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Nintendo and Gamestop pimping DS to ladies


At my local mall, I saw that Gamestop was having a contest to win a DS. After asking to enter, I was denied. “This is a ladies only contest.”

Called “Me Time”, the event let the ladies try out a pretty wide variety of DS games on pink handhelds. One of the women here just won a DS in fact. Time to go cheer on my wife!

Published on October 18th, 2008 under ,

What’s Nintendo Playing?


Imagine you’re working in Nintendo of America’s marketing division in Redwood City, California, and it’s been a long week.  Maybe you’ve had trouble organizing a promotion, or maybe you’re up against a deadline – whatever the reason, you wonder how you’re going to make it to the end of the day.  A co-worker snaps you out of your trance, “Hey, what are you still doing here? Did you forget it was Friday?”  Friday! You forgot all about gameplay Fridays! All your troubles melt away as you abandon your desk and head for the nearest Wii, for the next hour being a Nintendo employee means playing games.

This weekly ritual is practiced nationwide at Nintendo offices across America, reminding Nintendo employees what the company is all about.  “Employees put down their pens or get off their keyboards and play games for an hour, from 4-5 every Friday,” Denise Kaigler, Nintendo’s VP of marketing told me, “If you came to our Redwood City offices on a Friday afternoon, you’d see the entire company playing games.”  Kaigler told me that all three of Nintendo’s North American offices, Redwood City, Redmond, and New York all participate in Gameplay Fridays, saying that to make games, you have to play games.

What’s Nintendo playing now?  When JC Rodrigo’s not pimping Wii Music, he’s obsessed with Animal Crossing, boasting 6.8 million bells in AC: Wide World.  Denise Kaigler is hooked on Crosswords DS and Mystery Case Files MillionHeir.  What about Reggie?  I asked around earlier this month at Nintendo’s fall press event, and nobody was quite sure.

“What is he playing right now?” Kaigler asked a colleague, “ He plays a game all the time, why can’t I think of it right now?”  One nearby Nintendo employee thought they saw him playing Fire Emblem, but nobody could be sure.  “He plays everything, but there is something he’s really into right now.”

Reggie eluded me at the event, disappearing from sight soon after the opening statements, possibly to fight dragons and conquer uncharted lands.  If I ever manage to corner the big guy, what would Infendo readers want to know? Let us know in the comments!

Published on October 15th, 2008 under , , , ,

The 16 most ridiculous-looking, cringe-inducing Wii lifestyle photos of all time


The Wii is beloved by many, myself included. And a contributing reason may have been Nintendo’s unprecedented use of lifestyle photos, which turn the camera from televisions onto gamers, showing how much fun can be had playing Wii, as opposed to a screenshot you might not understand.

While nearly all of them do their job, some lifestyle photos look convincing. Most look pretty lame. But the following look flat-out ridiculous — the most-retarded-looking Wii lifestyle photos of all time.

Blue Steel fail

This lifestyle photo is the Two Face of lifestyles. On the left sits a smiley brunet, genuinely thrilled with whatever director notes are being shown. On the right, a fake blond forcefully attempts a Blue Steel, or maybe The Magnum — I can’t remember which. In any case, she looks absurd.

Cheat fail

Dumb. I can only imagine what this would have looked like in the NES days. Being the recipient of the reset button while winning was never this fun. By the way, I also keep my Stratocaster perched next to my living room sofa at all times.

Comic book fail

I understand what Nintendo was trying to do here — I really do. The world had never seen such a capable controller until the Wii remote reared its motion-sensing, force-feedbacking, audible head. But did they really need to go all Batman with the graphics on this one? I suppose comics look “fun,” but seriously.

Creepy European gamer fail

If you’re one of our friendly European readers, feel free to change the above title to “Creepy Xbox Live gamer fail.” Whatever you are, there’s no denying this guy looks like a real douche.

“No, no. Look over here!”

This shot is amazing. Not only does it look preposterous, but the three actors are all looking at different objects. Two different TVs, I suppose, and Mr. Dazed and Confused is looking directly at the camera. What a twit.

Dumb and Dumber fail

Rule #1: Never use an actor that looks like Harry Dunne. Rule #2: See rule #1.

Enjoyment fail

Needs more Pokémon.

Live performance fail

Pictured above is the first live performance Wii lifestyle photo, courtesy of Nintendo’s E3 2008 press conference. A hot and sweaty M. Night Shyamalan lookalike plays Wii Music, and not very good from the sound of it. As one in attendance, I can’t tell you how embarrassingly uncomfortable the moment really was, other than “fail.”

Damsel in distress fail

This lifestyle pic, once used to promote Project H.A.M.M.E.R., displays wonderment never before seen on the face of a gamer. The game appears so “immersive,” in fact, that the player’s love interest must take cover behind her beau’s shield of a body, watching him befell giants like never before. Surly this photo-op alone could have saved the game, right? Nah.

Agoraphobia fail

Is this a JC Penny’s ad or a Wii Sports lifestyle shot? In any case, there is no possible way these youth could play tennis that close together. Hello?! Ever hear of a Wii-injury? Overcrowding for the loss.

Nerd fail

Okay, this isn’t an actual Wii Lifestyle photo, but you can imagine how detrimental it would have been had Nintendo commissioned this goober to appear in an advertisement.

Grampa smells like beef and cheese

Without stating the obvious (pedophilia), this picture makes me uncomfortable.

Plaid fail

Trying a little too hard, are we? It’s virtual golf, not a Caddyshack remake.

Playing Wii is not this tedious, I swear

Don’t worry. You really can play Zelda without looking like a tool. Fail.

Serve fail

I thought the server stood behind his double’s partner in tennis? And you’re suppose to serve the ball, not pitch it! And…, oh, this just looks so staged, it doesn’t even matter.

Grandma fail

Believe it, grandma. The rotund Italian plumber you seen in front of you is actually living in your television set. Crazy, I know.

BONUS: The ideal Wii lifestyle photo

Now if every Wii lifestyle photo looked like this, it would all be gravy. Keep fighting the good fight, Miyamoto (so long as it’s not related to you know what).

TELL US: What’s the most ridiculous-looking lifestyle photo you’ve ever seen?

Published on September 26th, 2008 under , , , , , , ,

PAX girls panel: “F@*k Princess Peach”


Mario has stomped through galaxies and soared above the clouds to rescue Princess Peach no less than three dozen times over the last 20 years.

But has he ever stopped to consider if the dumb broad is worth the trouble?

This year, the annual Penny Arcade Expo hosted a panel of women from all over the gaming industry for a discussion of women’s issues in gaming, including gender roles in video games and the difficulties of breaking into an industry that is primarily a “boys’ club.”

Linsey Mudrock of the development studio ArenaNet succinctly articulated her dissatisfaction with the traditional “save the princess” archetype.

Obsidian’s Annie Carlson: Nobody likes “luggage” characters that are too stupid to live. All characters need to have something – some really good reason why they’re weak and something really redeeming, like good AI.

ArenaNet’s Linsey Mudrock: F@*k Princess Peach.

Characters such as Peach may cast women as helpless, but do deliberately designed eye candy like SoulCalibur’s Ivy and Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft earn women any more respect? And what of Samus Aran, who until recently has consistently hidden her sex?

Ladies, forget equal pay…how about equal play?

Published on September 9th, 2008 under ,

Nintendo haters? It’s time to fess up, shut up, or grow up


It’s pretty crazy to think about it, but E3, with all its Wii Music-induced Nintendo-is-the-end-of-gaming paranoia, was about two months ago now. And, as predicted, the cacophony of rhetoric and vocal minority-driven criticism has subsided, only to be replaced with cold, hard facts.

Facts like Wario Land: Shake It and Mega Man 9, which will no doubt revolutionize and modernize 2-D platform gaming when they launch this fall. Or the fact that Disaster: Day of Crisis—perpetually delayed, canceled, and then revived for a rumored October release (in Europe)—is actually alive and ready for release, thank you very much. And then there’s The Conduit, now on the cusp of being published and heralded by respected tech blog ars technica as an impressive feather in Wii’s cap.

Hell, even Sadness, like the drunk uncle that shows up at Easter and Christmas, made an appearance in August with admittedly suspect “game play” footage. It’s what we’ve come to expect from the next great vaporware title (behind Duke Nukem Forever, of course), but at least it was something.

The bigger picture in all this (and my point), bigger in fact than whatever “negativity” arose from Nintendo’s kooky E3 keynote, is that each of these titles is pretty mature. They’re also all pretty exclusive, and none of them are technically Nintendo first party IP. Again, I renew my criticism to those who incorrectly belittled Nintendo for treating E3 as the clown-driven, yesterday’s news circus that it was. What’s the deal? It’s time to fess up, grow up, or shut up. Personally, I’d prefer a mashup of all three.

First stage? Fess up. Why the angst? Why the cries of abandonment when the platter is so full–and looking even more full as we prepare to enter the holiday season and beyond? Forgive me for being so logical (aced it in college, sorry), but I fail to see the life benefit of complaining about a title like Wii Music, especially when Pokemon, a title more geared towards children than anything, is far larger, more far reaching and (I quote the hardcore here) “threatening” to the video game way of life than some harmless music simulator. Why the wasted effort? From the belly-aching that pretty much gripped July and August, one would have thought Nintendo, Gestapo style, was marching through the streets of the U.S., breaking down doors and forcing consumers to plop down $50 to play Miyamoto’s take on rhythm games. I have yet to see the news reports of Nintendo employees, jack boots and all, breaking anything but sales records. Maybe I missed them.

Is it because it’s cool? Are the forum lurkers, with their gift of putting together a carefully crafted and substance-free sentence that happens to include the word Nintendo, so inspirational that you cannot resist taking the easy route to the hate wagon?

Again, I only ask such questions after carefully surveying the long-term landscape. There’s 1:1 motion control on the horizon on only one system; there’s relatively inexpensive touch-based portable gaming only only one system; and the games above—all exclusives—are only available on one system. That these systems also include a brain dead music sim in Wii Music, or a game that trains your brain with number puzzles and IQ tests, is largely irrelevant to the overall success of those very systems, just as it is with any other medium (like movies, for example). Need proof? Did Hannah Montana prevent you from seeing the Dark Knight this summer? Does the fact that there’s a Bratz movie vying for marquee space during the warmer months mean Hell Boy 2 failed the hardcore test? Comedian Ricky Gervais is making a corny ghost flick, set to release later this month–does that mean the original Office spontaneously became a suck-fest? Of course not, and yet these kind of illogical arguments and belly-aching pervade the video game discussion like a plague.

What’s also ignored, either by choice or by ignorance, is the fact (again with the word fact…) that the past year and a half has seen Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3 (a genre-defining FPS, on the Wii?! Really?!), Super Mario Strikers, Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart Wii.

Again, I think the vocal minority, with its insatiable multi-games-per-month mentality (which is entirely their right), has hijacked the conversation. A game that continually posts a top 10 finish month-over-month across the entire frickin’ globe (Mario Kart DS, a-hem), is deemed irrelevant. How sad. And how sad that one little non-game, like Wii Music, can so easily distract a group of people from all the fun games that have hit Nintendo systems over the past two years. And, in doing so, it’s effectively overshadowed what’s set to arrive in the next six months. At least in the hardcore forums, anyway. The rest of the world has snatched up Wii’s and DS’s in record numbers throughout 2007 and 2008 in spite of this apparent outcry against Nintendo’s current strategy.

Lastly, part of fessing up is being brutally honest about yourself. Do you want only epic, realistic, uncanny valley failing games with 40-hour play times and one-player adventures? Then stop expecting them from Nintendo en masse. You’ll get them occasionally, like with Disaster should it be as real as its appeared to be this week, but you’ll no longer get a 12-month stream of identical games as you’ve had on other systems in the past. Variety? Yes, please.

So the next step is just to shut up. Rude? Sure, but have you read some of the comments here on Infendo and abroad lately? When people aren’t being plain offensive, they’re being offensively obtuse; ignoring, as I’ve stated above, readily available facts (addressed, above) and trends about not just Nintendo, but the industry as a whole. Wii MotionPlus should have been available since the beginning just because people say so; in doing so, they are willfully ignoring the fact that by delaying MotionPlus on purpose, as they claim it did, Nintendo would have been voluntarily pissing away development dollars and potential mega-hits. Who needs to criticize clueless analysts like Michael Pachter when the ignorant masses can do just as good a job for free?

That leads to the next point… I think a lot of what’s going on today has everything to do with some of the other players in the industry. When your marketing arm is able to so deftly and successfully give a small, “core” group of video game players a label that sticks and personifies them so adequately, and on a medium–the Internet–where it’s so easy for even the dumbest of denizens to post their thoughts, they’ll more than gladly do a majority of your work for you. It helps when they already have 24/7 access to the Internet and a knack for Internet memes. In this light, consoles are no longer venues for playing all types of games, they are suddenly isolated silos of coolness, ready to play your mature games and serve as launching pads for close-minded, old world assaults on the Brain Ages of the world. If you didn’t know Sudoku was an imminent threat to the safety of Halo 3, you will after a trip to any “hardcore” video game blog.

Personally, I’d rather be challenged. I’d rather find out if a game is fun by playing it, and base my criticism off that. Was the Wii Music demo laughable? Sure it was. Watching it made many people, rightfully, uncomfortable. But so did Wii Sports when we all saw Reggie and company bowling like idiots at E3 2006. But it’s easier to forget that and join in the chorus, I suppose. It’s cooler. But it’s not challenging. It’s predictable. If Wi Music wants to be a mind-numbingly easy music “toy” as Miyamoto describes it, then that’s how I’ll evaluate it. I’m not going to go in, as so many have done so already, wanting it to be a Guitar Hero music rhythm game, and then cry about how disappointed I am afterward.

That leaves the last point to this, the latest Jack Nintendo tirade. I’ll keep it succinct, given the hour and the pile of 12 fun Wii games I have at my disposal right now (and 20+ DS, too): grow up. Too many people think video games are about them these days; that their limited boy’s toys world view is what’s going to drive gaming to new heights and lead to head-spinning new levels of innovation and fun. It’s not, and that’s an incredibly good thing. 2-D platformers are enjoyed by all ages and sexes to this day. Music rhythm games have been responsible for more 20- to 30-something age parties over the past year than I can count. My parents both play the Nintendo DS I got them last Christmas. My Abercrombie-influenced sister is mature and secure enough to get down with Wii Fit and Dance Dance Revolution. I started playing video games again after the dark days of the GameCube in 2006, and I haven’t looked back since. Ignoring these facts or pretending that they’re not cool enough to welcome into the fold, or that they somehow mean you’re not going to have any more fun on a Nintendo system isn’t going to affect one iota of the industry. What it will do is ensure that you’re probably in front of a computer screen, ranting against the man, when you could be enjoying a solid, growing, and diverse catalogue of Nintendo titles.

The average age of gamers today hovers around late 20’s all the way up to 35. It’s time to start acting like it.

Published on September 2nd, 2008 under , , , , , , , , ,

Wondering what Link is doing this December?


Opening a dentistry practice in Hyrule, just west of Kakariko Village.

Published on August 31st, 2008 under , ,

E3 afterthought: Which was worse?


Nintendo’s E3 2008 press conference


Sony’s E3 2006 press conference?

Published on August 13th, 2008 under , , , , ,

Poll: Mortal Kombat vs. Street Fighter


Though the Street Fighter series has aged better, my money is still on MK — if only because the first two games were flawless victories of win.

Which is better?

  • Mortal Kombat
  • Street Fighter

View Results

Published on July 25th, 2008 under , , , , ,

Talk Nintendo with Infendo at 4pm EST today!


Hey, everyone. The Infendo crew will be in the chat room at 4pm EST today to discuss all your burning questions, opinions, rants, and raves. Like, has Nintendo forgotten their most loyal fans? Are gamers blowing the recent Nintendo press conference out of proportion? Are there any games (both first-party and third-party) you’re excited to play on Wii and DS this holiday?

Join us, won’t you?

Published on July 24th, 2008 under , , , , ,

Nintendo Power in Top 50 magazines


As voted by the Chicago Tribune.

The magazine is 20 years old, but it is still stuck in its tweens and that’s a good thing. Just as the Nintendo company has, the magazine has had to adapt and reinvent itself. You can read it for the nostalgia factor or to get a taste of the upcoming games for Wii and DS systems.

I resubscribed in late 2005 for the nostalgia factor, but stayed for the games. I’m not sure I’ve seen another magazine or website so focused on games.

Are you a subscriber?

Published on July 11th, 2008 under ,

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