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A ridiculously rare copy of Super Mario for NES just sold for over $100,000

Posted by | Gaming, NES, Nintendo, super mario, TC, video games | No Comments

An extra special copy of Super Mario for NES just sold for a mind-boggling $100,150.

Before you go digging through the attic to find your old copy to throw up for auction, you should know: the version in question here is super, super rare.

So what makes it special?

Super Mario has been released and re-released dozens of times in the past three decades. Even if we’re just talking about the original NES cartridge that came in a black box, there were eleven ever-so-slightly-different versions of the box shipped between 1985 and 1994. Some had tabs for hanging them from store shelves; some lacked a trademark symbol or two in the right spots; others had slightly tweaked graphics for the Nintendo “Seal of Quality” on the face.

The very first few runs, though, had a particularly obvious quirk: rather than being shrink-wrapped, they were sealed with just a little black “Nintendo” sticker at the top of the box. These early versions hit just a handful of test markets. Remember, Mario wasn’t a thing at this point — no one really had any idea what this game was about, much less the worldwide icon that Mario would become. So even amongst the super small number of copies that were distributed prior to the game’s wider launch in 1986, most people who got their hands on it wouldn’t think to keep it in pristine condition.

Wata Games, which certified this copy, pins the condition at around 9.4 out of 10. It also says that this copy is the only known “sticker sealed” one still in existence, and that even the sticker itself is somehow in tip-top shape. Wata has a breakdown of the many variations of Super Mario prints and reprints here.

$100,000 is a hefty chunk of change to drop on a game, and a press release from Heritage Auction house says the purchase was actually a joint effort between multiple buyers, including a coin dealer, multiple video game collectors and the founder of the auction house itself.

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Nintendo makes the old new again with Mario, Zelda, Tetris titles for Switch

Posted by | fire emblem, Gadgets, Gaming, Legend of Zelda, Mario Maker, Nintendo, Nintendo Switch, super mario bros, tetris, zelda | No Comments

The afternoon brought an eventful series of announcements from Nintendo in one of its Direct video promos, and 2019 is looking to be a banner year for the Switch. Here’s everything the company announced, from Super Mario Maker 2 to the unexpected remake of Game Boy classic Link’s Awakening.

The stream cold opened with a look at the new Mario Maker, which would honestly be enough announcement for one day. But boy did they have more up their sleeves.

First the actually new stuff:

Shown last but likely to garner the bulk of the internet’s response is the remake of Link’s Awakening, which came out more than a quarter of a century ago on Game Boy. I admit to never finishing this, but I loved the feel of it, so I’m dying to play this new tilt-shifted, perspective-switching 3D version.

Platinum has an intriguing new game called Astral Chain, in which you appear to control two fighters at the same time in some crazy-looking robot(?)-on-robot action. Talent from The Wonderful 101, Bayonetta and Nier: Automata ensure this will be worth keeping an eye on.

The recent trend of battle royale and perhaps the best game ever made, Tetris, combine in Tetris 99, where 100 people simultaneously and competitively drop blocks. It looks bonkers, and it’s free on Switch starting right now.

And on the JRPG tip:

Fire Emblem: Three Houses got a long spot that introduced the main characters, whom you’ll no doubt ally with and/or be betrayed by. Romance is in the air! And arrows.

From the back-to-basics studio that put out I Am Setsuna and Lost Sphear comes Oninaki, an action RPG that looks like a good well-crafted bit of fun, if not particularly original.

Dragon Quest 11 S — an enhanced version of the original hit — and DQ Builders 2 are on their way to Switch later this year, in Fall and July respectively.

Rune Factory 4 Special is another enhanced, remastered classic in a series that I adore (though I wish they’d remaster Frontier). It was also announced that RF5 is in development, so thank God for that.

Final Fantasy VII is coming at the end of March, and Final Fantasy IX is available now. I’m ashamed to say I never played the latter but this is a great opportunity to.

Sidescrollers new and old:

BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! is a new entry in a well-like puzzle platformer series that introduces some new characters and multiplayer. Coming in April.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night got a teaser, but we’ve heard a lot about this Castlevania spiritual sequel already. Just come out!

Yoshi’s Crafted World comes out March 29, but there’s a demo available today.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker gets an update adding multiplayer to its intricate levels, and soon, a paid pack for new ones. I might wait for a combined version but this should be fun.

Miscellaneous but still interesting:

The new Marvel Ultimate Alliance is coming this summer and I can’t wait. The second one was a blast but it came out way too long ago. A good co-op brawler is a natural fit for the Switch, plus being a superhero is fun.

Daemon X Machina, the striking-looking mech combat game, is getting a demo ahead of the summer release. They’re going to incorporate changes and advice from players so if you want to help shape the game, get to it.

Disney Tsum Tsum Festival… I don’t know what this is. But it looks wild.

Deltarune! It’s the sequel-ish to the beloved Undertale, and you can get the first chapter on Switch now. Play Undertale first, or you won’t get the dog jokes.

There were a few more little items here and there, but that’s the gist. Boy am I glad I have a Switch!

You can watch the full Direct here.

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Nintendo is releasing a free battle royale version of Tetris

Posted by | Gaming, Nintendo, TC, tetris | No Comments

It came right in the middle of the Nintendo Direct announcement this afternoon: “99 players… but only one reigns supreme.”

It could be a tagline for just about any of the run-and-gun shoot ’em up battle royale games that are so popular right now, à la Fortnite or Apex. Instead, it’s the tagline for the new… Tetris?

Nintendo only touched on it for about 40 seconds (so details are a bit light), but the company says it’s releasing later today a free-to-play, 99-player version of Tetris called Tetris 99. It’ll be a free download for Nintendo Switch Online members.

It seems to mostly be the Tetris we all know, with a twist: performing particularly well will let you attack other players with garbage, filling their carefully curated rows with a bunch of junk.

No word yet on if you’ll be able to make your blocks Floss or do the Carlton dance.

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Nintendo announces Super Mario Maker 2 for Switch, so goodbye forever

Posted by | Gadgets, Gaming, Mario, Mario Maker, Nintendo, Nintendo Switch | No Comments

Nintendo has ruined my life, and all our lives, by announcing Super Mario Maker 2, the sequel to the level-constructing game on Wii U that produced thousands of devious levels for those who think the “real” games aren’t hard enough. Gamers have been asking for this basically since the Switch was first rumored.

Mario Maker 2 looks like it’s been updated in a number of helpful ways apart from being on a console that will actually be supported long-term. The interface needed some sprucing up for the lower precision players, who will have to use their fingers instead of a stylus on the touchscreen.

No doubt this will be a huge draw for Nintendo’s Switch Online service, which will likely not only allow you to share your levels and try those of others, but — if Nintendo listened to its player base — compete with ghosts and other multiplayer features. Here’s hoping we can build whole worlds, but let’s not get greedy. But we definitely have slopes now!

Honestly, I could play NES and SNES-era Mario games forever on repeat, and the re-releases of other Marios on Switch has made the newer ones even more accessible. Probably between those and Mario Maker I’ll never leave the house again.

Details are truly scant for now except that the game will come out in June of this year, just in time for summer to arrive — and be shut out with blackout curtains so glare doesn’t get on my greasy Switch. I’ll update this post if any new information becomes available.

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Two more bangers for the Switch’s NES selection: Kirby and Super Mario Bros 2

Posted by | Gadgets, Gaming, NES, Nintendo, Nintendo Switch, nintendo switch online, Switch | No Comments

Nostalgia for the NES is high following the success of Nintendo’s classic mini consoles and the launch of its Switch Online service, which just got a couple more great additions to its selection of 8-bit games: Kirby’s Adventure and the immortally weird Super Mario Bros 2.

Kirby had just made his debut on the Game Boy, but the NES follow-up really improved things. Better controls, better graphics, still hard as hell.

Super Mario Bros 2 is remembered as a curiosity, but it deserves more than that. Sure, it’s just an asset swap for Doki Doki Panic, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a fantastic game and you should take this opportunity to play it all the way through.

As long as you’re here, I feel I should also plug the games added a couple weeks back that probably didn’t get the love they deserved, then or 30 years ago.

Blaster Master is one of my favorite games of all time and massively underplayed. It’s an early “Metroidvania,” as we call such things these days, with amazing controls both in the side-scrolling and top-down portions, and a huge, crazy world to explore. This is an absolute classic and anyone who loves the NES should play it — or, if you find the original a bit clumsy, try the recent remake, which was both faithful and added some serious upgrades.

Zelda 2 also got added two weeks ago, and while it definitely has its problems, it’s actually a really compelling game and worthy of the name. But cast aside your associations and just play it as if it’s an old gem — use a walkthrough or VGmaps to help, though, because this game is a real bastard.

So far the selections for NSO have been quite good, and they play well. The service is still extremely barebones even for its paltry asking price, but at least you can’t complain (too much anyway) about the selection of free NES titles. With a few more trickling in every month, the library will soon be quite formidable and I might even start using it instead of my hacked SNES Classic. Especially with the rumor (and near certainty) that SNES games are soon to join their 8-bit cousins.

Nintendo is definitely going through some growing pains with its online service, but I feel that in a year it’ll be up to snuff. They tend to approach everything by first establishing essentials, and then adding bit by bit. No doubt we’ll hear more at GDC and E3 later this year.

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Nintendo to open its first official store located in Japan

Posted by | Asia, Gadgets, Gaming, Japan, Nintendo, Nintendo Tokyo, TC, video games | No Comments

Fourteen years after unveiling its first location in New York, Nintendo is finally opening an official store in Japan, too. Nintendo Tokyo will be located in Shibuya Parco, the new flagship of the Parco department store chain. Nintendo Tokyo is scheduled to open at the same time as the shopping center (autumn 2019).

In an announcement, Nintendo said “we are preparing to make this store, which will be a new base for communicating Nintendo information in Japan, an enjoyable place for a wide range of consumers.” In addition to games, consoles, accessories like amiibo and branded merchandise, Nintendo Tokyo will also host gaming kiosks and events (if the New York store, in Rockefeller Center, is anything to go by, these might include tournaments, demos and launches).

Nintendo recently posted strong third-quarter revenue growth, but also cut its Switch forecast for the year. Sales may pick up again, however, if Nintendo releases a smaller and less expensive version of the console, as Japanese financial publication Nikkei reported it plans to do.

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Nintendo is making Dr. Mario for iOS and Android

Posted by | Gaming, line, Mario, Nintendo, TC | No Comments

Nintendo held off on building smartphone games for years, but now they just can’t stop. They started with a little stumble with the short-lived Miitomo, but then found an audience with Super Mario Run. Then came Fire Emblem Heroes. Then Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and Dragalia Lost.

Next up? Dr. Mario.

Nintendo announced this afternoon that it’s working on a title called Dr. Mario World, built in collaboration with Line (as in the company that makes the Line chat app; they also make Disney’s mobile Tsum Tsum games) and NHN.

The doctor is in! Mario puts on the white coat once again in the mobile game Dr. Mario World, targeting an early summer 2019 global release. #DrMario https://t.co/DTRBympHj0 pic.twitter.com/RfMZbbs3Mp

— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) January 31, 2019

For anyone out there who might be too young to remember Super Mario’s stint as an M.D., Dr. Mario was a falling-tile style game that had the player quickly trying to arrange… pills. To kill viruses.

This was the box art. Nintendo was just like, “Mario is a doctor now,” and everyone was like, “Oh, okay, cool.” It was the ’90s, okay?

Nintendo doesn’t say much about what the game will be like, besides referring to it as an “action puzzle game.” They say it should ship by “early summer” of 2019, and will be free to download (with in-app purchases) on iOS and Android.

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Nintendo rumored to be working on a smaller, cheaper Switch

Posted by | Gaming, Nintendo, Switch, TC | No Comments

Remember when the rumor mill suggested that Nintendo was already working on a sequel to the Switch? Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa shut that down pretty quickly, saying that no successor was in the works.

Now the rumor mill has shifted gears: Rather than a whole new generation, the whispers suggest Nintendo is tinkering with a cheaper, more portable variation of the original.

The rumor stems from a report by Nikkei (Japan’s predominant financial newspaper), later translated by NintendoEverything. According to their translation, Nintendo “has informed multiple suppliers and game development companies that they intend to release them as early as 2019.”

While the Switch is already kinda-sorta portable, it’s also kinda-sorta not. In its handheld mode, it comes in at around 9.4 x 4 inches — the majority of which is made up of a big, oh-so-scratchable and fully exposed screen. Taking it on the road without some sort of hardshell case (which would further bulk things up) is pretty daunting — and then there’s the dock, which you’d need if you want to hook it up to a TV and get the system running at its full potential. You can definitely take it outside of the house, but it’s not quite as portable as, say, a DS.

Nintendo is no stranger to releasing new variations of existing consoles. Game Boy evolved into Game Boy Color. Game Boy Advance picked up a folding form factor and a backlight and became the Game Boy Advance SP. Two years later, they flattened it back out and released the itty-bitty Game Boy Micro. They released the 3DS with its 3D screen, then dropped the 3D for the 2DS, then brought the 3D back and made it huge for the 3DS XL, then completed the chain by dropping the 3D again and making it big with the 2DS XL.

But what would a smaller Switch look like? It’s tough to imagine a Switch with a smaller screen that would still let you pop the Joy-Con controllers on/off; perhaps the controls on a smaller version would be built-in and locked in place, but maintain wireless compatibility with Joy-Cons for multiplayer/motion-sensitive games? Maybe something with some sort of built-in screen cover or protection? Oh, and please, oh please, let there be a better kickstand.

As ArsTechnica points out, there’s also probably some room to be shed in rethinking the Switch’s dock. A smaller Switch would presumably need a different dock anyway — so why not make the dock itself more portable, too? DIY’ers and enthusiasts have been building their own micro docks for years now… and as someone who packs his Switch (dock and all) into a suitcase a dozen times a year, I certainly wouldn’t mind a smaller set.

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Nintendo posts $958M profit but cuts Switch target despite strong Christmas sales

Posted by | Asia, Christmas, Earnings, Gaming, Mario, mario kart, nes classic edition, Nintendo, Super Mario Party, super smash bros, Wii U | No Comments

Nintendo has cut its ambitious annual Switch sales forecast despite enjoying a strong Christmas Q3 quarter.

The Japanese games giant recorded a 104.21 billion JPY ($958 million) net profit on revenue of 608.39 billion JPY ($5.59 billion) between October and December 2018. Revenue was up 26 percent year-on-year, which is an impressive feature given that quarter was a successful one for Nintendo, yielding its biggest operating profit in a Q3 for eight years.

The Nintendo Switch is now closing down on lifetime sales of the N64. Nintendo shifted a record 9.41 million consoles during the three-month period, up 30 percent annually, to take it to 14.49 million this financial year, which began in April 2018. However, despite a success last quarter, likely helped in no small amount by Christmas, Nintendo has trimmed its ambitious goal to sell 20 million Switch units this financial year. Instead, the target is 17 million, which means it is estimating around 2.5 million sales during January, February and March.

In terms of games, a bunch of new releases performed well in the last quarter. Pokémon: Let’s Go sold million titles since its November release, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate sold 12.08 million since its December launch and Super Mario Party, released in October, reached 5.3 million sales. Total game sales jumped by 101 percent to reach 94.64 million sales during the period.

Nintendo’s retro consoles — the NES Classic and Super NES Classic — sold 5.83 million. But there is bad news for Nintendo loyalists, the upcoming Mario Kart Tour mobile game won’t ship in March — its revised launch date is this summer.

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Nintendo’s Mario Kart mobile game won’t launch until the summer

Posted by | Apps, Asia, Entertainment, Gaming, iPhone, Mario, mario kart, Mobile, Nintendo, shigeru miyamoto, TC | No Comments

It’s been a long year for Nintendo fans waiting on Mario Kart Tour to come to mobile and, unfortunately, more patience is required after the game’s launch was moved back to this summer.

Nintendo announced plans to bring the much-loved franchise to smartphones one year ago. It was originally slated to launch by the end of March 2019, but the Japanese games giant said today it is pushing that date back to summer 2019.

The key passage sits within Nintendo’s latest earnings report, released today, which explains that additional time is needed “to improve [the] quality of the application and expand the content offerings after launch.”

The checkered flag has been raised and the finish line is near. A new mobile application is now in development: Mario Kart Tour! #MarioKartTour Releasing in the fiscal year ending in March 2019. pic.twitter.com/8GIyR7ZM4z

— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) February 1, 2018

It’s frustrating but, as The Verge points out, you can refer to a famous Nintendo phrase if you are seeking comfort.

Shigeru Miyamoto, who created the Mario and Zelda franchises, once remarked that “a delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.”

There’s plenty riding on the title — excuse the pun. Super Mario Run, the company’s first major game for the iPhone, showed its most popular IP has the potential to be a success on mobile, even though Mario required a $9.99 payment to go beyond the limited demo version. Mario Kart is the most successful Switch title to date, so it figures that it can be a huge smash on mobile if delivered in the right way.

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