TOKYO--Retailers in Japan are reporting new tidbits on upcoming Nintendo games, according to sources who attended a meeting this week in which Nintendo officials delivered details and release dates for new titles to store owners.
Nintendo said it shipped 1.45 million DS units in the month after the handheld's release--90 percent of the total number of units it's manufactured. Officials added that the handheld sold much faster when compared with the launch of its Game Boy Advance. Nintendo said that a survey of 1,292 DS owners revealed that 52 percent of users were "extremely satisfied" with the handheld, while 39 percent were "somewhat satisfied," showing that more than 90 percent of owners were happy with their DS.
Nintendo's GBA has also been selling briskly--it shipped 500,000 units during the holidays. The GameCube sold fewer units than it did in the same period last year, but GC games like Mario Tennis, Mario Party 6, and Naruto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen 3 have been doing well.
During the meeting, Nintendo disclosed Japanese release dates for a number of upcoming DS titles: Tiger Woods PGA Tour is due on February 17, Meteos is due on February 24, Pac-Pix is due on March 10, Bokujou Monogatari: Colobockle Station is due on March 17, Touch! Kirby: Mahou no Efude (Touch! Kirby and the Magic Wand) is due on March 24, and Yakuman DS is due on March 31.
The Bokujou Monogatari series is known in North America as Harvest Moon. The DS installment, titled Bokujou Monogatari: Colobockle Station, takes place once again in the Forget Valley of Mineral Town, which should be familiar to fans who played the GameCube's Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life. Colobockle Station will feature the cast of characters from both the GC title and the GBA's Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town.
In Colobockle Station, you can insert the Friends of Mineral Town GBA cartridge into your DS slot and have information from your GBA game delivered to your house within the game as a newspaper article. Colobockle Station displays its main field view on the upper screen, while the lower screen is used for interacting with characters and selecting menu options. As the game's title may imply, Colobockle Station also features a colobockle that acts as a DJ while you're playing the game on the upper screen. In addition to playing requested music, the colobockle will broadcast real-time information on Forget Valley.
In Namco's anticipated "scribble action" game Pac-Pix, you draw pictures of Pac-Man and make him eat the ghosts floating around the screen. Since the last time we reported on the game, we have learned that you can also draw pictures of a bomb to destroy blocks that are protecting the ghosts, and of arrows to shoot ghosts floating in unreachable areas--namely, the DS's upper screen.
Yakuman DS is the family-oriented mahjong game from Nintendo that features characters from the Super Mario Bros. series, although the game allows you to turn off the characters if you want less clutter on the screen. Yakuman DS allows up to four players to play on a single cartridge.
Demos of Meteos and Pac-Pix will be distributed to retailers before their release. While details haven't been disclosed on how exactly the demos will be given out, they will most likely be available as game data that can be downloaded onto the handheld via its Wi-Fi connection.
Touch! Kirby: Mahou no Efude and Pac-Pix will reportedly come with a free stylus that can be used for the DS's touch-sensitive panel. The Kirby stylus is said to be a standard-size DS stylus that's as pink as Kirby, while the Pac-Pix one will be a yellow stylus with a Pac-Man-shaped character at the end. While the shape and size is subject to change, the Pac-Pix stylus is reportedly much longer than the default stylus--around 5 inches, which may be useful for DS owners who have issues with the standard one.
Nintendo also revealed information on a number of GameCube titles. Though it hasn't been confirmed, one retailer reported that Star Fox Assault will include three classic Famicom (Japanese NES) titles as bonuses that are unlocked as you play through the game. The three Famicom titles will be classics from Namco: Star Fox Assault: Xevious, Battle City, and a shooter named Star Luster that was never released in the US. Star Fox Assault is slated for release on April 14 in America and on April 24 in Japan.
Donkey Konga 3 for the GameCube will feature 50 songs, a new record for the series. Aside from the usual J-pop and anime themes, Donkey Konga 3 will include a number of game tunes from The Legend of Zelda, Fire Emblem, Star Fox Assault, Pac-Man, Mappy, and more. The game also boasts a new shuffle mode. Donkey Konga 3 is expected to hit stores March 17.
Finally, Bokujou-Monogatari: Shiawase no Shi, the next installation of Harvest Moon for the GameCube, will feature an all-star cast of characters from the series. For the first time in the series, the game will feature a rival character who builds a ranch simultaneously with the player and manages a competing farm. The game is due out March 3.