Let the Games Begin!

The annual event that most North American gamers look forward to, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is just around the corner, and it looks like Nintendo is more than ready to deliver an amazing and unique experience this year. Invitational Tournaments are going to take over the show, and fans at home will have a front-row seat for all of the action.

This year’s E3 promises to showcase several Invitational player tournaments, and the excitement can’t get higher. Not only has Nintendo announced there will be the Nintendo Spotlight, showcasing new details on the upcoming gaming landscape for the company, but there will be a Treehouse Live presentation to follow, that will allow us to see many of the games featured in the Spotlight in game play action. In addition, they will treat observers to a display of the competitive nature of many of the games that are bringing so much life to the Nintendo Switch. Splatoon 2, ARMS, and Pokkén Tournament each have their own Invitational Tournament where competitors will go head to head live during the show to see who will come out victorious.

Tournaments
Name: 2017 Splatoon 2 World Inkling Invitational
Date: Tuesday, June 13
Time: 2:30 p.m. PT*
Details: For the first time ever, competitors from four different global regions will compete for world dominance in Splatoon 2. The four-person teams – from the United States, Japan, Europe and Australia/New Zealand – defeated their local rivals and gained the chance to take on competitors at E3.
Format: Teams will battle in a round-robin Turf War tournament that will decide seeding for the next round. All teams will play one another and get a chance to scope out their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. In the next round, teams will battle in the game’s Ranked Battle modes, in addition to Turf War. The semifinal stage will be a best-of-five battle, while the championship will be best-of-seven
Prize: The winning team will win global bragging rights and its members will have their names engraved on a sweet Splatoon 2 trophy.
Casters: Jordan Kent, Ashley Esqueda and Nintendo of America’s Eric Smith

Name: 2017 Pokkén Tournament DX Invitational
Date: Wednesday, June 14
Time: 10:30 a.m. PT*
Competitors: Eight YouTube and Twitch stars
Format: Crew battle with four teams and two players per team. Random draft order. The first person in each crew must choose one of the new characters; the other person can choose one of the original characters.
Prize: Winners will each receive a Pokkén Tournament DX art piece signed by Tsunekazu Ishihara, president and CEO of The Pokémon Company, and members of the development team.
Casters: Jordan Kent, D1 and VikkiKitty

Name: 2017 ARMS Open Invitational
Date: Wednesday, June 14
Time: 3:30 p.m. PT*
Competitors: Four professional competitive fighting game players (Alex “CaliPower” Valle, Kelsy “SuperGirlKels” Medeiros, Daniel “Tafokints” Lee and Marie-Laure “Kayane” Norindr) will take on four E3 attendees who rise to the top by competing in Nintendo’s booth.
Format: Single-elimination
Prize: The coveted 2017 ARMS Open Invitational Belt
Casters: Jordan Kent, D1 and VikkiKitty

It is utterly exciting to see Nintendo continue to embrace their competitive roots when it comes to their games and the esports landscape. Over two years ago, Triforce Johnson was often quoted as saying that through his observations, Nintendo was positioning themselves to seriously move back into the esports and competitive scene with many more of their games, beyond the Super Smash Bros. franchise. Shortly after that, Nintendo announced their Nintendo World Championships event at E3 2015. Now, more and more, we are seeing the company embrace their competitive gaming roots.

Splatoon 2 and ARMS are games that lend themselves perfectly to tournaments, and E3 is an ideal venue to bring people together to compete,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “These friendly tournaments will highlight the fun, competitive nature of these games and the Nintendo Switch hardware for people at home and on the show floor.”

One staple that has grown to be a major fan-favorite that started at an E3 event and has returned for several key events, is the Treehouse Live presentation. This is where we fans tuning in to Nintendo’s E3 presence from home get the opportunity to get a lot of the insight into Nintendo, and of course, what they have to offer us in the coming days and months. That is why I am thoroughly excited about what we will get the opportunity to experience next week!

Nintendo Treehouse: Live at E3
What: Members of Nintendo’s Treehouse will once again delve into the details of the Nintendo Switch console and games for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, including Super Mario Odyssey and Pokkén Tournament DX. Viewers will get an in-depth look at gameplay and hear behind-the-scenes details about Nintendo’s lineup for E3.
When: On Tuesday, June 13, the show starts right after the Nintendo Spotlight: E3 2017 presentation about 9:30 a.m. PT. On Wednesday and Thursday, June 14-15, the show starts about 10 a.m. PT.*
Who: Treehouse members, as well as developers and other game experts, including Tsunekazu Ishihara, president and CEO of The Pokémon Company. Ishihara and development team members will talk about the upcoming Pokkén Tournament DX game for Nintendo Switch.

Will you be tuning in live next week for any/all of the Nintendo E3 2017 festivities? Which event are you looking forward to most (aside from the Nintendo Spotlight, of course)?

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


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The Start of Something Special

Thursday, March 17, 2016 marked the day that Nintendo NY opened up the doors and welcomed players and spectators alike for a Pokkén Tournament Early Access competition. 16 competitors faced off in the new game that released today, and two winners were crowned, one each from the two divisions (Senior – born from 2001 and later, and Master – born 2000 and earlier).

The tournament was streamed live on Nintendo’s media channels and the competition was fierce from start to finish. The event lasted for just over 4:30 hours, but it was great to watch all of the contestants battle it out to see who would eventually be crowned champion. Nintendo of America also live-tweeted the event throughout, so a lot of the details were made available for those unable to watch live.

The first competition saw the Senior Division competitors’ Quarterfinals rounds take place which set up an incredible slate of Semifinalists.

From there, we saw the competition move on to the Masters Division which was structured in the same manner. That Semifinals bracket was as such:

Afterward, the exhibition tourney between all of the trainers took place. The winner of that competition was Trainer Justin Wong.

From that point forward, it was all about the Seniors and Masters Divisions’ Semifinals and Finals, respectively. Squaring off in the Finals were the young competitors, Wayland and Cayden. Their battle was epic, and even came down the the final deciding round of the final game of a best 3 out of 5 games Final. There was even the drama of the winner having to come from behind to win after being down 2 games to 1 early.

The Masters competed at a very frenzied pace, and all of the competitors really put on an incredible show. The Finals came down to a battle between Jeffrey and Tevin, and a tough battle, it was.

This competition was so exciting to watch, especially as it went on and got more intense. Watching the competitors play this game, even as it is still very new, really did create an excessive level of anticipation for me, and I am sure it did the same for many other viewers, as well. I highly recommend picking the game up if it was even remotely on your radar. The game play was described, on site, as a mix of several different fighting games, but still with  a style all its own.

Are you excited to play Pokkén Tournament? Were you able to watch the competition yesterday? Will you be picking it up today? Or have you already picked it up? Who do you think will be your favorite Pokémon to play with?

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

And if you’d like to watch the competition once again, or even for the first time, feel free to check it out below:


 

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Nintendo Direct – My Reactions Pt. 1

Friday evening, Nintendo globally broadcast their newest Nintendo Direct, and it was absolutely full of information for both the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS systems. They even managed to sprinkle in a couple tidbits about Nintendo Account, My Nintendo and Miitomo, as well.

What I will be sharing in this entry is my not-so-live reactions to the Direct. Hopefully, in the spirit of this blog, we can add perspective for you, the reader. I look forward to breaking it all down.

The North American Direct was primarily hosted by Bill Trinen, and the structure was set so that the presentation was front-loaded with all of the Wii U news, followed by the 3DS news. This being the first full Direct since November of last year, it was greatly anticipated and my opinion is it delivered well. Learning my lesson from the Pokémon Direct “leaks”, I was sure to stay away from any prior information that sprang up in the roughly 24 hours between the Direct announcement and its airing. That decision proved to be a very fruitful one, as I was able to coldly (and thoroughly) enjoy the presentation.

So now, let’s get into it…

The Direct started out with the recentlyStarFox Guard 3 much-discussed StarFox Zero, Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto shared the news that so many people have been wanting to hear, and it was that the game is “finally READY!” Not only did Miyamoto-san show off some new game features like alternate routes and 2-player local multi-player, but also amiibo support. There was also never-before-seen footage of Fortuna, a new stage. He also shared the now-finished “Project Guard” is now named StarFox Guard. StarFox Guard will be available along with StarFox Zero at launch, as a pack-in for the physical version, and digitally, separately or even bundled together for the same price as the physical version. The game will be released on April 22.

Next, we learned of some upcoming updates for Splatoon that will be coming starting next week, March 8. A few details were given, but I will be sure to keep you informed on their individual cases.

After that, we got a trailer for the upcoming Mario and Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and I have to say, I am really looking forward to this game. I haven’t really gotten into any of these before, but for some reason, I am getting a Track n’ Field vibe from this game, with prettier visuals, and I loved playing that game on the NES. It looks to be a set of full events versus being a collection of “mini-games” which is much more appealing. I look forward to seeing more of this one coming up on the June 24 release. There will also be a 3DS release of the game on March 18, so stay tuned for more on that, as well.

Then Nintendo shared several new updates coming to Super Mario Maker, adding new elements for offline and online courses. This update will be available on March 9.

tokyo-mirage-sessions-feWe then got the latest information on the long-awaited Western release of Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, now named Tokyo Mirage Sessions #(sharp) FE. We also learned that localization will bring the game to North America with the original voice-over intact with English-translations subtitled. From its initial video reveal months ago, this game has given the appeal of a big time anime, and does so even more with the subs over dubs. We can finally expect this game’s release on June 24.

Then we got more information on the free-to-play Bandai-Namco title, Lost Revers. In the game, we will team up with others online to solve puzzles, acquire treasure, and fight zombies to complete multiple stages. We will soon be able to gain access to the Open Beta on April 14, and the full version on April 28.

Next was the announcement of the new Paper Mario Color Splash.jpgPaper Mario game for Wii U. The existence of this previously unannounced game came to light through an Emily Rodgers-leaked set of tweets from about a month ago. The new Wii U Paper Mario game is titled Paper Mario: Color Splash in which players are tasked with stopping the color drain and revitalizing the land with their color hammer. I actually have not had much experience with the Paper Mario series, and this one coming available to the Wii U is quite fortuitous! I am truly excited to take it for a spin and see what it is all about. Besides that, the game play that was shown looked amazing. No concrete release date was given beyond 2016, but likely it will be somewhat soon, as the focus of the Direct was to be through the Summer.

Pokken Tournament was then shown off, and it looks to be a fantastic game on its own accord. The game play looks to be that of a fighting game, but definitely flowing with a Pokémon flair. Early adopters will also be rewarded with a special bonus amiibo card of Shadow Mewtwo will come the first production run of the physical copies of the game.

These things along with a reminder of the release of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD nearly rounded out the Direct in regards to Wii U.minis-logo.png There was just the announcement of the free-to-download, Mini Mario & Friends amiibo Challenge which is for both Wii U and 3DS, beginning March 25 for early-access with the purchase of any amiibo figure at any participating retailer. It will also be available for free download for everyone else April 28. So, if you already have the needed figures, it will be available to you, then.

As the Nintendo Direct continued, our analysis will also…within the next couple days. The Wii U news was plenty, and shows a lot will be arriving for the system in the next few months before the inevitable transition to the NeXt system. Interestingly, as I was anticipating a great number of fantastic surprises, mainly because we have been so short on news lately, but aside from just a couple things, the surprises were not many. That did not bother me, though. I know that the big blowout of news is coming very soon, so I can be patient, especially since the company needs to ensure they don’t cannibalize their existing projects.

Watching this Nintendo Direct really allowed me to see what they were doing for the Wii U and really appreciate it without any type of baggage to hinder my opinions. I consciously avoided any types of spoilers, and in doing so actually ended up avoiding even the “prediction” videos, as well. I know the natural course for many people in the community is to take a seat on the hype train immediately after the announcement of a Direct, but by staying off it this time, I was able to manage my own expectations, guesses and discipline my own disappointment. Thankfully, I really did not have any, because honestly I only expected to gain information, not hope to confirm any.

My intention is to cover the rest of the information for this Direct in the next entry. That obviously means the 3DS info, as well as the other elements that were covered. For now though, I can appreciate what the company did in regards to this Direct. For Wii U owners who may have “worried” about the release schedule for 2016, in lieu of the impending NX release, I believe their concerns should be settled. The number of releases coming in the next few months just for Wii U, along with the handful of titles we still already know to be coming in the second half, makes this final full year for the Wii U an attention-filled year. Nintendo will not be accused of abandoning the Wii U in its final year much like they were accused during the wind-down of the Wii generation.

If you have not had the pleasure of watching the Nintendo Direct, feel free to check it out below. The first half is what I covered above, and the second half will be covered in the next installment.

How did you enjoy the Direct? Do you agree with my assessment? Were anticipating anything more from this Direct?

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


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Pokkén is Coming!

One of the most anticipated new games for Wii U in 2016 has received a release date, and it’s coming soon.

Pokkén Tournament, the upcoming game that lets players battle as prized Pokémon in fighting arenas, will launch exclusively for Wii U on March 18 at a suggested retail price of $59.99. Pokkén Tournament brings high-definition game play and over-the-top action to never-before-seen battles between some of the most recognizable Pokémon characters. People that buy the first production run version of the game will also receive a special Shadow Mewtwo amiibo card, which can be tapped to the Wii U GamePad controller to unlock the Shadow Mewtwo playable character in the game.

The first glimpses of this game during a Pokémon presentation created an absolute fervor for this game, even before its official announcement. A few simple images sparked speculation that later turned out to be Pokkén Tournament, which started out as an arcade game in Japan, and is now a Wii U-exclusive coming in a couple of months.

Is Pokkén Tournament one of your most anticipated games of 2016? Will you be picking it up when it launches in March? How big do you think it can actually be–compared to other fighters on the market?

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


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Weekend Review–What’s Going On? (5)

This past week has been a very heavy information-laden week. We got booked, we were updated, we completed the hack, were notified of a fest, got new Nindie news, got a mega-Maker info dump, opened up to new heights, and began a new round of tests.

Nintendo gave fans word that the full color Idea Book that comes with the retail copies of Super Mario Maker would also be available to all digital customers, as well. This was a welcome revelation, as many people wondered if the Idea Book would be available, and in which form it would be.

This week there was also a quick system update for the Wii U. The update was only to remove the Nintendo TVii icons from the menus and to boost system stability. In all likelihood we are past anymore major system updates for the Wii U going forward. I could be wrong, but if we are indeed closing in on the launch of a new platform, we should be finished with major updates. Of course, those don’t include stability updates and such.

Nintendo of America released all three videos that showcased the Facebook Hackathon event that took place last month at Facebook HQ. Videos one and two were released prior to this Weekend Review, and video three will be available in this blog later today. Be sure to check them all out.

The good scientists from the Squid Research Lab informed us that there will be another Splatfest in North America next week. This time the theme will be Transformers, and the sides will of course, Autobots vs. Decepticons. They also informed us of a new map in Splatoon that became available Thursday evening. This new map is called Flounder Heights, and the praise for it has already begun to pour in from players.

There was also quite a bit of Nindie news, as Nintendo of America will be hosting a Nindies@Night event the night before PAX Prime begins. There were also new screenshots of Oddworld: New & Tasty released to keep the fans attention. We were also reassured that the game is coming very soon for the Wii U.

Super Mario Maker also saw a flood of new information as many gaming media outlets were finally permitted to share full game footage, and they certainly took advantage. We were able to get a look at the multiple title screens, see many of the tools available in the game, hear many of the sound effects, and even see some of the amiibo transformations.

Then, there was also the announcement of a new Splatoon Testfire for the weekend. Two hours per day from Friday through Sunday, anyone who has not had the pleasure of picking up Splatoon yet, can participate in a FREE weekend with the game during the allotted time with the Testfire event.

All of this week’s Nintendo information was vast and very welcome! The more information we get about highly anticipated and soon-coming games, as well as improvements and updates to current ones, the better it is for us.This generation of gaming for Nintendo fans is continually impressing more and more.

As more of the week came to an end, there was even more information that came out.

It appears that more amiibo restocks are amiibo Checkliston the way, as Nintendo’s compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act filings have listed new entries for previously released amiibo. Several rare amiibo like Little Mac, Lucario, Captian Falcon, Wario, and the Splatoon amiibo 3-pack are among the filings. This is surely great news for the amiibo collectors among us, and for those who just wanted to get their hands on these particular amiibo. Either way, it’s incredible to see Nintendo responding to the demand.

In addition to that, during the Pokemon Championships, it was announced that Pokken Tournament will not only be launching globally in the Spring of 2016, but it will be coming to Wii U. Many people have been anticipating this news since the very first glimpse of screenshot was seen a couple years ago during the announcement for Pokemon X/Y.

Remember this?

The announcement trailer for Pokken Tournament is below:

Then there was also the discovery of a New Nintendo Patent - No Optical Drivenew patent filing by Nintendo of a stationary gaming device that does not house an optical disc drive. Now, the rumor mill is churning out its usual wares, so many people are speculating on the range of this device being the NX to this being a somewhat down-scaled Wii U alternative console; sort of a Wii U Mini. I won’t go very much into my own thoughts on it yet, but I may weigh in on it once I have had the chance to look more into it myself.

Enough news, updates, and information to keep you occupied for the weekend, I’m sure. So, with that I hope you have enjoyed this Weekend Review.

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


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