An Overview of the Gear in Splatoon 2

Nintendo has shared some new details on the newest entry in the phenomenal hit Splatoon franchise. Splatoon uses a load-out system for players to customize their game play by focusing on differing abilities as dictated by the “gear” that their “Inklings” wear during battle. With various weapon types and gear types, players are able to create the playing experience that appeals to them specifically.

For players who are familiar with the franchise from the first game, they are already accustomed to the gear, and leveling up their abilities. Many players look to customizing their Inklings appearance primarily according to style, and others primarily through ability/function. Then of course, there are those who will employ a strategy that focuses on both. Either way, Inkling gear is vitally important to a player’s game, so be sure to check out the quick overview below so that you are ready for battle this Summer.

Nintendo is doing an amazing job of maintaining the early progress and momentum of their new dedicated home gaming device, the Nintendo Switch. With the deliberate actions that the company is taking, their ordered steps are paying off wonderfully well, and the momentum is definitely pointing in the right direction. As Nintendo continues to create more and more demand for the system by showcasing, promoting, and releasing new and exciting games, the key is to continue to maintain sufficient supply. As long as they are able to do that, the Nintendo Switch will, indeed, remain a momentum device!

How do you like the gear that we have seen so far? Will you customize gear based on appearance, or based on ability?Are you anticipating getting your hands on Splatoon 2 immediately at release?

As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!

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Bonus Session of The Making of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Released

Last week Nintendo released a 3-part series of videos featuring the creators of the phenomenally-made The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and today they released a bonus video to accompany the series. The series gave a lot of great details about the making of this amazing game.

For both the Wii U and the Nintendo Switch, players have an opportunity to experience a vast world, with sweeping vistas, easily immersive scenery and  soothing musical climates. This bonus video gives viewers some light-hearted answers to burning questions like the developers’ favorite scenes, food dishes, and characters, and the like.

If you already watched the first three parts of the series, you’ll definitely want to see this bonus video, and if you haven’t be sure to watch them, as well as the above. Nintendo is doing quite a lot to make sure their desired result of getting their IP in front of more people is realized more and more. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is going a long way toward making sure that Nintendo continues to create an incredible new era in the video game environment!

How do you like these developer videos? Which game would you like to see a Making of-series for next? Which video was your best in the entire series?

As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!

 

Watch The Complete Series Here!

Early Tuesday morning Nintendo released a 3-part series on The Making of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild via YouTube. This series gives viewers the chance to get the behind-the-scenes story of what it was like creating this masterful game.

Take about 30 minutes to watch the entire series below, or take about 10 minutes for each at your leisure, but either way, be sure to watch if you are a fan of the game, or even if you are not.

What part of the series stood out to you most? Were there any surprises for you? Would you like to see more of these types of series? For which games coming up?

As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!

Nintendo Announces The Making of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Series

Beginning tomorrow morning, Tuesday, March 14, there will be a 3-part series detailing the making of the game that many are considering the best game ever made (if not the best in a long time). The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was initially a Wii U game expected to be released a year or two ago. Further along in the game’s development, it became a cross-platform title for both the Wii U and the Nintendo Switch.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launched to a lot of critical acclaim, and those have played the game seem to universally agree on its praise…when they can come up for breath, that is. The game’s developers put in lots of work creating the game, and they even shared some of that detail with an audience at the Game Developers Conference earlier this month. Now, they will be sharing information in a 3-part series, and I am excited to see what they share.

The Twitter announcement above simply shares the most basic of details, but we do see that the series will feature the head of the development team, as well as Zelda series producer, Eiji Aonuma. This should be a very insightful video series, as we get to see what truly went into creating potentially the “Game of the Decade”.

Will you be tuning in to the video series in the morning, or watching later? What unexpected details are you hoping to hear shared? Are you playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? If so, how are you enjoying?

As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!

Hunting Down the Origins of Metroid

For the last several weeks, Nintendo has been releasing developer interviews commemorating the launch of the NES Classic Edition. Already we have seen interviews from the creators of Donkey Kong, Balloon Fight, Super Mario Bros.1 and 3, and The Legend of Zelda. Now we have come to the last in the series from writer, Mr. Akinori Sao. This interview features the developers of the wildly popular Metroid game (and series), Yoshio Sakamoto and Hiroji Kiyotake.

sakamoto-kiyotakeConcept and early development for the game was actually done by two of Nintendo’s youngest employees who, in fact, were novice game developers and had only ever worked on Game & Watch titles before. For many people who played the original Metroid game when it was first released on the Nintendo Entertainment System, the game was notoriously known as difficult. Some players who got their start with Super Mario Bros. and the like, may have recognized the game as a stark departure from Mario, and that was actually by design.

Ah, so what did you two new employees have in mind as you began making the game?

Kiyotake: As we were working, the Super Mario Bros.4 boom hit. So we wanted to make something that had what Super Mario Bros. didn’t have.

What Super Mario Bros. didn’t have? Like what?

Kiyotake: As a simple example, you know how Mario slides a little before stopping?

Uh-huh…

Kiyotake: So we tried to make a dead halt.

You began with movement?

Kiyotake: Yes. We wanted to make actions that Mario didn’t have. And then…

Sakamoto: Aren’t you forgetting something important?

Kiyotake: Am I?

Sakamoto: Super Mario Bros. is about avoiding enemies.

If you touch one, you lose a turn.

Sakamoto: In response to that, Kiyotake was complaining, saying, “Why do we have to avoid them?!” (laughs)

(laughs)

Sakamoto: When you began making Metroid, you wanted a technique called a Screw Attack for doing a spinning jump to defeat enemies. Isn’t that right?

Kiyotake: Oh, that’s right! (laughs)

As 30 years have passed since the creation and release of Metroid, a lot of the “secrets” of the game are now common knowledge, but the origin of some of those things is still unknown. By now, everyone knows the name of the protagonist of Metroid is Samus Aran, and also that she is, in fact, a woman, but how did she get her name?

Kiyotake-san, weren’t you the one who named Samus Aran?

Kiyotake: Yes, I was.

About ten years ago when I did a magazine interview, I heard from Sakamoto-san that you’re a soccer fan and took that name from the real name of Pelé, the King of Football.

Kiyotake: Yeah. (laughs) Even though it may not really be his name…

Yeah, it isn’t. (laughs)

Kiyotake: I thought so. (laughs)

Apparently, you thought Pelé’s real name is Samus Arantes Nascimentos.

Kiyotake: Yeah, yeah, something like that.

But if you look it up, it’s Edson Arantes do Nascimento.

Kiyotake: Yeah, I was totally off! (laughs)

Sakamoto: But Arantes was right. (laughs)

Yes, that much is! (laughs)

Kiyotake: I thought that conjured up the right image, so I used that name.

How did you decide to make Samus Aran a woman?

Sakamoto: Once we entered the final stage of development, we started talking about having different endings depending on how long it took players to clear the game. We wanted to prepare a reward for people who cleared it more quickly.

Kiyotake: We wondered what would surprise everyone and talked about removing Samus’s helmet.

Sakamoto: Then someone said, “It would be a shocker if Samus turned out to be a woman!” And everyone thought that would be interesting and wanted to do it, so we decided it right away.

Kiyotake: Yeah, we decided that in a flash. Back then, people played games over and over, so we wanted to give a reward for playing through quickly. Then we decided to put in four endings, with Samus removing her helmet or her suit and so forth.

As they played, everyone thought Samus was a tough, musclebound guy, but they learned in the end that Samus was a woman.

Sakamoto: People who played it back then were shocked. And even now people talk about it like a kind of legend. (laughs)

The very history of the early days at Nintendo mother-brain.pngis always an intriguing thing to me, as it is just fascinating how things came together, and certain decision led to such magnificent results. How many times were simple decisions or limitations the very things that turned out to be pivotal and most memorable! In Nintendo’s 30+ years in the video game industry, they have created a lot of the most iconic experiences ever, and as time continues to pass, it is wonderful when they take these rare moments to open up just a little bit.

Be sure to take the time to view the entire interview for Metroid here.

Did you enjoy the interview series? Have you been able to get your hands on the NES Classic Edition, yet? Do you know anyone else who has gotten one? Which classic game do you consider your favorite of the 30 games included on the system?

As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!


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Behind the Iconic Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3

Last week, Nintendo introduced a new Interview series marking the launch of the NES Classic Edition globally. The Interview series centers on the development of each of the 30 NES Classic Edition titles, giving us a behind-the-scenes insider look at the making of many of our favorite games. If you’d like to go back to last week’s series entry, feel free to do so. This week, we will get a great look at the Super Mario Bros. game series, specifically the first adventure and the third one, as well.

Mr. Akinori Sao conducted a recent interview with legendary game developers Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka and Koji Kondo. During his interview, he kept in mind that a lot of what could be shared was likely already covered by previous Iwata Asks interviews over the years.

…so Nintendo has already shared a lot of behind-the-scenes anecdotes. For example, the Iwata Asks sessions covering the New Super Mario Bros. Wii game (Volumes 1 & 2) and the 25th anniversary of Super Mario (Volume 5: Original Super Mario Developers) come to mind.

What was shared about these two games, however, was fantastic, to say the least. It was interesting that when Tezuka-san and Kondo-san first joined Nintendo, not only had the Famicom already launched in Japan, but neither of them owned one, either.

Sao: Tezuka-san, you and Kondo-san joined Nintendo in the same year. At that time, the Famicom was already on sale.

Tezuka: That’s right. Nintendo had released the Famicom the year before, in 1983.

Sao: Did you have one?

Tezuka: Um, no. (bluntly)

Sao: (laughs)

Tezuka: I did buy one after joining the company.

Sao: And you, Kondo-san?

Kondo: I didn’t have one either. I played a lot of arcade games though. Donkey Kong<sup>TM</sup>3 was popular at the time I entered the company, so I was playing that as hard as I could.

Sao: What was your impression of the Famicom back then?

Kondo: I liked how you could play arcade games at home.

Tezuka: I didn’t have any knowledge of this thing called the Family Computer (Famicom), so I thought it was like a home computer! (laughs)

Sao: (laughs) When it first came out, I suppose more than a few people had that misunderstanding.

Tezuka: Yeah. It’s hard to believe that someone like me, who was so unknowledgeable, would end up developing games for the Famicom/NES.

Now when it came to the creation of the first entry in the Super Mario Bros. series, Miyamoto-san shared some interesting things about their aim with the game. Super Mario Bros. was meant to be the culmination of all of Nintendo’s cartridge-based games.

Sao: Our topic today is Super Mario Bros. Miyamoto-san, what was your approach toward this game?

Miyamoto: I wanted to make a game that would be the culmination of all NES cartridge games up to that point.

Sao: From the release of the original Famicom until the release of this game—which would go on to become a worldwide hit—it took two years. Did the participation of Tezuka-san and Kondo-san play a big role in making it happen?

Miyamoto: Yes. I was doing design work all on my own, so Tezuka-san’s arrival was a big help. The first game we made together was Devil World.

Sao: In Devil World, players could control a player-character twice as big as in games before it, and Excitebike had a scrolling screen and warping. And all of that accrued technology was at work in the development of Super Mario Bros.

Miyamoto: That’s right. We wanted to pack various technologies into one Famicom cartridge game, like a puzzle. So we ended up making the player character larger, and creating long courses that scroll.

Sao: The Family Computer Disk System came out the next year.

Miyamoto: That’s why I really wanted to make Super Mario Bros. the grand culmination of Famicom/NES cartridges. We had built up a lot of know-how since the release of the console, and the time had come when that would be possible.

Another really neat anecdote from the interview was when Miyamoto-san recounted the story of how power-ups came to be in the game. I thought his reaction to an incorrect report was absolutely hilarious, too.

Sao: Quite a long time ago, a manga magazine had stories about the development of Super Mario Bros.

Miyamoto: Yes, that’s right. (laughs)

Sao: That manga contained an episode in which a bug caused only Mario’s upper half to show when displaying that big Mario, and that’s what gave you the idea for a small Mario.

Miyamoto: That’s absolutely not true. (bluntly)

Sao: (laughs)

Miyamoto: I remember this clearly. Tezuka-san and Nakago-san5 and I were having a meeting, and we had the length of all the courses drawn up on a whiteboard. We were discussing whether there was any way to see farther ahead.

Sao: Mario was big, so you couldn’t see very far?

Miyamoto: Right. We could pull back for a broader view, but then Mario would be smaller. Then Nakago-san said, “Wait a minute. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a small Mario, too?”

Sao: Ah, I see. You introduced a smaller Mario to make it easier to see what’s ahead in the course.

Miyamoto: Yes. And then we decided that you’ll lose a turn when the smaller Mario runs into an enemy, when big Mario runs into an enemy, he would just get smaller. That would be a brand-new game mechanic, and we decided to go with it right away in that meeting.

Sao: So the inspiration didn’t come from a bug as in the manga. (laughs)

Miyamoto: No. (laughs)

Sao: By the way, did you ever consider letting players start the game with the bigger Mario?

Miyamoto: Starting with the small Mario would make players happier when Mario got big later, and it would also give a better impression to players.
(To Tezuka-san) We decided that quickly, right?

Tezuka: Yes.

Miyamoto: And since Mario had gotten bigger, we added “super” to the title to make it Super Mario Bros.

Later, Tezuka-san gave a lot of great information about the development of Super Mario Bros. 3 (probably my all-time favorite NES game). One such bit of information had to do with the development time and why it was taking so long to complete.

Sao: Tezuka-san, did you feel pressure as the director of Super Mario Bros. 3? After all, the original Super Mario Bros. was an incredible hit.

Tezuka: I didn’t feel pressure from the original game so much as I felt like I needed to do a good job. But it wouldn’t come together well and dragged on.

Miyamoto: And Nakago-san got angry. (laughs)

Tezuka: Yeah, he definitely got angry. (laughs)

Sao: What wouldn’t come together?

Tezuka: At first, we were making it with a bird’s-eye view rather than a side view.

Sao: The view was looking down diagonally from overhead rather than directly from the side as in Super Mario Bros.

Tezuka: Yes. But we couldn’t do it well.

Miyamoto: He said he wanted to look from a little above. But in Super Mario Bros. it is important whether Mario’s feet hit the ground or not, even barely. With a diagonal view from slightly overhead, you lost your sense of distance to the ground. So I told him that development would be difficult.

Tezuka: Yeah, it was. (laughs wryly) So partway through development, we switched to a side viewpoint, but there are relics of the bird’s-eye view in the final product.

Miyamoto: Yeah.

Tezuka: Yeah.

Sao: So the development period was a bit long.

Tezuka: Not a bit—a lot!

Miyamoto: We began after Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels in the spring of 1986, and it still wasn’t finished a year later. In the spring of the following year, we were finally able to apply the final polish.

Tezuka: Yes, that’s about right.

Miyamoto: So it took about two years. No…longer. We wanted to release it in spring of 1988, but we couldn’t do that either, so it dragged on for another six months! (laughs)
(To Tezuka-san) Right?

Tezuka: (nods silently)

Sao: So it took two and a half years. What caused such trouble?

Tezuka: Well, we wanted to put in a lot of stuff. There were all these things we wanted to do, but once all the features were placed together, there were a lot of holes that needed to be patched up.

And so, the effort and work definitely went into the creation of both Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3, which cemented the iconic character into the Pop Culture lexicon permanently. Mario is the most recognized character in the world, even surpassing Mickey Mouse. That is amazing, and to think it started as a character whose eyes were too close to his hat.

Again, I did not share all that was given to us in the interview, but if you would like to read the entire interview, feel free to do so.

I look forward to sharing even more entries in this interview series with the developers as they are made available. The process by which these gentlemen created some of the most memorable experiences in history is amazing to behold. The desire to get it right, from the mechanics, art design, and the music are all indicative of the type of game developers that Nintendo became, and still are to this very day, 30+ years later.

Were you aware of the fact that the original Super Mario Bros. was intended to be the last of the cartridge games before moving on to the disk system? Did you know that Mario started as Big Mario before becoming Small Mario…to grow into Big Mario? Did you recognize that there were remnants of the birds-eye view left in the final version of Super Mario Bros. 3?

As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!



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Development Has Not Been Taken Lightly!

Since Nintendo revealed their next home gaming system, now known by its proper name, the Nintendo Switch, we’ve learned that they have no intention of giving any more details about the console until 2017. That means, information that we don’t know, at least definitively, will not be revealed nor will it be confirmed until January, at earliest. We have, however, gotten a little more detail on the system via Nvidia, and it’s quite enlightening.

Shortly after the reveal of the Nintendo Switch, Nvidia finally confirmed that they, indeed, are the processor chip manufacturer for the system. They also shared several other key pieces of information, as well. It appears the folks over at Nvidia are excited that the Nintendo Switch is the ONLY gaming device they are providing their chips for. Leading up to the reveal of the Nintendo Switch, the rumor mill swirled  ferociously especially around which chipset would power the console. Many people found themselves in differing camps, seemingly fighting it out over who was correct on which manufacturer would power the “NX”. Well, that has now finally come to an end, as we have gotten the answer. Of course, there are a few who are disturbed by that realization, but in the end, now is the time to discover the greatness in that partnership between Nintendo and Nvidia.

The first thing to know about the new Nintendo Switch home gaming system: it’s really fun to play. With great graphics, loads of game titles and incredible performance, the Nintendo Switch will provide people with many hours of engaging and interactive gaming entertainment.

Nintendo Switch is powered by the performance of the custom Tegra processor. The high-efficiency scalable processor includes an NVIDIA GPU based on the same architecture as the world’s top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards.

You may remember that some early information coming out about the “NX” was that the console would be using “industry leading chips” and now it appears we know what that means. It really should come as no surprise though, that Nintendo is utilizing custom chips, anyway. They have always used custom chipsets for their hardware. Even when it has been based on existing chipsets, the final product was always something catered to the needs of their hardware.

It should also be noted that Nvidia shared a little more about the Nintendo Switch in their recent blog post. Quite obviously they are going to sound extremely optimistic about their partnership, but their involvement looks to go far beyond providing some silicon and solder for Nintendo to do what they will with it. They are providing much more with this investment, and the amount of work put into the creation of the Nintendo Switch.

The Nintendo Switch’s gaming experience is also supported by fully custom software, including a revamped physics engine, new libraries, advanced game tools and libraries. NVIDIA additionally created new gaming APIs to fully harness this performance. The newest API, NVN, was built specifically to bring lightweight, fast gaming to the masses.

Gameplay is further enhanced by hardware-accelerated video playback and custom software for audio effects and rendering.

We’ve optimized the full suite of hardware and software for gaming and mobile use cases. This includes custom operating system integration with the GPU to increase both performance and efficiency.

NVIDIA gaming technology is integrated into all aspects of the new Nintendo Switch home gaming system, which promises to deliver a great experience to gamers.

Sometimes I think too many people either underestimate Nintendo’s collective understanding of the industry that they have virtually pioneered, and sufficiently thrived in for the last 30+ years now, or they’re just overestimating their own grasp of it. Either way, that’s not a great place to dwell. Far too often we hear people overreact to this news, or that rumor, or even some confirmed move, only to find out how far off their assessment was of the situation. Meanwhile, Nintendo is continually working very hard to be the best at doing what they do best: make incredible experiences designed to elicit smiles from those whom they touch. The amount of work that has gone into the Nintendo Switch is mind-boggling!

But creating a device so fun required some serious engineering. The development encompassed 500 man-years of effort across every facet of creating a new gaming platform: algorithms, computer architecture, system design, system software, APIs, game engines and peripherals. They all had to be rethought and redesigned for Nintendo to deliver the best experience for gamers, whether they’re in the living room or on the move.

So essentially, those people who assume Nintendo kind of stumbled into the Nintendo Switch could not be more wrong. Nintendo and their development partners have put in some obscenely intensive hours to make what could possibly (and hopefully will) turn out to be their very best console ever, both critically and financially! Time will tell, but the most efficient approach for all of us fans/gamers would be to patiently wait for Nintendo to completely pull back the curtain on their new home gaming system.

So what are your thoughts on the additional, albeit limited, details of the Nintendo Switch? Of what has already been revealed, what are your favorite features of the console? What other features do you want to see as part of the system? How well do you anticipate the Nintendo Switch to do from all aspects?


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