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Nintendo Switch: Road to Redemption

The Nintendo Switch is one month away from its release. What can it do to win fans over throughout the year?



Well, this is it. One short month until the launch of gaming’s first hybrid, the Nintendo Switch. Opinions of the console vary immensely depending on who you talk to. Some can’t wait and already have it pre-ordered (along with the Master Edition of Zelda). Others struggle to see the value in a $300 console that’s only really touting Breath of the Wild at launch. Still, others ridicule the system and those excited about it, condemning them as “fanboys” who’ll defend anything Nintendo does regardless.

Here’s a fact: a lot of gamers have favorite companies. From software developers to hardware developers, people tend to lean one way or another for a variety of reasons. And when people favor one company, they often compare it to others and find ways to claim superiority. Hence the age-old phrase “PC Master Race” and the current trashing of the Xbox One for not having enough exclusives and the Switch for having a weak launch and a $300 price tag.

Did the Switch have a stellar presentation? No. Is it underpowered? Comparatively, yeah. For a console/handheld hybrid, not so much. Is the day one lineup lacking? Probably (unless you love Bomberman). Is the timing unfortunate? Yes, because launching in the middle of a console generation means having your new console’s price compared to those of consoles released four years ago.

Nintendo has a heck of a lot of convincing to do. Those who had their hopes sky-high are now some of the most cynical, and the negativity surrounding the Switch–at least online–has reached disgusting levels of fervor. What can Nintendo still do now, just over a month away from the launch of the system that’ll define them for the next four-five years? A whole lot, it turns out. The Switch still has a chance at redemption in the eyes of the discouraged, but it’ll have to fight tooth and nail to earn it.


Expansive e-Shop Day 1

I am Setsuna’s recent addition to the Switch’s launch lineup confirmed that the console’s e-Shop will be live at launch. What isn’t confirmed, however, is what else will be in it. 2D Boy’s trio of previous eShop games has been confirmed (that’s World of GooLittle Inferno and Human Resource Machine), but this announcement was significantly less exciting than that of I am Setsuna and The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ because the majority of the trio are quite old. What we need to see at launch is twofold: newer, more exciting releases like Hyperlight Drifter and Owlboy, and key virtual console titles like Earthbound and–finger crossed–GameCube games. With many decrying the Switch’s weak launch lineup, having a digital library full of enticing downloadables on day one would be a great way to tide gamers over in between major releases.

More Nintendo Directs

That Fire Emblem Direct? More of those, please. Though it might’ve only appealed to a relatively small (yet vocal) demographic, the Direct was exactly what Nintendo needed the week after its presentation: more game announcements. Not only were four new games highlighted overall, but it also specifically gave future Switch owners two new games to look forward to (even if one is far off on the 2018 horizon). Nintendo needs more of these great announcements in the weeks leading up to the Switch’s launch. If Fire Emblem got its own Direct, it’s possible we could see a Pokémon Direct, an ARMS Direct, or even a Dragon Quest Direct. More importantly, Nintendo has to double down on its commitment to a quality, paid online service and have a Direct focused entirely on the benefits of the service, the price, and (most importantly) the app. Confusingly, Nintendo has stated that the app won’t be released until summer of this year, but that online services will launch in March with the console. If that’s true, how will matchmaking, voice chat and lobbies work until summer? These are all things Nintendo can easily clarify with a dedicated Direct.


3rd Party Exclusives

Let’s face it: The biggest AAA third party games won’t be arriving on the Switch anytime soon. We won’t see Battlefield 1 or DOOM on the console, and it’ll largely be due to technical limitations and/or doubt from developers and publishers that enough Nintendo fans would buy a non-Nintendo game. However, why couldn’t third parties instead make games specifically for the Switch?

Towards the beginning of January IGN’s Brian Altano declared that Nintendo fans “historically do not buy third party games, and never will.” Amongst the backlash, many fans pointed out that when they do get a multi-platform game, it’s usually a lower-end version of an old game at full price–and they aren’t wrong. AAA multi-platform support generally hasn’t been strong on Nintendo consoles, but that’s because the AAA effort hasn’t been put into many of the ports that land on Nintendo’s hardware. It’s so often that a big budget multi-platform game is developed only with Xbox and PlayStation in mind, leaving Nintendo’s hardware with a shoddy afterthought of a port. No, the Switch doesn’t need these phoned-in makeovers–the Switch needs original third-party content.

Mind you, I’m not necessarily talking exclusives here. More so, I’m thinking of games like No More Heroes that was made with the Wii in mind but was eventually ported to PS3 and Xbox 360. Games built from the ground-up for the system that embraces and optimizes its capabilities. Talented third party developers who’ve employed this philosophy have more often than not produced a critically acclaimed game, a bestseller, or both. The examples abound; Monster Hunter GenerationsRayman Raving RabbidsZack and WikiProfessor LaytonLittle King’s Story, the Ace Attorney series, so on and so forth. Third-party developers truly have a chance on Nintendo hardware, but the quality has to be there. If third party devs work closely to make a game beautifully suited for the Switch, they’ll be embraced by the community just as the creators of the games above have.

Strong Indie Support

One of the Wii U’s few strengths was its courting of indie developers. The list of indie titles on the system runs the gambit, from Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition to Child of Light. These are precisely the kind of quality indie games the Switch needs in the face of such cautious third-party support. Launch year titles like The Binding of Issac: Afterbirth+RimeStardew Valley, and Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove are all great starts, but the Switch would really have legs if it premiered fantastic indie games as well. Yacht Club recently announced that the new Shovel Knight expansion Spector of Torment will actually come to the Switch first, a key example of the kind of support the console needs. Retroactive additions like I am Setsuna‘s Switch-exclusive multiplayer mode are nice, but can always be criticized away for simply being an enhancement of a port. But if the Switch can premiere more games in the vein of Graceful Explosion Machine and even FAST RMX–quality Switch premieres–it’ll fare much better through those months without major releases.

Strong/Cheap Online Service

Nintendo generally disappointed long-time fans and newcomers alike when they announced that they’d be the last of the Big 3 to finally begin charging for online. While at first glance this may seem like a negative, let’s look at the possibilities here. In the past when the Wii, 3DS and Wii U all had sub-par online experiences, it was hard to really complain or take the company to task because, well, it was free. Sony struggled with adequate online play all the way up to the PS4, when they started charging and could then be held to a certain standard (Microsoft) by the consumer.

In moving to a paid online model Nintendo is going all-in with online, which would–theoretically–be wonderful for everyone involved. Nintendo gets some additional revenue and gamers get stronger online play, matchmaking and lobbies (finally!), and a free monthly game download. But wait, the majority of the online functionality goes through an app? And hold on, those monthly downloads are only for NES or SNES games, and they’re only playable for one month??

Issues? Yes. Irredeemable? No. In terms of the app, we still aren’t really sure how it’ll work or why it exists. Maybe it provides extra functionality to the online architecture already on the Switch. Or maybe the app is only for use when undocked, but when docked the Switch handles online on its own. We just don’t know. What we do know, however, is that Nintendo has undoubtedly heard the negative response to the app from the internet at large. If there’s enough negativity around the idea, Nintendo may pull a c.2013 Microsoft and scrap it entirely in favor of native online through an update somewhere down the road. And the NES or SNES monthly rental issue can easily be solved: they include N64 and eventually GameCube games (all with added online functionality), and they charge no more than $30 a year. The online service will be DOA if it arrives anywhere near $60. $30 may still be too pricey for some, but at that price, Nintendo could make the argument that a monthly classic game rental is acceptable as part of a $30 annual service. In other words, they’d be low enough to continue not competing with Sony and Microsoft.

Thorough E3

Everywhere you look, Switch pre-orders are sold out. They sold out the day after the presentation in the West, and they sold out last week in Japan in about 15 minutes. Nintendo has committed to 2 million units in March which, if all pre-orders are honored, would put the Switch’s launch figures right around those of the Xbox One and PS4. However, what’ll really be telling are the third and fourth months of the system–the months the Wii U began to lose steam.

Luckily for Nintendo, E3 falls right into that timeframe. Unluckily, their showing at E3 will likely make or break the system among core gamers. While some may argue that the January presentation already did that, there are many gamers simply on the fence, loving the concept but wary of the software support. It’s in this key area that Nintendo will have to truly shine to push gamers over the edge. I’m talking dream announcements: a new true Metroid Prime title for 2018; Smash Switch with all the Wii U/3DS dlc and more. A Mother 3 release date; an exclusive, massive new entry in the Monster Hunter series. They’ll also need to show us that previously announced games are on their way. We’ll need to see Switch gameplay of Dragon Quest XIXenoblade Chronicles 2 and Super Mario Odyssey. We’ll also need more details on Splatoon 2, new indie partnerships and–again–exactly how the online service will work with the upcoming mobile app. Nintendo has a lot to prove at this year’s E3, be it by traditional conference or Direct. It may be one of their most vital E3s, period.

You have nothing if you don’t have hope. Hardcore fans of Nintendo and their games will be happy regardless of what the months following launch look like (albeit to varying degrees). What’s key is connecting with the gamers who didn’t buy a Wii U or even a 3DS. The Switch has to convince those people that there’s quality, value and, most importantly, fun to be had if they give it a shot. As is the case with many Nintendo games and products, they’ll have to show us better than they can tell us.

Brent became infatuated with manga and anime after randomly stumbling upon Vol. 3 of Yu Yu Hakusho on a childhood roadtrip. Today he has a soft spot for colorful JRPGs, cozy anime, and both games and shows that indulge his innate love of adventure. Find him (im)patiently waiting for Animal Crossing: New Horizons and incredibly fulfilled by Fire Emblem: Three Houses @CreamBasics.


Watch the Trailer for ‘The Mandalorian’ the First Live-Action ‘Star Wars’ Series




Thanks to the arrival of the D23 Expo, Disney has revealed the first trailer for its long-awaited Star Wars original series, The Mandalorian.

Created by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), the series is set after the events of Return of the Jedi and follows Pedro Pascal as a mysterious, gun-slinging Mandalorian bounty hunter who navigates the seedier side of the Star Wars universe.

Along with Pedro Pascal, The Mandalorian stars Gina Carano, Nick Nolte, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog, and Taika Waititi. The first season of episodes will be directed by filmmakers like Dave Filoni, Taika Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa, and Deborah Chow.

the mandalorian trailer

Here’s the official description of The Mandalorian:

After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.

The Mandalorian begins streaming on Disney+ on November 12, 2019.

Check out The Mandalorian trailer below.

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Soundtrack Gets a Vinyl Release




While we don’t publish music news or music reviews here at Goomba Stomp, we are huge fans of vinyl and since we cover film, we figured this announcement would interest some of our readers.

Back in 2017, Jordan Peele’s Get Out topped our list of the best films of 2017 and while the year isn’t yet over, there’s a good chance his follow-up Us, will land somewhere on our best of the year list as well. There are many reasons why we love Peele’s ambitious sophomore film including for the suspense, cinematography, performances, and direction, but one thing that doesn’t get enough praise is the soundtrack by Michael Abels. And if you like us, love the original score, you’re going to love this bit of news.

After giving his Get Out soundtrack a vinyl release last year, Jordan Peele is now doing the same for the soundtrack to Us.

WaxWork Records announced the news earlier today and if you’re planning on buying a copy, you don’t have to wait since it is now available to purchase through the label’s website.

The soundtrack, which received a digital release earlier this year, features composer Michael Abels’ score, in addition to songs from Janelle Monáe, Minnie Ripperton and the “Tethered Mix” of Luniz’s “I Got 5 on It” that appeared in the film’s first trailer. The album artwork was created by illustrator Edward Kinsella and features an interactive die-cut mirror board back cover, a heavyweight art print and an exclusive essay from UCLA Professor, scholar, and activist Shana L. Redmond Ph.D.

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Trailer for the Twisted Dark Comedy thriller ‘Villains’




Alter has released the first poster and the official trailer for Villains, the upcoming dark comedy thriller which stars Bill Skarsgård (IT) and Maika Monroe (It Follows) as a couple who rob a gas station and scores enough cash to start a new life in Florida. Unfortunately for them, their getaway plans turn upside down and the young couple end up stumbling on much more than they bargained for.

Villains hits theaters on September 20th and was written and directed by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen. In addition to Skarsgard and Monroe, the movie also stars Jeffrey Donovan and Kyra Sedgwick. It’s co-produced by Bron Studios, Star Thrower Entertainment, Creative Wealth Media Finance, and The Realm Films. You can watch the trailer for Villains below.

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Beanie Babies: The Collectables with Heart

Toys We Love Spotlight



For our Toys We Love Spotlight, I’m looking at one of my personal favourites: Beanie Babies. I had collected so many of these growing up, and households worldwide in the 90s and early 2000s were sure to have at least one Beanie Baby in their possession (was it even the 90s if they didn’t?). These plushie companions were cute, cuddly, and collectable, so it’s not a surprise that the Beanie Babies craze swept the globe, forcing parents and toy collectors everywhere to dig into their wallets.

Beanie Babies had a few aspects to them that made them stand out from your average plushie. Firstly, they did not have as much stuffing as most soft toys. Whilst some thought that this made them look cheap, it also made them light, posable, and gave them a realistic feel and look. The bear Beanie Babies were particularly good to pose, and this set them apart from run-of-the-mill teddy bears. Another element that made Beanie Babies more unique was their special tag. Each toy had a tag attached which had the toy’s name, date of birth, and a quotation etched inside. The former was something that could have been a risky choice, as although it wasn’t completely taking away the child’s choice of name — there was nothing stopping them from just calling their Beanie whatever they wanted — a pre-selected name can be difficult to sell, as kids can often take great pride and pleasure in naming their toys.

It was a great success, however, and worked as a nice finishing touch for the Beanie Babies, adding a dash of personality and flair (something much needed in the often critically over-saturated soft toy market), as well as making each Beanie Baby feel like their own creature with their own little stories. Adding to that was the wide variety of animals that were available, such as Tiny the Chihuahua, Pegasus the Unicorn or Swampy the Alligator. This means that the desires of each individual child or enthusiastic collector could be catered to (I myself favoured the dogs and bears).

The puppies were my Beanie Baby of choice. They were all such good boys and girls.

The Beanie Babies also had their own way of tackling difficult issues in society, showing them to kids through the guise of a soft toy. I’ll give you an example through my own experience: I had a Beanie Baby that (as odd as it may sound) gave me more of an understanding of the horrors of September 11th. Weird, right? Allow me to explain. I was only just nine years old on that now-historical day when the twin towers in New York were attacked and so many innocent people lost their lives. I had come home from school (it was afternoon time here in the UK when it happened), and I remember my mum watching it on television in complete shock. She had watched the whole thing whilst I’d been at school.

I didn’t really understand what was happening to be honest. Even when I was watching the repeats of the plane crashing into the side of the tower, I was somewhat oblivious the gravity of the situation (though as a nine year old child, I suppose I could be forgiven for that). The news continued to report the tragedy for a long time, and my school held assemblies to discuss the matter. I knew people had died, and that made me very sad, but I remember thinking that people died all the time, so why was this one incident reported on so much? About a month or so after, TY released three Beanie Babies as a tribute to those lost during 9/11. One of these was a Dalmatian Beanie Baby called Rescue, and I wanted him the moment I saw him, not really knowing the true nature of his purpose. My mum obliged happily, knowing what he represented. I remember taking my little Dalmatian with the red collar and American flag on his leg home and reading his tag. It read:

To honor our heroes
who lost their lives in the
national catastrophe that
took place on September 11, 2001.
We mourn for them and express our
deepest sympathy to their families.
God Bless America

Rescue the Dalmatian was joined by America the Bear and Courage the German Shepherd. The Beanies were a set of three released to honor those who perished in the tragedy of 9/11.

I found Rescue in my room recently, and the memories flooded back to me upon reading it again. I remember looking into all the acts of heroism and bravery after reading Rescue’s tag, and that’s when the situation really hit home to me. I looked into the stories of firefighters and first responders and those who had died, as well as all the search-and-rescue dogs attempting to save people among the chaos. As a child, it can be hard to see past your immediate opinion and truly consider the sheer weight of a situation, but with Rescue’s help, I was able to see just how this event was indeed very different to anything I had ever seen before, and how serious it was. It was the first time I felt like I was thinking like a grown up. I looked at the world differently from then on — obviously as I got older, but also from my ability to think harder and search deeper. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have even bothered if it wasn’t for Rescue reminding me of exactly how much was lost on that day.

Rescue, perhaps the goodest and bravest boy of them all.

Beanie babies will forever be ingrained in culture. They are still bought, sold and collected even now and will remain a timeless staple of most of our childhoods. They certainly are for me. Especially you Rescue, the bravest firefighting Dalmatian the world has ever known.

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‘Shenmue III’ Gamescom Trailer Details a Day in the Life of Ryo



The original Shenmue games pioneered the open world genre, in part through their inclusion of many different minigames and side activities. The Kickstarter-funded Shenmue III looks to continue that legacy, as developer Ys Net and publisher Deep Silver have debuted a new trailer at Gamescom 2019 entitled “A Day in Shenmue.”

The developers provided the following description of the trailer via their latest Kickstarter update: “Exploring the town, playing minigames and battling! We hope it feels just how a Shenmue day should!” Sure enough, the footage showcases the series protagonist Ryo participating in a number of minigames, such as a boxing game and a pachinko machine. The end of the trailer also includes a good look at the series’ signature kung fu combat.

Beyond the new trailer, the Kickstarter update also noted that Yu Suzuki, the famed creator of Shenmue, will be present at Gamescom for autograph signings.

After numerous delays, Shenmue III will finally launch on November 19, 2019 for PS4 and PC via the Epic Games Store.

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