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800px-GameCube_controllerYou just can’t keep a good controller down.

Sony’s DualShock controller design for their Playstation machines has certainly stood the test of time, but using it generation after generation was a conscious, deliberate decision by Sony.

And a very good decision.

The expression “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” certainly rings true as far as the DualShock is concerned.

The same can be said about Nintendo’s Gamecube controller, and although it had to take a back seat while its very creator threw avant-garde alternatives at us, it never really went away.

If DualShock’s enduring popularity has been justifiably requisite, the Gamecube controller’s has been justifiably irrevocable . People just want to keep going back to it.

And why not? It has everything.

Flawless ergonomics, a genius face button layout with those perfectly moulded triggers.. Then there’s the super solid construction, generous and quiet vibration feedback, and a left thumb stick that remains the most tactile and durable there’s ever been.

It’s no wonder Nintendo (and the fans) just can’t let it go. I realise the Wii Remote had to happen, and I’m glad it did, but I wish Nintendo had just made the classic controller for the original Wii a refined version of the GameCube design. Then they could have then refined it again for this generation and went with it instead of the Wii U Pro Controller, much like Sony did with the DualShock design.

I mean for heaven sake, they’re about to release a Gamecube controller adapter for Wii U, two generations after the cube itself went to that great gaming lounge room in the sky. (That’s my heaven).

Baby you so classic

Baby you’re so classic

As if that wasn’t testament enough to the enduring appeal of the design, there’ll also be official new Gamecube controllers for Smash Bros. One official Smash version, and a few super awesome character themed, fully functioning Wii U Pro controllers in that timeless Gamecube style.

(How these differ to an actual CG controller beyond aesthetics is uncertain, but there’s some nice images of them on EB Australia’s website)

I’m not completely convinced that the Gamecube layout is more optimal for playing Smash than the Wii Classic Controller Pro or the Wii U Pro Controller. I mean, they all have solid, comfortable analogue sticks and serviceable face buttons, as well as overall solid builds that can take a good squeezing and survive the occasional throw at someone’s head.

You can follow me on twitter: @rustyshell and friend me on Miiverse for MK8 & Smash purposes: zinger_AU

I think the Smash appeal is more based in nostalgia, especially those who remember Melee more fondly than they do Brawl. I guess the thought of not being able to play Smash without a Gamecube controller is too much for some people.

Nintendo have not only recognised this, but they’re about to capitalise on it. In that sense, it’s a smart move by the big N, one of many they’ve made lately.

I’ve got heaps of Gamecube controllers lying around. I’ve also got three Wii U Pro controllers, and I’d like to use them for something outside Mario Kart 8.

But look how shiny I am...

But look how shiny I am…

Smash is the next big 4 player experience, and after spending $150 on three shiny new controllers, my inner accountant is telling me I should get some more use out of them. He directed me to EB Games Australia’s website where they’ve listed the adapter at $49.95, to really drive the point home.

Fifty dollars for another piece of plastic I don’t actually need? I could by a new game for that.

And that’s what I’ll do. Unless it’s announced that Gamecube games coming to Virtual Console, my ‘cube controllers, as magnificent as they are, will have to stay in their original boxes somewhere in my spare room for a while longer.

Although “It’s what i’m used to” is a completely valid reason for wanting to use the GC controller for Smash, is there any advantages from a gameplay standpoint? Leave a comment!

 

marioonkartMario Kart 8 is a spectacular entry in the series, there’s no denying that.

As die hard fans, we’d all like to see things done differently to suit our individual playing styles, and we all had a list of features we hoped would make into the next console version.

Back in May 2013 I created such a list, entitled 14 Things I’d Like To See In The Next Mario Kart.

Then I avoided Mario Kart 8 spoilers like the plague.

With the game now out and selling truckloads, I thought I’d look back at those 14 things see how much of my wish list came true.

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knexIt seems the limited edition spiky blue shell pre order exclusive at EB Australia has sold out. It’s been taken down from their website and I asked four Sydney stores and the all said they’d sold out.

Good news, I suppose.

Anyway, EB are offering another pre order bonus for MK8, in the for of two random K’Nex figures. They’re from mario Kart Wii (the cheek!) but still cute and I’m sure collectable.

Check out the full details here.

 

wiiulogoI’ve already shared my dream first party Wii U line up, and while I haven’t had much to talk about lately, I thought I’d share my dream third party line up.

I hope it’s not totally obvious, and this isn’t a list about what games could “save” the Wii U or anything like that, it’s just the games I’d really love to see on the platform.

Leave a comment and let me know you’d like to see.

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miiverseNot that it needed justifying, I’m just a little bit over people carrying on about how games aren’t using the gamepad in “unique” or “interesting” ways.

Normally I’d just ignore this kind of predictable rhetoric, but last night while I was going back over Super Mario 3D World, I came to the first of the horrible Toad levels that require the gamepad.

I avoided these on my first play through, not just because puzzles (in general) quickly frustrate me, but because I was using the pro controller to play and didn’t want to keep switching to the gamepad and back.

Groaning as I had to follow the rules I’d set myself for the the session (getting every green star in every level, in order), I reluctantly changed to the gamepad to control Captain Toad, or whatever he calls himself.

The gamepad is required to play these levels because you need to touch blocks and rotate the world using the right stick. Both these things could have been done with the pro controller or Wii remote.

I began to wonder why these levels had been included at all. Nothing else in the game requires the gamepad, so did Nintendo, or someone in the development team, feel the need to include at least something that used the gamepad, simply because it was a Wii U game?

Plus you can draw amazing stuff like this

And you can draw amazing stuff like this

Nintendo Land is the most obvious example, but games like Zombi U, Lego City Undercover, and the ill-conceived Game & Wario also use the gamepad in ways that really add to the core experience. By that I mean they didn’t feel “tacked on” or “gimmicky” (to use some fantastic last generation buzz words). Why are people complaining that not enough games utilise the gamepad when in fact it’s built in to every single Wii U title by default?

I’m talking about Wii U’s most interesting, unique, and downright ingenious feature: Miiverse. A press of the Home button and you’re transported to the world’s friendliest, most positive online community. A place where people actually talk about games, ask for help, help each other, and generally have a great time interacting with other people who are there for the same reason.

Sure, Miiverse is heavily moderated. Sometimes, it would seem, unfairly so. But such moderation is necessary and ultimately worth it, because we all know that a lot of people, and that includes a hell of a lot of gamers, can’t be trusted not to be assholes online.

So I’m not writing this to sing the praises of Miiverse, because everyone who uses it knows how awesome it is. I’m writing this because as “ground-up” features of Wii U, the gamepad and Miiverse are made for each other. Imagine navigating Miiverse (or the eShop, or the internet browser for that matter) using a regular controller. It wouldn’t be the same experience.

So I don’t care if not every Wii U game makes innovative use of the gamepad’s features. I can use it for Miiverse, and that’s good enough for me.

You can follow me on twitter: @rustyshell or Miiverse: zinger_AU

 

With Wii U turning one this week, it’s worth pondering what there is to look forward to from the machine.

Of course we’re all looking forward to the announced (but as yet untitled) Zelda game, as well as more obscure titles like Shin Megami Tensai x Fire Emblem, and Super Mario 3D World is coming in less than a week. What else is on the horizon? Here’s what’s on my radar.

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With Wii U turning one this week, here’s a look at the biggest disappointments in the machine’s first year (besides the biggest of all: the unit sales). I’ll gloss over the day one system update too, because I knew it was coming and it took me less than an hour to download it. I’ll keep my list to the point. 

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With Wii U turning one year old this week, here’s a look at the gaming highlights from its first year of release. I’m sure there’ll be an endless flood of these kinds of lists, so I’ll keep mine to the point. If you own a Wii U, you should play these games. No one can say there’s been nothing to play. Even if you bought one game a month this year, you’re still in over your head with my list.

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watchdogsscreenWii U is severely lacking in the decent third party games department for full priced retail games. While the eShop has some real gems on offer thanks to some great indie titles, a whole heap of big name third party games are skipping the Wii U altogether.

So some good news comes in the form of Ubisoft calling the Wii U version of their much anticipated Watch Dogs on Wii U “beautiful” and assuring us they’re “optimising controls for the beast that is the gamepad”.

These quotes come from Ubisoft creative director Jonathan Morin, who in an interview with website CVG, also said of the Wii U version’s graphics: “…the Wii U version is pretty much in between what the current gen is and what the next gen is from a version standpoint.”

That’s gotta please those who intend to buy the game on Wii U, myself included. It’s good to see Ubisoft continuing to support the Wii U, you’d have to say the best third party games for Wii U have come from them. Zombi U, Rayman Legends and Splinter Cell Blacklist were all great titles and I’m sure Wii U owners are grateful Ubisoft made the effort brought the latter three to Nintendo’s newest console. Don’t forget Ubisoft is bringing Assassin’s Creed IV to Wii U as well.

You can read CVG’s whole interview with Jonathan Morin here, they ask him plenty of Wii U related questions. Something else that’s great to see. Not everyone has forgotten Wii U exists. Watch Dogs is an open world, third person action game and it’s released in Australia on November 21st.

 

tntlogoWhen you’re as rabid a Mario Kart fan as I am, anything that offers local multiplayer racing action needs to be played and unfairly compared to Nintendo’s flagship racer. I missed the original TNT Racers on Wiiware, so I was keen to give this 4 player racer in the vein of Skidmarks (and to a lesser extent, Micro Machines) a go. And at the decent price of $9.99 from the Australian eShop, I’m glad I did.

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Mario Kart has been a staple in the Nintendo fan’s diet since the days of the Super Nintendo. There’s been four console iterations so far and every Mario Kart fan has their favourite. With Mario Kart 8 announced and on the way, I decided to play all the console versions again to weigh up their pros and cons, think about the legacy they leave, and decide which version is the best.

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NINlogoEven though the footage of Mario Kart 8 and Smash Bros. gave me goosebumps, if I look back at what I said I wanted from Nintendo at this years E3, I should be bitterly disappointed. A new Waverace title? No. A new Battalion Wars? No. A new Mario Striker title? No. No More Heroes 3? No. Wii Sports HD? No. BUT! Mario Kart Wii U does have a great name- Mario Kart 8, and it does have knock out graphics. However it won’t be released this year. So I got two out of eight things I really wanted. How did others do? I have a look at two of my favourite sites’ predictions and see how they fared.

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blueshellA Wii U edition of Mario Kart is in production at Nintendo. While we don’t even have a title or a single screen shot yet, one thing’s for sure- we’ll see it in action at E3 this year. As a massive fan of the series I thought I’d take a look at what I want from the next instalment.

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gamecubeconsoleI’ve been a Nintendo fan all my life. For me, the Nintendo 64 represented fun with my friends and memories of being young and carefree. The Gamecube on the other hand, represented a darker, lonelier time in my life and when I looked back at the games I played and what they meant for me at the time, I realised the escape of gaming really helped me get through. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Here I rank every game I ever owned on my absolute favourite console ever, Nintendo Gamecube. Accompanied by some cool videos from Youtube.

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wiiufrontEvery Nintendo fan has their favourite first party franchises. For me there hasn’t been a better first party line up than Gamecube’s. F-Zero GX, Wind Waker, Mario Sunshine, Waverace Blue Storm, Starfox Adventures, Starfox Assault WarioWare, Inc., Mario Party 4, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Pikmin, Pikmin 2, and Battalion Wars. What a Nintendo line up. Heaps of major franchises skipped Wii, and that’s left me dreaming of an amazing first party line up for Wii U. Here’s my ultimate line up.

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cooljetsMiiverse is the friendly social network. It is heavily moderated by Nintendo and that’s a good thing. It really is. No one needs trolls or bullies in a social environment. But how do you stop them? You have rules, you enforce rules, and you moderate the hell out of posts and profiles. And Nintendo does.

It’s fair enough, it’s Nintendo’s service and if you want to be a part of it you play by the rules. I get all that. And I agreed with the heavy moderation even though I had heard from various people how unfair it was that their posts we being deleted for no reason. I’ve gotta say I didn’t believe users were having their posts deleted by administrators for no reason. Until it happened to me.

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Hello, I’m back from my amazing holiday around Thailand and Singapore. Have been completely out of the loop. So much happens in the gaming world in 10 days! I have to catch up and get back to posting.

 

nlandlogoAs with all mini game collections, Nintendo Land is just the sum of its parts. 12 parts, to be precise. And as with all mini game collections, some are more fun than others. Here I break down each attraction and give an individual fun factor rating for each one.

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Nintendo’s latest Nintendo direct certainly got the internet and Nintendo fans excited for what’s coming up on Wii U. There was new games, new services and plenty of surprises. I’ve had a few days to digest what went down and thought I’d share my thoughts about each of the announcements.

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3dslogoI wrote a piece the other week about what I was looking forward to on Wii U in 2013. There’s heaps. But for 3DS this year, considering I’m not a Pokemon fan, there’s not too much that’s been announced I’m legitimately look forward to. Besides the imminent integration of Miiverse to 3DS, on the games front there’s only a few. Here they are.

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