Nintendo upgrades Super Mario Maker with keys and doors unlocking new game designs

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TIME Magazine: Why Nintendo president Satoru Iwata mattered…

TIME (by Matt Peckham):

Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata has died at only 55 years old after battling cancer for over a year. His unexpected passing marks the end of a wildly inventive and broadly celebrated 13-year stretch helming the iconic Kyoto video games company.

Iwata, born in Sapporo, Japan in 1959, was only the fourth person to lead Nintendo since its inception as a playing card company in 1889, and the first president unrelated to the founding Yamauchi family. His ascent to the topmost Nintendo position in 2002 was unusual as it followed a career in software engineering, making him one of the industry’s only corporate luminaries with substantial hands-on game creation experience.

In an exclusive interview with TIME this spring — Iwata’s last with a Western media outlet — he talked about how personally involved he remained in helping drive and evaluate the company’s hallmark unorthodox inventions. He called Nintendo “a company of Kyoto craftsman” and joking “this is where my background in technology is quite helpful, because it means that the engineers can’t trick me.

At Tokyo-based Nintendo affiliate HAL Laboratory during the 1980s and 90s, Iwata helped develop some of Nintendo’s most memorable games. That list includes Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64, the opening salvo in a critically lauded and financially lucrative fighting series starring Nintendo characters like Mario and Donkey Kong that’s since sold in the tens of millions for the company. After he was promoted to president of HAL Laboratory in 1993, he continued to work personally on the company’s products, including several titles in Nintendo’s wildly popular Pokémon series.

Iwata’s move to Nintendo came in 2000, when he assumed management of the company’s corporate planning division. Just two years later, then-Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi, who had helmed the company since 1949, decided to retire, allowing Iwata to step in and steer Nintendo through its most inventive period yet.

It was under Iwata that Nintendo ushered in the Nintendo DS, a dual-screen gaming handheld that succeeded the popular Game Boy, eventually going on to challenge Sony for the title of “bestselling games platform of all time.” Nintendo’s wildly successful Wii, now arguably the most recognizable video game system in the industry’s history, arrived in 2006, another Iwata-led gamble that paid incredible dividends following the company’s lackluster GameCube, which launched in 2001. And while Iwata’s critics often accused the company of reacting too slowly to industry trends, Iwata wasn’t afraid to enact radical change: after years of financial downturns (exacerbated by the company’s poorly received Wii U game console), he unveiled plans this March to develop games for smartphones and tablets. The world will now remember Iwata as the Nintendo leader who tore down the wall between the company’s heavily guarded iconic IP and non-Nintendo platforms.

But it was Iwata’s playful, almost mischievous and refreshingly candid personal style that so endeared him to the company’s fans. In 2011, he helped launch a video series dubbed Nintendo Direct, personally emceeing the company’s biggest surprises, often with quirky framing twists, like an effects-laden mock kung-fu brawl with Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé for E3 2014. At Nintendo’s E3 2015 presentation last month, he appeared as a Muppet designed by The Jim Henson Company.

Iwata’s other significant public relations innovation was “Iwata Asks,” a remarkable series in which Iwata interviewed members of Nintendo’s many development teams, delving into the anecdotal history of some of the company’s best loved projects. It was a Nintendophile’s dream come true.

Above all, Iwata established and maintained a decorous tone often at odds with his competitors. In lieu of visually splashy, clamorous stage-led events at annual game shows, Iwata chose charmingly simple, almost dignified presentational vignettes. When fans responded negatively to a new Nintendo idea, Iwata’s reaction was often swift and direct: after an upcoming Nintendo DS game built on a hallowed Nintendo franchise was waved off by fans at E3 last month, Iwata tweeted his thanks to fans for their feedback and promised to meet their expectations.

Iwata’s health problems were first aired just before E3 in June 2014, when Iwata, who had been planning to attend the show (I was scheduled to meet with him), mysteriously backed out. At the time, Nintendo said Iwata’s doctors had warned him against travel, but didn’t say why. A few weeks later, the company disclosed Iwata was battling cancer, specifically a tumor in his bile duct. At that point he’d had surgery, and his prospects sounded hopeful because the doctors had apparently found the tumor early. When he resumed appearing in Nintendo Direct videos following E3, he was clearly thinner, but seemed otherwise unfazed. Though he again missed this year’s E3, he remained publicly active to the end, participating in Nintendo’s last shareholder meeting just a few weeks ago.

President of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata passes away at 55

Nintendo has officially announced the passing of Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, on July 11 due to a bile duct tumor. During his time at the video game corporation, Iwata brought to life the epic RPG Earthbound (known by Japanese gamers as Mother 2) and the early Kirby series. The Gamecube and Wii U can also be attributed to his vision, while also ushering in the success of the DS and 3DS, both of which remain popular with casual and hardcore gamers to this day. He was 55.

Get some Nintendo on your Sony with these PS4 skins

PS4 Nintendo

RocketNews 24:

As odd a concept as it may sound to some, had the 1991 deal between Nintendo and Sony gone off without a hitch, not only might the PlayStation brand as we know it today not even exist, but gamers the world over might be able to play titles like Super Mario 3D World and Wii Sports on Sony-made hardware. Instead, with Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft all vying for our hard-earned cash, console gamers are faced with a choice: choose a platform to invest in or live on nothing but baked beans for a year and buy them all.

If you’re a Sony fan and have already picked up a PS4, no doubt you’re as pleased with your purchase as we were with ours. But there’s no denying that Nintendo’s creations have a certain appeal to them, and few of Sony’s first-party characters could ever compete with Mario et al. Thankfully, third-party retailer LUCKY D has you – and your PlayStation – covered, as they’re selling sticker skins for PlayStation 4 featuring everything from Pikachu to Evangelion‘s Asuka.

We’ve seen all manner of limited-edition PlayStation 4 case designs since the console’s arrival just over a year ago. Besides the beautiful real-wood PS4, few have really caught our eye, though, and for those who picked up their console at launch it can be irritating to see alternative designs coming out just months later.

LUCKY D, however, has a solution. With their “PS4 Skin Seals” PlayStation owners can deck out their console with all manner of alternative designs. Nintendo fans especially will be pleased to learn that the Japanese retailer stocks two special skins which permit the unholy matrimony of Nintendo and Sony to take place, offering a sticker set featuring Mario and friends, and another which turns your PS4 into everyone’s favourite yellow lightning rat, Pikachu.

According to their Amazon JP listing, the stickers come in pieces, covering the PlayStation 4 console itself, DualShock 4 controller, and even the tiny touch panel on the controller’s front. It looks like the stickers wrap right around the PS4, too, giving the underside a splash of colour – something which those who stand their console vertically will no doubt appreciate.

▼ Mario and pals

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▼ Pika-pika-PlayStation!Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 7.01.38 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-20 at 7.01.47 PM

 

▼ LUCKY D is also offering this rather sexy Black Rock Shooter skin,

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▼ a tremendously cool skin featuring Asuka from Evangelion,

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▼ Boob pillow-cum-virtual idol Super Sonico,

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▼ and this Kantai Collection skin, which is sure to please fans of all things moe.

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The skins retail for between 3,200 and 3,672 yen (US$27-31) on Amazon JP. We’re sorry to say that our favourite of the lot, the yellow Pikachu skin, is already out of stock, however, so you may want to bookmark that page and check back regularly. As for whether these things are officially licensed, or how long Nintendo will allow the LUCKY D to use their characters on stickers designed for a rival console, only time will tell, so if you’re looking to add some Nintendo to your Sony, you may want to move quickly.

People love Nintendo’s plastic Amiibo figures: Nearly 2.6 million sold

Engadget:

Nintendo has announced that sales of its Amiibo figures are “nearly double” that of Super Smash Bros. game sales on the Wii U. (Nintendo sold 1.3 million copies of the title in the tail end of 2014, and so math tells us that figure sales float around the 2.6 million mark, which is pretty incredible.)

Last month, Nintendo stated that figure sales were roughly equal to the game sales, meaning people apparently buying more figures now. Nintendo stated that some figures have already been discontinued, much to eBay profiteers’ delight. Naturally, a little bit of rarity can help give sales a lift.

Handheld gaming continues to rule in Japan

Handheld Gaming Continues To Rule in Japan

Kotaku:

So last week, the New Nintendo 3DS was released in Japan as was Monster Hunter 4G. Both highlight the obvious: Handheld gaming is still very big in the country.

Let’s be honest, home consoles still aren’t really doing spectacular in Japan. But they’re not dying by a damn sight. According to Media Create, Sony sold 11,697 PlayStation 4 units between October 6 and October 12. That’s hardly amazing, but to Sony’s credit, the console did outsell the Vita and the 3DS. Here’s how the hardware sales looked during that week:

1. New Nintendo 3DS XL: 164,756 units

2. New Nintendo 3DS: 70,050 units

3. Nintendo 3DS XL: 19,727 units

4. PlayStation 4: 11,697 units

5. PS Vita: 8,561 units

6. Nintendo 3DS: 7,340 units

7. Wii U: 6,309 units

8. PlayStation 3: 4,954 units

9. Xbox One: 809 units

10. Vita TV: 737 units

11. Xbox 360: 97 units

12. PSP: 67 units

While the Wii U really needs a jumpstart (Super Smash Bros. for Wii U?), Nintendo looks like it’s doing well with all its different portables. Yes, those numbers will drop off during the following week’s sales, but the software sales continue to be incredibly strong. Even the Vita is getting a good flow of titles that seem to be doing well.

Here’s how the software chart looked during that same period:

1. Monster Hunter 4G (3DS): 1,446,289 units

2. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (3DS): 76,392 units

3. Yokai Watch 2 (3DS): 57,583 units

4. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix (PS3): 21,158 units

5. FIFA15 (PS4): 16,719 units

This is actually pretty good. Two console games in the top five—great news. But looking at the rest of the top fifty games, nineteen of them are Nintendo 3DS games, while nine of them are PS Vita titles. The rest are PS3, PS4 and Wii U games. Of course, these figures are for what are called “consumer games” in Japan and don’t show download figures for smartphone apps, which are also incredibly popular in Japan—and well, everywhere these days.

However, for those who like traditional gaming, it’s nice to see portable systems continuing to get new exciting titles.

 

Video

‘Mario Maker’, a video game featuring the ability to create, design, and play 2D ‘Mario’ Levels

Mario Maker is a video game by Nintendo for their Wii U console that features the ability to create, design, and play 2D Mario levels using the Wii U’s GamePad. The visual style of the levels can also be swapped around — an 8-bit Super Mario Bros. look and a new Super Mario Bros. U look were both shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014.

Mario Maker is scheduled to release in 2015.

Link

Japan’s 30 best-selling video games of all time

 

RocketNews 24:

 

The following is a list of the 30 most sold video games in Japan in the history of video games across all platforms.  Western Gamers may be surprised that violent shooters take a rather large backseat to RPG’s, mushroom stomping, and Pikachus in the minds of Japanese game consumers.

 

#30 Mario Kart Wii for Wii – 3.51M copies

This one of many Mario Kart games had few new features courtesy of the Wii and it’s motion controller with the steering wheel add-on.  Not only was it the biggest selling game of 2008. It also is the biggest selling racing game worldwide.

Picture: nintendo.co.jp


#29 Super Mario World for Super Famicom (SNES) – 3.55M copies

Released back in 1990 at the same time as the Super Famicom (SNES) console, it’s improved graphics and deeper six button control scheme led to Nintendo success among that generation’s consoles.  This game also marks the first appearance of Mario’s helpful dinosaur companion, Yoshi.

Picture: www.amazon.co.jp


#28 Wii Fit for Wii – 3.6M copies

This game helped propel Wii sales in 2007 by bringing the concept of healthiness into the world of gaming.  Practicing muscle and aerobic training as well as yoga and balancing using the Wii Board attracted non-gamers who were turned off by figuring out controllers.

Picture : nintendo.co.jp


#27 Tomodachi Collection for Nintendo DS – 3.63M copies

In its first week this game only sold 100,000 copies, but this figure snowballed to 3,000,000 in it’s first year.  This quirky game let’s you make avatars of people in your real life and has them interact with each other on a virtual island autonomously.  Your avatar also takes part in this social experiment with mini-games that change depending on the season.

Picture : nintendo.co.jp


#26 Final Fantasy VIII for Playstation – 3.64M copies

Although this game turned off a portion of its original fanbase, the pop style theme song, input from Hollywood, and junction system got the attention of non-gamers which helped the series grow bigger. It was the 3rd biggest selling Playstation game in Japan.

Picture : amazon.co.jp


#25 Dragon Quest VIII for Playstation 2 – 3.7M copies

Released in 2004, this is the first game born of the marriage between Square and Enix. Dragon Quest’s characters which were long drawn by Dragonball artist Akira Toriyama recieved new life in the gameplay thanks to 3D cell shading graphics emerging at this time.

Picture : amazon.co.jp


#24 Wii Sports for Wii – 3.77M copies

Released at the same time as the Wii in 2006 worldwide it eventually was called the most sold sports game in the world.  However, since western Wii’s were bundled with the game its place in the record book needs an asterisk.  In this game players can use the Wii remote to simulate playing tennis, bowling, baseball, golf, or boxing and potentially break the TV sets.

Picture :  nintendo.co.jp


#23 Dragon Quest III: And Thus Into The Legend… for Famicon (NES) – 3.8M copies

When this game was released in 1998 in Japan a wave of truancy swept the country as students cast aside the notebooks for a copy of Dragon Quest III.  The highly anticipated game lived up to the hype by introducing concepts like job classes and a secondary final boss fight that is almost considered standard these days.

Picture : amazon.co.jp


#22 Super Mario Kart for Super Famicom – 3.82M copies

This first game of the Mario Kart series which was released way back in 1992 had its gameplay perfected from the starting line.  With racing skill challenge by the addition of wacky items, even skilled drivers could get thumped by their grandma with the right luck.  The overall effect of this was a fun party game with huge mass appeal.

Picture : amazon.co.jp


#21 Super Mario Brothers 3 for Famicom (NES) – 3.84M copies

When it was released in 1988, Nintendo was boasting that they had created the greatest Nintendo game ever, and they were probably right.  In terms of graphics, controls, and depth of play (raccoon tails, tanooki suits, frog suits, etc) the standard of Famicom (NES) games was taken to its limit.  This was, however, only the second biggest selling Famicom game in Japan.

Picture : amazon.co.jp


#20 Pokemon (HeartGold, SoulSilver) for Nintendo DS – 3.9M copies

These remakes of Pokemon Gold and Silver for the Gameboy Color added a lot of new features using the Nintendo DS’s touch screen and connectivity with other DS’s.

Picture : amazon.co.jp


#19 Mario Kart DS for Nintendo DS – 3.92M copies

When released for the DS in 2005, Mario Kart’s tried and true formula was hardly touched aside from the addition of special achievements and the dual screen.  This is the only version of Mario Kart to outsell the original.

Picture : nintendo.co.jp


#18 Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! (aka Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain?) for Nintendo DS – 3.95M copies

Also released in 2005, this game was a hit not only by making full use of the DS’s touch screen and voice recognition but also attracted a surge sales for non-gamers.  It became a go-to gift in Japan for the elderly because of its purported benefits to strengthening our brains.

Picture : nintendo.co.jp


#17 Final Fantasy VII for Playstation – 4M copies

This 1997 game was a smash not only in Japan but around the world.  Square left the Nintendo console for the then-new Playstation claiming that the Nintendo64′s cartridge style was too limiting for them.  The result was a mass exodus to the new game system establishing the Playstation as a major contender in the console wars – all thanks to FFVII.

Picture : amazon.co.jp


#16 Dragon Quest VII: Warriors of Eden for Playstation – 4.14M copies

In 2000, the Playstation systems future was cemented in Japan thanks to the release of Dragon Quest VII which became the biggest selling PS game in Japan.  The release of this game triggered a shortage of Playstation systems across the country.  The game itself kept true to many of its original features but focused on an objective to gather stone boards.

Picture : amazon.co.jp


#15 Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G (aka Monster Hunter Freedom Unite) for Playstation Portable – 4.16M copies

This edition of one of the most convoluted line of games ever features a cat that fights alongside you as well as newer more difficult missions.  Released in 2008, this game is an updated version of Monster Hunter 2nd which is a game based on Monster Hunter 2 for the PS2.

Picture : capcom.co.jp


#14 Super Mario Land for Gameboy – 4.19M copies

Released at the same time as the fledgling first version of the Gameboy in 1989, programmers had a hard time including key features of the original Super Mario Brothers into this tiny game.  As a result koopas were replaced with more memory-friendly enemies.  Despite its technical limitations it had achieved huge sales in Japan.

Picture : nintendo.co.jp


#13 Tetris for Gameboy – 4.24M copies

Although previously known in Russia, this game achieved worldwide fame with its release for the Gameboy in 1989. This game is another example of Nintendo’s remarkable bility to draw in non-gamers, but it also made use of the link cable that could connect Gameboy users adding a more social element to early video games.

Picture : amazon.co.jp


#12 Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies for Nintendo DS – 4.3M copies

This game cause Square to boast that systems who host a chapter in the Dragon Quest series will dominate in Japan.  And so it was in 2009 when the first MORPG Dragon Quest game was released.  This game also motivated many to carry their DS everywhere they went in hopes of walking into the vicinity of another player and automatically picking up items from them.

Picture : amazon.co.jp


#11 New Super Mario Brothers Wii for Wii – 4.39M copies

An advanced version of the Nintendo DS game, New Super Mario Brothers Wii added 4 person play. It had ice flowers and propellers but kept true to the original Mario style of game that made the franchise so beloved in the first place.

Picture : nintendo.co.jp


#10 Monster Hunter Portable 3rd for Playstation Portable – 4.7M copies

Based on Monster Hunter 3, this PSP game released in 2010 had a distinctly more Asian feel to it.  This version of the game eliminated the water fights but included new monsters and weapons as well as a new material system.

Picture : capcom.co.jp


#9 Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day! (aka More Brain Training from Dr. Kawashima: How Old Is Your Brain?) for Nintendo DS – 5.1M copies

This 2005 sequel to the first brain training game features exercises similar to the previous installment but deepens them by combining math and Chinese characters and memory at the same time.  Counting all the Pokemon variations as one this is the 4th biggest selling DS game in Japan.

Picture : nintendo.co.jp


#8 Animal Crossing: Wild World for Nintendo DS – 5.25M copies

This game managed to stay on the top-selling charts from 2005 to 2007. In the game your character moves into a villiage inhabited with various animals where you go fishing, digging, and shopping.  It’s non linear and seemingly endlessly changing gameplay lets players go forever. Worldwide it sold 10 million copies.

Picture : nintendo.co.jp


#7 Pokemon (Ruby, Sapphire) for Gameboy Advance – 5.4M copies

Variations in the Pokemon series tend to focus on the monsters. However these games distinguished themselves with a unique storyline and the first use of color in a Pokemon game.  It was followed up with a version called Emerald.

Picture : nintendo.co.jp amazon.co.jp


#6 Pokemon (Black, White) for Nintendo DS – 5.45M copies

These games for the DS reached 1 million pre-orders faster than any other video game.  It uses the DS’s internal clock to change seasons every month leading to new opportunities to catch new pokemon.  The pokemon in this game also seem to have different ethnic vibes to them which gives the game a wider feeling.

Picture : amazon.co.jp


#5 Pokemon (Diamond, Pearl) for Nintendo DS – 5.8M copies

The first Pokemon games for the DS in 2006 they let players manage their pokemon with the touch screen and wi-fi features for the first time. It was followed up by a version called platinum.

Picture : amazon.co.jp


#4 Pokemon (Gold, Silver) for Gameboy – 6.1M copies

These two games that HeartGold and SoulSilver added to were originally released in 1999.  Their story is based on the original red and green games.  They were followed by a version called crystal.

Picture : nintendo.co.jp amazon.co.jp


#3 New Super Mario Brothers for Nintendo DS – 6.3M copies

This Pokemon game featured pokemon that looked like Mario – I mean this was the first 2D Mario game to be released in nearly 14 years and kept all the fun of the original while adding lots of new features like the ability to become gigantic or microsized.  The gameplay is still accessible to young and old leading to sales similar to the  original which was…

Picture : amazon.co.jp


#2 Super Mario Brothers for Famicon (NES) – 6.8M copies

It’s 40,000,000 copies sold worldwide earned Super Mario Bros. a place in the Guiness Book of World Records.  It also started the unassuming Italian plumber’s career as Nintendo’s official mascot. Its novel yet simple 2D side-scrolling gameplay lent itself to anyone picking up the controller regardless of language or age.  Probably the most well known game in the world it had a rocky start as game programmers were still learning the ropes.  For example, a sharp eye would notice that the bushes and clouds were exactly the same sprite with different colors.  This game also launched the career of Shigeru Miyamoto, a legend of video game production.

Picture :amazon.co.jp


#1 Pokemon (Red, Green, Blue) for Gameboy – 7.8M copies

Selling only a modest 200,000 copies in its first week of release in 1996, Pokemon’s first versions rode a slow rise to fame ultimately equal to Nintendo’s goldenboy, Mario. In Pokemon Red, Green, and Blue you control a Pokemon trainer collecting the cute little monsters and raising them to be champion fighters.  Its gradual rise to fame was attributed to word of mouth advertising spurred by the ability to pit your Pokemon against those of friends.

Although most Pokemon experienced name changes when exported, the developers decided to keep Pikachu’s name intact.  This lead to the very Japanese sounding moniker becoming a household name across the globe.

Check out this link:

Japan’s 30 best-selling video games of all time

Link

Nintendo bundling Wii U with two games and an extra controller for $330 on May 30th

 

Engadget:

 

You don’t have a Wii U yet, right? You’re forgiven, and far from unique (in that respect, anyway — you’re a unique snowflake otherwise). Should the eighth entry in the Mario Kart series pique your interest, Nintendo‘s got a pretty fantastic bundle arriving at the end of May with a copy of the game, an extra Wii Remote Plus gamepad, and a free download of one of four games. All that stuff comes together in one box for $329.99 — a pretty great deal considering the Wii U system in the box costs $300 by itself!

The price isn’t a measure of Nintendo trying to save you dough, but one of a company struggling to make its game console relevant against growing competition from Sony and Microsoft. The PlayStation 4‘s sales are already outpacing the Wii U, at 7 million consoles compared to Nintendo’s 5.86 million (as of Dec. 31 2013); Xbox One isn’t far behind at 5 million.

With major third-party publishers like EA and Ubisoft largely abandoning the Wii U, Nintendo’s leaning on first-party software to sell the system. And that’s where this Spring’s Mario Kart 8 comes in, the latest entry in a series going back to the Super Nintendo era. Like Microsoft offering Titanfall bundled in with Xbox One, Nintendo is bundling a major, exclusive release with its console, and taking a hit on profits from game sales in favor of putting more Wii Us in more living rooms. The hope is, in the long run, more consoles in homes means more game / accessory sales (which is where the real money is for Nintendo).

The company also announced this week that it’s going to skip holding a press conference at E3, instead opting to host a Nintendo Direct video stream.

 

Check out this link:

 

Nintendo bundling Wii U with two games and an extra controller for $330 on May 30th