Nintendo Switch is Now the Fastest Selling Home Console in Canadian History

Nintendo of Canada has issued a press release announcing that according to a report from the market research firm The NPD Group, the Nintendo Switch has become the fastest selling home console in the history of Canada, its sales “the strongest for the first 10 months of any video game system in Canadian history.”

Prior to this, the record was held by none other than Nintendo’s Wii console.

“The response that the Nintendo Switch has received from Canadians has been nothing short of spectacular,” said Nintendo of Canada’s General Manager and Senior Director, Pierre-Paul Trepanier. “We’re thrilled to have seen such record-breaking momentum in 2017.”

Titles such as The Game Awards’ Game of the Year winner The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and runner-up Super Mario Odyssey have helped keep the platform at the forefront of consumers’ minds throughout 2017, and Nintendo promises more titles are on the way to help further bolster their catalog, including Kirby Star Allies, an as-yet untitled game starring Yoshi, and the recently announced Mario Tennis Aces, as well a new release of Bayonetta 1&2.

The news mirrors a recent report from CTV about the Nintendo Switch reaching a similar milestone in the United States and Japan, tallying up more than 10 million sold worldwide by mid-December. They also note that the Switch’s predecessor, the Wii U, sold 7.3 million units over its first 10 months, and only reached 13.56 million by the time Nintendo pulled the plug on its production in January last year. At the current rate, they believe that the Switch will at the very least match that number come March 2018.

As for the competition, CTV also notes that Sony, whose PlayStation 4 sold 14.4 million in its first year, has yet to post any holiday sales figures. Meanwhile, Microsoft has seemingly been reluctant to share their sales figures following Sony taking the sales lead in 2014. However, the release of their mid-cycle upgrade and most powerful gaming console in history to date, the Xbox One X, could potentially give them something to talk about.

Following a “surprise” Nintendo Direct Mini last week, Nintendo sat poised to make another announcement today with only less than a day’s notice. But unlike last week’s feature, which focused on video games, today’s announcement feels like the company is returning to an earlier point in its history from before they became the gaming giant they are known as today.

Incidentally, despite the headline, I suppose the amiibo line could also be seen as a return to making toys, but something about this seems more evocative of innovations such as Ultra-Hand and the Nintendo tumbler puzzle/”Ten Billion Barrel” than their figurines. See for yourself:

“Make, Play, and Discover” are the themes driving Nintendo Labo, a series of do-it-yourself (DIY) kits which change how one can interact with their Nintendo Switch. Each kit includes modular sheets of cardboard which can be folded into what Nintendo calls “Toy-Cons,” which can house the Nintendo Switch and its Joy-Cons in various ways. “As you build, you will have fun discovering how the technology works, and might even invent new ways to play with each Toy-Con!” says the press release.

For example, you can build a functioning 13-key piano that brings your musical creations to life once the Nintendo Switch console and Right Joy-Con controller are inserted. As you play, the IR Motion Camera in the Right Joy-Con detects which keys are pressed and translates them into unique notes that are heard through the console. You can even take control of your very own motorbike by constructing a functioning set of handlebars, with a Joy-Con inserted in each side and the Nintendo Switch console cradled in the middle. Simply hit the ignition button, turn the right handle to engage the accelerator and watch your adventure unfold on the Nintendo Switch screen, as you race to new destinations.

Nintendo Labo continues our longstanding mission of making people smile by surprising them with new experiences,” said Nintendo of America’s President and COO, Reggie Fils-Aime, in the press release. “It is an exciting evolution of the Nintendo Switch platform – one designed to inspire curiosity, creativity and imagination in people of all ages.”

Two kits will kick off the line on April 20th, the “Variety Kit” and the “Robot Kit”. Via the press release:

Variety Kit 

  • Toy-Con RC Car: Insert the Left and Right Joy-Con into your newly built RC Car and control its movement using touch screen controls on the Nintendo Switch console. The HD Rumble feature in the Joy-Con controllers will cause vibrations that move the car in the direction you choose. Materials to construct two RC Cars are included.
  • Toy-Con Fishing Rod: Construct the Fishing Rod with an active, rotating reel that is attached by string to a cradle holding the Nintendo Switch console. Catch one of many exotic fish shown swimming on the Nintendo Switch screen by casting your Fishing Rod and unwinding the reel to lower the hook. Once you feel a vibration from the Joy-Con inserted in the reel, you must tug the Fishing Rod upward and crank the reel quickly to try and complete the catch!
  • Toy-Con House: By inserting various assembled blocks into openings in the sides and bottom of the House, you can interact with, play games with and feed a cute creature on the front-facing Nintendo Switch screen. Each differently shaped block is detected by the IR Motion Camera on the Right Joy-Con inserted on top of the House.
  • Toy-Con Motorbike: Insert each Joy-Con into an assembled set of handlebars to drive a motorbike on the Nintendo Switch screen. Pressing the ignition button starts the engine, while twisting the right handle activates the throttle. Leaning your body or turning the handlebars left and right controls the motorbike.
  • Toy-Con Piano: After assembling a beautifully crafted 13-key piano and inserting the Nintendo Switch console and Joy-Con, you can experiment with your own musical creations by pressing different keys. You can even insert different assembled knobs to create new sound effects and tones!

“Dr. Light will never be able to stop me now!”

Robot Kit 

  • Toy-Con Robot: Create a wearable Robot suit, and insert the Left and Right Joy-Con into the designated slots on the backpack and visor to assume control of the robot, which is shown on the TV when the Nintendo Switch console is docked. Enjoy a variety of fun game-play experiences, including Robot mode, in which you can destroy in-game buildings and UFOs.

Interestingly enough, one has to wonder if the Robot Kit didn’t manage to somehow spring out of the “Project Giant Robot” game that Nintendo was working on for Wii U, but confirmed as cancelled last year.

No Canadian pricing has been announced yet, but in the States, the Variety Kit will be priced at $69.99 USD, while the Robot Kit will go for $79.99 USD. Most big first-party Nintendo Switch games have been priced at $59.99 USD, which has translated to $79.99 CAD (going by listings on their website), so hopefully that gives us some idea of what we’ll be paying when they’re released here. For more information, be sure to visit the official Nintendo Labo website.

Nintendo of Canada, in conjunction with Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc., have announced a new licensing partnership that will kick off at Build-A-Bear Workshops across the United States, the United Kingdom, and of course, Canada.

“Bringing beloved characters like Mario, Yoshi and Bowser to Build-A-Bear aligns our shared goal of engaging kids and families in fun and new ways,” said Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Tom Prata. “Now, even the youngest member of the family can interact with Nintendo by creating their own powered-up furry friend.”

Indeed, fans of the Mario series will be able to create their very own 16-inch Mario Bear ($28*) or Yoshi ($25.50*), or a 15-inch Bowser ($35*). They can be further enhanced with sound chips that play the Super Mario Bros. theme song or five distinctly Koopa Kingly sounds from the maw of Bowser himself ($7 each*).

Other options include a pre-stuffed plush of Toad ($10.50*), the option to dress a bear in two-piece Princess Peach or Luigi costumes ($16 each*), or deck them out in a red Super Mario branded hoodie with a picture of Mario and Yoshi on the front ($10*). You can also top them off with a three-piece set of Super Mario wrist accessories that includes a Super Star, Super Mushroom, and Yoshi Egg ($8.50*).

Super Mario is a classic game franchise many of our Guests know and love, and we’ve had a lot of fun bringing these characters into furry friend form,” said Build-A-Bear Workshop chief product officer Jennifer Kretchmar. “Like Build-A-Bear, Nintendo’s characters appeal to everyone, so we couldn’t wait to team up for the first time and offer another way for Guests to enjoy the timeless brand.”

To get a better look at everything that’s available and even order online (Bowser is only available in select stores and online), check out Build-A-Bear’s page here. To find your nearest Build-A-Bear Workshop, click here.

* Build-A-Bear Workshop doesn’t appear to have a dedicated Canadian website, but it did recognize that I’m in Canada, and these are the prices displayed when visiting.

This site is called “Mario’s Hat,” so it’s only natural that I talk a bit about the release of a game which actually stars Mario’s hat, right?

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Super Mario Odyssey is now available for the Nintendo Switch, returning the 3D series to its roots by sending Mario on his way to collect numerous Moons throughout various sandbox-level Kingdoms. And of course, joining him on this new adventure is the Bonneter known as Cappy, who takes the form of the plumber (or ex-plumber; who even knows any more?) protagonist’s iconic lid, allowing him to pull off all sorts of cool moves.

Super Mario Odyssey is the must-have video game for this holiday season,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, President and Chief Operating Officer of Nintendo of America. “Video game fans of all kinds will want to dive into this latest Mario adventure as soon as possible.”

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Super Mario Odyssey can be yours for a suggested retail price of $79.99, but if you don’t already have a Nintendo Switch, then you may be in luck: A special bundle containing the console, two Mario-red JoyCon controllers, a download code for the game, and a special carrying case can be yours for $499.99. And if that’s not enough for you, three new amiibo figures of Mario, Bowser, and Princess Peach in their wedding attire are now available for $15.99 each, or as a set for $44.99.

You can learn more about Super Mario Odyssey, the aforementioned Nintendo Switch bundle, the related amiibo figures, and even find a download of the song “Jump Up, Super Star” by visiting supermario.nintendo.com/. And if you’d like to check out a review first, I’ll point you in the direction of USgamer, where my wife talks about it at greater length.

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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Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, The LEGO Group, and TT Games have announced several new updates for LEGO Worlds that will treat you to some new tricks.

The first arrives just in time for All Hallows’ Eve, as Monsters invade the Worlds of LEGO!

This trip down to Monster Town will cost you $3.99, allowing you to partake in scary quests, face (and perhaps flee from) creatures most terrifying, and speed past haunted houses in ghoulish vehicles. Just watch out for delinquent zombies, who are only to happy to treat themselves to your plastic yellow flesh! You’ll have to be extra-tricky to scare them off so you can repair their damage as only a Master Builder can.

And of course, while Halloween may come only once a year, you can enjoy this Monster Pack year-round.

Incidentally, if you decide to go in on the Nintendo Switch version at retail for $39.99, you’ll receive the Monster Pack as well as the previously-released Classic Space Pack, whereas the digital version found for $29.99 in the Nintendo eShop has it available separately, and it’s available for purchase on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Steam versions.

Next up is a free update which allows you to create and film your videos with the new Camera Car:

One or two players can make use of the vehicle, creating original action scenes or remaking favorite film moments in LEGO style.

Other new features added are covered in this video:

Among the highlights detailed in the press release are The Planner, which allows players to use various materials and pre-built wall types to build their LEGO structures faster and easier than before, while other tools have been upgraded “significantly” so that players’ enjoyment will be maximized. Revised search functionality should help make the Discovery Menu easier to navigate, and new shapes in the Landscape Tool should help improve how players edit their worlds.

If you’re interested in more about the game itself, at least as it initially launched, be sure to check out my review 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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October 9th, 2017 marks the fifth anniversary of Retro City Rampage, and to celebrate, Vancouver-based Vblank Entertainment is releasing a physical version of the latest iteration of the game, Retro City Rampage DX, for the Nintendo Switch.

This self-published release comes in two versions: The $29.99 (I think that’s in U.S. dollars) Standard Edition, which includes the cartridge and manual in a factory-sealed case, and the $44.99 limited Collector’s Edition, which features the same stuff as the Standard Edition, plus a keychain, soundtrack CD, 3D glasses, and reversible cover.

Unfortunately, despite being labeled a “retail” release, I’m not sure if either edition will be available at retail (I’m waiting to hear back on that). Pre-orders have gone live in Vblank Entertainment’s official online store, but the Standard Edition has already sold out at this time, leaving only the Collector’s Edition available to grab there as of this writing. They add that orders will ship worldwide (and the Nintendo Switch is region-free, so no worries there), and will be in stock later this month.

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To be honest, I am loving what they’ve done with this set, and if money wasn’t tight at the moment, I’d be all over one of those Collector’s Editions. The manual is based on one of my all-time favorite games in Super Mario Bros. 2 (whose own anniversary happens to be October 9th — coincidence? Or deep cut?), while the reversible cover is based on the standard box art for the SEGA Master System — another thing which I’ve made no secret of my admittedly bizarre affection for, as this desktop wallpaper I made can attest.

And of course, the game (which is already available now in the Nintendo eShop for $14.99 CAD) is great, too — you can peruse my review of the Nintendo 3DS release to see what I think about that. Suffice to say, whereas Grand Theft Auto struggles to hold my attention for more than five minutes of anarchy, I felt much more at home with Retro City Rampage.

If that’s not enough for you, or you’re just looking for something a little easier on the wallet, Vblank has also begun making merchandise for the game:

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A series of ten buttons are now available, and you can get one five-pack or the other for $4.99 (again, I think this is USD) each, or both sets for $7.99.

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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nosupernesclassicPardon my French, so to speak; the title translation came from my wife, who isn’t quite fluent.

Anyway, it was only about two short months ago when Nintendo announced that they would be following up the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition last holiday season with a Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition this Fall, featuring 20 games from their successful 16-bit platform’s iconic video game library, as well as one phenomenal extra in the form of Star Fox 2, the never-released sequel to the Super NES original (also included, as well as the first re-release of the similarly Super FX Chip-powered Yoshi’s Island).

Pre-orders opened in the dead of night earlier this week, and were literally sold out within minutes. Nintendo’s announcement indicated there would be higher production numbers for this iteration, but the inability to acquire a pre-order through crashing sites, small numbers in-store, and even having the items ripped right out of their online carts as they enter their payment info has left faith in that statement rattled at best.

For my part, I checked the sites listed on Nintendo’s own Super NES Classic page, where they said pre-orders were “now available” at Amazon.ca, BestBuy.ca, and EBGames.ca, but none of them had any listings at all for the console when I checked — not even to say that they were sold out. Meanwhile, my local EB Games denied they were doing pre-orders at all, even that same day… up until I checked back and they were all spoken for.

Suffice to say, it’s not painting a pretty picture for those hoping to make good where their 8-bit dreams were dashed, but at least it sounds like stores will be getting extras on launch day.

And then there are those Nintendo fans who live in the province of Quebec, who aren’t getting the fast-moving mini-machine at all, and not just because the first round has been snatched up.

According to anonymous Montreal-based employees of EB Games who spoke to Vice’s Motherboard site (via USgamer), September 29th is going to come and go without any trace of the Super NES Classic Edition arriving at retail. A 2009 requirement for games sold in the province to be translated into Quebecois French if they’re available in French elsewhere in the world, and it’s a little more complicated than just taking a ROM from France and dumping it in, thanks to differences in format.

One employee elaborates that it’s two unnamed games in particular that are causing the holdup.

It’s easy to understand why Nintendo fans in Quebec might be upset by this, as Nintendo of Canada gave no indication in their initial press release nor on the aforementioned official web site that they would be the exception to the release. More recently, they told Motherboard by e-mail “Nintendo considers a number of factors when deciding which markets to launch its products in, but we do not discuss details about our distribution plans.”

It could be said that the folks in Quebec are in the same boat as a lot of us, but while they might have had a chance of ordering online and effectively “importing” one (I’m not sure how that works there), they’ll unfortunately have to travel beyond their borders if they want to line up at the crack of dawn just to have a chance of getting a Super NES Classic of their very own on launch day.

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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NES-Classic-1I feel like I should make one thing very clear from the outset: I am NOT a fan of how Nintendo handled the NES Classic Edition. The holiday product that helped fill the gaping hole in their holiday lineup was produced in astoundingly short supply, with the majority of the units seemingly winding up in the hands of scalpers who were able to — pardon the expression — game the system through hacks, bots, and other means.

As far as I know, I’m the only person among those I know offline as well as on who even owns one, and even that only occurred thanks to the generosity of an EB Games employee who graciously allowed me to take the one he’d set aside for himself, after I’d waited 41st in line on a shipment of 40 units on launch day in the hopes something wouldn’t pan out for someone in front of me. I do hope he was able to get one for himself later, as quantities and further shipments were all big question marks, never mind the prospect of pre-ordering. EB Games, owned by GameStop, a company that’s downright notorious for the way it pushes pre-orders, couldn’t even offer pre-orders on this thing.

But friends and family who were interested wound up disappointed, and ultimately opted to just forget about the idea of ever owning one.

Even managing to acquire one myself through what I’ll gladly call a miracle, I was severely disappointed and even angry. Disappointed and angry for others who were interested in this one little grey box which promised to recapture moments from their childhoods and possibly even share that magic with their own children.

But beyond the short supply of NES Classic Edition consoles were the controllers. If the NES Classic Edition was gold in terms of rarity, additional controllers were rarer than platinum. At launch, the EB Games I went to — who had a veritable wealth of the units compared to most places — only got three of the additional controllers. Three. That means fewer than one in every ten people who got an NES Classic Edition could even play the assortment of 2-player games included — at least, without partially disassembling their Wii Pro Controllers, anyway.

By virtue of being compatible with the Wii and Wii U Virtual Consoles through attachment to the Wii Remote should have meant there would be more of them produced than the console they were marketed with. Instead, I’ve yet to visit a store which saw any since launch day, if at all.

In the end, I believe that for most people, the NES Classic Edition equals disappointment. Even for me; part of my intent of getting one was to be able to take it on the road with me to Otakon and other places to play in our hotel room, or even to some friends, maybe share it with the in-laws. Instead, I’m afraid to take it outside of my home for fear that if anything happens to it, that’s that.

That is not how you enjoy a product.

Which brings us to today. Only a few months after Nintendo announced that they were discontinuing the product and revealing that it was apparently never meant to be a long-term proposition like its contemporaries in the market, they have announced a successor that many felt would follow — that is, if Nintendo didn’t create an NES Classic Edition 2 or even just release another batch of the original for the holidays.

supernesclassicHearing that the Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition (or Super NES Classic for short) is coming this fall is enough to make one wince — my own knee-jerk reaction when my wife told me the news was something along the lines of “**** off”. But my cursing might have been a bit hasty, as digging deeper than the headline reveals Nintendo may have learned some lessons from before, and will hopefully be working harder to avoid disappointing their fans and consumers so immensely this time around.

While the Super NES Classic is arriving in the fall once again, this time it’s much earlier: September 29th, 2017, roughly a month and a half sooner than the more holiday-oriented November 11th “Nintendo Day” they released the NES Classic on last year. Hopefully the added time will work out, as Nintendo has told Kotaku that they intend to ship them through the end of the calendar year, giving us a much clearer time table for acquiring one than before.

What’s more, they note that while they won’t provide specific numbers, they will be shipping “significantly” greater quantities than they did for the NES Classic. The official website even states “Retailer info coming soon!” at the bottom, which I believe is already an improvement over the situation leading up to the launch of the NES Classic.

“While many people from around the world consider the Super NES to be one of the greatest video game systems ever made, many of our younger fans never had a chance to play it,” said Nintendo of Canada’s General Manager and Senior Director, Pierre-Paul Trepanier, in a press release. “With the Super NES Classic Edition, new fans will be introduced to some of the best Nintendo games of all time, while longtime fans can relive some of their favourite retro classics with family and friends.”

The cost for the unit will be $99.99, but the contents will differ somewhat. In addition to the console itself, loaded with 21 games versus the NES Classic’s 30, there will be a USB charging cable with AC adapter and an HDMI cable included, as well as two controllers. Nintendo has not mentioned selling these separately, however, but the second controller is probably what balances out the reduction in the number of games. As modders have shown, the NES Classic could hold many more games than what came pre-installed, and the same probably holds true here, but Nintendo has a value prospect they like to maintain for their titles.

As for the games, a second controller is arguably of more use in the batch included here:

·      Contra III: The Alien Wars

·      Donkey Kong Country

·      EarthBound

·      Final Fantasy III

·      F-ZERO

·      Kirby Super Star

·      Kirby’s Dream Course

·      The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

·      Mega Man X

·      Secret of Mana

·      Star Fox

·      Star Fox 2

·      Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting

·      Super Castlevania IV

·      Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts

·      Super Mario Kart

·      Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

·      Super Mario World

·      Super Metroid

·      Super Punch-Out!!

·      Yoshi’s Island 

supernesclassicboxThe quantity may be smaller here, but the significance is unmistakably larger. While all of the NES Classic games appeared on one Virtual Console or another across the Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U, three titles here never have. Well, sort of.

Yoshi’s Island was a part of the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program, as well as a part of the Virtual Console library proper on the Wii U — but only the Game Boy Advance version, whose audio and resolution is generally regarded as inferior to the Super FX Chip-powered original release on the Super NES.

The Super FX Chip is the key to what makes this collection so significant, as games which used it were never released on the Virtual Console. That includes the original Star Fox, whose soundtrack greatly outdoes those of any subsequent release in the series, in my opinion. I’ve long waited for Nintendo to overcome whatever hurdle might have been preventing it (or to just remake it), and if this is how they do it, I’m all in.

Sweetening the pot is the unthinkable: Star Fox 2. When Nadia told me that this was included on the Super NES Classic, I immediately went from “**** off” and thinking “not this again” to “Day One, must have.” Though elements were cribbed to varying degrees of success (Star Fox Command just didn’t work for me, thanks to its controls), this game has never seen an official release, despite having been finished literal decades ago — which is also how long I’ve been waiting for this opportunity.

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Playing as Falco, yes! (Image via Unseen64.)

Sadly, one game I had hoped would be alongside its Super FX siblings is Stunt Race FX. It’s not the only classic “missing” from this collection, though, as my wife points out over on USgamer, so hopefully we’ll see a Super NES Classic Edition 2 someday that helps fill in a few gaps.

As for the two controllers, they’ll be usable in nine of the 21 titles featured here: Contra III: The Alien Wars, Donkey Kong Country, Kirby Super Star, Kirby’s Dream Course, Star Fox 2, Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World, and Secret of Mana, which unfortunately looks like it’s been left a little short due to the game originally supporting three players.

Only time will tell if Nintendo has truly managed to remedy where the NES Classic Edition fell short of hopes, dreams, and expectations when the Super NES Classic Edition is released in just a few short months. But clearer communication about the duration of the product, a pack-in solution to the second controller issue, promises of greater quantities, and a selection which goes beyond warmed-over Virtual Console releases shows a lot of promise, and may even get a few people who shrugged off the existence of the original to take a look.

As for me? Well, I’ve got an early day ahead of me on September 29th, so I’ll say I’m glad the weather will be warmer than the last time I did this song and dance. And maybe this time, I’ll even be able to get a spare, just in case, so I can take one with me without worry or fear.

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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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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Back in February, I brought you word that the Real Escape Game “Defenders of the Triforce,” based on Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda franchise, would be coming to Canada. Unfortunately, at the time, that and the cities that would play host to the game were all that was known — no dates or any other info.

In the interim, it seems that Nintendo and Secret City Adventures’ contest of wits has crossed our border and begun. I was just recently informed that while some events have already taken place, there are still several more to come in the days ahead. Here is what the schedule looks like:

– Montreal (in French; the English version just wrapped up – June 14th to 16th)
– Edmonton (June 23rd to 25th)
– Calgary (June 30th to July 2nd)
– Vancouver (July 5th-9th)

So if you live in one of those cities, then there’s still time to take part! And if you’re so lucky as to still have this event to look forward to, then I have even better news: The kind folks of Secret City Adventures who reached out to me have told me that you can now use the code MARIOHAT25 in order to save 25 percent off the cost of your admission! A discovery such as that is surely worthy of one of these, is it not?

Also, it’s dangerous to go alone, so maybe take friends?

For more information about “Defenders of the Triforce,” be sure to visit the official 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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With the release of Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia releasing in less than a week, Victor Lucas of Electric Playground has teamed up with Nintendo of Canada Communications Manager Andrew Collins and Johnny Millennium from “Happy Console Gamer” to look back at the history of Fire Emblem and the impact it’s had since arriving on the scene — all in just over twelve minutes!

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia will be available Friday, May 19th in both regular and limited edition bundles for the Nintendo 3DS.

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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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild marks the beginning of a new era for the series. It’s the first game of the series to be released on Nintendo’s much-anticipated and hotly-selling new machine, the Nintendo Switch, and presents players with an open world Hyrule the likes of which they’ve never seen before, with an enormous world to explore. It also marks a new field of exploration in a mainline Zelda title: Downloadable content.

Nintendo has previously announced that they will be releasing two DLC packs which can only be purchased together in a bundle for $28.19, with the first releasing this Summer and the second during the holiday season. Details about what they would contain have been vague up until recently, when the company pulled back the curtain on the first pack, which is known collectively as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – The Master Trials.

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You gotta imagine that just one well-placed arrow is going to ruin that guy’s day.

Breath of the Wild is by no means an easy game, but thanks to frequent auto-saves and the ability to initiate saving data yourself, being knocked six feet under by an overwhelming foe doesn’t provide an unbearable setback. With that said, the new Hard Mode introduced by this first DLC pack will up the ante even further as you march into combat, with not only an increase in the colored “ranks” of the enemy (such as red Bokoblins becoming blue), but also the presence of higher-ranking foes where there were none in Normal Mode.

What’s more, Ganon’s minions are not only stronger, but have more keen senses that will make them more difficult to sneak up on. If that wasn’t enough, then know that they need to be dispatched quickly, or else their health will regenerate, making any sort of battle of attrition lean automatically in their favor. Hope you’ve packed plenty of kabobs.

On top of all that, there are now floating planks carried by balloons found at various points across the skies of Hyrule. Should you reach them successfully and topple the foes riding them, you’ll be able to collect treasure.

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You’ll probably die in nothing but your skivvies, but the only ones who will ever know are your worst enemies.

The other portion of content for which the pack seems to be named is called “The Trial of the Sword” (previously known as the “Cave of Trials Challenge,” which sounds like something Hyrulians would watch if they had TV). In this, Link starts off as naked as the day he woke up (read: undies) with no armor or weapons, and must fight one wave of enemies after the next. After defeating all the enemies in one room, he can proceed to the next, with a total of around 45 to complete.

Link’s prize for conquering this test is nothing to scoff at, either. The greatest issue players have taken with the game has been the fragility of weapons, with even the mighty Master Sword requiring the occasional cool-down period. But best the Trial of the Sword and the Master Sword will see its true power awaken, allowing it to always be in its glowing powered-up state.

The next mode seems like something that should have been there at the start. In the Hero’s Path Mode, your every step will be documented and their path marked in green on the map, tracking the last 200 hours of play time. A slider will allow you to track where you’ve been on a timeline, and even those who have already poured in numerous hours will be able to see where they’ve been, allowing players to figure out where they’ve been and where they need to go in order to discover the world’s many secrets.

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Who would have ever imagined that Tingle was a member of the Cobra Kai?

Last, but not least, we come to the in-game swag. Arguably the most useful will be the Travel Medallion, found in a treasure chest somewhere in the game world, which allows players to conjure one new temporary travel point at a time wherever they’re standing upon using it. Having done so, Link will be able to transport back to that point at any time, not unlike the points found at the many Shrines in the game.

With the discovery of the Korok Mask, Koroks will be easier to find than ever as it will shake when worn if a Korok is hidden nearby. Other wearables to discover include equipment themed after fan-favourite characters and games, including Midna, Tingle, Phantom, and Majora’s Mask.

On top of all this, a free software update that is now available provides players with their choice from nine audio languages [Japanese, English, French (France), French (Canada), German, Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Latin America), Italian and Russian] and a different language used on-screen. If you’re interested in enabling this feature in the Wii U version of the game, you’ll need to visit the Nintendo eShop and download a Voice Pack.

All of the above will be available for both the Nintendo Switch and Wii U versions of the game alike, while details on the actual release date and the specifics of the second pack’s contents are forthcoming.

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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Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia will soon be released on May 19th, and Nintendo of Canada has outlined their downloadable content strategy for the game. Beginning the same day the game launches, there will be five individually-priced DLC Packs containing 22 pieces of content, such as characters, maps, items, and dungeons. Alternatively, you can opt in to the Season Pass and get it all at one reduced price.

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A press release from Nintendo of Canada breaks the content down like so:

·      DLC Pack #1 – Fledgling Warriors Pack (May 19, $11.29, three pieces of content): Ideal for early- to mid-game adventurers, this pack includes a new dungeon (The Astral Temple) and two new maps, great for gaining more items, money and experience points.

 

·      DLC Pack #2 – Undaunted Heroes Pack (May 25, $14.09, three pieces of content): In addition to a new dungeon (The Inner Sanctum), this pack also includes two challenging news maps that stronger, more seasoned heroes will want to tackle.

 

·      DLC Pack #3 – Lost Altars Pack (May 25, $21.19, 10 pieces of content): The mysterious dungeons included in this pack hold the power to upgrade characters to exclusive classes that don’t appear in the main game.

 

·      DLC Pack #4 – Rise of the Deliverance Pack (June 1, $18.39, four pieces of content): Discover the previously untold history of Valentia in this Prologue pack. Complete with new story content and additional voice acting that details the rise of the Deliverance in Zofia, this collection of challenging maps includes new support conversations between selected heroes, as well as the ability to take command of a character players won’t be able to control in the main game.

 

·      DLC Pack #5 ($8.49, two pieces of content): More information about this final DLC pack will be revealed in the future.

While you can purchase each pack — or even just the contents of each pack — individually, the best value appears to be the Season Pass that will be available alongside the game on the May 19th launch for $63.59, a savings of more than 30 percent versus buying them piecemeal.

In addition to all of this, there will also be free downloadable content available for a limited time after the game’s launch, the first of which is a free gift from the goddess Mila that you can obtain by playing the game.

Just in case you missed it, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia launches for the Nintendo 3DS on May 19th, and there will even be a special limited edition bundle available on that day for $79.99. There will also be an amiibo two-pack featuring Alm and Celica available that day for $29.99.

For more information about the downloadable content, click here, and for more Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia in general, visit the official 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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Though Nintendo has new hotness on their hands with the Switch, they’re not done with the Nintendo 3DS just yet. Or at the very least, not with two-thirds of it.

The company has just announced with the following trailer that a new version of the handheld called the New Nintendo 2DS XL will be available this summer:

Like the original Nintendo 2DS, the New Nintendo 2DS XL features all of the same functionality you expect from a member of the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, but for one: Stereoscopic 3D visuals. Unlike the original Nintendo 2DS, this version features a lighter clamshell design, as well as the amenities of the New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL, including a built-in amiibo reader, additional ZL and ZL shoulder buttons, a C-stick for enhanced controls, and of course, XL screens that are 82 percent larger than those found on the original Nintendo 2DS.

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On top of all that, the New Nintendo 2DS XL also boasts a faster processor speed, which will presumably allow it to play the Virtual Console titles from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System library available in the Nintendo eShop, as well as games that are exclusive to the New Nintendo 3DS, such as Xenoblade Chronicles 3D. That said, Nintendo has not explicitly stated in their trailer or press release that they’ll work, though it seems like a safe bet.

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The New Nintendo 2DS XL will launch alongside new releases Hey! PIKMIN and Miitopia on July 28th at a price of $199.99. For more details, visit the official 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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Written by Darrel Scott; edited by David Oxford

Many gamers would say that Nintendo has fallen behind Sony and Microsoft when it comes to major console gaming in the past decade or so. While there are legions of hardcore Nintendo loyalists out there, the Wii and Wii U simply weren’t as powerful as the latest Xbox and PlayStation devices. But if there’s one clear advantage that remains with Nintendo, it’s the company’s ability to tap into nostalgia and build on games that people grew up with.

So far, the new Nintendo Switch is looking like an interesting play. Sales for the new console are reportedly off to a phenomenal start, and it seems that the experiment is paying off. Gamers appreciate the idea of a console that essentially doubles as a mobile gaming device, and Nintendo appears to have executed the concept pretty well.

Another reason the Switch seems to be performing well is related to the aforementioned ability to tap into nostalgia. Among the console’s best launch titles, players can find new games for the likes of The Legend of Zelda and Bomberman, two beloved franchises that have been off the shelves for quite some time. These aren’t the only good games you can play on the Switch, but it stands to reason they’re helping to drive sales.

With that said, here are a few more games Nintendo might be wise to explore for the Switch, both from its own past and to get at gamers’ nostalgia in general.

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Super Mario RPG

There will be plenty of Mario-related games that come out on the Switch, but Nintendo would still do well to reboot this underrated classic. Those who played Super Mario RPG (on Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Wii Virtual Console) know that it still stands as one of the most entertaining role playing games of all time. In fact, just last year an article emerged expressing that in 20 years, few Nintendo games have lived up to this one. Throw in the fact that an RPG is one of the easier genres or formats to flip seamlessly between mobile and console gaming, and this seems like a no-brainer.

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GoldenEye 007

Shooters are tricky on a device like the mobile component of the Switch. This iconic first person shooter was actually rebooted to somewhat mediocre effect for the Wii a few years ago, but a new flagship Nintendo device without a fresh attempt at resurrecting GoldenEye’s glory just seems like a shame! Plus, it could pave the way for a new generation of James Bond games, which have always been fun.

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X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse

In a way, it feels like the year of Wolverine (thanks to Hugh Jackman’s final film as the legendary Canadian hero). Still, despite the recent surge in popularity we haven’t seen a major Wolverine game in quite some time. Some of the most recent games starring the fearsome mutant are online slot reels that are more fun than you might think. These casual web games are actually considered to be among the most popular and entertaining around, and frequently adopt characters and series from popular entertainment, with the result that there are currently multiple Wolverine– and X-Men-related games in circulation. X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse was a classic platformer for the SNES back in 1994, and could be a great candidate for an update to the hybrid mobile and home console.

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Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version

Pokémon is more relevant than ever thanks to the explosive popularity of Pokémon GO, and Nintendo ought to go ahead and capitalize. Brand new versions of the original games, with better graphics and perhaps slightly more complex gameplay, would be a wonderful surprise. These games could work well on both mobile and console modes, and it’s hard to imagine this being anything but a major seller for the Nintendo Switch. It’s hard that there’s never been a proper Pokémon game for consoles (outside of titles like Pokkén Tournament and Pokémon Snap), but there are rumors that Game Freak might be looking to develop a new Pokémon game for the Switch, although it’s still far too early to know any details.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Turtles are also riding a wave of popularity with a younger generation but older fans probably still have fond memories of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games from the ’90s. These arcade brawlers recall a time when Nintendo dominated the console market and arcades were filled with the sounds of clinking quarters and the smell of stale pizza. While not exclusive to Nintendo, the Switch is perfectly suited to make the most of the iconic arcade gameplay and help acquaint a new audience with the older games starring the heroes in a half shell.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Mario’s Hat or any of Nyteworks’ staff.

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