September – More Games, Direct to Your Eyeballs
Things got off to a shaky start in September with the news that the 'N' from the Nintendo logo on the company's Kyoto HQ had been blown off in a typhoon. Eek. In equally downbeat news, the designer director of Call of Duty laughed off the idea of the game coming to Switch, which went down well with Nintendo fans, as you can imagine.
We got to go behind-the-scenes on the upcoming Streets of Rage 4, and there was the welcome news that the upcoming Polymega system would have its own 'Virtual Console' of sorts, giving retro gamers hope that they would have somewhere to buy digital versions of classic titles now Nintendo has seemingly turned its back on its own service.
Speaking of old-school games, we spoke to the people behind the Mega Drive and SNES ports of Mortal Kombat, arcade conversions that were so important to the industry that money-men from Wall Street were ringing the developers to check on progress. We also spoke to the guys behind Team17's first Nintendo outing to celebrate the publisher's 100th game.
There was more big news this month for Switch owners with the confirmation that a new RPG from Game Freak – better known as the guys behind the Pokémon series – would be coming in the future. Currently titled 'Town', it seems pretty tasty and is one to look forward to for sure. Closer to home, Capcom's amazing Beat 'em Up Bundle was a shock Nintendo Direct announcement, bringing together some classic 2D fighters in one place. We also found out that a third Luigi's Mansion game is in development, and that New Super Mario Bros. U would be getting the remaster treatment on Switch.
That not enough for you? How about the groundbreaking news that Final Fantasy VII is, at long last, coming to a Nintendo console? IX, X and XII are also on the way, which was welcome news for RPG fans. As if things couldn't get any better, it was also revealed that Assassin's Creed Odyssey was coming to Switch, with the catch being that it's a cloud-based affair exclusive to Japan. Bah.
Later in the month saw the long-awaited launch of Nintendo Switch Online, alongside a new system update. We also reported on the story of terminal cancer patient Chris Taylor, who wanted the chance to play Smash Bros. Ultimate before he died. He got his wish but tragically passed away shortly afterwards.
In terms of games, we had Into the Breach, SNK Heroines, Valkyria Chronicles 4, Gone Home, Bastion, NBA 2K19, Undertale, Wasteland 2, Capcom Beat 'em Up Bundle, Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition HD, TowerFall and FIFA 19 to enjoy on Switch, while 3DS owners could comfort themselves with the rather lovely Yo-Kai Watch Blasters.
October – The Promise of New Hardware?
The dream of bringing VR to Switch refuses to die, and in October we reported on yet another attempt to create immersive gameplay on Nintendo's machine, the NS Glasses. Needless to say, the results were disappointing. Meanwhile, Nintendo rolled out its stock response for VR on Switch, stating that it was 'looking into it' but that it had to be 'fun' first and foremost.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mike Diver played the game for the first time ever and reported on his findings. Elsewhere, The Wall Street Journal ran a story that claimed a new version of the Switch is coming in 2019, which caused quite a stir despite Nintendo's track record of refreshing its portable systems on a regular basis making this rather predictable news.
Meanwhile, we ran a soapbox that complained about the sorry state of Nintendo's Switch Online service, more specifically, the largely uninteresting selection of three new NES games a month. Nintendo's sluggishness in this respect could be fuelling the demand for ROMs online, we argued. You may have disagreed.
In October's 'random' file we have the news that even after all these years, Nintendo still can't decide one way or another what gender Birdo happens to be. It all depends where in the world you happen to live, apparently. We also reported on the fact that smartphone maker Huawei – a company that has been in the headlines a lot in 2018 for all the wrong reasons – has compared its latest device to the Switch.
The world of retro gaming was rocked by the news that Analogue – the company behind the amazing Analogue Nt and Super Nt – is creating a FPGA-based clone of the Mega Drive / Genesis, due for release in 2019. On the topic of exclusive interviews, we also spoke to the CEO of Rainway, a company which offers a unique streaming service that allows you to play PC games on a wide range of mobile devices. Rainway featured Switch heavily in its initial promotional drive, and we decided to catch up with them to see how the project was progressing.
With the end of the years in sight, games started coming from all over the place, with (deep breath) Super Mario Party, Sega AGES Sonic the Hedgehog, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Mega Man 11, Sega AGES Thunder Force IV, Disgaea 1 Complete, Child of Light: Ultimate Edition, The World Ends With You: Final Remix, Starlink: Battle For Atlas, Warriors Orochi 4, Dark Souls: Remastered, LEGO DC Super-Villains, Valkyria Chronicles, Windjammers, NBA 2K Playgrounds 2, LEGO Harry Potter Collection, Transistor and Diablo III: Eternal Collection all hitting Switch. 3DS owners had Luigi's Mansion to play, too.
November – Pikachu and Eevee Join the Club
November gave us the very sad news that Mario Segale, the man who (unwittingly and unwillingly) lent his name to Super Mario had passed away at the age of 84. There was more negative news from within the ranks of Nintendo Russia, where General Manager Yasha Haddaji spent most of 2018 making the lives of his staff hell. We spoke to a few of them about his recent antics, which Nintendo has since said it is investigating his conduct.
In another site exclusive, we also spoke to Virtuous – the team behind the Switch port of Dark Souls: Remastered – about its approach to conversion work and any future projects it has in the works. It's worth revisiting if we do say so ourselves.
November was also the month in which we finally got our hands on the Flip Grip, one of 2018's simplest yet most anticipated Switch accessories. It allows you to play all those lovely vertically-scrolling shooters in 'TATE' mode, the way the maker intended.
Ahead of the December launch of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, there was just enough time for some mini-drama as Nintendo revealed that it would be altering one of Mr. Game & Watch's animations to avoid offending Native American people.
On the Switch front, we finally got our hands on the long-awaited YouTube app – all we need now is Netflix and we're golden.
With Pokémon gripping the world thanks to the arrival of Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! (which got review bombed, amazingly) we invited former CVG editor Paul Davies to tell us about the time he and his team introduced the UK to the 'Pocket Monster' craze, before Nintendo UK itself even knew what it was.
Keeping on that topic, November also gave us a good look at next year's Detective Pikachu movie, with some unique CGI designs that have divided fans. Anther bone of contention within the world of Pokémon is the Poke Ball Plus accessory which launched alongside Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!; while it looks the part, it's one of the worst ways of interacting with the game. Still, it's a neat bonus for Pokémon GO players, although even then, we found there were better options.
To round off the month, there was the shocking revelation that Link has no junk. Everything you've been told is a lie, it would seem.
Phew! November was positively bursting with games, including Moonlighter, GRIP, Gal Metal, Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum'n'Fun!, SNK 40th Anniversary Collection, World of Final Fantasy Maxima, Sid Meier's Civilization VI, Warframe, R-Type Dimensions EX, Horizon Chase Turbo, SEGA Mega Drive Classics and Abzu. Oh, and Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, of course. Can't forget that.
December – Smash and Grab
December was the month of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, with what many will see as the Switch's biggest game of the year finally reaching store shelves. To warm up for release we took the time to speak to the people who make their living from playing the series competitively, and once the game was actually out, we couldn't resist posting about the fact that sneaky fans had spent hours trying to find ways to 'penetrate Princess Peach's dark matter'. Ahem.
The launch of the PlayStation Classic meant that we couldn't help ourselves and simply had to pit Sony's machine against the SNES Classic Edition. The verdict probably won't shock you, but the fact that Nintendo's micro-console is better at playing PlayStation games may well do.
Perhaps the most amusing story of the month came when famous rapper (that's what it says here, anyway) Soulja Boy announced that he was releasing his own home and portable games consoles. Meanwhile, back in the real world, it turned out that these systems were actually Chinese emulation machines that come packed with illegal ROMs and are usually sold in the Far East for significantly less cash. Guffaw! Not long afterwards, he was also caught peddling Game Boy clones.
If you needed bringing back down to earth with a bump then our first glimpse of the upcoming Sonic movie was enough to give you nightmares; who knew the Blue Blur was so ripped and manly?
December also saw the Switch officially crowned the fastest-selling console of this current hardware cycle in the US. Not a bad way to end the year.
With most of the big titles already out, December slowed a little, but we did have Super Hydorah, Toki, Monster Boy And The Cursed Kingdom, Aaero: Complete Edition, Ark: Survival Evolved, Guacamelee! 2, Gear.Club Unlimited 2, Gris, Everspace, Firewatch, This War of Mine, Rival Megagun, Katamari Damacy REROLL and – of course – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Over on 3DS, Yo-Kai Watch 3 finally made its way to the west.
What did you make of Nintendo's 2018? (121 votes)
I thought it was perfect, the company did everything right
It was great, but could have been better
I thought it was disappointing, and was expecting more
I don't have an opinion, really. What's a Nintendo again?
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Which is your biggest desire for 2019? (119 votes)
More first-party games from Nintendo
More third-party support for Switch
New hardware - a revised Switch, perhaps?
An improved Switch Online service
I don't really have anything I'm hoping for
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