Friday, July 20, 2018

Breath of the Wild x Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate

After today's release of the Breath of the Wild DLC for Mario Kart 8, we're getting yet another Breath of the Wild themed crossover DLC for a game on Nintendo Switch: Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate. You can watch the trailer on Youtube.

They are putting Breath of the Wild in everything! It's that popular! This isn't the first crossover content for a Monster Hunter game with Zelda and like the others it won't make me play that series, but it's certainly a cool feature for everyone, who likes to play it. I especially like the Korok Felynes. Not as crazy as the Cat Link ones, but still funny.

Breath of the Wild x Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

We just recently talked about the possibilities of updates and DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (here) and this morning already came the nice surprise of some free DLC additions via 1.6.0 update. And look at that, it's even more Zelda contents...!

It's Link from Breath of the Wild, together with the Master Cycle Zero, the Ancient Tires, and the Paraglider. Besides this being essentially a re-skin of existing content, the attention to detail is quite nice. Breath of the Wild Link even got his own symbol, which is the Sheikah Eye. He's using an Guardian Sword++ instead of the Master Sword and they even incorporated some Sheikah Slate menu sounds.

It's also remarkable how things went back and forth here. Link's Master Cycle originated in Mario Kart 8, then made its way as DLC into Breath of the Wild as the Master Cycle Zero, which now gets featured in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Luckily, I already own the game, because I won a copy in a raffle on I could also borrow a Nintendo Switch from someone, where I was able to try the update this morning already.

And the Master Cycle Zero is awesome, yet again! Normally, I don't like bikes, because for me they handle awkwardly with the inward drifting. This includes the original Master Cycle, where I never really got to use it. But the Master Cycle Zero has an outward drift, like most normal karts do, so I like it quite a lot. I might even "main" the Master Cycle Zero, whenever I'll complete the game for myself.


Future Content Updates?

It would be nice, if they kept supporting Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with free updates from time to time with even more additional content. Mario Kart 8 had the Mercedes Benz crossover for that, but more Nintendo contents probably would be more exciting for the fans. Here are some ideas:

  • Princess Zelda from Breath of the Wild
  • Captain Falcon
  • Kong Family Pack with Diddy, Dixie, Cranky and Funky
  • More returning racers
  • New Retro Battle Courses: N64 Block Fort and Wii Funky Stadium
  • A New Donk City Battle Course

Princess Zelda from Breath of the Wild feels like a must-have addition at this point. She would suit the game quite well in her normal outfit and she would certainly have fun trying the Master Cycle Zero herself. It would be a great fit.

Another important guest racer, who is still missing, would be Captain Falcon. He already has his own kart (the Blue Falcon) and two courses, so all it would need now is the Captain himself to complete this masterful crossover between Mario Kart 8 and F-Zero.

But... it would also mess up the current character select screen. Wild Link and Link were implemented as variants of the same character (like the Villager or the different colored Yoshis), which makes sense, but Zelda or Captain Falcon would really need their own slots, which doesn't fit the current roster in any way.

To make new characters fit nicely, they would need to add at least six of them. And this brings me back to one of my previous DLC ideas: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze x Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. I originally envisioned this as a free DLC outing, where you would get four additional racers from the Kong family: Diddy, Dixie, Cranky, and Funky. Maybe also add some old DK karts like the Barrel Train, but this mostly about the characters.

Other than Diddy and Funky Kong, there are even more potential racers, which they could bring back from past Mario games: Birdo, Wiggler, the Honey Queen or even Petey Piranha. So, there's lots of potential here to fill another row or column of the character select screen, even without the Kongs.

I wouldn't expect any new cups or any other crossovers (like Kirby) as free DLC, however. That would be in the paid DLC category, where Nintendo might not want to go that route.

But the new Battle Mode is certainly something which they could expand on all fronts. Two, four, or even more Battle Courses and maybe even a new game type would be possible additions. Block Fort and Funky Stadium would already be two great returning courses, where the latter could go hand in hand with a "Donkey Kong Country x Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" update. For new courses they could do something based on Super Mario Odyssey, like a New Donk City Battle Course. People sure would love that.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Vanpool Planned a Tingle Horror Game

In an interview with Kotaku about Dillon's Dead-Heat Breakers and the Dillon franchise, producer Kensuke Tanabe mentioned the following:

Looking back eight years ago, we were developing a horror game with Vanpool that starred Tingle as the main character, but that project was canceled due to a variety of reasons.

Based on the slingshot controls from Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love, they then came up with a game about an armadillo and moved on from there. And the Tingle series is history now.

But this Tingle horror game could have been interesting. Vanpool was essentially creating a "Tingle Trilogy", where each game was placed in a different genre. The Zelda-esque Action Adventure Rosy Rupeeland with terrible gambling mechanics, the Point-and-Click Adventure Balloon Trip of Love with a quirky dating sim and finally a Tingle horror game, probably with some mechanic to calm haunting spirits or something. I would love to see this, after Balloon Trip of Love was rather disappointing.

The lack of success of the Tingle series probably was one of the main reasons, why this project was canceled. Another problem could have been the fact that Luigi's Mansion is a thing, where a Tingle horror game probably would gone in a similar direction.

Still, another Tingle game probably would have gotten more attention than Dillon. Speaking of, I could still see Dillon happening as a fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, even if it's just to increase the awareness about his games. But it's more likely that he will be stuck forever in Assist Trophy hell together with Tingle...

Monday, July 16, 2018

Creating a Champion Special Editions Announced

Dark Horse will release The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Master Works, the big artbook for Breath of the Wild, in the west under the title "Creating a Champion". This has been known for a while, but like with Arts & Artifacts and Zelda Encyclopedia there will also be releasing Special Editions of this book. Two of them, in fact. They really must know and love, how Zelda fans keep buying all those collectibles.

Well, unlike the previous books, this one isn't part of some trilogy. So, I might consider getting one of these editions, where I like the "Hero's Edition" best:

It all looks really nice in the Champion Blue and this even comes with a couple of extras, like a map, the photo of the Champions and a glass Spirit Orb. I really like it.

I don't like the other edition as much, the "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Create a Calamity Artbook Champions Edition – Summer Convention Exclusive 2018" Edition... That's a long title, if I ever saw one. It will be North American GameStop exclusive, so probably hard to come by anyway.

It comes with a wall tapestry, the Champion symbols as pins, several prints and more. But as I said, I like the "Hero's Edition" best and will hopefully be able to get one.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: DLC Dos & Don'ts

In general I'm a friend of DLC, as long as the pricing is reasonable and it keeps the game alive for a while, without changing the game to the worse. But... Nintendo rarely ever pulled this off so far. A positive example is probably Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U, where the extra courses, racers and kart parts were certainly a good addition for a good price. Sometimes Nintendo even supports a title with new contents for free, like ARMS.

But there are also bad examples, where Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS & Wii U is probably one of the front-runners. It was severely overpriced, where purchasing all the fighters and stages already costs you about as much as one of the games. And we're talking only about seven additional fighters and seven/eight additional stages, a small portion of what the games have to offer. If you were to purchase all of the Mii Fighter Costumes as well, all contents for both versions, you would pay well over a $100...

While there are other games out there, who charge you as much and more for cosmetics items, it feels out of place for Nintendo standards with DLC. The available bundles don't even offer any discounts, which is unusual for Nintendo as well. It's all money that's better saved for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which most likely will offer you all of the DLC contents and much more.

To this day I haven't gotten all of the DLC yet. I got Mewtwo for free, because I owned both versions of the game, and then I only purchased Bayonetta and the two Zelda stages, because that's the stuff that I really wanted. Later on I also got Ryu, Lucas and Corrin, as well as the Dream Land (64) stage out of interest or nostalgia, but I've never gotten the rest of the fighters and stages. And certainly not any of the Mii costume stuff.

And I hope that I won't be as hesitant with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Of course we're talking hypothetically here, because it's apparently not decided yet whether the game will get DLC or not, which would be a good thing, if it were true. You want DLC to be expansions, not cut content. But Smash is a money maker and they will certainly offer some DLC, even if it's just to promote some recent games on Switch, like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 or Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

Ideally, the DLC will take a note from Mario Kart or Hyrule Warriors. Instead of selling the contents primarily each on their own, there should be real DLC packs, where stuff like Mii costumes, alt costumes and new songs are a bonus. The real meat are the new fighters and stages, which may as well be bundled for a fair price. And for those, who want it all anyway, there should be a "Season Pass" to purchase all packs upfront.

Some free DLC here there is also always considered as a nice gesture. The 3DS and Wii U games got a free stage each (Duck Hunt on the 3DS and Miiverse on the Wii U), which was better than nothing, but not overly exciting. Echo Fighters could potentially be good free DLC material, because they are essentially just new versions of existing characters in the game.

But it's more likely that Nintendo will just keep doing with what they kept doing on 3DS and Wii U... Together with amiibo it's their way of making as much money with Smash as possible.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Stage Builder Ideas

When it comes to the modes and extras of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate other than the "Smash" mode, I only really care for one thing. Not Classic Mode, not All-Stars, not "Break the Targets", not an Adventure Mode and certainly not Smash Run or Smash Tour... But the Stage Builder!

It used to be my favorite feature in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where I've spent many hours with building my own stages. It wasn't available in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS at all and it felt kind of lackluster in the Wii U version. The free-shape drawing was nice-to-have but rarely produced good results, while this came at the cost of many of the old stage parts and features.

Ideally, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will also have the "ultimate" Stage Builder by combining both versions. There is already a good reason to bring the pre-defined floors back and that is the lack of any touchscreen input in the Switch's docked mode. The free-shape drawing wouldn't work here at all and only would be accessible in the system's handheld mode, which is rather inconvenient. This might even be a reason, why Super Mario Maker hasn't appeared on Nintendo Switch yet.

In addition, it would be nice to have all of the old crazy features back, like drop blocks, ice blocks, conveyor belts, ice floors and ladders, even if you could make broken stages with them in the original. I don't care, I want all the goodness.

What both Stage Builders lacked, however, was a greater selection of backgrounds. The one in Brawl had three and the one on the Wii U had five, which never really helped with the diversity. The Stage Builders gave you access to all the music in the game, but why not all the backgrounds as well? Each stage now has Battlefield and Omega version, which requires them to have simpler, fixed backgrounds, which you could use in the Stage Builder... There would be over a hundred of different backgrounds to use! Imagine doing you own versions of Hyrule Castle, Skyloft or Norfair. It would be amazing!

So, I have high hopes for this feature, where I only can be disappointed... But let's see.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - DLC Ideas

Takahashi on Twitter announced that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will be getting more updates in the future. The game did already get a couple of updates to patch things and to add support for new amiibo, video capture, Chinese and Korean languages, as well as Nintendo Labo.

So, when Takahashi says that it will get more updates in the future, it will probably be something along these lines, for example additional features for the new Nintendo Switch Online service.

The best case scenario would probably be some updates with smaller free DLC contents, like they did with the "Mario Kart 8 x Mercedenz Benz promotion" for the Wii U version of the game. Just with hopefully some cooler content.

But if we dream big, the game certainly has lots and lots of potential for additional DLC. I really enjoyed the Wii U game and certainly thought that the DLC was worth its money, but where they could have done so much more.

With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate coming, I also fantasized, how a "Mario Kart Ultimate" based on Mario Kart 8 probably would look like. Of course with not even a fifth of all possible retro courses available in Mario Kart 8, it would be tons of work to cover even half of it still. But you could always add more fan favorites, like N64 Kalimari Desert or NDS Airship Fortress.

And at least the game already has the majority of racers already available, where only few ones would be missing, many of them being quite obscure and large, like Wiggler, Honey Queen and Petey Piranha. This isn't counting the Arcade games, where you had Pac-Man and many other guest characters.

Anyway, I also had two major ideas for additional Mario Kart 8 DLC Packs, which I wanted to present here for the fun of it...

Donkey Kong Country x Mario Kart 8

  • Diddy Kong, Funky Kong, Dixie Kong and Cranky Kong
  • New vehicle parts, including the DK Jumbo and Barrel Train
  • Bongo Cup, includes GCN DK Mountain and a course based on Tropical Freeze
  • 2 new Battle Mode course: Wii Funky Stadium and New Donk City

With Mario Kart 8 you had these promotional images, where you could see all the Koopalings driving next to each other or all the differently colored Yoshis. And I had the vision that they would do the same for the Kong family, where they could bring back both Diddy Kong and Funky Kong, while adding both Dixie and Cranky Kong. This way all the Kongs from Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze would be playable in Mario Kart 8 as well.

For the same pack it also makes sense to bring back some past DK contents in Mario Kart games, like courses or vehicle parts. I chose the DK Jumbo, Barrel Train, DK Mountain and Funky Stadium, because they felt like the most prominent ones. Other possibilities would be the Rambi Rider, Wildlife, N64 DK's Jungle Parkway, NDS DK Pass and Wii DK Summit.

I originally imagined this as a free DLC update for the Wii U, which only had the four new racers and maybe some kart parts. But of course there is the potential for more additions in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, especially with the Battle Mode.

Kirby x Mario Kart 8

  • Kirby, King Dedede and Birdo
  • New vehicle parts
  • Dream Cup, includes NDS Waluigi Pinball and a Dream Land course
  • 2 new Battle Mode courses, including N64 Block Fort

For Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS & Wii U they had this trailer, where Kirby landed on the Rainbow Road and then was surrounded by Mario Kart racers. When I first saw this, I thought that they would add Kirby to Mario Kart 8 via additional DLC... And this idea sticked around. Coming from another Nintendo Jump'n'Run series, he would match the Mario Kart aesthetics and fit in rather well, certainly a lot more than Link.

Birdo is probably one of the more popular characters still missing in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, besides Diddy Kong, so he/she/it sneaks in with this pack as well. In addition, I felt like Block Fort is a must have for any Battle Mode, while Waluigi Pinball would be a good course for the gravity feature. Since Kirby had a pinball game with Kirby's Pinball Land on the GameBoy, including this course in the "Dream Cup" would also be a nod to that.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Lady Maud Design Concept Art

While skipping through Hyrule Encyclopedia, I noticed something interesting. They put some concept art for the character Lady Maud from Tri Force Heroes on page 307, which I hadn't seen before:

Wow! Look at that sexy witch! I wish that they would have gone with that design, instead of the old fashion hag. It would have been so much better for the character.

If I had to rank all Zelda villains, Lady Maud would be rock bottom. With a giant margin between her and whoever might be second-to-last. She is an absolute joke character and you can't take her seriously at all, where she made a silly story even sillier, instead of posing as an actual threat.

Now, if they had used a femme fatale like the young witch in the above concept art, it would have been so much interesting. She could have been an actual rival to Princess Styla, where she wants to be the most beautiful girl in all the lands, similar to the Queen in Snow White, just that the above witch would have actual potential with her youth and beauty.

Plus, the Zelda series could have used a villain like that. We have Cia in Hyrule Warriors, but that's not canon, while I would have been looking forward to playing as Maud in the next installment, if she were anything like in the above concept art... Who would like to play as the actual Lady Maud, which made it into the final game? I bet no one!

Well, too bad...

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Zelda Encyclopedia: Errors, Oddities and Contradictions

What a book! I've spent the majority of this Saturday's afternoon with sitting on my balcony, skipping through the The Legend of Zelda: Encyclopedia, probably the most extensive work in Dark Horse's Goddess Collection. Much like Arts & Artifacts provided an amazing visual journey through the entire Zelda series prior to Breath of the Wild, it's nice to have this comprehensive collection of information about all the games in the old timelines with Encyclopedia.

I do enjoy having this clean cut created by the 30th Anniversary of Zelda, where everything was coming together once again in these books, before Breath of the Wild created a massive milestone afterwards, essentially starting a new era for Zelda. Well, Breath of the Wild is so expansive, it probably could fill its own book, where there's actually one with Master Works, which will be released in English later this year, also by Dark Horse.

That being said, with a book of this size (328 pages full of information), it is prone to errors. And while it bothers me to have small translation errors here and there, I'm more angered by the fact that the original writers "added their own interpretations and expanded upon the games' stories" seemingly without any supervision. This effectively makes this whole book "non-canon", as thorough as it might have been researched.

Some of these "own interpretations" feel like cheap fan theories, which shouldn't be part of such a book. With Hyrule Historia I was overall fine with what they had established as "facts", but the Encyclopedia went a little bit too far and might even contradict the games at times. I guess, I have to let to sink some of the information in, but here are some larger things of notice:

Oracle of Seasons & Ages in the Timeline

The changed / fixed the timeline placement of Oracles of Seasons & Ages to their own era after Link's Awakening. This is completely fine and it really can go either way. The ending of the Oracle games made it look like they were a prequel to Link's Awakening, where Link sets off in a boat that resembles the one from the intro, where he gets stranded on Koholint. And since Link's Awakening was always said to be a direct sequel to A Link to the Past, Hyrule Historia placed the Oracle games between the two classics.

But, this was always a controversy... Link and Zelda in the Oracle games looks much younger than in A Link to the Past, following the games' main artworks. And when Link and Zelda meet, the dialogues make it sound like they meet for the first time, with Zelda introducing herself. So, this never added up and it's probably a good thing that this was now changed in hindsight.

However, the English version states on page 19 that the hero in the Oracle games is the same one as from A Link to the Past... Which doesn't make any sense at all. Why would they put the games AFTER Link's Awakening, where Link's fate originally always was unknown, if not to make this a story of a new Link? But as far as I know, this is a translation mistake in the English version and the Japanese version states the opposite.

All the timeline diagrams also always put a gap between Link's Awakening and the Oracle games, which symbolizes a jump between different eras, which makes it quite clear that this is supposed to be a new Link and a new Zelda.

Termina Vanished

The Encyclopedia explains that Termina was created by Majora's Mask from the mind of the Skull Kid and that it ceased to exist, after the Hero left... Which doesn't seem to be the case in the game, because we saw the people celebrating, after Link had left. We also saw the Deku Butler mourning for his son in what should have been a part of the Lost Woods... But apparently it was all just another Koholint.

It feels like Nintendo just wanted to shut up the fans asking for another game taking place in Termina, but this kind of kills the mystery surrounding these lands... It does explain, how both Link and the Happy Mask Salesman disappear into thin air at the end of the game. But the thought that you can find your way to Termina through the Lost Woods was always exciting.

Geographical Guesses

Other than the fact that Termina apparently doesn't exist, the book also some controversies about Hyrule and the countries surrounding it.

It treats both Holodrum and Labrynna as some "parallel worlds", while we know that both Zelda and Impa travelled there from Hyrule. Characters from the Oracle games also travel between the two lands, so everything should be connected somehow, but not according to the Encyclopedia...

It doesn't get better with Hytopia, where the book downright states that it lies north of Hyrule, a fact that's coming out of nowhere and has no evidence whatsoever. To make things worse, it formulates the theory that the Northern Hyrule from Zelda II - The Adventure of Link might be, where Hytopia is located, because the people there are so "fashionable". What...?!

At least it acknowledges the fact that the southwest corner of the map from Zelda II is supposed to be the old Hyrule from the first game. But it then tries to make sense out of things by placing the first Hyrule at the foot of Death Mountain from A Link to the Past... I guess, you can see it that way and the Graveyard location does match, but it doesn't explain, how there's suddenly an ocean to the southeast.

So, the book tries to connect similar areas from different eras, where some of these connections are quite questionable. Another example would be Dragon Roost Island, where every fan would have guessed that this is actually Death Mountain from Ocarina of Time. But, no, apparently it's Zora's Fountain, simply because the Zora evolved into the Rito...

If they wanted to theorize about connections like that, they could have used the "Lost Woods" in Oracle of Seasons, where you can find the Master Sword in a Linked Game, as an indication that Holodrum is a neighboring country of Hyrule, instead of deeming it as some parallel world like Lorule.

The Noble Master Four Sword

Apropos Master Sword in the Oracle games... Now, this never made any sense and the Encyclopedia explains it with the Noble Sword receiving the Master Sword's powers. But this doesn't make any sense either, because you never upgrade the Noble Sword, you always get a new sword. And in one case you can even find the Noble or Master Sword on a pedestal in Holodrum's Lost Wood, which is very reminiscent of how you find the Master Sword in A Link to the Past...

At the same time the book states that you can "swap" the Four Sword in Four Swords with the Master Sword by unlocking it in A Link to the Past (page 131)... In reality the Four Sword gains a sword beam akin to the Master Sword, but it doesn't become the Master Sword. The unlockable ability is simply called "Master Sword", but you don't wield the Master Sword in the game. But apparently no one told this the the authors of this book...

Here it would have been correct to say that the Four Sword gained the powers of the Master Sword. The ingame icon for the ability even clearly shows the Four Sword shooting a sword beam, not the Master Sword.

The Dungeon List

The Encyclopedia comes with an extensive "Database" section, where they have a list of "all" the dungeons from all the games. But this one feels rather inconsistent. For starters, they've listed both the Pyramid of Power and the "Mountain Cave" as dungeons in A Link to the Past. Why?

You would think that they are simply being thorough, but it's really an exception. It doesn't list the Maku Path from Oracle of Ages, for example, which at least has a dungeon map screen and is certainly more of a dungeon than some normal caves. How's the "Mountain Cave" any different from other cave complexes in other Zelda games?

In Link's Awakening they list the Southern Face Shrine as a dungeon (that's three rooms), but not the Dream Shrine (that's four rooms). It also doesn't feature the Royal Crypt from The Minish Cap, even though that's an excellent mini-dungeon.

With mini-dungeons it seems to be quite a picky list overall, not featuring the optional ones from the N64 games. It does have the Cave of Ordeals and Cave of Shadows from Twilight Princess, but not the Savage Labyrinth from the Wind Waker, even though those are effectively the same dungeon concepts in the same size.

It lists the "Dark Realm" as a dungeon from Spirit Tracks (it's really not a dungeon, it's just Pac-Man rail tracks), but not the Lost at Sea Station dungeon, which was a huge homage to the Ocean King Temple.

It lists all 32 levels from Tri Force Heroes, plus the Den of Trials, but it doesn't have the Realm of Memories, nor the Hero's Trial from the Four Swords Anniversary Edition. Which leads us to the following point...

Four Swords Anniversary Edition as a Side Note

While the book goes thoroughly through all retail releases of the Zelda series, the enhanced digital-only release of Four Swords for the 25th Anniversary apparently isn't even "canon". It got put on the same page as the BS-X Zelda games, Link's Crossbow Training and the Twilight Princess Picross...

The book is mentioning that this new release has levels based on three past Zelda games, but it doesn't give a name and doesn't mention the Hero's Trial in any form, as if this never existed. It feels like the writers never got to play this version of the game and decided not to bother with it at all. Very disappointing. It would have been nice to read some explanations for both these areas or to at least have their existence acknowledged somehow.

"Minor" Mistakes

While I haven't read everything yet, I've noticed some obvious errors here and there (this list will be updated):

  • The timeline page (11) claims that Ganon was part of the story from Four Swords, probably confusing things with Four Swords Adventures. Again, did the authors even play these games? Probably not.
  • The Lorule pages (32 and 33) have a caption "Life in Hyrule", despite showing villagers wearing monster masks in Lorule.
  • The Item Database lists the "Piece of Power" from Link's Awakening as a "Critical" (= main quest reward) item, while it's just a "Consumable" power-up. Someone probably confused it for the Triforce of Power here.
  • ...

Friday, July 6, 2018

Got Zelda Encyclopedia

There it is. Dark Horse's Goddess Collection Trilogy is finally complete and the three books, Hyrule Historia, Arts & Artifacts and Encyclopedia, look very nicely next to each other. Points for consistency! This is also the main reason, why I didn't get the Deluxe Edition, though I liked the normal design better anyway.

But they certainly look nice together in a shelf.

Sadly, Aria Tanner (also known as GlitterBerri) isn't amongst the translators this time. She did a good job with Hyrule Historia and it was always good to know to have an actual fan standing behind the translation.

Anyway, I heard mixed things about the contents already. While the books look very consistent, the contents are not, retconning details from Hyrule Historia's timeline or making up details that sound like but fan theories. Yeah, no...

I will take a look at the book and share some thoughts later on!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Minecraft New 2DS XL Announced

Nintendo 2DS looking like a Creeper

Nintendo really wants you to buy a New Nintendo 2DS XL, it seems. Like the Hylian Shield Edition, the "Creeper Edition" is looking really nice.

I used to be a big Minecraft fan back in the day. It was my most played game between 2012 and 2014 and I don't think any other "modern" game came as close to the iconic cult status of Nintendo as Minecraft did. And the Creeper is surely a front face for that.

But the main reason, why I'm posting this, is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate! Such a cooperation makes it even more likely that there might some Minecraft representation in the game, like a stage. I would absolutely love to battle as Link or Samus in the Minecraft world, this would be truly amazing.

Of course there could be more than just that. "Steve" is an often suggested character and the potential is certainly there with the different Minecraft tools and weapons. He could use sword, bow or the pickaxe. He could fire Enderpearls for his Up Special and drop certain blocks as his Down Special. His Final Smash could involve lots of Dynamite or summoning a Wither.

Additionally, the Creeper would be a perfect candidate for an Assist Trophy, who chases one of your opponents and then goes "boom". There is so much potential with Minecraft in Smash, where I can only hope that this will be happening.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Nintendo 3DS Successor?

According to Nintendo's new president, Shuntaro Furukawa, they are considering the possibilities for a successor to the Nintendo 3DS (source). Well, this is only natural and it doesn't necessarily mean that there will be one. There are some pro and cons to this and I can see Nintendo's dilemma.

With the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U we had the issue of both systems cannibalizing each other with many similar games. As Zelda-fans we could basically be happy to have had completely unique experiences on both systems, but otherwise this was a big problem.

And the Nintendo Switch seemed like a solution: combine both handheld and home console in one system, where Nintendo can focus all their efforts, instead of dividing them. and if you can play games like Breath of the Wild on the go and on the big screen alike, why would you even want to invest in a dedicated handheld system? Well, the president says it himself:

The 3DS has certain advantages over the Switch such as ease of purchase and the like.

A major aspect, why Nintendo even might consider a Nintendo 3DS successor at this point, is the kids market, where the Switch might be out of touch. Nintendo 2DS systems were cheap and robust, perfect for younger players. The games were really not that cheap, though. And the kids market heavily shifted towards mobile devices with their simple touch controls and large amounts of free games. Six year olds get a Smartphone for their first day at school these days, not GameBoys.

And Nintendo is already targeting this market with mobile games like Super Mario Run and Mario Kart Tour. Of course the goal here is create awareness for Nintendo's own gaming devices, where you get the big Mario experiences with Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch. A solution might be offering a cheaper handheld-only version of the Switch later in its life time.

But the Nintendo 3DS still has another advantage, which the Switch doesn't have: its dual screen approach, where you can always use a touchscreen for input. You can't use the Switch's touchscreen in its docked mode, so there can't be any games relying on the touchscreen. While many Wii U titles successfully got ported to the Switch, most of them didn't require the touchscreen in the original. But there are games like Super Mario Maker, which really rely on that, where it's currently doubtful whether they get ported or not. And you also have this big library of Nintendo DS and 3DS games, where some games might simply not work on Switch at all.

Well, to be fair, a big part of the games didn't make much use of the two screens anyway. Mostly the second screen was just there for maps and inventories. This is even the case with all the Zelda titles, besides the occasional two-screen boss fight in the two Nintendo DS outings. But even these two games could effectively be ported to Smartphones, if Nintendo ever wanted to bring them back...

And this might even be, what Nintendo's 3DS successor could look like - a Smartphone, where you can attach a controller to play all kinds of games in the Nintendo DS style. You could use it like a normal phone and play some touch-only titles or you could use the controller for more advanced games.

It's not the most revolutionary idea, but it would successfully target today's kids market, while keeping the dual screen approach (as one big screen). They could even offer backwards compatibility to the Nintendo 3DS library, while offering remakes/remasters of the most popular Nintendo DS games. Of course Nintendo would need to partner up with some established Smartphone producer, because you wouldn't want them to produce their own phone UI, where it would be too limited to be a success.

But for now it would certainly be the best, if Nintendo focuses on the Switch and tries to become more familiar with today's mobile market at first.