Ryu and Roy Join The Super Smash Bros. Fracas

Super Smash Bros.Super Smash Bros. is getting another pair of combatants in the form of Ryu from Street Fighter and Roy from Fire Emblem. The news of the pairs addition had been leaked yesterday after the update was mistakenly made available and introduction videos were mined out of the information. This also stands in line with a leak in April after theme songs were found in a 3DS update to Super Smash Bros. Ryu and Roy are available now in the form of DLC for both the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game.

Nintendo made the announcement as part of a Super Smash Bros. related video that they uploaded as part of their constant stream of E3 related coverage. Ryu is making his Smash debut while Roy is returning after his lone appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Ryu’s moveset will be updated to the more simplistic Smash controls and he will surely have his Hadoken and Shoryuken in his arsenal. Roy’s flame sword will return as he joins the crowded sword-based fighters of the Fire Emblem series.

Ryu will also be receiving a Smash remixed version of his classic Suzaku Castle stage along with remixed music based on his theme as well as the theme of his lifelong friend and rival Ken.

The update also includes a slew of costumes to the customizable Mii Fighters including Mega Man, Isabelle from Animal Crossing, Splatoon’s Inklings and Heihachi Mishima from Tekken.

Roy and the previously announced Lucas are available now for $3.99 each or for $4.99 each for versions on both the Wii U and 3DS. Ryu will be packaged with his Suzaku Castle stage and will be priced at $5.99 for a single version or $6.99 for both versions.

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Nintendo Just Doesn’t Care

Wave 4 AmiiboI should really stop complaining about Nintendo. Nintendo is, after all, my first love in video games. I grew up playing the NES, games like Battletoads, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Jackal were my jam. The first console I ever purchased was a Super Nintendo to the tune of $150, which is a ton of money for a 10-year-old (my parents agreed to split the costs if I saved). I have the music to Super Mario Land on the Game Boy forever in my head.

So it is out of place of adoration that I am so incredibly disappointed and infuriated by Nintendo’s consistent ability to simply not get it.

Sure, this Amiibo debacle has rapidly spiraled to the point of PR disaster for Nintendo. There’s the timed release, the retail exclusives, the instantly sold out preorders, the impossibility of finding a “rare” figure in store, the reseller’s markup of at least 4-5 times the MSRP. But really, it’s not about that. I get the feeling that Nintendo just doesn’t care.

Here they are, sitting on a gold mine of a product, and they are not only refusing to produce enough to meet the demand, Nintendo has consistently and defiantly refused to acknowledge a problem exists. When GameStop’s online store crashed due to Amiibo hungry customers bombarding the website, Nintendo’s response was to retweet GameStop’s announcement of the crash.

When prodded by throngs of upset fans and questioned by the press, Nintendo has stuck to their script of silence, refusing to comment on a situation they know is volatile. Ultimately it is an argument that they can’t win, because they’ve already made their decision and there is no point in reiterating their stance. They have no interest in fully supporting Amiibos.

They have created these nifty little toys, that are basically little tricks that games can utilize. But they are no where near the level of interactivity of Activision’s Skylanders or Disney’s Infinity characters. Those figures actually insert the figures into the game, with the purpose of building around their particular worlds. Skylanders has you training these creatures ala Pokemon and Disney Infinity has the endless possibilities of the Toybox.

Nintendo’s Amiibos? Unlockable skins and the ability to train a character in Super Smash Bros. Skylanders and Infinity have a dangerous hook built into their system, the figures are required to add them into the game. If I want to have the Sorcer’s Apprentice Mickey in my Infinity, I need to buy that figure. The same does not hold true for Amiibos.

For all intensive purposes, all the features of the game are baked in from the onset. Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS have all their base characters already present inside, the additional function of the Amiibo is storing your trained AI combatant. While certainly an intriguing feature for all those back-alley underground Amiibo fight leagues out there, the feature doesn’t actually bring anything to the game. So the fact that Nintendo is touting their expansion capabilities with their toys-to-game figures, they have kind of missed the point.

Sure, Project S.T.E.A.M. can add the Fire Emblem characters into the game, but you’d have to be one of the lucky few to have gotten a hold of any of the Fire Emblem Amiibos, notoriously the hardest to come by due to the supply shortage. Beyond the ability to add little things here and there, I get the feeling that Nintendo’s plan of action regarding Amiibos was never fully fleshed out to begin with.

There is a certain disconnect when it comes to Nintendo and understanding their modern fanbase. It is a fanbase that, while fiercely loyal, is notably stingy when it comes to their collections. Fire Emblem had long been clamored for a western release and over the past decade Nintendo has slowly made that a reality. Fire Emblem: Awakening’s massive success should have been a sign to Nintendo that they have something special on their hands, something that clearly their most dedicated fans want more of. Of course the Fire Emblem Amiibos, already the most popular of the Super Smash Bros. characters, would be the first to sell out.

And what does Nintendo do? They sit quietly in their suits while their social media campaigns don’t even mention the insanity occurring beneath them.

Maybe that’s the truth of it. Whatever the fans shout about is beneath Nintendo. They are more interested in making a guaranteed dollar than actually listening to their fan base. Let’s face it. We all know that the Amiibo craze is ridiculous. Nintendo knows it by not supporting it in terms of physical content and in terms of actual software support. They could be doing so much more with the product by building a world where the figures could actually thrive, but they are way too conservative a company to let an outsider control their IPs.

Nintendo fans know how crazy it is by lining up in GameStops across the country with the hopes of snagging the maybe 1 or 2 rare figures a store might be allotted. Fans will overpay from scalpers, import from foreign countries and cry about the lack of support until they’re blue in the face.

All while Nintendo sits on their hands.

The sad thing is, I would still do anything for a Lucina Amiibo.

I’m Amiibo-Mad and Not In a Good Way

Lucina AmiiboToday marked the beginning of the chaos for Wave 4 of Nintendo’s Amiibo figures. With many of the main-line characters already receiving figures, the new waves of figures are proving to be more of a fight to get at due to their smaller numbers and perceived smaller fanbases.

So, in anticipation of this, I went out to a local GameStop in attempts to lock up a Lucina Amiibo figure, probably the only one I really wanted. As I walked through the doors as the store opened, the clerk informed me that their system was getting hammered by people trying to order the figures. She attempted to place the order for me but was blocked by her system (which was tied into the same online logjam) informing her that the stock was already sold through.

Living in Hawaii certainly has its perks, but not this time. Clearly being on the bad end of nationwide stock count puts my odds at next to nothing when it comes to reserving limited stock items. I chatted with the clerk, who was sympathetic as she wanted to purchase these things as well, but couldn’t since she was alone. I suggested to her that the a better approach would to have stock allocated by region that preorders can pull from. This would allow customers on the west coast to arrive at their prospective brick and mortars, make their reservations and go about their day. I had read about customers in the Pacific and Mountain time zones who were just as unlucky as me.

And in a day and age where online preorders are decimating the supply chain? Count that as a separate region as well, with its own supply. Once the brick and mortar preorders slow down, release those preorders to the online stock and open pre orders there.

Ultimately, the goal of a company like GameStop should be to drive customers into their stores, versus fighting a losing battle on their website. They already don’t have the greatest of web presences in the world and their draw is to get people into their store and looking at the plethora of games they have to offer.

At this point I am not out of the woods yet in regards to finding a Lucina Amiibo, there are other retailers who might have stock when Wave 4 releases in late May. So I will keep trying until I get one. Heck, I might even be willing trade this silly Gold Mario Amiibo that I somehow got in exchange for a Lucina.

The Legend of Zelda Wii U Will Miss 2015

The Legend of Zelda on Wii UThose hoping to see The Legend of Zelda on Wii U this year are in for a wait as Nintendo is no longer targeting a 2015 release. Confirmed in an announcement by series producer Eiji Aonuma, The Legend of Zelda on Wii U will miss its originally projected release window in 2015.

Aonuma’s message was very consistent with what major Nintendo releases have shown in the past, citing an effort to truly explore the possibilities that the game possesses. Rather than tethering the development team to a deadline that could ultimately harm the end product, a delay makes the most sense in allowing the next The Legend of Zelda to flourish.

“As I have watched our development progress, I have come to think that rather than work with meeting a specific schedule as our main objective, and releasing a game that reflects only what we can create within that scheduled time, I feel strongly that our focus should be to bring all these ideas to life in a way that will make The Legend of Zelda on Wii U the best game it can possibly be.” – Eiji Aonuma, The Legend of Zelda Producer

Delays to The Legend of Zelda are nothing new for the franchise as Kotaku pointed out, with Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker and Twilight Princess all being delayed prior to release. Even Skyward Sword had a long development time with Nintendo remaining quiet on its release through 2010, only to have the game release in 2011. The delays have largely been positive for the games as even the weaker entries into the franchise have still been standout games.

The Legend of Zelda on Wii U on paper appears to be the most ambitious title in the franchise to date with focus shifting to a less linear, open world narrative with an emphasis on exploration. I have a ton of faith in Aonuma and his staff as Nintendo has yet to ship a bad Zelda game in some time.

Club Nintendo’s End Around the Corner

Club NintendoA friendly reminder to those sitting on registration codes for Nintendo products that Club Nintendo’s last day to earn points is Tuesday, March 31. For those doing the math, that is roughly a week before Nintendo no longer accepts registrations and surveys. The last date to redeem earned coins will be June 30, 2015.

As Nintendo is closing the doors to its Club Nintendo rewards program, users are recommended to use those points to get up to the program’s Gold and Platinum statuses. Although Nintendo is planning to create a successor to their popular rewards program, they have not announced what the program will be and how it will differ from Club Nintendo’s format. Nintendo has also phased out older registration codes, rendering many old DS and Wii titles worthless when it comes to earning reward points. Only the very popular titles remain from their older systems.

Sending off Club Nintendo with a bang, Nintendo is offering some of their better rewards in recent years with coin redemption for dozens of digital download games for the Wii, DSi, Wii U and 3DS systems. Paired with a stronger than usual physical selection of goods, including some nice Legend of Zelda themed items, they certainly have made the prospect of burning those coins a little easier. I personally have my eye on the Legend of Zelda 3DS pouch as well as a digital copy of Star Fox 64 3D, though I doubt I will earn enough coins in a week.

In the past, Nintendo has offered free rewards to those who hit Gold and Platinum levels. While they have yet to announce if those rewards are still in play, I suspect that they will remain true to their word, before Club Nintendo rides off into the sunset.

Hopefully Club Nintendo’s successor will have better integration with their online store as much of Nintendo’s activity lately seems to indicate their desire to finally implement a universal account system. Maybe Club Nintendo Mk. 2 will have built in registration to systems registered to users and all that is needed to be done is fill out surveys and subscribe to a few email lists. After all, it is just bonus goods.

Club Nintendo – Important Information on Club Nintendo Program Discontinuation

Report: Nintendo & Netflix to Produce Legend of Zelda Live Action Series

The Legend of ZeldaThe Wall Street Journal reported today that Nintendo and Netflix are in the early stages of developing a live action adaptation of iconic franchise The Legend of Zelda.

Details of the rumor are thin at best basically describing the recurring plot of The Legend of Zelda games: a young warrior named Link must rescue the captured Princess Zelda and save the kingdom of Hyrule. It is reported that Netflix is working closely with Nintendo and is currently looking for writers to handle the adaptation from game to episodic series.

Nintendo has been particularly protective over their IPs in recent decades, likely stemming from several mishaps involving third parties who took Nintendo properties and failed to deliver quality products. There was the notoriously bad Philips CD-I title Wand of Gamelon which was one of Nintendo’s and the infamously bad Super Mario Bros. live action film in 1993. The Legend of Zelda had a short lived ’80s animated series as well which I enjoyed, but what would I know, I was seven.

If the rumor turns out to be true, it does hold water with things that Nintendo guru and Mario creator Shigero Miyamoto has said. Miyamoto said that he enjoyed creating last year’s Pikmin shorts and would like to explore more focused storytelling projects, in addition to the games he already produces.

Netflix has found a great deal of success producing their own shows for their streaming service. Shows like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and even the last season of Arrested Development have all been good exclusives for the service to carry.

I am hesitant to get excited for the project because it is being billed as a family-oriented Game of Thrones. To me, that screams of corporate speak for fantasy, swords and magic, sans gratuitous sex scenes. If any Nintendo property has the chance at being taken seriously it is The Legend of Zelda, I just hope audiences can connect to a lead that doesn’t speak.

WSJ Speakeasy – Netflix and Nintendo developing a live-action Legend of Zelda TV show