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Wed 24th December, 2008

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aaronsullivan commented on Satoru Iwata Outlines Nintendo's First QOL Pla...:

@Bolt_Strike Right, that's a fair point. Still, there's no particular reason suggested to use a game system over a mobile device. Perhaps it will tie in nicely with an updated Wii Fit. My only problem is I was hoping for a bit of a separation there.

If Nintendo isn't going to make another sort of central device then I think Nintendo needs to brand the "wider audience" apps and games. It sort of worked on the Wii. The gist was that if it started with Wii (Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Wii Music, Wii Party) it was going to be a wider audience game where if it ended with Wii it was more gamer oriented (Mario Kart Wii, NSMBWii, etc.) Maybe that was a little too subtle.

Why? I think the Wii got a stigma with more traditional gamers because it felt like it ONLY targeted new gamers and casual gamers. Nintendo needs a way to say "this is for people who want a deeper more rewarding game experience". So casuals can step into it, and traditional gamers see the library that will interest them able to (mostly) ignore the stuff that doesn't appeal.

I hoped QoL would be more about solving that problem and maybe it could help indirectly, but it's going to be something that integrates from the side with the consoles.



aaronsullivan commented on Satoru Iwata Outlines Nintendo's First QOL Pla...:

Well... this is what I sort of imagined the first time Iwata mentioned it, but then I thought his words could have meant a sort of platform to move all the fitness stuff towards. Maybe pull the casuals towards it so that Nintendo's main console is a bit more traditional gamer focused. This sure seems to not be that, though. This is truly another category of product/business with no relation to games at all. Cool as a way to diversify, but I'm not convinced it's a unique strength Nintendo has yet.



aaronsullivan commented on Nintendo Returns to Profit as Wii U Sales Show...:

Overall, I hate to see that the Wii U was met with skepticism and has eked out such low numbers after the insane success with Wii, but these numbers show a turn around and an upward trend that is great news to someone who has had one since day one. Not going to suddenly outshine PS4 and XB1 as that launch defied expectations. People like to game (aggressively) in bad economies apparently. :D

Super Smash Bros. is a title that spans all sorts of tastes in gaming triggering that gotta-play-this response. That friend with the Wii U and the new Smash Bros is going to be indirectly selling a bunch of consoles this Holiday or at least planting the seeds of desire.

We are looking at a real gain for the Wii U in 2015 if Nintendo can pull off Zelda in time and with quality. Between Zelda, MK, SSB, DK, and Mario the big hitters will all have arrived so that the console is bound to have a couple of must-haves in anyone's book. Add to that some excitement about games like Splatoon and I think we may finally have some consistent success for the Wii U and maybe even some new respect for Nintendo.

That respect for the Nintendo brand is something I think Iwata is guarding and actually fixing with the Quality of Life platform. It's going to attempt a clean separation between casuals and traditional gamers I think. That way an entire console doesn't get written off as a console for casuals or just mini-game compilations. The success of the Wii seems to have had that side effect.

2015 is when this should all come to fruition, but sadly I think the Wii U is going to be a transition console of sorts and never a giant success in terms of sales.



aaronsullivan commented on Poll: Should Nintendo Follow Microsoft's Lead ...:

About PS4 and Sony. Yeah, Sony is facing a tough time where the Playstation is the rare moneymaker at the company. Probably the Xbox team is banking on Sony resisting a price drop.

Iwata: "but based on the premise that we will not make such a reduction in the next fiscal year, I think our business can operate without such a negative effect on our profitability" That does show he probably wasn't planning on a price reduction. (Though if he was he could still say that statement without lying. ;) ) Things can change over time, of course.

Honestly, I hope Nintendo is in such good shape that it doesn't have to enter a price war with the other guys. Hopefully, MK8 SSBU and friends are enough convince people to buy in. I'd much rather the platform be a healthy one. Not really seeing any evidence so far, though. :/



aaronsullivan commented on Poll: Should Nintendo Follow Microsoft's Lead ...:

Right, well that's where Nintendo knows better than we do. We don't know what kind of profit Nintendo is making on the Wii U right now. It could be more than breaking even. Components vary in price greatly over time getting cheaper by the month sometimes.

The question is profit on fewer consoles sold? Or break even now and create a bigger installed base. The long game requires a bigger installed base.

You're not wrong. The other big players have been selling consoles as loss-leaders (selling below cost) to great marketshare and the actual profit from them has come a decade later in the case of Xbox — starting with the original Xbox which never made money for Microsoft apparently. Pretty sure I read that Xbox 360 just broke into the black for the first time a couple years ago.

The unfortunate situation is that unlike Sony and Microsoft over the years, Nintendo has no other divisions in the company to count on for profits. Video games is pretty much it for Nintendo. This is why it holds onto cash and is so hesitant to lose money on the hardware... BUT it does have to compete with those selling below cost.

It's no wonder that Iwata is talking about a separate platform (Quality of Life) and is pushing merchandise again, and is experimenting with Amiibo. It's all good stuff to help with that core issue that it is trying to sell a console at a profit when the competition doesn't... so sooner or later...



aaronsullivan commented on Poll: Should Nintendo Follow Microsoft's Lead ...:

@MoonKnight7 Actually, Nintendo didn't have the variety of games, anywhere near the options on eShop, it had a paltry amount of games on Virtual Console, it didn't have GameCube controllers for SSB players or the adapter, little to no DLC. More stuff means more revenue opportunity. Nintendo is less reliant on the profit from the console alone now than it was at launch or even a year ago. And, yes, Amiibo now, too. That's all I'm saying. :D

Nintendo has a much better idea of the numbers, of course, but the tough parts are the intangibles: reputation, consumer's sense of value, nostalgia, appeal.



aaronsullivan commented on Review: Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (Wii U...:

Agreed for the most part. Though fighting endless enemies that can be overcome by grinding can be boring. I think that's what the reviewer was probably getting at. Though many games like this rely on patterns and the player learning to master the skills of maneuvering around enemies, it's always a thrill when an enemy displays some surprising reactions to what you are doing rather than falling back on one pattern all the time.

I really only bristled at your idea of what AI is @ALEC_EIFFEL . As a programmer it almost felt offensive! lol. but not really. :D



aaronsullivan commented on Poll: Should Nintendo Follow Microsoft's Lead ...:

@minotaurgamer Same pattern as last generation? I need to see some numbers on that. If you mean consoles launching without system selling software, I guess. Though the Wii sold like crazy because of Wii Sports so... I don't see anything like that this generation. Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. Either way, I agree with you basically that software sells hardware but it hasn't always panned out that way, and I was pretty surprised how the PS4 and XB1 sold with almost nothing in terms of software. Even the extra internet/streaming stuff was way worse at launch than 360/PS3 already are. People bought the promise of those systems where they didn't buy into Nintendo's promise.

@Dipper723 Oh, Nintendo in general has been losing money. Yes, that's true. :D Considering your argument, though, be sure to include that Nintendo doesn't just make money on consoles/handhelds but on all the stuff that goes along with it — controllers, games, Amiibo figurines, DLC, eShop, VC, etc. That's the part I think makes it possibly worth lowering the Wii U price to zero profit margin, now. There's much more stuff to gather profits from than there was a year or two ago.



aaronsullivan commented on Poll: Should Nintendo Follow Microsoft's Lead ...:

@SCAR392 Those are fair points and you are probably right.
IF Sony does, though, Wii U is going to be looking a bit out of place, imo.

I wonder if Nintendo could pull off a non-bundled Wii U for $200 or something? That would turn heads. :D

@Dipper723 Wii U has only been out for 2 years this November.

@rjejr In my argument I positioned Amiibo as an upsell. As in, people may buy it soon after they invest in a Wii U. You are right that is not acting as a draw to the platform yet.

Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart 8 and Mario are going to be the biggest draws to the platform for a long time to come. The other stuff is for those that are pushed over the edge by them... and maybe a price drop.



aaronsullivan commented on Poll: Should Nintendo Follow Microsoft's Lead ...:

If PS4 follows up with a price cut, Nintendo really should.

To me it's like this: SSB is going to get a lot of Nintendo abandoners looking its way. If the price looks low enough they'll buy the bundle and obviously SSB to boot. (And like some have said, Bayonetta 2 enters the equation for some as well)

It's a sweet spot time where Nintendo has a chance to get core gamer's attention that looks like it won't happen again until later in 2015 with Zelda?

I like the ideas of eShop credit and free Amiibo figures, too.

What it comes down to is that there are now a ton of upsell opportunities for Nintendo now. You've got Gamecube controllers and the adapter, Amiibo, regular controllers (Pro, etc.), "other" games that core gamers either don't admit they want or don't know about yet because they haven't been paying attention to the Nintendo world yet — Mario Kart 8, Hyrule Warriors, Wonderful 101, DK, Super Mario, all those eShop exclusives!

In other words, the profit margins lost on the console price reduction could be more easily made up now. Nintendo still needs a bigger installed base.



aaronsullivan commented on Nintendo 64x64: Jet Force Gemini:

Loved this game. Got it around the same time as Pokemon Snap (as cheap, older, used games) and played them with my wife. It looked weird, it played a bit weird at first, but it was really fun. Like most Rare games finishing it revealed some "thin" sort of half-baked areas, but it was pretty solid overall.

Always thought there should be a sequel with the unusual controls and play style. ALWAYS pretty much hated the design of the characters (before and after the last minute changes).

Oh, and the music really surprised me. How could the Star Fox 64 music be so weak and all the Rare games have such impressive music? This one especially had rousing movie orchestra style music that Star Fox should have had. (The original Star Fox music was far better than Star Fox 64 as well).

Anyway, it's a favorite of mine that so few have given a chance (at least that I know of).



aaronsullivan commented on Shigeru Miyamoto Introduces His Pikmin Short F...:

I hope these are great, and I fully expect them to have a sense of fun because Shigeru Miyamoto exudes it.

However, it doesn't necessarily translate that he'd make a good short movie. It's different skills. It's possible he's better at it than making games. Who knows? But he most certainly has more experience making games.

Still looking forward to seeing them. :D



aaronsullivan commented on Nintendo Outlines Generous eShop Publication P...:

@rjejr You know what's funny? Disney Infinity 2.0 is the only game making me think about PS4 right now. Bigger Toy Box, better resolution, etc. No money for such things though. I think I went past my return date for what I already have on DI 2.0 so my indecision sorted that one out. (Kinda wish they'd just embrace PC fully)

Nintendo ought to be out front with all the creative game making for consumers honestly. Everyone thinks they are the place for kids and they are the most enthusiastic customers for that sort of thing.



aaronsullivan commented on Nintendo Outlines Generous eShop Publication P...:

I'm getting an itch to make a console game instead of just mobile. If only time allowed. This is encouraging as I might hit a Nintendo console day someday — or year.

I'm currently exploring the idea of Metroid meets Minecraft at a very early stage. (Obviously not using the actual IPs!) I've been using the Unity engine for years and have exactly one published mobile game under my belt but I have other work to pay bills and two kids so project time is sparsely scattered about.

And back to actual Minecraft with my son... :D



aaronsullivan commented on Review: Disney Infinity 2.0 (Wii U):

Bought into Disney Infinity 1.0 big time and I'm not sure how to go about getting into this 2.0 edition. I went for bargains this time (in prep for Xmas) but now I wonder if the Originals set would be a better intro... not even sure if I can return the marvel one anymore. lol.



aaronsullivan commented on Review: Disney Infinity 2.0 (Wii U):

It's not an American thing at all judging by Box Office returns on the Marvel movies. Still, comic books are what many kids grew up on for casual reading back in the day.

Personally I find the old comic book superheroes a bit overblown as a kid and didn't get into them much. I really enjoy the movies now, though.

Getting philosophical however, "American rugged individualism" plays into it partly, I imagine. (Though superheroes don't often work for their powers... which makes a discussion about that pretty enticing...)



aaronsullivan commented on Nintendo's Quirky amiibo Video Shows How They'...:

Nintendo wants you to buy one as a companion in Smash Bros and also your favorite. lol.

You must play more than one character, though, right? I could never limit myself to playing such a small perspective on a game with this much variety! In other words, use your favorite as a companion when playing using your second favorite character, right?



aaronsullivan commented on Nintendo's Quirky amiibo Video Shows How They'...:

I've never played a balanced game of Smash Bros. I'm always better or worse than the people I play with. I know what you mean in general but it's not like you'd be sneaking in an Amiibo when nobody is looking. It's just a different way to play. For those that are competitive there are still ways to keep it that way even WITH Amiibo. For instance, you could agree only to level it up to a certain number and then have them play each other relying on the custom moves and upgrades you chose to see how they fare.



aaronsullivan commented on Nintendo's Quirky amiibo Video Shows How They'...:

Right, it's not just the level but the customization over time. It's pretty cool because even if you have the same Amiibo as someone else they could end up fighting quite differently. Theoretically you could train it to be a good compliment to your own fighting style. Like if you were a more ground-based powerhouse you could make your Amiibo a high flying fast striker.

I quite like the top (US?) commercial. It's a bit long but I thought the cheesy melodrama was sorta fun. It could be a bit more subtle with a tighter edit and would work better overall, but Nintendo's marketing is getting better. These are as much educational as they are hype. (Yesterday's "Announcer" Nintendo Direct had an awesome level of cheese that worked wonderfully)

Maybe it's my upbringing on Saturday Morning Cartoons in America, but cheese has its place in my life. lol.

The second video was stale and corporate to me. :/



aaronsullivan commented on Wii U-Exclusive Super Smash Bros. Modes and Ch...:

@Joruus_Cbaoth I thought the board game idea looked like it could be great, actually. It has the benefit of growing tension of who will get what powers and especially if certain players will get their favorite characters. In the 3DS thingy it's just fast action and then you find out at the end what everyone got. Cool, but this has potential to be far more dramatic.

I kind of enjoyed the one-player stuff in the old Smash Bros games but I expect the challenges with their unique goals are going to scratch that itch. Besides my experience is that most people I know were frustrated with space emissary stuff. It had its moments but the "platforming" was horrid as it plays like a fighter and not a platformer.

Like @rjejr I'm most thrilled with all the co-op options. Really wouldn't be that fun for my kids and I without it. vs. is pretty unbalanced with 5-year-old, 9-year-old and adults.

Anyway, this game went from maybe-I'll-get-it-someday to gonna-have-to-get-it-for-Xmas with this single promotion. So, it worked for at least one family.



aaronsullivan commented on Video: Here's a Simultaneous Speedrun of Super...:

I only skipped like 1 minute. It was a nice watch switching between 3 amazing classics.

Goldeneye suffered the most by having to look at walls for much of the time. It strikes me how amazingly different these games are and also how muddy and gross the N64 graphics were. That era of trying to look somewhat realistic using hardware that was so far from capable produced some incredibly ugly smears of imagery. lol.



aaronsullivan commented on Video: How Hyrule Warriors Forges A Link With ...:

@May_Nyan Yes. Thank you. :)

I want to give this game a chance but we have so many unfinished games and Minecraft is all my kids need lately. Plus, the kill-the-hoards gameplay is not so great for kids. We play the Zelda proper games together and they have their violent moments, but have worthwhile themes and are much more thoughtful and balanced.

I will say I keep going back to the in-store demo and playing it. It has a cathartic mowing-the-lawn feeling to it. lol.



aaronsullivan commented on Preview: Going Retro On The Go With Ultimate N...:

I'd much rather play this on the Wii U, but my 3DS is just for playing games that aren't on it. It's more of a disappointment when they arrive on 3DS and not Wii U because they could be SO much better in every way. :(

Kid Icarus is great! But it's cramped and the graphics are so low res that you can barely tell what you are fighting half the time, and I can't share the experience with my kids because they can't see the screen (unless they are climbing on me, ouch) and the sound is low unless I shut the world out with headphones.

My kids and I LOVE playing Zelda games together. Sorry, not really possible with the otherwise excellent Link Between Worlds.

It's a pretty bad experience if you don't have a reason to game on the go.

Am I too old school to find that sharing experiences is 10x more fun than entertaining yourself alone?



aaronsullivan commented on Preview: Going Retro On The Go With Ultimate N...:

I actually found the games I was less familiar with much more satisfying. It was fun to play the ones I knew, but they were usually so easy that it was over quickly. Never knew the mechanics to Wrecking Crew as I skipped that when I was younger and that was an odd beast that I now understand much better. Clu Clu Land was also a fascinating spin on Pac Man that was more unique than I had first thought. Took some getting used to. The pinball challenges could be annoying though with what felt like luck for awhile.



aaronsullivan commented on Feature: Kickstarter's Wii U and 3DS Campaigns...:

I'm a huge Nausicaa fan and my reaction has gone from "what?" to "hmm, cool", to "but so much borrowing", to "I like it" to "I backed it" :D The game is pretty original even though the design heavily relies on the aesthetic and even character designs Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece.

Website says they are taking slacker backer money until October 5th though...



aaronsullivan commented on Captain Toad's Joined by Toadette in Treasure ...:

Co-op would be awesome, but every video clip showed only one or the other not both. Also, it would require completely different puzzle design to make it fun. :) Maybe with DLC.

I'm with you on the Amiibo functionality in this game, though. Can't really think of what the purpose would be. :/ As for them just popping in and playing in place of Captain Toad or Toadette. Not sure how that would work. Maybe they just put on the heavy backpack and the miner's light and have slight differences? Maybe they show up in the game in different ways or give you bonuses or hints? Unlock some sort of DLC that you would otherwise pay for? That's all I've got so far.



aaronsullivan commented on Captain Toad's Joined by Toadette in Treasure ...:

My heart sank when toadette got carried away and set up the "save the princess" goal once again. But then she's playable! Yes! Something about the way she is designed in Mario Kart 8 made me really notice how awesome she is. SO glad she is starring alongside Captain Toad.

The amount of content is pretty awesome. I imagine the stages aren't super repayable as these kind of games rely on the discovery and puzzle solving quite a bit, but 70 stages PLUS plenty of action and secrets means 2 play-throughs at least is likely.

The game looks like a tremendous value at $40 and I'm pre-ordering this one for Xmas (sorry to those who can't :( )

This is a new IP. Sure, it's Captain Toad from Mario but in a brand new gameplay scenario. I hope it's successful as it certainly has great appeal to me. Can't wait.

The backpack-too-heavy thing is smart. Now what about his running speed? :P

Right, DLC plus Amiibo. This one might have legs. DLC is the perfect reason to start at a lower price too. :) Nintendo seems to have a win-win approach to DLC — except for the heavy advertising of said DLC in Mario Kart 8. Not a fan of that.



aaronsullivan commented on Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Begins North Am...:

@rjejr Disney Infinity isn't really complicated. It's just complicated when you don't want to pay full price for anything and are trying to find the very best deals. I never bought a single item at full price or without getting something else I wanted with it for free.

Also, in such a short time since the last one, there seems to be a tremendous amount of attention paid to improving things people didn't like about the first. Of course, they still want all your money if you'll give it to them. :P



aaronsullivan commented on Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Begins North Am...:

DI 2.0. I really like the Disney Infinity style figurines myself, including the Marvel set, but to each his own. :)

Thanks for the suggestion and I'm aware of the digital option. What happens as you add up what you (might) want is that the Starter packs are a better deal even if you leave the base out of the price. For instance the 4 extra games that come with the Marvel starter and Originals starter would cost $40 if you wanted them all ($20 per pack of 2). I'm starting to think about going more piecemeal though anyway. The toy box is the biggest attraction for my kids, so... maybe some returns are in order.

Looking forward to Captain Toad too! As much as the $40 comes from expectations I bet that it's a bit short, too. No problem for me though! Some of the great games I haven't finished are making it hard for me to justify buying any new games as it is. I can spring for a short but sweet one!



aaronsullivan commented on Turns Out The GameCube Controller Adapter Won'...:

Not really poor reporting. The original article referenced the text from the official Nintendo Online Store. Was worth reporting as that is rarely a source you can't trust. Should confirmation have come from Nintendo directly? Yes, but we on the internet like our news faster than Nintendo usually responds.



aaronsullivan commented on Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Begins North Am...:

Yay! Release dates! When is Zelda coming out though!?!?!
I already told my kids that we are on toy hiatus as Xmas approaches. They have to make due with what they've got. Those SSB sales helped a bit though. Couldn't pass some of that up. That and Minecraft on computers.

I'm wrestling with the Disney Infinity 2.0 release which is meant to cater to many types of gamers but is just confusing as its spread out over the months. The best way to get things is to buy BOTH starter packs (Marvel and Originals) which gives me two more base stations I don't need. :/ I think I'll be taking some toys back from the launch... and then there's Amiibo!



aaronsullivan commented on Video: Here Are Some Fun Facts About The Might...:

Those controllers were so much quicker for learning how to play games for the first time. The bean buttons were genius. I'm sad they are gone from modern designs. The only problem was that those onscreen button maps were sort of hideous in games and most games didn't have options to slide them out of the way once you were used to the game.

I really loved the sounds when it started it up. SO glad they didn't go with that baby sounds one. Yikes. I thought the sounds picked were fun yet still classy and a bit of excitement.

I do wonder if Nintendo will go for more cutting edge graphics next time. A half step towards the next-gen (past PS4/XB1) with good timing could be worth it. With the split of casuals and non-gamers off to the Quality of Life platform, perhaps it can do this. The only problem is the handheld. Since the best benefit will come if they can have a symbiotic relationship where the performance of the handheld and console don't have a huge gap, there might be a temptation to keep the console held back.



aaronsullivan commented on Satoru Okada, Director Of Game Boy And DS Hard...:

Ah, so the new department that has combined the console and portable efforts into one organization is called: Nintendo Integrated Research & Development:

I'd say that's as good a reason as any. Makes sense he'd retire after the work had transitioned but you don't want to make a big deal about how a key player in the success of the DS has left right as you are releasing the unproven 3DS. A wise move.

Hopefully he retired happily and honorably. Thanks for all you did Satoru Okada!