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Nintendo & Annual Sequels

Its something I noticed in the most recently in the CVG interview with Alex Hutchinson. While the most shocking point in the article was made by Hutchinson, the thing I'll be focusing on here was mentioned by the interviewer:

Why do Nintendo get it right? It releases a new edition of the same franchise every year and no one bats an eyelid. Why?

Please tell me what "franchise" Nintendo rehashes annually, because I would like to know. The only example I know of was the Hudson Soft developed Mario Party titles during the Nintendo 64/Gamecube generations. Following that, there was a 5 year gap between Mario Party releases on the Wii. These is no other Nintendo franchise that has sustained a regular annual release schedule.

So, with that in mind I'm going to make an assumption: I'm going to assume that the interviewer meant Mario games. It's something we've all heard before–its often regurgitated as fact across forums. And while it may make business sense to consider Mario a franchise, its very different from most franchises.

Mario as a Label

First off, Mario is a character; he stars in a variety of video game series, each of which may spawn their own sequels and spin-offs, but they are all unique. Mario titles span a wide breadth of genres, such as platformers, party, sports, puzzle, fighting and RPG. All of these games are fundamentally different and often only see one iteration per platform per generation. The only thing these games have in common is the Mario universe and characters. It is because of this that he functions more as a label for all of the games he stars in–a guarantee of quality, light-hearted whimsical fun. Meanwhile, Western studios are pumping out a new Madden, Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed in a year or less and these are sequels in the same series with the same gameplay.

Fact: Madden has been on an annual schedule for over two decades.

3DS Miis: More Action!

A collection of bad dudes giving the 3D screen on your Nintendo 3DS new deadly capabilities. Bruce Willis of Die Hard fame (and a couple of other movies) locks biceps with the actor behind the legendary vampire hunter Blade (and a bunch of other things) and Jet Li ... is somewhere around here. Bursting out of a nearby television The Old Spice Guy also lends a hand. More

3DS Miis: Rocky Edition

This tough-as-nails quartet is picked straight from the Rocky films and consists of Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed, Mr. T as James "Clubber" Lang and Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago. Scanning these Miis will not play "Eye of the Tiger". More

Play Kid Icarus: Uprising in First-Person Mode

Are you a hardcore FPS player who wants to get into the newest Nintendo entry? Today is your lucky day! By changing one simple option you can play Kid Icarus: Uprising in the first-person perspective.

Navigate your way through Kid Icarus' menus to reach the control options (they are also available from the pause menu):
Options > Controls > Control Configuration

There you will be presented with two options for controlling Pit's movement. Select the default setting (Circle Pad). The next screen you will be taken to modifies the reticle controls. Selecting the last option will enable you to use both the face buttons on the 3DS and the touch screen to aim.

An interesting side effect of this is that the "View Change" button is remapped to Up on the D-Pad and its functionality altered. Prior to this change you would have to hold Y in order to enter FPS mode, now you can toggle it on or off by simply pressing Up on the D-Pad.

Upon activating this, you will stay in first-person mode as you shoot & dodge your way to victory.

Languish: Japan's Video Game Decline

The Incredible Adventures of Mr. Fish

Earlier this month the 2012 Game Developers Conference (GDC) took place and game devs from around the world came to give and hear speeches on game design. One such panel included indie developers featured in Indie Game: The Movie. It was there that a Japanese developer from the audience asked the panel what they thought of modern Japanese video games. According to Develop, the reply he received from Phil Fish was a short and rather unsweet, “your games just suck” followed by a barrage of criticisms aimed squarely at the developer’s home country. It’s what some people would consider rude and makes Mr. Fish look like a complete ass. Yet there seems to be a large group of people that regret the way in which he replied to the question, and yet do not necessarily disagree with what he was trying to say.