Nintendo announce new console

Nintendo have launched the first trailer for their upcoming console Switch. Previously known as the NX, on Thursday afternoon they announced the official name, provided a release date of March 2017 and gave a glimpse of several new games.

Here’s the console in action.

What games will be available?

The games we saw were as follows.

  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Untitled Super Mario Title
  • Splatoon 2
  • Untitled Mario Kart Title
  • NBA 2K17
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

There were be precise confirmations on the dates of release of these, so I’m not assuming that they will be release day titles.

The inclusion of Skyrim is an interesting point. Whilst it’s a relatively ancient game – it will be over five years old by the time the Switch hits the shelves – there is a clear statement here that the console can handle much more advanced graphics than anything Nintendo has on the market right now.

When will it be released?

March 2017 is as much information as we are given at the moment.

Is it worth getting excited about?

Certainly for owners of the Wii U, it’s worth starting to get interested in now. It’s more powerful, it blends both the DS range and the home console market, and it basically realises the potential of the Wii U.

Unfortunately, the backdrop of the industry is based on powerful technology as Sony and Microsoft release updated versions of their consoles before Christmas. There is also the VR factor, with Sony putting out their PlayStation VR shortly and Facebook’s Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive already on the market.

There’s a risk that the Switch will get caught between mobile gaming – which around 100% of its potential userbase already own a platform for – and a hardcore gaming console. There is also an assumption that the Wii U owners will come back for more potential punishment after four years of negligence. This will only be solved with a decent list of launch titles and keeping to promises on releases, something that Nintendo has sought to combat by releasing a list of partnering developers, and it looks very positive indeed.

It clearly won’t be a cheap piece of kit either, but probably needs to drop in lower than both the Xbox One S (currently £239.99 for a basic model) and the PS4 (£249.99 for the basic model). The Switch needs to be in line with that.

Nintendo NX trailer set to land today!

At 3pm today (BST), Nintendo will launch a trailer for the new console, currently going under the name of NX.

There is scant information on how much will be revealed, but I’d guess they’d need at least a console name and a final release date.

If we’re lucky, we might even get a few launch games and a glimpse at the console and controller, though to be honest it’s unlikely given their recent form.

The worst case scenario will be that we are just told there has been a delay to the release and they then give a non-specific new release of Q3 FY2018.

I guess we’ll find out at 3pm.

Why Super Mario Run will be great for Nintendo

In case you missed it earlier this week, Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto made a surprise appearance at the Apple Special Event at San Fransisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. He was there to announce the first Super Mario game to be playable on smart phones. Indeed, it will launch as an iPhone exclusive, coming to Android at a later date.

Watch the trailer here.

The game looks simple enough. Mario runs from left to right, jumping depending on when the player presses the screen. The jumps vary in height depending on how long the screen is pressed for. This gives you a free hand with which you can do whatever you fancy, including eating an apple! Well played Miyamoto…

A familiar sight for fans of Super Mario

The news has had mixed reactions across the Internet, with many happy that the gaming giant is branching out whilst others bemoan the devaluing of the IP.

With the Wii U writhing to its gruesome end within the next six months and a serious slowdown in sales of the DS and 3DS families of consoles in recent times, Nintendo had to do something to experiment with the market and this is the perfect time to do something.

The much-discussed Nintendo NX will arrive in Spring 2017 and there hasn’t been much to get excited about on the Nintendo front this year, outside of the Pokémon Go phenomenon that Nintendo barely had anything to do with. Releasing a simple game that reminds players of the fun that can be had with the character without really going into the deep gameplay seen on the more advanced console-based games seems like the perfect move.

The game looks to have six worlds with four levels in each. Anyone familiar with the recent New Super Mario Bros. games – the visuals on which this game is sourced – will know that there are undoubtedly rewards in the form of bonus stages awaiting those completists amongst us. Miyamoto also indicated in his talk that the game will have a one-off charge but won’t have in-app payments. This is music to the ears of players around the world, tiring of necessary additional charges to get the most out of the games they enjoy.

Super Mario Run can be accessed on the App Store, though all you can do right now is set a notification for its release (currently expected for December).

Star Wars (Lucasgames, 1991)

There are plenty of candidates for the greatest Star Wars video game ever made. Perhaps Battlefront II, Knights of the Old Republic or The Force Unleashed are high on the list. Or even Empire At War. Maybe Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga deserves a mention. Not for me. The video game that I will hold up as my favourite will always be the 1991 NES game, simply titled Star Wars.

Firstly, it had a badass trailer. Your mum almost got killed by Darth Vader? Who cares? Because video games.

Secondly, it’s one of the toughest games out there. If you manage to get hold of the game, you’ll immediately see why. The controls aren’t necessarily frustrating, but the sheer length of the game, limited continues and the fact you have to do it all in one sitting (yes, in 1991 nobody had invented a way to save a game) all stack up to make it a tough ask.

The goals of the initial part of the game are fairly simple. Take Luke around Tatooine, retrieve R2-D2 from the Sandcrawler, find Obi-Wan Kenobi in a (really annoying dripping) cave, collect Han Solo from the Mos Eisley cantina (with beautifully recreated 8-bit audio), all whilst collecting shields for the Millennium Falcon. These tasks can be done in any order you wish, though I always found it easier to get Obi-Wan first. Then you take the Millennium Falcon for a spin towards the Death Star. Once inside, you destroy the tractor beam generator, rescue Leia, then destroy the Death Star itself.

Sounds simple, but don’t forget that in 1991 anyone wanting to make a sidescroller game really hard would just throw in more near-impossible jumps and flood the screen with enemies and harmful projectiles.

There’s a great walkthrough of the game here by Heroes of Xanadu – Sloth. Watching it brings back a lot of fond memories. If you want to know just how tricky it got, look at the video around the 26 minute mark.

I’m not saying it’s the best Star Wars game ever. I mean, it doesn’t even allow you to have a dance off with the Emperor. But it was technically advanced for its time and was mesmerizing as my seven-year-old self. I’ve never been as gripped by a Star Wars game as I was for this one.

In researching this article I’m astonished to discover that there was a sequel to this game, again with the simple title of The Empire Strikes Back. I’m not surprised this wasn’t big news for me. I remember the game cost £60 when it was released. That’s a whopping £121 in today’s money! Thanks mum.

Find it, play it, cry.