Nintendo needs to get some momentum going in time for the holidays, and what better way to get people talking than new bundles and a new controller? Starting on November 7 you'll be able to pick up a Wii that includes New Super Mario Bros. and the Wiimote that has the Motion Plus attachment built-in. No more dongle.
Get ready for the marketing speak!
Red Wii Bundle: This limited-edition Wii hardware comes in beautiful red to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original Super Mario Bros. game. The bundle includes New Super Mario Bros. Wii and a new red Wii Remote Plus controller, in addition to all the other included items, like Wii Sports and a red Nunchuk controller. It will be available while supplies last at a suggested retail price of just $199.99.
Red Nintendo DSi XL Bundle: This special-edition Nintendo DSi XL bundle is also red in honor of the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. and features three iconic Super Mario Bros.-themed graphics. The bundle comes with Mario Kart DS, which looks gorgeous on the extra-large screen. That's in addition to the preloaded software of Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters, Brain Age Express: Math and Photo Clock. It will be available while supplies last at a suggested retail price of just $179.99.
Wii Remote Plus: This new controller combines the original, iconic Wii Remote controller with built-in Wii MotionPlus functionality. The compact Wii Remote Plus controller offers players precision motion controls all in one unit. It becomes the new standard Wii controller, and will be available from now on in all Wii hardware packages and bundles, as well as sold separately at a suggested retail price of $39.99.
FlingSmash Bundle: The new Wii game combines the hands-on fun of tennis with the nonstop action and instant gratification of pinball. It requires use of the Wii MotionPlus accessory, so it seemed natural to bundle it with the new Wii Remote Plus controller. For a suggested retail price of $49.99, shoppers get to enjoy both the game and the controller in one package.
These are all good deals for the gamer that doesn't have a Wii yet, and may even help to spoil sales of Microsoft's casual-friendly Kinect. An extra game and Motion Plus in the Wii bundle with a price that's still under $200 is going to be a powerful weapon at Christmas.
Nintendo is still making gobs of money, but now it seems the gobs are slightly smaller. The company has announced that its annual group net profit was "only" 228.64 billion yen, or about $2.43 billion, for the fiscal year that just ended. The fiscal year before that saw Nintendo's group net profit at 279.09 billion yen, or about $2.99 billion.
What happened? The Nintendo Wii saw a price drop from $250 to $200 in North America, and demand for systems and games is down year over year. Both the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS have had amazing runs in terms of units sold, but that momentum is impossible to sustain forever. A strong yen is also partly to blame for the economic slip, as Nintendo reportedly earns 80 percent of its profits outside of Japan.
The company is expected to show off the next iteration of the DS line with the upcoming Nintendo 3DS at E3 this year, and of course Super Mario Galaxy 2 is on the horizon; Mario games continue to be strong draws on Nintendo's hardware. A new, black bundle that includes Wii Sports Resort and the Motion Plus peripheral are also days away from launching in the United States.
If you want to try your hand at designing a game, you live in a very good time. You can always download the Unreal Engine 3 to play with for free if you want to take a crack at PC gaming. but if your goals are slightly less ambitions, Nintendo has your back. The company is giving you the reins with Wario Ware D.I.Y., the latest game in the now venerable series of microgames. Each release in the series features short games that can be completed in a matter of seconds by the player, and this newest release allows you to make those games yourself.
Don't expect to just jump in and start creating, however. The game begins with a lengthy and somewhat tiresome tutorial, but there is nothing simple about creating a simple game. Stick with it, and the game will hold your hand through the basic concepts of game creation, including artwork and music. You can import assets from any of the existing games on the cart, or make your own. The game will teach you basic scripting language in order to give your creations the ability to interact and respond to the player.
When you're finished, games can be shared with other players either using direct connections or online using Friend Codes. The games can be played on the Wii with the optional WarioWare D.I.Y. Showcase for that system. Nintendo will also be releasing games designed by some of the industry's top talent, including the minds behind Metroid: the Other M and Scribblenauts. The games on the cart, and the games released by the pros later, have all been made with the tools you have been given. It's empowering to be able to look at what others are able to do with what you have ready at your fingertips.
There are limits to how many objects you can put into your game, and you can only control the game by tapping the screen, but those limits will stretch your creativity. Take a look at what others have created with those parameters in order to see just how far creativity can take you. The game also includes a four-panel comic designer, and the ability to upload and download new games means the experience can be fresh for pretty much... well, forever.
If you've ever had the itch to create your own Nintendo title, this could be as close as many of us get. WarioWare D.I.Y. comes to the Nintendo DS this Sunday.