Tag Archives: Nintendo

Yes, videogames are escapist

After the tragic loss of Nintendo President Satoru Iwata the videogames community is still in a state of mourning. After trying to comprehend the news I, like many others on Monday, spent a considerable amount of the day playing Nintendo games.

Coincidentally that day Ben Kuchera, a writer I find myself either disagreeing or agreeing with but rarely ambivalent, wrote about how he plays videogames to “run from [his] problems”. The article was clearly written before the unfortunate news, and has no direct relation with it. But going back and rereading it afterwards it chimed with the very actions that I undertook, actions that I have done many times throughout my life to avoid my problems.

There has been, and continues to be, moral panic surrounding the notion that people will lock themselves away in virtual worlds to escape the real alternative. The irony with this is that whilst there is some truth to this, people rarely seem to question why people feel the need to escape the real world. Somehow the “cure” that people have resorted to is deemed more toxic than the real world problem.

Whilst I have been fortunate to have not felt the need to escape from the real world, I have delved into videogames multiple times to temporarily escape from a problem that is afflicting me at that moment in time. The thing is I am fully aware that the real world isn’t going anywhere, and the problem will still be there in some form waiting for me to tackle. Just like how a boss in a videogame will be waiting for you even when you turn off the game. In a way it is not too surprising that I often find myself viewing the real world through the lens of a videogame. I’ve said before that a past job of mine was like a videogame and my current job has it moments, or maybe it just seems that way.

When my parents split up and all of the chaos that was generated as a result came forth, the world of Johto and Kanto found in Pokémon Silver became my sanctuary, here was a world where I, as a ten year old, was in control. Whilst in the real world, the same ten year old was not. This was not something I could win at, let alone finish. That dragged on for years, but all the while I had videogames to escape to, helping me to tolerate the real world events constantly unfolding around me.

As I got older where the problems became more “grown up” be it dealing with breakups, betrayals, or death; videogames allowed me to take a breather from the real world for a couple of hours at a time to clear my head before returning to the real world to deal with these problems like the “grown up” I was becoming.

In less serious, but still important situations videogames have been effective at just providing some respite. This was notably the case during my first dissertation. Looking back now 10,000 words is really not that much, but, at the time, given that it was the longest single document that I had written it was a daunting task. Whilst I didn’t have the same panic as some of my coursemates, I made very effective use of dissertation breaks. Fez had just come out on the Xbox 360 at the time and could actually be played in productive hour or so sessions. Given the peaceful yet mentally challenging gameplay it providing, it was perfect for taking a break from writing, yet still keeping my mind stimulated. To this day I still credit Fez with helping me get through my dissertation.

Now back to why I wrote this article in the first place. On Monday afternoon I sat down, turned on my Wii U and played Splatoon for what ended up being almost three hours straight. In a way Splatoon is not the best game to play when trying to not think about Iwata’s passing, given that the in game plaza was covered in messages about Iwata. But the game represents everything that Iwata stood for; fun, innovation, and accessibility. What better game is there to play to honour the great man.

Arigato Mr Iwata

This morning was meant to be like any other morning. Unfortunately that was not the case, for I was greeted with the truly saddening news that Satoru Iwata had passed away during the weekend as a result of the cancer he had been battling, at the age of just 55.

Whilst he had undergone surgery and had returned to active duties as President of Nintendo, he was still unable to attend events abroad, such as the recent E3 in Los Angeles, and appeared visibly thinner.

Nonetheless it was great to still see him as an active presence at Nintendo, especially in the recent puppet themed Nintendo Digital Event, in which he maintained his humorous self-awareness, such as once again appearing with a bunch of banana’s in a throwback to Nintendo Direct from a couple of years ago.

Iwata increasingly came across as a rare breed of Videogame president, instead of merely a businessman trying to maximise profits to satisfy investors. Iwata was a gamer at heart, and a programmer who had worked his way up to being only the fourth President of Nintendo in its century long existence and the first outside of the founding Yamauchi family. Although Iwata himself explained his position best:

‘On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.’

Iwata truly understood what was involved in game development, and for him (like Nintendo as a whole) making the best game they could was what mattered. To him this was being financially responsible, as if a game was bad, people wouldn’t buy it. Iwata’s Presidency at Nintendo has been one of high’s and low’s. Coming in just after the release of the underrated (but by no means a failure) GameCube, he went on to help Nintendo think differently with the Blue Ocean strategy. This saw the release of the Nintendo DS and Wii which despite being technologically inferior to its competitors managed to dramatically surpass them in sales. During the initial struggle’s of the 3DS Iwata took a pay cut and refused to let go of any staff, stating that it would alter the environment in a way that would damage development. Plus the move separated him actions made by other CEO’s in similar situations.

Iwata’s passing will be dearly felt by all of Nintendo’s supporters, no longer will we be able to see him in a humorous Nintendo Direct announcing a new exciting game, or even asking us to ‘Please Understand’ when something has had to be delayed in order to make it even better.

Satoru Iwata deeply cared about videogames, he wanted as many people to enjoy them and share in that joy, and for that he will be missed. But he leaves behind a legacy that anyone would wish for.

E3 2015 – Brought to you by nostalgia

E3 2015 was a solid event overall, for some it was one of the best in years, and for others it was some kind of living nightmare. E3 did do a lot right this year, it was great to see real attempts at better representation both on stage and in the games themselves, so it is hard to criticise it as a whole, but the benefit of covering it without actually being there keeps you out of the physical hype that exudes from the LA Convention Center.

I said it last week, and I still stand by it, but it felt like the EA and Ubisoft conferences (and definitely Square Enix) conferences were unnecessary. EA could potentially lessen this by splitting its conference into two, one focusing on EA Games and the other on EA Sports, as the two don’t gel together very well, and it’s not just that I’m not one for sports games on the whole, Twitter seemed to feel the same way. EA Sports can be present at E3, it needs to be as this is a press conference after all, but the stream for those at home having to sit through Pele (nothing against him though) talk about football for however long it was and the developer fanboy all over him was very dull. Ubisoft meanwhile could have folded into the Microsoft and Sony conferences quite easily. Then again Microsoft and Sony’s conference didn’t drag this year, so maybe we should be thankful for Ubisoft dragging theirs out.

Now onto the crux of my reflection on this years E3. Think back to what the biggest announcements were; Xbox 360 backwards compatibility, Final Fantasy VII remake, Shenmue 3. Also think about what people were angry about; Nintendo didn’t bring the right kind of Metroid Prime game, and Star Fox Zero doesn’t play how it should. People were excited over the fact that they could replay old games and that sequels for dead franchises were announced. In addition with the case of The Last Guardian excited that a game announced years ago was finally coming, eventually.

Before you start frantically writing in the comments regarding my cynicism towards those announcements, know that I too am excited by the announcements, and for those that I don’t care about (e.g. Final Fantasy VII) I am excited for others as they have been waiting years whilst being constantly baited by Square Enix. However I do think that it is a shame that so much focus has gone towards what is essentially using nostalgia to get people excited (or in the case of Shenmue getting people to cough up their money now) which is overshadowing the few new ideas.

E3 2015 did have new IPs except only two really stick out, those being Horizon: New Dawn and For Honor. Yes there were plenty of new games, but they were part of existing franchises. I do feel for Nintendo as often they just can’t win. With Federation Force if it was its own IP there is the very real risk that it would just be overlooked, but given the space shooter aspect to it Nintendo thought that it didn’t seem all too out of place from the Metroid Prime series. Yet because it is a spinoff and not a “proper” Metroid Prime game it was derided regardless of how good it might be. Remember Blast Ball looking interesting during the Nintendo World Championships before people were aware of the Metroid Prime connection (it is the second game in the package), well the Internet seemed to forget that pretty quickly. Meaning instead of new gameplay ideas, people wanted the same as they had before. Of course the irony with this is that when the original Metroid Prime was announced, it too was denounced because it wasn’t a “proper” Metroid game.

Nostalgia is great, I know that (I am a long suffering Nintendo fan after all) but people need to be willing to try out new types of games and hopefully new IPs. The big publishers are often criticised for not taking enough risks, but it’s times like this where I don’t blame them, if anything I’m amazed they take as many risks as they do, given how vocal people get when they try something a little different. Videogames might be something for us to enjoy, but we should not have this huge sense of entitlement. If videogames are to truly grow and expand, the industry can’t be afraid to take risks for fear of backlash. Risks can lead to progression, and whilst there will be failures along the way, at least they will be made with good intentions, and not just so that they can make money. Of course we’re still fairly early into this console generation, and given the experimentation that started to emerge due both to better familiarity and the technical limitations of the consoles next year could be just as promising.

Nintendo E3 2015

Nintendo like to do things differently with their E3 presence. Three years ago they stopped giving traditional press conferences and instead provide a pre-recorded video. Since starting the Nintendo Direct videos the E3 video has since become the Nintendo Digital Event, with event being very apt, as Nintendo clearly has a lot of fun making its E3 videos. These are still informative, but provide the the main facts you need with some complementary background information. Whilst this year’s was not as big as last years, then again that brought us Smash Bros and Splatoon, it was nonetheless a joy to watch.

Star Fox Zero

Just before the new Star Fox game was revealed Reggie, Iwata, and Miyamoto, were depicted as puppets and then slowly turned into the respective animals that comprise the Fox team (it’s not as creepy as it sounds). Then the majestic Arwing flies into view and we know that the game that Miyamoto teased last year is now a reality. Zero takes full advantage of the Wii U Gamepad as it depicts the same action that is taking place as on screen, but from a first person cockpit perspective, with the TV screen showing a third person “cinematic” view providing you with two different perspectives of the action. As the Gamepad is in first person the gyro controls can be utilised making it feel more like flying a plane. Also as the Gamepad has speakers, in combination with the TV screen a 3D sound effect is created adding to the immersion. What’s more they have managed to bring back some of the original voice actors.

The Arwing can also transform into a walking mode which is not as silly as it sounds and the trailer does a good job of demonstrating the advantages. The landmaster also makes a return and other vehicles were shown off as well. Whilst this wasn’t made clear during the presentation, afterwards it was announced that Platinum Games are co-developing the game, which came about after they showed Nintendo the Arwing section that appears in Bayonetta 2, and Miyamoto was so impressed they asked them to get involved. Seeing the gameplay footage after the Digital Event it was a good choice.

Skylanders amiibo

Skylanders Superchargers on the Wii U is getting two special figures, Bowser and Donkey Kong. But these aren’t traditional Skylanders as they are also amiibo with a switch on the base to change their function. This is a symbolic partnership with Activision and also a sign of the flexibility of amiibo.

Zelda Tri Force Heroes

Essentially Four Swords but with three Links instead. But the decision to have three Links is because of game design reasons as it uses the same engine and art style as A Link Between Worlds and they found that for one of the main mechanics in which the Links sit atop one another doesn’t work visually. As a result they made the decision to base it around three, and given the Triforce has three pieces makes sense as well. Even though it can be seen as multiplayer game it will also support single player with the other Links being dolls. Also the fashion plays a big role with different outfits altering the powers available to Link.

Hyrule Warriors Legends

This was revealed prior to E3, but it was confirmed that the 3DS version would contain all of the DLC found in the Wii U version as well as the new advertised Wind Waker content.

Metroid Prime Federation Force and Metroid Prime Blast Ball

So this was surprise double announcement for the 3DS. A Metroid Prime themed co-op shooter. That’s about all we know. What’s more Blast Ball that was revealed during the Nintendo World Championships is actually a Metroid game as well. I don’t see why it had to be tied to the franchise? When people said they wanted a handheld Metroid game this wasn’t what anyone had in mind.

Fire Emblem Fates

The game is already out in Japan (because of course it is) under the subtitle If. Now it is revealed that the Western subtitle is Fates, which does make sense given that you can choose the path you take which will affect the entire game. A 2016 date was given, and I realise translation takes a long time, especially for a game like this, but this seems a bit much. Hopefully Europe doesn’t have to wait even more, although at least with Awakening the British translation was different to the American version.

Shin Megami x Fire Emblem

No one is really quite too sure what this game really is, and the ridiculously Japanese anime style video didn’t help answer things either. 2016 was stated at the end, but it still doesn’t have a permanent title.

Xenoblade Chronicles X

Another game that has already come out in Japan, but there is a now a release date of 4th December 2015 in the US, Europe, and Australia.

Animal Crossing

Happy Home Designer: The amiibo card based interior design game will be launching 25th September 2015.

Amiibo Festival: Some kind of board game with amiibo functionality. So that means Animal Crossing amiibo. Need to resist the urge to buy a Tom Nook and KK Slider. We’ll know more around the Christmas period.

Yo Kai Watch

We knew that this Japanese phenomenon from Level 5 was coming to the West, and will be just in time for Christmas this year.

Mario & Luigi Paper Jam

Take the series of Mario & Luigi action RPGs and merge it with another Mario spin off Paper Mario. For some reason Luigi doesn’t get a doppelganger though. It rips things up in Spring 2016.

Mario Tennis Ultra Smash

There was a Mario Tennis game on the 3DS a couple of years ago, but it’s been quite some time since there has been an original game dedicated for a home console. The game smashes onto consoles this Christmas.

Super Mario Maker

Like most Nintendo games now amiibo support has been revealed. Current amiibo can be used as controllable power ups in the game, although it’s not clear how that works when a level is shared. Also there will be a special 8-bit Mario amiibo that gives Mario more power in the game, as well as being one cool looking figure. Plus there is a special book that shows off design ideas. The game will be coming out 11th of September this year.

Other projects

The other two projects (Robot and Guard) are still being worked on (possibly with support from Platinum Games) but there was nothing new to reveal.

For the rest of the week Nintendo will be hosting live videos on the show floor as part of the Treehouse, so there will be more announcements to come.

Nintendo World Championships 2015

Last night, for the first time in twenty five years, was the Nintendo World Championship. The caveat being it was only open to those from the United States of America (colloquially referred to as the world) but was streamed to the world for all to watch online. I wasn’t actually planning on watching it, even though I watched the Super Smash Bros tournament that Nintendo held at last years E3, but with the promise of new games I gave it a go; despite already approaching midnight where I am.

I managed to catch the tail end of the pre-show which culminated in the announcement that the original Mother game (the game prior to what is referred to as Earthbound in the West) was to finally come to the West (including Europe) fully translated for the first time ever! The updates for Super Smash Bros might have been leaked, but Nintendo is still the best in the business at keeping big reveals hidden.

The individuals competing were comprised of a mixture of people invited (such as Arin Joseph Hanson aka Egoraptor from Game Grumps and Legend of Zelda speedrunner Cosmo) and the others were those who had been successful in the challenges that took place at participating Best Buy stores in the US.

After announcing the way in which people would proceed through the different stages, with those who failed being given a second chance via what was dubbed the “underground”, the competition kicked off with recently released Splatoon. This was a great way of dealing with the initial sixteen participants and they were split into four teams. In addition to the main commentators, was one of their children who was nicknamed “Mini Wheat”. His high pitched American accent was a bit much at times, but his heart was definitely in the right place. The later rounds did get incredibly close which added to the excitement. Definitely a good choice to kick things off, as it hooked me in early on.

The first Underground game was the original Legend of Zelda with the challenge being the first to get the Triforce piece in the first dungeon. This was done simultaneously on different machines, although a couple seemed to have an issue with accidentally bringing up the WiiU menu screen. This seemed to be a problem that afflicted others throughout the Underground stages, as all were retro games available on the Virtual Console.

Next up was a brand new game never before announced! Blast Ball. This is what we’d been waiting for. Although I don’t think anyone expected a multiplayer Mech based three on three football (soccer) game on the 3DS. After getting over the surprise of the new game, things kicked off, or rather shot off, as the ball was manoeuvred towards the goal by shooting at it. Opposing mechs could also be disabled using power ups. It was a bit chaotic, especially as everyone was still trying to comprehend the entire game. But that did not detract from the excitement. And after all, what better challenge than a game no one has ever been able to play.

The second Underground retro stage was Super Metroid with the challenge being to defeat Mother Brain and then escape Zebes (or as everyone there referred to it as ZeBBes rather than ZEEbes, unusual for Americans to chose the hard Z). Defeating Mother Brain herself wasn’t the main challenge, that came after with the escape, and this provided the tensest moments of championship so far, providing a close but clear winner.

The third main stage was, perhaps unsurprisingly, Mario Kart 8. Then again this isn’t meant to be easy, so it was set to 200cc. The contestants were split into two groups each racing on the same three tracks, Baby Park, Animal Crossing Town, and Big Blue. The first group seemed to struggle with the challenge 200cc provides, but the next group were very close, constantly battling it out between them for the top four positions.

The final Underground stage was Balloon Fight. Here they just had to get the highest score, and death only lost you time, as the cumulative score was used. It was impressive to see some such as Arin get over 10,000 points at one instance, but it wasn’t enough to keep him in the competition.

Super Smash Bros. Given the prominence it received last year it was obviously going to be present. But before things kicked off with the remaining four contestants we were reminded of what was said at the end of the tournament last year between Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime and the winner Hungrybox that they would face off between one another. Well that’s exactly what happened, and my body was ready! Unfortunately Reggie was not. No one was expecting Reggie to win, but his choice of newly playable Ryu was a poor choice given the complexity to the fighter. Reggie was thoroughly trounced by Hungrybox’s Jigglypuff. Reggie did manage to get in a solid kick KO so it wasn’t all bad. Nice touch, but embarrassing for the President.

Now back to the contestants. There are two rounds, the first taking place on one of the Animal Crossing stages and the second on the newly re-released Dreamland stage. This was pure stock Smash Bros with items on and a timer, albeit longer at 5 mins a round. Quality action taking place, although it was possibly the least memorable stage of the championship.

With two now left remaining, Cosmo (the invited) and John Numbers (the challenger) what was to be the defining final challenge? Many thought it might possibly be the new Star Fox and a 1 on 1 dogfight, but no it was the new retitled Super Mario Maker. In a way it had to end with a Mario game, but at first Super Mario Maker’s involvement felt more like a marketing push. Cosmo was up first, whilst John Numbers was blindfolded (and had noise cancelling headphones on), and was greeted by what looked like Stage 1-1 from Super Mario Bros. Quickly we all realised that this was a ploy as quickly all conventions were thrown away and the pure unadulterated chaos that Super Mario Maker can provide became evident. This stage had been made by Nintendo’s staff from the Treehouse internal team, and they were proving how masochistic they could be. Cosmo was unable to complete the stage, so up came John Numbers. He fell for the same trick as Cosmo, but then suddenly he discovered the strategy to progressing, the whole audience gasped as they saw his Mario travel to new areas of the stage up along the clouds. At that moment suddenly everyone understood the magic of Super Mario Maker. This was no gimmick, some fun could be had here, and some truly spectacular moments could be shared.

With John Numbers winning this round he currently had control of the 15 second bonus for later, but would he hold onto it after the next round? Round 2 was a Super Mario Bros 3 themed stage, and this further cemented how all previous notions of how to play a Mario game could be subverted. The key to completing the stage was riding in a red stiletto shoe which protected you from spikes underneath. Round 3 now used the Super Mario World theme and had much fun with doors to different areas of the stage, one highlight was a door opening to an area of multiple Bowsers; a collective “nope” was shared by everyone.

The final round was to be played simultaneously with whoever reaches the end of the stage first winning. Except because John Numbers had won two for the previous three rounds he had a 15 second head start, which he used to his full advantage. This stage was New Super Mario Bros themed and basically revolved around being able to effectively wall jump. Cosmo struggled here and was quickly forgotten as John Numbers showed off his skills and confidently powered through (without making it look too easy) and won with a clear advantage.

Both contestants were presented with a New 3DS signed by the one and only Shigeru Miyamoto who was there to congratulate them and to present the winner John Numbers with a special golden trophy (that had some weight to it). For an event that originally I wasn’t going to watch I had a great time watching at home. If this is the future of eSports I’m in, as this was the nail biting stuff that sport people talk about, except much better. The show was a reminder that Nintendo understands their games, and damn do they know how to show them off.

Coffee Time News 08/05/15

Civil War cast announced, Infinity War writers confirmed, Arrow/Flash Spinoff given an official synopsis and Nintendo is making money again.


News on the Captain America Civil War front (out of interest, do I need to keep using Captain America Civil War, or do you all know what I’m talking about when I say Civil War?), days after the casting of Martin Freeman (whose role we still don’t know for sure), the entire cast list has been announced for the third Captain America film. Along with those we knew of (most of the main cast from Phase 2 minus the Thor gang) we also get a confirmation of Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang (Ant-man) which is reassuring to hear, as well as William Hurt’s General Ross who you might remember from The Incredible Hulk. Whether this is all we’re going to see (a notable absence is Spiderman as well as most of SHIELD) is still unknown, as there’s still the hope of Daredevil returning from his Netflix series on top of it all.

Quentin Tarantino’s Hateful Eight almost didn’t happen, if you remember, after a script leak last year Tarantino almost put an end to the entire project, but now that’s not the case and we get the first look at some of the cast thanks to a cover of Entertainment Weekly.

Avengers Infinity War (Part 1 and 2) will film back to back, we know this, over 90 days, but more exciting is the fact that the entire film will be shot in IMAX, This will be the first time an entire film has been shot in this way. On top of that, it’s been officially confirmed that Winter Soldier writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely will rejoin with the Russo brothers to write the next Avengers event.


Everything you love is getting renewed! I’m talking Agent Carter (se2), I’m talking Agents of SHIELD (se3), I’m talking The Flash (se2) and Arrow (se4), I’m talking Last Man on Earth (se2), I’m NOT talking the Mindy Project, because that got cancelled by Fox. But it’s not all doom and gloom, because it could make the jump to Video on Demand with a two season deal with Hulu.

So we’ve had things that have been renewed, what about the stuff that didn’t even get off the ground? Well, good news for those who thought the television side of the MCU was getting a bit crowded; the Hunter/Bobbi Morse spin off has been cancelled, but as mentioned above, Agent Carter is coming back and so is Agents of SHIELD.

The Arrow/Flash spinoff Legends of Tomorrow has got a season order, as well as a series synopsis, and it features TIME TRAVEL (because that definitely won’t puncture holes in any canon) here’s the official synopsis: – When heroes alone are not enough… the world needs legends. Having seen the future, one he will desperately try to prevent from happening, time-traveling rogue Rip Hunter is tasked with assembling a disparate group of both heroes and villains to confront an unstoppable threat – one in which not only is the planet at stake, but all of time itself. Can this ragtag team defeat an immortal threat unlike anything they have ever known? – The show will introduce Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who) as Rip Hunter as well as introducing (and reintroducing) various characters from the DC universe.


James will be happy to know that Nintendo is profitable again! That’s about it, just James. But it’s in part due to depreciation of the Yen against the Dollar… something something economy, and I imagine the Amiibo craze and Majora’s Mask didn’t hurt either.

House of Wolves, the next Destiny expansion is bringing a lot of neat things to the series from the sounds of it, and to take a look at some of the specifics (like the new 3 man fireteam vs gladiator arena style Prison of Elders) over at Kotaku.

Next week we should learn a bit more about the next Assassins’ Creed game, which is set in Victorian England (We think). By next week, we mean Tuesday, so stay tuned for that.

Coffee Time News 05/05/15

The second Star Wars Spin off will be a Bobba Fett Origin, we learn more about Gwendoline Christies Force Awakened character and Nintendo apologises for being so popular.


Days after we learn of the departure of Josh Trank from the second Star Wars Anthology film (with the first being Rogue One due out next year) we learn what the film’s focus will be and no surprises, everyone called it; we’re getting a Bobba Fett origin story folks. That’s right, everyone’s favourite bounty hunter (who’s kind of awful at his job) is getting his own film.

After great critical and public approval, it looks like John Wick starrin Keanu Reeves will be getting a sequel, Lionsgate announced, stating that not only will Reeves be returning, but so will the pair of directors behind the first film as well as the screenwriter.

Star Wars the Force Awakens has been getting a lot of publicity thanks to the unofficial ‘May the Fourth’ holiday, and today, (on revenge of the fifth) we get a better look at Gwendoline Christie’s character; Captain Phasma. It looks like she’s an imperial officer, but the actress has been seen training with a lightsaber… So… sith?


The Simpsons will be on the air until at least 2017, thanks to a 2 season renewal by Fox. Will this show ever end? Probably not, it hasn’t after 26 seasons (These two newly announced ones will bring the total to 28) so I doubt it.

Tim Kring (of Heroes fame) and his studio, Imperative Entertainment has teamed up with Black Mask Studios to bring a television adaptation of the comic series MAYDAY, which sees two friends attempting to stop the apocalypse in L.A.


Those worried that Star Wars Battlefront might be lacking in content need not worry about the number of maps, as there will be 12 multiplayer maps out of the box, with (I’m sure) more in the way of DLC further down the line.

Sega of America won’t be attending E3 this year. so you know what that means, no half assed sonic games! Though, if you’re sad about that, try not to be, because remember that Bethesda have a panel this year, which could mean… you know… Fallout 4?

Nintendo has officially apologised for their underestimation of the popularity of Amiibos, releasing a statement promising to up production and keep the figures affordable all the while.

Nintendo takes a leap of faith

It finally happened. Nintendo has announced that its famous collection of IPs (Intellectual Property) will be gracing mobile devices; and following the announcement were screams from fanboys, and jubilation from investors.

The announcement itself wasn’t a great surprise, we all knew that something like this would arrive eventually, it was just a matter of when, not if. In a way though the announcement isn’t exactly as was anticipated. This is because Nintendo are working with Japanese developer DeNA, who specialise in mobile games, to help bring new games (not ports) to mobile devices. Of course we wait to see what the extent of DeNA ‘s involvement in all of this is, after all Nintendo has been burnt in the past by allowing other developers access to its IP; I think we can all agree that the experience with Philips and the CDi was a massive failure. Then again in recent years there has been success, Capcom have created excellent handheld versions of The Legend of Zelda (which are even canon), Sega developed the excellent F-Zero GX and just recently Koei Techmo and Team Ninja created the surprisingly entertaining Hyrule Warriors. In all of these situations Nintendo a say in the development of these games.

The partnership between Nintendo and DeNA is no casual arrangement, as both companies have exchanged stock and shares with each company acquiring approximately 22 billion yen of the other. As a result DeNA has 1.24 percent of Nintendo’s stock, and Nintendo 10 percent of DeNA’s total stock. The latter aspect of the arrangement is significant as owning 10 percent of DeNA could possibly give Nintendo some influence over the company if it feels the need to reign things in a bit.

The decision to allow for an external company that most people have never heard of access to the crown jewels will sound like a risky move to some, but DeNA know what they’re doing in this marketplace, one which Nintendo has no expertise at all. Therefore bypassing the learning curve that would have been necessary for Nintendo to go through. Nintendo wants to focus on making high quality games for their dedicated videogame systems, and this move allows them to continue to do so, whilst simultaneously broadening their brand an appeal with the hope that the mobile games will attract more people to purchase the dedicated systems.

Following the announcement Nintendo’s shares saw a notable rise of just over 20%, the highest since January 2014, and this increase is largely holding a day later. This is not surprising considering investors have been very vocal in calling for Nintendo to make a move like this. Nintendo has also been vocal in not doing so until it knew it would be able to do so effectively, it just wasn’t expected that they would essentially outsource the process. Both companies have benefited from the announcement, but particularly Nintendo which has seen value added to the company, and some analysts recommending people buy Nintendo stock again.

As Nintendo have made a clear distinction between games for the dedicated systems, and the games that DeNA will be helping to make for mobile devices (Nintendo will be leading development), it does open up the discussion as to which series’ could work best on mobile devices. Obviously there will be some kind of Mario game, and likely a game featuring Pokémon, but the key will be utilising the strengths of certain Nintendo IPs that can perform well on these new devices. WarioWare seems like a perfect fit, as its collection of micro games suit the short bursts of play that define many mobile titles. Plus the series is synonymous for its creative use of inputs. Another series that is made by the same internal studio is the Rhythm Heaven (Rhythm Paradise in Europe) series, as it uses simple inputs to great effect, and could work well on these devices.

As Nintendo is leading development it is hoped that the free2play aspects will not be too prevalent, or that they provide “premium” games (meaning paid games of over 69p/99 cents). although it could also provide a great opportunity to tie in with titles that appear on the dedicated consoles. For example by playing the mobile game can result in additional bonus content for the “main” game.

This is feasible as one of the reasons why DeNA have been brought in is because of their knowledge of how to create a system that works across multiple devices and the construction of networks and servers. Nintendo has been playing catch-up in this area, and this is a positive sign of Nintendo’s commitment to improving in this area. They also announced that they are working on a new membership system (which is what they were referring to when they announced the closure of Club Nintendo), one which would connect existing Nintendo devices with mobile devices; as well as to Nintendo’s next dedicated system, currently codenamed “NX”.

The NX represented the other big announcement from the announcement with DeNA. Very little (i.e nothing) is known about the new system, although the general assumption is that the next system will be a combination of Nintendo’s handheld and home system. This based on the merger of the handheld and home console divisions into one, and the increased unity between the 3DS and the Wii U adds to this assumption. But at the moment this is all speculation.

For now all we can do is wait. The first game of this new partnership might come out this year, but it is likely that the extent of what this partnership means won’t become apparent until next year. Likewise more information about the NX is unlikely to be provided this year, other than a small, but important, tease during E3 this year. 2015 will likely be a transitory year for Nintendo. There are plenty of great games being released by the company, including a new Legend of Zelda title. 2016 will be when everything will start to be unveiled. That will be the time when we will know who was right; the fanboys or the investors.


Coffee Time News 18/03/15

Classic costumes will be in Fantastic Four, New lazer team trailer and Nintendo are going onto the Mobile Market.


Miles Teller, who will be playing Reed Richards (AKA Mr Fantastic) in Josh Trank’s upcoming Fantastic Four, has spoken a little about the costumes we can expect to see in the film. The trailer showed off the containment suits, specially designed attire that keeps the four’s powers in check, but he also said it would be ‘very odd if the Fantastic Four didn’t don the traditional costumes’ so maybe we’ll see blue spandex after all.

Check out Daniel Craig in all his turtle neck glory in this teaser poster for the upcoming Bond film Spectre. That’s really all there is to it, the film’s ages away yet, what do you want from me? Real news? Yeah that’s fair.

Lazer Team, the partly crowd funded feature length film from Red Vs Blue creators Roosterteeth has a new full length trailer, released earlier this week for those who supported the indie go-go campaign, the trailer shows a little bit more of the technology and the team.


In other superhero suit news, Marvel’s Daredevil has a new motion poster which shows Matt Murdock morphing into Daredevil, but more than that, Marvel’s Chief creative officer Joe Quesada talks about the evolution of the suit, from a thrown together ‘ninja suit’ to eventually, the fully realised red suit.

Community season 6 aired its first two episodes last night on Yahoo video, and some of the cast and crew held a panel at SXSW this week, talking about the new found freedom that has come with moving away from traditional networks


Jurassic World isn’t far away, and so far the best movie tie in games have been the lego ones, well, that’s just as well as you can now check out the trailer for the Lego Jurassic Park game, which will follow all four films.

Here’s a turn up for the books: Nintendo is looking to release a new IP on the mobile market. So, no ports of classic games just yet.

Playstation Now, the PS4 game streaming service which will allow players to rent games available on PS3 and play them on their new console, is going into a private beta for the UK, You can sign up here.


So what IS the big deal about Majora’s Mask?

By Joe Strange

It’s the end of months of speculation, teasing and excitement, but today, Friday the 13th of February  (a pretty damn apt date for one of the darkest entries into the series) sees the release of the long awaited, and requested, remake of The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask.

So, I’m sure some of you are wondering, why has this one game, a game that’s only a remake, caused such a monstrous commotion in the gaming world? What makes this game, a game in a series that some argue is just the same story retold again and again, so special?

Because it’s a f*cking awesome game, that’s why.

Oh I know, I should elaborate.

For me, and for many other Legend of Zelda fans, when Ocarina of Time was experienced for the first time it was mind blowing; it had huge 3D environments, a story that carried the player over generations and a world full of character.

Then, 2 years later, Nintendo released Majora’s Mask. Using the same engine (but this time, with front flips), Majora’s Mask sees Link attempting to find an old friend (we assume Navi, the fairy companion from Ocarina). While wondering through the Lost Woods, Link is set upon by the Skull Kid and his two fairies  he steals Links horse and ocarina, and eventually turns him into a deku scrub. (He’s a bit of an ass-hole.)

When Link finds his bearings he discovers that he’s in the land of Termina, where, in three days, an evil faced moon will crush the town and destroy the residents of Termina and all the surrounding area.

It’s not even hypothetical, if you fail to stop the moon in time, at the end of the three days, a huge fireball will engulf the town and kill everyone. The townsfolk even take action in the run up to this, some flee, some hide, some even get their little sisters drunk so they won’t feel death.

Yeah, you head me right, this game is dark.

In fact, there’s a whole host of theories about Majora’s Mask being an analogy for Link’s death in the Lost Woods. I’ve talked about the Game Theorists before, and they’re take on that topic is really worth a look, if I’ve wetted your appetite.

It’s often considered the darkest game in the series, rivalled only by Twilight Princess, but that one’s more due to tone than actual content. Zelda games can be dark in places, but none are as harrowing as Majora’s Mask. But darkness alone doesn’t make a game good.

No, what makes Majora’s Mask stand out isn’t just the atmosphere, or the tightened controls from the previous game, it’s because it’s unique in being a Legend of Zelda game, that’s almost not a Zelda game.

First of all, there’s no Zelda, you’re not saving a princess, and there’s no Ganon, instead it’s a giant moon and a child possessed by an evil nightmare mask. There’s not any mention of the Triforce or the goddesses, and while Ocarina of Time had 9 full dungeons, including Ganon’s tower, Majora’s Mask has only 4, and they’re not really the highlight of the game.

You see, what really makes Majora’s Mask special is the time limit it sets the player. The player has 3 days, about one real life hour, to save the land, at the end of that hour, you either take on the moon (if you’re ready) or you reset the clock using the Song of Time, sending you back to the moment you arrived in Termina.

It’s basically Groundhog day, if Bill Murray had to fight a giant celestial body.

You might think that using the same three days over and over again is a cheap and lazy way to design a game, if so, you’re quite wrong. It’s not about that; Majora’s Mask is about the people you meet and interact with between the dungeons. The dungeons are a means to an end, the people you meet, the way they react to their demise, are the real stars of the show.

Like I said earlier, everyone in the town takes the threat of death differently and every single person has their own story, some overlap with others, while some are completely solitary. It’s reliving their last few days with them again and again that brings you even closer to the people of Termina.

One of the best ways it does that? Everyone you meet is based on a character you will have met when you played Ocarina of Time. You see, the game uses your previous connections to these characters, to the quest and interactions you had with them before, to make their new, darker stories even more effective.

Because the game is such a departure from the series’ staples, and because there hasn’t been a game quite like Majora’s Mask since, let alone in the Zelda series. It stands out as a fantastic, refreshing entry into the series, with fantastic key mechanics, with an engaging and heartfelt story. Majora’s Mask was kind of a big deal, and now that it’s been remastered, and reworked to iron out any kinks, if you’ve not played it yet, now is the perfect time to pick up my favourite game of all time.

Oh, yeah, I really like this game, hadn’t you guessed?