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Found 65 results

  1. Detective Pikachu released in Japan a couple years ago and found some pretty impressive success. So much, in fact, that Hollywood went to work on securing the rights to adapt it to the big screen as Pokémon Go fever swept the globe. That adaptation is slated to be entering production this year with Ryan Reynolds of Deadpool fame taking on the lead role of Detective Pikachu. Rob Letterman, known for his takes on Gulliver's Travels and Goosebumps will direct the project. Currently, the film has a release date of May 10, 2019. And all of that was done without Detective Pikachu ever seeing a Western release... until later this year. The quirky Japanese tale of a talking pikachu with an attitude and a mind for mysteries will be releasing on March 23 of this year for the 3DS. It focuses on the relationship between Detective Pikachu and a young boy named Tom Goodman who get roped into an escalating series of puzzles and crimes that threaten to tear their city apart. View full article
  2. Detective Pikachu released in Japan a couple years ago and found some pretty impressive success. So much, in fact, that Hollywood went to work on securing the rights to adapt it to the big screen as Pokémon Go fever swept the globe. That adaptation is slated to be entering production this year with Ryan Reynolds of Deadpool fame taking on the lead role of Detective Pikachu. Rob Letterman, known for his takes on Gulliver's Travels and Goosebumps will direct the project. Currently, the film has a release date of May 10, 2019. And all of that was done without Detective Pikachu ever seeing a Western release... until later this year. The quirky Japanese tale of a talking pikachu with an attitude and a mind for mysteries will be releasing on March 23 of this year for the 3DS. It focuses on the relationship between Detective Pikachu and a young boy named Tom Goodman who get roped into an escalating series of puzzles and crimes that threaten to tear their city apart.
  3. River City has been one of gaming's longest running franchises and Natsume has something special planned for the 30th anniversary with the release of River City: Rival Showdown. Officially, the River City games are part of the Kunio-Kun series, which have proven to be massively popular in Japan. There have been 52 games made related to the series if you include collections and spin-offs, which is, quite frankly, a staggering number. River City: Rival Showdown stands as a remake of the original River City Ransom that completely overhauls the story to provide multiple paths and endings, a fighting system that reflects more modern sensibilities, and a lot of other changes that are sure to reward longtime River City fans. A day-night cycle has been introduced along with super special moves, 2-player local co-op, difficulty settings, and a bonus Double Dragon fighting game. "Natsume is proud to continue the Kunio-Kun legacy with River City: Rival Showdown and welcome players back to the city and its residents in a brand-new way!" said Hiro Maekawa, president and CEO of Natsume. "Rival Showdown is a big milestone for the Kunio-Kun series as it marks the 30th anniversary for the series and it evolves the franchise in a major way." River City: Rival Showdown follows Kunio after he survives an attack by two unknown assailants. His friend Riki's girlfriend has also gone missing, and Kunio only has three days to solve the mystery of her disappearance. The only problem? An army of thugs and gang members seem bent on stopping him from finding her. River City: Rival Showdown is available today on 3DS. View full article
  4. River City has been one of gaming's longest running franchises and Natsume has something special planned for the 30th anniversary with the release of River City: Rival Showdown. Officially, the River City games are part of the Kunio-Kun series, which have proven to be massively popular in Japan. There have been 52 games made related to the series if you include collections and spin-offs, which is, quite frankly, a staggering number. River City: Rival Showdown stands as a remake of the original River City Ransom that completely overhauls the story to provide multiple paths and endings, a fighting system that reflects more modern sensibilities, and a lot of other changes that are sure to reward longtime River City fans. A day-night cycle has been introduced along with super special moves, 2-player local co-op, difficulty settings, and a bonus Double Dragon fighting game. "Natsume is proud to continue the Kunio-Kun legacy with River City: Rival Showdown and welcome players back to the city and its residents in a brand-new way!" said Hiro Maekawa, president and CEO of Natsume. "Rival Showdown is a big milestone for the Kunio-Kun series as it marks the 30th anniversary for the series and it evolves the franchise in a major way." River City: Rival Showdown follows Kunio after he survives an attack by two unknown assailants. His friend Riki's girlfriend has also gone missing, and Kunio only has three days to solve the mystery of her disappearance. The only problem? An army of thugs and gang members seem bent on stopping him from finding her. River City: Rival Showdown is available today on 3DS.
  5. Jack Gardner

    Say Farewell to Miiverse

    It looks like the time has come to shut off the lights on some of Nintendo's older services. Nintendo has announced that they will be discontinuing Nintendo TVii, Wii U Chat, and Miiverse on November 7th 10pm PT. All functions associated with Miiverse on Wii U, 3DS, PC, or smart phones will cease to function across all titles. For example, the messages left in New Super Mario Bros. U or WaraWara Plaza will no longer be shown. A workaround is planned for Super Mario Maker that will allow players to continue uploading courses. After November 7th, players attempting to access these services on Wii U or 3DS will receive error codes. If you're left scratching your head regarding Nintendo TVii - the service was discontinued in North America two years ago, but continued to operate in Japan. If you have made some awesome memories that you want to share, Nintendo is offering a limited window of time during which people can download their post history to PC. You can make a request by visiting this page and clicking the "Request Post History" button at the bottom. Nintendo released more information about this process: By making this request, you will be able to download your posts – plus any screenshots saved to your album – to your PC after the Miiverse service has ended. To use this download service, you will need to have a Nintendo Account linked with your Nintendo Network ID, and must make the download request before the Miiverse service ends. [...] From all of us at Nintendo, we sincerely thank you for supporting Miiverse all these years. We hope you’ll continue using Miiverse until the service ends. If you make your request, you will receive an email when the service closes down that includes a download link containing gall of your posts and screenshots. Unfortunately, this will not include any comments made on your posts, messages sent to and from friends, deleted messages, or anything that violated the Miiverse Code of Conduct.
  6. It looks like the time has come to shut off the lights on some of Nintendo's older services. Nintendo has announced that they will be discontinuing Nintendo TVii, Wii U Chat, and Miiverse on November 7th 10pm PT. All functions associated with Miiverse on Wii U, 3DS, PC, or smart phones will cease to function across all titles. For example, the messages left in New Super Mario Bros. U or WaraWara Plaza will no longer be shown. A workaround is planned for Super Mario Maker that will allow players to continue uploading courses. After November 7th, players attempting to access these services on Wii U or 3DS will receive error codes. If you're left scratching your head regarding Nintendo TVii - the service was discontinued in North America two years ago, but continued to operate in Japan. If you have made some awesome memories that you want to share, Nintendo is offering a limited window of time during which people can download their post history to PC. You can make a request by visiting this page and clicking the "Request Post History" button at the bottom. Nintendo released more information about this process: By making this request, you will be able to download your posts – plus any screenshots saved to your album – to your PC after the Miiverse service has ended. To use this download service, you will need to have a Nintendo Account linked with your Nintendo Network ID, and must make the download request before the Miiverse service ends. [...] From all of us at Nintendo, we sincerely thank you for supporting Miiverse all these years. We hope you’ll continue using Miiverse until the service ends. If you make your request, you will receive an email when the service closes down that includes a download link containing gall of your posts and screenshots. Unfortunately, this will not include any comments made on your posts, messages sent to and from friends, deleted messages, or anything that violated the Miiverse Code of Conduct. View full article
  7. Natsume announced that it will be launching two new River City titles later this year, continuing the company's revival of the long dormant franchise. The two games are titled River City: Knights of Justice and River City: Rival Showdown. Both titles will be launching on 3DS this summer and fall. "River City: Tokyo Rumble was a huge success, and these two follow-ups in the popular River City/Kunio-Kun franchise are the perfect continuation of the series," said Hiro Maekawa, President & CEO of Natsume. "We are looking forward to showing the games for the first time at E3 and garnering feedback from gamers and the media!" So, we can expect to see more about each game when E3 rolls around in about two weeks. In the meantime, here's what we know so far. River City: Knights of Justice will launch this summer as an exclusive on the Nintendo 3DS e-Shop. Protagonist Kunio and his friends transform into RPG-inspired heroes and villains in a unique spin-off adventure. Players will have access to all sorts of medieval weaponry including swords, staves, and magic to bring peace to the kingdom of Riverandia. River City: Rival Showdown follows the events that transpire after Kunio is assaulted one night by two mysterious attackers. Riki's girlfriend finds herself kidnapped that same night. Kunio has three days to uncover the mystery behind his attackers and the kidnapping or something truly nefarious could happen. Faces new and old collide in this more mainstream incarnation of the River City franchise. Rival Showdown releases on the 3DS this fall. It's really neat to see new life breathed into this franchise and to see Natsume trying new things with it.
  8. Natsume announced that it will be launching two new River City titles later this year, continuing the company's revival of the long dormant franchise. The two games are titled River City: Knights of Justice and River City: Rival Showdown. Both titles will be launching on 3DS this summer and fall. "River City: Tokyo Rumble was a huge success, and these two follow-ups in the popular River City/Kunio-Kun franchise are the perfect continuation of the series," said Hiro Maekawa, President & CEO of Natsume. "We are looking forward to showing the games for the first time at E3 and garnering feedback from gamers and the media!" So, we can expect to see more about each game when E3 rolls around in about two weeks. In the meantime, here's what we know so far. River City: Knights of Justice will launch this summer as an exclusive on the Nintendo 3DS e-Shop. Protagonist Kunio and his friends transform into RPG-inspired heroes and villains in a unique spin-off adventure. Players will have access to all sorts of medieval weaponry including swords, staves, and magic to bring peace to the kingdom of Riverandia. River City: Rival Showdown follows the events that transpire after Kunio is assaulted one night by two mysterious attackers. Riki's girlfriend finds herself kidnapped that same night. Kunio has three days to uncover the mystery behind his attackers and the kidnapping or something truly nefarious could happen. Faces new and old collide in this more mainstream incarnation of the River City franchise. Rival Showdown releases on the 3DS this fall. It's really neat to see new life breathed into this franchise and to see Natsume trying new things with it. View full article
  9. Not a huge fan of the 3D features or price of the New 3DS? Nintendo has got you covered with their latest announcement. In a recent release, Nintendo revealed that the New 2DS XL will be releasing this coming July. The new New 2DS will adopt the hinged design of the 3DS line, but ditch all the 3D features that the core handheld has offered since launch (with the exception of the previous 2DS). This new version of the handheld will be thinner, boast screen sizes on par with its New 3DS counterpart, and offer built-in amiibo support. The faster processing power of the 2DS XL means that it will be able to play older games more smoothly as well as tackling the more graphics intensive games that were exclusive to the New 3DS like Xenoblade Chronicles. Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's president and COO, proclaimed that, “this new addition to Nintendo’s portable hardware line demonstrates our commitment to the hand-held market. New Nintendo 2DS XL sports a beautiful clamshell design and offers a great balance between price and performance.” The New 2DS XL will launch on July 28 and retail for $149.99, about $50 cheaper than the current price of the New 3DS XL. If you're someone in the market for a new handheld and don't truck with all that 3D flim-flam because of vision issues or personal preference, a cheaper alternative will soon be available. While the trailer only shows a black/blue unit being sold, the system will also be available in white/orange-yellow. Hey! Pikmin invites players into a 2D, side-scrolling world unlike any Pikmin title before. This new adventure has players guiding Captain Olimar through increasingly difficult levels to collect fuel for his newly crashed spaceship, the S.S. Dolphin 2. "Where are the pikmin?" you might ask. Never fear! Olimar continues to guide Pikmin in his efforts to repair his vessel. Players use the touchscreen to select which of the colorful creatures to hurl at obstacles or monsters. The new title launches the same day as the New 2DS XL, July 28. Incidentally, another game called Miitopia launches the same day. It's a light strategy/RPG game that uses characters you've collected or created for your Mii Plaza, Miitomo app, or Tomodachi Life game to populate a world loosely based on the built-in RPG-lite adventure that comes installed on the 3DS line of systems. View full article
  10. Not a huge fan of the 3D features or price of the New 3DS? Nintendo has got you covered with their latest announcement. In a recent release, Nintendo revealed that the New 2DS XL will be releasing this coming July. The new New 2DS will adopt the hinged design of the 3DS line, but ditch all the 3D features that the core handheld has offered since launch (with the exception of the previous 2DS). This new version of the handheld will be thinner, boast screen sizes on par with its New 3DS counterpart, and offer built-in amiibo support. The faster processing power of the 2DS XL means that it will be able to play older games more smoothly as well as tackling the more graphics intensive games that were exclusive to the New 3DS like Xenoblade Chronicles. Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's president and COO, proclaimed that, “this new addition to Nintendo’s portable hardware line demonstrates our commitment to the hand-held market. New Nintendo 2DS XL sports a beautiful clamshell design and offers a great balance between price and performance.” The New 2DS XL will launch on July 28 and retail for $149.99, about $50 cheaper than the current price of the New 3DS XL. If you're someone in the market for a new handheld and don't truck with all that 3D flim-flam because of vision issues or personal preference, a cheaper alternative will soon be available. While the trailer only shows a black/blue unit being sold, the system will also be available in white/orange-yellow. Hey! Pikmin invites players into a 2D, side-scrolling world unlike any Pikmin title before. This new adventure has players guiding Captain Olimar through increasingly difficult levels to collect fuel for his newly crashed spaceship, the S.S. Dolphin 2. "Where are the pikmin?" you might ask. Never fear! Olimar continues to guide Pikmin in his efforts to repair his vessel. Players use the touchscreen to select which of the colorful creatures to hurl at obstacles or monsters. The new title launches the same day as the New 2DS XL, July 28. Incidentally, another game called Miitopia launches the same day. It's a light strategy/RPG game that uses characters you've collected or created for your Mii Plaza, Miitomo app, or Tomodachi Life game to populate a world loosely based on the built-in RPG-lite adventure that comes installed on the 3DS line of systems.
  11. New Japanese commercials for Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon have surfaced online that depict Usain Bolt in the world of Pokémon. The Olympic gold medalist from Jamaica, whose nickname is "Lightning Bolt," makes an appearance in the set of commercials alongside series mascot Pikachu. The record-holding speed demon wears the clothes of Team Skull, the bumbling villains of the latest Pokémon cycle while digital models from the game mimic his motions. Usain Bolt admitted in an interview last year that he loves playing video games. In fact, he's an avid Call of Duty player who plays the series to help wind down at the end of the day as part of his evening ritual, "my evening routine is usually just me playing Call Of Duty. I'm OK at it." It looks like Lightning Bolt must have a bit of a soft spot in his heart for the Pokémon series as well. View full article
  12. New Japanese commercials for Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon have surfaced online that depict Usain Bolt in the world of Pokémon. The Olympic gold medalist from Jamaica, whose nickname is "Lightning Bolt," makes an appearance in the set of commercials alongside series mascot Pikachu. The record-holding speed demon wears the clothes of Team Skull, the bumbling villains of the latest Pokémon cycle while digital models from the game mimic his motions. Usain Bolt admitted in an interview last year that he loves playing video games. In fact, he's an avid Call of Duty player who plays the series to help wind down at the end of the day as part of his evening ritual, "my evening routine is usually just me playing Call Of Duty. I'm OK at it." It looks like Lightning Bolt must have a bit of a soft spot in his heart for the Pokémon series as well.
  13. I don’t think it is an understatement to say that Destiny’s story is bad. A number of videos and articles have popped up criticizing the loose and hollow plot in the week since its release. Having reviewed Destiny myself and being similarly frustrated by its abysmal narrative, I was prompted to revisit Fire Emblem: Awakening, a game that successfully accomplishes the type of storytelling that Destiny so spectacularly lacks. Destiny is a sci-fi first-person shooter with RPG and MMO elements for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Fire Emblem: Awakening is a turn-based strategy title for the 3DS. Destiny strives for the most impressive graphical qualities possible, while Fire Emblem: Awakening contents itself with strangely styled 3D graphics and an anime aesthetic. Clearly, Fire Emblem and Destiny have very little to do with one another in terms of visual style or gameplay or… much else, really. However, both are games that make an attempt to have a narrative and that is where I’m most interested in comparing the two to illustrate how a great game can successfully tell a story that resonates with its players. It should tell you something that this is a fairly good approximation of Destiny’s plot. One of the important things to keep in mind when talking about video game narratives is that writing a video game is completely different than writing a screenplay or a book or an internet article. The main difference stems from player agency, the choices players make as they play. This throws off the traditional format of linear narratives that we’ve grown accustomed to experiencing in movies, songs, and literature. While all of that might seem obvious, the fact of the matter is that there aren’t many places that can properly teach how to write a video game outside of the traditional ideas about story structure. It can be tempting to say, “Just write better,” when you see a game that isn’t very compelling. It turns out that “just write better” isn’t terribly helpful. I’m not going to pretend that I know the ins and outs of how to write a video game, but what has become clear to me over the last few years of writing about video games is that the ones that are loudly praised tend to be games that effectively fuse their gameplay with their narratives. Crafting a game where a player feels like their actions in the moment-to-moment gameplay matter to both the immediate experience and to the larger narrative, imbues everything with additional tension and sense of purpose. Successfully pulling that off makes the game better than the sum of its parts. Destiny doesn’t ever do this. Its gameplay and story are completely separate. And you know what? That’s fine! Many great games have terrible stories and solid gameplay to fall back on. Look no farther than every Mario Bros. game ever or many of the recent Call of Duty titles. However, would it be fair to assume that games with great gameplay as well as a meaningful narrative are preferable to games with just enjoyable gameplay? I think most of us would answer in the affirmative. Fire Emblem: Awakening does just that. The Fire Emblem series has been around for almost 25 years. In that time, there have been eleven main entries (thirteen if you count remakes) in the series, though North America has seen less than half of those. The turn-based gameplay takes place on a variety of different maps with varied terrain and enemy placement. As players progress through these maps they’ll have opportunities to recruit new characters with different abilities and skills to their army. If this sounds familiar, that’s because there are a number of game series that offer similar core experiences like Advanced Wars or Final Fantasy Tactics. Secretly, Fire Emblem: Awakening isn’t about the turn-based battles at all. Sure, they make up the core experience of the game, but the battles are a complex and entertaining front for the support conversations between characters. It has been a longstanding tradition in Fire Emblem games that the units players recruit into their armies all have names, motivations, backstories, and freely interact with one another as they spend time together in combat. Support conversations are windows into those character interactions. In addition to unlocking entertaining dialogues, characters that have become friends gain stat bonuses for fighting near one another. This relationship mechanic has been a part of the Fire Emblem experience for a long time, so why did I specifically call out Fire Emblem: Awakening for making support conversations the core of the game? From the prologue mission and through the opening tutorial missions, Fire Emblem: Awakening makes it clear that fighting together is important to both the gameplay and the narrative. The game tacitly encourages players to seek out support conversations by rewarding with meaningful stat gains in the tactical segments. Whereas previous entries in the series included support conversations as a side activity, Awakening goes out of its way to explicitly point out their importance. As players progress through missions of increasing complexity and difficulty, the relationships between characters mature, but the specter of death is never far away. Fire Emblem has had permadeath ingrained into its code since the very beginning. Once a character falls on the battlefield they are either permanently maimed (if they figured prominently into the narrative) or they die. Though Awakening does give players the option between a permadeath-free mode and classic mode, classic is the way it was intended to be played. I say this not as some elitist snob who thinks that only “real” gamers play with permadeath, but as someone who thinks that the narrative stakes get much higher when you know that any mistake you make could cost you the life of a beloved character. It is the same principle that Jake Solomon, lead designer of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, is encouraging when he suggests that players name their soldiers after friends and family. Furthermore, Fire Emblem: Awakening asks the player to insert themselves into the game by creating an avatar. The avatar is unique in that it can have support conversations with every recruitable character, meaning that the player is virtually guaranteed to have some investment into the characters he or she find interesting. None of this would work if the support conversations weren’t well written and nuanced, which they are. It is easy to dismiss many of the characters at first glance because they seem to fit rather simple molds, like the cocky warrior Vaike or the clumsy and shy Sumia. However, through their interactions with other characters we get a chance to dig deeper into their characters and perhaps catch a glimpse of why they are the way they are (other than because someone wrote them to be that way). We learn throughout the hours spent on Fire Emblem: Awakening that our army is the opposite of the faceless entities we see in many other games that deal with sweeping conflicts. If we dig into the actual story of Awakening, we find a work of genre fantasy. Players are meant to be hooked from one battle to the next on an increasingly urgent quest to avoid war and prevent global catastrophe. It isn’t complex and it isn’t something that avid fantasy readers/movie-watchers won’t have seen multiple times before. However, the support conversations flesh out the less interesting elements of the story and make it feel new in a way many of us haven’t experienced before. If the story is the skeleton, the support conversations are the tendons and muscles. *Spoiler Warning* It could be said that I am drastically inflating the importance of support conversations in Fire Emblem: Awakening. However, what I think really seals the deal is that the support conversations are inexorably tied to the ending of Awakening. After defeating hordes of foes and learning the intimate details of your comrades, the avatar is revealed to be the vessel of an evil bent on the destruction of the world. The only thing that keeps the avatar from following through on that motivation is the thought of destroying his or her friends. The relationships formed through the support conversations are what ultimately save the world because those connections have become concrete things as opposed to abstract concepts. *End Spoiler* Let’s recap: Awakening’s main plot is a fantasy storyline that would feel right at home in a genre novel page-turner, but it is elevated by the designed focus on the support conversations between the numerous characters who join the player’s army. These relationships are encouraged by tangible gains like stat boosts. Tension and emotional attachment exists due to the ever-present threat of permanent death aimed toward the members of the player’s army. The avatar the player creates helps to invest the player into the relationships they find interesting, further increasing the connection to said characters. Ultimately, the relationships formed throughout Awakening are brought into the story with everything riding on the line. From the beginning of Awakening until its final moments, players are both tangibly and emotionally involved in the story because the gameplay and narrative are so closely bonded together. It results in a more resonant game than previous Fire Emblems, which is why I’d argue many regard it as the finest entry in the series to date. I compare the storytelling and characterization of Awakening to what I saw in Destiny and I can’t help but think that my time was better spent laughing, smiling, and tearing up on my 3DS. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a third playthrough of Fire Emblem: Awakening to complete. View full article
  14. I don’t think it is an understatement to say that Destiny’s story is bad. A number of videos and articles have popped up criticizing the loose and hollow plot in the week since its release. Having reviewed Destiny myself and being similarly frustrated by its abysmal narrative, I was prompted to revisit Fire Emblem: Awakening, a game that successfully accomplishes the type of storytelling that Destiny so spectacularly lacks. Destiny is a sci-fi first-person shooter with RPG and MMO elements for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Fire Emblem: Awakening is a turn-based strategy title for the 3DS. Destiny strives for the most impressive graphical qualities possible, while Fire Emblem: Awakening contents itself with strangely styled 3D graphics and an anime aesthetic. Clearly, Fire Emblem and Destiny have very little to do with one another in terms of visual style or gameplay or… much else, really. However, both are games that make an attempt to have a narrative and that is where I’m most interested in comparing the two to illustrate how a great game can successfully tell a story that resonates with its players. It should tell you something that this is a fairly good approximation of Destiny’s plot. One of the important things to keep in mind when talking about video game narratives is that writing a video game is completely different than writing a screenplay or a book or an internet article. The main difference stems from player agency, the choices players make as they play. This throws off the traditional format of linear narratives that we’ve grown accustomed to experiencing in movies, songs, and literature. While all of that might seem obvious, the fact of the matter is that there aren’t many places that can properly teach how to write a video game outside of the traditional ideas about story structure. It can be tempting to say, “Just write better,” when you see a game that isn’t very compelling. It turns out that “just write better” isn’t terribly helpful. I’m not going to pretend that I know the ins and outs of how to write a video game, but what has become clear to me over the last few years of writing about video games is that the ones that are loudly praised tend to be games that effectively fuse their gameplay with their narratives. Crafting a game where a player feels like their actions in the moment-to-moment gameplay matter to both the immediate experience and to the larger narrative, imbues everything with additional tension and sense of purpose. Successfully pulling that off makes the game better than the sum of its parts. Destiny doesn’t ever do this. Its gameplay and story are completely separate. And you know what? That’s fine! Many great games have terrible stories and solid gameplay to fall back on. Look no farther than every Mario Bros. game ever or many of the recent Call of Duty titles. However, would it be fair to assume that games with great gameplay as well as a meaningful narrative are preferable to games with just enjoyable gameplay? I think most of us would answer in the affirmative. Fire Emblem: Awakening does just that. The Fire Emblem series has been around for almost 25 years. In that time, there have been eleven main entries (thirteen if you count remakes) in the series, though North America has seen less than half of those. The turn-based gameplay takes place on a variety of different maps with varied terrain and enemy placement. As players progress through these maps they’ll have opportunities to recruit new characters with different abilities and skills to their army. If this sounds familiar, that’s because there are a number of game series that offer similar core experiences like Advanced Wars or Final Fantasy Tactics. Secretly, Fire Emblem: Awakening isn’t about the turn-based battles at all. Sure, they make up the core experience of the game, but the battles are a complex and entertaining front for the support conversations between characters. It has been a longstanding tradition in Fire Emblem games that the units players recruit into their armies all have names, motivations, backstories, and freely interact with one another as they spend time together in combat. Support conversations are windows into those character interactions. In addition to unlocking entertaining dialogues, characters that have become friends gain stat bonuses for fighting near one another. This relationship mechanic has been a part of the Fire Emblem experience for a long time, so why did I specifically call out Fire Emblem: Awakening for making support conversations the core of the game? From the prologue mission and through the opening tutorial missions, Fire Emblem: Awakening makes it clear that fighting together is important to both the gameplay and the narrative. The game tacitly encourages players to seek out support conversations by rewarding with meaningful stat gains in the tactical segments. Whereas previous entries in the series included support conversations as a side activity, Awakening goes out of its way to explicitly point out their importance. As players progress through missions of increasing complexity and difficulty, the relationships between characters mature, but the specter of death is never far away. Fire Emblem has had permadeath ingrained into its code since the very beginning. Once a character falls on the battlefield they are either permanently maimed (if they figured prominently into the narrative) or they die. Though Awakening does give players the option between a permadeath-free mode and classic mode, classic is the way it was intended to be played. I say this not as some elitist snob who thinks that only “real” gamers play with permadeath, but as someone who thinks that the narrative stakes get much higher when you know that any mistake you make could cost you the life of a beloved character. It is the same principle that Jake Solomon, lead designer of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, is encouraging when he suggests that players name their soldiers after friends and family. Furthermore, Fire Emblem: Awakening asks the player to insert themselves into the game by creating an avatar. The avatar is unique in that it can have support conversations with every recruitable character, meaning that the player is virtually guaranteed to have some investment into the characters he or she find interesting. None of this would work if the support conversations weren’t well written and nuanced, which they are. It is easy to dismiss many of the characters at first glance because they seem to fit rather simple molds, like the cocky warrior Vaike or the clumsy and shy Sumia. However, through their interactions with other characters we get a chance to dig deeper into their characters and perhaps catch a glimpse of why they are the way they are (other than because someone wrote them to be that way). We learn throughout the hours spent on Fire Emblem: Awakening that our army is the opposite of the faceless entities we see in many other games that deal with sweeping conflicts. If we dig into the actual story of Awakening, we find a work of genre fantasy. Players are meant to be hooked from one battle to the next on an increasingly urgent quest to avoid war and prevent global catastrophe. It isn’t complex and it isn’t something that avid fantasy readers/movie-watchers won’t have seen multiple times before. However, the support conversations flesh out the less interesting elements of the story and make it feel new in a way many of us haven’t experienced before. If the story is the skeleton, the support conversations are the tendons and muscles. *Spoiler Warning* It could be said that I am drastically inflating the importance of support conversations in Fire Emblem: Awakening. However, what I think really seals the deal is that the support conversations are inexorably tied to the ending of Awakening. After defeating hordes of foes and learning the intimate details of your comrades, the avatar is revealed to be the vessel of an evil bent on the destruction of the world. The only thing that keeps the avatar from following through on that motivation is the thought of destroying his or her friends. The relationships formed through the support conversations are what ultimately save the world because those connections have become concrete things as opposed to abstract concepts. *End Spoiler* Let’s recap: Awakening’s main plot is a fantasy storyline that would feel right at home in a genre novel page-turner, but it is elevated by the designed focus on the support conversations between the numerous characters who join the player’s army. These relationships are encouraged by tangible gains like stat boosts. Tension and emotional attachment exists due to the ever-present threat of permanent death aimed toward the members of the player’s army. The avatar the player creates helps to invest the player into the relationships they find interesting, further increasing the connection to said characters. Ultimately, the relationships formed throughout Awakening are brought into the story with everything riding on the line. From the beginning of Awakening until its final moments, players are both tangibly and emotionally involved in the story because the gameplay and narrative are so closely bonded together. It results in a more resonant game than previous Fire Emblems, which is why I’d argue many regard it as the finest entry in the series to date. I compare the storytelling and characterization of Awakening to what I saw in Destiny and I can’t help but think that my time was better spent laughing, smiling, and tearing up on my 3DS. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a third playthrough of Fire Emblem: Awakening to complete.
  15. The announcement of Nintendo's next console, the Switch, certainly generated a lot of buzz for the video game giant. Many people have been speculating whether the console, which can become a portable gaming tablet, would be replacing the company's handheld gaming space. If that's the case, some speculated as to whether Nintendo might begin phasing out 2DS and 3DS handhelds as the Switch's March release date looms. According to a recent advertisement, that doesn't appear to be the case. A white and yellow 2DS bundled with New Super Mario Bros. 2 has been unveiled on the Japanese Nintendo site. It will be launching on December 15 in Japan and will cost ¥11,980, or about $113. Nintendo recently reported that sales of the 2DS jumped over 500% in August, a feat which the company attributes to both the success of Pokémon Go and a recent price cut to make the handheld more competitive. While no release date or confirmation has been given for the bundle to make its way to Western audiences, the news does assuage some fears that the 2DS and 3DS are going to be rendered immediately obsolete. More details on the Nintendo Switch will be coming next January via a livestreamed presentation. View full article
  16. The announcement of Nintendo's next console, the Switch, certainly generated a lot of buzz for the video game giant. Many people have been speculating whether the console, which can become a portable gaming tablet, would be replacing the company's handheld gaming space. If that's the case, some speculated as to whether Nintendo might begin phasing out 2DS and 3DS handhelds as the Switch's March release date looms. According to a recent advertisement, that doesn't appear to be the case. A white and yellow 2DS bundled with New Super Mario Bros. 2 has been unveiled on the Japanese Nintendo site. It will be launching on December 15 in Japan and will cost ¥11,980, or about $113. Nintendo recently reported that sales of the 2DS jumped over 500% in August, a feat which the company attributes to both the success of Pokémon Go and a recent price cut to make the handheld more competitive. While no release date or confirmation has been given for the bundle to make its way to Western audiences, the news does assuage some fears that the 2DS and 3DS are going to be rendered immediately obsolete. More details on the Nintendo Switch will be coming next January via a livestreamed presentation.
  17. In the mood for a classic brawler? Natsume might just be able to scratch that itch with River City: Tokyo Rumble, one of the few River City titles to make its way to North America recently. Players take control of Kunio, a high school student with a searing sense of justice. That dedication to all that is good and right comes into its bloody-knuckled glory when a new gang rolls into Tokyo one day and decides to take over. Kunio won't be having any of their guff! Armed with a variety of gritty melee weapons like iron knuckles or chains and various situational items like soccer balls or bicycles. Though Kunio might be armed to the teeth with bicycles and leaving a trail of bruised gang members in his wake, he still needs a job. Between work and butt-kicking, players can level their abilities, stop for snacks, and just revel in mayhem. Natsume has been pleasantly surprised by the early responses to their localization of River City: Tokyo Rumble, which initially released back in 2013 for Japanese 3DS owners. "We have already gotten early feedback that River City: Tokyo Rumble is a 'cant-put-it-down' experience, and we love hearing that reaction," said Hiro Maekawa, President & CEO of Natsume. "The series has an amazing following, and we know that this will be another great addition for fans and newcomers to the series alike!" Here's hoping Natsume takes this as a sign that Western audiences would love more River City in their lives.
  18. In the mood for a classic brawler? Natsume might just be able to scratch that itch with River City: Tokyo Rumble, one of the few River City titles to make its way to North America recently. Players take control of Kunio, a high school student with a searing sense of justice. That dedication to all that is good and right comes into its bloody-knuckled glory when a new gang rolls into Tokyo one day and decides to take over. Kunio won't be having any of their guff! Armed with a variety of gritty melee weapons like iron knuckles or chains and various situational items like soccer balls or bicycles. Though Kunio might be armed to the teeth with bicycles and leaving a trail of bruised gang members in his wake, he still needs a job. Between work and butt-kicking, players can level their abilities, stop for snacks, and just revel in mayhem. Natsume has been pleasantly surprised by the early responses to their localization of River City: Tokyo Rumble, which initially released back in 2013 for Japanese 3DS owners. "We have already gotten early feedback that River City: Tokyo Rumble is a 'cant-put-it-down' experience, and we love hearing that reaction," said Hiro Maekawa, President & CEO of Natsume. "The series has an amazing following, and we know that this will be another great addition for fans and newcomers to the series alike!" Here's hoping Natsume takes this as a sign that Western audiences would love more River City in their lives. View full article
  19. With the massive success of Pokémon Go, the Pokémon news keeps rolling in. In an attempt to cash in on the popularity of the iconic gaming franchise and the hype around the new mobile app, Hollywood deal makers bit the bullet and offered Nintendo and The Pokémon Company a deal too sweet to refuse. The studio in question is reportedly Legendary Pictures, the company behind the recent Warcraft movie. The ink is still wet on the deal, so details on this upcoming Pokémon project are scarce. Legendary did reveal that the film will avoid the traditional conventions of both the animated Pokémon films and the mainline Pokémon games. Instead, Legendary's Pokémon movie will take inspiration from the Japan exclusive 3DS release of Great Detective Pikachu: Birth of a New Duo. The 3DS title centers on a unique, speaking Pikachu with an unusually keen mind and his human companion, Tim Goodman, as they travel around solving mysteries involving Pokémon. There are also some rumors that Hollywood screenwriter Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra) will be one of the writers attached to the project. The untitled Pokémon movie will be going into production late 2017 if all goes as planned.
  20. With the massive success of Pokémon Go, the Pokémon news keeps rolling in. In an attempt to cash in on the popularity of the iconic gaming franchise and the hype around the new mobile app, Hollywood deal makers bit the bullet and offered Nintendo and The Pokémon Company a deal too sweet to refuse. The studio in question is reportedly Legendary Pictures, the company behind the recent Warcraft movie. The ink is still wet on the deal, so details on this upcoming Pokémon project are scarce. Legendary did reveal that the film will avoid the traditional conventions of both the animated Pokémon films and the mainline Pokémon games. Instead, Legendary's Pokémon movie will take inspiration from the Japan exclusive 3DS release of Great Detective Pikachu: Birth of a New Duo. The 3DS title centers on a unique, speaking Pikachu with an unusually keen mind and his human companion, Tim Goodman, as they travel around solving mysteries involving Pokémon. There are also some rumors that Hollywood screenwriter Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra) will be one of the writers attached to the project. The untitled Pokémon movie will be going into production late 2017 if all goes as planned. View full article
  21. Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon are two new additions in the Pokémon series with new monsters, worlds, and adventures to discover. These two will also be the first in the series to offer players nine languages to choose to play in. Players will also be able to transfer their roster from their previous games using the Pokémon Bank. During Nintendo's live stream today they will feature exclusive looks into these new games. Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon are coming to Nintendo 3DS November 18, 2016. View full article
  22. cinerdella

    Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon Gameplay

    Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon are two new additions in the Pokémon series with new monsters, worlds, and adventures to discover. These two will also be the first in the series to offer players nine languages to choose to play in. Players will also be able to transfer their roster from their previous games using the Pokémon Bank. During Nintendo's live stream today they will feature exclusive looks into these new games. Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon are coming to Nintendo 3DS November 18, 2016.
  23. Nintendo was recently quoted saying they will only be focusing on Legend of Zelda and Pokemon, this announcement comes at quite a pleasant surprise. Mario Party Star Rush is their brand new title following the Mario Party: Island Tour. This new installment will feature a more fast paced gameplay that allows each player to move at the same time, rather than waiting to take turns. Mario Party Star Rush will be released November 4th, 2016 for Nintendo 3DS. View full article
  24. Nintendo was recently quoted saying they will only be focusing on Legend of Zelda and Pokemon, this announcement comes at quite a pleasant surprise. Mario Party Star Rush is their brand new title following the Mario Party: Island Tour. This new installment will feature a more fast paced gameplay that allows each player to move at the same time, rather than waiting to take turns. Mario Party Star Rush will be released November 4th, 2016 for Nintendo 3DS.
  25. It’s Day 0 here at E3, and Natsume has released their first official trailer for their newest installment in their Nintendo 3DS Harvest Moon series, Harvest Moon: Skytree Village. This game, like its predecessors, follows the story of a once lush and vibrant town now dull and dying. It’s up to you to revive the seven Skytrees, restore the power of the Harvest Goddess, and bring the town back to life! Play as a boy or girl, meet some new faces – and a few familiar ones – and discover new and exciting crops, flowers, and fish. This game will introduce a user-friendly interface that lets you customize your character, home, farm, and the land surrounding it. This allows the user to create hills, rivers, ponds, and more! "We've revisited each and every part of what makes a Harvest Moon game, and are excited at the end result," said Taka Maekawa, Producer of the Harvest Moon series. If you’re a fan of Natsume and Marvelous games, then you’ll already know that Natsume has decided to part ways from their American publishing company Xseed back in 2014. Though the English translation of the title Bokujō Monogatari belongs to Xseed, Natsume will continue to release their version of the game while Xseed releases theirs in the United States. Each game will be a farming simulator, but very different in their own right. Harvest Moon: Skytree Village does not have a release date, so stay tuned for more info. View full article