Zelda fan/maker controls smart home by playing ocarina

In celebration of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Allen Pan built a wonderful home automation system where the interface is an ocarina as seen in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. (Thanks, Lux!)

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Nintendo explains why Switch cartridges taste nasty

Nintendo's Switch is the company's cool new console. Early reviews say they nailed the system design this time, but also that Nintendo just doesn't know how to do online services and is running out of time to figure it out. The triumphant return of the cartridge, however, comes with a bitter edge: their taste.

"Immediately upon touching a Nintendo Switch cartridge one’s tongue is assaulted by a harsh bitterness that spreads like a brush fire through the mouth," writes Kotaku's Mike Fahey. "Having a drink on hand helps, but not completely. The taste and how it spreads suggests some sort of oily residue left on the cartridge. If you’ve ever pinched an orange peel and tasted the oil that oozes from the rind, it’s like that, only without the citrus accents."

It turns out to be deliberate: Nintendo infuses the carts with a bittering agent.

“To avoid the possibility of accidental ingestion, keep the game card away from young children. A bittering agent (Denatonium Benzoate) has also been applied to the game card. This bittering agent is non-toxic.”
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Nintendo Switch review roundup

The highly-anticipated Nintendo Switch hits stores on Friday. According to today's reviews, it's got a lot of potential, some of which has yet to be realized even days before launch. From DIGG's Review Roundup:

If there's one area where the Switch excels largely (though not entirely), it's as a portable gaming tablet:

Though Nintendo marketing seems intent on describing the Switch as a home console that it just so happens you can take with you, I've found myself using the system as a portable much more often than on the TV... The system goes from its power-sipping "standby" to "actively playing a game right where I left off" in about three seconds, making it incredibly easy to pick up and put down as needed. I've highlighted the quality of the Switch's 6.2-inch, 720p screen for portable gaming in previous pieces, and the quality display still stands out after just over a week with the system. (Ars Technica)

The controllers are dogged by connectivity issues when not connected to the portable console:

The Joy-Con are a nifty idea, though they don’t always work as well as I would’ve hoped. For starters, I simply haven’t found them very comfortable. I find that the buttons are oddly placed and the thumbsticks feel small and overly flippy... I’ve also run into a frustrating issue where the left Joy-Con momentarily loses tracking and stops responding to my inputs... It appears to be an issue with a body part or other object blocking the Joy-Con’s view of the docked console...

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"Artisanal" Nintendo console cartridge hacker creates impossible alternate history games

Josh Jacobson is a Nintendo cartridge hacker who makes homebrew cartridges for games that were never released for NES/SNES, complete with label art and colored plastic cases that makes them look like they came from an alternate universe where (for example), there was a Nintendo version of Sonic the Hedgehog. Read the rest

How the Nintendo NES Zapper gun worked (and why it doesn't on today's TVs)

My 10-year-old son Lux is a retro videogame historian who collects and studies 1980s consoles and games with the gravitas of a PhD student working on his thesis. Last year he acquired Nintendo's NES Zapper gun controller from 1984 that was used to play shooting games like Duck Hunt. (Below, a TV commercial for the NES Deluxe Set including the Zapper and R.O.B. The Robotic Operating Buddy.) Unfortunately, the NES Zapper doesn't work with modern LCD televisions. The video above from "Today I Found Out" explains the clever technology behind the NES Zapper gun. And here's a great text explanation from How-To Geek about why it doesn't work on non-CRT screens, something my son already knew but, of course, wanted the Zapper anyway for, er, display purposes:

First, it requires extremely precise timing between the trigger pull on the Zapper and the response on the screen. Even the slightest difference (and we’re talking milliseconds here) between the signal sent to the NES and the signal displayed on the screen can throw it off. The original timing sequence was based on the very dependable response time of a CRT hooked up to the analog NES signal. Whether the old tube TV was big, small, cutting edge or 10 years old, the speed of the signal via the CRT display standard was reliable. By contrast, the latency in modern digital sets is not reliable and is not the same as the old consistent delay in the CRT system. Now, this doesn’t matter in most situations.

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Super Retro-Boy plays real carts

Super Retro-Boy is a compact, minimal reimplementation of Nintendo's classic Game Boy with the look as well as the tech. It plays real cartidges, including those from the full-color Game Boy Advance—presumably this is why there are four buttons. It gets 10 hours on a charge, and will come with a 10-in-1 game from Retro-Bit this summer. Read the rest

How Shigero Miyamoto, legendary creator of Zelda and Mario Bros., designs a game

"I think that it was in my generation that people who made video games really became designers rather than technologists," Shigero Miyamoto says.

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Original development art from The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda turned 30 this year and in celebration, Nintendo posted development artwork from the game hand-drawn by legendary designers Takashi Tezuka and Shigeru Miyamoto! More at Nintendo.co.uk.

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Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto and The Roots perform the "Super Mario Bros." theme

Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Donkey Kong, Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and countless other videogame masterpieces, sits in with Questlove and The Roots.

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Now, THIS is how to sell Nintendo!

Nintendo sales training video from 1992. Er, as the fellow says, "Hasta Luigi, baby."

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Music for video games

Seth Everman distills a certain video game musical score down to 80 seconds of sheer brilliance. Somewhere in the space between Link To the Past and Secret of Mana, the perfect Nintendo role-playing game.

Previously: It is with great regret... Read the rest

Nintendo announces new hybrid portable game console

Nintendo's Switch is a touchscreen tablet with removable physical controls that turn it into a traditional handheld game console. It comes with a chunky dock to hook it up to a TV set for high-definition couch action; also announced is a traditional wireless gamepad to match the squared-off dark gray design: it's what disassembles to become the tablet's own controls.

Introducing Nintendo Switch! In addition to providing single and multiplayer thrills at home, the Nintendo Switch system also enables gamers to play the same title wherever, whenever and with whomever they choose. The mobility of a handheld is now added to the power of a home gaming system to enable unprecedented new video game play styles.

Switches use cartridges instead of discs: suggestively retro, especially in the promise of instant-on gaming, but also reflective of the general decline of optical media in favor of flash and high-bandwidth internet connections.

The promo video depicts intriguing social game cultures that don't yet exist—think kids toting their no-nonsense, easy-to-use Switches around to the pub and competitive event alike. For me it lit up dormant arcade-era neurons that Sony and Microsoft (and Apple, for that matter) never get close to.

It's out in March. Read the rest

Watch a hamster clear a Super Mario Bros. level

Like an 8-bit Habitrail. Read the rest

Nintendo Power at Internet Archive (Update: Nintendo yanked it)

Every issue of Nintendo Power published between 1988 and 2001 is available at the Internet Archive. With all the tips, tricks and maps, one can "behold crudely drawn comics of Battletoads," writes Rob Dean.

Update: Nintendo yanked it. Boo! Read the rest

Fantastic DIY miniature Nintendo Entertainment System

Daftmike made a fantastic miniature Nintendo Entertainment System that's 40% the size of the original. It consists of a Raspberry Pi inside a 3D-printed case that he designed and a selection of mini-cartridges containing NFC tags that are read by the Raspberry Pi. Beautiful work!

NESPI (daftmike)

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Itty-bitty Nintendo NES with 30 built-in games coming in November

Today, Nintendo announced the NES Classic Edition, a little console loaded with 30 classic titles, including Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, and Kirby's Adventure. It plugs into your TV's HDMI port and includes one NES gamepad controller. It's coming November 11 and retails for $60.

Included titles: Balloon Fight Bubble Bobble Castlevania Castlevania II: Simon's Quest Donkey Kong Donkey Kong Jr. Double Dragon II: The Revenge Dr. Mario Excitebike Final Fantasy Galaga Ghosts'N Goblins Gradius Ice Climber Kid Icarus Kirby's Adventure Mario Bros. Mega Man 2 Metroid Ninja Gaiden Pac-Man Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream StarTropics Super C Super Mario Bros. Super Mario Bros. 2 Super Mario Bros. 3 Tecmo Bowl The Legend of Zelda Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

[via]

(Thanks, Calvin!) Read the rest

Online banking for Nintendo's Super NES (1998)

In 1998, TranDirect Holdings created this video pitching an online home banking system that ran on Nintendo's Super NES. Ah, another 16-bit dream that didn't quite become real.

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