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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Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch from a Gameboy aficionado

As an insomniac, I take my gaming seriously. When I get to a point in a cycle of sleeplessness where I’m too tired to work or keep track of where I am in the book I’m reading, I turn to video games to keep me from delving too deeply into the dark thoughts that creep into my skull in the middle of the night.

After waiting for over a year to see if it would prove popular enough with developers and players to make it worth picking up, I finally broke down and bought a Nintendo Switch – that I have an upcoming assignment that involves testing Switch accessories made it easy to pull the trigger, despite its steep price tag here in Canada. The last Nintendo console that I bought was the Gameboy Advance Micro. I still own it, 13 years later, and play it on a regular basis. After tinkering with the Switch for just over a month, I’ve got some thoughts on the major differences between it and my much-loved GBA Micro that I thought might be fun to share.

Cost of Ownership

The GBA Micro wasn’t cheap, back in the day. I remember paying around $200 for it in Vancouver, BC. But aside from the games I’d buy for it, that was it. There was no need to purchase anything else. The Switch? Not so much. After paying $300 for it or, in my case, $400 Canadian, there's still a ton of cash that needs to change hands to ensure a solid experience with the console. Read the rest

Fortnite Battle Royale now available on Nintendo Switch

Epic Games' fantastic Fortnite Battle Royale has launched, as anticipated, on the Nintendo Switch. Now you can dance the L on every major gaming platform but one: PC, Xbox, PS4, IOS and Switch. Android is up next.

I've been enthusiastic about the Switch for a while and wondered if it'd replace my aged Xbox One. Fortnite ensures the unit will get a lot of use, even if every other game is a dud.

I alternate between the FunkOps skin, and the Leviathan, whom I lovingly refer to as "Bob Fishman."

Nintendo Switch with Neon Blue and Red Joy-Con bundle via Amazon Read the rest

Sony is killing production of physical PS Vita games in 2019

Pour another one out for Sony's PlayStation Vita. Despite being a powerful, capable handheld that's great for a bit of fun on the go or as a companion to your PlayStation 3 or 4 when you're at home, Sony's all but ignored the diminutive gaming console over the past couple of years. In 2015, Sony told gamers that they didn't think it was worth making a successor to the Vita.

Fair enough: mobile gaming is Nintendo's jelly. It still hurt to hear, though: I've always had a soft spot for Sony's portable systems (I may well be one of the few people that actually liked the PSP Go). But the death of the Vita didn't feel real to me until today. According to Kotaku, the production of PlayStation Vita game cards will soon be upon us.

From Kotaku:

Sony’s American and European branches “plan to end all Vita GameCard production by close of fiscal year 2018,” the company told developers today in a message obtained by Kotaku. The message asks that all Vita product code requests be submitted by June 28, 2018, and that final purchase orders be entered by February 15, 2019. Sony’s 2018 fiscal year will end on March 31, 2019.

As sigh inducing as this news is, it isn't the end of the world. Vita owners will still be able to download games from the online store baked into the PS Vita's OS. If Sony's support for the Vita is anything like it has been for the original PlayStation Portable, the digital titles that gamers bought should be available to download for years to come. Read the rest

Nintendo bringing back the NES Classic

Withdrawn from sale to promote the 16-bit SNES Classic, Nintendo's NES Classic is finally coming back. Pulling it from shelves at the height of its popularity was a canny move by the Japanese game giant, but one that enraged fans and left industry-watchers scratching their heads. All that anguish and pontification is now wiped from the high score chart of history with one fell, swooping press release.

Don't pay $200 for old stock on Amazon's official-looking NES Classic page; the real thing will be $60 when it is out again on June 29th.

Pictured here is "Shaved Mario" by November17 on Twitter. Read the rest

Famicase: beautiful cartridges for imaginary NES games

I's been eight years since we last checked in, and Famicase is going strong, both as an exhibition and a social media hashtag. The photo above was posted by @boheme. Read the rest

Nintendo's new cardboard extensions for Switch are blowing users away

Everyone is raving about Nintendo Labo, simple contraptions made with cardboard and circuits that turn a Switch into a whole new experience. Read the rest

The producer of Super Mario Odyssey blows minds with with revelation that Toad's hat is really his head

Super Mario Odyssey producer Yoshiaki Koizumi kindly answered questions about Nintendo's famous characters of the Mushroom Kingdom, such as "Why does Mario have nipples but not a belly button?" and “Is Toad’s head a hat or a head?”

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One reason the Nintendo Switch is doing well: 3 times as many games out in first year

Nintendo's last game console, the Wii U, didn't do so well. The Switch, though, is doing very well indeed. One key reason: lots of games. Gizmodo:

By day 279, the Switch had 191 games available, a number the Wii U didn’t match until it’s 857th day – as many games in nine months as as its predecessor had in two years and four months.

How to explain this is up for debate. Could it be better support for developers from Nintendo? Could it be smaller games in the e-shop making the barriers to entry lower so games can be pumped out more quickly?

It's not enough to have good launch titles. Quantity is a well-established factor in almost every console success going back to the 1970s -- and nowadays, that means hundreds of games. The Switch is also way ahead of the PS4 and XBone; though both have been out for more than four years, the Switch's curve vaguely suggests it could catch up within two. Read the rest

New Super Mario movie in development with studio behind Minions

From Nintendo president Tatumi Kimishima's corporate management policy briefing today (PDF):

We have started development of an animated movie featuring “Super Mario” with Illumination, the movie studio that brought films such as “Despicable Me” and “Minions.” For this project Mr. Chris Meledandri, Founder and CEO of Illumination and Shigeru Miyamoto, Representative Director, Fellow of Nintendo will co-producing the film. The film will be co-financed by Universal Pictures and Nintendo, and distributed theatrically worldwide by Universal Pictures.

Further announcements on details such as release dates will be made at a later date. We look forward to providing further information about the release timing for this movie that we hope everyone will enjoy.

As a part of our effort to expand Nintendo IP beyond video games, we look forward to bringing smiles to people around the world through this movie.

Let's hope it fares better than last time.

(via Rolling Stone) Read the rest

Mii Channel background music performed by saxophone quartet

Bari S:

My arrangement of the Mii Channel Music for a saxophone quartet. Uses one soprano, one alto, one tenor, and one bari. Video was compiled in Premiere Pro and audio was compiled in Audition. If you like it, make sure to hit that like button and share with friends, family, and strangers alike!

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Nintendo's music from the Mii channel, "but all the pauses are uncomfortably long"

This quiet genius from "SardineWhiskers" returns the sinister potential to Nintendo's love of midcentury charm. Make musak grim again! Read the rest

A visit to a secret Nintendo bar in an undisclosed location in Japan

Tofugu's Kanae Nakamine and Koichi went to a secret bar in Japan (somewhere) called 84. Koichi told me, "Its main customers are musicians, celebrities, comedians, pro wrestlers, game creators, and Nintendo employees. And only vetted members know its location / can get in."

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Watch this kid lose it over his new Nintendo (1988)

On Monday, redditor smulz shared this video of himself as a child receiving a Nintendo Entertainment System as a gift in May of 1988.

He writes, "I present to you my greatest shame. When my parents surprised me with a new Nintendo."

Whoa, whoa, hold up. There's nothing to be ashamed of here, sir. Your video is an amazing glimpse into suburban eighties life, from the guinea pig cages to that giant TV on wheels to your striped alligator shirt and thick glasses to your kid brother repeating, "I don't want to play with it." That part where you freak out and cry over getting an NES? Pure gold.

Please thank your mom for us for pulling out the camcorder to mark this important moment in your childhood, if for no other reason that we can enjoy it some nearly 30 years later. Read the rest

Watch: Adorable 80s kid overjoyed with the gift of Nintendo

Here’s a throwback to a small kid in oversized glasses freaking out about receiving an NES for Christmas. Yes! It even comes with a gun. This adorable little wreck cries as he hugs and thanks his father for the gift. He then goes to his room to find money to pay his dad back. Reddit user “smulz” posted the video saying it was from Christmas 1988. A then-farsighted “smulz” waited two whole months for the gift of a lifetime, his mother says in the video. More euphoric “oohs” are squealed out as he unboxes his new system to the Ghostbusters theme playing on the tv in the background. Oh the number of elves I would sacrifice to ever experience that type of joy. Read the rest

Watch Super Mario star in fairy tale anime

Released in Japan in 1989, Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Bros is a series of three fairy tale animations starring the Super Mario characters. From the Mario Wiki:

The series contains: Super Mario Momotarō, Super Mario Issun-bōshi, and Super Mario Shirayuki-hime‎. The two former episodes in the series are retellings of fairy tales of the same name, while Super Mario Shirayuki-hime is a retelling of the Western fairy tale Snow White

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