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Rusty_Shell_HOTAs much as I’d love to, I don’t have time to play this Wii U exclusive right now.

It’s been really hard to find decent reviews for the game, but here’s some decent reviews I’ve read that I thought I might share.

Jason Venter at gamespot.com uses a few too many words, gives the game an 8.

Gareth Newnham from wasduk.com makes some pretty interesting points and injects a bit of humour into his review, saying the developers showcase the Gamepad’s features very well.

Francis@PE from playerseesence.com throws this video review at you with a bit of attitude, telling us to be surprised at how well the Gamepad is utilised.

Finally, Dan Massi from 8worldnews.com tells us the game features arguably the best use of the Gamepad we’ve seen so far. Take that, Mario Chase.

Affordable Space Adventures is currently exclusive to the Wii U eShop, and priced at $24.

Have a look at the official site for the eShop exclusive here.

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

 

wiiulogo

As a console gamer I’ve always believed that the true strength of a system can be measured by looking at the line up of exclusive games it has to offer.

I judge consoles past and present on this criteria above anything else. What can this machine offer that no others can?

I first wrote about the state of Wii U’s exclusive line up in April 2014, so I thought I’d better take another look at the situation, eight months on.

No one can legitimately argue that the system isn’t worth owning like they could have at this time last year, and that’s thanks to this killer line up of exclusives.

I have highlighted the games I have played in orange.

Ones I haven’t played remain black, and for those I have included the verdict from Miiverse*, and what aggregate score the game has on gamerankings.com

Also, at this stage I’m only looking at disc based retail games released in Australia.

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wiiulogoMaybe not forgotten, but it’s flying under the radar, what with all the talk about new Starfox, Zelda, and Xenoblade.

Devil’s Third is a single player focused action/shooter from developer Valhalla Game Studios, and it’s being published by Nintendo to become a Wii U exclusive.

I’m not sure how the Wii U crowd have embraced Bayonetta 2 in terms of sales, but it’s good to see Nintendo backing another “mature” title for its home console.

Just like The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2, the Devil’s Third development team features well-respected industry talent, namely Team Ninja’s Tomonobu Itagaki.

Have a look at the official website here, and interview about the game here, and some footage of the game below.

You can Valhalla Game Studios Facebook by clicking here.

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

 

tonyjonesBuyer’s guides are a dime a dozen, but here’s my no nonsense look at what to get and where to get it.

I’m covering all current generation systems, thanks to some feedback from previous years.

If you don’t agree with me and have some alternate advice to offer, please leave a grown up comment because this is really for the benefit of those who might not be in the know.

If you want further advice or have a different question entirely, ask in the comments section and we will get back to you. You can also send an email: admin@rustyshell.com

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IMAG0574How in are GameCube controllers right now?

Not only have they instantly become relevant again (for a third time) after 12 or so years on the market, but people are so desperate to use them in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, they’re willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money for the privilege.

You can’t get that adapter anywhere in Australia, that’s for sure- and it seems like the rest of the world is experiencing a similar shortage.

I thought it was a bit of a gamble for Nintendo to even offer support for its decade old controller in the new Smash game, considering there’s an exceptionally adequate new input device for Wii U in the form of the Pro Controller (or WUPC, as I shall call it henceforth).

I thought: Would people really want to pay for an adapter when the Smash Bros. target market have probably already forked out for a WUPC or two already?

Surely the physical layout of the GameCube controller isn’t that much better for playing Smash with than the new, sexier looking WUPC?

I wondered why would people want to go back to wired controllers after a full generation of wire free play.

Surely original GameCube controllers are so old now that they simply won’t function properly having gathered dust, grime and unexplained general stickiness after years in the storage boxes of thirty-something Nintendo fans the world over, I thought.

Well, I thought wrong. Wrong with a capital purple W against a yellow background.

Not only have the adapters sold out pretty much everywhere, but I can’t find a limited edition black GameCube controller anywhere, either. Bearing in mind, it costs 50 Australian dollars and at this point can only be used to control one Wii U game.

People still want to use the GameCube controller.

Tell them bitches get a stick, I'm done leadin' the blind

Tell them bitches get a stick, I’m done leadin’ the blind

I have three WUPC’s.

I bought Smash with the GameCube controller adapter. Sitting down to play on launch day, my friends had a choice of  GameCube or WUPC’s. Two chose GameCube, two chose WUPC’s.

Out of the two that chose GameCube, one had ALWAYS used a Wavebird to play Mario Kart Wii and refused to use anything else, so the chance to play with it again after some time was too much to pass up.

The other had mostly dismissed Brawl, so he was keen to relive the glory of our Melee playing days with his Spice Orange GameCube faithful.

I chose my original Indigo wired controller, the same one that came in the box with my GameCube all those years ago.

Turns out, the physical layout of the buttons is better for Smash than the WUPC’s.

Having the A button so accessible is a god send. You won’t get confused between “grab” and “shield”. The C stick is perfectly placed for Smash moves because from B to Smash is so natural.

I could go on, but I won’t because I want to get back to playing Smash with a twelve-year-old wired piece of plastic that still feels, looks, and performs better than any controller Nintendo has offered us since.

Nintendo, or anyone else.

It’s a pretty great testament to the impeccable design and function of the controller itself, and while people are touting DualShock 4 as the best of all time, I can’t see it being as enduringly popular or consistently requisite as the GameCube controller.

Now, if we could just have some GameCube games on Virtual Console

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

 

logo_3dsI mean, the Advance suffix is one that suggests power and progression, not to mention how well it rolls off the tongue. Gameboy Advance was an awesome name for the first hardware-improved Gameboy*, and the words just came out of the mouth so perfectly.

Gameboy Advance.

Not only did the GBA have an bad ass name to let everyone know it meant business, it also had a completely different form factor to the “candy bar” style original line of Gameboys. People could just look at its sideways orientation and they knew it was a new system, regardless of what they thought about the (original) shell’s purple colour.

3DS has seen it’s fair share of physical redesigns since it launched in 2011, but none have been as significant as the upcoming New Nintendo 3DS.new3dsxl

Not only does it refine the form factor of 3DS once again, but it adds a second analogue stick and increases the internal horsepower of the machine, which will result in exclusives for the system. In my eyes, that means it’s a new Nintendo system.

Evidently Nintendo thinks it’s a new system too, so much so that they thought they’d better make the point by calling it New 3DS. Or, New Nintendo 3DS to be exact.

No company names a major new product without some serious thought and debate going into it, and although I don’t have a marketing degree, I’ve gotta wonder what the circumstances were leading up to this naming decision, and why Nintendo didn’t agree on something more snazzy and serious.

I don’t think I know better from a business perspective, but from the creative and commonsensical perspective of a long time Nintendo fan, I don’t like the name. I don’t think (coupled with that silly looking font and logo that ties in with amiibo) the name “New Nintendo 3DS” does anything to help position the product where Nintendo themselves have said they want it to be- in the hands of the less passive gamer. The swinging Playstation Vita owner, perhaps?

I’m not saying Vita is a catchy or impactful name, but with Playstation preceding it, pretty much anything sounds awesome (try it: Playstation Hinge. Playstation Cushion. Playstation Canvas. Playstation Candle. …I could go on).

Nor am I suggesting there’s a big enough pool of disillusioned Vita owners that Nintendo should start making decisions to actively court them, because every Vita owner I know loves their machine, and they’re willing to go looking for the value in the system and its great experiences, as few and far between as us outsiders might consider them to be.

Those “more serious” gamers would in my mind consist of some VITA owners with enough cash to finally jump on board the 3DS train, but the majority would be these casual mobile gamers Nintendo apparently no longer has any interest in catering to.

Hopefully Nintendo can make these pathetic individuals realise they’re looking for a deeper, richer experience only a dedicated gaming device with physical buttons can provide.

Back to the name. New Nintendo 3DS just isn’t a name with much oomph or presence. It doesn’t mean business.

I’m going to argue that “3DS Advance” would have been the ideal name, and that it should have been coupled with a killer new logo that made its presence felt as a street credible alternative to gaming on your iphone.

After all, the New Nintendo 3DS XL features a “luxury look”, why can’t it have a luxury name and logo?

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

*Hardware improved to the point where there was exclusives for the system

 

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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