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The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes Gets a Release Date

Early Tuesday during Gamescom Nintendo announced that Zelda’s latest iteration of the franchise, Tri Force Heroes, will release on the 3DS October 23, 2015.

The game was originally announced at E3 2015, but it wasn’t until now that a release date was unveiled.

This new action-adventure dungeon crawler will have a greater emphasis on multiplayer contrary to most previous Zelda games.

Tri Force Heroes offers the ability for three players to play simultaneously online in order to solve numerous puzzles throughout the game. The most noteworthy aspect of the multiple characters is their distinct abilities that differ depending on which outfit is being worn. Each outfit has a specific boost that can be swapped for another in the game world.

Although the focus is on a three-person multiplayer, a single player option is also available.

Nintendo has also confirmed Tri Frorce Heroes will not have Amiibo support.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is one of many games that Nintendo will be pushing to make up for the downward-sliding sales figures that the company has been experiencing as of late.

N3DS_TLOZ-TriForceHeroes_illustration_04.0.0 kn14escjwh7qrljswc34 legend-zelda-triforce-heroes-01

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The Inkredible World of Splatoon

Let's get messy.
Let’s get messy.

Splatoon is the Wii U’s first foray into the genre of Team Shooter’s. Although it has it’s faults, Splatoon is a wonderfully chaotic game that offers new game mechanics in a genre that has become over-saturated by post-apocalyptic tropes and ultra real graphics. Deep in it’s pools of ink, there is an addicting, surprisingly intricate multiplayer shooter.

Inkredible
Inkredible

Splatoon is a gorgeous game. The bright colors and superb lighting do an incredible job of immersing you in a world of gooey greatness. The ink effects are reminiscent to Super Mario Sunshine’s use of goop, while the skateboard/punk culture of Splatoon is similar to the style of Jet Set Radio for the Dreamcast. It successfully blends the two but gives the game an indefinable look that is entirely its own.

No Squidding around.
No Squidding around.

Rather than eliminating your opponent, the objective of the game is to claim as much of the map in your ink while simultaneously defending your area from rivals looking to do the same. This is where Splatoon shines, as the Wii U’s HD capability is put to full use as you drench the arena in your glorious ink. The single player campaign is short, but it offers a solid 6-8 play through, although it tends to feel repetitive.

Online battles are 4v4 3 minute matches of colorful chaos. As soon as the match begins, your squid-like characters begin to spray the arena in a mad frenzy. Although battles are only 3 minutes, the action never ceases. The frantic spraying and squirting will keep you coming back in your attempt to dominate the arena. The introduction of your Squidling is an excellent addition to the shooter genre as it allows you to move around in the ink in your squid form, rather then the usual fare of running around looking for opponents.

The influence of Super Mario Sunshine can be seen throughout the game.
The influence of Super Mario Sunshine can be seen throughout the game.

Splatoon is a breath of fresh air within the shooter genre. It may not have the cutting edge graphics of a modern Call of Duty or the grittiness of Fallout (Both are great games), however, Splatoon has heart. The gorgeous colors, the upbeat music, and the addicting game play is a testament to not only the Wii U’s potential, but to Nintendo’s philosophy that great game play makes a great game.

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Monster Hunter 4 sets franchise milestone | One million units shipped

Monster Hunter 4 is leading the franchise to new successes in the West.
Monster Hunter 4 is leading the franchise to new successes in the West.

Capcom’s Monster Hunter 4 set a new franchise record as the fastest selling Monster Hunter game in North America and Europe. The action-RPG has sold a combined one million units between retail and digital sales since its initial release just two months ago (February 13) on the Nintendo 3DS.

Not only has the game now become the fastest selling Monster Hunter in the west, it is also the holder of the highest Metascore of any game in the franchise. The combination of quality gameplay and the new multiplayer experience on portable systems has been greatly received by fans and critics alike.

As a token of appreciation, the developer has elected to offer a free Nintendo 3DS Monster Hunter styled-theme. The custom theme will be available for download in May.

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LEGO Dimensions to release September 29

Warner Bros has finally announced the release date of the highly anticipated real-life to virtual-world LEGO experience — LEGO Dimensions.

Starting September 29, LEGO will be releasing a starter pack that will include the game disc for one of several platforms, the LEGO gateway itself, and three characters: Gandalf (Lord of the Rings), Batman (DC), and Wyldstyle (LEGO Movie). This package will also include a miniature LEGO batmobile.

This pack will be listed at a reasonable $99.99 USD and it has been confirmed by Warner Home Video Games that the LEGO gateway and game disc will be compatible with future expansion packs for years to come.

LEGO-Dimensions-page3-package_1128x492_0

Above is an example of some of the first team, level, and fun packs that will be released to be used with the LEGO gateway.

LEGO has been able to team up with a wide variety of brands to create a diverse, imaginative opportunity for its users.

Up to date the brands include,

  • Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit (Middle Earth)
  • DC Comics (Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman)
  • The LEGO Movie
  • 
Back to the Future
  • The Wizard of OZ
  • Ninjago

LEGO Dimensions will surely be featuring more brands in the future as they look to expand on the unique and imaginative atmosphere Dimensions gives its audience.

Stay tuned to Pixelpine for more LEGO Dimensions news.

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The Evolutionary history of video games: Impact on America

As an industry that has grossed roughly $20 billion on a yearly basis for almost the entirety of the last decade[1] video games have come a long way over its sixty-year-long lifespan and the impact it has on Western culture is still growing rapidly today. After having to hurdle obstacles and other impediments, the progression of video games, and the value of the medium as an art, has begun a steady incline after the leveling of a helter-skelter history where “gaming” was seen as near-detrimental to the quality of American society. The anti-video game allegations throughout the 1990s and early 2000s marked as a major transitioning phase — and by the start of the 2010s, a major milestone — as the video game medium struggled to find its place as a validated form of regular entertainment.

Ralph Baer, father of video games, unfortunately passed away in 2014.
Ralph Baer, father of video games, unfortunately passed away in 2014.

It’s important to consider how the exact inception of video games back in the 1960s impacted the way they would be viewed by the people that were privileged enough to be the first to experience the first manipulation of a television picture. That begins with Ralph Baer, and the primarily science-oriented audience that witnessed firsthand the first major pillar of video games that everything has spawned from.

Relative to what the majority of people envision when thinking of video games, Ralph Baer’s work is extremely simple. The interaction was so basic that many would not even recognize it as a video game upon the initial look at the display of the early 60s. To most the concept was an interesting niche, and that mindset stayed that way for quite some time.

Most had not considered what Baer’s work would entail half a century later.

The majority of people who did take the initial dive into the home console market did not consider the first home console to be a revolutionary technology. The 1966 Magnavox console’s “gameplay” encompassed one to three on-screen white boxes that could be maneuvered around screen. Those who wanted to play would overlay a transparent plastic screen in front of the television display that the console was connected to.

The Magnvox Odyssey was the first home-video game console
The Magnvox Odyssey was the first home-video game console

To most people it was little more than a glorified electronic board-game entertainment device, but Baer understood the potential for it to expand beyond that, and in the following years soon after the ball began to roll on the creation of gaming. The public was largely apathetic towards the up and coming technology.[2] The Odyssey was generally promoted as a fun learning device for kids, and was even considered a great tool for its educational purposes potential. The early advertisements promoted the home system as a “total play and learning experience for all ages.” However, it was the bonafide “geeks” of the time — especially in colleges and universities across North America — that had their interest piqued in seeing these ideas that Ralph Baer brought forth expanded upon.

While the 1960s may have been the catalyst for the industry to begin moving forward, the 1970s were truly the time where the American public began to slowly take a minor interest in the hobby. The quality of video games began to explode as the technological limitations were lifted[3] and the first popular game, Pong, was released. Made by Atari and more specifically attributed to Atari’s founder, Nolan Bushnell, Pong was the first game to bring structured multi-person gameplay that was easy to play, but challenging to master. This attitude helped video games flourish as those who played the game immediately looked to compete with whoever they played against.

atari 1
Pong was the result of a fortunate glitch while programming, that prevented each paddle from fully scrolling up and down.

Because of the refined structure in games, the general consensus towards them began to explode in popularity. In the late 1970s video games’ prevalence in arcades skyrocketed with kids and teenagers heading to them in droves with small communities surrounding each local arcade. This expansion of gaming from scientists and computer techs, to a much larger and younger demographic begins the first public support for gaming.

For a moment, it seemed that the support that the industry had gotten would be an immense blessing, but in reality it was a curse lurking underneath. The first and second generation of video games (1970-1977; 1977-1983) introduced some of the most iconic games of all time. Games like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Frogger, and many more created immense buzz in the market on home consoles like the Atari 2600. Profits were exploding, but very soon the market became saturated just as the news media was beginning its first somewhat respectable coverage towards the medium.

Competition had grown fast between game publishers, and investors saw the video game business as an untapped gold-mine with everyone suddenly heading there at once.  Business executives in charge of publishing the games didn’t fully understand what creating a game required and simply demanded as many games to be released as they could get. These absurd demand requests hindered developers with stringent time schedules. Most game makers were no longer able to find the time to make something unique or interesting and instead recreated old games but with slightly different styles and concepts. After a short time of massive improvements with seemingly every game’s release being better than the last, consumers quickly noticed when the quality nose-dived and the entire industry was on the verge of total collapse.

Most major news-media outlets had concluded that the North American Video Game Crash of 1983 was the end of a fad[4]; the end of a simple phase in American culture. For a few years they were right. Outside of the local arcades, home video game consoles were on a dramatic decline, and representation of gaming was fittingly non-existent. However, in 1985 a relatively new Japanese company, Nintendo, had nearly single-handedly saved the entire industry and began a rebirth of video games in the United States.

One of the biggest keys to this rebirth was just a single game character that is now intrinsically integrated into the American consciousness — Mario.

Super Mario to the rescue? The character practically saved the industry in the mid 80s.
Super Mario to the rescue? The character practically saved the industry in the mid 80s.

With the Mario games came a true gaming “franchise.” Mario wasn’t just a great game with a fun narrative, unknown secrets, and colorful visuals though. Mario was a character. He had a background, a recognizable look, and a mission [5]. Nintendo’s creative director and game designer, Shigeru Miyamoto set the model for almost all future gaming franchises with these refined ideas for creating a long-standing game. The ability for gamers to identify with the game as the following of a character creates an endearment to the character. This leads to increased exposure in the media as such an identifiable character is more easily expressed and shared to those that had not yet even tried to play a video game. Games were seen as little more than entertaining ways for kids to waste time.

Games stayed as a this perceived campy form of entertainment for the following eight years after Mario’s release, but as a new graphical fidelity level is reached the realism that games shared with the real world became disconcerting to parents and led to one of the first major uproars against video games. Specifically, the game Doom (released in 1993) took the brunt of the attack against gaming. The gory visuals and graphic violence had many claiming children could be manipulated into becoming “mass murder” killing machines[6].  Though gaming continued to flourish throughout the 1990s with the release of the PlayStation and Nintendo 64, the controversial undertones associated with video games were extraordinarily prominent in most reports associated with the medium.

Though reporters, journalists, and other talking heads on major network news channel painted a negative picture, the public was still captivated by video games, computers, and the new consoles . Amid the chaos of the new violence-inducing reputation video games had, the game developers and artists kept moving forward and another crucial step in games becoming a greater resemblance of the games today became prominent.

Throughout the mid-late 1990s and the early 2000s games took on more in-depth stories that had gamers not only enjoying the game they were playing, but immersed in the universe associated with them. Games became a form of story telling, and the ability for game creators to convey meaningful messages grew exponentially over the 2000s decade. The start of contemporary game franchises began in the early 2000s with the releases of Halo: Combat Evolved, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto III, and the continuation of the Metal Gear series. These games all followed the same formula that Nintendo promoted in the mid 1980s with a recognizable character for players to identify with[7].

While the gaming community was still under represented in the media the sub-communities that expanded with the increased popularity of multiplayer gaming, created the feel of something greater with each person defending the console of their choice over the others and rivalries spawning between game developers and publishers again like they did during the early 1980s. However, this time the industry had learned from the past mistakes and the competition promoted rapidly improving game quality.

Grand Theft Auto V offers a massive detailed world that makes both business partners and consumers alike happy.
Grand Theft Auto V offers a massive detailed world that makes both business partners and consumers alike happy.

By the end of the decade video games were considered commonplace and normal in society. The media’s perception, while still sometimes skewed, now showcases games as beneficial to society[8] and a vital asset to American culture. Business-wise, investors show a respect towards the critical consumer audience that follows the industry, and those business decisions have been rewarded.

From 2010-2015 American games have outsold the entirety of the film industry, and more impressively in 2013 one single game (Grand Theft Auto V) outsold the entire music industry of that year. The sheer prominence and rapid growth of video games, and the American culture’s infatuation with gaming had outlasted the negative claims throughout its history. From the beginnings as an interesting “toy” in the 1970s, to the dubbing as a fad in the 1980s, to the allegations of a danger to society in the 1990s;

the American culture’s perpetuance of games has helped the medium reach a more prestigious term of endearment — “art form.”

References

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Super Mario 64 and Yoshi’s Island come to the WiiU | More virtual console titles on the way

Some of the best classic games of the older generation Nintendo consoles are coming to the WiiU and the first games have now begun to roll out on the console’s digital store.

Nintendo announced at its Nintendo Direct conference plans to keep a steady influx of N64 and Nintendo DS games rolling out this month. Super Mario 64 (N64) and Yoshi’s Island (DS) will be coming first and games like Donkey Kong 64, Mario Kart DS, Paper Mario, WarioWare Touched, and more coming later this month.

The current price point is slated at $10 for all of the games listed above, but Nintendo has claimed that the N64 games will have some titles running a slightly higher cost — as much as $12. Some DS games will run a bit cheaper at as little as $7 per title.

Though the current controller layout may differ from these older system Nintendo will offer a variety of button layout options and interface options to make the experience of replaying the classic games as comfortable as possible. For DS games, players can elect to split the screens between the gamepad and the television, or they can simply play with both screens on either single display.

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Evolve and Majora’s Mask leading the UK charts

Take Two Interactive found the winning formula with Evolve after a long hiatus from the top of UK Charttrack’s rankings.

The co-op squad multiplayer-focused game gives players a terrifying playground as a small group battles an increasingly powerful monster.

Each player has their own skill sets and abilities depending on whichever class they elect to play as that makes for an exciting game gameplay-wise. However some underlying problems and concerns regarding whether the game creators would opt for a DLC focused experience worried some gamers.

It seems the high-quality experience has trumped those concerns and given it the number one spot in the UK and likely other markets as well.

Another game that is experiencing great success in the UK and other markets as well is the re-make of the classic Nintendo blockbuster — The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask which takes the number two spot on Charttrack.

 

POS.  TITLE  PUBLISHER  LAST
WEEK 
1 EVOLVE 2K GAMES
2 THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: MAJORA’S MASK 3D NINTENDO
3 CALL OF DUTY: ADVANCED WARFARE ACTIVISION 1
4 MONSTER HUNTER 4 ULTIMATE CAPCOM
5 GRAND THEFT AUTO V ROCKSTAR 2
6 FIFA 15 EA SPORTS 3
7 FAR CRY 4 UBISOFT 9
8 MINECRAFT: XBOX EDITION MICROSOFT 5
9 ASSASSIN’S CREED: UNITY UBISOFT 4
10 DESTINY ACTIVISION 7
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The Legend of Zelda TV series being developed for Netflix

Reported by The Wall Street Journal, Netflix is allegedly bringing The Legend of Zelda franchise to its video-streaming platform as a new original program.

Development is still in its early stages, but the series will be a live-action following of the classic story with Link setting out to rescue Princess Zelda in the world of Hyrule.

Now the immensely popular fantasy universe is coming back in a new way posing as a family friendly “Game of Thrones” with a lighter theme and tone.

Nintendo granting this IP to be adapted into a TV series is a rare opportunity for the producers as Nintendo rarely takes the initiative to translate their videogame success to other mediums.

Though it wasn’t well-received at the time, The Legend of Zelda made its true first appearance as an animated television series back in the late ’80s. The show aired only 13 episodes over a three month span in 1989 and was quickly terminated.

Later, in the early ’90s, a Super Mario Bros movie was released to (deservedly) harsh criticism.

No writers have signed-on to work on the series as of yet, but the ground-work is being laid for the classic adventure game to make a successful television run in the near future.

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Nintendo confirms work has begun on their next console

Though the existant of such projections is virtually ineveitable, Shigeru Miyamoto has confirmed that preliminary designs are underway for their next console as they continue to maintain the Wii U with updates.

“Nintendo as a whole has groups working on ideas for new hardware systems. While we’re busy working on software for the Wii U, we have production lines that are working on ideas for what the next system might be.” – Shigeru Miyamoto interview with Associated Press

With Nintendo looking toward their second consecutive prosperous year in 2015, its likely that the gaming juggernaut will be keying their resources on projects even further in the future. As the new Microsoft and Sony consoles look to enjoy a life-span even longer than that of the previous gen consoles, Nintendo is stuck a zone where they aren’t competing with the likes of those competitive launches.

Without any significant pressure to deliver within a strict time frame, we could see Nintendo continue their trend of progressive technology implementation with a VR set given the popularity of such tech right now.

Nothing is confirmed at this point, but speculation is free to arise for how Nintendo moves on from the Wii U.

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Nintendo showcases map size and gameplay of The Legend of Zelda (WiiU)

A vast map with incredible visuals to accomodate to a more modern style of gaming, Nintendo is trying their hardest to evolve the Zelda series in ways to keep the classic style, but ensure the game is fresh and has a new feel.

The new Zelda game has no official title other than The Legend of Zelda as of yet, but the amount of gameplay displayed how far into development Nintendo has gotten. The new world premier video shows off some incredible vistas, classic components of past games, and portrays how massive the world will feel.

Not only are the gameplay mechanics exciting to see begin to take shape, but the WiiU’s hardware is properly utilized as well with the mini-map displayed on the WiiU gamepad updating based on your in-game waypoints and location.

While its difficult to determine the exact scale of the map, it clearly is large enough that traveling itself becomes an adventure. At one point, the distance between a seemingly close waypoint and the developers’ location on the map is estimated to be up to five minutes.

The environment is also shown to be dynamic with trees dropping apples that Link can store and eat, and creatures, insects, and animals scattered across the lands to ensure that no traveling is found to be too dull.

On top of all the buzz generated from the Zelda game, Miyamoto also revealed that the new WiiU Star Fox game will also be coming soon — before Zelda’s release next year. On top of that, Nintendo has also slated Majora’s Mask for an even earlier release.

Watch Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma show off The Legend of Zelda (WiiU) in the video below: