Minecraft Becomes a Little More Magic-al

Do you love Minecraft and Magic: The Gathering, but somehow can’t manage to find time in your life for both? Then I have good news!

Well, contingent on your primary means of playing Minecraft being either the Windows 10 or Pocket (known collectively as the “Bedrock Engine”) editions, anyway.

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Mojang and Microsoft have announced that soon, you’ll be able to download 15 Magic: The Gathering skins, including “fearless planeswalkers” and legendary “Magic creatures,” all for just $2.99! A specific date wasn’t given, but the press release I received says it’s out today. At the very least, it sounds like you can already try a few for free right now.

And if I’m being honest with you, all I know about Magic: The Gathering is that it’s sort of like Yu-Gi-Oh!, except it isn’t and predates that franchise, as well as whatever I’ve gleaned from the occasional LoadingReadyRun sketch (but I don’t watch the more dedicated Magic stuff they do). So if you’re looking for more info, then let me just throw you over to their official blog post, where you can read more insights and see more skins and images and have a better idea than I do of what you’re looking at.

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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As mentioned in my review of LEGO Worlds, one of the keys to Minecraft‘s longevity that they will have to contend with is the ongoing support the latter has received over the last several years following its launch in 2011. That trend continues this week with no less than three updates to the console* versions of the game.

First up is the addition of a new mini-game simply known as “Glide,” which allows players to use their Elytras to do as the name suggests over a track filled with shortcuts and secrets (and maybe even some secret shortcuts). Different modes include Score Attack, which has you flying through rings for points; Time Attack, in which you’ll need to master the use of speed boosters and employ thermal drafts to shave off precious seconds; and a race against up to 15 competitors in Glide Multiplayer.

For more details about Glide, check out this post on the official blog.

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If you want to look the part when you’re at your Gliding best, then you might want to look into picking up the Mini Game Masters Skin Pack, where you can deck your character out in the garb of Team Guardian, Team Creeper, or Team Zombie. You can get a better look at each available skin here.

Suit up with your team of choice for just $1.99 for the pack.

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Finally, it’s Morphin’ Time!

With Saban’s Power Rangers kicking butt in theatres, Mojang is going old school with a new Minecraft Skin Pack based on the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show. In addition to the six costumed teenagers with attitude, screens also show Alpha 5, the original Megazord, Ninjor, Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd, Goldar, Scorpina, and Rito Revolto. You can check those out here. Hm, think they managed to include Dragonzord and the Thunderzords as well?

The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Skin Pack is available for $2.99.

* From what’s stated in the blogs and press materials, it sounds like the Glide mini-game and Mini Game Masters Skin Pack are available only for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but not Wii U. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Skin Pack is for “Minecraft: Console Edition, Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition, and Minecraft: Pocket Edition, which I think may leave the Wii U version out again. I’ll update this if I hear otherwise.

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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Microsoft Game Studios and Mojang have announced a new update coming to the console versions of Minecraft.

Sometime in June (the date hasn’t been revealed yet), the first of several free mini-game updates will be released, allowing for the quick and easy participation in competitions featuring tailor-made rule sets. The initial mode is called “Battle,” where players will seek out randomly generated resources found inside chests to fight one-another across specially-designed Player Versus Player (PVP) maps, and the last one standing will be declared the victor. In the meantime, those who are defeated along the way can still spectate by flying around the arena as a bat.

Up to four players can compete in the split-screen mode, while eight can throw down on Xbox Live. If you need more people to rumble, then an in-game matchmaking system will allow you to find other members of the community to join in.

Three maps will be included in the initial release, with additional maps being released for $2.99.

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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Wow; it was just last week when Mojang and Microsoft announced the retail version of the Favorites Pack for Xbox One, but now they’ve got even more news — with Nintendo as well!

Super Mario Bros. has long been one of the first things to come to mind when one talks about blocks in video games, so it makes sense that Nintendo would pair their plumbing protagonist’s wondrous world with the block-based terrain and construction of Minecraft, which is what players will soon have the opportunity to experience when the free update becomes available to download on May 17th.

A whopping 40 new skins will include characters such as Mario, Luigi, Rosalina, Princess Peach, Bowser, Wario, Waluigi, and all seven of the Koopalings. These will be available alongside a pre-made Super Mario-themed world, complete with 15 tracks of Super Mario-themed music and item textures that draw from a variety of Super Mario games from Super Mario World to Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine.

“Both the Super Mario Bros. franchise and Minecraft embrace the magic of exploration and discovery,” said Nintendo of Canada’s General Manager and Senior Director, Pierre-Paul Trepanier. “Players will have a great time adventuring and creating in this free game update that embraces the unique and memorable elements of both franchises.”

Those who prefer to get their games on disc are in luck, as Minecraft: Wii U Edition will be hitting store shelves on June 17th, and will include the Super Mario Mash-Up Pack on the disc as well, all for $29.99.

Those who prefer their Minecraft on Xbox One and Xbox 360 needn’t feel left out, however. In fact, it’s time to celebrate!

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Beginning today (May 9th) and lasting through May 16th, Minecraft: Xbox One Edition and Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition owners are privy to the free 4th Birthday Skin Pack for that version of the game — along with the previous three Birthday Skin Packs! Alex and Steve are going to be sporting snazzy mob-themed tees (and you can get your own “I got the anniversary t-shirt” t-shirt), and there will be cake, balloons, and party slides for all!

More info on everything Minecraft can be found on the Mojang blog.

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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Last Fall, Microsoft and Mojang released a “Favorites Pack” as downloadable content for Minecraft: Xbox One Edition, but now that same content is making its way to retail.

Consisting of the “most loved” downloadable content of the Minecraft community, the Favorites Pack contains the “Battle & Beasts Skin Pack,” “Battle & Beasts 2 Skin Pack,” “Natural Texture Pack,” “City Texture Pack,” “Fantasy Texture Pack,” “Festive Mash-up,” and “Halo Mash-up.” This content will be available to purchase along with a new version of Minecraft: Xbox One Edition on June 21st, 2016 for $29.99.

“These add-on packs are rich with content, bringing you over 120 choices of character skins and five different texture packs to apply to your Minecraft worlds to give them new looks, in addition to two mash-ups with which you can create new worlds themed from top to bottom including UI and in-game music,” says the press release. And for those who would be upgrading from the Xbox 360 version, no need to panic — you can import your world from that version and keep on as you were with all the new features added in.

For more information, visit Mojang’s website.

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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Wow! Nintendo’s really picking up steam as the year rolls on — we have quite a bountiful batch of beauties for the Wii U this week, and while Nintendo 3DS doesn’t have as much going on, it’s still got one pretty good showing.

Minecraft: Story Mode – Episode 1: The Order of the Stone for Wii U – Wow, when it rains, it pours. Just over a month after Minecraft came to Wii U, now Minecraft: Story Mode has followed. While the original Minecraft has no story to speak of, this point-and-click style adventure from TellTale Games tries to make up for it by weaving an episodic tale where you guide Jesse to EnderCon, where he hopes to meet Gabriel the Warrior but discovers something is amiss. “You will drive the story through the decisions you make: What you say to people (and how you say it) and what you choose to do in moments of thrilling action will make this YOUR story.”

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Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 for Wii U – While Minecraft: Story Mode looks cool and all, this is the real highlight for me. Super Mario Advance 4 is an enhanced Game Boy Advance version of the already enhanced version of the Nintendo Entertainment System classic Super Mario Bros. 3 that was in Super Mario All-Stars for the Super NES. Still with me? What sets this version apart is the inclusion of e-Reader levels: a number of levels that were originally accessible only by scanning cards through the GBA’s e-Reader device (many of which never made it to North America), featuring all kinds of new ideas and content, as well as stuff from previous Mario titles, from the giant turnips of Super Mario Advance to the Super Feather’s cape from Super Mario World. In short, it’s perhaps the ultimate version of what was already considered by many to be the best game of all time.

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Zack & Wiki: Quest For Barbaros’ Treasure for Wii U – This Capcom title for the Wii is typically regarded as an overlooked classic. Those who played this swashbuckling adventure generally loved it, but unfortunately, it didn’t reach a wide enough audience to keep things going. But now it’s got a second chance at life — will you join Zack and Wiki on their quest to become the greatest pirates who ever lived?

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A World of Keflings – Demo Version for Wii U – Not sure if you’re ready for an extended stay in a world of Keflings? Find out with a quick visit courtesy of this free demo.

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Brunswick Pro Bowling for Wii U – The Brunswick brand seems to get as much — or more — emphasis than the actual bowling in this game. Career Mode allows you to compete in tournaments while Rival Challenges allow you to earn currency to purchase all sorts of authentic Brunswick bowling equipment, as well as power-ups such as the Bomb Ball which detonates for an automatic strike. Up to four players can play and earn up to 200 achievements.

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Cube Life: Island Survival – Demo Version for Wii U – Sure, the Wii U has Minecraft now, but is that not enough for you? Look into this genre-alike title with a free demo to decide if this is the “more” you want or need.

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SKEASY for Wii U – This looks like the Wii U answer to Ski Free for Windows, but without any sign of the abominable snowman (from the description or screens) to impede your progress towards the high score.

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Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam for Nintendo 3DS – This one comes out in the Nintendo eShop at 9pm PT on January 21st, and unfortunately, I won’t have a review ready in time for release as I’d hoped. I will say that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it for the most part (and the parts that I didn’t simply required some new perspective), but the main reason the review won’t be ready in time for release? My wife has been hooked while playing the game for her own review at G4, which ought to be ready tomorrow. Hopefully then I can get my hands on it for long enough to have it up soon after!

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PET INN 3D for Nintendo 3DS – 16 breeds of cats and dogs and 14 mini-games await as you manage a pet hotel in this simulation.

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This week’s new themes are “SEGA SG-1000” and “Animal Crossing: Winter Frolicking.”

Nintendo eShop Sales (Taken directly from Nintendo’s press release; prices in USD)

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

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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Even amid recent rumors of this very announcement, there have been those lamenting the absence of Minecraft on a Nintendo console. Various derivatives and knock-offs have come along to fill the gap while others have held Super Mario Maker up as the Wii U’s surrogate; however, no matter how good any of them might have been, fans have made it known that there is no substituting for the real deal.

Enter Nintendo’s announcement today, then, that Minecraft: Wii U Edition is on its way! That rival Microsoft Game Studios bought Minecraft creator Mojang and all associated rights was apparently not the impediment that some had believed (with continued support of the PlayStation 3 version helping make that evident), but when will it arrive? Next year? Next holiday season?

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Much sooner than that, actually — is December 17th, 2015 a good time for you? That’s when the title will hit the Nintendo eShop on Wii U for $29.99 in both the United States and Canada. In addition to the expected perks of a Wii U version such as Off-TV play, the following languages will also be selectable from an in-game menu: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese.

The initial release will also come with the following add-on content packs:

  • Battle & Beasts Skin Pack
  • Battle & Beasts 2 Skin Pack
  • Natural Texture Pack
  • City Texture Pack
  • Fantasy Texture Pack
  • Festive Mash-up Pack

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Also available at launch are the following add-on packs that will be available for purchase:

  • Festive Skin Pack
  • The Simpsons Skin Pack
  • Doctor Who Skins Volume 1
  • Doctor Who Skins Volume 2
  • Star Wars Classic Skin Pack
  • Star Wars Rebels Skin Pack
  • Star Wars Prequel Skin Pack
  • Mass Effect Mash-up Pack
  • Skyrim Mash-up Pack
  • Plastic Texture Pack
  • Candy Texture Pack
  • Cartoon Texture Pack
  • Steampunk Texture Pack
  • Pattern Texture Pack
  • Greek Mythology Mash-up Pack
  • Halloween 2015 Mash-up Pack

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Still not enough for you? Though details won’t be revealed until later, Nintendo did reveal that they are collaborating with Mojang to create new content for Nintendo fans. Could we see a Super Mario or The Legend of Zelda, maybe even a Metroid content pack sometime in the future?

“With so many included add-on content packs, Minecraft: Wii U Edition brings an exciting collection of Minecraft content and experiences to Nintendo fans,” said Nintendo of America President and Chief Operating Officer Reggie Fils-Aime in a press release. “Wii U players will have plenty of reasons to keep coming back to this iconic gaming experience.”

The release of Minecraft: Wii U Edition is only ten days away and while we might see or hear more before then, here are some additional screens in the meantime.

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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