new super mario bros

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Bounces Onto Switch

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Nintendo’s premiere Mario 2D sidescroller on Wii U has been re-released with new content on the Switch. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is available now. And arriving on Nintendo 3DS is another Mario remaster: Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey.

“After a strong 2018, both Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS add to their large and diverse libraries with two solid games starring Mario and friends,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior VP of Sales and Marketing. “Nintendo is giving fans on both platforms good options to kick off their entertainment in 2019.”

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe includes the original New Super Mario Bros. U and its more challenging sequel, New Super Luigi U, for a total of 164 levels.

Both games feature up to four player simultaneous local co-op. Players can choose between Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, and newcomers Nabbit and Toadette. Both Nabbit and Toadette are geared for younger gamers, offering an assist mode. Nabbit is un-phased by enemies and earns extra lives, while Toadette can turn into Peachette, letting her double jump, float, and bounce up from pitfalls.

Note that you’ll need additional controllers to play with three or four players.

The recently arrived Nintendo 3DS version of 2009’s Bower’s Inside Story features revamped graphics and gameplay. The new mode, Bowser’s Jr.’s Journey, puts Bowser’s kid in the limelight as he gathers an army and wrecks havoc. Bowser’s Inside Story is fully compatible with the Nintendo 2DS and 2DS XL.

Both games are rated E for Everyone.

final fantasy

Final Fantasy X, X-2, XII Coming to Switch and Xbox in April

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Square Enix has been a bit slower than other companies to jump on the Nintendo Switch wagon. But better late than never.

Last fall Nintendo announced that several Final Fantasy games were coming to Switch. Today Square Enix confirmed the release date for two of its remastered Final Fantasy games. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD and Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age will arrive on Switch, as well as Xbox One, in April. The remasters were formerly exclusive to PlayStation and PC.

To celebrate the announcement, Akihiko Yoshida created a new piece of artwork showcasing the characters from Final Fantasy XII.

final fantasy

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD will launch on April 16. The HD remaster originally released in 2013 on PlayStation 3 (and again on PlayStation 4 in 2015, and PC in 2016), and combines both Final Fantasy X and its direct sequel, X-2. Both games launched on the PlayStation 2 in the early 2000s, and Final Fantasy X is regularly ranked as one of the best Final Fantasy games ever made. It represents the first truly modern Final Fantasy game, with voice acting and a fully three dimensional world.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD will also be launching on an Xbox console for the first time, as it also arrives on Xbox One on April 16.

But wait there’s more. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is also coming to Nintendo Switch and Xbox One, on April 30. The Zodaic Age version is an HD remaster of the 2006 RPG that launched at the tail end of the PS2’s lifespan. Like the FF X remaster, it uses the improved international version along with updated audio and visual improvements.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age originally launched on PS4 in 2017. FF 12 is often ranked as one of the more underrated Final Fantasy games that didn’t receive the love it deserved when it originally released.

Both Final Fantasy games are rated T for Teen.


Nintendo President: “Our Focus Could Shift Away from Home Consoles”

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The Nintendo Switch is selling incredibly well, especially after the holiday season, yet Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa is looking toward the future.

In a recent interview with Japanese website Nikkei (and translated by Nintendo Everything), Furukawa spoke frankly about Nintendo’s past and future as gaming console developers:

We aren’t really fixated on our consoles. At the moment we’re offering the uniquely developed Nintendo Switch and its software – and that’s what we’re basing how we deliver the “Nintendo experience” on. That being said, technology changes. We’ll continue to think flexibly about how to deliver that experience as time goes on.

It has been over 30 years since we started developing consoles. Nintendo’s history goes back even farther than that, and through all the struggles that they faced the only thing that they thought about was what to make next. In the long-term, perhaps our focus as a business could shift away from home consoles – flexibility is just as important as ingenuity.

The console comments are a bit surprising considering the Switch is almost lightning in a bottle. While it doesn’t have the explosive popularity of the Wii it’s already out sold the Wii U. Every game developer is pressured from fans to put their game on the Switch if they haven’t already and Nintendo has smartly jumped on the indie game craze.

Furukawa goes on to mention the huge market of mobile games and how he’d like to improve Nintendo’s presence in the mobile game space. Nintendo began releasing mobile games in 2016 beginning with Super Mario Run, followed by Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp in 2017. The only mobile game published by Nintendo in 2018 was Dragalia Lost, an RPG developed by Cygames that’s become popular in Japan.

A mobile version of Mario Kart, called Mario Kart Tour, is due out before the end of Nintendo’s financial year (March 2019).

Clearly Nintendo would love to have another runaway mobile success like Pokémon GO, which was licensed to Niantic.

Furukawa also mentions movies and even theme parks as different revenue streams, and appears to be amenable to licensing their popular characters for such ventures. Furukawa recently replaced Tatsumi Kimishima as Nintendo president last summer.

global game jam

Last Call to Register for Global Game Jam 2019

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Global Game Jam, Inc announced its final call for aspiring and professional game designers to register for the Global Game Jam, which takes place January 25-27. Registration closes at the end of the day on Friday, Jan. 4.

A game jam is when developers get together to make a relatively simple game in a very short amount of time. They’re designed to foster creativity and collaboration, as well as provide a platform for new designers.

The Global Game Jam is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year as the world’s largest game jam. True to its name, it features developers from all around the world, including dozens of countries and thousands of participants.

Like the cook-a-thons of Iron Chef, the Global Game Jam features a secret ingredient – a theme that must explored in each game. Every registered group is tasked with creating a game based around that newly announced theme within 48 hours. Participating developers and groups are encouraged to broadcast and stream as much of their design process as they can. Streams will be featured on the Global Game Jam Mixer channel.

The event will kick off with a series of livestreamed keynote speakers. This year’s keynote speakers are Brie Code and Eve Thomas (Tru Luv), Limpho Moeti (Free Lives) and Rami Ismail (Vlambeer).

The jam is run purely by volunteers and more of a creative exercise than a strict competition. Several prominent indie games were born out of the Global Game Jam, including Surgeon Simulator and Keep Talking & Nobody Explodes.

This year’s Global Game Jam will run the weekend of Jan. 25-27.

splatoon 2

Choose Between Friends or Family in Splatoon 2 Frosty Fest

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Winter is coming and the new year approaches in the newest Splatfest event for Splatoon 2. The Frosty Fest Splatfest will run for only 48 hours next weekend, January 4-6, 2019.

Like previous Splatfests, the Frosty Fest begins by having everyone choose between two sides and battle it out for supremacy. Since the holidays are about spending time with friends and family, the Frosty Fest will force you to choose between them!

The Frosty Fest will blanket Inkopolis in festive, wintry decor. Inklings will also be able to shoot glitter-filled ink, which as a parent fills me with anxiety and dread.

The event will also add special seasonal hats, distributed via the Splatoon 2 News channel, beginning later this week. You can also redeem your My Nintendo Points for a Splatoon 2 Frosty Fest themed wallpaper, which showcases the new gear.

Note that to participate in the Splatfest and play online you’ll need a Nintendo Switch Online Membership. A free 7-day trial is available when you first sign up. Membership is $3.99 per month or $19.99 for a year. Discounted family memberships for up to eight accounts are also available. Membership provides access to online gameplay for all compatible games (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Super Mario Party, etc), as well as cloud saves and the NES virtual console.

Frosty Fest begins at 2 pm Pacific/5 pm Eastern on January 4, 2019. It ends at 2 pm Pacific/5 pm Eastern on Jan. 6, 2019. Splatoon 2 is available only on the Nintendo Switch.