You might have heard a little about the SmartStylus last week — PDP was showing it off at the Game Developers Conference on the Expo floor, inviting gamers and developers to try out the oversized accessory.
The SmartStylus communicates with an RF transceiver plugged into a DS’s GBA slot, and will rumble or flash LEDs on its base, reacting to your performance in a compatible game. A second version is in the works with a “more sophisticated RF link”, as well as audio features and motion input capabilities with a 3-axis accelerometer.
I played a few demonstration levels with the first model, one of which asked players to pop balloons, shaking the accessory whenever the wrong balloons were touched. Another more interesting stage challenged players to guide the tip of the stylus through a maze with their eyes closed; the SmartStylus would rumble, whenever a wall was hit. None of the games seemed like “killer applications”, but I can see some potential in the accessory.
That potential wouldn’t mean much if the SmartStylus doesn’t work with Nintendo’s new system due to its reliance on the GBA slot, but I talked to PDP for a hot second, and they told me that the transceiver is small enough to fit into a standard DS cart, a solution they’re currently investigating.
The stylus uses a single AAA battery and is currently pending Nintendo approval. PDP adds that SmartStylus effects are “easily inserted into [any] game by using simple APIs provided in the SmartStylus SDK from PDP.”
This Famicom World thread provides a lot of tips for identifying pirate Famicom cartridges. Famicom cartridges came in so many different colors and shapes that it can be more difficult to identify a fake just by sight.
Even with advice on spotting correctly-printed back labels, and appropriately hole-punched Konami games, I’m still more worried about accidentally getting a pirate cart than I was before. Well, actually, I’m not that worried, because pirate carts are, in general, funny.
I hate to reward a company for using photos of half-clothed women to sell its mediocre products, but this photo is hilarious. Why was Mario Kart DS's boxart photoshopped onto the system's touchscreen? Why is there an iPod stuffed into the model's bra?
Tego also sells custom vinyl skins for DSis, home consoles, laptops, music game instruments, and, yes, calculators:
Who are these people that are actually skinning their scientific calculators? Who does that?!
We’ve posted about Game Over/Continue? — a group art show paying homage to “the massive influence and continuous evolution of video games” — several times already, but now that the exhibit is open and that I’ve seen it with my own appreciative eyes, I’ll remind you again to stop by the gallery at Giant Robot if you’re in town.
In fact, I’ve outlined four things you can look forward to, should you attend the San Francisco show.
1. Classy game art:
The work featured at Game Over/Continue? represents a “wide assortment of styles and genres provided by top artists in the fields of illustration, painting, sewing, and indie comics” — unfortunately, my camera did not do a good job documenting this. The Ico art above is only a fraction of a much larger piece that you really need to see!
2. Playful game art:
My camera corrupted this re-imagined Super Mario Bros. 2 ending, but I’m posting it anyway because the photo still looks cool. Note that the playful and classy pieces aren’t mutually exclusive; I just want to warn potential visitors that you may encounter an image depicting an oral sex situation between Mario and Q*bert.
3. Game art that I bought
This is part of a three-piece collection created by a former Nintendo tester. According to legend, the series depicts several Virtual Boy games that were never released (possibly using forgotten art assets for the work?). Its 3D origins are accentuated in the pieces with a layered presentation emulating the VB’s parallax.
I didn’t purchase this particular one, but it was my only photo from the set that didn’t come out too blurry.
4. Art games
The ARTXGAME portion of the show presented four new video games created jointly by artists and indepedent game developers. The clip above is from Derek Yu and Hellen Jo’s strange brawler, which is titled Hellen & Calvin’s Bogus Journey, according to Electric Ant. ARTXGAME organizer Adam Robezzoli tried to explain the title to me, but I was too busy trying to come up with ways to steal his Attractmo.de shirt.
The only game I tried out myself was Octopounce by Saelee Oh and Sarah Anna “Auntie Pixelante” Anthropy. My wife and I enjoyed it a bunch — I’m hoping to write up a preview for it later once someone posts more photos of the game online, as I didn’t take any decent shots of it.
The show runs until April 15th, so there’s still time for you to head over there! If anything, you should visit Giant Robot just to see all the great shirts, books, and people they have over there.
Huge thanks to Giant Robot owner/publisher Eric Nakamura and Adam Robezzoli for giving my wife and I a personal tour of the exhibit — it was definitely one of the best highlights of our San Francisco trip last week.
With the Nintendo DSi’s release only a week away, we thought it’d be neat to feature accessories that you can pick up or import for the updated system. Most of these will be items you’ve never seen or that have gotten little coverage, so they will be more interesting (I hope) than just a collection of product posts.
To start off this themed week, here are some of the past DSi accessories we’ve shared with you here:
From March 20 through April 12, Japanese Pokemon Centers are celebrating a Meowth Festival (Nyasu Matsuri)! The stores will sell stuff decorated with this nice (I think) Meowth/Magikarp pattern, and fans who bring in DS copies of Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum with unevolved Meowths of level 30 or higher will get special Meowth phone straps.
I suspect we’ll have our own little Meowth Festival when Eric finds out about this.
Capcom has released a little web demo of its Ace Attorney spinoff Gyakuten Kenji. It seems to basically just be a toy, unlike the previous demo, which was more representative of the DS game.
If you understand Japanese, you can explore Miles Edgeworth’s office and learn about some of the items within. If you don’t know Japanese, you can make Edgeworth run around like an idiot. Either way, good times.
G-Mode, who holds the license to Data East’s IPs, just opened a Spreadshirt shop for Data East logo shirts and buttons! That’s so cool, even if it is just a Cafe Press-like shop. I’ve never purchased from Spreadshirts, so I don’t know how the quality is. Warning: I just noticed the prices for Data East-ware, and they are fucking insane.
Are you a bad enough dude to sport the Data East logo?
Nintendo sneaked all kinds of junk out during its keynote, like the SD Card Menu and the Virtual Console Arcade. One thing that eluded my attention until tonight was that a Rhythm Heaven demo is now available on the Nintendo Channel.
“The GBA Wireless Adapter has download play functionality built into it, where you can download games from a parent machine to a child machine. It was never used by software, so it was never revealed. It was, however, used in DSi.”—
Nintendo DSi project lead Masato Kuwahara, explaining the DS’s download play feature’s origins.
Someone (can’t remember if it was Mathew Kumar or Brandon Sheffield) suggested yesterday that it’d be cool to see someone tinker with this undocumented feature, now that we know it exists. Yay for new homebrew ideas.
Kuwahara shared a lot of curious and previously unannounced details about his Game Boy and GBA projects, like the GBA Wireless Adaptor coming into fruition while his staff wasted away their afternoons at work playing Diablo II across the office LAN.
The adaptor prototype was a wireless adapter taken from a phone module and attached to a handheld. The first demo he developed for the adaptor was a small app that sent and received email, which he said didn’t work too well.
I believe he mentioned that the “Tag” wireless feature, which later appeared in Nintendogs and The World Ends With You, was also an experiment with the GBA accessory
Retronauts also has a great piece on how Kuwahara finally confirmed the existence of Project Atlantis, Nintendo’s failed and rumored handheld project from 13 years ago.
Mega Man 2 is now out for iPhone. The system with no buttons. Also, it apparently doesn’t have music. Or sound of any kind.
Also, the gameplay has undergone certain “improvements.” Says NeoGAF’s civilstrife: “Airman himself went down without a scratch. I literally stood in one place and shot jammed on my mega buster until he died. Took about 7 seconds.”
Games designed exclusively for the Nintendo DSi are in the works, according to DSi project lead Masato Kuwahara. These carts will not load on previous DS models, and will use “the most potential” of the handheld’s unique new hardware features.
DSi-enhanced carts, which will load on older DS models but will use ” some of the DSi’s unique functionalities” are also planned.
Oh, and I’m pretty sure I saw a Dr. Mario DSiWare game.
Sievert was completely awesome at Data Pop 09. AWESOME. Yesterday, Kevin Kelly posted a recording of ten minutes or so of the performance, so you can hear for yourself. Immediately after this clip, Sievert launched into the Game Boy Tetris music.
AkibaBlog has a gallery of pictures from a preview event for Minna de Spelunker at the Akihabara Messe Sanoh store. Look how many people showed up to play Spelunker! Because I can’t post something from AkibaBlog without quoting some of the wonderful text, “In the session held at Messe, of course, he died again, and again, and again.”
I was going to ask why a store would even agree to let its entrance be crowded for a game it can’t even sell (Minna de Spelunker is a PSN title), but then I saw all that Spelunker merchandise.
Global A Entertainment is working on a PSP version of Sekai wa Atashi de Mawatteru, known here as My World, My Way. I hear the DS game was a bit janky (and made of reused Master of the Monster Lair assets) but I still think the character art is adorable.
The PSP port adds voice acting and a new “dark” version of Princess Angela, who is also very, very cute.
And on April 1st, Nintendo will trot out a new round of first-party titles, like Kuru Kuru Action Kuru Pachi 6:
Kuru Kuru Action Kuru Pachi 6 (500 Points) - Rotate and line up like-numbered pieces! Based on the “Kuru Pachi 6” mode in Nonono Puzzle Chairian, a GBA puzzler released only in Japan, this title offers four different modes — a puzzle mode with 198 problems, a challenge mode, score attack, and time attack.
Kakonde Keshite Wakugumi no Jikan (500 Points) - I was just wondering if Mitchell (Magnetica, Polarium) was developing for DSiWare, as its games are well-suited for the platform. Here, players surround pieces of one color with another in two modes — piece attack and time attack.
Band Bros. DX Radio with Photo Stand (500 Points) - With Daigasso! Band Bros. mascot Barbara the Bat serving as a DJ, this program plays songs created with Band Bros. DX by Nintendo staff and players. It also acts as a photo stand, presenting photos taken with the DSi camera.
DSi Clock: Famicom Mario Type and Animal Crossing Type (200 Points each) - The former clock enables you to collect coins by hitting the A button, while the latter offers a musical component for creating a melody that is then played back as a new hour begins.
Ganbaru Watashi no Osaifu Ouendan (500 Points) - Budgeting software that can export data to your SD card as a CSV file to view your monthly budgets on a PC.
Chotto Magic Taizen: Suki Kirai Hakkenki (200 Points) - A bite-sized magic app that uses the microphone to determine whether someone likes your or hates you.
Unfortunately, there were no games from Skip in March. This is very sad, as Hacolife and PiCOPiCT were gold.