Nintendo of Canada Announces Switch Play Together Event Tour

The Nintendo Switch has been selling hot and fast ever since its early March release, so there’s a possibility you may not have one yet. Whether that’s the case, or you just want to try out the hottest new games on the new on-the-go home console, Nintendo of Canada has just the news for you.

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Throughout the summer of 2017, fans across Canada will have the chance to take part in the Nintendo Switch Play Together events featuring 1-2-Switch, Snipperclips – Cut It Out, Together!, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, and eventually Splatoon 2, once it’s been released on July 21st. Other activities for visitors include snapping pics at the themed Photo Walls, competing in the Competition Zone for prizes, getting to grab some Nintendo goods (while supplies last, of course), and on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm to 4pm*, meet Mario or Luigi!

Lucky participants will also score a Nintendo Switch Play Together prize pack, which includes a Nintendo Switch system and one copy each of ARMS, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2. Full contest rules and regulations can be found here.

Here is the full schedule as it currently stands:

Date City Location
June 25 Vancouver, BC Greek Day on Broadway
July 1 Surrey, BC Canada Day Celebrations [Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre]
July 1 – 3 Toronto, ON Redpath Waterfront Festival
July 7 – 9 Montreal, QC Montreal Comiccon+
July 7 – 16 Calgary, AB Calgary Stampede+
July 15 – 23 Montreal, QC Mondial des Jeux+
Aug 2 – 6 Lévis, QC Festivent Ville de Lévis+
Aug 11 – 13 Montreal, QC La Ronde+
Aug 18 – Sept 4 Toronto, ON Canadian National Exhibition (CNE)+
Aug 19 – Sept 4 Vancouver, BC Pacific National Exhibition (PNE)+**


*Mario/Luigi schedule subject to change. 12-4pm is approximate timing and does not include breaks.
** Closed August 21 and 28
+Require general ticket purchase to events for access to grounds.

For further information and updates, be sure to check here and also visit Nintendo.ca.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.

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Nintendo has recently released a new video highlighting some of the new features to be found in its upcoming Nintendo Switch release of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Check it out:

In addition to the full content of the original Wii U release and its two downloadable content packs, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe promises five new racers in Bowser Jr., Dry Bones, King Boo, and the Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl from Splatoon, as well as new karts inspired by the latter. You’ll also now be able to hold two items as once, much like in Mario Kart Double Dash!! for the GameCube, including the return of the item-stealing Boo and the Battle Mode-exclusive Super Feather.

Speaking of Battle Mode, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe goes above and beyond its Wii U incarnation by bringing back some more traditional and classic modes, and more importantly, a combination of eight new and classic arenas fit to compete in (rather than just running along regular tracks as before). Per Nintendo’s press release, these modes include:

  • Renegade Roundup: Making its debut in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, this new mode has one team trying to capture the other and put them into jail before time runs out. The opposing team must try to escape and can break their own teammates out of prison by pressing a button under the jail cell.
  • Balloon Battle: In this oldie but goodie, players earn points by popping balloons on the back of their opponents’ karts.
  • Bob-omb Blast: Originally seen in the Mario Kart: Double Dash!! game, this mode finds players throwing a barrage of Bob-ombs at opponents.
  • Coin Runners: By racing across the Battle course, players try to collect the most coins as possible in this fast and frenetic mode introduced in Mario Kart Wii.
  • Shine Thief: Steal the coveted Shine Sprite and try to hold onto it for a 20 count in this classic multiplayer Battle mode.

The multiplayer modes will be available in local split-screen mode for up to four players when the system is docked, two players in local split-screen when undocked, and up to 12 players for online and local LAN mode, with the latter allowing two players to use the same device in split-screen if needed.

Finally, newcomers and less-experienced drivers can get in on the high-speed fun with a Smart Steering control option which helps keep players on the track — even at 200cc!

The game arrives on April 28th, and will be available at a Suggested Retail Price of $79.99. At the same time, there will also be a new Joy-Con Wheel accessory available for those who enjoy a bit of motion controlled steering; those will come in packs of two for an SRP of $19.99.

If you’re interested in what I thought of the game on the Wii U, you can find my original review here, with the reviews of the two downloadable content packs here and here.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.

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While today marks the day that the general public can get their hands on the Nintendo Switch before its March 3rd release, Nintendo of Canada was kind enough to allow the media (and some guests) the opportunity to do so just a couple of days prior.

From start to finish, it was quite the experience, and while there are still questions left unanswered in the month and some change we have left before the product goes on sale, it was nonetheless enlightening in other ways. Following are the impressions of what games I was able to check out at the event. Plus, I got to play the games in a variety of different ways, thanks to the Switch’s various control schemes, so I’ll talk about those as I go, too,

(Plus, if you’re not familiar with some of these titles, most have trailers you can view by clicking on the respective header.)

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Sonic Mania

This was my first stop as soon as I went through the doors. It almost felt like some sort of blasphemy to make a beeline straight for a SEGA game as the first title I’d play on Nintendo’s newest system, but my inability to do so in the six months’ worth of events since the game’s announcement was no doubt a major contributor — I’ve already had the special edition on pre-order for months.

Anyway, it was good, and felt just like classic Sonic to me. Maybe there’s a slight difference that someone more dedicated can point out, but compared to all of SEGA’s previous efforts to go back to the Blue Blur’s roots, this unquestionably comes the closest.

Unfortunately, the demo available here was the earlier one, so no Mirage Saloon or Knuckles gameplay to enjoy. Still, it was fun to play through a revamped Green Hill and the new Studiopolis Zone, and try to figure out the new Drop Dash, which is probably the trickiest standard move Sonic’s ever had.

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For this title, I was given the right Joy-Con controller, which is an aspect of the Switch I’ve been wary of since it was first teased late last year. My worry stemmed from the fact that the analog stick is set so far in on the controller that I feared it would be uncomfortable to use, thus making it the “loser’s” controller in any battles of who-uses-what when getting ready to play — sort of like the junky third-party controller no one wants to use.

I’m happy to say my fears were completely unfounded! I suppose it owes to the small size of the Joy-Cons in general, but it wasn’t problematic for me at all. I imagine it’s going to vary depending not only on the size of the hands the person using it has, but perhaps also on the game, since I didn’t really need to use any of the shoulder buttons either. Still, for a test run, I found myself quite pleased (and relieved).

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Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers

And here we have another old friend. As The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild had a queue (complete with tickets handed out for what time to come back in order to play), I had to find some other way to occupy my time — at least until my plus-ones Ian and Aleah finished their turns on Zelda. So why not see what the World Warriors are up to?

This is pretty much Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, with two “new characters” added: Evil Ryu and Violent Ken, who are less new characters and more recolors with some added moves (Ken has some sort of teleport, I think?). Much as I’m fine with them stopping there, part of me wants to see “Cranky Dan” step up at some point in the series.

I was at a disadvantage here, as I typically remap my controller in these games to have my Light/Quick moves on the shoulders, but I was still able to hold my own quite well (not that I’m a pro or anything). Basically, it felt just like Street Fighter II should, and you can even change the visuals from the UDON-rendered high-definition graphics to the vintage pixel art.

While it’s a shame that Nintendo isn’t getting something fresher — which can’t be helped in the case of Street Fighter V, what with Sony helping fund that one — I’m nonetheless glad to see this one arrive back in the family of consoles which helped make it big. I got the Xbox 360 version years ago, but found it nigh-unplayable due to that controller’s Dpad.

Speaking of which…

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While I’m pretty sure that you can technically play the game with the Joy-Cons, that’s not likely going to cut it for any serious player of the genre. Fortunately, for this one, they had the Switch Pro Controller on hand.

Let me tell you, using this controller was an absolute joy, and makes me all the more disappointed they weren’t available for pre-order when I went to put money down on the system. While it shares the name and general shape of the Wii U Pro controller, I’ll be honest: Try as I might, I could never quite get completely comfortable with that one. Something about it was just a bit off to me, particularly when it came to games better played with the Dpad.

This, however, was a joy to hold and worked flawlessly — at least, for all intents and purposes of playing Street Fighter. The Xbox One controller has been my favorite for this generation, but the Switch Pro Controller felt just as good to me — maybe even a little better (I may have to conduct a more direct comparison sometime).

Let’s just hope these aren’t as hard to come by as the controllers for the NES Classic Edition — I still haven’t been able to find one (in fact, one store told me that while they got more of the systems in since launch, they never got any more of the controllers — damn).

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

After regrouping with Ian and Aleah, we decided to get in (the much shorter than Zelda‘s) line for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Four stations were set up, each featuring a different game mode and a different way to play the Switch. The combination of a need for multiplayer, a new Battle Mode to check out, none of us having played the Switch in “handheld” mode yet, and a diner scenario that was right up my alley all came together perfectly in one quadrant.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe takes the best game in the series in quite some time and adds even more characters (though unfortunately, still no return of R.O.B. from Mario Kart DS), more items (the return of the Super Feather!), Double Dash!!‘s ability to carry two items at once, and best of all, the return of the traditional Battle Mode with new and returning arenas!

There were four of us playing (someone else joining the three of us), and while I’m not sure which stage they picked, I lucked out in the roulette and we played a remake of one of the courses from Super Mario Kart, aka “the best Battle Mode in the series” in my opinion. Realistic looking balloons were strapped to our karts and we raced around, trying to destroy each other and eight computer-controlled competitors. I came in second place, beaten out only by Aleah.

It felt like coming home… albeit a bit more crowded. I hope that there’s a way to play in smaller groups with just your friends and no computers.

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The way we played, as mentioned, was in the Switch’s handheld mode — no dock connecting it to a television, and the Joy-Cons fastened to the side.

To be honest, this probably ended up my least favorite way to play. The combined Switch just didn’t feel as good in my hands as the larger Wii U GamePad, probably hewing a little closer to the XL versions of the Nintendo 3DS, only not. It’s kind of hard to explain, but I think supporting the weight of the full unit and the small size of the Joy-Cons just didn’t rest comfortably in my hands; I think the lower corners were mildly digging into my palms, and I don’t have particularly large hands.

I don’t know that it will be particularly detrimental for me in the long run, though; I have a tendency to rest a Nintendo 3DS against my chest when I play (usually when sitting back or laying down), a luxury I didn’t really have here. I have a feeling it will feel just right for me then, but until I can try it like that, it remains a mystery — though one that will be solved in about 36 days.

That said, the ability to play as it sits separate from the Joy-Cons on its little kickstand should help as well.

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The time on my ticket arrived, and I finally got to play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the first time. I didn’t get to make it out to the Electronic Entertainment Expo last year, and while Nintendo of Canada normally brings some of that fun up here for us to try out, that didn’t happen last year.

In the interim, Breath of the Wild has been occupying this weird sort of space in my mind, a limbo where I didn’t really associate it as a Wii U title (what with all the buzz that it would be available on the then-titled NX), but without knowing what the NX was until recently, not forming a strong association there, either. It’s just been an island unto itself in my mind.

That said, playing it here has certainly helped it take root in my mind as a Switch title. I only got to play for 20 minutes, and while they encouraged us to speed through the story bits, they still managed to take up a chunk of time nonetheless. Still, I did alright, I think, by raising some towers from one destination before things reset.

Exploring the world reminded me a bit of Xenoblade Chronicles X, which I largely enjoyed despite the combat not quite fully clicking with me. Fortunately, that’s not an issue here, as the more familiar Zelda-styled controls brought everything together. I feel like this might just be the Zelda game that I’ve been waiting so many years for, but only time will tell if that’s the case for sure.

Still, if they’re using the original Nintendo Entertainment System classic as a source of inspiration? I think I’m going to be in for a really good time.

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For this title, I got to use the Joy-Con grip to start. I think it’s a little lighter than the Pro Controller, and it felt just as good. Of course, I wasn’t using the Dpad except to help toggle a few menus, if I remember right, so it’s a very different scenario. I was quite pleased, and if you can’t find a Pro Controller right away, there’s no need to immediately panic, as the games that it’s best for aren’t slated to be available at launch anyway. But that aside, they feel quite similar.

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Midway through the demo, I was allowed to snap the Joy-Cons into the Switch and go to handheld mode, which I was willing to give a second chance… except they had us wearing headphones to hear the sound, and however they were hooked up, it wasn’t coming through in handheld mode. Couple that with the distraction of an enthusiastic MC up on stage, and I returned to the television.

However, in doing so, I opted to keep the Joy-Cons unplugged and go at it Wii-style, like in Twilight Princess. It felt pretty good — better, even, given the greater number of buttons to take advantage of and no cord to worry about, allowing for a more relaxed posture with the separate halves. Even so, I can see why some people might still prefer to use the Joy-Con grip to play, but it’s still a nice option to have available.

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Splatoon 2

Ah, Splatoon… now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time.

Okay, that’s a total lie: I’ve heard it quite a bit since its release, especially with Aleah’s affinity for it, but I’ve unfortunately not had much time to play since then. As rusty as I was, in the two rounds I got to play, I opted for familiar weapons I did okay with before: The Splat Roller in the first round, and the Splat Charger in the second. The Roller also had a new secondary weapon, a sort of curling puck that spreads ink and bounces around off of walls and such, but drains your reserves pretty quickly.

A new weapon featured was a twin pair of pistols, which I understand are for more “aggressive” play. Part of me wonders if I should have tried those out. Either way, I got one loss and one win, but sadly, I think I was the lowest score for both rounds. At least I took a few of the other guys with me.

Tilt controls for high and low aiming return, which I found fairly handy — while I was resistant at first, I’m probably better with those than twin-sticks. Unfortunately, there is no more second screen, and while you can still pull up and map and leap to different points on the map, doing so now leaves you vulnerable, so best to be quick about it.

Incidentally, I forget which controller I used here — I think it was either the Pro or the Joy-Con Grip, so either way, see above. It worked well here.

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1-2-Switch

Now how could a coupla former NC boys resist a game that has you milking cows and slapping leather in a quick-draw contest? Ian and I waited in line to try 1-2-Switch, and were joined by a third gentleman in the closed-off booth for the demonstration. Ian had a little trouble with the foam cowboy hats, but fortunately for me, I brought my own.

The first round had us both squeezing two of the buttons on the shoulders of a single Joy-Con as we made steady pulling motions downwards to milk a cow. When the controller stopped vibrating, we’d release the buttons, raise it up, and repeat the process until one of us had squeezed out more milk — all while staring the other in the eye, as per the spirit of the game, if not the rules.

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For the second contest, Ian tagged out to the other gent, and we had to move our respective Joy-Con like a box with balls inside, trying to guess how many are in there. I was the victor, albeit with one off, though that was my fault — I felt the extra sensation of the ball hitting the side, but the delay made me think it might be something else.

That said, this and the milking game made me a believer in the high-definition rumble Nintendo spoke of when they went over the Switch’s features. I don’t know if many developers would use it to its fullest potential, but I was nonetheless impressed by how vividly and — for lack of a better term — accurate (I’ve never actually milked a cow; never even touched an udder) things felt. As rumble goes, it’s basically like the difference between digital controls and analog.

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Finally, the time came for Ian and I to kill each other by seeing who could draw their gun — i.e. the Joy-Con — the quickest and firing when the command was given.

First time out, I lost, though I maintain it’s because the wrist strap covering wasn’t properly secured. I wanted another go, and got one as Ian tagged out. While I feel that the reason I believe I lost before was validated by taking the other guy out in less than a second (he shot the ground, apparently; the game even measures the angle at which you fire), I still hope for a rematch with Mad Dog Flynn.

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ARMS

Next up, Ian and I checked out the ARMS arena. We got to choose our characters (I went with the girl in power armor seen above), we chose how to equip each arm (one option I went with was a boomerang fist), took in a quick tutorial, and we were off!

While there are some obvious comparisons to be drawn to the likes of Punch-Out!! or Wii Sports Boxing, this is a very different game. For one thing, I don’t know that dashing, jumping, and grabbing have any place in Little Mac’s world (then again, some of those other challengers do play dirty), and the motion controls feel overall more precise than in Wii Sports‘ offering.

The game was a lot of fun, and the overall aesthetic reminds me a bit of Splatoon in some ways, not the least of which being the bright colors and characters. There’s a lot more movement involved than in Punch-Out!! — you basically have the run of the entire arena — and it just feels involved in an altogether different way, as the types of moves you perform with the two Joy-Con feel more varied.

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Snipperclips – Cut it out, together!

When I first heard about this game, my interest was minimal, and so was Ian’s. As it happens, though, I caught what the game was all about on Nintendo’s Treehouse at the Switch unveiling earlier this month, and I just had to try it. After a bit of persuasion, he joined me at a table where the Switch was resting on its kickstand as we each took a Joy-Con and got ourselves situated.

Basically, you’re provided with a series of challenges and have to use teamwork in order to solve each puzzle. This ranges from filling in a dotted line silhouette to getting a pencil to a pencil sharpener, putting a basketball through a hoop, moving a wheel along a rail to a race car, and popping all the balloons in the room. To do this, you need to twist your characters the right way and work together to achieve your goal.

For instance, the characters’ bodies don’t have arms and are relatively flat, so to be able to hold the basketball, one character can snip away at part of the other to form a cup-like curve that can better hold the ball. With the balloons, one trims the other’s body until there’s a point capable of bursting them, and so on.

We solved the five or so puzzles put before us, and while I’m still a believer, I think Ian might be, too. It’s a game I look forward to seeing more of, for sure.

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Also worth noting is that this time, I got to take up the left Joy-Con, and to my surprise… I think I prefer the right one more! It wasn’t bad or anything, but before using any of them, I thought this would be vastly preferable to using the right one, and to me, it’s not.

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Super Bomberman R

Another game Ian and I tried was Super Bomberman R, the long-awaited return of a classic franchise, provided that the guys running it down don’t muck it up with microtransactions as so many across the internet currently fear.

Unfortunately, neither of us have much in the way of experience with Bomberman, and we were put into a four-player battle against two computer opponents. We were pretty soundly throttled, which led to us having to sit on the sidelines, throwing bombs at the computer until someone lost or we successfully blew up one of them, which allowed us back in (but only briefly, because we both suck at this).

The stage didn’t help matters, either, as there were these covered areas that you can’t see into very well. Probably great for veteran Bomberfans to plot strategies with, but not so much for newcomers, perhaps. On top of all that, I think they went around six to eight rounds before things were done.

It’s good to see Bomberman back, but I feel like I need some training — maybe in single-player — before taking that on again.

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Puyo Puyo Tetris

I’ve never been much of a Puyo Puyo player, but I’ve always enjoyed Tetris. Fortunately, for this game, you don’t have to be a fan of both to have a good time! I can’t speak for Puyo Puyo, but if it’s like the Tetris portion, then it’s just like what you’ve always known (well, sort of — Tetris has the modern rules in place, of course, such as quick-drop and holding pieces).

The most fascinating part of what I got to play, however, was that two players going head-to-head can play different games. So while I was playing Tetris, my opponent was playing Puyo Puyo — no switching around (ha) or anything. But if one of us scored well, such as my getting a double, triple, or Tetris, then extra blocks would rise from the bottom of his playing field, and vice-versa.

It’s a neat way of bringing the two different games together, and should make for some interesting challenges.

And that was the last game I got to try (though I did take one more run at Sonic Mania before leaving). While there are still questions to be answered about Nintendo’s latest platform, I can at least say that I now sit here before you with confidence in what we have seen.

Finally, to close out, here are some pics from the event:

mariokartdinerClockwise from left: Ian, Aleah, David, and fellow visitor play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe‘s Battle Mode on the Switch’s handheld configuration.

mariokart8deluxe1 mariokart8deluxe2 mariokart8deluxe3Ian rides in Mario’s kart. David rides in Mario’s kart. David runs over Ian in Mario’s kart.
There’s probably a moral here. Somewhere.
(First pic courtesy of Aleah Baker)

snipperclipstableClippersnipping intensifies. (Picture courtesy of Ian Flynn)

splatoon2statueAleah is just squidding around with an old friend. (Picture courtesy of Aleah Baker)

switchzeldaarea1switchzeldaarea2Where Legends become real and the wild breathes.

switchatswitcheventThe star of the show!

switchmarioodysseyAnd finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Mario’s Hat wearing Mario’s hat!

You can find more pictures from the event at Nintendo of Canada’s Facebook page (and they’ll probably have more from the public event later today soon as well).

Also, if you’re interested in the impressions Mr. Ian Flynn was left with after some time with the console, keep an eye on BumbleKing.com for the games, and the BumbleKast for his thoughts on the hardware itself. (And anything he says about not swapping insurance info after the kart incident is a lie; he just needs to learn how to take better care of Bob-ombs is all.)

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.

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From Thursday, April 28th through Sunday, May 1st, Nintendo of Canada is bringing the Nintendo Experience to the Erin Mills Town Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. In addition to getting to play Wii U and Nintendo 3DS titles such as Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Star Fox Zero, Mario Kart 8, Splatoon, and Super Mario Maker, you’ll also have the opportunity to meet and have your picture taken with Mario from 12pm to 4pm on Saturday, April 30th and earn a ballot for daily prize drawings and the grand and first prizes on May 1st!

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Source: Nintendo of Canada on Facebook

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.

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Written by Ray Hobbs, edited by David Oxford

There are many video games out there that should never see a sequel but some desperately need a sequel so here, we focus on some titles. We also focus on games that are not traditionally console-based, which ensures that these games can’t rest on their laurels as the gaming landscape is changing.

Limbo is one such game. Limbo is a puzzle-platform video game which found its way onto the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 — there is yet to be a next generation incarnation though. It’s a very simple game which has strong visuals with the graphics being in black and white which is unheard of in modern video games. The game is like a moody LittleBigPlanet and a return would be welcome. However, would PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners be willing to pay for a game which has limited graphical prowess, no matter how stylish it may be?

Fallout 4 created real waves in the gaming community upon its release so a follow up is eagerly anticipated. The game also has elements not always seen within games such as the ability to play roulette and other adult games. Unlike Grand Theft Auto, which can be mind-bogglingly varied, Fallout 4 benefits from a restricted gaming experience. Roulette transferred well in this game and you can develop your game with Coral, they have an Online Roulette site so check it out.

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It has been 2½ years since The Last of Us was released on PlayStation 3, yet this is one of a few games which have achieved superb reviews right across the board — it was even hailed as a masterpiece by many. Where it sits alongside classics like Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy — only time will tell! To expand on Mario, one game which was under-looked was Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U.

The main reason for this was that the Wii U sold extremely poorly and it’s a real shame that not many people have had to chance to play the game. The game was a real advancement to Mario Kart Wii, which was released way back in 2008. A lot of glitches online in Mario Kart Wii were ironed out and it was a sublime racing game — you could also download a 200CC speed so the game can be a fun and fast engine at the same time. As the game is underused, hopefully it will be re-launched as a launch title for the NX console Nintendo is working on.

The gaming industry has the challenge of competing with non-console games and apps which are easier to produce and release, but they must satisfy fans appetites and commercial responsibilities. Brilliant sequels are central to game history as they cross generations and timelines.

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As you may have heard from some Stateside websites, Nintendo of America is releasing a new Wii U Mario Kart 8 console bundle later this month. In case you were worried that Canada might be left out, however, Nintendo of Canada has followed suit today with the announcement that prospective Wii U buyers north of the border will have the same opportunity bestowed upon them.

“But wait,” you might be saying. “Didn’t Nintendo release a Wii U Mario Kart 8 bundle already?”

Yes, indeed. Back at the game’s launch, a bundle was released which included a red Wii Remote Plus and a red Wii Wheel. This time, however, things are a little different.

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The new Wii U Mario Kart 8 bundle, seen above, comes with a pre-installed version of the game. More importantly, instead of the additional controller/accessories, the two Mario Kart 8 downloadable content packs will also be included. One would assume this also includes other updates released since the game launched, such as 200cc mode and the Mercedes-Benz cars, and probably all the colored Yoshis you get when purchasing both DLC packs. Plus, the game has since become amiibo-compatible!

You’ll be able to find the new Wii U Mario Kart 8 bundle at retailers across the country starting mid-September with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $329.99. In addition, Nintendo of Canada noted in their press release that they have lots of other titles on their way soon as well.

You can find my review of Mario Kart 8 here, while my review of the first downloadable content pack can be found here. On a side note, I intend to review the second DLC pack eventually — I’ve been so busy with other work that I haven’t even had time to actually play it yet!

Of course, if you’d like to help remedy that, you can always…

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Start your engines! Get ready and set to go with this kart-tastic edition of the Nintendo Download!

Mario Kart 8 Update and Downloadable Content Pack 2 for Wii U – The latest free update to Mario Kart 8 adds the all-new 200cc class to the game– can you handle it?

Meanwhile, a visit to the Nintendo eShop or in-game shop will allow you to get the second downloadable content pack, featuring three new characters, four new vehicles, and eight new tracks, bringing back some classic Mario Kart courses and adding some new ones, including an Animal Crossing and an F-Zero track. The pack is $7.99 alone, but if you get both it and the first pack (reviewed here), you’ll only pay $11.99 for the pair.

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Mario Kart DS for Wii U – Considered one of the best Mario Kart games of all time, you’ll have five single player modes and 30 courses to partake in. You can also create your own custom decal for the kart of your choice, unlock the ability to mix and match karts and drivers, and even play as R.O.B.!

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Suspension Railroad Simulator for Wii U – With realistic sounds recorded from the original suspension railroad and weather effects such as rain and snow to contend with, do you have what it takes to see that your passengers reach their destinations in time?

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Super Smash Bros. DLC – Mewtwo for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U – “The Psychic-type Pokémon Mewtwo makes its grand entrance! Make it Mega Evolve into Mega Mewtwo Y in its Final Smash, and then use Psystrike to blow away the opposition.” Club Nintendo members should have already received their codes for a free download of Mewtwo on both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, but beginning April 28th, everyone else can get in on the fun as well! If you only have one version of the game, this Pokémon will cost you $3.99, but $4.99 will cover you on both platforms.

N3DS_CubeCreator3D_01

Cube Creator 3D for Nintendo 3DS – Another Minecraft-alike for Nintendo 3DS, but with a special introductory offer: This game is $4.99 until 8:59am PT on May 7th. Check out a trailer for it here.

Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS

New themes this week include “Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker: Apocalypse”, which will be available April 28th.

Nintendo eShop Sales (Prices in USD; each sale begins at 9am PST and ends at 8:59am PST on the dates provided)

Tetrobot & Co. for Wii U – Until April 30th, this title has been reduced from $9.99 to $2.99, 70 percent off.

cocotomagiccircus2

Cocoto Magic Circus 2 for Wii U – Until May 7th, this title has been reduced from $29.99 to $9.99, 66 percent off.

N3DS_KORGDSN-12_01

Korg DSN-12 and Korg M01D for Nintendo 3DS – These titles are on sale until May 7th.

n3ds_classicgamesoverload_01

Classic Games Overload: Card & Puzzle Edition for Nintendo 3DS – Until May 11th, this title is reduced from $29.99 to $19.99, 33 percent off.

vanhelsingsniperzx100

Van Helsing Sniper Zx100 for Nintendo 3DS – Until May 17th, this title is reduced from $6.66 to $3.49, 47 percent off.

N3DS_SoccerUpOnline_02

Soccer Up 3D and Soccer Up Online for Nintendo 3DS – These titles are on sale until May 21st.

Events/Activities

International StreetPass Week – “Take your Nintendo 3DS system on a whirlwind tour without leaving your hometown! From April 16 to April 26, collect up to six Mii characters from across Europe, the United States and Canada when you stop by a Nintendo Zone location. U.S. and Canada visitors will even get a special Mii of Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America. Find a Nintendo Zone hotspot near you here.”

Mega May is Back! – Vote Today – “During the entire month of May, Nintendo and Capcom are celebrating our favorite blue bomber, Mega Man, with six game releases on the Virtual Console service for Wii U. The Game Boy Advance versions of Mega Man Zero 2, Mega Man Battle Network 3 Blue, Mega Man Battle Network 3 White, Mega Man Battle Network 4 Red Sun, Mega Man Battle Network 4 Blue Moon and Mega Man & Bass will land on the Nintendo eShop throughout the month. Click here to vote for the first game of Mega May, which will release May 7. Voting is open until 11:59 p.m. PT on April 29.”

For more information, screens, and videos for each of this week’s releases, click on the corresponding links above.

Contributed by Allen Rivera

While online multiplayer has existed in different ways over the past 20 years or so, it’s only more recently really taken hold of the console market. Basically, if there’s a way to include online options in a game, the developer is going to take advantage of that fact. This can lead to things as small as sharing photos and high scores from Super Mario 3D World to something more grand like taking on opponents the world over in Mario Kart 8. And it’s in really digging into the latter’s online multiplayer that led me to thinking about something: Nintendo has really gotten it right in this field.

To be blunt, a big reason for my patting Nintendo on its back has to do with not being forced to pay any money to play online. Their competitors, as you may know, ask you to pay a monthly fee to take advantage of their online networks. And to be fair to both Sony and Microsoft, subscribing to their networks has some sweet perks, such as free game downloads. Also, they do have more titles (read: first-person shooters like Destiny) that make sense when it comes to playing online against or with other players.

tanookimariokart8

Aside from the online options being free, Nintendo also seems to know what it’s doing by cutting out the nonsense that can come with playing against strangers on the Internet. That nonsense, of course, typically comes in the manner of name-calling, harassment, and overall awful behavior. This is not always the case, as gamers apparently have started self-regulating themselves when it comes to bigotry, according to The Daily Mail. Still, there’s another way to cut that out of games, at least in a vocal sense, and it’s simply eliminating the need/use of voice chat. This obviously cannot be done across the board, because some titles require you to speak with others to take on the mission at hand. However, you can minimize its use by simply removing it from certain titles.

In doing this, it’s understandable that some would think that the online community would suffer. This doesn’t need to be the case, though, and it’s been proven elsewhere that communities can prosper through simpler means. All you need, really, is a good moderating staff to ensure that those who cross the line will be dealt with in a reasonable fashion. And if the staff is friendly, that can result in creating a more welcoming atmosphere for the players involved. This is evident in the community-centric approach of online platform betfair bingo, where players are encouraged to interact with the game’s host/moderator and other players. Considering you can find thousands of people playing on the site at any given time—several thousand as of this writing—you have to imagine they’re doing something right.

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The lack of voice chat on the Wii U may soon change, though. As noted by Nintendo Life, the superb Super Smash Bros. for Wii U could have options for actually talking to other players in the near future. Whether this will come about as an update or through downloadable content remains to be seen.

What do you think about Nintendo’s approach to online multiplayer? Do you feel they’re doing the right thing by keeping it simple or should they begin implementing voice chat in their games?

Nintendo of Canada has announced their upcoming Holiday Mall Experience, which will begin on Monday, December 8th in three cities across Canada and last until Sunday, December 21st.

There, Nintendo fans will have the opportunity to try out several of the hottest games from the past year, including Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Mario Kart 8, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and Hyrule Warriors for Wii U. On the Nintendo 3DS side, there’s Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Mario Kart 7, Kirby Triple Deluxe, and Yoshi’s New Island to check out.

Plus, if you snap a picture of you and your friends playing at the Nintendo Holiday Mall Experience and post it to social media with the hash tag #NintendoCanadaHoliday, you’ll have a chance to win some branded Nintendo prizing. If you’re a lucky winner, then the Nintendo team will message your social media account directly.

The full schedule of locations, dates, and times is as follows:

Coquitlam, BC:

Coquitlam Centre, 2929 Barnet Hwy #1204

Hours:
December 8–12: 10am-9pm
December 13: 9:30am-9pm
December 14: 10am-6pm
December 15–19: 10am–9pm
December 20: 9:30am-9pm
December 21: 10am-9pm

Scarborough, ON:

Scarborough Town Centre, 300 Borough Drive

Hours:
December 8–13: 9:30am-9:30pm
December 14: 10am-8pm
December 15–20: 9:30am-9:30pm
December 21: 10am-8pm

Pointe Claire, QC:

Fairview Pointe Claire, 6801 Pointe-Claire

Hours:
December 8-12: 10am-9pm
December 13–14: 9am-5pm
December 15-17: 10am-9pm
December 18-19: 9am-9pm
December 20-21: 9am-5pm


Looks like Canadian Karting Champion Jeffrey Kingsley might not need that red shell after all, now that his helmet is decked out in all sorts of items from Mario Kart 8.

While Nintendo of Canada’s sponsorship of Kingsley was announced previously, Nintendo of Canada today revealed in a press release that this would entail some new gear as he continues on his path through the 2014 and early 2015 go-karting circuit. During the races, Kingsley will now don a new custom-designed helmet. Created by Vancouver’s We The Collective Design and painted by California’s Troy Lee Designs, it will join a new racing suit and kart which each sport new Mario Kart 8 and Wii U branding.

Nintendo has congratulated Jeffrey Kingsley on his recent win at the Rotax DD2 National Finals in Mt. Tremblant, Quebec, at the ASN Canadian Karting Championships, August 21-24, 2014. This winning podium position secured his title as the Canadian National Karting Champion and his place on Team Canada for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Valencia, Spain this November.

“Nintendo engaged Jeffrey with a sponsorship opportunity because he is dominating on the track and one of Canada’s greatest kart racers,” explained manager of communications & partnerships for Nintendo of Canada, Matt Ryan. “Mario Kart 8 is a great fit to be the sponsoring brand of a karting champ and we are excited to watch him compete on the Canadian and world stage. “

You can check out Nintendo of Canada’s Jeffrey Kingsley album on Facebook and keep up with the latest racing updates with @NintendoCanada on Twitter. For more info on the sponsorship, click here.

As August draws to a close, Nintendo is looking past the end days of summer to bring us information on what to expect going into the 2014 holiday season.

Unfortunately, the big question on everyone’s mind– “When is Super Smash Bros. for Wii U coming out?”– remains unanswered, and as such, so too does the question of when the amiibo figures the game interacts with will be available. However, other release details have been afforded us, including the identities of the initial dozen– Mario, Peach, Link, Samus, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Pikachu, Kirby, Fox, Marth, Villager, and Wii Fit Trainer– and that they will each be priced at $13.99, with pre-orders available now.

On the subject of Super Smash Bros., however, those who register both the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U versions of the title through Club Nintendo will be eligible to receive Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS & Wii U: Premium Sound Selection, a soundtrack CD packed with music taken from and inspired by the games. It’s not quite what I had in mind on that front, but a welcome step up nonetheless, and more details about this offer are coming in the future.

Oh, and in a separate announcement, Nintendo revealed that Shulk from the Xenoblade Chronicles franchise would be a playable character in both games:

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire for Nintendo 3DS will be available in both stores and the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS on November 21st. Not a lot was said, other than “Trainers will catch, battle and trade Pokémon as they immerse themselves into a grand tale that draws ever closer to the heart of the secrets behind Mega Evolution and the power of Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre.”

Just in time for Halloween, Bayonetta 2 (which also includes the first game and Nintendo cosplay options for the titular hero, of course) has a release date locked down for October 24th. “The game features over-the-top battles with wild weapons that take place in gorgeous set pieces,” notes the press release, and “a new snake transformation lets Bayonetta better navigate underwater.”

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker still has no release date, but those concerned about where to pre-order Hyrule Warriors from with regards to the pre-order downloadable content can rest a little easier: The details will come later, but all the costumes will be available to purchase in due time.

More immediately, though, “Nintendo plans to support the game for the long run with more content to help players expand their adventures even farther. That program kicks off when the game launches on September 26th. People who buy the game will receive access to a free download that adds a new mode, a new weapon, and the option to select music to add to the Hyrule Warriors experience.”

While Pokémon Art Academy will be available for Nintendo 3DS on October 24th, the Wii U eShop-exclusive version of Art Academy is still only slated for “2014.”

On December 5th, NES Remix Pack— a two-in-one retail disc containing both NES Remix and NES Remix 2 (click for my respective reviews) will become available. The price given is $29.99 with a caveat that the Canadian price could change, while the Nintendo eShop versions will remain available for $14.99 each. On a personal note, I wish they’d released the disc sooner– I’ve loved both games and having them stored on my Wii U console is handy, but the classically-styled box would just look so good on my shelf.

On a related note: Fans have demanded it, and now they’re finally getting it… sort of. That same day, Ultimate NES Remix hits the Nintendo 3DS and will be available in stores and in the Nintendo eShop, also for $29.99 (similarly subject to change). “The game features rapid-fire challenges and mashups from a selection of 16 of Nintendo’s finest 8-bit games. Regional online leaderboards will let players see how they stack up against others in their area, and Championship Mode offers a series of challenges from three different games.”

As the first NES Remix contains 16 different games and the sequel features a dozen, it should be interesting to see what the Nintendo 3DS version pulls together for its offering– especially if they’re both the same price.

Fantasy Life will be available for the Nintendo 3DS at retail and in the Nintendo eShop on October 24th– a day with growing significance, apparently. “Fantasy Life lets players become the masters of their destinies as choices they make help determine their own Fantasy Life. Players can easily change their Life Class at any time and experience how each offers a new perspective on the world. Local and online multiplayer options let friends share the adventure, the exploration and the bounty.”

That same day, a downloadable content pack for the game will also be available. “Origin Island offers a new area that is home to an ancient culture and powerful enemies, additional story content, new ranks to achieve in Life Classes, access to even more powerful equipment and two new varieties of pets to adopt: birds and dragons.”

In a bit of a surprise, today marks the beginning of the availability of Dedede’s Drum Dash Deluxe and Kirby Fighters Deluxe, expanded stand-alone versions of two mini-games featured in May’s Kirby Triple Deluxe. “This version includes five new stages and a new team battle feature. Players who already own Kirby: Triple Deluxe with StreetPass data will get bonus content in both downloadable games.” I spoke of the two versions included in my review, but I’ll go into further detail should I find myself in a position to review the stand-alone releases and their expanded features.

On the indie game front, Curve Digital’s Stealth Inc 2 is slated for a fall release in the Wii U eShop and promises a mix of puzzle solving, action platforming, and stealth, as well as a “two-player co-op mode, level editor, off-TV play and Miiverse integration.” Ronimo Games’ side-scrolling action strategy game, Swords & Soldiers II, comes to the Wii U this holiday season.

In October, a system update for the Nintendo 3DS will yield new themes that can change the background, icons and folders, music, and sound effects of the Nintendo 3DS’s Home menu, purchasable from a new Theme Shop added to the menu. More details are still to come in the future.

In addition to the games, Nintendo is offering some new bundles for newcomers as well. The Super Mario 3D World Deluxe Set will be released in mid-September and include the Wii U console with physical copies of Super Mario 3D World and Nintendo Land for a suggested retail price of $299.99. Meanwhile, Walmarts across Canada will offer a special-edition Wii U bundle starting September 25th that includes the console and physical copies of Mario Kart 8 and Nintendo Land, also at a suggested retail price of $299.99. “This exclusive bundle will be available while supplies last.”

On the portable side of things, Nintendo will be offering three new Nintendo 2DS bundles. For $129.99 each, you can get an Electric Blue, Crimson Red or Sea Green Nintendo 2DS system with a code to download Mario Kart 7 from the Nintendo eShop. The three bundles will be available beginning in early October.

Finally, there are more than 60 third party offerings to come across the various platforms, all summed up by this handy chart:

 

Publisher

Title

Release Date

Wii U

Activision

Skylanders Trap Team

October 5

BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.

PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures 2

October 14

Disney Interactive

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2.0 Edition)

September 23

Little Orbit

Penguins of Madagascar

November 25

Little Orbit

Disney Planes: Fire & Rescue

November 4

Mobot Studios

Paper Monster Recut

September

SEGA

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric

November 18

Ubisoft

Just Dance 2015

October 21

Ubisoft

Watch Dogs

2014

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

November 11

WayForward Technologies

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse

2014

Nintendo eShop on Wii U

Ackk Studios LLC

Chromophore: The Two Brothers Director’s Cut

Q4

Arachnid Games

Ballpoint Universe: Infinite

Fall

ATLUS

Citizens of Earth

November 4

BeautiFun Games SL

Nihilumbra

Winter

Breakfall

STARWHAL: Just the Tip

Q1 2015

Curve Digital

Lone Survivor

Q4

Curve Digital

Stealth Inc 2

Fall

Curve Digital

The Swapper

Q3

Frima Studio Inc.

Chariot

Fall

Image & Form

SteamWorld Dig

August 28

KnapNok Games

Affordable Space Adventures

Q1 2015

Midnight City

Costume Quest 2

October 7

Midnight City

Gone Home

Q4

Natsume Inc.

Alphadia Genesis

2014

Nnooo

Cubemen 2

September 4

Nyamyam Ltd.

Tengami

Fall

Over the Moon Games

The Fall

August 26

Rain Games

Teslagrad

September

Ronimo Games BV

Swords & Soldiers II

Q4

Slightly Mad

Project CARS

2015

Turtle Cream

6180 the moon

Q4

WaterMelon

Pier Solar and the Great Architects

Fall

Nintendo 3DS

Activision

Skylanders Trap Team

October 5

Activision

The Legend of Korra: A New Era Begins

October 28

ATLUS

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

November 25

BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.

PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures 2

October 14

BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.

Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce

October 28

BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.

TENKAI KNIGHTS: Brave Battle

October 7

Capcom

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Early 2015

EA

EA SPORTS FIFA 15

September

GameMill

Big Hero 6

October 28

Little Orbit

Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom

November 18 

Little Orbit

Disney Planes: Fire & Rescue

November 4 

Little Orbit

Penguins of Madagascar

November 25

Little Orbit

Winx Club: Saving Alfea

Fall

Majesco

Cooking Mama 5: Bon Appetit!

September 16

Marvelous USA (XSEED Games)

Story of Seasons

Winter

Natsume Inc.

Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley

October

SEGA

Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal

November 11

Square Enix, Inc.

THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY CURTAIN CALL

September 16

Ubisoft

Petz Beach

October 14

Ubisoft

Petz Countryside

October 14

Ubisoft

Poptropica: Forgotten Islands

October 14

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

November 11

 

Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS

ATLUS

Citizens of Earth

November 4

Big John Games

Cube Creator 3D

Q1 2015

Big John Games

Lionel Trains 3D

Q1 2015

Big John Games

Thorium Wars: Attack of the Skyfighter

August 28

Capcom

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trilogy

Winter 

Choice Provisions

Woah Dave!

Fall

CINEMAX

The Keep

September

Goodbye Galaxy Games

Tappingo 2

September 4

Hörberg Productions

Gunman Clive 2

Fall

Inti Creates Co. Ltd.

Azure Striker GUNVOLT

August 29

Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.

Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL World Duel Carnival

September 25

Nnooo

Blast ’Em Bunnies

Q1 2015

Renegade Kid LLC

Moon Chronicles (ep. 2)

Q4

Renegade Kid LLC

Treasurenauts

Q4 

Renegade Kid LLC

Xeodrifter

Q4

WayForward Technologies

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse

2014


“Nintendo’s holiday offerings demonstrate a combination of fun franchises and great value,” said Nintendo of Canada’s vice-president and general manager, Ron Bertram. “With Wii U and Nintendo 2DS hardware bundles, classic names like Super Smash Bros., Bayonetta, and Pokémon, new IP like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and amiibo, everyone will find something to love about Nintendo this holiday season. Whether people are shopping for themselves or they’re prepping their gift lists, Nintendo has them covered.”

Finally, Nintendo has released the following trailer to highlight past, present, and future Wii U releases. Enjoy!

For years, Nintendo fans who have enjoyed Mario Kart‘s racing action and the full range of fan service provided by Super Smash Bros. have petitioned the company with a simple, perhaps obvious thought: Why not combine the two and make a “Super Smash Kart,” full of not just Mario characters, but racers hailing from numerous Nintendo franchises from throughout the company’s storied history?

However, the company– or at least the developers– have always staunchly refused the notion. In an interview with MTV Multiplayer, producer Hideki Konno echoed his previous thoughts in answer to the recurring question:

Multiplayer: [The Mario Kart Arcade GP games] in particular feature some of the Namco characters, and the “Smash Bros.” series features some third party characters as well. Has that ever been an ideal that’s been tossed around for “Mario Kart”?

Mr. Konno: The idea always come up during development of new “Mario Karts,” but we believe there’s a certain feel that “Mario Kart” has as a series, it’s Mario kart, the “Mario Kart” characters are the ones that are going to be coming out. We almost feel like there’s a secret rule that Mr. Miyamoto has that limits those new characters to just Mario.

If we did it too much it would be “Smash Kart.”

Which would be just fine by some people, people it would seem that Konno or Nintendo are now more open to listening to. Following the recent news of three Mercedes-Benz cars being part of a free downloadable update for the title, the company has just revealed that they are going to be providing further downloadable content in the near and not-so near future, both of the paid variety, featuring a number of new and familiar faces.

Though most of the contents of these packs remain a secret, the gist is that each “pack” will contain two new cups with four courses each, increasing the total number of currently available courses by 50 percent. The courses included will feature classics such as Wario’s Gold Mine from Mario Kart Wii along with new courses.

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More exciting, though, is that each pack will also include four new vehicles and three new characters– not all of which are from Mario games. The first pack will bring not only Tanooki Mario and Cat Peach (because after Metal Mario, Pink Gold Peach, Baby Mario, and Baby Peach, why not?), but also Link from The Legend of Zelda, who is seen riding a decidedly un-Hyrulean-like motorcycle and giving the pack its name, “The Legend of Zelda X Mario Kart 8.” Those hoping he might have been riding Epona in some form may not need to pay up yet, as only one other vehicle from the first pack is currently known: The Blue Falcon from F-Zero, vehicle of none other than Captain Falcon himself.

The second pack’s name is equally telling as well, as “Animal Crossing X Mario Kart 8” allows players to race as the Villager, Isabelle, or even Dry Bowser. And in both packs, some of the new tracks featured will take place in the worlds of The Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing, just as you might expect. Fingers are crossed for Hyrule Field from Twilight Princess or Death Mountain tracks.

The Legend of Zelda X Mario Kart 8 will be available in November, while Animal Crossing fans will have to wait a bit longer– May 2015 is when that one is set to drop, about a year after the game’s release. Both packs will be $7.99 each, or you can purchase both at once for $11.99 beginning today, August 27th. Though you can’t use the new content named above right now, there is still a small perk to buying early (though you receive it if you buy both packs at any point): You can choose from eight new colors for both Yoshi and Shy Guy. The potential that gives team battles would be tremendous, would they only update the game’s lacking Battle Mode.

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Personally speaking, I think I would have rather seen more classic characters who were left out returned to the races before including outsiders– or at least in place of Tanooki Mario and Cat Peach, though Dry Bowser is something of a start. Nonetheless, I’m still excited to take Link, Villager, and Isabelle around whatever new and returning tracks (hopefully Kalimari Desert and Neo Bowser City among them) come our way. Hopefully these two packs are just the beginning– I mean, who can honestly say they wouldn’t want to see Samus racing around in a car based on her gunship?

Incidentally, one might wonder how Konno and Nintendo might justify the appearance of characters from other games in this title while still keeping it “Mario Kart.” Back to the interview…

Multiplayer: [“Smash Kart”] would be an interesting game.

Mr. Konno: (laughs)

Mr. Yabuki: Actually, the addition of the Miis is kind of pushing us towards that.

Mr. Konno: Don’t tell anybody, but when we put the Miis in, Mr. Miyamoto was even kind of like, “You know, aren’t you crossing the line here? This doesn’t exactly feel like ‘Mario Kart.'” But you know, with the Mii being a basic part of the console, we were able to put it in, and have him actually play it to get his sign off. It’s still an unlock, you can’t select a Mii from the get-go. So, for some reason it didn’t exactly cross that secret line, but it kind of came close.

Perhaps the fact that Link and company aren’t a part of the basic package (or even unlockable) is their “out” in giving fans what they want while still treading on the safe side of that mysterious line? If that’s the case, then perhaps not having a proper “Smash Kart” won’t be so bad after all.

Alright, break time is over, and to help get me back into the swing of things before getting back to tackling my post-E3 impressions, here is a little item which hit my Inbox only just too late for me to take care of before heading out the door to Baltimore.

Back when I reviewed Mario Kart 8 a few months ago, I closed on a note that I hoped we would see downloadable content for the game to help improve the game’s shortcomings, as well as provide the only then revealed addition of a Mercedes-Benz car to the choice of selectable vehicles. As it turns out, Nintendo is bringing us not just one Mercedes-Benz car, but three, along with a host of other updates. For the cars, here is the trailer they released:

According to Nintendo’s press release, all three cars– the modern Mercedes-Benz GLA, the 300 SL Roadster from the 1950s, and the legendary Silver Arrow of the 1930s– are customizable with whichever wheels and gliders you so desire, though the GLA is said to come with “special wheel options.”

In addition to those three cars, several tweaks have been made to improve the overall experience. These include such features as changing the default option at the end of a race from “Watch Highlight Reel” to “Next Race,” displaying the course map on the television screen during races, remembering the most recently-selected kart options (even after the system has been powered down), changing options of other players’ highlight reels to focus on other racers and actions, and a score screen so players can see how many coins they’ve collected, their win-loss record in online battles, and their most frequently used characters. Plus, the stability of the online connection should be improved as well, “to enhance user experience during online battles.”

The update will arrive on the 22nd anniversary of the release of the original Super Mario Kart in Japan, which was on August 27th, 1992. Between August 27th and September 23rd, 2014, Nintendo and Mercedes-Benz will be hosting an online worldwide “Mercedes Cup” tournament. All you need in addition to the usual prerequisites for online racing in Mario Kart 8 will be the Mercedes-Benz karts, with access to the “Mercedes Cup” to be found in the online tournament section.

To get you in the mood for driving a Mercedes-Benz, here’s the original Japanese ad which sort of ties in to the whole promotion in a rather retro-styled manner:

On a side note, I’ve seen some take issue with the free content. Those who hate advertising of any sort in their games, I do get that, but I’ve also seen others who say that the “real” cars don’t fit the whimsical nature of Mario Kart. I’m inclined to disagree, in part due to more realistically styled karts being featured in newer games, but also because these aren’t all that realistic to begin with– they’re practically like children’s Power Wheels vehicles that have a license attached.

Heck, just look at how they stick out of the “roof” of the GLA! It’s just silly fun with a different sense of style, that’s all.

Following the interview with Eastern Canadian ROTAX Karting Champion Jeff Kingsley posted a couple of days ago, we had a chance to sit down and speak with Nintendo of Canada’s Matt Ryan for a few moments at Mario’s Canadian Karting Day to get his thoughts on the newest entry in the Mario Kart series and how it (among other things) might affect the Wii U’s fortunes going forward.

A big thanks to Nintendo of Canada for arranging these interviews, and to Matt Ryan and Jeff Kingsley for taking the time for us!

Hey, remember Mario’s Canadian Karting Day?

It was a fun time for all involved and people raced go-karts, played mini-golf, and entered to win various prizes, including a life-sized Mario Kart for children. Oh, and there were also opportunities to play the newly-launched Mario Kart 8, of course.

For us, however, there was also a little bit of work to be done, as we sat down for a few minutes with Eastern Canadian ROTAX Kart Champion Jeff Kingsley. We spoke about his real-life go-karting experiences, and took advantage of his expertise to not only see how well Mario Kart 8 stacks up to the real thing, but also what he would bring back to the sport from Mario’s world, among other things.

Next time, we’ll bring you our interview with Nintendo of Canada’s Matt Ryan, who talks a bit more about Nintendo’s biggest game this year thus far. To learn more about Jeff, check out Nintendo of Canada’s announcement of their sponsorship of him here!