Nintendo seeks to rev up 3DS with holiday games

Sep 13, 2011 By YURI KAGEYAMA , AP Business Writer
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, standing in front of an image of a pink-color model of the 3DS portable to woo women users, speaks during a news conference at a convention center in Tokyo, Japan, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011. Nintendo is readying an array of video games for the holidays in an aggressive attempt at catch-up for lost time from the sales delay of the 3DS portable machine last year. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

Nintendo is readying an array of video games for the holidays in an aggressive attempt at catch-up for lost time from the sales delay of the 3DS portable machine last year.

Nintendo Co., which makes the Wii home console and Super Mario and Pokemon games, showed some of the gaming titles featuring glasses-free three-dimensional technology at a packed Tokyo event hall Tuesday.

The year-end holidays and the New Year's gift-giving season will be a key test for the 3DS portable. Game companies make up more than half their annual sales during those months.

Analysts say it cost the Japanese video game maker potential momentum when the 3DS was not ready for Christmas last year. It did not go on sale until February in Japan, and March in the U.S. and Europe, forcing Nintendo to slash its profit forecasts by more than half.

Adding to the woes, the overall gaming business has hit the doldrums recently, as the initial momentum wore off from the Wii and DS handheld, both megahits from Kyoto-based Nintendo - partly because of a scarcity of hit game software, but also because of the advent of other mobile entertainment, such as cellphone gaming and social networking like Twitter.

Yusuke Tsunoda, analyst for Tokai Tokyo Securities Co., was pessimistic about the potential for 3-D gaming on the tiny screen of a portable.

Nintendo also needs to introduce more 3-D games if it hopes the 3DS will catch on, he said, noting that there were no surprises in games shown Tuesday.

"It is OK to sit down and watch 3-D," Tsunoda said, referring to 3-D movies at theaters and 3-D on TV sets. "But when it comes to playing 3-D games, it can get tiring on your eyes the more you play."

Nintendo has sold just 4.32 million 3DS machines around the world so far. Nintendo has sold nearly 150 million DS machines since they went on sale in 2004, outpacing the Sony PlayStation Portable, which went on sale about the same time, and whose cumulative global sales total 71 million.

President Satoru Iwata showed video footage of games in the works, including the popular Super Mario series, that were for 3-D playing without the special glasses usually required for 3-D TVs.

Iwata said the company was doing its utmost to offer a satisfying selection of games to play on 3DS.

He has always said machines never become a hit unless there are hit games people are going to want to play on them.

"We know the hurdle is high," he said. "We will do our utmost to make the 3DS as widespread as its predecessor DS machine."

Iwata noted the DS and Wii had proved popular with women - a characteristic he seemed to think was unique for Nintendo products, unlike offerings from rivals Sony Corp. with its PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable and Microsoft Corp. and its Xbox 360.

But he said the 3DS had not been so far as popular with women. He said a pink-color model was going on sale later this year in an effort to woo women.

It was perhaps telling of Nintendo's fading confidence in its in-house games that the climax of the demonstration was for a game by Capcom Co.

Capcom, a Japanese game developer also behind the "Biohazard" games, is readying a spectacular 3DS version of its popular "Monster Hunter" game.

Nintendo usually pushes its own games, but Iwata showered Capcom with praise as bringing out the best in 3-D features.

Sony is scheduled to outline its strategy for portable gaming Wednesday, ahead of the Tokyo Game Show in a suburb, opening to media Thursday. Nintendo generally does not take part in the Tokyo Game Show.

Nintendo has already slashed the price of its 3DS. Starting last month, it cost 15,000 yen in Japan, down from 25,000. In the U.S., the price dropped to $169.99 from $249.99.

Such a major price cut so soon after a product launch was unprecedented for Nintendo, underscoring 3DS' struggles.

Once next year rolls around, Nintendo will face competition in portable gaming from Sony, which is putting on sale its PlayStation Vita handheld early next year.

That will cost $249 in the U.S., and 24,980 yen in Japan, for a Wi-Fi only version, and $299 and 29,980 yen for a version that will also have a cellphone service.

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Nanobanano
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
It's been a while since I actually bought a game.

New technology aside, everything is a bad remake of something else now, kind of like movies.

Additionally, game designers make 3d just because they think they should, or because casual gamers like to be "wowed" with cheesy special effects, but then the designers usually SUCK at actually producing interesting levels and game play.

Dont get me wrong, some remakes are a good thing IF they are true to the orginal, and even a 2d to 3d conversion could work for some things, but not always.

I would LOVE to see Final Fantasy 6 in 3d, with bugs patched, with voice acting, and I mean Baldur's Gate 2 quality voice acting, and Blizzard Entertainment quality (or better) pre-rendered 3d animation, now that would be spectacular. And no, the playstation version doesn't count. Yes, this is a pipe dream, because it's not going to happen.
Nanobanano
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
Above, I'd say take the gameboy advance version of FF6 and convert it to 3d with voice acting, and pretty much cut in half the block/magic block stats of all of the equipment, since it's too powerful, and do away with elemental absorb, but keep the half and negation mechanics...double all boss HP, nerf these: tools, Throw, Empower, Step Mine, Bum Rush, Master's Scroll, and Gem Box.

Yeah, it'd be one of the best games ever made (again), and this time the perfect low level challenge would actually be a...challenge.

---

I miss the days when the story telling games and RPGs actually told a good story, with just enough dialogue to make it interesting, but not slogging through a wall of overly dramatic crap either.

I miss the days when action games actually had mechanics and action, and it took a good ten or 20 re-loads before you mastered a game, instead of beating it on the first try.

Something has definitely been lost over the years in our interactive entertainment
Nanobanano
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
The other thing I'd say a remake of FF6 should do is to have two modes: "Classic" and "Expert".

In the Classic mode, all enemy encounters would stay 100% true to the original game in terms of abilities and elemental resists.

in the Expert mode, the enemies would start with randomized elemental abilities and randomized elemental resistance, and all enemies would be immune to instant death. This way you couldn't simply "memorize" the fights, or simply reload and re-equip a rigged equipment setup. You'd actually need to relearn the boss fight after every failed attempt, and set a party up to adapt to any situation, since you'd never have any clue what the enemy's strengths and weaknesses are. That would be a challenging RPG.

Players should never have elemental absorb, because the mechanic is too powerful and makes the game too easy.

Enemies should have elemental absorb when appropriate.
ruebi
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
Crisis Core in 3D would be slick. Love the gameplay and the story.
emsquared
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
New technology aside, everything is a bad remake of something else now, kind of like movies.

You're looking at/playing the wrong games then.
I would LOVE to see Final Fantasy 6 in 3d, with bugs patched, with voice acting, and I mean Baldur's Gate 2 quality voice acting

Two of my favorite games ever, however I couldn't disagree with you more Nano.

IMO, a remake is only worth it for something that could have been great but fell short. Both of these titles are consummate masterpieces. Impeccable in their place in history and time. IMO they cannot be improved upon, especially with fancier graphics or voice acting.

It's like a favorite novel. I'm perfectly fine with leaving what was meant to be left to the reader's imagination to the reader. Look at the Star Wars Blue Rays. Totally f'ed up the revisions.

For me, the wrong look or voice for Sabin or Cyan or Celeste or Kefka would ruin the whole thing, and they almost certainly wouldn't get them all right (IMHO, of course).
btb101
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
with the 3ds being the most returned console in gaming history, with the lower age limit of 7 yrs being placed on the buying public (children's eyes are really put through the wringer) i am actually surprised that nintendo is still trying to sell this.
this is one product that should be consigned to console heaven along with commodore 64 and atari 800xl...
Nanobanano
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
emsquared:

You might be right, but I'd just say this.

I played the 3d remake of FF4 with voice acting on the NDS, and it was re-balanced and stuff. Admittedly, most players probably don't low level, so they wouldn't be good enough to notice the biggest differences, but I can say it was both much harder and much better over all than the original. The fixed the gear at the end of the game and some other issues, and the random fights and bosses in the last level are BRUTAL in a low level game, almost unbeatable even...

Additionally, while the voice acting was nothing spectacular, it DID enhance the experience. In fact, some scenes in the game were actually so powerful that it was almost scary and startling.

The scene with Rosa in Cecil's room at the beginning after Mysidia was SICK AWESOME with voice acting. It was like watching Les Miserable or Shawshank Redemption or something like that.

I actually cried. I'm serious. I've played the original like 10 times.
Nanobanano
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
I will say that the voice acting enhanced the game much more than did the 3d.

You may recall that even Baldur's Gate 2 was not 3d, but pretty much a roughly 45 degrees angle bird's eye view, and I would agree that it was one of the best games ever made. It was one of the first games that REALLY had good voice acting, and the mechanics and story were extremely developed, yet you could also "customize" by role playing the bad guy, breaking the scripts, and just go around seeing how much havok you could make and stuff too.

FF6 was a LITTLE like that, and was, I think, one of the most customizable "single player" games ever made, especially in the second half of the game. With 14 characters to choose from, you could do anything from Celes, Edgar, Setzer only, or you could do any combination of 1 to 4 characters from the pool of 14 available. That degree of customization and replayability had never been done in any game I know, and hasn't been done very often since then.
Nanobanano
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
On the other hand, I was absolutely annoyed at FF7, because the 3d was poorly done, there is no voice acting even though it was a gigabyte game, and the story was annoyingly drawn out and over-dramatic for not-so-dramatic events.

Sephiroth was too flat of a character as a lead villain, in spite of the obvious efforts to develop his character. It just doesn't have the "feel" of Golbez, nor the dark, sadistic comedy of Kefka, and Sephiroth's scenes cannot even compare to the character development of Irenicus in BG2...

However, Sephiroth pre-dates Irenicus as a Character, and there actually are quite a few similarities as characters as well, BUT Irenicus is just executed so much better in BG2.

Point is anyway, 3d is much less useful than voice acting, yet much more time consuming in development, so it's actually to me a less than desirable thing for the developers of new games or remakes to work on...
Nanobanano
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
to make my point, the quality of Blizzards' RTS games has actually gone DOWN since Starcraft, not up...

Starcraft was 2d with probably 30 minutes to an hour worth of voice acting if you added it all up, and most of this is mission briefings. Broodwar expansion was about the same.

Warcraft 3 was 3d with a bit more voice acting, but the mechanics of this game were never popular with the Starcraft crowd, and the story was terrible.

Starcraft 2 is "better" 3d and more voice acting, but most of the story is completely horrible, inconsistent with the original story, and certainly did not sell the "suspension of disbelief" thing in most scenes the way the originals did.

1 mission in SC2 was a direct ripoff of an undead mission in WC2, another was a ripoff of "Army of Darkness" movie, and then at least 3 other missions were so absurd in the setting and plot that they were almost un-playable.

It was disgusting as a campaign sequel, and didn't live up to the time they spent on it.
Nanobanano
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
And another thing (damn I'm rambling), but you can go on youtube and search for the character themes from the SNES games from the 1990s, including the Final Fantasy games, and you'll find the theme music from the games.

What you'll notice is that even though all they had was 8 bit MIDI, the quality of this music is actually better than many of the more modern games from the 2000 to present day.

Terra's theme, and "Dancing Mad" are on an almost completely different level compared to the theme musics of most games.

http://www.youtub...D7naWRAo

I don't know what to say. It's like when you play the game, this theme absolutely BELONGS there, and absolutely nothing else would have worked. They are a unit that cannot "really" exist seperately. You FEEL Finaly Fantasy 6 when you hear Terra's theme, and you almost can't play the game with the music muted. That would be an insult.

This is quite different from many games, where the sound track seems almost "forced".
Nanobanano
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
Most epic boss music ever, period:

http://www.youtub...VNKtmWnc

Anyone reading who's never heard this, it does not repeat for 17 minutes. There are 4 movements which are all quite different, about 4 minutes or so each, and tell a different part of Kefka's story.

There's a site which explains the symbolism in the music, but you'll have to search if you're interested.

And yes, the second movement for tier 2 is supposed to be annoying, lol...

I guess I'm too nostalgic and whatever, but I'd hope other people would see my point.