Nintendo Direct Reveals New Luigi’s Mansion, Animal Crossing, and More

On Thursday, September 13th, Nintendo held its initially postponed “Nintendo Direct” presentation. In addition to several new game announcements, updates were provided for many previously-announced titles as well. If you’ve seen the video already, here is the most relevant information provided in terms of Canadian pricing and release dates.

In addition to further details about the soon-to-be-launched Nintendo Switch Online service, Nintendo revealed that those who opt to partake in the selection of Nintendo Entertainment System titles available through the service can now purchase special wireless NES controllers that attach to the sides of the Nintendo Switch console for recharging. This offer is available only to those who have a paid membership to Nintendo Switch Online, and you will get two controllers for $79.99. Pre-orders open on September 18th, and you can find more information about this offer here.

For those who haven’t yet made the switch to Switch, Nintendo is offering up one more bundle in addition to those previously announced. The Nintendo Switch Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Set will include the console, game (via download code), and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate branded Joy-Cons and a dock for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $449.99. Interestingly enough, while the game doesn’t release until December 7th, this bundle will be available on November 2nd — you just won’t be able to download the game until it’s officially released.

And that’s pretty much it for the Canada-specific details. If you haven’t seen the Nintendo Direct yet, you can view it right below, followed by Nintendo of Canada’s full press release.

NEW GAMES IN THE ANIMAL CROSSING AND LUIGI’S MANSION SERIES COMING TO NINTENDO SWITCH

Isabelle from the Animal Crossing Series
Will Also be a Playable Fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

VANCOUVER, B.C., Sept. 13, 2018 – In a new Nintendo Direct video presentation, Nintendo revealed that new games in two major Nintendo series are currently in development for the Nintendo Switch system. Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch(working title), a new main game in the Animal Crossingseries, andLuigi’s Mansion 3 (working title), will both come exclusively to Nintendo Switch in 2019. The video presentation also debuted a new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Nintendo Switch hardware and software bundle.

The Nintendo Direct revealed a diverse lineup of games headed to Nintendo Switch, including a massive collection of classic FINAL FANTASYgames, an HD remake of the beloved Katamari Damacygame and adaptations of some best-selling card and board games like Carcassonne and Pandemic. If that’s not already enough, the Nintendo Direct also unveiled new details for Nintendo Switch Online, highlighted a solid selection of Nintendo 3DS games and revealed more details about previously announced Nintendo Switch games like Yoshi’s Crafted World, DAEMON X MACHINA and Mega Man 11.

“The announcements for Nintendo Switch keep coming,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “With the additions of new games in the Animal Crossingand Luigi’s Mansionseries, as well as a surge of new games from our development partners, there really is something for everyone in the ever-growing Nintendo Switch library.”

To view the Nintendo Direct video in its entirety, visit https://www.nintendo.com/nintendo-direct. Some of the highlights revealed in the video include:

Nintendo Switch

· Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch(working title): A new mainline game in the Animal Crossingseries – the first sinceAnimal Crossing: New Leafdebuted on Nintendo 3DS in 2013 – is slated for a 2019 release exclusively on Nintendo Switch.

· Isabelle Joins the Fight!: Taking a break from assisting mayors and just being an all-around lovely pup, Isabelle from the Animal Crossing series is joining the roster as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

· Luigi’s Mansion 3(working title): The next installment in the spooky series is currently in production and launching exclusively for Nintendo Switch in 2019.

· Nintendo Switch Online: With Nintendo Switch Online, members gain access to online play and Save Data Cloud backup in compatible games, the NES – Nintendo Switch Online collection of classic games with added online play,special offers and a smartphone app with features to make online gaming sessions more fun and engaging for supported games. In addition to Splatoon 2, more online games will support voice chat through the app, including Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS and Mario Tennis Aces. Nintendo Switch owners won’t automatically become members when the service launches on Sept. 18,so they will need to purchase an individual or family membership in order to continue enjoying their online play in compatible games. For pricing information, and to pre-order a 3- or 12-month individual membership from select retailers so you can be ready to go once the service launches, visit https://www.nintendo.com/en_CA/switch/online-service/pricing/. A free seven-day trial will also be available. At launch, 20 NES games, including Super Mario Bros. 3, The Legend of Zelda, and the newly announced Ice Hockeyand Pro Wrestling(available for the first time since its 1987 release) will be available to play, with more games added regularly.

· Nintendo Entertainment System Controllers: Playing NES – Nintendo Switch Online will feel even more authentic by using the new wireless Nintendo Entertainment System Controller, available for purchase exclusively for Nintendo Switch owners with a paid Nintendo Switch Online membership in the U.S. and Canada. This re-creation of the original, iconic NEScontroller comes in a pack of two for $79.99 and can be charged by attaching to a docked Nintendo Switch system. NES controllers will be available for pre-order on Sept. 18. For more details, visit https://www.nintendo.com/en_CA/switch/online-service/special-offers/.

· New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe: Up to four players can enjoy this revamped version of the classic Wii U launch game when it comes to Nintendo Switch on Jan. 11. Mario, Luigi and Toad return as playable characters, and are joined by Nabbit and Toadette, who can also turn into Peachette by getting a Super Crown, offering new ways for beginners to play together with friends and family. New Super Luigi U, the first platformer with Luigi in a starring role, will also be included in New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxeat no extra charge. Between both games, there are a whopping 164 courses to play. Mamma mia!

· Yoshi’s Crafted World: Play as an adorable Yoshi traveling through a world crafted from household items like boxes and paper cups in this new Nintendo Switch platforming adventure. After traveling through a perfectly constructed stage, players can start at the goal and journey back to the start on the “flip side,” the backside of the course, to discover secrets. Yoshi’s Crafted Worldlaunches on Nintendo Switch in spring 2019.

· Nintendo Switch Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Set: This upcoming Nintendo Switch bundle features the Nintendo Switch system – complete with Super Smash Bros. Ultimatebranded Joy-Con controllers and dock – and a download code for the Super Smash Bros. Ultimategame, all at a suggested retail price of $449.99. The Nintendo Switch Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Setlaunches on Nov. 2. (The download code for the game won’t be active until the game launches on Dec. 7.)

· FINAL FANTASY Extravaganza!: High-definition versions of some of the most beloved FINAL FANTASY games of all time are coming to Nintendo Switch. This includes FINAL FANTASY VII, IX and X / X-2HD Remaster, as well as the recently released FINAL FANTASY XII: THE ZODIAC AGE. This is the first time any of these FINAL FANTASY games has been released on a Nintendo system. Starting today, FINAL FANTASY XV Pocket Edition HD will be available to download in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch. In addition, three other games in the FINAL FANTASY universe will launch on Nintendo Switch in the near future: The leveled-up edition of WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY MAXIMA launches Nov. 6, Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon EVERY BUDDY! launches this winter and Nintendo GameCube co-op game FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition with online multiplayer and no need for a link cable comes to Nintendo Switch in 2019. Kupo!

· TOWN (working title): GAME FREAK, the developer of the Pokémon series, has created a new RPG for Nintendo Switch. In TOWN, players must take up arms against invading monsters, all within the walls of a single village. TOWN launches for Nintendo Switch in 2019.

· Super Mario Party: In the newly revealed Sound Stage mode, up to four players can each shake a Joy-Con in rhythm-based gameplay, while the River Survival mode offers the series’ first four-player co-op. Plus, there’s 80 new mini-games, a single-player Challenge Road, the mini-game gauntlet Online Mariothon and much more. Super Mario Party launches for Nintendo Switch on Oct. 5 and is available for pre-purchase on Nintendo eShop and the game’s website beginning today.

· Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!: During the adventure, players will be able to overcome obstacles with their partner Pokémon (either Pikachu or Eevee) using Secret Techniques. These are skills that only partner Pokémon can use, like chopping down trees, traveling across water or soaring in the sky. Both games launch exclusively for Nintendo Switch on Nov. 16. A bundle that includes a Pikachu and Eevee themed Nintendo Switch system and Joy-Con, a Pokémon: Let’s Go! game and the Poké Ball Plus controller will also be available on the same day.

· Katamari Damacy REROLL: “Na naaaaah na na na naaah na na naaaaah na na na na na naaaaaaaaah.” Fans of the groundbreaking Katamari Damacy game can hum its theme song at a moment’s notice. But new fans will be joining the chorus when an HD remaster of the classic game comes to Nintendo Switch, complete with HD Rumble, gyro control and multiplayer support with the Joy-Con controllers. Katamari Damacy REROLL launches in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch on Nov. 30, with the physical packaged version coming winter 2018.

· Asmodee Digital: With a literal Tabletop mode, tabletop gaming is a perfect fit for Nintendo Switch. To prove it, Asmodee Digital is bringing full adaptations of best-selling card and board games like Carcassonne, The Lord the Rings: Living Card Game, Pandemic, Munchkin and Catan to Nintendo Switch, starting this December.

· DAEMON X MACHINA: In this stylish action game first revealed at E3, the world and its inhabitants are on the brink of extinction. As a mercenary, players will pilot a powered suit called an Arsenal and face runaway AI. Defeat enemies and acquire parts that can be equipped on the fly or brought back to base to craft new armaments. Use additional tactics by changing between projectile and melee attacks or take the fight on foot to gain an advantage in battle. DAEMON X MACHINA launches for Nintendo Switch in 2019.

· Capcom Beat ’Em Up Bundle: Some of Capcom’s most classic arcade games like Final Fight, Captain Commando and Knights of the Roundare coming to Nintendo Switch with up to four-player local or online play. This also includes games that have never launched on home consoles before like Armored Warriors and Battle Circuit. The digital version of this bundle launches in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch this winter.

· Cities: Skylines: The acclaimed city-building game is available today in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, which means players can manage resources, improve quality of life, energize businesses and stimulate growth anytime or anywhere.

· Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: When the acclaimed strategy game comes to Nintendo Switch on Nov. 16, it will do so with an exclusive four-player wireless LAN multiplayer mode.

· Mega Man 11: The Blue Bomber is back! Mega Man 11 rocks on Nintendo Switch on Oct. 2, with a free demo already available in Nintendo eShop. In addition, players will be able to unlock helpful in-game items for use in the full game by tapping the existing Mega Man amiibo figure, or a new Mega Man amiibo figure.

· Splatoon 2 Version 4 Update: Starting tonight, the first set of weapons in the Kensa Collection is coming to Splatoon 2as part of the new Version 4.0 update. These familiar weapons are painted with stylish monotone designs. In addition, significant new Splatfest changes are coming as part of this update. In early October, Version 4.1 will bring a new stage, new songs and more Kensa Collection weapon sets complete with new sub and special weapons. Check out the Squid Research Lab Tumblrfor more details.

· Mario Tennis AcesVersion 2.0 Update: After downloading a free update to the action-packed sports game on Sept. 19, players will have access to a new online co-op mode that lets players participate in time-limited missions with other players. Players who complete objectives while these missions are active will receive special outfits, characters with alternate color schemes and more. Also, be on the lookout for new upcoming playable characters like Birdo, Shy Guy, Koopa Paratroopa and Petey Piranha.

· Diablo III: Eternal Collection: The Nintendo Switch version of this classic action-RPG will send players on a journey through Sanctuary, where they’ll vanquish the armies of Hell and plunder powerful loot as one of the seven playable classes. Up to four players can adventure together via local or online multiplayer. The Nintendo Switch version of the game features the exclusive Legend of Ganondorf cosmetic armor set, compatibility with all amiibo figures and more. Diablo III: Eternal Collection launches Nov. 2.

· Starlink: Battle for Atlas: Do a barrel roll and defeat Wolf’s team in Star Foxmissions, exclusive to the Nintendo Switch version of the game. Starlink: Battle for Atlas launches for Nintendo Switch on Oct. 16.

· Two RPGs on the Way!: Fans who love playing role-playing games anytime and anywhere are in luck! The World Ends with You: Final Remix from SQUARE ENIX launches Oct. 12 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country – which is available for pre-purchase on Nintendo eShop starting today – comes to Nintendo Switch on Sept. 21 in stores and Nintendo eShop, or on Sept. 14 for owners of the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Expansion Pass.

· Warframe: New fans can join more than 38 million players for free-to-start co-op space-ninja action when Warframe launches for Nintendo Switch on Nov. 20.

· NBA 2K19: The highest-rated basketball simulation franchise returns to Nintendo Switch with NBA 2K19, now available.

· NBA 2K Playgrounds 2: Get ready to jam in the sequel to the smash-hit NBA arcade game, coming to Nintendo Switch this fall.

· Just Dance 2019: With Just Dance 2019 on Nintendo Switch, there’s no excuse for players to not get down to Camila Cabello, Bruno Mars and Cardi B. at home, in the middle of the park or even at the dentist’s office! Just Dance 2019 launches on Oct. 23.

· EA SPORTS FIFA 19: EA SPORTS FIFA 19 is fast approaching, and players can pre-purchase now so they won’t drop the ball when it launches for Nintendo Switch on Sept. 28.

· Team Sonic Racing: Gotta go FAST! Like, really fast. Team Sonic Racing launches for Nintendo Switch this winter.

· LEGO DC Super-Villains: Why so serious? Play as The Joker, Harley, Lex Luthor and the rest of the best of the worst in the new LEGO DC Super-Villains game, launching for Nintendo Switch on Oct. 16.

Nintendo 3DS

· Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn: The hit Wii game Kirby’s Epic Yarn is warping to Nintendo 3DS. Every stage in the original Wii version is stitched in, but this Nintendo 3DS version has some new features, like the ability to craft bigger yarn balls, summon bead-collecting wind and play two new modes featuring familiar faces King Dedede and Meta Knight. Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn is scheduled to launch for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems in 2019.

· Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey: One of the most acclaimed games in the Mario & Luigi RPG series is getting a remake on Nintendo 3DS. In addition to the game’s revamped graphics and refined gameplay, a new side story follows Bowser Jr. as he gathers an army, creates formations, supports his allies with an arsenal of moves and generally causes chaos (in the best way possible). Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey will prove two adventures are better than one on Jan. 11.

· Luigi’s Mansion: Two players who each own the game can team up to explore and capture ghosts in Luigi’s Mansion, a Nintendo 3DS remake of the classic Nintendo GameCube launch game. This new version of the game also features amiibo support. Tapping one of the four compatible amiibo will reveal where Boos are hiding and heal Luigi when he talks to Toad, among other bonuses. Luigi’s Mansion will haunt the Nintendo 3DS family of systems on Oct. 12.

· YO-KAI WATCH BLASTERS: Whether players throw their allegiance behind the Red Cat Corps or the White Dog Squad, YO-KAI WATCH BLASTERS lets players team up with friends locally or online to tackle the most action-packed battles in the series yet. A free “Moon Rabbit Crew” software update on Sept. 27 will add new missions, new areas to explore, new Yo-kai to befriend and new Big Boss Yo-kai. YO-KAI WATCH BLASTERS: Red Cat Corps and YO-KAI WATCH BLASTERS: White Dog Squad are now available for Nintendo 3DS.

Remember that Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems feature parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about other features, visit https://www.nintendo.com/en_CA/switch/ or https://www.nintendo.com/en_CA/3ds/.

About Nintendo: The worldwide pioneer in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its Nintendo Switch™system and the Nintendo 3DS™family of portable systems. Since 1983, when it launched the Nintendo Entertainment System™, Nintendo has sold more than 4.6 billion video games and more than 725 million hardware units globally, including Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, as well as the Game Boy™, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS™family of systems, Super NES™, Nintendo 64™, Nintendo GameCube™, Wii™and Wii U™systems. It has also created industry icons that have become well-known, household names, such as Mario, Donkey Kong, Metroid, Zelda and Pokémon. A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo’s operations in the Americas. For more information about Nintendo, please visit the company’s website at https://www.nintendo.com/en_CA.

Mario and Yoshi, together again! …sort of.

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Yoshi’s Woolly World for Wii U – Coming October 16th, Yoshi has traded in the crayon look for wool and yarn. Does it finally recapture the spirit that made Yoshi’s Island such a classic? Well, from what I’ve played, it just might! Hopefully I can tell you for sure soon!

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New Super Mario Bros. U + New Super Luigi U Bundle for Wii U – Also coming October 16th: I’ve said a ton about New Super Mario Bros. U, and a fair bit about New Super Luigi U as well. Now both are together in one pack for one price — the best of the New Super Mario Bros. series and the unique DLC are definitely worth looking into.

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Final Fight One for Wii U – According to Cygnus Destroyer’s recent review, this is one of the best versions of Final Fight you’re likely to find. If you’re only familiar with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System version, this one has an extra stage not found there, an extra character in Guy, plus new cutscenes and other extra content, making the battle to rescue Mayor Mike Haggar’s daughter from the Mad Gear gang of Metro City just a bit more intense.

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Momonga Pinball Adventures for Wii U – The momonga village has been razed to the ground, its people missing. Momo was found in the outskirts and healed, and must now face the evil owls who wrought this carnage in a pinball-styled adventure.

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Ninja Strike: Dangerous Dash for Wii U – Choose one of five different ninjas, then run, fly, and slash your way through enemies to retrieve stolen treasures and claim victory!

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Rakoo & Friends for Wii U – Up to five players can help Rakoo find that special someone as he searches through 45 levels of running adventure in this cartoon-styled game.

Crunchyroll for Wii – A WiiWare update? How unusual. This free app allows you to view shows from Japan such as Naruto Shippuden, One Piece, and Sword Art Online. Go premium (there’s a free 14-day trial) to watch the shows ad-free, and see new episodes an hour after they air in Japan.

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SmileBASIC for Nintendo 3DS – Learn BASIC and program your own game with this app!

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The Magic Hammer for Nintendo 3DS – Customize your character in this action role playing game and explore an open world containing towns, boneyards, and more. Team up with a friend in co-op to increase your odds of survival.

Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS

This week’s new themes are “SEGA Game Gear,” “SEGA Genesis,” and “Chibi-Robo & Friends.”

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

Activities

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is featuring SpotPass distribution of a new character: Louie, a fan of the Mushroom Kingdom, whose home design whims can net your catalog some new and unique items. He’s available for a limited time only, so don’t hesitate to check the in-game Nintendo 3DS on the second floor of Nook’s Homes and take him on as a client!

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

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As you may have heard earlier today, Nintendo of America has rolled out their release schedule for the remainder of 2015, and is it ever jam-packed with stuff to look forward to. Nintendo of Canada has just followed suit, and that’s naturally where our interests lie — particularly the suggested retail prices you can expect.

“Nintendo has games, amiibo and systems to satisfy all kinds of players, whether they’re looking for back-to-school gifts or getting an early start on their holiday shopping,” Nintendo of Canada’s General Manager and Senior Director Pierre-Paul Trepanier stated in a press release. “No one can match the quality or uniqueness of what Nintendo has to offer for the rest of 2015.”

So, what’s on tap for Wii U?

NOA_PackShot_SSM_2For starters, if you don’t yet have a Wii U, then Walmart has the answer for you come September 11th: The Super Mario Maker Wii U bundle, which comes with the Super Mario Maker game, Idea Book, and the 30th Anniversary Mario “Modern Colour” amiibo. The $329.99 bundle will then be available at other retailers across Canada after October 1st.

For those who already own the Wii U console, the game will also be available on September 11th for $69.99.

Speaking of Mario, a semi-new two-in-one disc containing both New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U (click for my respective reviews) will be available at retail on October 16th for $74.99. Previously, the two games were sold separately at retail with both coming together in a special bundle with the Wii U console. Now, if it suits you, you can get both together in one package.

Also on October 16th, Yoshi’s Woolly World launches for $64.99, or you can get it in a bundle with the exclusive green Yarn Yoshi amiibo for $79.99. If you want more Yarn Yoshi amiibo in your life (and who doesn’t?), then the pink and blue versions will be sold at retail individually for $19.99 each, also on October 16th.

A little closer to Halloween will see the release of Koei Tecmo Games co-developed title Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. This Nintendo eShop exclusive will be priced at $62.49, and beginning October 22nd, players can download and play the prologue and first two chapters for free, with the full version of the game available as downloadable content in the Nintendo eShop or the in-game menu.

WiiU_StarFoxZero_case_RSeveral of Nintendo’s heavier hitters don’t have prices yet, but you’ll find Star Fox Zero in stores on November 20th, Xenoblade Chronicles X on December 4th, and Devil’s Third on December 11th. Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival, its amiibo figures (Isabelle, Digby, K.K., Reese, Cyrus, Tom Nook, Mabel, and Lottie), and Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash are all still saddled with the more nebulous “Holiday 2015” release window.

On the subject of toys, Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition is slated for an August 30th release for $64.99, the special Nintendo amiibo-fied versions of Skylanders SuperChargers with the exclusive Turbo Charge Donkey Kong amiibo/Skylanders toggleable figures will be available for $84.99 on September 20th, and the LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack will make its debut on September 27th for $109.99, with additional LEGO Dimensions Level, Team, and Fun Packs available the same day for $29.99, $24.99, and $14.99, respectively.

On October 20th, things get musical on Wii U as Guitar Hero Live hits the stage for $109.99 and Just Dance 2016 shakes its booty for $49.99.

Indie games get some love as well, with Toronto-based 13AM Games releasing Runbow (complete with its host of fellow indie-gaming guest stars such as Shovel Knight) in the Nintendo eShop for $15.99 on August 27th, with those who downloaded the Nindies@Home demo back in June getting 15 percent off for the first month after launch. Speaking of Shovel Knight, the Nintendo eShop hit is coming to retail in October for $29.99 on both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

Speaking of Nintendo 3DS, let’s shift our focus to that now. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer arrives at retail for $44.99 on September 25th and comes with one complimentary amiibo card, while those who opt to download it from the Nintendo eShop at the same price will instead receive an exclusive Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer HOME Menu Theme. The rest of the 100 Animal Crossing amiibo cards will be released the same day, sold in packs of six for $6.99 per pack. Launching the same day is the long-awaited wireless NFC Reader/Writer accessory for $24.99, or you can get a bundle with the game and one card for $54.99.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes arrives on October 23rd for $49.99, with YO-KAI WATCH and Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon arriving on November 6th and 20th, respectively, neither of which being given a price yet.

Skylanders SuperChargers races onto Nintendo 3DS the same day as its Wii U big brother, September 20th, for a price of $79.99. This and the Wii version both include Hammer Slam Bowser and his Sky vehicle, the Clown Cruiser, to get you started with multiplayer racing action both online and off. Meanwhile, Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash will come bundled with a Chibo-Robo amiibo for the price of $49.99 on October 9th.

YWW-amiibo-mega-4Now that we’re back to amiibo, here’s the news on the rest. More Super Smash Bros. amiibo are on the way with Mewtwo and the great Falco Lombardi hitting on November 13th and 20th, respectively, at a price of $15.99 each. The Mii Fighter 3-pack will also hit stores on November 20th for $44.99.

Finally, Yarn Yoshi has skipped straight past Super and gone into full-on Mega with the giant green Mega Yarn Yoshi amiibo. The biggest amiibo to date arrives on October 16th for the equally mega price of $59.99, Mega Yarn Yoshi features the same “Double Yoshi” ability in Yoshi’s Woolly World as his more diminutive counterparts, which allows players to add a second Yoshi to use at any point during a stage. Plus, if you’ve got a favorite Yoshi pattern, that can be saved to the amiibo as well.

It looks like it’s going to be quite a busy (and fun) year for the rest of 2015.

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Once again, Nintendo came out of nowhere to surprise everyone with a new Nintendo Direct, as seen above. Much like the two most recent editions, this one also focuses on a specific upcoming title: Mario Kart 8. Furthermore, they do so with the same sense of fun and wackiness that we’ve come to expect from their updates.

“Everyone loves Mario Kart,” said Nintendo of Canada’s vice-president and general manager, Ron Bertram, in a press release. “It’s a franchise that brings people together for fun at a family gathering, a frenzied race against friends or just an afternoon break at the office. The numerous new features of Mario Kart 8 make this the most ambitious version yet, and one that will have players of all skill levels racing for the checkered flag.”

From the press release, here are some of the highlights of the video, accompanied by my own thoughts/observations. Of course, you’ll still want to watch the whole video through for yourself, if only because the game is gorgeous.

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Mario Kart 8 Wii U Bundle: People who don’t yet own a Wii U system will find it easy to get in on the action. On May 30, Nintendo is releasing the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Set bundle that includes a Wii U Deluxe Set system, a Mario Kart 8 game, a red Mario Wii Wheel accessory and a red Mario Wii Remote Plus controller, all at a suggested retail price of just $349.99.

About a week ago, news broke that Europe was getting a variety of bundle options for Mario Kart 8, and we were wondering if we would see any of them here. Well, we’re seeing an option, at least, and it’s a nice one, but it pales by comparison to what our fellows across the pond are seeing.

As snazzy as the red Wii Remote Plus and Wii Wheel are, they’re also getting the official player’s guide from Prima, a cool GamePad protector, and even a hat. Better still, they can choose between “Team Mario” and “Team Luigi” versions.

They also have software bundles, including the game, a Bullet Bill t-shirt, a Mario keychain, and a Blue Shell figurine. I imagine the casual consumer will never know otherwise, but for fans who keep a close eye on Nintendo in a digital age where things like this are no longer a secret from country to country, it does sting a bit.

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Get a Free Digital Game: People who buy Mario Kart 8 and register the game with Club Nintendo before July 31 will receive a free Nintendo eShop download code for an additional Wii U game. Players can grow their Wii U digital game collections by choosing from one of these well-received Wii U games: New Super Mario Bros. U, Pikmin 3, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD or Wii Party U. That’s a two-for-one deal featuring some of the all-time great Wii U games. This offer also applies to people who get the game in the Mario Kart 8 bundle or digitally in the Nintendo eShop.

Another cool deal for consumers, no matter how they get Mario Kart 8. And these are some great games, too; you can find my reviews for New Super Mario Bros. U and Pikmin 3 here and here, respectively. As for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD and Wii Party U, I’ve not managed to review them yet, but both have been quite enjoyable from what I have played (I’m honestly enjoying Wind Waker HD more than I did the original).

But, once again, it pales compared to what Europe is getting: Ten games to choose from, versus our four. In addition to what will be available to us, they also have a choice of Nintendo Land, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U version), Game & Wario, The Wonderful 101, Sonic Lost World (Wii U version), and Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. “It’s worth noting that most of that list sits among the very best of Wii U’s lineup,” says Official Nintendo Magazine.

I might be able to understand why Nintendo hold back on the physical side of things when it comes to bundles, given the logistics of physical goods (production, packaging, shipping, etc.), but the Wii U doesn’t exactly have much ground on its competition at the moment, so why hold back on the digital side?

Online Multiplayer: Up to 12 players can race together online in four different multiplayer modes, as long as everyone has a broadband Internet connection. Like to trash-talk your friends while you’re preparing for a race? You’re in luck! Mario Kart 8 lets players chat with one another in the lobby area using the Wii U GamePad microphone or text phrases as they wait for their friends to join. Players also can create public or private tournaments for which they specify the day of the week, the time and the rules. Per tradition, players will be able to race against ghost data from friends or even the top 10 worldwide racers. They can try to beat them or just pick up a few tips and tricks from studying the best. If you beat the development team’s ghosts, you’ll get cool stamps for use in Miiverse posts.

Multiplayer is what makes the Mario Kart world go ’round, and online options (along with local) make it even better. With the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection soon to be kaput (rendering Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii‘s online modes null and void), the timing is good to nudge people towards the next generation.

Perhaps the most impressive part, though, is voice chat. Too bad it’s only for the lobby area, though, but still– it’s more than some expected from Nintendo, even with the equipment for it built right into the GamePad.

Mario Kart TV: As previously announced, players can watch their highlight racing reels, rewind them, play them in slow motion or upload them to Miiverse. They can watch the world’s most popular highlight reels and comment on them. But players with Google accounts can also upload their reels directly to their YouTube channels.

This is pretty big. Microsoft and Sony have already boasted similar features for their respective platforms, and while it would be nice if this were implemented at the Wii U’s console level, it’s still great to have an option to upload your videos straight to YouTube. My only concern is how well it deals with those of us who haven’t bought into Google’s “one username for everything” ideal.

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New Items: Items are what make Mario Kart games so balanced. No matter how skilled racers are, they’re just a blue Spiny Shell away from disaster. A well-timed item can also turn defeat into victory in an instant. The new Super Horn blows away all other items – literally. Sounding the Super Horn issues forth a sonic shock wave that blasts away everything in the vicinity, including other drivers, Red Shells and even blue Spiny Shells. It’s a potent asset, especially for drivers trying to maintain their lead. Mario Kart 8 also introduces the Crazy Eight, a swirl of eight different items that lucky players can use one by one.

One issue people took with Mario Kart Wii is how unbalanced item distribution seemed. When there were only eight racers in previous games, the bottom part of the rankings generally got items to help them catch up and do nasty things to the other racers– lightning bolts, blue Spiny Shells, etc. With Mario Kart Wii, they added four more competitors to the races, but it seemed like the item draws were still the same… but with a much bigger bottom part of the rankings. Hopefully they’ve balanced that out a bit here.

The Super Horn sounds like a really positive addition, though. For too long, racers in the lead were left with little to defend their positions, and were nigh-helpless against the blue Shells. And yes, I’ve heard the trick where a precisely-timed Super Mushroom speed boost can help you to dodge, but that’s rarely useful when a) You usually don’t get Super Mushrooms when in first place, and b) there are so many things (such as lightning bolts) that can take that Super Mushroom away from you if you don’t hurry up and use it.

Now, if we can just learn that the computer is less likely to gang up on you with lightning bolts, POW blocks, and blue Shells every time you’re about to unlock something, we’ll really be cooking.

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New Racers: Two new playable female characters make their debut appearances in Mario Kart 8. New heavyweight driver Pink Gold Peach glows with a golden light and makes a nice counterpart to Metal Mario. Baby Rosalina shows up for a play date with other Baby characters. As in past Mario Kart games, players can again choose to play as their Mii characters, which rounds out the field of racers to an even 30.

Ugh, this was the worst part of the entire thing for me. I’m fine with the Mii, don’t get me wrong; I love using mine in games such as this, and I was both disappointed to be unable to unlock it in Mario Kart Wii and filled with joy to do so in Mario Kart 7 (where it was also the only character I was able to unlock).

It should be no secret by now that I’m a big fan of Mario— the games, the world, the characters, and there is absolutely no shortage of characters that I would have loved to see included in this game. Several have already been included previously, such as Funky Kong, Dry Bones, Birdo, Diddy Kong, King Boo, Wiggler, Bowser Jr., even Koopa Paratroopa, to say nothing of my favorite from Mario Kart DS, R.O.B. (who admittedly didn’t originate in Mario, but has precedence. And I don’t miss him for his stats– I just love R.O.B.), and seeing so many absences this time is nothing short of disappointing.

Sure, we have some new inclusions like the Koopalings now, who are most welcome, but it’s always crushing to see one of your favorites kicked off the roster for no apparent good reason (just ask Super Smash Bros. fans). After all, a good chunk of the fun in games such as this is picking out a favorite character from another game and getting to race as them.

Metal Mario is a weird inclusion to begin with, since Mario is already there. At the same time, there is a precedent for this, seeing as Metal Mario has been treated as something of a rival character in numerous games. But did we really need a Peach equivalent? As a separate character, no less?

Metal seems more like it should be a power-up, or even a type of game mode, rather than a series of characters. Why not give everyone a Metal mode? (Wario even has one from Super Mario 64 DS.)

Then there are the babies. Baby Mario and Baby Luigi were just tolerable, especially seeing as they did adventure with their adult counterparts in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. By that same token, one could understand Baby Peach. But why Baby Daisy? And now Baby Rosalina? Neither of them ever existed in any media as babies prior to appearing in Mario Kart games, and I’ve never seen anyone asking for more babies. At the very least, Baby Bowser would make more sense, having been in Partners in Time and every single Yoshi game.

On the same note as before, why not just have a Baby mode, then? Make everyone a baby there! I just don’t see why they need to keep making more as “new” characters and squeezing more interesting options out of the picture. And just think: People have been begging Nintendo to include characters from other franchises, yet they refuse to budge. But more babies? “You got it!”

Sigh. On the bright side, at least Waluigi is back (Wah! Waluigi’s number one!), and I can still hope R.O.B. will return in Super Smash Bros.. For now, my fingers are crossed that a) Maybe Nintendo will give Mario Kart 8 some downloadable content (I would so, so very gladly pay for classic courses like Kalamari Desert and for other characters to return), and b) “Mario Kart 9” doesn’t bloat the baby roster even more.

Okay, I realize that I’ve sounded pretty jaded throughout this entire piece. While some things about Mario Kart 8 have disappointed me, I’m still really looking forward to it. The graphics are gorgeous, the music sounds top-notch (seriously, play the video at the top here for some of that), and the anti-gravity mechanic looks like fun. Despite my grievances, I still expect to have a blast playing this.

Some things just feel right: The Nintendo Entertainment System’s legendary pack-ins were Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt, while the Super NES came with Super Mario World. Other Nintendo consoles have adopted the Bros. as their pack-in later in their lifespans in the years since, and now the Wii U is joining them.

Today, Nintendo of Canada has put those rumors to rest by announcing that as of November 1st, consumers will have the option of purchasing a new Wii U “Mario & Luigi” Deluxe Set. For $299.99, you get the black 32GB version Wii U console with a GamePad controller, and both New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U on one disc. Also contained on the disc are some bonus videos, the contents of which have yet to be revealed.

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You’ll also have the opportunity to take part in the Wii U Deluxe Digital Promotion, which gets you ten percent back in points on purchases you make from the Nintendo eShop, which are then converted into credit in $5 increments.

“Mario and Luigi are two of the biggest heroes in video games,” said Nintendo of Canada’s Vice-President and General Manager, Ron Bertram, in a press release. “This new Wii U configuration gives people instant access to not one, but two of the most well-received Wii U games. It’s another example of the tremendous value and variety that Nintendo is offering consumers this holiday season.”

The previous pack-in, Nintendo Land, is certainly a fine game, but one might argue that it isn’t quite what the Wii U needs to help move units. As a separate game, then, one must then ask whether it’s worth $60 to enjoy– or at least, that used to be the case. According to Engadget, Nintendo Land is also seeing a price drop to $30, a much better value– especially to those who feel uncertainty.

In my personal opinion, all three are great games, though I have to admit I have a tendency to lean a little more towards Mario and Luigi as preferences go (save for where Balloon Trip is concerned). To see what I think of each, though, check out my review for Nintendo Land here, the mega-review for New Super Mario Bros. U here, and New Super Luigi U here.

newsuperluigiuboxartOutside of Nintendo’s announcement regarding their exclusive partnership with SEGA, perhaps the most surprising news to come out of today’s Nintendo Direct was about New Super Luigi U.

Previously announced as a downloadable content add-on for New Super Mario Bros. U, they would later reveal that it would contain 82 new stages spread across the map of New Super Mario Bros. U, featuring Luigi with his higher jumps and more slippery movements. Today, Nintendo announced a release date of June 20th and a price of $19.99 for the title, along with some other new details.

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Following on the previous announcement of downloadable content for New Super Mario Bros. U, today’s Nintendo Direct has provided new information about New Super Luigi U.

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357px-LuigihattipEarlier today, Nintendo of America (and Europe, and Japan) ran a new “Nintendo Direct” video, which you can find here. Over the course of the video, we were updated on a number of upcoming titles, but several previously-unannounced titles were revealed as well.

Perhaps the biggest news of the show, however, was that 2013 would mark “The Year of Luigi.” We already knew about the upcoming release of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon for the Nintendo 3DS, but Nintendo seems keen on giving the younger Mario Brother the spotlight with a number of upcoming new releases, whether they feature Mario or not.

What follows are several of the announcements, accompanied by my own thoughts on each and screens (where available).

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When it comes to video game deals and purchases, Old Navy is probably not the first store that comes to mind. But come Black Friday Saturday on November 24th, it could very well be the place to be for those seeking to get a free Wii U or a copy of New Super Mario Bros. U.

If you visit Old Navy on that Saturday (it’s a Black Friday deal in the States, but they’re letting us in on it, too), you can get a game card for a chance to win one of 1,000 new Wii U consoles (the Basic Set, going by the pictures) by entering a code on this website. And there’s no purchase necessary!

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It’s been a while since we last caught up with Matt Ryan from Nintendo of Canada. However, the opportunity arose at the recent Nintendo Holiday 2012 event, and though our time was shorter than usual, I tried to get in as many questions as I could within the allotted span.

Now, without further ado:

Mario’s Hat: Can you use the Wii U Pro Controller for New Super Mario Bros. U? I know some people with larger hands have had complaints about being forced to use the Wii Remote* sideways in New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

Matt Ryan: Not that we’ve announced, or that they’ve told me. All we’ve announced so far are that the GamePad and Wii Remote are how you play New Super Mario Bros. U.

* Note that only one GamePad can be used on Wii U launch titles, so that only provides a solution if one plays in single-player mode.

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Recently, Nintendo of Canada held their Holiday 2012 preview event to allow members of the press to become a little more familiar with the variety of product offerings which Nintendo and their third-parties will be offering this holiday season for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

While I did spend a little time with the latter, most of my focus was on the upcoming Wii U. That said, I can say that Crashmo is looking like a great sequel to the already-stellar Pushmo, and Fluidity: Spin Cycle is looking like a great follow-up to the original WiiWare title.

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Talk about this BK Crown promotion at Burger King has been buzzing for a little while now, but as we head into November and the release of the Wii U on November 18th, Nintendo is getting the hype machine rolling by offering Activity Boxes and toys inside of the Burger King Kids Meals.

Read on to get a look at everything available and what each item does. Click to enlarge the images.

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While New Super Mario Bros. 2 felt a little flat as far as scenario goes, New Super Mario Bros. 2 stands to liven things up a little. We got a taste of this from the latest issue of Game Informer, with new lands tied together in a fashion most reminiscent of Super Mario World, and Wednesday’s Wii U editions of Nintendo Direct have brought even more information to light.

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In addition to the launch date and price of the Wii U, Nintendo has also revealed a list of games which are planned to be released during the “launch window” of November 18th, 2012 through March 31st, 2013. However, the only games confirmed to be available on the Wii U’s launch day so far are Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U.

According to Kotaku, Wii U games will cost $59.99, the same price as most other high-definition, current-generation titles. Of course, I imagine that as usual, certain titles can be priced lower as “value titles” or for other reasons.

Below, you will find a list of publishers and what they are aiming to bring to the table during the Wii U launch window.

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For those interested in learning more about the Wii U, Game Informer‘s new issue (pictured above) has exclusive coverage of Nintendo’s upcoming game console for all to read. In addition, they are also hosting a month of exclusive stories and videos on GameInformer.com. Following is a bit of what the issue contains.

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