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Revelation that Goombas might have arms and hands rocks video game world

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Not since Mario’s nipples has the video game world been rocked this hard by a revelation about anatomy: Goombas have arms and hands!

The discovery of these appendages comes courtesy of photos of a Goomba keshi rubber figure (an eraser) shared to Twitter by user Joe Piconi, which shows the Goomba with his arms and hands folded behind his back, thus giving him the armless appearance.

Goombas have arms and hands. They are folded neatly behind their backspic.twitter.com/nRXVi6u92f

— Joe Piconi (@joepiconi) April 19, 2019

This is a potentially stunning revelation given that, for decades, the Goombas have been able to do all kinds of activities, like baseball and bowling, without using these hidden arms.  Read more…

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Nintendo’s Labo: VR Kit is not Virtual Boy 2.0

Even the most successful tech company is going to have a stumble from time to time. Nintendo’s 45 years in the video game industry is spotted with a few doozies, but none are more infamous than the Virtual Boy. The 1994 portable console was marketed as an early home entry into virtual reality, but in actual reality ended up being little more than a blood-red headache.

Nintendo knew the comparisons to the doomed console would come fast and furiously when it launched its next VR venture, so the company took the time to get it just right. In a sense, Labo VR is a cautious push into the virtual realm. It’s nowhere near the all-in approach of Oculus, Vive or even PlayStation VR, for that matter — but it’s uniquely Nintendo.

Like the first Labo kits, it’s a friendly reminder that Nintendo’s chief job is to surprise and delight, and it happily delivers on both fronts. But just as the Labo piano shouldn’t be mistaken for a real musical instrument, Labo VR ought not be viewed as a real virtual reality.

It’s not just the pop-out cardboard form factor, either. Google made that a perfectly acceptable beginner’s approach to VR. It’s more that Nintendo has taken a very casual approach to all of this. The kit’s virtual reality experience is an extension of Labo itself. It’s no more important than the process of building the headset and various accessories step by step on the app. Or, for that matter, sharing all of the above experiences with others.

During a demo of the new kits in New York this week, Nintendo was quick to point out that the headsets are built without a strap. It claims this was a conscious decision so that the experience can be passed around and shared. I’m sure there are some practical reasons behind this decision as well, but it’s certainly a nice thought.

Virtual reality is, by nature of its form factor, a solitary experience. Labo VR doesn’t have any sort of video-out feature to share the experience on a big screen (for now, at least), so the idea of offering it up in a more social play-and-pass scenario is appealing. This goes double for the fact that, like the original Labo kits, all of the games included fall under the casual banner. The experiences share a common lineage with Nintendo analog titles like Mario Party or Mario Paint.

Your mileage with each title will vary. Certainly some (Bird and Blaster spring to mind) will stay with you longer than others and demand more repeat play. On the whole, each buildable peripheral launches with one (maybe two) compatible games. The good news, however, is that, like Labo, the company packs a lot of controllers (and therefore experiences) into a single kit.

The standard Labo: VR Kit ships with six Toy-Con projects (VR Goggles, Toy-Con Blaster, Toy-Con Camera, Toy-Con Bird, Toy-Con Wind Pedal and Toy-Con Elephant), while the cheaper Starter Set comes with two (Goggles and Blaster). If you go for the latter to dip your toes in the water or just to save on cash, there are a pair of “expansion sets” to get the full experience.

Unlike the last time Nintendo came to town with a Labo press tour, we didn’t actually get any time to build. That said, if previous kits are any indication, that’s half of the fun and value proposition here. Also, the amount of time you’ll spend building varies greatly from project to project — take it from me, someone who spent most of a work morning building that damn piano.

Once built, the VR experience is about on-par with what you’d expect from a Google VR. Again, it’s a set of lenses attached to a hunk of cardboard. This is no Rift or Vive and the immersiveness of your own experience will vary. The graphics are cartoony and oftentimes just large polygons. But a well-crafted casual gaming experience can be enough to pull you out of your own head for a bit. Bird is the best example of this.

The controller clips on the headset, with a Toy-Con popping out the other end like a beak. As a player, you hook your hands on either side of the display and flap along as you play a bird, flying around trees and completing different missions to feed an army of hatchlings. It’s a relaxing reprieve from some of the faster-paced games, as you glide around the skies. Add in the foot-controlled Wind Pedal, and the system delivers a puff of air to your face as you boost your bird, adding to the effect.

Blaster, a big, fun novelty gun, is the most engaging of the bunch. When I ended my demos with some extra time to spare, the Nintendo rep asked me if I wanted to give any of the games another go. The answer was simple. A simple first-person shooter, Blaster pits you against an army of alien blobs. You load the gun by cocking it like a shot-gun, and pull the trigger to an explosive effect.

Honorable mention goes to Doodle, which uses the bizarre elephant-shaped controller. The experience is unique from the rest in that it’s not actually a game, but rather a 3D drawing tool. It’s one of the more clever additions to the pack, though actually drawing on a 3D plane with a cardboard controller shaped like an elephant’s trunk is easier said than done. The implementation is a bit lacking, but it offers interesting insight into where Labo VR might go in the future.

Honestly, I just scratched the surface during my briefing. But there’s little question that Labo VR is a fun and singular experience. There’s also a special screen holder, so users who have rough time with VR can experience a 2D version of the games and accessories. Also, as with the standard Labo kit, Nintendo has bundled in Toy-Con Garage, so users can start building their own games when they tire of the pre-packaged experiences.

If there’s one disappointment in all of this, it’s that it will likely be a while before we see a full standalone VR experience from Nintendo. The idea of playing as Mario, Link and the like in virtual reality is no doubt something of a lifelong dream for plenty of gamers who grew up on the characters. But while Virtual Boy is a quarter-century in the past, the memory still lingers.

Until then, Labo VR is a fully engaging take on VR, and a uniquely Nintendo one, to boot.

Why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dropped into a ‘Donkey Kong 64’ session on Twitch

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It’s not every day a member of Congress drops by a Twitch session.

Streamers of a session of Donkey Kong 64 on Sunday were treated to a cameo from newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

YouTube star Hbomberguy, a.k.a. Harry Brewis, is streaming a Twitch marathon of the classic 1999 Donkey Kong adventure platformer released by Rare for Nintendo 64, which he’d never finished as a kid (preach).

Brewis explained in a video announcement he intended to play the game start to finish, streaming from January 18 to raise money for Mermaids, a charity providing resources and support for transgender children and young people.  Read more…

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Oh, the things I would do to get this cardboard-style Nintendo Switch

Nintendo is building on its strange but wonderful cardboard Labo platform with some sweet Mario Kart integration and a truly fabulous limited edition Switch with a faux-cardboard finish. It really is just the greatest thing and I would do terrible things to have it. Unfortunately some smart kid will probably get it, because you have to win it by designing something cool with Labo.

So, first the Mario Kart stuff. If you have Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Switch, and you really should because it’s excellent, you can now use the Toy-Con (buildable with the Labo Variety Kit) as a sort of real-world controller. You twist the right “handlebar” to accelerate and rotate the whole thing to turn.

This is the first game to get its own special Labo support, but the company says more are on the way. Splatoon 2, perhaps?

If you’re a creative type and you have a Labo set, you’re in luck. There are two new contests you can enter, and entry puts you in the running to win the amazing neutral-colored Switch shown up top. I really don’t know why I love it so much, but I do. And if you do too, you should enter. (If you’re in the U.S. or Canada. Sorry, world.)

The first challenge is to create a musical instrument with the Toy-Con pieces and “craft materials.” You’ll have to document its creation and show it working on video; it’ll be judged on “Quality, Creativity, Spirit, and Sound.” Caps Nintendo’s.

The second challenge is to create a game or game-like experience using Toy-Con Garage. Same judgment categories as before, minus Sound.

There will be one grand prize winner and four runners up per contest. Grand prize is that amazing Switch (approximate retail value $1,000?!), plus a cool (?) Labo jacket. Runners up get a pair of cardboard style Joy-Cons and a jacket. Respectable.

If you’ve been looking for a reason to pick up that Labo kit again or use some random pieces you never tried, this is surely that reason. Now get to work!

Ariana Grande, Jimmy Fallon play ‘No Tears Left to Cry’ on a Nintendo Labo

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Yes, they’re really playing music on Nintendo’s Labo.

Specifically Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, who joined Ariana Grande to play her newest single “No Tears Left To Cry” on The Tonight Show Monday night.

Fallon told IGN he and the band worked with Nintendo to create guitars and other instruments out of cardboard.

“It was totally bizarre and such a gamble,” he said. “I didn’t know if it was going to sound good, but Ariana is always down to try something fun and different. Anyone can do what we did really, it just takes time. Whatever you dream of, you can make it.” Read more…

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Nintendo’s $20 charging stand finally fixes the Switch’s kickstand problem

Versatility has also been on of the Switch’s best features. The latest Nintendo system is a fascinating hybrid device that skirts the line between home and portable gaming. Still, there are some in-between scenarios the console didn’t get quite right out of the box.

The kickstand problem has plagued the otherwise well-received device since its earliest days. It falls over often, it’s puts the device at a weird angle, and worst of all, the charging port is on the bottom, so you can’t play the system in table top mode while it’s plugged it.

Just ahead of E3, the company’s showing off a $20 solution. The simply named Adjustable Charging Stand props the system, while keeping it plugged in, via an AC adapter port on the side.

An adjustable kickstand on the back, meanwhile, means you can change the viewing angle, depending on the height of the surface it’s on. That’s good news for those times when you don’t have a TV set to plug into, but still want to pull out the Joy-Cons to get the full experience — be it on a desk or an airport tray table. 

The peripheral hits stores July 13.

Nintendo is bringing Mario Kart to mobile

 In news that will excite every Nintendo fan on the planet, the Japanese gaming giant just announced that it will bring its hugely popular Mario Kart series to mobile. Nintendo teased the upcoming development of ‘Mario Kart Tour’ which it said will be released sometime before March 2019. A long wait, indeed, and for now we have no additional details. But, for most enthusiasts,… Read More

In swiftly-deleted posting, GOP links Legend of Zelda to progressive taxation

Sadly, the Republican Party has already deleted its article titled What Do The Legend of Zelda and the American Tax Code Have In Common? and any corresponding twetes. But it lives on at Google Cache, at least for now.

Tragically, having equated the adventures of a mute yet heroic elf with the clawing economic deprivations of progressive taxation, the article barely touches upon why beyond simply noting a few coincidental dates. It’s the very dumbest boilerplate. Sad!

https://twitter.com/Beschizza/status/900516331522535429

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Transparent refurbished Super Nintendo consoles

Rose-Colored gaming’s producing a limited run of transparent Super Nintendo consoles, refurbished from cosmetically-damaged originals. The guts are painted and polished to be pretty behind the new acrylic enclosures. [via]

These SNES consoles have been treated to a 100% brand new, hand-built exterior, all while retaining complete original function. Each is assembled by hand with the care and attention to detail that you have come to expect from RCG. The housing consists of laser cut and etched acrylic components which have been drilled, bent, bonded, threaded, & assembled using all new anodized aluminum hardware. Many internal components have been slathered in various finishes then etched in order to accentuate items which were never meant to be seen. All hand-built, these units will only be available in VERY limited quantities upon release, with each being treated to a unique serial number.

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Super Mario Run hits Android, rolls out version two on iOS

 Super Mario Run hit Android a day early. Originally expected today, March 23, per Nintendo’s earlier announcement, the game arrived on the Google Play Store yesterday instead, along with an update on iOS. The iOS exclusive ran for three months, and brought the app over 78 million downloads, the gaming company said during its earnings in January. Of those players, more than five… Read More

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7 'Zelda: Breath of the Wild' tips the game won't tell you about

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There’s so much you can do in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that the game never explicitly teaches you.

That points to one of the great delights in this new Zelda: discovering cool stuff. I’ve spent close to 40 hours playing now and I’m still learning new things about what Link is capable of doing on a regular basis.

I’m not here to spoil the fun — or story — for anyone, but if you’re just starting out in Breath of the Wild and want some ideas, I’ve pulled together this short list of things that you might not pick up on so quickly. Read more…

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Nintendo Switch cartridges taste disgusting but that's not stopping anybody

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There’s plenty of intrigue and excitement when it comes to the imminent launch of the Nintendo Switch. But please, don’t put the cartridges in your mouth.

According to reports, the game cartridges themselves taste goddamn awful. While the question of why people started putting them in their mouths to begin with remains, it turns out Nintendo’s made them taste bad intentionally.

It’s to dissuade children from trying to eat them. Makes sense considering the cartridges are pretty small, and well, children eat everything in their sight. Read more…

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Crunch Report | YouTube TV Is Live

An in-depth review of the highly anticipated Nintendo Switch, YouTube launches YouTube TV, Uber’s CEO apologizes for being mean to a driver and Craig Newmark donates $1 million to ProPublica. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

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Super Smash Borg Melee: AI takes on top players of the classic Nintendo fighting game

smashbros You can add the cult classic Super Smash Bros Melee to the list of games soon to be dominated by AIs. Research at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has produced a computer player superior to the drones you can already fight in the game. It’s good enough that it held its own against globally-ranked players. Read More

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“Artisanal” Nintendo console cartridge hacker creates impossible alternate history games

Josh Jacobson is a Nintendo cartridge hacker who makes homebrew cartridges for games that were never released for NES/SNES, complete with label art and colored plastic cases that makes them look like they came from an alternate universe where (for example), there was a Nintendo version of Sonic the Hedgehog.
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Report: Pokémon Go has now crossed $1 billion in revenue

LookOut-pokemon-go Pokémon Go was 2016’s rocket ship — it broke download records and it raced to $500 million in revenue quicker than any app in history. Now it won yet another accolade, the fastest game to reach $1 billion. That’s according to a new report from app analytics firm Sensor Tower. To give the record some context, a recent App Annie report estimated that iOS and Android… Read More

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Nintendo reports $569M profit as Pokémon game sales get off to good start

pokemon-sun-moon22 Nintendo only takes a fraction of the revenue from Pokémon Go, the smash hit game of 2016, but its popularity has certainly boosted its own Pokémon games as evidenced by the company’s latest financial report. Nintendo reported a 64.7 billion JPY ($569 million) profit on revenue of 174.3 billion JPY ($1.5 billion). That’s a return to the black following a $57.1 million loss… Read More

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Pokémon Go is finally available in South Korea

pokemon-go Many may have stopped playing Pokémon Go, last year’s smash hit mobile game, but fans in Korea are just getting a taste of the action after it launched in their country today.
That’s right, this summer’s sensation is finally (officially) on Korean soil some six months after much of the rest of the world got into the title. The launch in Korea has been a complicated affair… Read More

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Crunch Report | Nintendo Switch Hits the Market on March 3

Nintendo Switch to hit the market on March 3, San Francisco District Attorney brings lawsuit against Lily, Moon Express is going to the Moon and Microsoft buys AI startup Maluuba. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

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Here’s how to pre-order the Nintendo Switch

switch If you were staying up late to ride the hype train that is the Nintendo Switch only to find yourself hunting aimlessly for a pre-order button…. good news. Nintendo was weirdly vague about when US pre-orders for their new $300 console would open up (outside of a tweet that mentioned a limited number of pre-orders at Nintendo NYC) but a bunch of retailers just pushed their pages live. Here… Read More

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This sneaky 'Super Mario World' hack has been in hiding for 26 years

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For anyone who grew up playing the Super NES, there are few things more nostalgic than the sight of Mario’s adorably pixelated little face bobbing along beneath that charming red cap of his.

There are also few sights more frustration-invoking than that of Big Boo — the highly irritating, seemingly impossible-to-kill baddie who’d follow you around the ghost house whenever your back was turned.

Well, according to the clip below, it looks like there was an easy way to get rid of Boo the whole time:

You…can kill Big Boos with a slide…wha…all this time…
(Credit to Supper Mario Broth) pic.twitter.com/uCi0GsT66x

— SomecallmeJohnny (@Somecallmejon) January 10, 2017 Read more…

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