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E3 2018: Nintendo Direct

For several years now Nintendo has taken a different approach to E3 with their pre-recorded Nintendo Direct presentations. For better or worse, they're at least a lot less cringey. As a result, they're also much lighter on presentation.

Nintendo's pace this year clipped really fast for all but the last game, so we only got micro-tastes of what they showed. Here are our thoughts on all the games shown.

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Mario Kart is Nintendo’s Next Mobile Move

I think mobile gaming continues to have a strong future as a defined space which is why I’m always interested in seeing who is going to make the next coolest advancement in the mobile gaming space.

If anyone has the ability to come out of left field, it’s Nintendo.

This next idea isn’t really weird, but perhaps it’s a neat and logical step for the company’s mobile offering. Mark Kart is coming to smartphones. What a perfect idea.

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My Favorites from the Latest Nintendo Direct

Waiting for Nintendo’s next Nintendo Direct was starting to become a meme, and at times it felt like the company was even trolling us on Twitter with their nonsensical imagery. Yesterday, with practically no announcement at all, they dropped a ‘mini’ Direct on us with lots of great games and details.

I’m just going to touch on a few of my favorites and stand-outs, but you can find all of the games and info on Nintendo’s official site for the Jan 11th Direct.

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Nintendo Switch Extended Battery Pack

Hey fellow Switch owners, after hours of playing the Mario Odyseey or the newly released DOOM, are you finding yourself wishing your Switch had a better battery life on the go?

Graev showed me this awesome extended battery pack/case by Antank for the Nintendo Switch he bought that allows you to not only extend your battery life significantly (doubles the battery life), but also provide additional functionality that the switch desperately needs.

Double the Battery Life

The Antank battery case provides 6500mAh of power which, in practice, doubles the battery life you can expect to get out of your Switch.

Switch Side Charging Port

Side Charging Port Instead of Bottom

One of the biggest complaints Switch owners have is that the charging port is natively on the bottom of the Switch. This means you can't use the kickstand and play mobile while charging at the same time. The Antank battery case relocates that port to the side of the console.

Switch two kickstands

Dual Kickstands Instead of One

By default the Switch only has one kickstand which can leave the console feeling somewhat flimsy and unsteady when just standing up on a table, seat-back tray on a flight, or precariously perched on a book in the car. This case has two kickstands, and they have 3 different levels/degrees they lock into.

Extra Game Storage, LED Light Indicators, & USB-C Charging

Additional features include being able to store two games within the case itself (nice for travel if you don't have a good case -- which you should), an LED charge indicator, and the USB-C charging capability. The charging also provides over-current and over-voltage protection.

Fairly standard stuff, but I definitely like the LED charge indicator which acts as a much easier way of figuring out how long you have left to play before you need to charge.

Antank Battery Pack

For those wondering, I looked into the following:

  • Yes you can charge while you play
  • Yes you can take this on a plane
  • It doesn't make the Switch much any warmer from our experience
  • Plugging it in charges the console and the pack (we double checked)
  • You can't put the Switch into the dock with the case on

Hopefully this helps our fellow Switch owners out there!

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We highly recommend the Antank Extended Battery Pack/Case for the Nintendo Switch. At the time of this post, the case is 53% off on Amazon.

Pros

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    Significantly extends the battery life of the Switch.
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    Two kickstands with multiple degrees of kickstandyness.
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    The charging port gets relocated to the side of the console.

Cons

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    Can't put the Switch into the dock while the case is on. Obviously a minor annoyance only because the point of the case is for on-the-go play.
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Got Me a SNES Classic Edition!

This post glitched out and didn’t post, so I’m still counting this as posting every day. 

I got a SNES mini! Graev was cool enough to give me his European version since he was able to snag himself a North American one. It’s essentially the exact same thing except it looks different. Why they created multiple versions of the SNES, I have no idea.

The games that came with it are pretty good.

SNES Classic Games

 

Super Mario World (my favorite) is in there, along with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (awesome) and Super Mario RPG: Levend of the Seven Stars.

The build of the console itself is interesting. Where the controller plug is is a facade that pulls down to expose the larger Wii style controller connections. The back has ports for HDMI and USB Mini.

I was worried about how to power the EU version because of power compatibility (and a warning on the box about not including an AC adapter) but it turned out to be no issue. Powering the SNES Classic Edition via USB is entirely possible using a standard iPhone USB to AC adapter. No issues at all.

I’m trying to figure out a good setup to record videos. Passing through to a monitor through my Avermedia Live Gamer Portable 2 might be my best options, though figuring out sound becomes an issue. Anyone have ideas on a video/stream setup for something like this?

I also find myself wondering how silly it’ll all be when Nintendo brings a virtual console to the Switch. I’m hoping and would probably even bet that there will be a full virtual console on Switch + the inclusion of a Gamecube virutla console for the first time. Having those games mobile… dang that’d be sweet.

So overall a cool system with games from the golden era of 16-bit gaming.

Mario Party: The Top 100 is an AWESOME Idea

Nintendo held a Nintendo Direct on 9/13/2017 an announced a ton of great information for their games and platforms. Graev and I actually had an impromptu viewing party -- was a blast.

Nintendo brought it on like Donkey Kong this Direct with so many announcements. Chief among them for the New 3DS XL was Mario Party: The Top 100!

Mario Party: The Top 100 is a collection of the top 100 Mario Party mini-games from all 10 of the Mario Party games across all consoles. Top 100 will be a 3DS title, which is probably fitting since it's just a collection of mini-games.

Mario Party 100 minigame

Graev is a little disappointed that it's not an actual Mario Party game because he really enjoys the board game component. While I completely agree that the board game part is really fun, I'm also that guy who really just wanted to dive into the same handful of mini-games each time. The basketball mini-game, for example, was freaking GOLD.

We're both a little more than disappointed that you can't play multiplayer via online play. Multiplayer for Mario Party Top 100 is only available via local play or Download Play (which lets you have one cartridge and have up to 3 other people play using your game via downloading it to their system.) As I speak we're researching ways to tunnel via the internet.

With this, Pokemon, and several other titles (some I've spoken on this week already) there seems to be a resurgence on the 3DS for us. If anything notable (good or bad) comes up, we'll let you know.

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Minecraft on 3DS Swings and Misses

"Woah, dude, look at that!" was our reaction when Nintendo showed Minecraft finally coming out on the New Nintendo 3DS and 2DS handheld consoles.

Initially the idea was magical. Minecraft in 3D, available in handheld format, that isn't a janky edition on a phone with terrible controls! We could play together on the go! And then, upon further inspect... reality.

Minecraft on 3DS/2DS doesn't have multiplayer. It will never receive online multiplayer, and according to the post on the official website will at best receive "local" multiplayer in the future. It won't even receive the "Better Together" update. Minecraft 3DS also won't have any 3D gameplay! Huh... 

There are pretty strict limitations on monsters too, even stricter than console versions. "Only 24 enemies, 24 animals, 16 water creatures, and 16 villagers can exist at one time," according to Minecraft Gamepdia.

Additionally, it appears that the 3DS version is being developed separately as a fork off of a version of Pocket edition, meaning it will likely never catch or match the Bedrock version of Minecraft.

Minecraft on a 3DS

Okay, so that sucks. Is there anything good about Minecraft on 3DS?

I think so.

I think the dual-screen on the 3DS will be absolutely amazing for gameplay. Imagine never having to open that inventory and not see the world. You can run around with it open right there. There's also a map which looks convenient -- I know my mom, a devout pocket edition player, would love that.

There's also the fact that it'll eventually get 'local' multiplayer, which means the real target demographic (kids) can play together on road trips or in the same house, and be in an even safer environment than Together provides.

And as alluded to earlier, this is a true mobile version without the janky controls of a phone. I've played extensively on iPhone and iPad, and neither control well at all compared to what it would be like using the 3DS' slide pad and nubbin.

If the opportunities weren't missed, I'd be all over this right now.

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There’s Never Been a Better Time to Own a Nintendo 3DS or 2DS

Nintendo is proving they are still 100% fully committed to their handheld consoles despite also backing the mobile gaming scene on iOS and Android.

During yesterday's Nintendo Direct, Nintendo announced/previewed a ton of games as well as new handheld versions of the 2DS.

New 3DS & 2DS XL

If you don't have a 3DS XL, now's a pretty dang good time to get one. You can also get a 2DS XL for a really great price (like $150) and play all of the 3DS games Nintendo announced.

A few New 2DS XL models were just announced during the Direct as well including one we're sure will sell out immediately:

Nintendo 3DS Games Announced / Shown at the
Nintendo Direct

Graev and I were both truly shocked to see such a strong and overwhelmingly "wow" showing for games coming soon to the 3DS & 2DS:

  • Mario Party: The Top 100
  • Kirby™: Battle Royale
  • YO-KAI WATCH™ 2: Psychic Specters, and Oni Evolution
  • Metroid™: Samus Returns
  • Minecraft: New Nintendo 3DS Edition
  • Mario & Luigi™: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions
  • Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon

We'll have more 3DS game coverage to come on these games and systems over the next little bit.

Now really is a great time to jump in and get a 3DS or 2DS system for the Q4/Holiday release lineup.

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