The Legend of Zelda Mobile Game Predictions | Nintendaily

The Legend of Zelda Mobile Game Predictions – Weekend Feature

Nintendaily considers Nintendo’s current mobile output, and plays around with some tentative predictions for the upcoming Zelda mobile game.

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock this week, you probably heard about the new Zelda mobile game being developed by Japanese studio DeNA. This comes as no surprise, as Nintendo will of course want to get their biggest IPs in on the mobile scene, but the question still remains how exactly a sprawling action-RPG can transition itself to mobile?

To answer this, it’s useful to examine Nintendo’s current crop of mobile games, which while not always successful, have at least been fairly inventive. Social media app Miitomo soft launched in January 2016 alongside Nintendo’s new loyalty programme My Nintendo, and was quickly lost to obscurity. Mario Run was an inspired take on the endless runner, yet despite a warm critical response, a (relatively) high price point meant only 5% of the 75 million who downloaded the trial went on to purchase the full game. Fire Emblem Heroes was pretty much a stripped-down version of the main series, and despite being competent, was marred with irritating gacha microtransactions.

Mario Run - The Legend of Zelda Mobile Game Predictions | Nintendaily

So, what have we learned so far? Well first, we know Nintendo dislikes Fire Emblem’s method of monetization, with a senior official reportedly saying “Heroes is an outlier. We honestly prefer the Super Mario Run model”. Secondly, going on from this comment, I get the feeling Nintendo prefers to offer standalone experiences, rather than a stripped back version of an existing franchise. In essence, Fire Emblem Heroes is nothing but a Fire Emblem demo, exposing the IP to new audiences, but not offering enough to make it a real meaty experience.

With this in mind, Nintendo have assuaged two of my fears that 1) they are going to adopt an extortionate microtransaction model on their big mobile IPs, and 2) they are going to use their mobile offering merely as a marketing tool, creating thin, shallow content with an objective to upsell profitable console counterparts of their mobile games. Both of which, considering their financial misfortunes last year, Nintendo are perfectly entitled to do.

In short, all the evidence points to Nintendo treating mobile devices just like any other gaming platform, and accordingly are planning on carrying on creating experiences that make unique use of the hardware.

So what does this mean for the Zelda mobile game? Well firstly, I’m pretty confident the “10p a Bombchu” meme won’t become a thing. I’m expecting a game created and priced in the traditional way – perhaps a touch cheaper considering the Mario Run backlash, but not enough to compromise Nintendo’s integrity as a world-leading developer. This approach may not net Nintendo a fortune and is sure to raise the odd eyebrow in Bloomsberg, but as we saw with Pokémon Go, the added exposure adds to the bottom line through a franchise Halo effect. The value of not alienating long time fans by not soiling beloved franchises is also incredibly important.

I also don’t expect the game try and replicate the experience of Breath Of the Wild in any way. While Nintendo will of course want new friends to try the console games, the mobile game will likely stand on its own two feet, using Zelda characters, items, and to some extent graphical assets to create a brand new Zelda experience.

In terms of more concrete gameplay predictions, it’s impossible to make any realistic guesses outside the main tenets I’ve already mentioned. As Zelda has so many gameplay mechanics, I think it makes sense to take just one, and form a mobile experience around it. So for example, how about something akin to Link’s Crossbow Training, where you can use the phone’s gyro to refine your bow and arrow aim and shoot targets? Or perhaps a horse racing game similar to Temple Run where you can swipe to turn, and tap to give yourself a burst of speed? Even something more abstract like an Angry Birds physics-based demolisher where you have to strategically place Bombchus to destroy buildings could be a lot of fun.

Link's Crossbow Training - Mario Run - The Legend of Zelda Mobile Game Predictions | Nintendaily

Another idea I’ve heard shooting around forums is a companion app rather than a game. I don’t think this is too likely, but Nintendo have been pushing their Zelda lore over the last few years, so a digitised/interactive version of Hyrule Historia to read alongside the console games could work. A more likely idea would be an app that would allow you to accomplish tasks on the go that would benefit your progress in Breath of the Wild – for example tap-based mini-games that allows you to earn new equipment and rupees.  This will certainly help Nintendo prolong the life of Breath of the Wild, which is something they’ll be wanting to do once people are tired of the DLC.

Whatever the Zelda mobile game will be, it seems Nintendo are steadfast for the moment in their determination to not sell out to the dark side of mobile gaming. It won’t be until next year we’ll find out for sure what the big N has planned (and we still have the Animal Crossing mobile game to be released first), but for the moment there’s nothing to suggest Zelda will prove to be anything other but extremely fertile ground for an interesting new mobile experience.

 

Earth Atlantis Interview | Nintendaily

An Interview With Earth Atlantis Director Anucha Aribarg

Nintendaily sits down with Pixel Perfex’s Director Anucha Aribarg to chat about their promising new indie title Earth Atlantis.

We reported with interest last week that the eye-catching indie title Earth Atlantis would soon be coming to Nintendo Switch. So when the opportunity for an interview with Earth Atlantis’s lead designer came along, we made sure to grab it with both hands.

In case you missed our report, Earth Atlantis is a unique underwater side-scroller which borrows DNA not just from genre classics Gladius, but also such boss-dominated games as Monster Hunter and Shadow of Colossus. Although the developers don’t exactly call it ‘open world’, it’s non-linear structure and conscious decision not to make be a bullet hell shooter sets it apart from the side-scrollers of the past. Ikaruga this is not.

It’s not just the gameplay that piqued my interest. Earth Atlantis’s art design is fantastic, using a sea-weathered ‘old sketch pad’ aesthetic that brings to mind hand drawn charts and maps.

I was fortunate to speak with Earth Atlantis’s director Anucha Aribarg to dive deep into the game’s story, gameplay and inspiration. Although Aribarg wasn’t able to give me any details regarding the game’s Switch launch, he happily went into detail about the story of the game’s development, as well as talking about his own personal love of Nintendo.

Also of note is Aribarg narrowing down a release date to the 3rd quarter 2017, meaning we should see it released between July and August on other consoles at least.

Earth Atlantis Interview Image 1 | Nintendaily

Earth Atlantis Interview

N: To start with, it would be great to know who you are, and what was your role in the development of Earth Atlantis?

A: We are an indie developer called Pixel Perfex. My name is Anucha Aribarg, and I am the director and designer of Earth Atlantis.

N: So what exactly is Earth Atlantis?

A: Earth Atlantis is a horizontal side-scrolling shooter with an original ‘monster hunting’ gameplay mechanic. The mission is to hunt and destroy more than 25 dreadful sea monsters and explore the post-apocalyptic underwater world.

The game is presented in a very unique ‘old sketch book’ visual style. We want to create the look of an ‘old explorer sketch’ to express the essence of the 14th century’s ocean exploration when the sea was considered a dangerous place and full of monsters. We want the player to feel just like they are in a story from one of Jules Verne’s ocean adventure novels.

Earth Atlantis Interview Image 3 | Nintendaily

N: Please tell me about the story. Did you intend to have any climate change related message behind the flooding of the earth?

A: ‘The Great Climate Shift’ struck at the end of the 21st century, leaving 96% of the earth’s surface underwater. Human civilization has fallen, and the ocean is full of creature-machine hybrid monsters.  You are a hunter with a mission to destroy all monsters.

Actually, I had no intention whatsoever to send any message about climate change or global warming. But how else can you create a submarine shooting game with a post-apocalyptic world setting and tons of hybrid machine-creature monsters?! This story line is a no brainer. The core idea started with a picture of a space-submarine ship with some futuristic mechanical sea monsters.

Jules Verne’s Novels and illustrations also gave me inspiration – fans of his work may discover the submarine “Nautilus” is not  coincidental.


N:
How did the game come about? What was your inspiration?

A: Well first of all, I love side-scrolling space shooters. I enjoyed classic shooters like Gradius and R-Type so much. Unfortunately, this genre is dying, or is perhaps already dead. Secondly, I always feel that “boss battles” are the most enjoyable part of all space shooting games (vertical shooters included.) That’s why Earth Atlantis is all about boss battles.

Lastly, just like most gamers nowadays, I do enjoy non-linear games, and I love the freedom of open world style games. I cannot say Earth Atlantis is an ‘open world’ game because the world size is not that big, but I did try to give the game the same feeling.

N: Could you tell me about Earth Atlantis’s development history?

A: 10+ years ago I sketched a picture of a space-submarine ship with some futuristic mechanical sea monsters, and I kept thinking about that idea for quite some time. It was because of that I came up with the game’s sketch-drawing visuals.

Earth Atlantis Interview Image 4 | Nintendaily

I spent many years trying to make it into a real game. The biggest roadblock was how to make the game look exactly like an old drawing image. At first, I thought I could hand-draw everything, but after I did a couple of animation tests I found that it was impossible to make a game that way. Then the project was abandoned. Many years later, I tried to revive the project with pre-rendered 3D graphics. The look was perfect but the graphic data was too big. The project put was on-hold again.

Two years ago, when I started playing with Unity, I found that I might be able to make it happen with low-poly 3D models and a drawing-style shader. Now, we are entering the final phase of the production. It was a very long journey!

Actually, I had no intention whatsoever to send any massage about climate change or global warming. But how else can you create a submarine shooting game with a post-apocalyptic world setting and tons of hybrid machine-creature monsters?!

N: The game’s steam page notes you can upgrade your ship and weapons. Perhaps you can give some detail on the mechanic of this, and what kind of upgrades are available?

A: “Upgrade” is probably not the right word to use. You can ‘Power-up’ your ship’s primary weapon and equip secondary weapons found in the game.

N: Tell me about the bosses – how many are there? What was the inspiration for their design? Are they easy to find?

A: Boss monsters are inspired by old sea-monster drawings and some prehistoric creatures. However, they are all mechanical. We had fun mixing these two concepts together.

We’ve spent so much time on the boss battles, but we don’t want to make a bullet hell game where bosses shoot hundreds of patterned bullets all over the screen.  We make sure that each boss fights differently, and the game  isn’t just about bullet patterns. Some bosses even have secret weak-points, and players may sometimes need to choose the right secondary weapon in order to beat a certain boss easily.

The game has about 20+ bosses with some special events. However, you’ll have to play multiple times to find all of them.

Earth Atlantis Interview Image 2 | Nintendaily

N: How big is the game world? Can you give me an idea of how exploration feels – what sort of different locations are there? Are there hidden secrets/collectibles?

A: Earth Atlantis is an action retro-style shooter with a huge focus on boss battle. We always keep this in mind. So honestly, we never planned to make a huge game or include much adventure game element. This might disappoint many gamers but please don’t expect a lengthy under-sea adventure with tons of puzzles and collectibles.

The game has a HP bar as well a mini map (although these aren’t included in the promotional materials. Earth Atlantis is not a one-shot-kill shooter, and players can take a lot of hits. It’s not really a hardcore shooter, so casual gamers can really enjoy the game

 

N: Shooters are obviously known for being quite hard. How high is the difficulty in Earth Atlantis?

A: As I said, Earth Atlantis is not a bullet hell game. Enemies don’t shoot hundreds of bullets all over the screen, so please don’t be afraid. The game has a HP bar as well a mini map (although these aren’t included in the promotional materials.) Earth Atlantis is not a one-shot-kill shooter, and players can take a lot of hits. It’s not really a hardcore shooter, so casual gamers can really enjoy the game. But if it’s still hard for mainstream gamers, good news! We have an easy difficulty setting.

Having a game on a Nintendo platform is something very special and personal for me. I hope Nintendo will make it even easier for indie developers to publish games on Nintendo platforms.

N: By reading about it, the game feels like a mix of R-Type, Monster Hunter and Shadow of the Colossus with its boss hunting. What types of games inspired Earth Atlantis?

A: All the name you mentioned are totally correct.  Gradius also hugely inspired the game. We even included an Easter egg inside the game. When you see it, you know it.

Due to some limitations we cannot make gigantic bosses just like in Shadow of the Colossus, but maybe for the next game, who knows?

N: Earth Atlantis of course looks very striking, how did you come up with the idea for the visuals?

A: I always feel that the old sketch book images of sea monsters from the 14th century are terrifying. I don’t think modern sci-fi monsters can create this kind of fear and horror.  Jules Verne’s Novels and illustrations also gave me inspiration – fans of his work may discover the submarine “Nautilus” is not coincidental.

N: What recognition has the game had?

A: Earth Atlantis won the “Excellence in Art” award at Busan Indie Connect, South Korea.  I was surprised when I heard the announcement (inside a taxi heading to the Airport.) I didn’t even stay for the award ceremony.  I knew that the game art style looked very different, but I didn’t expect to win an award for Excellence in Art.

Also, Casual Connect Europe asked us to provide artworks for this year’s program cover. We were so grateful.

N: What has been people’s reception to the game so far?

A: The reception was fantastic. I saw many young women enjoyed playing the game which is quite surprising. Retro shooters are very niche and the art is very indie. I’ve never expected non-hardcore gamers would enjoy this game.

N: When will the game be released?

A: 3rd quarter of 2017 (I’m keeping my fingers crossed!)

N: Please tell me a little about Pixel Perfex

A: Pixel Perfex is actually a “Design Studio”. We do character design, CG production and illustrations. I think that played a huge role on the “Art and Design” direction for the game. We made this game because we felt the concept  was very unique and original.

N: And finally, can you see yourself potentially bringing more games to the Switch in the future?

A: Honestly, I am quite a Nintendo fanboy. All classic shooters I’ve played when I was young were on Nintendo game systems (Gradius, Salamander, TwinBee, Parodius, etc.) Having a game on a Nintendo platform is something very special and personal for me. I hope Nintendo will make it even easier for a indie developers to publish games on Nintendo platforms.

Weekend Feature: What's Next For the Zelda Series? | Nintendaily

Weekend Feature: What’s Next For the Zelda Series?

Breath of the Wild is out, and if the hype is to be believed, this is the most hyperbolic-soaked entry into the series yet. Players are faced with the biggest Hyrule ever crafted. The overworld’s detail is exquisite, the music beautiful. The game’s length goes into triple-figures if you’re going for a 100% run. Truly, this is the Zelda we have all been waiting for.

Or is it?

Don’t get me wrong. Ocarina of Time is probably my favourtie game of all time. When released I was the perfect age to be completely absorbed into the game’s sumptuous environments and mind-boggling scale. Thing is, if you asked me what my second and third favourtie entries are, it wouldn’t be the endless seas of Wind Waker or vast, Tolkienesque plains of Twilight Princess. The accolades would in fact go to Majora’s mask and Link’s Awakening.

I find it curious that for a franchise famed for its grandeur and bombastic scale, it’s the oddities in the series that have stuck with me more than anything. Majora’s Mask and Link’s Awakening can hardly be called vast. On the contrary, they are small, comparatively diminutive adventures, taking place in respectively nightmarish and (literal) dreamed lands where the Triforce, Hyrule, and the usual motley crew are nowhere to be seen.

These games differ because they aren’t grand adventures, but rather compact, intricately designed puzzle boxes where narrative and the central conceit of the plot pushes the game to be worth more than the sum of its parts. I love these titles not just because they are such a departure from the series, but because they touch on something outside the realms of high-fantasy. I genuinely feel they have something to say about the world we live in.

Weekend Feature: What's Next For the Zelda Series? Inage 1 | Nintendaily

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to cram Hyrule Historia down anyone’s throat. Nor am I going to go on some obscure game theory rant about how link is dead and Zelda is secretly an aubergine. What I am saying though is that these games contain encompassing, pervasive themes of loss and ephemerality that, when spread across their modestly-sized maps and uncluttered plots, give the games a thematic focus and emotional potency that Link’s more sprawling outings can’t quite achieve.

Let’s look at Majora’s Mask for example. Here, the backstory of the moon threatening to destroy the world isn’t just some abstract excuse for Link to set forth on an adventure, but is rather thematically deeply woven into the fabric of the game. Termina is a dying land. Loss, fear and anxiety pervade everything from the dialogue to the environments and side quests. Even the music is frighteningly oppressive, from the aggressive drum beats that accompany the overworld tune to the upbeat-yet-melancholy title screen music, which gradually morphs into the drawn out, sinister notes of Majora’s theme.

Rather than a hero chosen by the Gods, this Link is a stark, lonely figure, doomed to repeatedly travel through time, forcing Termina’s inhabitants to relive their misery over and over.  True, Link is once again our silent, evil fighting do-gooder, but the narratives that play out throughout the adventure are far more meaningful than simply saving the world – comforting a child who has lost his father for instance, or a doomed mission to reunite a pair of star-crossed lovers so they can share a last moment together before being lost to oblivion. When faced with genuine human hardship and grief, ridding the world of Ganon seems a cinch.

While Ocarina of Time has stayed with me due to the novelty of its scope and perfect execution, Majora’s Mask touched something far more profound inside me. As I say I’m not into outlandish game theories, but then again I don’t think it’s a coincidence this game was developed during the angst-ridden build-up to the millennium. Nor that this was Eiji Aonuma’s first time directing a Zelda game solo – a daunting task, considering he was given only a year to create a sequel to what was even then lauded as the best game ever made.

Weekend Feature: What's Next For the Zelda Series? Image 2 | Nintendaily

Intentional or not, these personal and cultural anxieties are baked into the game itself, creating an experience that goes beyond a simple fantasy adventure. Honestly, I don’t find it easy playing Majora’s Mask. Not just because it is a difficult (and often frustrating) game, but because it forces me to relive moments of loss and regret I’ve experienced in my own life. Seeing Link being stripped of his possessions and repeatedly falling through time is a constant reminder of the permanence of loss, and insignificance of our actions.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This isn’t an analysis of Majora’s Mask, but more an exploration into how Zelda can be more than a simple boy-becomes-hero coming of age story. My point is simple: while I adore getting lost in big, bold, dazzling Zelda games, these smaller, more introspective titles weave their own magic, and have arguably had a longer lasting effect on me.

We’re now in familiar territory. Breath of the Wild is out, and like 1998, Nintendo are faced with the problem of how to top the biggest, most complete adventure current technology allows. Perhaps Nintendo will go the Elder Scroll route, fighting fire with fire and churn out an even bigger Zelda. Fans would be happy with that, and honestly so would I. But equally, if Nintendo reigned themselves in and delivered another smaller, self-contained Zelda game, I certainly won’t be complaining.

Which Nintendo Switch Games Should You Buy? | Nintendaily

Which Nintendo Switch Games Should You Buy?

The Switch has been out for just under two months, and with the dust settled after a hectic launch. It’s been widely reported in the media that the console has been the fastest selling Nintendo console ever, and the second fastest of any console since records began. But for those that have chosen to become early adopters, there’s only one question that now matters: which Nintendo Switch games should you buy?

Well, it’s not exactly a secret that the Switch’s library is currently somewhat lacking. What few triple As that have been released though are outstanding, and with an ever-increasing amount of Indie games to try out, there should be plenty to be getting on with until Splatoon 2 arrives. In the meantime, here is my list of the top 6 Nintendo Switch games you should buy.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Availability: Download & Retail | Price: £59

Let’s start off with the obvious. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been widely praised as the best game ever made – even better than it’s younger brother Ocarina of Time, which is also regarded by many as the best game ever. As Nintendo themselves boasted, the game has received more 10/10s than any other release, securing a hugely impressive 97% on Metacritic.

And it’s not hard to see why. After the lackluster Skyward Sword, Breath of the Wild’s freshness and willingness to diverge from the traditional Zelda formula is frankly astonishing. Sandbox titles have become somewhat commonplace this generation, Breath of the Wild’s awe-inspiring open world is simply packed with hand-crafted intrigue and beauty in a way no other game is. It may have started life on the Wii U, but The Legend of Zelda: Breathe of the Wild is an instant Switch classic.

Snake Pass

Availability: Download | Price: £15.99

Created by LittleBigPlanet 3 develops Sumo Digital, Snake Pass is the world’s first slither-them-up. Yes, the game has all the hallmarks of a big budget release with the backing of a renowned studio and soundtrack composed by none other than David Wise, but in reality, the game feels more like an indie project. Players are tasked with taking control of Noodle – a bulgy-eyed snake who slithers around environments, collecting various gems and keystones needed to advance.

The game’s real fun comes from mastering the controls, which sees the player holding the R shoulder button, and snaking the stick left and right to build up momentum and power forward. As you progress, obstacles become more and more obtuse, requiring you to wrap your coils around bamboo poles and push yourself upwards to gain height and reach those all-important collectibles. It isn’t easy, but it’s a fantastic concept that’s beautifully realised.

Snipperclips

Availability: Download & | Price: £17.99

With Super Bomberman R turning out to by far too expensive to palate, Snipperclips takes the crown of being the Switch’s best multiplayer game. Developed by SFB Games, Snipperclips’s is at its core a puzzle based co-op game, requiring you and a friend to work together to accomplish a variety of tasks, from putting a basketball through hoops to returning a firefly to a lightbulb.

The wrinkle is that both players are made of fabric, which your partner(s) being able to ‘clip’ you to create different shapes to help accomplish the goal. In this way how you approach each objective is very open ended, and whether you’re turning your partner into a scoop to pick up a ball or a sharp wedge to burst a balloon, it’s all tremendous fun. Co-op can be played with 2-4 players, and with the only controller you need being a Joy-Con, it’s incredibly easy for a friend to jump in and join the fun.

FAST RMX

Availability: Download | Price: £16.99

If you’ve ever played the Wii U’s Fast Racing Neo, you’ll know what FAST RMX is about. While it isn’t quite F-Zero, with Nintendo refusing to release a sequel to their beloved futuristic racer this is the best thing we have. Considering the game was made by the relatively small indie studio Shin’en Multimedia, the game looks remarkably polished, with a variety of dazzling tracks that run at a smooth 60 FPS.

The handling hits somewhere between F-Zero and Wipeout, and while it isn’t perfect, the ships feel satisfyingly weighty, launching off platforms and crashing down on the track with a meaty heft. The game also has an interesting Ikarga-style colour switching system that allows your ship to boost through patches of the corresponding colour. In truth the game’s presentation is a little bland and the tracks rarely leave a deep impression, but for what it is it’s a great little package.

Puyo Puyo Tetris

Availability: Download | Price: £34.99

Although Puyo Puyo Tetris has only recently been released, the game contains one of the best versions of Tetris I’ve ever played (and the first version of Puyo Puyo I’ve ever played). The game basically consists of two games: Tetris, the 1984 Game Boy Classic, and Puyo Puyo, a much-loved puzzler in Japan that sees you clearing blobs by connecting four of the same colour. The game has a great collection of single player options including a lengthy adventure mode, but it’s the multiplayer action that really sees the game come into its own, which has you clearing blocks/blobs and dumping them on your opponents screen. And again, with only a Joy-Con needed to play, there’s a very low barrier entry for friends to join in.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Availability: Download | Price: £49.99

Well, of course, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was going to be on the list. While I’m not wholly convinced it’s worth buying if you already own the Wii U version, this is arguably the best Mario Kart game ever made. Featuring all of the Wii U original’s DLC, the games includes a whopping 46 tracks, all of which are of exceptional quality, as well as an all-new battle mode and a handful of new racers. All this comes together with the most nuanced handling Mario Kart has ever seen, and probably the best graphics ever seen on a Nintendo system. A truly sumptuous package.

Genyo Takeda Biography: The Life of Nintendo’s First Game Designer

Those of you with your ear to the ground might have heard recently that Nintendo veteran Genyo Takeda is retiring after a historic 45 years at the video games company. Genyo Takeda, who in 2015 was promoted to the role of Technology Fellow, previously worked as general manager of Nintendo Integrated Research and Development, and has been responsible for great deal of Nintendo innovations, from the built-in cartridge save in the original Legend of Zelda to the N64 analog stick. He’s also worked on a number of fondly-remembered games, including Punch-Out!!, Pilotwings 64 and Dr Mario 64.

I find it strange that despite such a legacy, Genyo Takeda isn’t more widely known. We all know about such Nintendo heavyweights as Shigeru Miyamoto, Gunpei Yokoi and Hiroshi Yamauchi. Even Satoru Iwata before he was made president was a big deal. Despite his influence, Genyo Takeda has never been on my radar, so I thought I’d correct that by giving a brief biography of the great man

Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto | Nintendaily

Genyo Takeda Biography

Genyo Takeda was born on March 7th of 1949 in Osaka, Japan. Takeda has always had a knack for creating, and as a child was reportedly very good with his hands, building small items such a miniature trains and airplanes.

In 1971 Takeda graduated from Shizuoka Government University, where he had been studying semiconductors. Straight out of university he started applying for jobs, including a chance newspaper ad for a position at a local toy company called Nintendo, which at the time hadn’t ventured far into video games, and was manufacturing a series of eclectic kid’s games.

It was the inventor of the Game Boy Gunpei Yokoi who interviewed young Takeda, and who after sensing his protentional, made the decision to hire him. Takeda start worked in Nintendo’s R&D2 team on what could arguably be called Nintendo’s first video game: the notorious Laser Clay Shooting System.  Notorious, because it was, in short, a complete disaster.

Takeda’s Laser Clay Shooting System

The story goes that in 1971, Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi invited Yokoi to his office, and asked him to design a clay pigeon shooting simulation – a sport he had read about in the newspaper. Famicom designer Masayuki Uemura had already been experimenting with light gun toy ideas, so this was seen as a great opportunity to make use of the technology in a commercial setting.

Bowling had gone out of fashion in recent years in Japan, resulting in a number of derelict bowling alleys. Yamauchi had the idea of installing clay pigeon shooting galleries in these bowling alleys, so accordingly bought several. Yokoi gave Uemura and new employee Takeda the job of designing and building the game.

The game itself was simple.  A large woodland mural was painted on the wall, with an overhead projector projecting images of pigeons onto it. Customers would take a laser gun and fire at the pigeons, with hits being tracked by a network of mirrors. If a pigeon was hit, the projector would switch in a new image of a destroyed target.

Genyo Takeda Biography: Laser Clay Shooting System | Nintendaily

The very first Laser Clay Shooting System was ready in 1973. However, on the first day of business, disaster struck: the automatic hit detection and score tally system broke down. This could have potentially have cut short Nintendo’s video game ambitions before they had even begun, if it wasn’t for the quick-thinking of Takeda. Takeda reportedly went behind the scenes to manually display customer hits and tally up their scores, doing so with such accuracy customers had no idea that is was a man doing so and not a computer.

Although Takeda saved the day on this occasion, his Laser Clay Shooting System wasn’t going to have a happy ending. Despite initially being a raging success, with Nintendo opening new outlets and even receiving orders for the system elsewhere, only a month later the oil crises of 1973 hit Japan, meaning orders had to be cancelled, and leaving Nintendo in $64,000,000 worth of debt – a sum which wasn’t paid off until seven years later.

Genyo Takeda Biography: Duck Hunt | Nintendaily

It wasn’t all bad news for Takeda’s Laser Clay Shooting System however, as Yokoi later had the idea to miniaturise the concept for the home market. Thus Takeda become the indirect father of the NES’s beloved Duck Hunt.

Another significant title Takeda worked on around the time – and which has been given the official title of Nintendo’s first ever ‘proper’ video game – was EVR Race. This was an arcade game where players had to predict the outcome of a horse race. According to this Iwata Asks, it is because of this game that Genyo Takeda holds the title of “Nintendo’s first ever game designer” – even if at the time that title held little significance.

Genyo Takedas Biography: EVR Race | Nintendaily

Genyo Takeda’s Innovations

After a year at R&D2, Genyo Takeda became general manager at R&D3 – Nintendo’s smallest research and development team, which despite being only being 20-people strong, took reasonability over technical hardware for arcade systems and later home consoles. R&D3 also created a handful of titles, including noteworthy games Punch-Out!! and StarTropics – both directed by Genyo Takeda. Takeda also oversaw development of a host of sports games designed to appeal to the American market, including Pro Wrestling, NES Play Action Football, and Ice Hockey.

Genyo Takeda’s next major innovation would be one that we should all be thankful for: allowing players to save game progress on cartridges.  Cartridges contain RAM that, despite being easily writable, lose all their data as soon as their power source is switched off. This was a boon for arcade cabinet creators, who would raise millions through teenagers putting quarter after quarter into their machines. However in the home console world where developers were becoming more and more ambitious in the size and scope of their titles, the only remedy was password save, which if anyone has ever played the original Metroid or Mega Man will know is far from ideal.

Genyo Takeda Zelda Built-In Battery | Nintendaily

A large story-driven game like The Legend of Zelda demands multiple gaming sessions to complete in full, and to this end in 1986 the original game was shipped with the ability to turn off your console, then come back at a later stage and carry on from where you left off.  This remarkable innovation is accredited to Genyo Takeda, whose team developed battery back-up memory, which allows game data to be saved to a cartridge through supplying the RAM chip with a long-life power chip. This technology would also be used in the SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Advanced, and Nintendo 64, and it’s safe to say the games on many of these systems couldn’t exist without it.

Genyo Takeda’s Analog Stick

Takeda’s legacy didn’t stop at the N64 however, with his most famous innovation becoming a staple of controllers for years to come: the analog stick.

While technically Takeda didn’t invent the analog stick, the N64 was the first console to fully realise its potential for precise control in a 3D environment.  Before the N64, the last stick seen on a home console had been the Vectrex in 1983, and anyone who has played that console can tell you that it wasn’t the greatest.

If truth be told, the N64’s analog stick doesn’t hold up too well by today’s standards. It’s small, fragile, knobbly, and easily broken during rigorous Mario Party sessions. At the time though the analog stick was a revelation, and with Nintendo churning out classic after classic with the likes of Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the era of 3D gaming ushered in by the N64 would be unthinkable without the trusty analog stick aiding our exploration. The stick went on to be copied – and improved upon – by Sony and Microsoft for their respective consoles, and even with the advent of motion controls and VR, a better control method still hasn’t been found.

Genyo Takeda Biography: N64 Analog Stick | Nintendaily

GameCube, Wii and Beyond

Genyo Takeda was reasonably quiet in Nintendo’s GameCube era. During this time, Takeda’s team was renamed to Nintendo Integrated Research and Development, and the team helped design the GameCube itself, its controller, and its accessories. They also worked with Conexant to create the system’s underused broadband connectivity. While in reality nothing about the GameCube was groundbreaking, the controller is extremely well regarded, and who could forget the revolution that is the handle sticking out the console’s back? (Note: everyone does).

Genyo Takeda Biography: Takeda holds a GameCube | Nintendaily

In May 2002, Satoru Iwata succeeded Hiroshi Yamauchi to become president of Nintendo, who then went on to promote Genyo Takeda to Senior Managing Director. Around this time, Takeda was one of the lead developers for the Nintendo Wii, and with his now considerable experience in hardware development, he had some clear views on the direction he wanted to take the console.

According to Takeda, the current roadmap the games industry was taking was subject to diminishing returns, and simply wasn’t profitable. The existing roadmap can be described as thus: “predicted industry evolution as dictated by an overview that takes in semiconductor development, parallel products and the recent past”. In essence, this means relying on the latest chips that become available, while being aware of current market competition and past trends to develop ideas that will be in step with coming technology. In short, the model was powered not by innovation, but by developers trying to keep up with the latest semiconductor technology – a route that would inevitably leave to a batch of sterile, overpowered machines that were so expensive to make, they barely made any money.

Takeda himself said:

“If we had followed existing roadmaps we would have aimed to make it faster and flashier. We’d have tried to improve the speed at which it displays stunning graphics. But we could not help but ask, ‘How big an impact would that really have on our customers?’ In development, we came to realise the sheer inefficiency of this path when we compared the hardships and costs of development against the new experiences customers might have.

 

In 2002 I started to feel unsure about following the accepted path. I became keenly aware of the fact that there is no end to the desire of those who just want more. Give them one, they ask for two. Give them two and next time they will ask for five instead of three, their desire growing exponentially. Giving in to this will lead us nowhere in the end.”

For any gamer in the early 2000s, they’ll remember how radically different this approach was. The industry standard was to release iterative versions of ever-more powerful consoles, yet here was Nintendo, the company that once ran the slogan “now you’re playing with power”, downplaying the importance of pure muscle in favour of innovation, and getting more out of existing technology.

Takeda famously compared the Wii’s approach to the automotive industry:

“If automobiles can be used as a metaphor, our industry has always been trying to compete over horsepower, while not all cars are made to compete in Formula 1 races. Not every car follows the same evolutionary course. Some are trying to make faster cars, others are gathering public attention around the world with their hybrid engines.”

The Wii then wasn’t merely the latest version of a flashy supercar, but rather a hybrid vehicle that emphasised mass appeal and processing efficiency over raw power. This has pretty much been Nintendo’s mantra right up to the Nintendo Switch, and although there was a big backlash by fans regarding the Wii and Wii U’s lack of horsepower, it’s notable that this hasn’t been as big an issue for the Switch. In an age where the difference in graphics between console generations has become less and less noticeable, and with rumours of an end to the traditional iterative console lifecycle floating around, Takeda’s comments regarding the futility of an industry powered by nothing more than graphical prowess couldn’t hold truer.

Following the tragic death of Satoru Iwata on 11 July 2015, Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto were both appointed as Representative Directors of Nintendo, and it was expected that one of them would become president. In the end Tatsumi Kimishima would become president, and Takeda instead was given the title of Technology Fellow, for which he was tasked with giving expert advice to Kimishima-san.

Genyo Takeda Biography: Takeda, Kimishima and Miyamoto | Nintendail

Takeda spoke at the funeral of Iwata, delivering a memorable speech for the man who he had worked alongside for the majority of his working life:

“In the face of your unbelievable passing it will surely take some time before we can emerge from this deep sorrow. Please know, however, that the seeds you have planted, and the plants that have sprouted will put forth small flowers as they bring smiles to the faces of people around the world, blossom into a grand flower bigger than even you, our leader, Iwata-san.”

On 27 April 2017, Nintendo announced in a statement that after 45 years of hard work, Genyo Takeda would retire from Nintendo this June at the ripe old age of 68. His role was to be filled by Ko Shiota, who until then had led Nintendo’s Platform Technology Development Division.

And so that brings us to end of Genyo Takeda’s extraordinary career. While Takeda has never been as public facing as his contemporaries Iwata and Miyamoto, his contributions to the gaming industry have nonetheless been just as relevant. They say the very best design is invisible, designed to be functional rather than aesthetically pleasing. While the battery back-up memory may not look flashy, it fundamentally changed the way we were able to enjoy games. Similarly, while as kids we were busy staring open-mouthed at the beauty of Super Mario 64, the game’s genius could only be enjoyed through the N64’s analog stick.

Much of Nintendo’s success and innovation can, at least in part, be attributed to this man working diligently behind the scenes. And for that reason I say thank you, Genyo Takeda, and may you enjoy your well-deserved retirement.

Full Credits

Production

Dr. Mario 64 (2001) (Producer)
Pilotwings 64 (1996) (Producers)
Super Punch-Out!! (1994) (Producer)
Zoda’s Revenge: Star Tropics II (1994) (Producer)
Space Firebird (1980) (Produced and Directed by)

Design

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! (1987) (Director)
Popeye (1982) (Designers)
Sheriff (1979) (Designer)
EVR Race (1975) (Designer)
Laser Clay Shooting System (1973) (Designed by)

Writers

Zoda’s Revenge: Star Tropics II (1994) (Screenwriter)
StarTropics (1990) (Screenwriter)

Video/Cinematics

StarTropics (1990) (Director)

Support

Punch-Out!! (2009) (Supervisors)

Thanks

Furi (2016) (Very Special Thanks to)
Pokémon Puzzle League (2000) (Special Thanks)
Killer Instinct 2 (1996) (Special Thanks)
Donkey Kong Country (1994) (Special Thanks)
Killer Instinct (1994) (Special Thanks)

Genyo Takeda Biography: The Life of Nintendo’s First Game Designer Image 1 | Nintendaily

 

Why Has Nintendo Cancelled The NES Classic Edition?| Nintendaily

Why Has Nintendo Cancelled The NES Classic Edition?

To me, the NES Classic Edition was the symbol of a new Nintendo back when it was released in November 2016.

Gone was the company of yesterday with its novelty motion controls and poorly marketed WiiU. Nintendo was still riding the huge wave of nostalgia generated by Pokémon Go (and the 3DS Pokémon titles that followed), they had a stellar new console waiting in the wings, and a new president in the form of Tatsumi Kimishima who, while not being as public-facing as Iwata, seemed to be taking the company in a direction I approved of.

The NES Classic Edition was a statement to the world – a reminder that the history of Nintendo and gaming in general is deeply intertwined, and despite the failures of the last generation, Nintendo is a master of game design. It would take more than one failed generation to undo decades of phenomenal work.

The NES Classic Edition came out, and it was glorious. It offered thirty classic NES games, lovingly emulated, sold at a fraction of the price it would cost to buy them separately on the Nintendo eshop. It was almost too good to be true.

In fact, scrap that. It was too good to be true. Last night Nintendo announced they were discontinuing the NES Classic Edition in North America. Here are their exact words:

“Throughout April, [Nintendo of America] territories will receive the last shipments of Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition systems for this year. We encourage anyone interested in obtaining this system to check with retail outlets regarding availability. We understand that it has been difficult for many consumers to find a system, and for that, we apologize. We have paid close attention to consumer feedback, and we greatly appreciate the incredible level of consumer interest and support for this product.”

Shortly later, they announced shipments would also be halted to Australia.

But why? The consoles sold 200,000 units a month after it’s launch. People were going nuts for the machine, with supply far outstripping demand. Why didn’t Nintendo simply keep churning them out?

Well this being Nintendo, no one knows for sure. But after an evening ruminating here are a couple of possible reasons:

The NES Classic Edition Has Accomplished Its Goal

Cast your mind back to early last year. Nintendo wasn’t in a great state. the WiiU seemed to many to be an abject failure. The company was hemorrhaging money, was under huge pressure from its stock holders, and was still reeling from the tragic death of its beloved President Satora Iwata. Nintendo seemed lost, unable to win back the casual audience who had moved on since the Wii, but unable entice its hardcore fans.

The NES Classic Edition was more than just a console. It was part of a wider commercial strategy to remind people what a gaming powerhouse the Big N was. Along with Pokemon Go and the soon-to-be-released Mario Run, the NES Classic Edition‘s purpose was to once again kindle people’s passion for Nintendo, and convince their die hard fans that Nintendo still cared for them, and would be catering for them with their upcoming console.

Why Has Nintendo Cancelled The NES Classic Edition?| Nintendaily

The Console Was a Distraction

For people who aren’t hardcore gamers, it can be quite confusing getting their heads around the myriad of 3DS models out there, plus the Nintendo Switch, which is essentially another portable console to add to the pile.

Simply put, adding a third machine into the mix would confuse things even more for those that don’t understand it isn’t a ‘proper’ console. The Nintendo Switch is Nintendo’s future. Realistically, having a £50 periphery line hanging around that hardly makes any margin and which doesn’t make money from content (which is how Nintendo make the majority of profits anyway) is going to do nothing except cannibalise sales on Nintendo’s main offering.

This would especially be true if the consoles were released simultaneously around Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love Breath of the Wild, but if I had a choice of waking up on Christmas morning to a £50 console with 30 classic games, or a £350 console with just one, I think I’d have to choose the former.

Why Has Nintendo Cancelled The NES Classic Edition? | Nintendaily

 

Nintendo Wants You Hyped

For better or worse, Nintendo loves hype. And one of the best ways to create hype is to make something unavailable.

I’ve been a Nintendo fan for many years. I was there to see how Super Mario RPG and Earthbound acquired a cult following in the UK because of their lack of a western release. I remember how the stock shortages for the Wii drove the public to hysteria, and even more recently I’ve seen the crazy prices people will pay on eBay for their favourite limited edition Amiibo.

Nintendo just seem to love keeping the public on their toes by maintaining an artificially high level of hype. I could be reading far too much into this, but if Nintendo decide to sell more of the NES Classic Edition later on down the line – even at an inflated price – the buzz and excitement they have generated through limited stock is sure to make it a success.

Why Has Nintendo Cancelled The NES Classic Edition? | Nintendaily

Nintendo Want You To Buy Retro Games On The Switch

The Nintendo Switch virtual console isn’t up and running yet, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the NES games there will be more expensive than their NES Classic Edition counterpart.

One of the great things about the NES Classic Edition is that it’s fantastic value for money. Game for game, Nintendo has never before offered so many classics for so small a price. Nintendo’s back catalogue isn’t a trivial thing for them. Despite the shortcomings of the WiiU virtual console, Nintendo knows that suckers like me will buy the same retro game over and over, so they at least make sure to have the big names on each system (I must own the original Zelda at least four times over).

Nintendo know they can get away with charging a lot more for their classic games, and so having such a huge pool of games readily available at such a modest prices is just not an attractive proposal for them. The Switch is their future, and that’s the console they want us to buy our games on.

Why Has Nintendo Cancelled The NES Classic Edition? | Nintendaily

Super Mario Pinball Land Retroactive | Nintendaily

Super Mario Pinball Land Retroactive

Did you ever play a pinball machine and think “boy, wouldn’t it be fun if they made a pinball game with a full-on adventure mode?” Yes? Well then you’re a damned fool, and deserve everything you get from Super Mario Pinball Land.

First things first: I like pinball games. I don’t dare think about how many hours I sank into Pokemon Pinball as a kid, trying to beat my score and fill my Pokedex (while enjoying the wonderful built-in rumble pack of course). All developer Focus Games had to do was slap on a new Nintendo IP, cobble together a few tables with piranha plants and coin blocks, and you’ve surely got a winner. What could go wrong?

Super Mario Pinball Land Retroactive Image 1 | Nintendaily

So, so much it seems. Rather than being a pinball game in the high-score beating, two-or-three table sense, Super Mario Pinball Land’s ambitions are far more lofty. Through exposition so ingenious I can’t begin to remember the specifics, Peach has been tricked into turning into a pinball, which (naturally) gives Bowser the perfect opportunity to kidnap her. Mario too has been pinball-ified, and must be flipped and rolled through the kingdom to save her.

The concept is potentially compelling stuff, and you have to give the developers credit for trying to do something different. Rather than just trying to get a high score, you’re instead collecting power stars. Rather than just having a handful of different tables, you have five themed worlds, each of which contain multiple tables that you organically progress through by flipping yourself through doors.

The problem with Super Mario Pinball Land comes with the inherent issues with pinball: namely, the degree of unpredictability. Pinball is fine if you’re trying to tap the ball in the general direction of a handful of brightly lit buzzers and bumpers. Super Mario Pinball Land on the other hand requires an infuriating amount of precision that saps the fun out of everything. Want to get the Power Star? Then you need to kill all the enemies on the screen. Want to progress to the next board? Hit the ball into the tiny doorway on the top left hand corner. These tasks would be a piece of cake in any other genre, but the clunky pinball mechanics makes even the most mundane movement unbelievably frustrating, with any success you have feeling more like luck rather than skill.

Super Mario Pinball Land Retroactive Image 2 | Nintendaily

It doesn’t help too that it is too easy to accidentally leave a table, resetting any progress you’ve made. One particularly annoying moment includes you having to destroy four penguins, each of which being very hard to pin down. All too often though you’ll accidentally whack the ball off through one of the multiple exits at the top of the board, meaning the penguins immediately respawn when you re-enter. It all feels incredibly unfair for what should be a relatively simple task, and is a constant reoccurrence throughout the whole game. None of this is helped by a washed out, repetitive soundtrack that just compounds your frustration.

The game includes bosses too, and while it they do look the part (the graphics are excellent throughout), they vary between tolerable to just plain aggravating. I didn’t find fighting a giant puffer fish using multi-ball style explosives spawning from the depths of a sunken ship to offensive, but trying to get the upper hand on Petey Piranha, who simply eats your ball and spits it between your flippers at a range you can’t avoid, just isn’t fun. Neither is fighting a giant boo, who adds a ghostly spin your ball making it impossible to know how where it will land. The final boss – while being hard – is dangerously close to being enjoyable (or at least fair), but even that is messed up a confusing final phase.

Super Mario Pinball Land Retroactive Image 3 | Nintendaily

I don’t really know what I was expecting with Super Mario Pinball Land.  It was released at a weird time in my life when I was young enough to pour excitedly over pictures in gaming magazines, but old enough to appreciate the lukewarm reviews meant I could probably could live without playing it. At the time, the novelty of the great graphics probably would have won me over. Even today part of the reasons I kept coming back was because I was curious to see what the next new world or boss would look like.

At the end of the day though, beneath the graphical polish there lies an unfair and under cooked pinball game that didn’t hold up 13 years ago, let alone today. It’s an oddity for sure, and if you see it cheap it’s worth a play through just for the hell of it. Other than that I’m not too gutted about letting this one fall between the flippers.

Mario and Luigi: Bowers inside Story Retroactive | Nintendaily

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story Retroactive

It’s taking me six years to complete Mario & Lugi: Bowser’s Inside story. SIX YEARS. Generations of consoles were born and have died in that time space. I’ve graduated from university, lived in two countries, five cities, and have for six companies in that time.

All I can say it that’s it’s about ruddy time.

Before I start, I just want to say that I really love the Mario and Luigi series. Not quite as much as Paper Mario (well, eh, before Sticker Star…), but nevertheless I remember playing the original and being amazed at how they managed to take everything that made Paper Mario great, and shrink it down onto a GBA cart. The humour, the reflex-based battle system, the badge perk system (well it was ‘beans’ you used actually, but it still an interesting wrinkle)…it just all worked so well.

Mario and Luigi: Bowers inside Story Retroactive | Nintendaily, Image 1

The second in the series – Partners in Time – was also a lot of fun, but I have to admit I found the writing didn’t quite sparkle as much, and as far as I can remember there weren’t many new mechanics or nuances that caught my attention. It also had a hub world, which similar to Rougeport Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door, I just felt wasn’t very organic and made the game world too siloed.

Bower’s Inside Story shakes things up in several ways. Probably the biggest change is that you’re no longer controlling Mario and Luigi throughout the majority of the 20-hour adventure, but rather Bowser himself (I’d put the % split probably at 60/40). Playing as the king of the Koopas is immensely enjoyable, and stomping around, breathing fire on trees and ground pounding switches is more than enough to relieve most of the fatigue I felt in Partners in Time.

The game’s other major gimmick is that when playing as Mario and Luigi, you play literally inside Bowser’s body, thanks to some convenient exposition about him eating a mushroom that causes him unknowingly inhale the brothers. This makes for some great set pieces were what you make Bower do in the overworld directly effects how you progress on the inside. For example, making Bower drink water will make his insides flood, moving obstacles out the way and allowing you to swim to previously impossible-to-reach places. In fact, the game is at its very best when it forces you to switch back and forth between controlling the plumbers and Bowser, working together to accomplish tasks and complete puzzles.

Mario and Luigi: Bowers inside Story Retroactive | Nintendaily, Image 2

Combat is another area where the games excels. As with previous games combat is turn-based, but battles feel much more interactive thanks to well-timed button presses being rewarded with greater damage. Enemy attacks can be dodged – and in many cases countered – by paying attention to their tells and jumping or using your hammer accordingly. Mario and Luigi control just the same as their other outings, but controlling Bowser in battle is a heap of fun, with his punches in feeling wonderfully visceral.

Further complications are added with buttons, items, and stat-boasting gear. A number of SP attacks are also available, and although satisfying to pull off, I did find them perhaps a tad overpowered – particularly on the final fight boss which was over and done with just too quickly.

Mario and Luigi: Bowers inside Story Retroactive | Nintendaily, Image 4

I also wasn’t a huge fan on the parts of the game where Bowser swells up to the size of a castle to fight sentient buildings and giant monsters. I hate to say it’s gimmicky… the game has you flipping the DS on its side and blowing into the mic for goodness sake. The fights are fun for a while, but they go on for a while and are a pain to play in public.

Really though that is the only negative I can think of. The graphics are gorgeously colourful (much nicer than the 3D spites in the sequels), the writing sharp as a knife, and the gameplay accessible while still having depth. It may have taken six years to complete, but now I have I totally reccommend picking it up if you haven’t experienced it yet.

 

EGX Rezzed 2017: A Rundown of Every Game I Played | Nintendaily

EGX Rezzed 2017: A Rundown of Every Game I Played

Indie games, cosplayers, and the stench of sweat so palpable you can see it congeal on the walls – it can only mean one thing. EGX Rezzed 2017 is here, and once again saw London’s Tobacco Dock packed to the rafters with more indie entertainment than you could shake a Wii remote at.

For one magical weekend, the myriad close-quarter rooms of the docks were turned into sweltering hives of indie imagination. The air may have been stickier than a marmalade sandwich in a sauna, but an invigorating breeze of creativity permeated the whole event. Forget stagnating three-hours queues to play the latest dreary AAA shooter. This is how a games event should be: fast, visceral, and downright awesome.

I managed to cram in about 20 games, and while they didn’t all tickle my fancy, the passion that went into these titles is undisputed. Here’s a (very) quick rundown of what I played:

Overcooked (Ghost Town Games)

A hilarious/friendship ruining co-op cooking sim that sees you working together to fulfil orders in a restaurant. From fetching ingredients to chopping, boiling, frying, serving and cleaning, you need to work together to form a fully functioning kitchen. Social etiquette stopped me from screaming at my cohorts to get some effing work done, but in the company of friends I can imagine myself fully channeling the spirit of Gordon Ramsey.

De Mambo (The Dangerous Kitchen)

A Smash Bros. style fighter where you play as a ball who can attack in different ways depending on how long you hold the ‘A’ button for. By combining dashes with spikes and projectile attacks you’re able destroy the scenery and knock your opponent off the screen for a KO. It all felt a bit random to me, but then again it was the only game I lost at.

RiME (Tequila Works)

I think I missed the point with the EGX Rezzed 2017 Rime’s demo. 15 minutes and one overlong loading screen in, and I was still wandering lost across a huge island looking for something to interactive with. Yes, it looks pretty enough, but the frame rate was awfully choppy, and the colours were just a little too syrupy for my liking. I guess a busy showroom floor isn’t the best place to experience this kind of game.

 

Pocket Rumble (Cardboard Robot Games)

A fun little Street Fighter style game with attractive blown-up pixel art visuals. Perhaps a touch on the shallow side, but the simple controls means anyone can grab a Switch Joy-Con and play along. The lack of a D-Pad didn’t see too damning either.

 

Little Nightmares (Tarsier Studios)

A horror/stealth game where you play as a little girl hiding from a huge, terrifying chef monster. Despite the cartoon visuals, listening to the wheezes and shrieks of the bloated creature as you cower beneath a kitchen table is genuinely unnerving. Not sure if I’d have the stomach to play to completion, but looks like a great experience to scratch that Alien Isolation itch.

 

Persona 5 (Atlus)

I almost purely had a go on Persona 5 because of their superior queueing arrangement (shame on you for your crowded mess, Sonic Mania). I’ve never played a Persona game before, but I liked the art style and got a good handle on the combat system. I didn’t play for long because my brother was holding my place in the Overcooked! queue, but it piqued my interest enough to give earlier entries in the series a go.

SteamWorld Dig 2 (Image & Form)

‘The sequel isn’t procedurally generated because we’re now able to hire level designers’ – how refreshing it was to hear a dev admit procedural generation was a result of budget limitations rather than a design choice. In any case, SteamWorld Dig looks like a cracking follow up, billed to have multiple worlds and be even more Metriodvania than the original. My only concern was that the demo felt a little too much like a scripted dungeon without allowing me to explore freestyle, but as this was apparently the initial training stage hopefully things open up later on.

Qube 2 (Toxic Games)

‘We were inspired by Portal’, said just about every developer I spoke to at EGX Rezzed 2017. Qube 2 nevertheless is a fun little Portal clone that sees you using a special glove to colour and manipulate tiles. Clever stuff indeed, but from the tough demo I get the impression the game doesn’t yet have the nuanced difficulty curve of Portal.

See You on the Other Side (Tunnel Vision Games)

Another Portal clone. This is probably the most bare-bones game I played, but the concept was interesting: namely that you can’t walk across shadows, but you can walk across lit paths. The game is set across a number of dark puzzle rooms, and you have to manipulate lamps so as to cast light and create pathways to reach your goal. It looks rougher than sandpaper after a night out, but lots of fun.

Blackwood Crossing (PaperSeven)

One of the most graphically impressive games at EGX Rezzed 2017, Blackwood Crossing is a first person narrative adventure that sees you pursuing your younger brother Finn through a train populated by frozen characters in animal masks. As you progress, the train sprouts flowers and grass, and eventually spawns a ladder that leads up to your brother’s tree house. It all looks lovely, but sadly it was marred by treacly controls.

Shu (Coatsink Games)

A pretty little platformer that sees you riding the wind, turning flowers into platforms, and outrunning a monstrous black creature called Storm. It was competent enough and the controls felt tight, but nothing really grabbed me from my short playthrough.

Tokyo 42 (SMAC Games)

An isometric twin-stick shooter set atop buildings in a futuristic Tokyo. The game saw me trying to assassinate a target and using different outfits to fox numerous henchmen. There seemed to be a fun range of weapons I could use, but to be honest I spent most of my time trying to find out how to harness the cat I could spawn by pressing left on the D-pad.

WarGroove (Chucklefish Games)

This is Advance Wars, it’s as simple as that. Right down to capturing bases, battling sprite cut scenes, and taking the enemies HQ to win. The fantasy setting was fun though, and with the developer telling me asynchronous multiplayer was being considered (enabling online matches similar to how you would play Words With Friends) this could be the first Advance Wars with a decent online multiplayer.

Minesheeper (Ghostvoid)

Bomberman with sheep and homing mines, basically. The ability to block homing mines by placing a normal mine behind you adds an interesting mechanic though, as you avoid incoming mines and fire off your own from a distance. Naturally I beat my competitors (including the developer) every time.

Deckbound Spears (Deckbound)

I was walking across the EGX Rezzed 2017 show floor and was planning to walk right past this until a 10-year old challenged me to a fight. This is basically a twin stick top-down shooter that sees you lobbing spears at one another. Nothing too original, but having to go and collect your spear after throwing it adds a nice risk-reward mechanic. You’ll be glad to know I wiped the floor with the kid, as well as the backup sprog that joined him. At 27 I’ve still got it!

Gang Beasts (Boneloaf)

I got my backside handed back to me by a kid on this one, but it I was having too much fun to care. Gang Beasts is basically Power Stone meet WWF meets Mr Blobbly. You play a big, wobbly rubber monster trying to throw other rubber monsters off the stage. It lacks depth, but flailing your gelatinous arms and slapping your opponent into submission before throwing them off the stage was immensely satisfying.

Smash Up (Nomad Games)

Smash Up is a virtual card game. You’ll know in that one sentence if this is game for you or not. Unfortunately it wasn’t for me, but I’d already been suckered in by the lack of any queues and a vaguely exciting title screen. As far as I could see there are a few interesting wrinkles to the game, including the ability to pick ‘cool’ classes like pirates, ninjas, and geeks (also dinosaurs, who are genuinely are cool), but for now I think I’ll be sticking to Exploded Kittens.

GoNNER (Art in Heart)

The SteamWorld Dig 2 devs had already ruined procedural generation for me, so I wasn’t going to be fooled by any of the marketing spiel spouted by the GoNNER team. Nevertheless, the minimalistic neon visual of this side-on shooter did appeal. For each playthrough, you’re given a random weapon, and must make your way through as many randomly-generated kill rooms as possibly. The punchy action suited show floor well, but I’m unconvinced about its lasting appeal.