.

Taking a scary stroll behind the scenes of Twilight Syndrome

Famitsu has a pretty interesting video for those of you who've been watching Twilight Syndrome: The Forbidden Urban Legend. They sat down with three of the young ladies featured in the horror title for a behind-the-scenes talk about things that we can only imagine. We don't speak Japanese, sadly.

But there's footage from the game, along with a plethora of screens! As much as we're certain we'll never get this game in North America, we still like to pretend it can happen.

Collecting & Obsessing: Game & Watch

Throughout the 1980s, Nintendo's Game & Watch series of handhelds provided the soundtrack to innumerable school playgrounds across the globe. A pre-Game Boy attempt to capture the portable games market, Game & Watch titles were relatively cheap but sturdily built toys which came with a single game and, as the name suggests, a watch. For the best part of eleven years, Nintendo kept manufacturing these forerunners to its other handheld devices, only for the Game Boy and Tetris to emerge in 1989 and squash the whole enterprise flat.

Nevertheless, the spirit of Game & Watch lives on through the hundreds of individuals who collect the games. For this one-off piece, DS Fanboy decided to interview two hardcore collectors in a bid to understand their love of Nintendo's first portable phenomenon.

Both 35-year-old Michael Panayiotakis (founder of Mike's Nintendo Game & Watch forum and the author of a quite superb FAQ on the subject) and 38-year-old Andy Cole possess the kind of retrolicious Game & Watch collections that we would maim (and possibly kill) for. To find out what they love about this charming series, why they collect Game & Watch, and why they dedicate so much time and money to their hobby, hit the break for our full interview. Once you've done that, don't forget to browse our gallery for a pictorial history of the Game & Watch phenomenon!

Continue reading Collecting & Obsessing: Game & Watch

DS Clone Wars project lead talks up the game

We don't have to tell you how promising upcoming Star Wars: The Clone Wars game is. Drop-in anytime wireless co-op play? Awesome! Stylus-driven gameplay akin to Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword? Awesome. We're excited.

For the Padawans out there looking for more, know that the game's project lead, Feargus Carroll, recently spoke with IGN. He details the story, which has Count Dooku joining force with the Nightsisters, whom are described as "Sith Witches with Force powers and Lightsaber skills." They have nasty things planned for the Jedi and it's up to the player to stop them with the six available characters, which are Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Plo Koon and Kit Fisto.

Feargus also talks a bit about the stylus-driven controls, stating that just about everything will be controlled with the stylus. Movement, attacks, Force powers and just about anything else you can imagine is utilized through the stylus. It sounds ambitious, but it's been pulled off once already.

All in all, we're excited for Lucasarts' DS entry. What say you?

IGA: 2D still 'somewhat alive,' more Castlevania on the way

Gamasutra spoke to Koji "IGA" Igarashi, the current steward of the Castlevania franchise, after the Konami Gamers Day announcement of Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, about his status as one of the last 2D stalwarts. Last year he declared in a defiant PowerPoint slide that "2D games will never die!" This year? "I'm glad that 2D is still somewhat alive. It's been fun."

It looks like IGA might be branching out just a bit in the future -- still in 2D, but he hinted that he had something new on the way. Something ... maybe not on the DS. "This time, I announced a DS title, but I definitely want to grow the franchise. It's something I'm really focused on. You guys will probably be hearing something from me."

It sounds like whatever the project is, it'll still be the "Igavania" style we know, since according to IGA, the more linear Rondo of Blood PSP port was good, but "not something that I can jump up and down and enjoy like I do with the DS titles."

Aksys Q&A: Dodgeballs and Detectives

It seems like only a few days ago when publisher Aksys Games announced that it would be localizing Super Dodgeball Brawlers and Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles (Tantei Jinguji Saburo), much to our delight. Though both titles have been met with mixed reviews, we can't help but be thankful that someone took the risk to bring over these titles that likely would have stayed in Japan otherwise.

With both Super Dodgeball Brawlers and Jake Hunter now on store shelves, we chatted with the studio's localization crew -- associate producer Mike Manzanares, assistant associate producer Frank deWindt, and marketing director Gail Salamanca -- about the two titles and Aksys's future. Jump past the break for details on Super Dodgeball Brawlers' unlockables and Jake Hunter's abridged case load!

Continue reading Aksys Q&A: Dodgeballs and Detectives

Don't expect Spectral Force Genesis from NIS America

During his interview with NIS America president Haru Akenaga, Spencer Yip made a point to inquire about the company's plans for many specific games, including those from companies with whom NIS has worked in the past. Spectral Force Genesis, the new SRPG from Idea Factory, came up. With unexpected candor, Akenaga confirmed that a localization of that or any Idea Factory title was unlikely:

"We have a relationship with them, but unfortunately our mission is to release quality titles. Their titles are good, but not good as we expected. That's our reason. They always ask us to localize their titles, but at this moment we answer with 'we're sorry'."

Atlus, Mastiff, O3 (who did the amazing localization of Idea Factory's Chaos Wars) and other small publishers are still a possibility, but NIS definitely doesn't have interest in working with the company. Which is good, because that particular bridge is pretty well toasted.

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