Mario


Nintendo has been milking its impressive stable of mega-popular franchises for so long now that we really shouldn't be surprised that today's Nintendo Direct online video presentation was devoted almost entirely to sequels, remakes, and rereleases of popular franchises. Still, it's a bit incredible how much Nintendo is leaning on established properties, rather than new game ideas, to populate the software market for the 3DS and Wii U.

Of course, a generation of fans who grew up on these Nintendo games aren't likely to care too much. Nintendo announced a direct sequel to the SNES classic The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the 3DS today, using the same familiar overhead perspective and established Hyrulian world, while infusing it with new mechanics like the ability for Link to become a 2D drawing and scoot along walls. There are precious few additional details about the game, but I'm willing to bet a good portion of those reading this are ready to preorder for the holiday release right now just because, hey, it's a freaking Link to the Past sequel!

Many Nintendo console owners will likely have similar feelings about the new portable Yoshi's Island game Nintendo announced today. And the new 3DS Mario Party title, the new 3DS Mario Golf game, the new 3DS entry in the Mario and Luigi RPG series, the new 3DS Mario and Donkey Kong: March of the Minis game, the new 3DS Professor Layton game, the 3DS remake of Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Atlus' new 3DS Shin Megami Tensei game. Not to mention the new Wii U Pikmin game, which are now set for August 4, and the new Wario mini-game collection, Game & Wario, now set for June 23.

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I'll get those Wii U owners an HD Zelda re-release. Wii U owners LOVE HD Zelda re-releases.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata used a direct-to-consumer Web video presentation today to talk about the company's near-future plans for the Wii U. While the presentation included many new details about the system's upcoming features and games, not many of those announcements could be considered very surprising.

On the features front, Iwata promised that the Wii U would be getting two new system updates in the spring and summer. These updates will include improvements to the Wii U's software launch times and faster switching between system menus, Iwata said. Those have been major gripes for Wii U users so far, but our tests found the loading times were actually comparable to launch titles for other systems.

Nintendo will also be bringing some important updates to the surprisingly robust and interesting Miiverse social networking service. These new features include a browser-based mobile interface, user-created community discussion threads, and a more-robust message filtering system, all of which should help make the service even more useful.

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One of only two titles confirmed to be available on the Wii U's November 18 launch, so far...

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime would only confirm two titles that would definitely be ready when the Wii U launches in North America November 18—"deluxe edition" pack-in NintendoLand and side-scrolling, Super Mario World-inspired New Super Mario Bros. U. But Nintendo also unveiled a list of 50 titles that would be available in the "launch window," which the company defines as the period from launch through the end of March 2013. Individual launch dates for each of these titles will be announced directly by the publishers, Fils-Aime said.

Perhaps the most notable thing about the list is how many titles are simply ports of games that will be anywhere from a month to a year old on existing consoles by the time the Wii U launches. That list includes versions of Mass Effect 3, Darksiders II, Madden NFL 13, FIFA Soccer 13, NBA 2K13, 007 Legends, Batman: Arkham City, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2. While each of these games will sport new features that make use of the Wii U's touchscreen GamePad, it's hard to imagine any of those features compelling people to buy a Wii U if they've already played the game on a current-generation HD system. More likely, these older ports are targeted at customers that might only own a Wii and are looking to play catch-up with some of the high-profile releases they've missed over the last year or so.

The launch-window game list also includes a number of contemporaneous ports of games that will be coming to other systems later this year. Some of these games are titles that would likely not have received a port on the underpowered Wii, such as Assassin's Creed 3, Ninja Gaiden 3, Aliens: Colonial Marines, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Other multiplatform titles seem best suited to the family-friendly audience the Wii U appears likely to cultivate, such as Skylanders Giants, Just Dance 4, and Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. Overall, it's a good sign for Nintendo that its system won't be missing out on versions of some of the most-anticipated multiplatform games during the launch window. The long-term test, though, will be whether the Wii U can handle ports of games designed for Sony and Microsoft's next consoles (currently expected for the 2013 holiday season at the earliest).

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One of only two titles confirmed to be available on the Wii U's November 18 launch, so far...

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime would only confirm two titles that would definitely be ready when the Wii U launches in North America November 18—"deluxe edition" pack-in NintendoLand and side-scrolling, Super Mario World-inspired New Super Mario Bros. U. But Nintendo also unveiled a list of 50 titles that would be available in the "launch window," which the company defines as the period from launch through the end of March 2013. Individual launch dates for each of these titles will be announced directly by the publishers, Fils-Aime said.

Perhaps the most notable thing about the list is how many titles are simply ports of games that will be anywhere from a month to a year old on existing consoles by the time the Wii U launches. That list includes versions of Mass Effect 3, Darksiders II, Madden NFL 13, FIFA Soccer 13, NBA 2K13, 007 Legends, Batman: Arkham City, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

While each of these games will sport new features that make use of the Wii U's touchscreen GamePad, it's hard to imagine any of those features compelling people to buy a Wii U if they've already played the game on a current-generation HD system. More likely, these older ports are targeted at customers that might only own a Wii and are looking to play catch-up with some of the high-profile releases they've missed over the last year or so.

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At a press event today in New York, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime announced that the Wii U will launch in the United States on Sunday, November 18.

The system will come in two configurations: A white basic set at $299.99 that comes with 8GB on built-in memory, plus a Wii U GamePad, AC adapter, and HDMI cable. A black deluxe set, costing $349.99, will include everything in the basic bundle plus 32GB of total flash storage, a GamePad charging cradle, stands for the GamePad and console, and a copy of NintendoLand. The deluxe edition will also let users redeem points for every digital download purchased for the system.

Neither configuration will include a Wii Remote or Nunchuk because, Fils-Aime said, "we don't want to require people repurchasing these accessories that they already own."

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Tomorrow, Nintendo is set to give us the final details on what we can expect from the Wii U's launch later this year. Yesterday and today, Ars readers shared their thoughts on what they want to hear from Nintendo, and what (if anything) could convince them to purchase the system, either at launch or after.

The more than 200 comments we received ran the gamut from Nintendo haters to self-described fanboys, with plenty of people falling somewhere in between. Here are some of the most interesting, thought-provoking, or just representative comments from the Ars readership.

Fool me once, shame on me...

By far the most common sentiment among the Ars readership was to hold off on the Wii U simply because Nintendo had failed to deliver a compelling experience with the original Wii. Commenter superslav23 said the experience of the Wii taught him to expect "the same games slightly changed to use the gimmicky tablet." damarv said he loved the Wii's motion controls as a concept, but complained that "rather than improving my physical abilities, I ended up jiggling a controller around."

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Tomorrow, Nintendo is set to give us the final details on what we can expect from the Wii U's launch later this year. Yesterday and today, Ars readers shared their thoughts on what they want to hear from Nintendo, and what (if anything) could convince them to purchase the system, either at launch or after.

The more than 200 comments we received ran the gamut from Nintendo haters to self-described fanboys, with plenty of people falling somewhere in between. Here are some of the most interesting, thought-provoking, or just representative comments from the Ars readership.

Fool me once, shame on me...

By far the most common sentiment among the Ars readership was to hold off on the Wii U simply because Nintendo had failed to deliver a compelling experience with the original Wii. Commenter superslav23 said the experience of the Wii taught him to expect "the same games slightly changed to use the gimmicky tablet." damarv said he loved the Wii's motion controls as a concept, but complained that "rather than improving my physical abilities, I ended up jiggling a controller around."

Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Tomorrow, Nintendo is set to give us the final details on what we can expect from the Wii U's launch later this year. Yesterday and today, Ars readers shared their thoughts on what they want to hear from Nintendo, and what (if anything) could convince them to purchase the system, either at launch or after.

The more than 200 comments we received ran the gamut from Nintendo haters to self-described fanboys, with plenty of people falling somewhere in between. Here are some of the most interesting, thought-provoking, or just representative comments from the Ars readership.

Fool me once, shame on me...

By far the most common sentiment among the Ars readership was to hold off on the Wii U simply because Nintendo had failed to deliver a compelling experience with the original Wii. Commenter superslav23 said the experience of the Wii taught him to expect "the same games slightly changed to use the gimmicky tablet." damarv said he loved the Wii's motion controls as a concept, but complained that "rather than improving my physical abilities, I ended up jiggling a controller around."

Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Tomorrow, Nintendo is set to give us the final details on what we can expect from the Wii U's launch later this year. Yesterday and today, Ars readers shared their thoughts on what they want to hear from Nintendo, and what (if anything) could convince them to purchase the system, either at launch or after.

The more than 200 comments we received ran the gamut from Nintendo haters to self-described fanboys, with plenty of people falling somewhere in between. Here are some of the most interesting, thought-provoking, or just representative comments from the Ars readership.

Fool me once, shame on me...

By far the most common sentiment among the Ars readership was to hold off on the Wii U simply because Nintendo had failed to deliver a compelling experience with the original Wii. Commenter superslav23 said the experience of the Wii taught him to expect "the same games slightly changed to use the gimmicky tablet." damarv said he loved the Wii's motion controls as a concept, but complained that "rather than improving my physical abilities, I ended up jiggling a controller around."

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After about a decade of relative dominance with the NES and Super NES, followed by a decade of relative also-ran status with the Nintendo 64 and GameCube, Nintendo shocked the gaming world with the stratospheric success of the Wii. With a rock-bottom price, innovative new motion-sensitive controller, and the easy-to-understand, everyman appeal of games like Wii Sports and Wii Fit, the system went on to ship nearly 100 million units worldwide. But for its wide commercial success, many long-time gamers quickly grew disillusioned with the Wii, thanks to underpowered hardware that couldn't handle HD graphics and a software library that came to be dominated by nearly skill-free, "waggle-the-controller" mini-game collections.

With the Wii U, Nintendo seems to be trying to recapture the original Wii's sales magic while at the same time mollifying some of the lifelong gamers disillusioned by its predecessor. Instead of the motion-sensitive remote, the new control gimmick is a touchscreen tablet controller that can be used to play games while the TV is otherwise occupied, or to present secret information to only one player during multiplayer games. For more traditional gamers, the company is stressing the system's long-overdue HD graphics support, greater support for downloadable games, an Xbox 360-style controller option, and Wii U conversions for titles ranging from Batman: Arkham City to the upcoming Aliens: Colonial Marines.

On Thursday, Nintendo seems set to finally nail down the details of the promised "holiday season" launch and price point for the Wii U at a New York press event, officially ushering in the "next generation" of home game consoles. The announcement will likely also include the final details of the system's hardware specifications and which titles we can expect during the months-long "launch window." (We'll be there to liveblog the proceedings.)

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