Violinist shows four levels of musicianship by playing the Mario theme

Rob Landes shows how to play the Mario theme as in noob, amateur, hardcore, and elite levels. Read the rest

Cheap but great JoyCon grips for the Nintendo Switch

These cheap grips make playing Mario Kart against my kid easier.

For less than $12 delivered these have improved my Switch experience. JoyCons firmly pop into these ABS grips, and while the firmness of the buttons takes a game or two to get used to, these fit my hand far better than the stand-alone JoyCon.

The button tops also help my CTS prone hands from tiring as quickly.

I find JoyCons miserably small, these grips help.

AmazonBasics Grip Kit for Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Controllers via Amazon Read the rest

Realistic paintings of Nintendo Smash Bros. characters

Raf Grassetti, the Sony Art Director behind God of War's look, is painting realistic portraits of characters from Smash Bros. Ultimate. Some are charming, such as Princess Peach. One the other hand, there's always Sonic...

Via Metafilter. Read the rest

Unopened copy of Super Mario Bros. sold at auction for $100,150

Eric Bradly says:

An unopened copy of Super Mario Bros., the classic video game released by Nintendo in 1985, set a world record for a graded game when it recently sold for $100,150.

“Beyond the artistic and historical significance of this game is its supreme state of preservation,” says Kenneth Thrower, co-founder and chief grader of Wata Games.

Due to its popularity, Nintendo reprinted Super Mario Bros. from 1985 to 1994 numerous times, resulting in 11 different box variations (according to this visual guide). The first two variations are “sticker sealed” copies that were only available in the New York and L.A. test market launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985 and 1986. Of all the sealed copies of Super Mario Bros., this is the only known “sticker sealed” copy and was certified by Wata Games with a Near Mint grade of 9.4 and a “Seal Rating” of A++.

“Not only are all of NES sticker sealed games extremely rare, but by their nature of not being sealed in shrink wrap they usually exhibit significant wear after more than 30 years,” Thrower said. “This game may be the condition census of all sticker sealed NES games known to exist.”

A group of collectors joined forces Feb. 6 to purchase the game, including some of the biggest names in video games and collectibles as a whole. The buyers include Jim Halperin, Founder and Co-Chairman of Heritage Auctions of Dallas, Texas; Zac Gieg, owner of Just Press Play Video Games in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Rich Lecce, renowned coin dealer, pioneering video game collector, and owner of Robert B.

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Fantastic Super Mario Bros. stop-motion paper animation in a notebook

Kisaragi double 6 created this fantastic hand-drawn stop-motion animation of the Super Mario Bros (1985) World 1-1 level.

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Archival music collection from June Chikuma, composer of the "Bomberman" videogame soundtracks

June Chikuma is the Japanese composer behind the beloved soundtracks to Nintendo’s Bomberman series and countless other videogame, TV, and film scores. Now, Chikuma's 1986 album "Divertimento" has been expanded into a new edition titled Les Archives, available from the Freedom To Spend label. The vinyl edition of Les Archives also includes a limited 7" with tunes from the era that didn't make the original Divertimento release. The above video, "June Rebuilds," was directed by Amanda Kramer and features the track "Broadcast Profanity Delay" from Les Archives. From the release announcement:

While Freedom To Spend’s reinvented edition bares little visual evidence of its origins in the composer’s name, title, or sleeve design, the album, a whooping gonzo of synthesizers, samplers, drum machines, and a mysterious string quartet, remains as vibrant now as it did when released on Toru Hatano’s Picture Label as Divertimento in 1986. In fact, the music of Les Archives now glows with a different purpose; one that revises the past while maintaining, and finally elevating, its hidden influence.

A woman of multiple disciplines and identities, June Chikuma (竹間 淳, Chikuma Jun) has composed for TV, film, and video games over the past thirty plus years. Her proto-techno and drum and bass soundtracks for Nintendo’s Bomberman franchise in the 80s and 90s is an oeuvre unto itself. In more recent years her musical focus has turned toward classic Arabic and Egyptian music. Chikuma studies Arabic nay, playing and performing with Le Club Bachraf ensemble. In a melding of June’s contrasting, colorful worlds, Le Club Bachraf composed part of the original score for the 2007 video game Sonic and The Secret Rings.

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N64 modder re-imagines classic Super Mario

Classic games, computers and gaming consoles are a source of joy for those who came of age when the titles and hardware were cutting edge commodities. Few things can transport you back to your youth faster than playing with what made you happy back in the day. For some people, playing with the games of yore includes tinkering to make something new and wonderful.

From Kotaku:

Modder Kaze Emanuar has taken the 2D level design of that older game and crammed it into the engine of Super Mario 64. Judging from the video that announced the mod, this allows the player to do all the leaping, hopping, and air flipping that a modern Mario can do while still enjoying the “classic” feel of the levels.

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This live action Super Smash Brothers video is the best thing you'll see all day

There are few things finer in 2018 than being able to hunker down with a few friends, in person or online, and beat the living crap out of each other over the course of an hour playing Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. For those without a Nintendo Switch, this live action video featuring professional stunt actors beating each other down Super Smash style is the next best thing. Read the rest

There's a new Katamari Damacy title for the Nintendo Switch: Reroll

"Katamari" is the Japanese word for "clod" or "lump," and people familiar with the Katamari Damacy video game franchise know that the object is to created a giant clod of stuff by rolling it around like a snowball, picking up increasingly larger objects over time.

Reroll is a new Katamari Damacy game for the Nintendo Switch and it looks like fun. I'm going to get it and I'll let you know what I think.

Image: Nintendo Read the rest

8-bit style sheet for websites

You'll need to be handy with CSS to make use of it, but NES.css offers boxes, buttons, containers, forms, speech balloons, icons and more to make your web projects looks like 8-bit games. It's by @bc_rikko. Read the rest

Slack running on a Nintendo SNES

In the mid-1990s, Nintendo released Satellaview, a satellite modem for Nintendo's Super Famicom (SNES) only available in Japan. Just for kicks, Bertrand Fan hacked an SNES and Satellaview to run Slack. Bertrand has an intimate knowledge of Slack because he's one of the engineers building that platform. From Bert:

If you can beam satellite signals to a SNES, you can probably run Slack on it...

Most SNES games are closed systems. When you play a game like Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus, an educational game about dinosaurs with asthma that teaches you how to use an inhaler, the content is fixed on the cartridge.

But the game that comes with the Satellaview, BS-X: The Story of The Town Whose Name Was Stolen (BS-X それは名前を盗まれた街の物語), is different. It looks like a lot of Japanese RPGs but has one key difference: it can receive content beamed from the sky and that content gets integrated into the game....

Using a tool called SatellaWave, you can generate your own Satellaview Broadcast binary files.

Slack on a SNES (Bert.org)

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How to modify your Nintendo Switch game case to hold up to 24 games (cheap gamer tricks)

“I modified a standard Nintendo Switch game case to hold up to 24 games,” says IMGURian MrJspeed, who provides a killer step-by-step HOWTO for gamers who'd like to try this instead of buying a multi-game carrying case. Read the rest

Review: Wasteland 2 for Nintendo Switch

I played Wasteland 2 when it made its debut, four years ago. Despite my Love for Brian Fargo's work on Fallout 1 and 2, I never did manage to finish it. There's something about working in front of a computer, seven days a week, that keeps me from wanting to sit in front of my laptop during my downtime.

However, in the weeks since I was given a review copy of it for the Nintendo Switch, I've been enjoying the holy hell out of it.

If you're not familiar with the franchise, its premise is pretty simple. You and your squad mates are new recruits to the Desert Rangers: the only real peacekeeping force in post-apocalyptic Arizona. It's your job to range out and aid the folks under your protection. You'll kill bandits, attempt to negotiate peace between warring factions and uncover insidious threats. The game lets you choose whether you want to start with a squad of four pre-made rangers, each with different skills and strengths, or role your own. This time around, I chose the latter. As I accidentally created a pretty strong team, it's worked out pretty well so far. That's all I'll say about the game, plot-wise. Wasteland 2 might not be new to many of us, but there are some first-timers that might be reading this. I don't want to blow the story for them.

I will however, talk about game play.

All of the interactions you'll have with NPCs are text-based. Given the small size of the Switch's display, the game's development team could have blown it by making the text too small for older eyes, like mine, to read. Read the rest

My daughter and I share a Nintendo Switch

A few months back we bought a Nintendo Switch. The portable console gets shared between a 46 year-old dad and an 11 year-old daughter. The Switch sees a lot of playtime. Read the rest

Why games cost more for the Nintendo Switch than other platforms

I own a Nintendo Switch. I deeply Enjoy my Nintendo Switch. I am not, however, thrilled to discover that I am paying more games for my Nintendo Switch than folks playing on other platforms are.

From Ars Technica:

The folks over at Switch blog Switcher decided to quantify how much that "Switch tax" costs while building their own database of Switch games. Their analysis found that, of 471 games being sold on both Steam and Switch, the downloadable Switch versions cost just over 10 percent more on average. That average obscures a wide range of price discrepancies, of course, including some that end up in the Switch's favor. In fact, a majority of titles listed on both platforms (55.8 percent) sell for the exact same price on both, and an additional 8.9 percent are cheaper on Nintendo's eShop.

That said, the price discrepancy for the remainder of the Switch's PC ports can be quite large. Payday 2, for example, costs $50 on the Switch compared to just $10 on Steam. The 2016 Doom reboot runs $60 on Switch and $20 on Steam. Steam's frequent sales can exacerbate the differences, too: De Blob is currently $30 on Switch but just $6.59 on Steam—down from a PC list price of $20.

Not cool.

One theory, based on the data that Switcher came up with, is that the games cost more on Switch because, while they’re old news on other platforms, they’re still fresh to the console. As time goes on, Ars Technica’s thinking is that the Switch port of the games will drop down in price. Read the rest

NES Classic is America's best-selling game console

Returning to the stores in June, Nintendo's NES Classic game console—a miniaturized version of the 1985 original—outsold the PlayStation, XBox One and its own Switch to rule the hardware charts.

"The NES Classic was June 2018's highest unit-selling hardware platform, while the PlayStation 4 led the market in dollar sales," wrote Mat Piscatella, an analyst with the NPD Group. "This is the first time a Nintendo Entertainment System console has led in monthly unit sales since NPD tracking began in 1995."

Granted, it's only $60 (at least when you can find it) with dozens of free games, but that's not bad for a 33-year design. Now, about that credit-card sized Gameboy Classic everyone's dreaming of...

NES Classic [Amazon link] Read the rest

Nintendo announced new Labo Vehicle Kit

My 12-year-old-son had a long weekend of fun with the original Nintendo Labo Variety Kit for the Switch. The cardboard contraptions truly embody some marvelous engineering and creativity. Admittedly, the novelty wore off fairly quickly but that doesn't mean we won't be buying the new Toy-Con 03 Vehicle Kit when it comes out in September. You can pre-order it from Amazon for $70.

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