Posts Tagged ‘nintendo’


by Kevin L. Clark

Here, we spotlight the movements, mods, and works of art within gaming culture for your ultimate enjoyment. The weekly post is your central point to see just how video games influence the world around us.

You may be stuffed full of turkey and other tryptophan-like substances, but that does not stop gamers from wondering the latest about Zak Penn’s Ready Player One adaptation. Based on the Ernie Cline book of the same title, Warner Bros. managed to scoop up this digital delight back in 2010. For those who don’t know, the plot develops around a Willy Wonka-esque innovator who creates a futuristic world where everyone lives in virtual reality. When that man passes away, a group of players must exhibit knowledge of all things pop culture, music, and games from the 1980s. Penn recently did a new interview, which confirms that the Ready Player One movie is done and talks about the obstacles of video game licensing. Nerd Report‘s Fred Topel penned the story.

Bill Nye may be your favorite science guy, but there can be something said for scientist who attempt to break down gaming in a scientific fashion. Arjun Keval Joshi of NintendoLife broke the hearts of many Super Mario Galaxy fans when he recounted a study from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, which broke down the small planets Mario traverses in the game. Using the surface gravity of Earth as their measuring mark, the students came to the conclusion that places like the Gold Leaf or Cosmic Cove galaxy would “likely explode in real life.” With not enough mass to produce a stable body, these minuscule planets would destroy all in an explosive blaze of gold coins and mushroom matter. If you want to know the particulars in full detail, you can read the actual paper by clicking here.

Did you know that Pixel Perfect had a plan to celebrate the Nintendo classic, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, on its 25th anniversary?! RetroPete at 8-Bit Central had been following the developments for the definitive book for awhile. The 240-page, unofficial encyclopedia for the NES game had a successful Kickstarter campaign, but failed to receive Nintendo’s blessings to release the book. Although the Brownsville Bomber, Mike Tyson, got a copy of the hardcover book, the supporters behind the project all went without due to Nintendo’s “complicated licensing issues.” Thankfully, Pixel Perfect has decided to allow interested readers access to the book in PDF form! By heading over to Pixel Perfect’s website, you are just a few short clicks from being able to learn more about Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out game than Conan O’Brien!

If you see anything that you feel is culturally relevant, artistic in merit, or just all-around cool for gamers — please don’t hesitate to let us know @HaroldGoldberg, @KevitoClark, and @HarryRabinowitz.

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Mario Cartridge

by Harry Rabinowitz

“Can I take a look?” Rebecca asks me, gesturing towards the blue-screening copy of Mega Man III.


I open the lid of the Nintendo Entertainment System, a piece of equipment a little under a decade older than me, caress the cartridge of Mega Man III out of the system and pass it to Rebecca, a visiting videogame preservation expert.  She flips the large square upside down.  It rattles a bit.

“What’s that?” I ask.  “Sounds like a bead or something.”

“It’s bad.  Really bad.” She frowns.

Rebecca explains what the sound means.  I ask more questions, naturally curious about games and a console I never had the pleasure of owning.  It gets complicated.  About a half-hour later I get the gist of it.

That copy of Mega Man III is dead.  We won’t be able to get it to play anymore.

I work in the NYU Game Library.  Every day, I sit at my desk placed in front of hundreds of cartridges.  Atari, NES, N64, Sega Master System, SNES, GameBoy, you name it.  I’ve probably only played three of them.  Slowly but surely, each and every one of these games will degrade.  The cartridge might get “finicky”.  The consoles might run a game strangely.  And one day, a Legend of Kage or Zelda II with have its final death rattle.  It might literally start rattling, or just show a silent blue screen, and that’s that.  If I were more versed in this kind of hardware, I could open up the cartridge and try to bring it back.  But I’m not, and I don’t know a single person in my generation who is.

60 years from now will people still be able to play any of these NES cartridges?

Videogames are not like other art forms.  We cannot just put a copy of The Legend of Zelda in a glass display somewhere and be satisfied.  To understand a game, you need to play it.  With companies like Sony and Microsoft abandoning backwards compatibly, the likelihood that my stack of PlayStation 2 games will ever see playtime is shrinking every day the console gets older.  Nintendo is trying its best with the Virtual Console store, but they do not offer nearly the amount of titles that sit behind my work desk.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure how to physically preserve the consoles and games I work with everyday.  But I do know how to digitally preserve them.

I am, of course, talking about emulators.

Things for from grim to hopeful (albeit a bit complicated) with the turn of a page…

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Happy Hallow… post-Halloween week!  Circle members have been busy with all things spooky as well as bringing you the most important content around!

Stu Horvath reflected on Halloween, his childhood, Costume Questand, once again, being the “enemy of fun”.

Also in Halloween spirit, Jorge Jimenez hosted the “Horrorcast” Dualshockers podcast, with special guest Jill Scharr.

Over on Digital Trends, Adam Rosenberg has been playing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and has some “Day 0″ thoughts on the game.

If you’re looking for a different kind of war game, Evan Narcisse reminded us of This War of Mine, a soon-to-be launching “wartime survival” PC game.

New Circle member Sara Clemens reviewed Marginalia, a narrative driven journey similar to Dear Esther.

And Ben Gilbert broke down the plethora of new Nintendo hardware coming out alongside the release of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

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With “review season” under way, Circle members have been playing games.  A lot of games! Here are some of our members’ stories in this week’s Roundup!

Jeremy Voss started playing Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.  About an hour in, he gives us his initial thoughts on his blog Shouts From The Couch.

Chris Plante has been into Shadow of Mordor as well, only when he plays, it makes him feel like a terror-inducing mass murderer.  That hasn’t stopped him from playing though…

If fantasy isn’t your fancy, Dualshockers’ Jorge Jimenez reviewed FIFA 15. He also recorded a video play-session where he attempts to become the greatest athlete ever.

And if you’re looking for something a little…stranger, Alex Navarro reviewed D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die over on Giant Bomb.

Jason Schreier checked on the progress of Nintendo’s recent entry into the world of DLC and how it has affected the company’s recent games.

Over on Gamespot, Nick Capozzoli reviewed Spacecom, the abstract, minimalistic strategy game about one-on-one galactic battle.

And as an added bonus for this week, Evan Narcisse played a Suda51 game called Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day.  According to Narcisse, playing it is “probably the most otaku thing you’ll do all year.”


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by Harold Goldberg


May 13 will likely be lucky for author and filmmaker Blake J. Harris. That particular Tuesday is the day Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined A Generation (It Books), his well-researched and compelling narrative history of Sega, Nintendo and Sony’s battles, will be released. I met the affable Harris a few years ago – shortly after All Your Base Are Belong to Us, my own narrative history of games, hit the shelves.

We hit it off immediately. Harris has many fascinating stories to tell, of his collaboration with Seth Rogen and Scott Rudin for the tome’s film version, of the geniuses of videogames, and of the writing process itself. Part One appears today. Part Two will appear on the book’s release date.

Also, Harris will read and answer questions from Console Wars at the Astoria Book Shop on May 15 at 7 p.m. If you get there early, you can play old school games with the author.

Now, on to the interview.

1) What compelled you to write a book on the Console Wars?

My journey down the 16-bit rabbit hole was as unexpected as it proved
to be delightful.

A little over three years ago, my typically terrible-gift-giving
brother surprised me on my 28th birthday with the perfect gift: a Sega
Genesis, which is what we had when we were kids. Holding that
controller in my hands after so years away from videogames brought to
the surface all kinds of memories and then, after the barrage of that
nostalgia hit me, came all kinds of questions. What ever happened to
Sega? How were they even able to compete against Nintendo in the first
place? And ultimately: what the hell was going on behind the scenes
all that time?

To answer these questions and all the others that kept bubbling up I
wanted to read a book on the subject. But, as luck would have it, no
such book existed. Not only did no such book exist, but I quickly
learned that for an industry as gigantic as videogames there was an
alarmingly small number of books about this wonderfully wild world.

Well, after reviewing my old college econ notes on supply and demand,
I began contacting former of employees from Sega and Nintendo to find
out if there was an interesting story here; something exciting and
dramatic with twists and turns that would appeal to gamers and
non-gamers alike. Needless to say, what I soon discovered exceeded
even my wildest expectations.

2) What do we need to know about Tom Kalinske, who’s kind of the
protagonist of Console Wars?

The most important thing to know about Tom Kalinske is that he’s the
man responsible for the childhood of anyone born in the 70s or 80s.
From Barbie and He-Man to Flintstones Chewable Vitamins and Matchbox
cars, his ability to turn unusual ideas into iconic properties is
second to none. And in 1990, when Nintendo had over 90% of the market,
that made him the perfect guy (and perhaps the only guy) capable of
transforming Sega from an industry punchline into a
generation-defining market leader.

3) What did he do right and what did he do wrong?

He did a ton of things of right. Some that many of us might remember
(like launching the famous Sega-Scream-infused Welcome to the Next
Level campaign), some that many of us never knew about (like
brilliantly and unexpectedly getting the Genesis into Wal-mart) and
some that none of us will ever know or fully understand (like how he
convinced a team of rebels that they truly had the golden touch).

What did he do wrong? Like any CEO, a variety of mistakes were made
along the one. Perhaps the most notable (and perhaps inevitably
unavoidable) was to focus on beating Nintendo (and then Sony) when a
more crafty enemy was lurking much closer than he realized.


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By Harold Goldberg

A few moments ago, Nintendo officially released some heretofore unannounced plans for this holiday season, a new handheld device called the 2ds.

As part of this announcement, Nintendo had me over to their offices to see the 2DS in action. With a release date of October 12 and a price of $130, the 2DS sports some of the features of the 3DS in a kind of micro-tablet format.

The device I saw kind of looks like a slice of red/black cake, millimeters thin on one end and a bit thicker on the other. It was so new when I saw it that the FCC hadn’t yet given it a go ahead.

With two screens that are smaller than those on the 3DS, it plays 3DS games in 2D. And, like the 3DS, it offers up WiFi access to the Nintendo shop. The single speaker sound isn’t quite as good as the 3DS’s stereo. But it’s clear and generally fine.

Why would Nintendo announce this particular little machine for the holidays? Says Nintendo’s Cindy Gordon, “We wanted everyone to have access to Nintendo games. Some people might not have the income to buy a 3DS, and the 2DS is $40 less. We feel it’s the perfect entry point, and then consumers can move up the (hardware) line.” I then asked when the machine began its development cycle, but was not given a direct answer: Nintendo wanted to stay precisely on message.

So I asked, If parents who are a bit cash poor want a handheld gaming device for their kids, wouldn’t they go to eBay for a used 3DS? (Later, a quick search showed a used 3DS could be had for $120 and up.)

Gordon countered, saying that, Yes, people might do that, but wouldn’t they want a brand new device as an entry point instead?

Nintendo says the 2DS might be right as a child’s first machine (“for young, budding gamers,” says Gordon), and I do agree with that assumption. It’s less complicated that the 3DS with fewer buttons to deal with. For instance, there’s no slider button for the WiFi access.

I believe there’s another reason for Nintendo’s release of the 2DS.  Sony and Microsoft are releasing their new systems in November, and there’s a lot of buzz around them. Nintendo wants to have at least one tangible thing that’s new, something related to hardware that they can tout for the holidays.

Really, it has to do with the console wars. Executives may say publicly that there are no such battles. But that’s a matter of semantics. These companies are very, very competitive. Hence, the thinking would go, a new machine by Nintendo for the holiday season is a salvo that might help the company. So will lowering the price of the Wii U by $50.

While the 2DS is a decent machine, the devil’s advocate in me thinks it might be the next Game Boy Micro, popularity-wise. Yet it also could take off. To help that process, wouldn’t it be a prudent and wise move if the 2DS came with a game made exclusively for it, a mini Zelda game perhaps? That would sell the device, perhaps even to those who have a 3DS.

After all, everything ultimately is about the games themselves.

Harold Goldberg is the founder of the New York Videogame Critics Circle.

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It’s really one of our best Full Circle shows yet.

Host Sarah Awad went to XCubicle on Hester Street to find out about the art they sell — and the rumor of cockroaches in a PS3!

Founder Harold Goldberg talks about the subversive nature of Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

And there’s some serious discussion between Sarah and Harold about the Ouya’s potential success or failure.

As always, thanks to the great Victor Kalogiannis for editing the show!

Check it out, right here.

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