Miyamoto signals Nintendo desire to focus on hardcore

One of Nintendo's mantras, for the past three decades, has been the desirability of expanding gaming into every corner of popular culture.But in a new interview published this week by Edge magazine, the company's talismanic creative leader Shigeru Miyamoto signals a strong desire to appeal to highly engaged consumers, aka the hardcore. In an unusually frank answer, Miyamoto seems to almost dismiss casual gamers. "[These are] the sort of people who, for example, might want to watch a movie. They might want to go to Disneyland," he said. "Their attitude is, 'okay, I am the customer. You are supposed to entertain me.' It's kind of a passive attitude they're taking, and to me it's kind of a pathetic thing. They do not know how interesting it is if you move one step further and try to...

In loving memory of video games

I'm working from my parents' home this week in the suburbs of Kansas City. The space is familiar, even though I haven't lived here for a decade. I find a bowl of grapes for a snack in the fridge. I taste the vanilla candles if I inhale. And if I look anywhere for more than a moment, I spot — hidden beneath a couch, tucked inside a drawer or concealed behind the hangers — a video game. I find a dusty stack of Game Boy cartridges on my old headboard; my Game Boy Color, painted by younger me in acrylic paint, iS under the guest bed, the buttons still sticky; a collection of "rare" PlayStation games sits in the entertainment center; there is a pile of now-defunct game magazines on the corner table. My sock drawer is full of socks that no longer fit, but beneath them is an instruction...
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Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham hits on Nov. 11

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham will launch on Nov. 11 in North America and Nov. 14 in Europe, publisher Warner Bros. announced today. The third installment in Lego's video games featuring DC Comics' iconic heroes will see Batman and friends teaming up to stop the villain Brainiac from destroying the planet. Players will follow the band of heroes across many worlds, working together to thwart Brainiac's plans. Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham will launch for Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Windows PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One.

Super Smash Bros.' character roster possibly revealed by leak

Spoiler warning: As the headline implies, this post features what may be the roster from the upcoming Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS. Last week, an anonymous person published what they claimed to be leaked screenshots from the Nintendo 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. on message board 4chan, one of which features the game's character select screen. Many of the characters on the screen have yet to be officially announced by Nintendo. Today, videos of what appears to be the game running on 3DS were published to YouTube. These videos show Bowser Jr. and Shulk from Xenoblade, two of the unannounced characters that appear in the purportedly leaked screenshots. Kotaku speculates that the username that appears in both the screens and video, ESRB0083, are a reference to the...

Super Smash Bros. 'Play in Sleep' mode lets you listen to the soundtrack on the go

Super Smash Bros. on the 3DS will have a "Play in Sleep Mode" that lets users listen to stage themes and other songs in its soundtrack with the 3DS closed. Creator Masahiro Sakurai pointed out the detail in a Miiverse post on Friday. When in "Play in Sleep" mode, the L and R buttons will allow for skipping tracks without opening the 3DS. The mode allows users to put all of the songs in a loop, shuffle them, or select individual tracks to play from the list. For a preview, Sakurai says that some Super Smash Bros. tracks may now be heard on the game's official site, with more to be added in the future. Super Smash Bros., which launches on Wii U as well as 3DS, arrives on Oct. 3.

Pokémon Art Academy hits Nintendo 3DS Oct. 24

Pokémon Art Academy, a game that teaches players how to draw Pokémon, launches for Nintendo 3DS Oct. 24, Nintendo announced today. Pokémon Art Academy combines the instructional elements of the Art Academy series with creatures from the Pokémon franchise. The game will include 40 lessons on how to illustrate Pokémon such as Pikachu, Torchic, Fennekin and Charizard. Players can also use the game's Free Paint and Quick Sketch modes to draw Pokémon however they choose and share their creations via Miiverse galleries. "Drawing their way toward graduation — from the art basics of simple shapes and coloring, to exciting advanced techniques of shading and blending — players will wield a variety of tools, including markers, colored pencils, pastels and paints to illustrate popular Pokémon...

I caught every Pokémon and it only took most of my life

The road to catching all 719 Pokémon was paved with a childhood's worth of free time, a healthy commute and one very promiscuous ditto. I've played every generation of Pokémon and every version since it came to America in 1998. I remember my first hit: I was eight, and my parents thought it would be a great idea to travel from our home in New York all the way down to Florida. Being the rather "spirited" child that I was, they knew the vast beauty of America's coast would be lost on my five second attention span. Out of necessity to keep me occupied, my mother decided this crazy new Pokémon fad would keep my infinite repository of energy in check. I've played every generation of Pokémon From the second I turned on the Game Boy Pocket I was hooked. It was like nothing I had ever played...

Why Pikachu may soon be as iconic as Mickey Mouse

The silhouette of three slightly-overlapping circles is, in most cultures, instantly recognizable and unmistakable for anything but Disney's anthropomorphic mouse, Mickey. He's been in cartoons, movies and video games, his silhouette is plastered on Disney merchandise and he's the mascot for some of the world's biggest and most profitable theme parks. Mickey Mouse is a pop culture icon, and arguably one of the biggest in the world. But there's another rodent in popular culture that could dethrone Mickey: Pikachu. Best known as the star of the Japanese franchise Pokémon, Pikachu has a legitimate shot at the title of most iconic animated character. It's been in a video game series that has sold more than 260 million copies globally. It's part of a trading card game that has shipped more...

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney hits the 3DS eShop on Aug. 29

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney will launch in North America through the Nintendo 3DS eShop on Aug. 29, Nintendo announced today. The title is a collaboration between Professor Layton developer Level-5 and Ace Attorney creator Capcom. In this crossover game, worlds collide as Layton and Phoenix Wright work together to solve a series of mysteries. Players will progress through the story by solving puzzles in the style of the Professor Layton series and working out courtroom drama as they would in any Ace Attorney game. Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney originally launched in Japan in Nov. 2012 for Nintendo 3DS. The title was released in Europe earlier this spring.

Buy side-scroller Azure Striker Gunvolt on 3DS, get 8-bit throwback Mighty Gunvolt free

Developer Inti Creates is offering a big incentive for buyers of its side-scrolling action game Azure Striker Gunvolt: Players who purchase the Nintendo 3DS game will also get a second game, Mighty Gunvolt, for free. Mighty Gunvolt is a 2D action game that features the star of Azure Striker Gunvolt and Beck from Comcept's Mighty No. 9 as playable characters in a retro 8-bit style. (Inti Creates is also handling development of Mighty No. 9.) Mighty Gunvolt is a graphically simpler take on the main game — a la Castlevania spin-off Kid Dracula and Mighty Final Fight for NES — that takes place across five stages. Mighty Gunvolt features another playable character, the angel Ekoro from developer Inti Creates' suggestive, Japan-only rail shooter, Gal Gun. Takuya Aizu, president and CEO of...
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Caped crusader goes kinda nuts in new Lego Batman 3 trailer

A new trailer for TT Games' Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham today shows Batman in a freaky frenzy over his little buddy Robin. There's no explanation about the dark knight's weird behavior, but we do know that many characters in this game are subverted by evil Brainiac as he seeks to take over the world. It just so happens that this trailer is almost entirely focused on Brainiac and his incredible shrinking device, but we also get a song and dance routine from Joker. Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham will be released on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PS Vita, Wii U, 3DS and Windows PC this fall

Ghost-catching RPG Youkai Watch could come West next year

Popular Japanese role-playing game Youkai Watch could be coming West next year, developer Level-5's president Akihiro Hino told Japanese publication Zakzak. Youkai Watch launched for Nintendo 3DS in Japan in July, 2013. The game follows the player character — a young boy or girl — and their pet ghost Whisper throughout their quiet hometown, solving mysteries and capturing ghosts for use in battle against other ghosts. Speaking with Zakzak, Hino said Level-5 is currently evaluating Western markets in hopes of bringing the well-loved series to international territories. He noted that the popularity of Japanese culture could mean the game will be successful in non-Japanese regions. "Our plan for next year includes worldwide expansion," Hino said of bringing Youkai Watch West. "I believe...

The Pikachu Detective game may finally be announced next week

A "shocking" new Pokémon project will be announced next week, according to The Pokémon Company. The announcement, made in collaboration with Famitsu magazine, will be made via livestream and feature The Pokémon Company president Tsunekazu Ishihara, along with Pokémon anime voice actors Nobuhiko Okamoto and Aoi Yuuki. The stream will be viewable at on August 26th at 9 am EST. What will be announced? Taking a leap off the "shocking" comment, a likely choice is the Pikachu detective game. In November of last year, Nintendo copyrighted the title "Great Pikachu Detective." A month prior to that, Nintendo revealed details about a Pikachu-focused detective game for 3DS shown on the Japanese television show, "The Professionals." In the detective game, Pikachu solves crimes while...

Pokémon's latest Mega Evolution is Slowbro

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the upcoming remakes of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, will introduce the next stage in Slowbro evolution with Mega Slowbro, The Pokémon Company International announced. Mega Evolutions are special forms Pokémon transform into with the help of unique items. Slowbro's evolution was revealed at the 2014 Pokémon World Championships being held in Washington, D.C. this weekend. Water and Psychic-type Pokémon Slowbro is one of Slowpoke's final forms; the other is Slowking. "When Slowbro Mega Evolves into Mega Slowbro, its energy gathers in the Shellder clamped onto its tail," the description reads. "As a result, the hardness of its shell is boosted, making its armor incredibly strong. In battle, Mega Slowbro balances on its tail, wearing Shellder as an...

Nintendo responds to petition to include Robin Williams tribute in Zelda game

A fan-petition for Nintendo to include a character named after Robin Williams, who died earlier this week, has so far collected almost 90,000 signatures.Nintendo tonight responded to Polygon's request for comment on the petition, which asks that Nintendo name one of its non-player characters 'Robin' in the next Zelda game. Williams, who had recently been diagnosed with a serious illness and suffered from Depression, took his own life on Monday. He had been a keen fan of Nintendo games and named his daughter, Zelda, after The Legend of Zelda. At this point, Nintendo has declined to make any commitment to the petition. "Robin Williams was loved at Nintendo." offered a Nintendo spokesperson. "Our hearts go out to his entire family, and especially to Zelda Williams who we've...

Zelda carry case adds a little Hyrule glamour

This stylish Legend of Zelda carry case recently showed up on Club Nintendo's rewards catalog in Europe. Featuring the Hylian Crest from The Legend of Zelda series, it's about seven inches long (19.5cm x 12cm x 6.5cm). It also sports two slider grips;  one is stamped with a Zelda Heart Container emblem, the other with the Club Nintendo logo. Nintendo's copy-writers suggest that the nylon case is "just the ticket" for carrying a 3DS with some games, or toiletries or stationery. Club Nintendo is a rewards scheme that allows fans to trade loyalty tokens for digital and real goodies. The carry case costs 4,000 stars.
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