Tiny Cartridge 3DS

Nintendo making Skylanders-style figure series for Wii U and 3DS ⊟

Called “NFP” (NFC Featured Platform/Nintendo Figure Platform) the characters will allow users to carry save data between games, building a customized character on the figure. They’ll work with the Wii U GamePad’s NFC, and Nintendo will also sell a thingy for 3DS.

Nintendo will show more software and details of this program at E3. Other news out of the latest investor presentation: a Mario Kart 8 “TV” smartphone app, allowing sharing of in-game videos and ranking data. Oh, and a Wii U update that speeds up startup by 20 seconds, coming in June. Okay, there’s some news, good night!

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  • Source nintendo.co.jp

Analogue Nt NES/Famicom system up for pre-order ⊟

Analogue has opened pre-orders for its Nt, the Famicom/NES device with RGB output, four controller ports, and purported “unparallelled” compatibility with American and Japanese games and accessories. “The Analogue Nt is region free, equipped with the original NES controller ports, and even has the original Famicom Expansion port. All with no emulation.”

If I can use my NES Max with Japanese games, or get weird Fami accessories and play US games with them… man, that’s exciting. The Famicom 3-D glasses in the picture are a nice demonstration. And RGB output sounds nice. 

Here’s the thing, though. This ultimate compatibility and beautiful hardware design means a premium price. The Nt is $500, and that’s before you change the hardware color or add accessories. 

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  • Source analogueinteractive.com
"Children" Famicase design by Cory Schmitz ⊟
The My Famicase Exhibition show has opened in Tokyo’s METEOR store, and though the gallery isn’t online yet, pictures from the participating artists are starting to trickle out.
Here’s one by super cool designer/Tiny Cartridge site designer Cory Schmitz. His concept:

“THE CITY IS THEIRS.” While the grown-ups are hooked up to their VR machines, the children sneak outside & The City becomes their playground. Create your character, explore the decaying mysteries of The City, & watch out for rival gangs. 1 player.

Nubuwo has a roundup of some other fictional Famicom cartridges shown off on Twitter! And, as I must always mention when talking about Famicase, we had a design in the Famicase 2011 show, made with Ashley Davis!
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"Children" Famicase design by Cory Schmitz ⊟

The My Famicase Exhibition show has opened in Tokyo’s METEOR store, and though the gallery isn’t online yet, pictures from the participating artists are starting to trickle out.

Here’s one by super cool designer/Tiny Cartridge site designer Cory Schmitz. His concept:

“THE CITY IS THEIRS.” While the grown-ups are hooked up to their VR machines, the children sneak outside & The City becomes their playground. Create your character, explore the decaying mysteries of The City, & watch out for rival gangs. 1 player.

Nubuwo has a roundup of some other fictional Famicom cartridges shown off on Twitter! And, as I must always mention when talking about Famicase, we had a design in the Famicase 2011 show, made with Ashley Davis!

BUY Famicom stuff, upcoming games

Here’s what Nintendo has planned for E3 ⊟

So we don’t know what games Nintendo will bring to E3 in six weeks — other than Smash Bros. (plus Culdcept and all the Dragon Quest games obviously) — but we have an idea of how the company will show them off.

It starts with the Nintendo Digital Event on June 10 (Tuesday) at noon Eastern Time. The publisher will forgo a traditional press conference in favor of a Nintendo Direct online video, similar to last year. The stream will “reveal and provide further detail about the gaming experiences on the way for Nintendo platforms in 2014 and beyond”.

There will also be a Nintendo Treehouse: Live @ E3 stream you can tune into: “Treehouse, the Product Development department at Nintendo of America, will provide in-depth game demos live and unscripted from Nintendo’s booth. This new program will be live streamed during all hours of the E3 show.”

As for Super Smash Bros. events, you’ll be able to visit a Best Buy store near you to try out the Wii U version of the game during E3. Nintendo will also host a Super Smash Bros. Invitational in which the company will select highly skilled players to compete in a Super Smash Bros. (Wii U) tournament at E3. If you’re at the event, you can watch the tournament at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE — otherwise, there will be a webcast for you to stream it at home.

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Nintendo included its HQ building in this company guide ⊟

Before Mario posted photos from Nintendo’s beautiful company guide book for 2013, including these shots for a fold-out section. The pages mimic the drab, window-dominated exterior of Nintendo’s headquarters in Kyoto, Japan.

What’s great is you can prop the book up and pull the pages out to form the cube building. And you can peek over the top at what goes on behind those boring windows, to see employees having fun at work, creating colorful and exciting games. Check out the cartridge art prototypes!

The photos also showcase another point Nintendo is emphasizing lately — that the company is striving to create a gender-diverse workplace. I’d love to get a hold of one of these books, but Nintendo only hands them out to potential employees who pass the company’s initial application process. Via Sergio!

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  • Source blog.beforemario.com
Analogue Interactive’s high-end aluminum Famicom/NES ⊟
Analogue Interactive, the company behind the gorgeous wooden Neo Geo systems, is doing something I’ve never seen before: a luxury NES/Famicom. The Analogue Nt is being put forward as an NES for “audiophiles” and “videophiles,” the “highest quality way to experience the NES and Famicom.”
And no, I don’t know what that means! I do know that it has four controller ports and a case built out of a solid piece of aluminum, along with hardware custom engineered by Analogue.
We’ll find out more when the company releases details at the end of the month. Being neither an engineer nor an audio/video-phile, I can’t speak to the meaning of a higher-end output of NES games, but I do think this thing looks cool and will be worth following up on.
SUPPORT TINY CARTRIDGE Join Club Tiny!

Analogue Interactive’s high-end aluminum Famicom/NES ⊟

Analogue Interactive, the company behind the gorgeous wooden Neo Geo systems, is doing something I’ve never seen before: a luxury NES/Famicom. The Analogue Nt is being put forward as an NES for “audiophiles” and “videophiles,” the “highest quality way to experience the NES and Famicom.”

And no, I don’t know what that means! I do know that it has four controller ports and a case built out of a solid piece of aluminum, along with hardware custom engineered by Analogue.

We’ll find out more when the company releases details at the end of the month. Being neither an engineer nor an audio/video-phile, I can’t speak to the meaning of a higher-end output of NES games, but I do think this thing looks cool and will be worth following up on.

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What’s going on with third-party games for 3DS ⊟
Nintendo has had difficulty attracting third-party games — games produced by other developers and publishers — to its consoles for years now. The company’s president Satoru Iwata acknowledged that reputation at last week’s Investors’ Q&A, but he also shed some light on where Nintendo is at right now with courting other companies to make games for 3DS.
"If you consider the Japanese market, it is fair to say that the number one dedicated video game system that Japanese third-party publishers are focusing on is Nintendo 3DS," he said. "This is because Nintendo 3DS has an overwhelmingly strong presence in the hardware as well as software markets for dedicated game systems, meaning that it would be illogical not to do business on Nintendo 3DS, and we are cooperating with third-party publishers in a variety of ways as long as we can establish win-win relationships."
While the DS and 3DS have done a good job attracting major Japanese companies like Level-5 and Atlus, the same can’t be said in the West, where outside of a few small studios like Renegade Kid and WayForward, we don’t see much third-party development. Iwata argues that’s because most publishers on our side of the globe specialize in making games for high-end home consoles.

The executive believes that can change, though: “The fact that Nintendo 3DS has now sold over 10 million units in both the U.S. and Europe seems to be news for third-party publishers, and we have recently been receiving more proposals from third-party publishers.” But don’t expect that growing interest to immediately translate into a slew of releases. “While [publishers] are very interested in Nintendo 3DS, it appears that they are currently investigating what they want to develop on our platform,” Iwata added.
He also repeated Nintendo’s interest in publishing more third-party games from Japan in the West, similar to its arrangements with Square Enix for Bravely Default and Dragon Quest's DS releases: “We sometimes distribute, or even publish depending on the circumstances, games that were made by Japanese software publishers in the overseas markets, and you can expect to see more examples of this this year and the next.”
We’ve heard Nintendo make that promise before and deliver on it to a limited extent — hopefully we’ll see those efforts multiplied. The photo from E3 2010 used above, by the way, comes from Destructoid.
BUY Nintendo 2DS & 3DS/XL, upcoming games

What’s going on with third-party games for 3DS ⊟

Nintendo has had difficulty attracting third-party games — games produced by other developers and publishers — to its consoles for years now. The company’s president Satoru Iwata acknowledged that reputation at last week’s Investors’ Q&A, but he also shed some light on where Nintendo is at right now with courting other companies to make games for 3DS.

"If you consider the Japanese market, it is fair to say that the number one dedicated video game system that Japanese third-party publishers are focusing on is Nintendo 3DS," he said. "This is because Nintendo 3DS has an overwhelmingly strong presence in the hardware as well as software markets for dedicated game systems, meaning that it would be illogical not to do business on Nintendo 3DS, and we are cooperating with third-party publishers in a variety of ways as long as we can establish win-win relationships."

While the DS and 3DS have done a good job attracting major Japanese companies like Level-5 and Atlus, the same can’t be said in the West, where outside of a few small studios like Renegade Kid and WayForward, we don’t see much third-party development. Iwata argues that’s because most publishers on our side of the globe specialize in making games for high-end home consoles.

Read more

  • Source destructoid.com
Small victory for homebrew software in Europe ⊟
The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that it’s legal to circumvent encryption systems on your video game console, so long as you’re not doing it to play pirated games. So if you were to use unauthorized devices to run media programs or homebrew games, you won’t be breaking the law.
This issue came up in a lawsuit between Nintendo and Italian retailer PC Box, the latter of which had been bundling DSes and Wiis with devices that bypassed the consoles’ encryption security. PC Box was able to successfully argue that those devices enabled users to run unauthorized software (e.g. MoonShell media player, Homebrew Channel).
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Courthouse News Service noted:

European law expressly permits right holders to use technology to protect their copyrighted material ‘without preventing the normal operation of electronic equipment and its technological development.’
The Luxembourg-based high court acknowledged Thursday that Nintendo has right to copy-protect its games but said the company ‘must not go beyond what is necessary for this purpose.’
To determine that, the Italian court must look at whether encryption codes installed on both consoles and games is overkill by Nintendo, according to the ruling.”

That doesn’t mean PC Box is off the hook, as a court in Milan will now investigate how often the retailer’s customers used their bundled devices to run bootlegged games versus homebrew software. It will also look at how often the devices in question are used for piracy purposes versus homebrew apps/games.
Nintendo responded to the ruling in a statement:

"Since Nintendo only ever utilizes technological protection measures which are both necessary and proportionate to prevent widespread piracy of its intellectual property, and since the preponderant purpose of the circumvention devices marketed by PC Box is to enable piracy of legitimate video games, Nintendo is confident that the application of the guidance set out by the CJEU relating to proportionality will enable the Milan Tribunal to determine that the sale of circumvention devices is unlawful."
"In the meantime, Nintendo maintains that the commercial dealings in circumvention devices infringe copyright laws as well as other intellectual property laws and Nintendo will continue to pursue those involved in the distribution of such devices."

This ruling comes shortly after a hacker demonstrated progress in running homebrew software on Nintendo 3DSes (and a week after someone else shared instructions for a risky way to play games from other regions), which hasn’t been possible for most system owners due to the handheld’s aggressive anti-piracy protections.
However, flashcard manufacturers and piracy advocates have kept up the pace with their own developments on the 3DS, recently showing off new capabilities for running multiple bootlegged games on a flashcard.
BUY Nintendo 2DS & 3DS/XL, upcoming games

Small victory for homebrew software in Europe ⊟

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that it’s legal to circumvent encryption systems on your video game console, so long as you’re not doing it to play pirated games. So if you were to use unauthorized devices to run media programs or homebrew games, you won’t be breaking the law.

This issue came up in a lawsuit between Nintendo and Italian retailer PC Box, the latter of which had been bundling DSes and Wiis with devices that bypassed the consoles’ encryption security. PC Box was able to successfully argue that those devices enabled users to run unauthorized software (e.g. MoonShell media player, Homebrew Channel).

Read more

  • Source gbatemp.net

Neat Zelda, Nintendo shirts from Threadless ⊟

These two shirts from Threadless – “It’s Dangerous to Go Alone, Take This" and "A Pixel of My Own" both manage to make nice, wearable designs out of t-shirt subject matter I usually roll my eyes at.

Like, when was the last time a “haha Zelda reference” shirt was actually cool?

PREORDER The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, upcoming games

Limited edition Zelda 3DS & Earthbound labels for… NES controllers? ⊟

This is weird but neat (a common theme for our site): that gold/black design Nintendo used for its limited edition Zelda 3DS and Wii U systems can now be purchased as a skin for an NES controller. There’s also a Mother/Earthbound design — red buttons/pad presumably not included!

GamerGrafx says the peel and stick decals are “precision cut to the exact dimensions of the original NES controller” and feature “a weatherproof glodd polyester material.” The labels are $9.99 each.

PREORDER The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, upcoming games
Former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi, 1927-2013 ⊟
Yamauchi took over his grandfather’s hanafuda card company at the age of 22, driving its transformation into a thriving toy maker and then a video game powerhouse. During those transitions, he fostered inimitable talents at Nintendo like Game Boy creator Gunpei Yokoi, famed designer Shigeru Miyamoto, and the firm’s current president Satoru Iwata. 
Just as important, he instilled principles in the company that endure there today a decade after his retirement, emphasizing compelling software over powerful hardware, and pushing his employees to create unique experiences.

"What did Hiroshi Yamauchi care about? He couldn’t stand making the same kind of toy the other guy was making, so whatever you showed him, you knew he was going to ask, ‘How is this different from what everybody else is doing?’ The worst way to answer was to tell him, ‘It’s not different, it’s just a little better.’ He’d be furious. He was very clear on just how foolish that attitude was for a toy company."

- Iwata (excerpt from Osamu Onoue’s Nintendo Magic; image via Bagemu)
Yamauchi passed away today due to complications from pneumonia, just a year after his wife Michiko died. He is survived by his two daughters, Yoko and Fujiko, and his son Katsuhito.

Former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi, 1927-2013 ⊟

Yamauchi took over his grandfather’s hanafuda card company at the age of 22, driving its transformation into a thriving toy maker and then a video game powerhouse. During those transitions, he fostered inimitable talents at Nintendo like Game Boy creator Gunpei Yokoi, famed designer Shigeru Miyamoto, and the firm’s current president Satoru Iwata. 

Just as important, he instilled principles in the company that endure there today a decade after his retirement, emphasizing compelling software over powerful hardware, and pushing his employees to create unique experiences.

"What did Hiroshi Yamauchi care about? He couldn’t stand making the same kind of toy the other guy was making, so whatever you showed him, you knew he was going to ask, ‘How is this different from what everybody else is doing?’ The worst way to answer was to tell him, ‘It’s not different, it’s just a little better.’ He’d be furious. He was very clear on just how foolish that attitude was for a toy company."

- Iwata (excerpt from Osamu Onoue’s Nintendo Magic; image via Bagemu)

Yamauchi passed away today due to complications from pneumonia, just a year after his wife Michiko died. He is survived by his two daughters, Yoko and Fujiko, and his son Katsuhito.

Trust me, put an iPad Mini and a 3DS on a table next to each other, and most kids today will reach, if not jump, for the iPad. If you don’t see that as an existential threat for Nintendo, there’s nothing I can say that will change your mind.

A Nintendo that doesn’t make games for iOS is a Nintendo that doesn’t reach today’s kids; a Nintendo that doesn’t reach today’s kids is a Nintendo with no future.

Nintendo doomsaying from John Gruber ⊟

I alluded to the tech press’ recent pessimistic pieces on the Nintendo 2DS and its maker in Thursday’s silly GIF sethere’s a sample of the articles that’ve popped up from people like prominent Apple blogger Gruber.

People really want to see Nintendo making games for iOS! So much so that many are committed to this narrative that the company can’t survive if it doesn’t. Despite the authoritative tone of Gruber’s statement, I don’t believe he has a complete grasp on the state of gaming handhelds (he still thinks 3DS games cannot receive patches or DLC updates, and he believed the PSP was the all-time best-selling portable game console until recently). Luke Mathis comes off as a bit more informed in his counterpoint pieces.

Anyway, this has been your quarterly reminder that people are still convinced that handhelds are dying, ya fricks.

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  • Source daringfireball.net