Every year, since I usually have a pretty good idea of if I'll like a game or think it a massive failure, I make it my goal to find a game that can surprise me. Of course, with all the research in the world, the game could still end up as a massive failure. For example, let us take a look at one of Nintendo’s first entries into the free-to-play realm of gaming: Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball for the Nintendo 3DS, free-to-play tactics and sports games, two things about gaming that I am usually not super fond of. I have gone on record before about sports games being way too focused on having super realistic movements. and all of them being the same with no innovation thrown into the mix. Now, free-to-play sucks, since the business model can be easily abused and has been abused from Final Fantasy: All the Bravest to Dungeon Keeper Mobile. It is awful that companies have put a sour taste in everyone’s mouth with these bad examples of free-to-play, while games like Loadout, which is a great example of the same model done well, get overlooked. Anyway, back to Rusty’s: what do you get when you combine arcade-style baseball mini-games and a surprisingly good free-to-play model? Well, read on to find out.

I think for awhile now we've known that the AAA industry seems to have a heavy focus on a select few genres, and among that, making games that seem to be all too similar. We've found plenty of avenues to place the blame for this, but chief among them is the AAA marketing teams. Jim Sterling, review editor of The Escapist, had a chance to sit down with developers and other such folks within the AAA industry to talk about this very issue.

Unfortunately, he can't say who he talked to because they would lose their jobs, but he has a very saddening yet very pointed quote that explains practically every issue we see with AAA games. Head inside.

"Suck it up." Get it? ...I'm sorry.

One of Nintendo's upcoming 3DS titles is the latest entry in the Kirby series. The newest side-scrolling platforming beat-em-up stars everyone's favorite rotund pink monster as he travels through several worlds to collect Sun Stones. The game features 26 different copy abilities, a 2.5-D style similar to that of the Kirby's Return to Dreamland, and brand new multiplayer modes.

The latest trailer shows some of Kirby's copied powers in action, both new and old. Interesting ones to note include the stone ability that transforms Kirby into a statue, a leaf ability that grows vines in front of Kirby, and the circus ability which creates flaming rings that Kirby can jump through. In addition, we get a glimpse at Kirby's brand new Hypernova ability, a sort of super-powered version of Kirby's signature vacuum-esque suck. It's so powerful, it can even swallow up a train.

Check out the trailer after the jump. Kirby: Triple Deluxe releases on May 2nd in North America, with Europe following on May 16th.

It's a question for the ages: Who would win in the ultimate three battle of original starter Pokémon? Technically speaking, they are supposed to counter each other: Blastoise over Charizard, Charizard over Venasaur, and Venasaur over Blastoise, but everything changes when you pit them all against each other at the same time. In fact, using advanced mathematics, you can actually determine which one is ultimately the best of the three. Head inside.

Here is an odd bit of news today. Sony's Shuhei Yoshida, the man who manages all 1st party content for the PlayStation brand (so, Sony's Miyamoto), has been banned twice on Nintendo's Miiverse community. The first was for promoting his twitter handle within his own profile (one of many rules people find a bit silly in the code of conduct) and for a Miiverse post (pictured inside) where he said "I Love PS", which was interpreted as promoting a commercial product. Head inside for more.

Nintendo has nailed down a few exclusive titles the last few years, such as the Monster Hunter series, Sonic, ZombiU, The Wonderful 101, and Bayonetta 2. We know when it comes to Star Wars everything Lucas Arts was working on was canceled, but one of those games apparently featured Darth Maul and was intended to be Nintendo exclusive (originally for the Wii and 3DS, later moved to Wii U). When I say intended to be, that is because when push came to shove in the very early stages Nintendo didn't offer enough financial support to ensure console exclusivity.

So, as it were, it was slated for the 360, PS3, and Wii U. The game had never seen the light of day... until now. Head inside.

Are you ready for the next Smash Bros. games? Gamestop sure is!

Following Tuesday's action-packed Smash Bros. Direct, Gamestop officials confirmed to the folks over at GenGame that Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS are both now available for pre-order. The 3DS version releases this summer, while the Wii U title will be hitting shelves this winter. There are currently no pre-order bonuses at this time.

Personally, I hope there are minimal pre-order bonuses. I have no problem with promotional items (posters, shirts, figures, etc.) being given away as pre-order swag, but I am fully against pre-order exclusive game content, particularly where different retailers feature different game content (making it very difficult to access everything). We've never had a problem with this with Nintendo, so hopefully it'll stay that way.

Are you ready to pre-order the next Smash Bros. titles? Which one(s) are you going to pre-order? Would you like to see any pre-order bonuses?

I don't know about you, but that Super Smash Bros. Direct really blew my mind earlier this week. What may be more interesting however is that there area few hidden details within the direct that weren't announcements officially. What I mean to say is, according to a Nintendo employee, there are some things hidden in the direct if you look close enough. Head inside to take a second look and try and figure out what he's talking about!

We've known for awhile that there would be two versions of Super Smash Bros. 4, one for the 3DS and one for the Wii U. We now know these versions will be released at different time periods, with the 3DS version hitting this summer and the Wii U's this winter. Now it's time for us to see where our fan base sits. Which version will you be getting? Are you now more likely to buy both? Vote inside.

Step aside Smash Brothers. Nintendo is localizing Tomodachi Life, so I now have a new most anticipated game of the year.

Nintendo has announced that the Japanese blockbuster Tomodachi Life will be hitting American and European stores this summer. The game is a sort of "Sims on crack," which includes tropical islands, creepy artificial intelligence voices, and competitions for the love of Nintendo princesses. The Tomodachi franchise has already sold over 5.5 million units in Japan, so it will be interesting to see how the title does when it launches in the two Western regions on June 6th, 2013.

"Nintendo fans are familiar with Mii characters, but now they come to life in ways they never have before – with their own lives, interests and personalities. Customization and open-ended play are two big video game trends for 2014, and Tomodachi Life delivers a fun, creative experience that makes you want to visit again and again, because there’s always something interesting going on.” — Scott Moffitt, Executive VP of Sales & Marketing, Nintendo of America

There's just a metric ton of hilarity in this Nintendo Direct. Take a look after the jump.