This week’s Japanese sales charts (11/25/13–12/1/13) are in, and Nintendo has managed to grab the two top spots for hardware sales. The 3DS XL managed to sell 82,409 units, up from 63,709, while the Wii U sold 28,518 units, up from 21,002. On the software side, the top-selling game was debuting Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai 2, which sold 88,708 units. Pokémon Y and X came in second, with 86,391 units. In third place with 39,812 units is Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, followed by Super Mario 3D World, which shipped 39,812 copies.
Don’t forget to head past the jump to read the full sales charts, courtesy of 4Gamer!
Everyone knows of Super Mario 64. It's a genuine classic that changed the way 3D games were made, popularized the idea of analog control in a 3D environment, and showed just how 3D could be used to make for fun experiences in a time when 3D was simply a novelty for the sake of having it. The game still holds up rather well today, but not for the typical reasons like graphics or music. What makes it playable even today is the fine-tuned gameplay. It's how Mario moves. It's how you can interact with the environment. It's that crippling sense of OCD the game gives you every time you pick it up. How could it be improved?
Well, in 2004, Nintendo showed us how while simultaneously showing us an entirely new way to play games with the brand new Nintendo DS. But where Super Mario 64 DS pioneered with the benefit of eight years of 3D game development knowledge, it took one major step backwards. What's more is that a rumor has been running about saying that Nintendo is considering making a Wii U port of the game with various upgrades and new features. But for a game that's been remade before, what's there to do? Before we speculate on what could be, we have to take a step back in time and take a closer look at what's come before.
Here's more information from the Siliconera interview with Reggie Fils-Aime! While Reggie said that the Wii Remote is the "most significant gaming innovation in a decade", another question was asked regarding the DS. How does the completely different play style and concept of the DS appear in the 3DS? Reggie answered this question by not actually answering the question.
When you released the DS, you had an entirely different idea of play style in mind. How does that concept manifest itself in the 3DS?
"So here’s what’s interesting. The question that you asked me is 'what was the single biggest innovation in the video game industry in the past decade?' If you would have asked the question differently, 'during my tenure, what was the gaming system that arguably has redefined the industry,' I would’ve said the [Nintendo] DS. Because if you think about it, it was the first system that had a touch screen, a built in microphone—and 'the types of games that that enabled?' You know, in many ways, it’s the forefront of what’s happening now with mobile and touch and things of that nature. 'The system that sold over 150 million globally?'" — Reggie Fils-Aime
Former THQ President and Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin, recently had some things to say about Nintendo, and it's current position in the console business. According to him, the company has become irrelevant in the console space. On the latest episode of GameTrailer's Bonus Round, he flat out said that "Nintendo is irrelevant as a hardware manufacturer in the console business."
He primarily believes Nintendo's value lies in its software, instead of its hardware department. He believes that Nintendo is a "worldwide treasure" and said that "it is a crime that we do not play those games on the systems that we have." While I also believe Nintendo's greatest asset is its software, that doesn't mean that Nintendo is irrelevant in the console business. They have been the main source of innovation in the console business, despite the relatively weaker processing power of the Wii and Wii U in their respective generations. Don't count Nintendo out just yet.
Pokémon X and Y released just one month ago, much to the delight of Pokémon fans around the world, and if I may say so, it has one of the best soundtracks the Pokémon series has yet seen. That means it's good news, then, to hear that the complete soundtrack for Pokémon X and Y is now available on iTunes!
"Pokémon X & Pokémon Y: Super Music Collection" is available for a tempting $9.99—or £7.99 and €8.99 in Europe. The album reportedly receives a physical copy in Japan today, rather than a digital release. This marks the first time that the official soundtrack for a Pokémon game is available for purchase on iTunes, but it won't be the last. According to My Nintendo News, we can expect to see the soundtracks of past core Pokémon games come to iTunes in 2014, including Ruby and Sapphire, FireRed and LeafGreen, Diamond and Pearl, HeartGold and SoulSilver, Black and White, and Black 2 and White 2. I'm crossing my fingers that the classic 8-bit scores may one day be available, but if not, we can always enjoy Pokémon Reorchestrated.
Are you excited to see Game Freak releasing these scores on iTunes?
Ken Sugimori has been the leading artist for the Pokémon franchise ever since its launch in 1996. As the Pokémon series has grown, many older fans claim that the newer Pokémon from more recent games are too over-the-top, too stylistically different from the 151 monsters that debuted in Red and Green. Others say that there is little difference, and jump to strongly defend the newer generations of Pokémon. While the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle of these two philosophies (and is certainly not worth slitting each other's throats over), it is still a hot subject of debate in the Pokémon fandom.
Sugimori dropped in his two cents on the matter in a recent interview, and for whatever it's worth, he believes that the newer Pokémon could stand to have simpler designs. Being the artist for the franchise's seventeen-year run, and illustrating so many Pokémon, Sugimori's opinion is quite an important one. Score one for the genwunners.
Let's see if this changes the way Game Freak designs the new monsters in Generation VII.
Nintendo's Wii U is doing better, but not good enough. According to Nintendo's profit information for this quarter, only about 300,000 Wii U systems were sold in the last three months, which is not quite double the amount sold in the quarter before that. The system is finally getting a few of the games that have made previous Nintendo systems sell, like Pikmin 3 and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, accompanied by Sonic Lost World and some other third party support, but it seems those titles and a $50 price drop can only budge sales so far.
Nintendo still has Super Mario 3D World set for a holiday release—on the same day as the Xbox One and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, no less—but that will hardly be enough to make sales soar. With Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze pushed to 2014, and Super Smash Bros. still out of sight, the Wii U looks like it will continue to flounder this year.
If you want to hear some good news, make the jump.
Pokémon Reorchestrated Presents: Double Team! is an upcoming album of live-recorded Pokémon music by Braxton Burks, the creator of Pokémon Reorchestrated, and Eric Buchholz, famed musician from Twilight Symphony and Symphony of the Goddesses. We already told you all about the project not too long ago, but today brings some exciting news!
Double Team! promised a special Halloween track exclusive for backers who contributed to the Kickstarter project before October 31st. Yesterday, the dynamic duo revealed a special preview of the track for its early backers, and today, you can find the full track on YouTube.
There's barely more than two days left to contribute, so if you'd like to see Double Team! become a reality, be sure to head over to the Kickstarter page and donate. After hearing this special sneak peak, I don't see how any of you could remain unconvinced that this is worth your dime and dollar.
It’s important to note that the term "gamers" doesn’t have a firm definition. Everyone interprets it their own way. I consider mothers and kids playing Just Dance to be just as much of gamers as young adults playing Skyrim, Call of Duty, Mario, and yes...The Legend of Zelda. I even count the people who play games on their phones and tablets in the medium too, because they are all playing interactive electronic entertainment, which to me is the sole definition of what makes a game…a game.
However, my idea of what makes a gamer isn't the prevailing definition among the supposed gaming elite. That is, you’re not a gamer if you only play casually, and if you want to be called one, then we have to create a whole "casual gamer" category. People that play 50+ hours a week of Farmville on Facebook are counted among that "casual" crowd. That’s more gaming hours than I put in. I don’t see what’s so casual about that.
Now that we have that out of the way, the folks that deem themselves to be "true gamers" are the ones found most often giving up on Nintendo, calling the company the next SEGA, claiming they're a "kiddie" game and console maker. The same folks that said if Nintendo had good games they would buy a Nintendo system, and then get pissed off when Nintendo single-handedly saved the Bayonetta franchise and funded Bayonetta 2. Boohoo, Nintendo saved a "hardcore and mature" franchise and your console can’t have it. Don’t yell at Nintendo—why aren’t you talking to Sony or Microsoft and asking why they weren’t willing to fund it themselves?
Pokémon Reorchestrated, or PREO for short, is one of the most excellent tributes to video game music around. Inspired by Zelda Reorchestrated and spearheaded by Braxton Burks, PREO released Kanto Symphony, an gorgeous orchestral re-imagining of music from the first generation of Pokémon games, last year. A few months ago, Skotein released Kanto Symphony: The Lost Diaries, featuring themes based on Mewtwo and Mew. Just last month, Braxton finally announced the long-awaited Johto Legends, a series of three albums of music from Pokémon’s Johto games. And as if that wasn’t enough, PREO is bringing you yet another album: Double Team!
Double Team! will be an album of music spanning all five previous generations of Pokémon, with the potential inclusion of a few songs from the recently-released X and Y. Each of the two contributors—Braxton Burks, and Eric Buchholz of ZREO fame—will arrange one song from each generation. Unlike past PREO albums, Double Team! will feature thirty minutes of live-recorded string ensembles, rather than synthetic samples of an entire orchestra, so it’s guaranteed to sound remarkable.
PREO hopes to release Double Team!, licensed once again by Joypad Records, before the end of 2013. If you’d like to help fund the project or snag one of the exciting rewards, please visit the project’s Kickstarter page and help out!