Showing posts with label gamecube. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gamecube. Show all posts

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Nintendo marks Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary



Nintendo is celebrating the original release of Super Mario Bros. in 1985, on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in America and Famicom in Japan, with a plethora of products this holiday season. Most notably a limited edition Game & Watch (affiliate link), which was the first Nintendo handheld system I owned.

There'll be video game tie-ins with Animal Crossing, Splatoon and Super Smash Bros. Super Mario 3D All-Stars, bundling Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury and much more on the Nintendo Switch.

This 35th anniversary celebration is exciting news for Super Mario fans (myself included) but not without controversy. Mario is arguably the most recognisable video game character of all time and Nintendo's IP the most valuable.

However, critics have opined that Super Mario 3D All-Stars isn't a remaster a la Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection for PlayStation and are questioning the decision to leave Super Mario Galaxy 2 out of the must-have collection. Is Nintendo planning free DLC or a standalone release later? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

I'm looking forward to replaying Super Mario 64, for the first time since owning the game-changing 3D title for the Nintendo 64 (N64) in the late nineties, and playing Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy for the first time ever.

There's also Nintendo's confounding decision to make this a time-limited release. During a global pandemic, this could be viewed as anti-consumer when so many people are struggling day-to-day and a cynical way to bolster earnings during the fiscal year ending March 2021.

As friends and industry pundits have pointed out, Super Mario 3D All-Stars is a system seller and Nintendo Switch has an enviable library of first-party titles that eclipses Sony and Microsoft's machines. These titles are rarely discounted and sell year-after-year.

That said. Nintendo has me with all the nostalgic feels since the halcyon days of Donkey Kong on Atari VCS and therein lies part of the problem. As someone who passed on the Wii U, I've picked up all the ports released so far and Pikmin 3 Deluxe will be next.

Will you be getting Super Mario 3D All-Stars? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

First look at Wii U



During Nintendo's media briefing at this year's E3, the company's next generation console was conspicuous by its, apparent, absence.

You had to be closely watching the promo video for the Wii U's touchscreen controller add-on to spy what looked like an iOmega Drive sat next to a HDTV!



The new controller incorporates a 6.2-inch, 16:9 touchscreen and traditional button controls, including two analog Circle Pads. This combination removes the traditional barriers between games, players and the TV by creating a second window into the video game world. The rechargeable controller includes a Power button, Home button, +Control Pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons and ZL/ZR buttons. It includes a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, rumble feature, camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, a sensor strip and a stylus.

On Twitter I posited whether or not the Wii U add-on was tantamount to Sega's ill-fated 32X? @joshshabtai made a compelling point that Nintendo could pull off a gaming paradigm that an Apple TV and iPad combo can't!

The Wii U hardware supports full 1080p, via HDMI, and features a bespoke multi-core PowerPC processor from IBM. As with the GameCube and Wii, the Wii U's optical drive will playback proprietary optical discs (including Wii) to prevent piracy. Incidentally, there will be no GameCube support. Is this a good move in an era of digital downloads?

Nintendo is serious about courting casual and gaming enthusiasts alike. Third-party titles announced include Tekken, Batman: Arkham Asylum and LEGO City Stories.

What are you thoughts on the Wii U and touchscreen controller add-on? Will you be lining up to buy one in 2012?

Friday, 28 April 2006

Wii Want

Nintendo has announced that its next generation console (code-name Revolution) is officially known as Wii. The company explains:

"While the code-name 'Revolution' expressed our direction, Wii represents the answer. Wii will break down that wall that separates video game players from everybody else."

"Wii will put people more in touch with their games … and each other. But you’re probably asking: What does the name mean? Wii sounds like 'we,' which emphasizes this console is for everyone."

"Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion. No need to abbreviate. Just Wii. Wii has a distinctive 'ii' spelling that symbolizes both the unique controllers and the image of people gathering to play."

"And Wii, as a name and a console, brings something revolutionary to the world of video games that sets it apart from the crowd. So that’s Wii. But now Nintendo needs you. Because, it’s really not about you or me. It’s about Wii."

In addition, Nintendo hit on a number of Wii-related points. Nintendo stated that "A number of Wi-Fi-enabled launch titles are in development that will employ Nintendo's newly announced wireless gaming service, Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection."

Also mentioned was an SD memory card expansion bay that will allow users to complement the 512 megabytes of internal flash memory.

The company also touted Wii's two-format disc drive. "Instead of a tray, a single, innovative, self-loading media bay will play both 12-centimeter optical discs used for the new system as well as Nintendo GameCube discs. Owners will have the option of equipping a small, self-contained attachment to play movies and other DVD content."

At first I scoffed at Nintendo's nomenclature! However, who would have thought that TiVo and iPod would become part of our consumer lexicon? And controversy sales.

Wii, like the original iMac, will be available in an assortment of candy colors. To paraphrase Steve Jobs. Wii is gaming for the rest of us. Nintendo may have struck marketing gold by mining Apple Computer's rich lifestyle brand ethos.

Friday, 31 March 2006

Hooray for "Hollywood"

IGN’s sources revealed that the Revolution will operate on an extension of the Flipper and Gekko architectures that powered the GameCube. The “Broadway” CPU (as supplied by IBM) has been clocked at 729MHz; in comparison, the Xbox 360’s CPU runs at 3.2 GHz, whilst even the original Xbox had a CPU that clocked in at 733 MHz.

The “Hollywood” GPU in the Revolution (a component developed and provided by ATI) runs at 243 MHz - the GameCube’s GPU ran at 162 MHz. “The ‘Hollywood’”, said one developer to IGN, “is a large-scale integrated chip that includes the GPU, DSP, I/O bridge and 3MBs of texture memory.” The Revolution will also boast 88MBs of system RAM. In direct comparison, the PS3 and the Xbox 3 boast 512 MBs of RAM.

Remember hardware specs do not maketh the game! My money is on Revolution in terms of pushing the gaming 'interface' forward. Think Macintosh.

Friday, 17 February 2006

Cel-shaded Conspiracy

XIII Preview
With the imminent release of the Macintosh port, it’s IMG’s “raison d’être” to tackle the daunting task of another hands on preview courtesy of those fine folks at Feral Interactive. And a rare chance for this comic book fan (and former fine art student), with a predilection for the darkness of an American McGee's Alice, to experience an interactive 3D graphic novel (graphic novel was a term coined by Will Eisner; comic book with high quality storyline and artwork)!

If 'Retro Chic' found favour in the quirky No One Lives Forever (a veritable pastiche on UK television's The Avengers) and its first sequel, XIII takes the First Person Shooter (FPS) into the labyrinth of 1920s to 1950s inspired Dark Deco!

Bourne Again
Acclaimed French/Canadian developer UbiSoft serves up a self-referential cocktail in which film director Doug Liman’s The Bourne Identity stars X-Files superstar David Duchovny (as the titular character). And Adam West (General Carrington), television’s 1960's Batman, returns to a setting that acknowledges the source medium that made him an international cult star - comics.

XIII is a complex story of betrayal and intrigue based on the original French comics by Belgian's William Vance and Jean Van Hamme (who took part in the production of the game). The XIII comic series is replete with Byzantine plots that would delight even the most demanding fan of ABC’s award-winning Alias television show.

JFK
The President of the United States has been assassinated, and everyone (most notably large guys with guns) possesses a compelling argument that you did it - even you're not sure! As the story unfolds, you'll learn more about your mysterious past, discovering that you are number XIII (shades of Patrick McGoohan's seminal TV series The Prisoner) of The Twenty, a mysterious shadow organization, the group that perpetually want to see you dead - there's no chance to discuss 'issues' over cappuccino in a virtual Starbucks. Your eventual goal will be to clear your name of all charges (if only you could remember your name…), and get to the bottom of the conspiracy.

So it's clear that the story is a little more involved than, say, the riveting backstory behind Doom! To do the job, you'll have the usual array of weapons and gadgets. There are 13 standard weapons, including crossbows, assault rifles, and rocket launchers, each with an alternative-fire mode. You'll need to choose your weapons and tactics carefully, though, because you can only hang onto four weapons at a time.

Sans Solo
XIII is not entirely flying solo as he is accompanied, at key stages, by Major Jones, a sassy female operative voiced by multimedia diva Eve. During these stages XIII will have to battle enemies while receiving covering fire from Jones and vice versa. So be prepared for some bombastic fire fights with other characters as you progress through the game.

As a counterpoint to the adventures with Major Jones. Adam West’s General Carrington is bereft of any armoury, so it’s your duty to act as human shield during the rescue mission!

On top of the world
From the Baywatch opening (not the O.C?) to rooftops and snowy mountains, the Mac gaming tourists amongst you will be well served as you unearth that most post-modern of questions – Who am I?

Enter the Manga Dimension
Sometimes referred to as Manga Dimension or non-photorealistic rendering (NPR), cel-shading arguably entered the video game lexicon in the seminal Jet Set Radio Future (JSRF) (From Sega development team Smilebit) and, perhaps most famously, changed the look of Link in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. XIII (Thirteen) witnesses cel-shading's maturation in the over populated FPS genre!

Cel-shading is much more than a superficial stylistic treatment in XIII; it underscores the game’s comic book roots and (excuse the terrible pun) is a marvel to behold! For example when an enemy appears, he'll get a close-up panel (a comic book convention sometimes referred to as a box or frame) of where he is, so you can home in on his exact location. A direct kill will witness his timely demise in delicious close-up and includes the obligatory "AARRGH!" (literally known as a sound effect by comic book artists)!

Gore
While not on a par with the visceral thrills of a Resident Evil, XIII splatters stylised blood in a manor akin to Grand Theft Auto (GTA). This title is not recommended for the faint hearted or younger players - an audience it adroitly askews.

Battling the Dark Side
The single player (SP) mode serves a solid storyline encompassing 13 missions (which cover 34 levels) that should take around 25 hours to complete (depending on the player's prowess). However, the multiplayer (MP) option secures greater repeat play value since it combines all the modes present in the PS2, GameCube, and PC and XBOX iterations. And the crowning achievement is that all too elusive Holy Grail - Mac vs. PC conflict!

It must be noted that Bot AI in SP mode isn't showcased in a glowing manner here, but MP Bot engagements can get intense!

God is in the detail
Although my preview hardware was within the minimum system requirements (Mac OS X 10.3.3, 800 MHz iMac G4, 512 MB RAM and GeForce 2MX), sound was choppy and poorly synced. The sound effects are all in a real time. Therefore evincing the need for more powerful hardware such as nVIDIA's GeForce FX 5200 Ultra and ATi Radeon 9800 Pro cards.

Adorned in the stylistic trappings of the graphic novel tradition and powered by Epic games’ UnrealEngine2 (a.k.a. Unreal Warfare Engine); Ubi Soft invested 2 years of R&D! XIII promises to deliver a unique, if not signature, FPS experience for those gamers whose hardware can smoothly run Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell and the Unreal Tournament franchise.

Feral Interactive sent IMG a preview based on a very robust beta build (1.0 RC5), which is the current version being tested by Ubi Soft. Last minute tweaks and installation changes (my preview copy was sent on 3 CDs) notwithstanding, it gave this reviewer an excellent insight into what to expect. The retail edition of XIII will bow on a single DVD. Feral Interactive's Edwin Smith kindly shed light on the decision to adopt the DVD medium:

• To preclude the need for a multi CD ROM release
• Only one installer needed
• Nice and clean look and feel with 1 disk, which is more "Mac like"
• Add enhanced video files with higher file sizes, desktops and even other demos to a game DVD
• Anti-Piracy

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

Walking In The Air

This is the first part of the mandatory Review of the Year. And the prizes go to:

*Web - RSS. Of all the emergent web-based technologies reaching critical mass (despite low consumer awareness). This year RSS has captivated my imagination with many a late night brain storming, and exchanging of e-mails with those Chicago-based coders at FeedBurner, to facilitate an all signing and all dancing, but ultimately transparent, RSS experience. Runners up: Google Reader and Blogger.

*Buzz Word - Podcast. This term is a misnomer, but joins the pantheon of brands TiVo and Google. My iTunes Music Store listing was the crowning achievement. Runners up: VoIP and Blogging.

*Application - Flickr Uploadr. I've honored Flickr with the distinction of best cross-platform social networking tool. Google's photo proposition looks positively anemic and clunky by comparison and gets a zero for the lack of a Mac OS X client. Maybe next year, eh? Runners up: Firefox 1.5 and iTunes 6.

*Console - Nintendo DS. Sony's PSP wins the hardware and multimedia battle. But Miyamoto's masterpiece is 'all about the games': delivered with an inventive quirkiness and wrapped in Game & Watch geek chic. Runners up: Xbox 360 and PSP.

*Video Game - Mario Kart DS. Combines the SNES, N64, GameBoy SP and GameCube iterations with Wi-Fi. Do you need to know anymore? Runners up: Resident Evil 4 and Lego Star Wars.

Stay tuned for Best Album, DVD, Movie, Television series and more.

Tuesday, 29 November 2005

Confluence

Keeping with the informal oriental theme of yesterday. Due to the stress of real world events, I suffered an uncommon migraine and was forced to bed early. Whilst still feeling a little groggy, found time to listen to John Williams' score for Memoirs of a Geisha (Spielberg passed on directorial duties).

A work of beguiling beauty, Geisha effortlessly combines the Orient with Copland flourish. The silhouette of Shindler's List (2003) cast by Itzhak Perlman's arresting violin solos.

This year Williams has completed a stunning quartet of albums from Revenge of the Sith and War of the Worlds to Munich. Next year Superman Returns and so will John Williams' main theme. Watch the teaser trailer, underscored by The Planet Krypton, and tell me that you're not moved by its impressionistic power.

I'd like to welcome Sony PSP users to the addiction known as RSS! Albeit in the bandwidth-demanding form of audio streaming. The latest firmware upgrade, 2.6, was released today.



Sony's move into this 'space' may provide competition for Apple! However, under the tree this year I'll be opening a Nintendo DS Mario Kart Bundle and a copy of Lego Star Wars for GameCube.

Sky is offering an iPod Shuffle to customers who recommend a friend. Any takers?

Sunday, 9 October 2005

Geometric Gaming

The GameCube has clocked up a few miles in its first week. An interesting fact for anyone who maybe mulling over a purchase and requires Digital A/V support. The following is an extract taken from Nintendo's support pages:

The Digital A/V Output port was removed from systems produced after May, 2004 (these systems will have a model number of DOL-101). If you have a Nintendo GameCube without this port, and you wish to play your games in progressive scan, you may be able to obtain a system that was made prior to the removal of the Digital A/V Output port. Please call our Consumer Service department at 1-800-255-3700 to discuss available options.

Additional Information:

Why have you removed the component video feature from the Nintendo GameCube?
On newer models of the Nintendo GameCube, we opted to remove the Digital A/V out port from the system because we found that less than one percent of all Nintendo GameCube players used this feature.

Will future Nintendo GameCube games continue to have the progressive scan feature?
About one-third of licensee-published titles and over 90% of Nintendo-published titles currently have the progressive scan feature. We expect that most Nintendo-published titles will continue to support progressive scan. Each licensee will continue to make the decision of whether or not to include this feature in their future games.

In order to reduce costs and increase profit margins it is not unusual for consumer electronics companies to simplify production. Sony made changes to the PlayStation and my model lacked S-Video connectivity. The good news is that I can confirm that the Limited Edition Resident Evil GameCube has a model number of DOL-001 and not DOL-101. Incidentally, DOL refers to the console's codename. Dolphin.

My fiendish friends at The Iconfactory, are unleashing seasonal GUI ghoulishness in time for the season of the witch. Grab those disgustingly delicious icons, dim the lights and play the Castlevania and Resident Evil franchises.

The ultimate browser-based feed reader is to be found in Google Labs. A Gmail account adds further razzle dazzle.

A glutton for punishment. I'm already preparing a DVD review of Battlestar Galactica (2004) Season 1! "It's the things I do for you..."

"One more thing..." There is much speculation regarding next weeks Apple event. I'm going to go out on a limb (as is my duty) and suggest that there maybe a new product line introduced. A PVR based on Intel?

Saturday, 1 October 2005

Captain N: The Game Master

The title of this post, and its intrinsic camp value, refers to the live action/animated series, which ran for three seasons and was broadcast on ITV between 1989 - 1992. If memory serves correctly the show was a vehicle to blatantly promote the latest Nintendo video game releases and included appearances from popular properties Link (Zelda) and Simon Belmont (Castlevania).

In the '80s you could start your day by waking up in your Nintendo-themed sheets, wash your hair with Super Mario shampoo, eat Mario & Zelda cereal, and go to school with your Nintendo backpack. How times have changed. Did someone say Harry Potter?

Last Thursday I unpacked a shiny new platinum and black limited edition Nintendo GameCube. You know, the livery emotes sophistication and it's fun to posit whether or not Big "N" should have adopted this color scheme at the console's launch in 2002?

Aside from the glaring omission of a 251 Slot Memory Card from the bundle. I'm delighted to be reunited with Mario, Pikmin and Zelda franchises once again. This time for keeps. Viva la Revolution!

Discovered Galaxy FM. Anyone with a passion for Dance/R&B should listen (digital receiver required). The first song played was Opposites Attract (Paula Abdul featuring MC Skat Cat). The College memories.

Thursday, 29 September 2005

Push The Button

Still suffering from flu-like symptoms, which is most likely related to exhaustion and the arrival of Autumn/The Fall. This hasn't deterred me from watching the conclusion of Lost (written review to follow). The introduction of Michelle Rodriguez, in Exodus Part 1, as new cast regular Ana-Lucia Cortez was a surprise! And recording this short audio blog sans script (gradually gaining more confidence).

The Xbox 360 Premium Pack pre-order has been cancelled in favor of a replacement GameCube (Resident Evil 4 Limited Edition Pak) and Resident Evil 0! Halloween is only a month or so away and the Resident Evil franchise is one to be savored (or endured) by survival horror genre fans.

Dreamcast's CODE: Veronica remains the only game to leave me scared sheetless (to quote Tim Burton on the set of Beetlejuice) and I have it on good authority that Resident Evil 4 is set to steal that corrupted crown. I miss my Dreamcast. Sega's NAOMI-based console was a proven product. Why did I sell it in 2002?

Have you seen Nintendo's Game Boy Advance Micro? There's a Famicom anniversary edition exclusive to the Japanese market. A must for console collectors.

Adobe has announced Photoshop Elements 4 for Windows! Where's the Mac version? Well, lets wait and see. Elements is my bread and butter, and 3 is working just fine thank you.

You can read my review of Desperate Housewives over at MovieTyme.

Sunday, 6 February 2005

Nintendo Nation

In March 1997 I was blown away by Nintendo 64! Mario's richly rendered 3D world literally leapt from the television screen. The lush visuals and innovative gamepad ergonomics culminated in a definitive pop culture experience.

The N64, PSOne and Dreamcast were traded-in for XBOX, PS2 and GameCube in 2002. Although I recently sold all my home consoles due to less leisure time, the DS and PSP portables will ably fill the gap whilst commuting.

Don't miss the iTunes/Pepsi commercials during today's Super Bowl.

Wednesday, 8 December 2004

All I Want For Christmas

In keeping with the spirit of the upcoming holidays. The following list features all my computer and video game hardware owned to date. Most of which were received as gifts at this time of year!

*Atari VCS 2600
*Binatone Mk6 Game System
*ZX Spectrum 48K
*ZX Spectrum+ (same as above, but with 'improved' keyboard)
*Commodore 64 and 1541 Floppy Disk Drive
*Nintendo Game & Watch (various Mario titles)
*Sega Megadrive (Genesis)
*Atari Lynx II
*Super NES
*Apple Macintosh Performa 5200
*N64
*PSOne
*iMac DV SE
*Sega Dreamcast
*PlayStation 2
*XBOX
*GameCube
*LCD iMac G4
*GBA SP

Over the years I purchased innumerable video games from The Fuse Box. During my teens the store, an independent brick-and-mortar retailer located in Exeter's Sidwell Street, was a treasure trove - Rescue on Fractalus!* and Koronis Rift, displayed on the in-store monitors, held me spellbound - before its untimely closure and the advent of etailing. Somewhere in the attic of our house is a dusty old cardboard box that contains Atari, Commodore and Spectrum games (cartridge, cassette and diskette formats) in their original packaging! I've no idea whether or not my Commodore 64 still works (1992 being the last time it was used) and the first ZX Spectrum was passed on to a younger relative only to meet an untimely demise.

Watching Back to the Future II (1989) I noticed Nintendo's PlayChoice-10 in the Cafe 80's scene (a veritable advertising blitz). To reiterate comments made in a previous post. PlayChoice-10 provided Nintendo with a platform to profit from the lucrative arcade market, and uniquely showcased NES titles including Mega Man 3, Super Mario Bros II and III before their home cartridge launch. PlayChoice-10 existed for 5 to 6 years and was briefly superseded by Nintendo Super System. MAME emulation of PlayChoice-10 is not yet 100% accurate, but all known titles are available including The Goonies.

nVIDIA is to produce a bespoke GeForce GPU for Sony's PS3 after Microsoft allied itself with ATi. Combined with an IBM PowerPC G5 processor and possibly OpenGL, the PS3 shares APIs with Apple! Curious said Alice. In a contractual twist, that inspires literary allusions to the one ring, IBM will power all three next generation consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Can you say NDA?

*Rescue on Fractalus! was the first time I'd ever seen the Apple ][ logo. Little did I know that years later the Apple Macintosh would have a profound impact on my creative life.