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No, Nintendo Doesn’t ‘Need’ Third Parties

The need for Nintendo to attract third parties has been severely overstated, given what niche the Switch is trying to fill in the console marketplace.

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The need for Nintendo to attract third parties has been severely overstated, given what niche the Switch is trying to fill in the console marketplace. Far from the PS4 look-a-like that we expected, the Switch is another Nintendo console that challenges industry norms. As a result, much doom and gloom has been perpetuated about how its innovation will turn away third parties. However, rumor of the Switch’s need for third party support has been greatly exaggerated.

The truth is, ever since the Nintendo 64, Nintendo’s marketing has fallen out of touch with most third party developers and with most gamers. Nintendo consoles have remained secondary purchases for most gamers, even when Nintendo has attempted to satiate developer’s desires for better graphics with more powerful hardware, as with the GameCube. Despite such an increasingly obvious trend toward second-class consoleship, the way that Nintendo markets toward consumers hasn’t changed, until now.

With the Switch, Nintendo is finally admitting that, despite how neat it may be to play Skyrim on an airplane or NBA 2K at an actual basketball court, they aren’t targeting first console purchasers anymore. Instead, they are marketing the Switch as a complementary console for PS4 and Xbox One owners who wish to play Nintendo exclusives. Due to this shift in marketing strategy, third party games, as means to attract consumers to purchase the Switch, have lost much of their puissance. Add to that the fact that Nintendo chose as its console’s main chip an aging ARM processor instead of the more commonly used x86 architecture, and it becomes evident that their focus is on the experiences that they can craft instead of trying to compete with the Xbox One and PS4’s level of third party support.

This may not seem the wisest route for Nintendo at first glance. After all, wasn’t one of the Wii U’s greatest failures the fact that it didn’t have enough third party support to even muster a Madden or FIFA release past the first year? Not exactly.

The Wii U failed, not primarily because of a lack of third party support, but because it sold poorly and was sold for a loss even a year after launch. The added cost of the GamePad didn’t help either, costing Nintendo around $79.25 per console, an incredibly high price for a peripheral that was abandoned by most developers less than two years after release. Nintendo has lived and even thrived through consoles that sold poorly, the N64 and GameCube’s sales were anemic. The Wii U came after a poor 3DS launch that cost Nintendo millions, was marketed poorly, and had less than a year headstart over the PS4 and Xbox One. It wasn’t Nintendo’s first failure, but it was by far their most ill-timed.

Third party games, in reality, have had little to do with the sales of Nintendo consoles since the Nintendo 64. The GameCube had more third party ports than one could shake the proverbial stick at, and yet it still managed to sell less than the original Xbox, a console that, despite its graphical fortitude, was not known for good sales. The Wii had massive third party support, but in an ironic turn of events, the majority of those games were shoddily constructed shovelware that did little to change the preconceived notion that it was a console for children and the elderly.

In fact, the Wii U may have suffered from its initial focus on third party games. By overemphasizing the release of old, mid-generation games that were already popular with consumers on other consoles, while simultaneously failing to secure third party support much past launch, Nintendo seemed even more out of touch with consumers’ wishes. If they were to make the same mistake with the Switch and overemphasize the small commitments that companies like EA have made, they would appear just as laughable as they did five years ago.

With the Switch, it seems as if Nintendo has finally recognized that, for the most part, gamers buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games while continuing to play popular third party games on another console, or a gaming PC. In the past, Nintendo’s handhelds have succeeded as secondary consoles, not because they had ports of popular AAA games, but because they had great Nintendo exclusives, popular indie games, and a smattering of third party titles not available on any other platform (Bravely Default comes to mind). With their next system logically, but not officially, replacing both the 3DS and Wii U, it stands to reason that they should use the same strategy with the Switch and attempt to leverage their strength with handhelds to bolster poor console sales.

At the end of the day, Nintendo’s greatest strengths lay within itself. Their franchises are instantly recognizable to gamers and non-gamers alike. If they can successfully utilize that consumer recognition, then there is no doubt in my mind that the Switch can reverse the downward trend Nintendo’s consoles have been stuck on for the past twenty years and deliver a truly memorable console. If they avoid the temptation to switch things up but instead play to their greatest strength, their games, the path back to relevance becomes that much clearer for Nintendo.

Although a gamer since before I can remember, there is not a better definition of me than these three words: Christian, moderate, and learner. I am steadfast in my Faith, my Beliefs, and in my Opinions, but I am always willing to hear the other side of the discussion. I love Nintendo, History, and the NBA. Currently a PhD Student at Liberty University.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. ???? ??????

    February 19, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    the author is a retard.

  2. John Cal McCormick

    February 20, 2017 at 9:03 am

    “The Wii U failed, not primarily because of a lack of third party support, but because it sold poorly”

    Obviously there’s a lot to unpack in this article, and it’s fair to say that I disagree with basically all of it, but this sentence in particular caught my attention. What does this mean? That’s not “why” the console failed. That’s the conditions for failure. It’s the effect, not the cause. It’s like saying that John Lennon died not because somebody shot him, but because his body could no longer sustain life.

    This article is kinda indicative of a problem that Nintendo faces on a wider scale. There’s too many people willing to perform mental and semantic gymnastics to try and put a favourable spin on everything they do, ultimately to the detriment of the product. Yes Men don’t ever help. Looking at a product objectively (or as objectively as one can) and critiquing it helps. The Wii U failed for numerous reasons, including but not limited to third party support being non-existent.

    No console in history has been a hit without third party support. I’ll reiterate; no console in history has been a hit without third support. And so ignoring all evidence to the contrary and just defiantly proclaiming that Nintendo will be fine without third party support isn’t going to help anybody. It’s the sort of thinking that leads to this site featuring articles in five years time entitled “The Switch failed not because it didn’t have third party support, but because people didn’t buy it.” And it’s the sort of thinking that means that Nintendo won’t get any better. Their staunchest fans are contributing to their downfall, by dismissing all criticism as “haters gonna hate” or coming up with increasingly elaborate explanations for why their chosen console failed.

    • Izsak “Khane” Barnette

      February 20, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Excellent comment, John. What I am saying is that there is no need for Nintendo to attempt to market to a consumer base that is fully saturated.

      • Izsak “Khane” Barnette

        February 20, 2017 at 4:10 pm

        In my opinion, a lack of third party support was a tangential reason, at best, for the Wii U’s failure. Developers most likely would have dropped support after the PS4 and Xbox One’s release due to hardware constraints.

        • John Cal McCormick

          February 20, 2017 at 4:45 pm

          The problem isn’t – inherently – lack of third party support. Theoretically a system could be a success without it. It just needs other things to balance in its favour. The problem is that Nintendo doesn’t have those things in their favour. They’re sat in a very perilous middle ground.

          They want to be a second console. Okay. That’s a direction. It makes sense. And it’s actually one I’d advocate them going full tilt for. So why is this console selling at a premium price? Why is the accessories so expensive? You can’t tell people that your product is a second console, a sidekick to their PS4 or Xbox One, and then try and sell them it for more than either of those consoles are going for. Optically, it’s so, so bad. Marketing-wise, it’s a big ask to make that make sense.

          Alternatively, they can go the premium console route. They’re already priced like that. But they don’t have the third party support to back that up.

          They’re stuck in the middle. They’re not fully in either camp. And that’s exactly the same problem the Wii U had. And like the Wii U, it’s happening because of what I think are poor decisions in hardware design.

          It might pan out, but as someone who’s been watching trends and marketing and the business side of the industry for many years now, I’ll be surprised if the Switch is a hit. You can never really predict these things because you never know when there’ll be that lightning in a bottle moment, but the Switch looks like it’s caught in a very dangerous middle ground, and I’m not expecting it to be a hit.

          • Izsak “Khane” Barnette

            February 20, 2017 at 6:55 pm

            That’s a pretty detailed breakdown of their business strategy there, and I agree with some of your points. I admit that my heart sank a little when they announced it would be $300. After all, there are Xbox One and PS4 bundles that come with games for that much. However, after the Wii U sold for a loss well after launch, I think they prioritized making a profit off of every console over consumer outreach.

            One could argue, I suppose, that if they didn’t include portability, then they could have sold a more powerful console for cheaper, but I think that misses the point.

            Nintendo has always prioritized innovation over typicality. The NES had R.O.B, the SNES, had the Super FX chip, the N64 had full 3D graphics, the GameCube had analog triggers, the DS had dual touchscreens, the Wii had motion controls, and the Wii U had a tablet. I think for them to make a generic, even if premium, console would be an affront to their true nature as innovators.

          • John Cal McCormick

            February 21, 2017 at 9:42 am

            I’ve never really understood the “Nintendo has always been the innovator” argument. I mean, sure, they do play against type. But a) some of those “innovations” are just Nintendo pointlessly reinventing the wheel to be wacky, and b) their hardware “innovations” have resulted in every one of their home consoles selling worse than the one before it with the sole exception of the Wii.

            The point that I’m making is that Nintendo’s business strategy seems to need a change. Just saying, “Yeah but this is what Nintendo do! They innovate!” isn’t the solution. It’s not the answer. It’s actually the root of the problem they face.

            Without getting too in depth for the sake of this comment not being an essay, look at the commercial viability of the Switch, in your opinion, and then take a look at the only Nintendo console to break their downward trend in sales figures, the Wii. What’s the biggest difference between the two?

            You might say that the Wii has an easier concept to grasp, and I’d say that’s certainly a contender. But the most stark difference for me is the cost. The Wii launched at $250 and came with a game. The Switch is launching at $350 (I think?) with no game. So it’s basically $400.

            You mention Nintendo cutting out the portability to make a more powerful console, but do you really think that is the best strategy?

            Like I said before, Nintendo is in a weird middle ground. For me, unless they can capture the public consciousness – which is an incredibly difficult thing to predict or pull off – like they did with the Wii, then they need a sound business strategy. Somehow I don’t think a handheld with an HDMI Out port is on the same level as the inclusive gaming mantra that the Wii had.

            So you’re left with a number of options. If Nintendo is going to embrace their position as the second console of choice for gamers, a place where they don’t need third party games and the console is solely used for first party Nintendo games, then they need to be cost effective. For me, removing the portability of the console is something that they definitely should have considered, but I wouldn’t have made the console more powerful at all. I’d have done everything I could to lower the cost.

            A Mario and Zelda machine shipping at $200 is a no brainer. That’s a compelling price for a second console. It doesn’t matter how powerful it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s on par with PS4. Nintendo does incredible things with underpowered tech. They’d make great looking games that played well.

            But that’s not what they’re doing. They’re selling a premium console. A console that is more expensive than the competition on the market right now despite being less powerful. They’re not the cheap second console or the PS4 competitor. They’re the worst of both worlds – an expensive console that can’t compete in terms of raw power, and doesn’t appear to have the strong backing of many developers.

            If the Switch was a budget console then I’d agree with the title of this article. But it isn’t. And I think it’s delusional to just assume everything is going to be okay when there’s a huge amount of evidence to the contrary. Hence, I think they do need third parties.

          • Brent Middleton

            February 21, 2017 at 8:53 pm

            The Switch is shipping for $300.

            It’s in an interesting middle ground, I agree. But then again, so was the Wii. It was less powerful than the PS4 and Xbox One, and it wasn’t supported with AAA third party releases at launch beyond one single title–Call of Duty 3. The Wii was able to sell based on its form factor and first party software (namely Wii Sports) alone. The third party devs came running afterwards.

            Nintendo’s portable line has succeeded much in the same way. Form factor and first party software (mainly Pokémon, Mario, Mario Kart, etc.).

            No one wants watered down versions of For Honor or Mass Effect Andromeda on the Switch. Not receiving AAA multi platform support (aside from the major sports franchises already confirmed) isn’t going to be the death of the system. Instead, like Wii and Nintendo’s handheld line, third parties will need to bring software specifically made for the Switch if they want to sell on the platform. And those games will come if the Switch is successful on its own merits, just like the handhelds have been.

            The Switch has the form factor and first party content down. It has much better marketing than the Wii U, which was it’s greatest fault. It also has tons of indie support, which is interestingly taking the place of traditional third party’s on the console.

            Is the price ideal? No, but it’s also not very expensive for a new console. It’s $50 more than the PS4 and Xbox One, but those have been out for 4 years. People have had those systems or their friends have had them for years now. The newness of the Switch combined with its form factor (the main appeal of the console) is going to see it do well. Zelda will hold launch down, Mario will hold holiday. Indies and games like Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe & Fire Emblem Warriors are going to fill any software droughts, another huge problem of the Wii U.

            Is it going to be a Wii-sized hit? Of course not. But it’ll do well. The Switch is far from doomed to the Wii U’s fate. The third and fourth months will tell a far better story.

          • John Cal McCormick

            February 21, 2017 at 9:34 pm

            This is precisely my point though. Sort of.

            Nobody wants to play the rubbish version of Mass Effect or a port of a game that came out months ago on other systems. That was the Wii U approach to third party support that went down like a lead balloon.

            The point is that they have neither parity with the other consoles or price reflective of their nature as the second console. The worst of both worlds, as it were.

            The Wii, as I recall, shipped with Call of Duty, Madden, Need for Speed, Rayman Rabbids, some licensed rubbish (rubbish that sells, though), that awful Tony Hawks spin off, Red Steel, and some lesser known third party stuff like Trauma Centre. Then first party wise it came bundled with Wii Sports, which for all intents and purposes was all the Wii was to much of the casual user base getting one as a Christmas present, and a Zelda game for the hardcore.

            The Wii had a lot more going for it in terms of obvious commercial appeal AND it had the attention of third party publishers.

            The Switch looks very expensive, despite the fact it’s cheaper than the price either it’s competitors launched for, because it’s entering the fray midgeneration. That’s perfectly understandable but it also doesn’t change how bad the optics of the situation are when you can pick up a PS4 or Xbox with all of the most popular games on the market for less than the cost of a less powerful Nintendo system that pretty much has Zelda.

            I’m not writing the Switch off. I just think writing off the importance of third party support is something that Nintendo fans quite often do without actually looking at the grim realities of the situation, and the historical evidence that suggests the contrary.

          • Brent Middleton

            February 21, 2017 at 10:10 pm

            I see where you’re coming from. The launch is definitely lacking, though I’d argue that the Switch has pretty obvious commercial appeal. The Swich can recover after launch though, like the 3DS did.

            The Wii only became attractive to third parties when it took off–which it did because of it’s motion controls, Wii Sports (which showed off those motion controls) and price. The handhelds do well because they’re convenient alternatives to sitting in front of a TV, and they have killer aps like the Pokémon series.
            The Switch has a unique form factor like both of these–it just needs a Wii Sports or Pokémon–esq killer app.

            The Switch could not have supported current gen third party support and been a hybrid without costing hundreds more than it does. It could’ve been a premium-priced powerhouse, but people would then complain about the $400-$500 PS4 Pro-like pricepoint and just stick to the cheaper current gen console’s for their third parties. They could’ve gone for a $200 Nintendo-only machine like you say, and that’d be interesting, but then it’d be competing with its own still-thriving 3DS line.

            I think that because of their timing, and the position the Wii U put them in, they had to either wait a few years until the PS5 etc., or straddle the middle now and try to succeed based off the form factor of the system (like they did with the Wii and like they do with their portables) instead of harnessing the power that would let them support AAA third parties. Because of the Wii U’s fate, they were basically pushed into a corner mid-generation.

            If it does well on its own, third parties will come with great exclusives like so many did on the DS and 3DS. The Switch just has to prove itself somewhat on its own first.

            It’ll be interesting for sure. If it fails after launch, Nintendo would be wise to have a price drop and push Mario at holiday to give it a second chance, similar to the comeback story of the 3DS after its abysmal launch. We’ll see!

          • Izsak “Khane” Barnette

            February 22, 2017 at 1:01 am

            I completely agree. The 3DS got to an incredibly slow start, but picked up pace when the price was cut. As I say in the article, the Wii U was by far their most ill-timed failure coming not only in the middle of a generation but also when they could have used a much needed financial boost after having to sell the 3DS at a loss.

          • John Cal McCormick

            February 22, 2017 at 8:53 am

            The Switch can definitely recover. It might not even need to recover. It might be a huge hit. But the 3DS recovered thanks to a combination of serious price cuts and the eventual arrival of big games. I question how much room Nintendo has to move with the price of the Switch. I’m pretty sure if there was any wiggle room it’d already be cheaper than it is.

            The Switch does need a killer app but it’s very difficult to see where that could come from. It certainly doesn’t have one at launch, or one that has been announced yet. Wii Sports was a very easy sell because it used the unique nature of the hardware perfectly and anybody could grasp the concept immediately. What could you possibly do to take advantage of the Switch hardware, which when you boil it down is really just changing screens? Not only that but Wii Sports was affordable, and came packed in with the console. For a lot of people who bought the Wii, Wii Sports was all it was.

            I know that the Switch couldn’t achieve parity with PS4/Xbox One and remain cost effective, but that’s why I’m questioning the entire focus of the console, if they want it to be a huge success. If all they want is to sell respectably and be their own thing then the Switch will be fine. It can hit Wii U sales. Probably even Gamecube sales. Maybe. But word on the street is that internally they think it’s so special it’s going to be a Wii-level hit and that’s absolutely bonkers to me.

            The focus of the console just seems askew to me. Regardless, it’s going to be super interesting watching it all unfold. It’ll be of little consequence to me since I’ve already decided I won’t be picking one up until Mario hits, but I’ll be interested to see how it’s selling once the novelty of launch wears off and the hardcore Nintendo crowd have already bought theirs.

          • Brent Middleton

            February 22, 2017 at 11:59 am

            I’d say Super Mario Odyssey will be their killer app at holiday by showcasing that you can take a huge triple-A anywhere. Zelda will already do this, but Mario might do it better. That combined with a $50 holiday price cut and it should be fine. It doesn’t need a pack-in in its first yea, it just needs to enter that holiday impulse buy range, and for a console $250 would be the sweet spot. Announce Smash Switch with all the Wii U DLC included for early 2018 and it’ll do fine.

            Probably not Wii numbers, but because of all the improvements in marketing and expected software droughts over the Wii U, I’d be hard pressed to see it do that poorly. It’s seemingly poised to hit Xbox One sales numbers in its first few years, and while that won’t be stellar, it’ll still be respectable. But who knows. The 3DS did 60 million. Crazier things have happened.

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Quality as Good As the Paper It’s Printed On: ‘Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door’ Retrospective

A retrospective on ‘Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door’ 15 years later
and the influence it had on the video game industry.

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Paper Mario Thousand Year Door

As a young child, I often spent quite a bit of time watching video games being played rather than playing them myself. My father and I would often crowd around one of the CRT televisions that we had spread throughout our house and play into the wee hours of the morning on weekends. One of those games was Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door for the Nintendo GameCube, and I will always love it. The game, with its classic humor, interesting locales, and fascinating characters is one of the trademarks of my childhood. I spent many hours playing the first three Paper Mario games, and they contributed greatly to my love for story-focused games.

Before I played The Thousand-Year Door, the games that I played were mainly immersive or non-story focused games. Games like Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue, Super Mario Sunshine, and Metroid Prime were the sort of games which interested me as a child. Before I picked up The Thousand-Year Door, I separated narrative and gameplay as separate entities in my mind. I was excited about what was going to happen next in a game, but I never anticipated or thought deeply about what was to come next in the game. I simply rolled with the punches.

Paper Mario Thousand Year Door Hooktail

The Thousand-Year Door changed that and it is to it that I owe my deep love for story-focused games. Without the Mario RPGs, I would not have the same appreciation that I do today for the role, no pun intended, of a story in games. Today, I love story-focused games, from Professor Layton to Xenoblade Chronicles, because of their ability to keep me engaged while I am not playing. No matter how spectacularly the meta-game flourishes in Super Smash Bros. nor how interesting raid mechanics in Final Fantasy XIV become, I will rarely think about them in-depth while not in the game. The story, on the other hand, is something that I will turn over in my mind throughout the day, constantly trying to discern what will happen next. Often, games that fail to register a good story fall out of my interest and my memory fast.

Objectively, the story in The Thousand-Year Door is oftentimes shallow, linear, and predictable in ways that a lot of the Mario RPGs often suffer from. To my adolescent mind, however, the game was a treasure trove, full to the brim with mystery and intrigue. Even as a voracious reader whilst a youngster, I was shocked by how deep the world of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door seemed to go. So many different people gathered in the little town of Rogueport from all over the Mushroom Kingdom. The game’s story was no amazing feat of narrative expression, but I felt the world was truly alive.

BogglyWoods

Thinking back, one of the best memories that I have of the game is the Excess Express in Chapter 6. Without spoiling, the thrill of going through the train, finding out its secrets, and solving them at the end of the chapter was one of the most thrilling experiences that I had ever seen in a game. The entire train ride was a mystery waiting to be unraveled and the game did an excellent job of guiding me along while giving clues regarding the state of affairs.

Gameplay was another way in which The Thousand-Year Door influenced my tastes for years to come. The turn-based RPG system in The Thousand-Year Door was simple, clean, and intuitive. In other words, the game is the perfect starter RPG. From there, I began to branch out to other RPGs, such as Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger, Xenoblade Chronicles, and eventually the Final Fantasy series. The game’s simple mechanics, coupled with a serviceable party system and the game’s own version of limit breaks make it perfect for RPG novices. To further that end, the game supplants the staple systems of most RPGs with easier to understand alternatives.

The writing is on point, too. Trading in the traditional JRPG approach of word salad with a side of exposition, The Thousand-Year Door relies instead upon the series’ now trademark humor to explain the plot while reducing the need for rampant exposition. Even as a child, I found the humor as engaging as I do today, with many pop-culture references sprinkled in amongst a sea of truly diverse and engaging characters. Professor Frankly is certainly as boring as many a college professor I have sat under and Sir Grodus’ fourth-wall-breaking discussions are as hilarious today as they were in 2006. The game parodies everything from the WWE to The Godfather, and even income inequality with a localization that is as great as anything that we had seen, or have seen since from Nintendo of America.

Paper Mario Thousand Year DoorCastle

The titular paper aesthetic is done well. In fact, when the game is run in HD, as one will often see in “Let’s Plays” on YouTube, it compares to most modern Wii U games. Even in compressed 480i, the native resolution of most GameCube games, and when the game is blown up at four times its native resolution, the game still looks great. It may appear muddy, full of artifacts, and hampered by the immense progress in televisions, but it still looks great. This is easily one of the best looking GameCube games, and it would be a great candidate for either a future rerelease on a yet-to-be-announced GCN Virtual Console (come on Nintendo!) or as an HD remake for the NX.

Still, it is truly baffling that this game has not been re-released by Nintendo yet, as this game is one of the few true RPGs on the GameCube and one of the best Mario RPGs to date. I poured dozens of hours of my childhood into this game and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was the game that cemented gaming as a viable storytelling medium in my mind. It was the game which set me on the path to discovering RPGs and the amazing worlds which they create.  Even though I hadn’t played through it in years, when I sold off most of my GameCube collection, it was one of three titles that I kept, not only because of how much it means to me but because it is truly one of the GameCube’s best games.

I will admit to nostalgia having a significant effect on how I perceive the game; after all, the game is not perfect. However, even as one of the most basic, simply prepared, and utilitarian RPGs out there, this game is a true masterpiece. It is a game that an 8-year-old child can watch his Dad play, or that a seasoned veteran of RPGs can plow through. The game is quintessentially Nintendo; it is made to bring people and their families together to craft experiences that will last a lifetime.

Thousand Year Door

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Nintendo Weekly Roundup

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Southwest Airlines hands out free Nintendo Switch consoles

Those departing to San Diego from Dallas on July 17 were treated to a surprise, as those taking the trip on a connecting flight ended up receiving a Nintendo Switch with a copy of Super Mario Maker 2.

Southwest Airlines, in conjunction with Nintendo, decided to give out Nintendo Switch consoles to lucky customers on Wednesday when they were handed redemption tickets for them. Twitter user Juan Jose Anchante posted a picture of the ticket, which can be seen below.

Nintendo and Southwest have collaborated in the past. In 2013, for example, Wii U consoles were given to lucky passengers going from New Orleans to Dallas, along with New Super Mario Bros. U. Similarly, in 2016, free Nintendo 3DS XL’s were given to passengers heading to Los Angeles from Dallas.

Presumably, this was a sort of promotion for San Diego Comic-Con, given the timing and the flight’s city of arrival. All these events seem to be fairly spontaneous, though it appears that, should you want a free Nintendo item like this in this fashion, taking a flight to/from Dallas with Southwest seems to be the best option.

Nintendo E3 Predictions

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 characters discovered in datamine

After years of waiting, gamers finally have their hands on the third installment in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series on their Nintendo Switch consoles. Moreover, a recent datamine tells us what characters may be coming to Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 via DLC.

According to Nintendo Life, one dataminer was able to find out that the game’s code has 49 DLC character slots. There were four playable characters discovered in the datamine. Allegedly, these characters are the following:

  • Black Bolt
  • Medusa
  • Vision
  • Valkyrie

As such, this seems to just be a mere taste of what Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 owners will be getting soon enough.

New Nintendo Switch may be on its way

While Nintendo recently revealed the Nintendo Switch Lite to fans everywhere, it turns out another model may be heading to consumers soon. While not necessarily the rumored upgraded version, this model’s primary improvement is that of its battery life.

On Nintendo’s Japanese website, some information has emerged regarding the upcoming Switch model. Most notably, there are details regarding the battery life available on the website. Forbes has translated the information below.

The numbers on the right reflect the battery life for the Switch Lite. As indicated, however, the battery life for the updated model will supposedly be substantially longer. Bringing the low end from 2.5 to 4.5 hours is nothing to scoff at and being able to play Breath of the Wild for 5.5 hours in handheld mode instead of 3 is a massive improvement.

According to Forbes, this rendition of the Switch may be hitting Japan as early as August and could be coming to the West as early as September.

Nintendo Switch New Joy-Cons
Via Kotaku

Nintendo announces new Joy-Con colors

Starting out with the gray option, as well as the blue and red option, the Joy-Cons took a while to expand their color palette. Now, two new Joy-Con sets are coming to Switch owners from Nintendo with very distinctive and bright colors.

The first, pictured on the left, is a Purple/Neon Orange combo. The second, pictured on the right, is a Blue/Neon Yellow combo.

The first pair of Joy-Cons appears to display very complementary palettes, with purple and orange meshing together incredibly well. Blue and Neon Yellow, while more distinctive and attractive than the standard gray Joy-Cons.

For fans looking for more diverse Joy-Cons, this should be good news. There are other colors out now, and there are decals that can spruce up existing Joy-Cons. However, if you were looking for a Joy-Con with a great shade of purple, you can look no further.

This Week’s Releases

As indicated previously, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order came out this week. At $59.99 USD, the game stands as a sequel that took 10 years to be released. Sporting a giant cast of Marvel superheroes, this is sure to be one of Nintendo’s biggest hits of this year.

Let’s Sing 2019 was also released on Nintendo Switch this week. For $39.99 USD, Switch owners can grab this title and pick from a variety of songs to sing when “training your voice solo” or at a “karaoke party.” This one is sure to be a hit at celebrations!

Puzzle game The Drama Queen Murder was also released this week for the Switch. At $9.99 USD, players take the role of private investigator and solve the murder of Dolores Molinero, “the Queen of Drama.” With a variety of investigative methods, this appears to be one of the more diverse mystery games to hit the Switch in a while.

As always, you can find these and more on the Nintendo Game Store.

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Stranger Things as an Anime is Even Cooler Than It Sounds

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Ever wondered what Stranger Things might look like in a vintage anime style? Well look no further than a recent fan made video by animation studio Humoring the Fates that does just that with the well-known Netflix show. The YouTube video is published by the channel Octopie and clocks in at just under two minutes, the perfect length to showcase some of the classic moments from the first two seasons of the show. In the parody film, the inhabitants of Hawkins are transformed into an anime style and we see cartoon remakes of epic scenes such as Eleven facing off against the Demogorgon as well as quieter moments like Hopper and Eleven sharing waffles.

Although some have commented that they believe the animation style is more aligned to 90’s cartoons rather that 80’s anime, it is still clear that the talented artists and creators at Humoring the Fates have managed to perfectly capture the feel of Stranger Things within an animated format here. It has certainly left fans now dreaming of one day having an animated series related to Stranger Things. Maybe a spin off? One day perhaps.

Have a look at the video below and for more on Stranger Things, check out some of our articles on season three here.

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Waiting for the ‘Resident Evil 3’ Remake? Here’s Something to Tide You Over

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Following the huge success of the official remakes of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2, a Resident Evil 3: Nemesis remake is likely on the horizon. However, a talented modder has given us something to fawn over whilst we play the waiting game with Capcom.

The Resident Evil 3: Seamless HD Project was created by Mathieu Phillipe and is a modded version of the Gamecube title. The mod is free but will require both a PC and Dolphin GameCube emulator to play. The mod boasts an impressive improvement to the graphics, sound and textures. The official site lists features such as “restored integrated texts”, “upscaled 3D model textures” and “ improved visual effects” to name just a few.

The mod is available for free and you can find all the appropriate information from the talented modders on the RESDHP website linked here as well as the free download. Have a glance at the incredibly well detailed gameplay from the mod below and to have a read of some of our Resident Evil 2 articles, check out our review of the RE2 remake here or our article on the boss fights of RE2 here.

Now we wait for the official RE3 remake…

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The Best and the Most Disappointing Changes to the ‘Lion King’ Soundtrack

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Disney’s latest remake of the highly revered animated classic The Lion King has been receiving mixed reviews from critics, but it still has the opportunity to dazzle the general public worldwide. With the new Lion King soundtrack having recently released, there is a lot to dissect from it. Hans Zimmer’s remake of the classic score is the highlight for me personally, and whilst the film’s popular songs are clearly remade with love for the original, some of the musical numbers don’t reach the heights of the 1994 classics.

Whilst I can say that some of these songs are a bit of a disappointment, I wouldn’t say that I actively dislike them, so bear in mind I’m probably being a little finicky.

#3 Most Disappointing: “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”

Before you all start attempting to track me down with pitchforks in tow, hear me out first: I do not dislike the 2019 version. The instrumentals are beautiful, Beyoncé is fierce, Donald Glover is perfect as Simba, and Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen are charming iterations of Timon and Pumbaa. That being said, I did feel somewhat disappointed with this version due to it feeling like a Beyoncé platform rather than the soulful duet between Simba and Nala that I was expecting. Glover is also completely overpowered by Beyoncé’s vocals; even in their solo moments, Simba seems quieter, whilst Nala’s voice is booming in every moment of the song. This is a real shame as Donald Glover has an incredible voice and he really should have been on level pegging with Beyoncé, despite her star power. After all, it’s not as if Glover is a modest actor and singer, as he has received global stardom under his artist pseudonym of Childish Gambino, as well as his acting work on Community and Solo: A Star Wars Story as a young Lando Calrissian.

Beyoncé certainly goes all out on the vocal work, and she is sounding stellar as usual. However, as amazing as she sounds, you can’t help but feel like this is her song, and her song alone. She gets her own number in the new original song “Spirit,” where she has plenty of opportunity to display her talents, so I just feel that “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” was a chance to showcase Simba and Nala’s growing affection through a song that equally showed off the artists talents. However, the end result is mostly Beyonce, and very little of Glover.

#3 Best: “Hakuna Matata”

The critics who have released their reviews on The Lion King have mostly agreed on one thing: that Timon and Pumbaa steal the show and inject a much-needed burst of energy into the film’s proceedings. This is undoubtedly the case when listening to “Hakuna Matata,” one of the most famous Disney songs on the Lion Kingsoundtrack. Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella brought a special partnership that warmed the audiences’ hearts to the characters and the song in the 1994 version, but Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen also manage to capture everything that was charming and dynamic about the meerkat and warthog duo, whilst introducing a playful originality to them. There is something hilariously endearing about hearing Seth Rogen’s attempts to hold a tune. Singing is clearly not one of his strengths, but he plays it well, and it somehow manages to fit Pumbaa’s character. Eichner, on the other hand, has a surprisingly fantastic set of pipes, which works amazing well with Rogen’s.

The funniest part of the song is the infamous line wherein Pumbaa discusses how he felt downhearted every time that he…passed wind. In the original film, Timon stops Pumbaa before he can use the phrase in front of the children (both baby Simba and the audience), but here Timon does not intervene, as Pumbaa announces his farting habits to the world. Pumbaa queries as to whether Timon is going to stop him, and Timon simply responds with, “No I’m not. You disgust me.” I must admit, I laughed out loud when I first heard it. Eichner’s delivery and his banter with Rogen is a great way to change up the song from the original. The audience has grown since the original film, and we are all now old enough to hear the word “fart” without having a meltdown. (Well, most of us are anyway.) JD McCrary and Donald Glover’s role as Simba in the song is also brilliant, as both of them are hugely talented singers who manage to capture the spirit of Simba perfectly, both younger and older.

#2 Most Disappointing: “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”

With that being said, the inclusion of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” sung by Eichner and Rogen, seems a little bit unnecessary to me. It is a funny scene in the original film, with the two wandering in the jungle singing the song to themselves, and it will probably make for amusing viewing in this remake too, but I don’t see why it had to be put in the Lion King soundtrack. Again, Eichner’s vocals are great, but Rogen does very little here. There are also hints of fart noises in the song as well, which makes it feel all the more obsolete.

There are some really amazing songs throughout the franchise, such as those from the Broadway show and the second movie, so I don’t see why one of those songs couldn’t have made it onto the soundtrack instead of this. “He Lives in You,” which was in both The Lion King 2 and the musical adaptation, managed to make its way onto the 2019 soundtrack, and it works incredibly well. I just wish that one of the other great songs could have been brought here instead. Like I said at the start, I’m being finicky about this, as well as a little bit mean, but it really does feel like an unnecessary addition to pad out the length of the soundtrack. With the wide range of possibilities for additional music, I can’t help but feel like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is one of the more superfluous songs on the album.

#2 Best: “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King”

One of my all-time favourite Disney songs has to be “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King,” so I couldn’t help but scrutinise the 2019 version after I first heard it. I found myself pleasantly surprised. Jason Weaver and Laura Williams sang the original fantastically, managing to nail the song performance-wise, whilst also keeping in line with the characters of Simba and Nala, respectively. This was sure to be a difficult act to follow, but JD McCrary and Shahdi Wright-Joseph pay respect to their predecessors whilst bringing a fresh sound to the classic song. John Oliver doesn’t quite hit the mark when it comes to the dry British wit of Zazu as well as Rowan Atkinson did, but he does a great job nonetheless, and his inclusion is still a nice touch of humor.

The song is slightly longer than the original as well, adding more of an interlude made up of tribal drums that lay out an adventurous beat that further enforces the idea of two mischievous lion cubs running through the pride lands. Nala gets more to do this time around too, as the song takes cues from the Broadway musical, which gave some of Simba’s singing lines to Nala and added in some riffing to jazz up her part in the song. This is great to hear, as it gives Shahdi Wright-Joseph the chance to bring some brightness to the character with her incredible singing talent. The 2019 version is cheerful, energetic, and brings the young talent of the film into the spotlight that they deserve, so I definitely consider it as one of the best on the Lion King soundtrack.

#1 Most Disappointing: “Be Prepared”

Many months ago, when The Lion King was still in development, rumors started coming to the fore that the fan-favourite song “Be Prepared” (featuring the film’s villain, Scar) would be cut from the remake. Closer to the release date, it was revealed that the song would indeed be in the movie, but the end result feels somewhat half baked. A good deal of the 2019’s “Be Prepared” involves talking from Scar and his hyena minions, but it slowly and uncertainly becomes more grandiose until it is a musical number. Regardless, it all just feels a bit low-energy, with little of the charisma and character from Jeremy Irons’ version from 1994.

Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Scar this time around, is not at fault here. In fact, his deep, booming, and intimidating voice is chilling, and gives the song a more sinister and villainous tone, with a hint of creepiness. What is irritating is that whilst the song does have positives (mainly Ejiofor’s performance and the haunting instrumentals) that could have made for a really interesting and original take on the classic song, it is so rushed that it doesn’t have much time to truly make an impact.  It’s two minutes long, but has a slow beat that doesn’t increase much throughout, so by the time the song finally starts to get going, it is already finishing.

It isn’t exactly clear what happened with this number, but it seems to me like Disney saw the backlash from the public when it was suggested that “Be Prepared” wasn’t going to be included, and therefore scrambled to put something together for Scar in the final film. Of course, I can’t say that this is what happened for sure, but if so, the final product is a hastily done piece that could have been so much better if given the same amount of creative input as some of the other songs on the Lion King soundtrack. Despite Ejiofor’s efforts and the promising framework that the song offers, the 2019 version of “Be Prepared” is incredibly disappointing. Not only does it not stand anywhere near the level of the original, but it wastes its potential. After the initial sinister tones of Ejiofor wore off, it left me feeling pretty unmoved. For such a well-known song from the remake of one of Disney’s best animated films, it simply isn’t up to the standard that it should be.

#1 Best: Stampede

It has to be one of Hans Zimmer’s interpretations of the old score that is the best of the 2019 Lion King soundtrack. Zimmer had a tough challenge ahead of him when he agreed to come back for the remake. He had to stay true to the original music (as it is one of the greatest scores from an animated movie to date), but also make sure that he added enough new material within the original score to create a refreshing update. I consider this song the most successful of the new soundtrack, despite all the star power behind the others. One of the most emotionally charged tracks has to be “Stampede,” which comes during the infamous stampede that leads to Mufasa’s death.

The original track (called “To Die For”) is incredibly intense before becoming harrowing, but Zimmer manages to up the emotion even more so in his 2019 take on the piece. It is slightly longer, and spends a bit more time ramping up in intensity, creating a heart-pumping piece that makes you feel the gravitas of the scene without even watching it. Once the music has reached its boiling point, Zimmer includes a sorrowful effect that sounds like a lion’s scream. This is new addition to the piece gives it an extra stab of pain, as we know that this is when Mufasa loses his life as young Simba watches on in horror. The music then moves onto the softer and hugely emotional moment of Simba finding his father’s body, then attempting to get him to wake up. As sad as this was on the original Lion King soundtrack, it is made all the more painful to listen to now, as Zimmer increases his orchestra and adds in some booming drum beats to emphasise the weighty effect that this event will have on Simba’s life, as well as the lives of all the lions in the pride. You can hear the cub’s life being ripped from underneath him, all within a few seconds of the score.

I felt myself tearing up just listening to this track, without even having watched the film yet. The last minute or so then gets a new, sinister theme for the hyenas, as they presumably chase Simba out of the pride lands. It has a more threatening tone than their original theme, but it still stays true to it. This element is also more frantic, to indicate Simba’s desperate attempt to escape the predators. “Stampede” is an incredible piece that highlights Zimmer’s attempts to rework his previous music into something with even more emotional power than it had originally.

The new Lion King soundtrack is out now, and the film releases this Friday, July 19th 2019.

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Goomba Stomp is the joint effort of a team of like-minded writers from across the globe. We provide smart readers with sharp, entertaining writing on a wide range of topics in pop culture, offering an escape from the usual hype and gossip.

Contact us: Editor@GoombaStomp.com

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Goomba Stomp | Sordid Cinema

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