Blog Archives

Exploring history in the DPad

Originally posted on March 21st, 2012 by Sharon at FromtheDpad.com

.

A  Salute to Gaming Roots

1889: The Canadian Pacific Railway is completed from coast to coast, the Great Fire in Seattle destroys 25 downtown blocks, Thomas Edison shows his 1st motion picture, cable cars begin service in LA, the 300m Eiffel Tower officially opens commemorating the French Revolution, and 29 year old Fusajiro Yamauchi opens the doors to his company Nintendo Koppai.

A ban of foreign (western) playing cards plagued the fun loving people of Japan (after the communications break in 1633) but playing card games was not entirely banned….exactly. Crafty and persistent gamblers found ways in which card decks were created using imagery as a way to get around the prohibition.   Unfortunately each time gambling with a card deck of a particular design became too popular, the government banned those cards, which then prompted the creation of new ones. As a result of this back and forth a game was developed. That game was called Hanafuda and it combined traditional Japanese games with Western-style playing cards. Eventually the game had become popular enough that the government threw its hands in the air and conceded to loosening the reigns, so to speak.  And when big brother stopped trying to control the card playing it magically became less interesting to mass consumers. It is funny how that works, isn’t it?

                                                                                        photocredit:todayontoday.com

Enter Nintendo. Nintendo, which began with the purpose of producing and selling hand-crafted Hanafuda cards. Instead of just making general illustrations for use with the game, Fusajiro Yamauchi would develop unique hand crafted artwork that would drive the sales of the cards far beyond the competition. Nintendo quickly became the top game company in Japan, and over the next 40 years Fusajiro’s small store expanded into a major corporation adding an expansive library of original card games developed specifically for Nintendo.

Did you know: During the early years of Hiroshi Yamauchi, Nintendo expanded to include ….

Click here to read the rest of the Sharon’s Salute to Gaming Roots and learn more about Nintendo’s beginnings.

.

Hanging out in the DPad

Dear friends and visitors,

I am happy to announce that the inaugural episode of the DPod has finally been posted at FromtheDPad.com

Be sure to check it out HERE and submit your questions to sharon at from the dpad dot com to be read in future casts.

Thanks for your loyalty.

 

Sincerely,

Sharon

Mario’s Cross Canada Tour

Originally Posted BY MYASHARONA – NOVEMBER 12, 2011 at GamerFitNation

Looking for something fun and exciting to do this holiday season?  From November 13th to December 18th, Nintendo is inviting fans to meet Mario™ as he makes his way across Canada to showcase his latest games. Be among the first to play the new Super Mario™ 3D Land and Mario Kart™ 7 games on the Nintendo 3DS™ system, and receive your very own souvenir photo with Mario himself!

This is the perfect opportunity for fans to get exclusive hands-on time with Nintendo 3DS and play two highly anticipated new titles.

Where will Mario be warping to next? From November 13th to December 18th Mario will be touring select cities throughout Canada greeting fans at City Landmarks, sports arenas, retail storefronts, and even Holiday Parades!

Here’s where and when you will find Mario in your neighborhood:

Vancouver:

  • November 13 – Comic Con* at Heritage Hall, 3102 Main Street, Vancouver from 1:00pm-3:00pm PST
  • November 13 – Vancouver Giants* at Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver from 6:15pm-10:00pm PST
  • December 2 – Bright Nights in Stanley Park from 5:00pm-9:00pm PST
  • December 3 – Nintendo’s Holiday Mall Tour at Metropolis at Metrotown from 11:00am-2:00pm PST
  • December 3 – Best Buy Metrotown, 4805 Kingsway Street, Burnaby from 3:00pm-5:30pm PST
  • December 4 – Rogers Santa Claus Parade from 10:00am-12:00pm PST (pre-parade appearance)
  • December 17 – Breakfast with Santa at the Vancouver Convention Centre* from 8:30am-11:30am PST
  • December 18 – Breakfast with Santa at the Vancouver Convention Centre* from 8:30am-11:30am PST

Whistler Blackcomb:

  • December 17 – Roundhouse Lodge*, Whistler Mountain, Whistler Blackcomb from 10:00am-3:00pm PST
  • December 18 – Rendezvous Lodge*, Blackcomb Mountain, Whistler Blackcomb from 10:00am-3:00pm PST

Calgary:

  • December 9 – Calgary Hit Men* at Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary from 6:15pm-10:00pm MST
  • December 10 – Nintendo’s Holiday Mall Tour at Cross Iron Mills from 11:00am-6:00pm MST
  • December 11 – Nintendo’s Holiday Mall Tour at Cross Iron Mills from 11:00am-6:00pm MST

Edmonton:

  • November 25 – Best Buy Edmonton South, 9931 19th Avenue NW, Edmonton from 3:00pm-5:30pm MST
  • November 25 – Future Shop South Edmonton Common, 1320 99th Street NW, Edmonton from 11:00am-1:30pm MST
  • November 26 – Edmonton Oil Kings* at Rexall Place, Edmonton from 6:15pm-10:00pm MST
  • November 27 – West Edmonton Mall from 11:30am-4:00pm MST

Toronto:

  • November 20 – Toronto Santa Claus Parade from 10:00am-12:00pm EST (pre-parade appearance)
  • November 27 – Future Shop, Trinity Common, 149-70 Great Lakes Drive, Brampton from 11:00am-1:30pm EST
  • November 27 – Best Buy Downsview, 695 Wilson Avenue, North York from 3:00pm-5:30pm EST
  • December 10 – Nintendo’s Holiday Mall Tour at Square One Shopping Centre from 11:00am-5:00pm EST

Montreal:

  • November 18 – Best Buy Marche Central, 8871 De L’Acadie Boulevard, Montreal from 11:00am-1:30pm EST
  • November 18 – Future Shop Montreal-Centreville, St. Catherine Street, Montreal from 3:00pm-5:30pm EST
  • November 19 – La Récréathèque*, Laval from 11:00am-6:00pm EST
  • November 20 – La Récréathèque*, Laval from 11:00am-6:00pm EST

 

*These events may charge a fee for entry

 

A Mysterious Return for Professor Layton

Originally posted BY MYASHARONA at GamerFitNation

 

A recent press release from Nintendo has me dusting off my monocle, my thinking cap, and my DS for Professor Layton’s newest adventure, The Last Specter.

—press release—

New and experienced fans of the Professor Layton video game series don’t have to wait for Halloween to discover a wealth of eerie tricks and brain-teasing treats this season. Launching on October 17th for the Nintendo DS family of hand-held systems, the Professor Layton and the Last Specter™ game marks an extraordinary new chapter in the fan-favourite puzzle adventure franchise, featuring a prequel storyline that invites players to help the top-hatted professor solve his very first case. Professor Layton and the Last Specter features more puzzles than any previous series installment and a bonus role-playing game called Professor Layton’s London Life that lets fans immerse themselves in the Professor Layton universe like never before. This new game delivers hours upon hours of unique portable entertainment.

In Professor Layton and the Last Specter, distinguished scholar Hershel Layton has yet to become a world-famous master sleuth. Upon receiving a mysterious letter from an old friend, he travels to a rural town called Misthallery that’s said to be haunted by a nocturnal phantom. As players progress through the story by solving a wide variety of logic, slide, picture, number and language puzzles, they’ll also encounter Layton’s brainy assistant, Emmy Altava, and witness his first meeting with would-be apprentice Luke Triton. The game’s numerous puzzles intertwine with the storyline in clever ways and are suitable for all skill levels. Starting Oct. 23, players can also download additional puzzles by connecting their Nintendo DS system to the Internet via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.

“The huge variety of puzzles in Professor Layton and the Last Specter make it not only entertaining but also a terrific value,” said Ron Bertram, Nintendo of Canada’s vice-president and general manager. “With a bonus role-playing game that takes the experience even deeper, players can get to know Professor Layton and his universe in a fun, interactive way.”

In the Professor Layton’s London Life role-playing game – which comes included on each Professor Layton and the Last Specter Game Card – players can experience life in Little London and mingle with quirky characters from throughout the Professor Layton game series. With more than 100 hours of game play and an additional storyline to complete, players can customize their appearance and surroundings, work odd jobs or collect clues to help uncover the origins of a mysterious fairy. Professor Layton’s London Life can be played anytime; it does not require players to complete the main game first.

 

Check out the official trailer:

I love a good puzzle game on the DS and am looking forward to trying out this new Professor Layton title. How about you?

Tetris: Axis falls into place on the 3DS

Originally posted BY MYASHARONA at GamerFitNation

 

 

If you’ve ever met me in person or online, at a gaming event, on a not so crowded street, or even in an online chat, chances are you have discovered that I love all kinds of things Tetris. Tetris was one of the very first games I fell for on the GameBoy and it remained a staple for me throughout many platforms in the years that followed. Something about the special relationships, the colours, and of course the tunes, just had me hooked.  I’ve even gone so far as to create my own Tetris inspired jewelry (which I wear all the time).

Sharon dons her Tetris necklace everywhere!

SO when a recent Nintendo press release came across my desk I was all too excited to share it with you!

I am, of course, talking about Tetris: Axis exclusive to the 3DS. Tetris: Axis combines traditional elements from the original Tetris game with new twists and features that showcase the unique capabilities of the portable Nintendo 3DS. The main goal is to maneuver and arrange falling blocks called Tetriminos to clear lines and boost your score. With two new augmented-reality modes in Tetris: Axis, the iconic puzzle action moves beyond the screen as players use AR Cards (included with the Nintendo 3DS system) to view game play in their own real-world environments. Other new modes include Fever, in which players must clear lines and activate special items in speedy 60-second rounds. Nintendo 3DS owners with wireless broadband Internet access can download new items for Fever mode via the system’s built-in SpotPass™ feature.

“People all over the world have experienced the fun of the Tetris game, but they’ve never seen it quite like this,” said Ron Bertram, Nintendo of Canada’s vice-president and general manager. “The augmented-reality modes and 3D visuals in Tetris: Axis add some wonderfully immersive twists that are unique to this version of the Tetrisgame.”

Tetris: Axis also offers nine party modes, including three that are new to the Tetris franchise. Local wireless modes allow up to eight players to enjoy Tetris: Axis simultaneously using only one Game Card (each player must have his or her own Nintendo 3DS system). By using Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection to compete with friends over broadband Internet, as many as eight players can dive into the action.

Now I don’t have a 3DS which means I will be missing out on the Tetris: Axis action but you don’t have to!

Tetris: Axis is available for $29.99 and you can order now it OR find out all more about the various modes at the official website.

 

 

 

Neglected but not Forgotten!

Some time ago I began my NES challenge. The challenge (a personal one) has me exploring all the great NES titles that I missed while I was occupied with computer games, gumdrops, and She-Ra.

While work, life, and other shiny objects have all been getting in the way of posting about the project, I assure you it is continuing. I hope to update with a retrospect (hehe, get it? RETRO) of Gauntlet and Life Force. So be sure to check back for those. All articles based on the challenge will be linked in the corresponding page (just in case you missed it).

Thank you to everyone who has been suggesting games to review and sharing with me some of your favorite games/genres. I’d love to hear about your favorite NES classics so be sure to comment or drop me a line. =)

Happy Gaming!

Nintendo E3 Conference: A Summary

Originally posted by Sharon at GamerFitNation.com

 

Nintendo E3 Conference: A Summary

What a kick off to E3’s official day 1! Nintendo started the day with an early morning conference that had been clad with more rumors and speculation than almost any other major player at E3 this year. During the press event Nintendo talked about some things we expected and some that we didn’t. Let’s summarize just what the conference looked like.

As the Nintendo Conference began guests were treated to a full orchestra with adorning the Nokia theatre with music and video montage from various Zelda games. The tribute to Zelda continues in celebration of the  25thanniversary  of The Legend of Zelda. The entire theater was transformed into a large scale projection show. Miyamoto was introduced and spoke in English to greet the audience before calling upon the assistance of a translator.

Miyamoto shared his joy and excitement with childlike glee as we spoke about Zelda’s evolution and talked about the importance of the music in the Zelda franchise.  With the use of the orchestra Miyamoto demonstrated various uses of music in the games, for example;  opening a chest, help from  fairies, and getting an item, etc.

In honor of the anniversary Nintendo announced the release of a Zelda game for each of the hardwares. Link’s awakening is available today from the eshop.  The legend of Zelda 3d will launch next weekend around the world with revamped graphics and a new sense of scenery (and including hint movies and a boss challenge mode). Nintendo DSi will see the, 4 Swords, 4 player cooperative and Skyward Sword will be worldwide this holiday for Wii. Skyward Sword will include use of wii motion plus for accurate handling of the bow and arrow.

With the Zelda title announcements came the news that Nintendo would also be releasing a special gold wii remote as part of the 25th anniversary promotion.  But the Zelda related news didn’t end there!

A series of Legend of Zelda symphony concerts will take place in major regions around the world. More details about the specific dates and cities will be released in the future. Additionally 2 music CDs will be released.  The Ocarina of time official sound track will be gifted to the first users to register the game with club Nintendo as a thanks.  The second CD will be released in conjunction with Skyward Sword.

Nintendo then went on to recognize some of the more than 200 talented workers who have contributed to the success of the Zelda franchise over the last 25 years by inviting them on stage to be introduced and receive recognition for their success.

Nintendo then interjected with a small teaser, stating  “we have seen changes in who plays, where we play, and how we play”. Alluding to the new console that many had anticipated seeing in today’s conference Iwata then claimed that their new system, which would be “announced later this morning”, will unite all gamers.

It was then time for the 3DS portion of the presentation and the audience was shown a montage of Mario&kid Icarus&other 3ds games.

Reggie Fils-Aime, the head of Nintendo America, then took to the stage to talk 3DS. Reggie focused on a five 3DS titles:

  • MarioKart   “a kart game you haven’t driven before” is due out this holiday
  • StarFox   use buttons or turn and tilt to control. The game will offer group play (multiplayer) and the 3ds camera will record all the action, allowing you to see reactions of friends. StarFox is set for release this September.
  • Mario on 3DS which we should see “before the end of this year”.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising. Game appeared to have a lot of depth and good graphis. The inclusing of a trading card component is coming soon to accompany the game. Kid Icarus will also be multiplayer.
  • Luigi’s Mansion 2.  Nintendo showed the trailer before explaining that this all new 3D game would include several new mansions.

3rd party development for the 3DS was then discussed and included names like: Resident Evil, Mario and Sonic Olympics, Ace Combat 3d, Tetris, Cave Story 3D, Driver: Renegade, Pacman and Galaga, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D. Virtual console service just for 3ds  was also discussed. Allowing for downloads of classic Gameboy titles and classic Nintendo titles, the virtual console was promised to be easy to use. A Free 3D version of Excitbike, which is now a 27 year old title, was promised to the audience.  Pokemon for the 3DS will offer an enhanced pokedex. Pokedex 3D showed some hilarious  photoshops of you with your pokemon.

Then it was time. Nintendo Café is now known as Wii U. Wii U confused us a little bit. Everyone came into this conference expecting to see a new console but instead we were shown the Wii U controller. The Wii U controller is being released to work in conjunction with your Wii, Wiimotes, and other current Nintendo paraphernalia. But there is a console… just not yet.

The Wii U controller looks a little like like a PSVita. As a 6 point controller with built in screen, the Wii U controller includes a touch pad screen as well.  Nintendo says the controller includes “new controls for experienced players”.

With two analog sticks, digital direction pad, and DL- DR plus rumble feature, most of the specs of this system were kept vague.  The touch screen, microphone, camera, and gyroscope were all eluded to but Nintendo was clear to report that the WiiU controller was “not designed to be a portable gaming device” but that it “just shares some characteristics.” Games can use two screens at the same time and this ability was shown in a video montage that included baseball, golf, and ninja star throwing. The device will also have vcideo chat capabilities. This will be “a new structure for home entertainment” says Nintendo

 

Other notable announcements included:

Smash Brothers for wii u and 3ds and swap ability between the two.

HD video graphics – showed video clip “the garden” including a swimming fish. No word on who made the clip or for what application it was created.

Put your mii in Mario kart, race with your mii.

New shooter with wii mote as a prototype.

New title in development – Lego City Stories by Tt games, a division of Warner Brothers, being made just for WiiU.

 

Nintendo then showed a video of developers reactions to the new ‘system’ which gave us an insight into which titles would find home on the new WiiU

  • Darksiders II on the new console at launch
  • Batman arkham city on the new console
  • Ghost Recon Online with the new console.
  • EA Sports to Nintendo new console
  • Dirt, Aliens Colonial Marines.
  • Metro last light (by thq)
  • Tekken – showed character customization
  • Ninja gaiden 3 razers edge

“WiiU can satisfy all tastes” said Nintendo. They invited EA to join them onstage. CEO John Riccitiello came onstage and spoke : We have reached a “breakthrough in our relationship based on a stunning breakthrough in game technology” he said of the partnership with WiiU.

 

Reggie, in interview with Adam Sessler on G4 and with Geoff Keighly on GameTrailers talked a little bit more about the specs of the new system.

  • 1080p no price yet
  • being launched after march 31st
  • will have Internet browser – no release of other network capabilities
  • optical disc – no blue ray
  • “driven by gaming content and non gaming content”
  • “next holiday will be about the WiiU”
  • “We fully expect those [wii users] to come on board with the WiiU”
  • “Price point launch date launch line up is a topic for another day.”

 

Be sure to check back at GamerFitNation, all this week,  for more news from the E3 floor about these and other stories.

Wii U™ Tech Specs direct from Nintendo

Originally posted by Sharon at GamerFitNation.com

Wii U™ Tech Specs direct from Nintendo

  • Launches: 2012
  • Size: Approximately 1.8 inches tall, 6.8 inches wide and 10.5 inches long.
  • New Controller:    The new controller incorporates a 6.2-inch, 16:9 touch screen and traditional button controls, including two analog Circle Pads. This combination removes the traditional barriers between games, players and the TV by creating a second window into the video game world. The rechargeable controller includes a Power button, Home button, +Control Pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons and ZL/ZR buttons. It includes a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, rumble feature, camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, a sensor strip and a stylus.
  • Other Controls:  Up to four Wii Remote™ (or Wii Remote Plus) controllers can be connected at once. The new console supports all Wii™ controllers and input devices, including the Nunchuk™ controller, Classic ControllerTM, Classic Controller ProTM and Wii Balance Board™.
  • Media:  A single self-loading media bay will play 12-centimeter proprietary high-density optical discs for the new console, as well as 12-centimeter Wii optical discs.
  • Video Output: Supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i. Compatible cables include HDMI, component, S-video and composite.
  • Audio Output: Uses AV Multi Out connector. Six-channel PCM linear output through HDMI.
  • Storage: The console will have internal flash memory, as well as the option to expand its memory using either an SD memory card or an external USB hard disk drive.
  • CPU: IBM Power®-based multi-core microprocessor.
  • Other: Four USB 2.0 connector slots are included. The new console is backward compatible with Wii games and Wii accessories.

The next Contender has been chosen!

I am really looking forward to doing some fan art related to my next venture.

Here’s a little, nay big, hint.

Meet OZIE!

(A personal blog post that crept over to my gaming blog ;-D )

 

Meet OZIE! My very first pokemon.

So here’s the story.

  • A looong time ago I rode around in a yellow car that belonged to a friend of mine. She had a pikachu on the dash. We were bad ass. (Circa 2002)
  • A number of years ago I made an attempt to play a pokemon game on the DS(I cant remember which one but it was circa 2004) and was met with ridicule.
  • Some years later (maybe 2008) a young lad with special needs was in my care and invited me to play pokemon (with trading cards) and I of course did so. A few times.

 

That’s it! I have never played my way through a game, I never watched the cartoon, I never felt it was anything I could get into.

Until PaxEast 2011. All the folks in line were playing either Pokemon or Magic the Gathering. Not being even remotely familiar with Magic, and being continuously exposed to the excitement of the new Black and White releases of Pokemon, I decided to veer towards the path of Pokemon.

I’m about 4 days into it. 6 badges and a Pokedex of 81 and you know what. “Screw YOU” to the person who first mocked me, causing my insecurities to keep me from it.

I like it.

I can see why so many people, young and old, enjoy the game. It’s super addictive AND cutesy. A REAL departure from the killing and violence i normally prefer in my games.

I plan to spend a bit more time collecting and battling Pokemon in the future, slowly washing away the shame I STILL feel as a 30yr old playing pokemon.

And as homer once said (the cartoon not the greek poet) “Yes I AM the highly suggestible type!”