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Posts with tag Nintendo

Bury the Shovelware: Tenchu Dark Secret



The fall from grace. Unless your heart is nothing more than a cold, shriveled lump, you probably don't like to witness a once-respectable series slowly degrade. It's happened to many franchises. Often the decay is gradual, with gamers slowly noticing a decline in quality and is correlated with slumping sales. Other times a single misstep can throw an entire series against the ropes and nearly into submission. Either way, it's never pleasant to witness failure. Well, almost never.

What was once a prominent pillar in the stealth world has been slowly regressing into mediocrity. The Tenchu series was one of the first and most successful entries in the emerging stealth-based genre of the late 1990's. Though games involving evasive maneuvering over combat had been around for awhile, they truly flourished in 3D. From the onset, Tenchu was there. Peered with and rivaled against other top-notch franchises such as Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell, the word "Tenchu" was synonymous with heart-thumping, adrenaline-pumping sneaky gameplay. But everything eventually dies. And the Tenchu series received a terminal illness in the form of Tenchu: Dark Secret. Unless somebody steps in and performs some sort of miracle, we might have to talk to Tenchu fans about video game heaven. It's where all game franchises go when they pass away. All of Tenchu's friends are there, like Golden Axe, ToeJam & Earl, and Ecco the Dolphin (Sega, please prove me wrong on these).

Continue reading Bury the Shovelware: Tenchu Dark Secret

DS Daily: Nintendo's best icon


Nintendo has a ton of memorable characters. Donkey Kong, Link, Fox McCloud, Samus and, of course, the lovable Mario, just to name a few. We all know which Nintendo game is our favorite, but we were wondering which of Nintendo's huge stable of memorable faces is your favorite? And why do you love them so much?

Gaming to Go: Elite Beat Agents



Agents are ... go!


Elite Beat Agents built a reputation on many things: colorful characters, marvelous music, and, on later difficulties, the combination of soul-crushing challenge and those godforsaken spin markers. But look beyond that shiny veneer and you'll see above all an incredibly unique game, one that takes advantage of the DS's touch-screen capabilities arguably better than any other title on the system.

And it's a hell of a lot of fun. Give the game a spin for just a few minutes and you'll see what I mean, as part of Elite Beat Agents's charm is its bite-sized gameplay. Take one of the many songs for a ride and you'll get a glimpse of nearly everything the game has to offer, with the frantic tapping, circling, and groovy beats the title is known for. It's okay to dance with your DS. I don't judge.

Can you feel the music? Come along with this week's edition of Gaming to Go and see why exuberant dancing can solve all of the world's problems.

Gallery: Elite Beat Agents

Continue reading Gaming to Go: Elite Beat Agents

DS Fanboy presents: Game Night [update 2]


Update 2: The staff has left the Game Night chat. Plenty of folks are still in there, gaming as you read this. So head on into the chat already!

With the return of our weekly sessions last week, we decided a reminder was needed. So, we whipped up the above video, which shows Dave enjoying some Medal of Honor: Heroes 2, along with some Mario Kart Wii. If you look closely, you can even see Chris ram Dave underneath a car. How cruel!

Hijinks like the above, and more, are commonplace at Game Night. So, for the full details on what Game Night is all about, head past the break.

Continue reading DS Fanboy presents: Game Night [update 2]

Items of Import: Rhythm Tengoku Gold part 2



The final gameplay keyword is the one you see above. Possibly the most important mechanic in the game, flicking the stylus across the touchscreen is used so often in most minigames that it must be mentioned here. As I've written in the Japanese, you'll often find different versions of the "flick" verb, depending on the circumstance at hand. Put simply, "hajiku" is "to flick" literally; and "hajiite" is more like a request to flick -- like, "Please flick the stylus" -- and you will often come across this in the genial tutorial.



Here's a handy graphic detailing the three techniques. Number 1 shows "touch," 2 shows "let go" and 3 shows "flick." As can be seen from the flicking image, it's like writing a tick mark quickly. The note for number 3 states: "Flick with a good sense of force. If the flicking distance is short, or there's no momentum, it will not work."

A quick explanation of the other modes present in the game is in order! Apart from the 50-odd minigame challenges, there are two areas where more rhythmic fun can be had. First up is the Medal Corner. Each time you gain a "High Level Medal" in a minigame -- by being a Rhythm God, of course -- you are awarded a medal which can then be used to buy little extras: "endless games" where the goal is to get a high score (or die trying) in simple one-notion minigames; "rhythm toys," and so on.

The second mode is the Coffee House. This is where you can talk to the barista to gain tips, as well as listen to music and read books you've unlocked through accomplishing perfects. This is meant more to be a time to relax and while away the minutes, just as a nice cafe would. Explore these modes at your own leisure, and you'll surely come across hidden gems.

Closing Off

Containing only a handful of Japanese words to learn and navigate, and being one of the most inventive rhythm games on the DS, Rhythm Tengoku Gold is a title any keen importer should consider to be on top of his or her list. Don't let those unusual scribbles scare you away -- dare I say it, but you might as well use this little humble column once in awhile to help you on your way!


Items of Import is a weekly column dedicated to titles only out in Japan. With in-depth impressions of games long before localization and knowledgeable language how-tos, it attempts to bridge the gap between the import savvy and import fearing. Come on, now! You, too, can make that giant leap! Yokoso!

Items of Import: Rhythm Tengoku Gold



No one should have to burden themselves with waiting for Rhythm Tengoku Gold to arrive Stateside. Aside from the fact that Nintendo of America still hasn't announced a specific release schedule for the game (we're looking at you also, Jam With The Band), any title with rhythm as the main focus of the gameplay lends itself perfectly for importing.

Of course, any game you import from Japan has its fair share of unreadable text. From roleplaying games to intense puzzlers, the fear exists that the Japanese language will overwhelm you and make you feel like you wasted precious dollars on an unplayable game. Fear not! For Items of Import is here for you once again -- to guide you through trouble, and to encourage you to start importing.

Rhythm Tengoku Gold was just released last week in Japan. With its catchy Tsunku-produced tunes and zany visuals, the game could be your perfect import choice of the month. Show it to all your FPS-loving gamer friends; show them what those crazy Japanese call games these days. With merely a handful of Japanese to conquer compared to those icky RPGs, you'll be enjoying Rhythm Tengoku in no time. And who's going to help you through it all? Why, look what we have here? -- another edition of Items of Import to share, educate, and encourage you to take that step!

Gallery: Rhythm Tengoku Gold


Continue reading Items of Import: Rhythm Tengoku Gold

Bury The Shovelware: Pokemon Dash



Nintendo's big E3 press conference has come and gone. While the mainstream media outlets will praise titles such as Wii Music and Wii Sports Resort, the hardcore gamer has reason to feel underwhelmed. Whenever the Big N fails to please its base, one might wonder how the seemingly impervious Nintendo could fail to deliver on expectations. However, like all that is human, the house Miyamoto built is not without its blemishes. When "mistake" and "Nintendo" are mentioned in the same sentence, those who aren't hurling bricks at the heretic are known to immediately think of the Virtual Boy. Nonetheless, Nintendo has had its fair share of publishing misfires involving some of its biggest licenses.

Often, the company will allow its intellectual properties to be used in games developed by second or even third parties. Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, and Metroid have all had titles outsourced. Like a mother bear protecting her cubs, Nintendo tends to insist on quality development. They will publish these games themselves in part to assure the consumer that the title is worthy of its featured IP (otherwise, things can get ugly). Nintendo is a business, however, and businesses need to make money. And what's one of the quickest ways to turn a profit? That's right: slap a well-known franchise onto a subpar piece of shovelware. The exemplar piece can be found in Pokémon Dash, a disastrous "scratch-your-DS-into-submission" racer.

Continue reading Bury The Shovelware: Pokemon Dash

Gaming to Go: Meteos



The end comes quickly. White fire screams out of the night, raining destruction down from the heavens. The populace is thrown into chaos, helpless to stop the assault. Five minutes pass. When the dust settles, the world is quiet. The only sound comes from a distance: a single anguished scream as one angry word flashes across the sky.

Annihilation.

This is Meteos.

That white fire? Call it Meteos, colorful symbols constantly plummeting towards the planet. The populace? Over thirty different alien races, each with its own unique world. And those five minutes? That, uh, isn't really a storyline element. No, it's a reflection of my skill, which typically dooms a planet to utter annihilation in the time it takes those poor aliens to start freaking out and hiding under tables.

Welcome to Gaming to Go, a shiny new feature devoted to the games best suited for our increasingly busy lifestyles. Only have a few minutes to spare on your daily commute? Bored with thinking deep thoughts whenever you're on the toilet? Read on to hear why one of the DS's oldest titles is still one of the best to spend your precious scant time with.


Continue reading Gaming to Go: Meteos

Nintendo neon sign up for auction, DS Fanboy contemplates purchase


Perhaps it's the bright lights, but something about neon signs just interests us. No, it's not the science of it all (it's actually gas in there!), but the ... yeah, bright lights. Hey, look, a bright sign!

If the neon Nintendo sign doesn't interest you, then there are other Nintendo-related auctions today. There's a Mario statue and some test cartridges up for grabs, as well.

[Via Gamesniped]

DS Daily: Good representation


With Nintendo dominating both the console and handheld markets, their key franchises have installments on both platforms. Focusing on the DS, which key franchise do you believe has the best entry? Phantom Hourglass?

It would probably be New Super Mario Bros., for us. That game is pure Mario Bros. fun. But, what do you all think? Of all the entries in Nintendo franchises on the DS, which one is your favorite? Pokémon Diamond & Pearl? Let's hear it!

Point: Uh, yeah, it totally will get redesigned


While we all think it would be totally rad if Nintendo issued either another redesigned DS model or a whole new handheld unit altogether, certain things must be considered first. Like, will it make Nintendo some money? Also, is there a demand? And, finally, is the DS as it is now outdated and no longer a viable option for the consumer?

Let's look at the facts, folks:
  • The original Game Boy released in 1989 and saw several revisions, including a color change in 1995, a smaller system in the Game Boy Pocket in 1996, the Game Boy Light in 1997 and the Game Boy Color in 1998
  • The Game Boy Advance released in 2001 and saw 2 revisions before it was officially retired, with the Game Boy Advance SP releasing in 2003 and the Game Boy Advance Micro releasing in 2005
  • The original DS was released in 2004 and since has received one revision, in the DS Lite, which released in 2006
But, this is not all that needs be considered. For one, the DS Lite is still selling incredibly well, and Nintendo might think to adopt the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" plan of attack on this one, choosing to sit back and let the thing sell as long as it possibly can. However, due to the lowering manufacturing costs and Nintendo's profit on each unit sold, a revision with newer features might be manufactured for the same, or a very similar, price. This would allow Nintendo to sell the new unit at a higher price than the DS Lite and make even more money on each handheld sold. There goes the answer to the first question.

What about demand? Well, the demand for the existing DS Lite is there, but we'll be the first to tell you that, while we love the handheld , it's not perfect. Alterations in the best interest of the handheld may still be made, including generic improvements such as improving battery life and the like.If the people still love the DS Lite, we find little reason for them not to upgrade and froth at the mouth for something like a DS Liter.

What about its use to the consumer? Does it still remain a great choice for the general consumer? Sure, but in technology years, the thing is like a Brontosauras with Jesus resting comfortably on top of it. What we're saying is, the thing is old. While its appeal may never go away thanks to the easy control scheme and mountains of amazing titles available for it, one cannot ignore the competition. As new features are released everyday for Sony's PSP system, the DS Lite is increasingly dwarfed by the technological wizardry capable with Sony's handheld. If Nintendo went with a new version of the DS, we'd like to see them implement some of the more standard technological features that exist in other handheld devices on the market.

So will Nintendo release a revision to the DS? Sure, whether it's a new handheld entirely or a new DS, Nintendo would be crazy not to build on what they have with the DS Lite. Will we see it at E3 this year? This blogger thinks so, because, to be honest, what other megatons could they possibly drop on us?

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Back Not so fast there!

Nintendo reaches out to alternative retailers

The Game Factory's Damien Sarrazin is spilling the beans on Nintendo. Apparently, Nintendo is looking to reach out to alternative retailers, as the company has pretty much done all it can with the traditional video game retail space, says Sarrazin.

"There is nothing more you can do in the usual places where you would expect to find videogame hardware and software." says Sarrazin. He goes on further to say "So, the only way they can expand their presence is to access alternative retailers - and in order to do that, they need to come up with the right offering." And Sarrazin's company believes they have the right offering in Zenses, a line-up of DS puzzle games targeted at female gamers.

Nintendo met The Game Factory recently at their media summit to see if Zenses was a title they'd be interested in. "We've created a game so that you can take a break from your daily routine and sort of take a mental vacation," he says. No word on if Nintendo was interested in the title, though.

DS Daily: The next great Nintendo franchise


So the DS has been on the receiving end of some great games from Nintendo's most popular franchises. We had the excellent Phantom Hourglass, the million-billion-selling New Super Mario Bros. and some solid installments in the Animal Crossing and StarFox franchises. But what's next?

Which one of Nintendo's franchises do you want to see hit the DS next? A new Punch-Out!!! game? Or what about the next installment in the Pikmin franchise? What would you like to see from Nintendo?

All of the news DS Fanboy saw fit to print in 2007


Well, not all of it. This is more about the highlights, the big news of the year. The kind of stuff that we should look back to and highlight as being memorable in 2007. It's been one hell of a year; a roller coaster ride of hits and misses. So, grab your admission ticket, buckle yourself in and join us for this look back at the news of 2007.

Continue reading All of the news DS Fanboy saw fit to print in 2007

Happy birthday, Miyamoto-san!



He created Mario, Donkey Kong, and Zelda. He has been indirectly responsible for using up thousands of hours of our lives. We sort of want him to be our Dad. Yes, Nintendo design guru and general gaming god Shigeru Miyamoto turned 55 years young today (hasn't he aged well?), so it felt only right that we took the time to wish Shiggy many happy returns.

Here's to a long and prosperous future, sir! One with lots of cake.

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Sep 23
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