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Wormkid_64 Blog

IT is coming.We hope IT brings gifts.

Be quiet.Be very still.Listen closely.You hear that?Beyond the usual noise of the gaming world,beyond the excitement for the 3DS and the NGP,something else is happening somewhere,as quietly as it can.

When asked about their next console a few years ago,Nintendo reps repeatedly said that they're always ready to start work on the next thing as soon as they're done with the current console.So we can be sure ideas have been being batted around since the Wii launch,and by now,perhaps they're nearly ready to wow us again.

The rumors from 01net and GameInformer speak of a powerful,HD capable system with iPad like controllers,among other things.They say we may get to see it at e3,or even sooner,perhaps due to the rumored $50 price drop for the Wii on May 15.We'll just have to wait and see if Nintendo themselves say anything about it,but all these leaks must mean SOMETHING is in the air.And while I sit inhaling the tiny fums escaping through the cracks of Big N's secrecy,I will speculate and propose ideas for a cool console.Here goes:

1.Better Graphics. I started simple.It's obvious that even from Nintendo's standpoint of cutting back on the graphics to keep their consoles cheap,they could make a real beast.The Xbox 360 is 6 years old,and so is the tech that makes it a graphical monster.Meaning Nintendo could get their hands on newer better tech and still keep the console cheap.

2.Online Community:Nintendo has this club-type thingy they could easily use to put together something like PSN or XBL.There really isn't a lot to elaborate on here,as we all know how all that works and what it could mean.It would be fantastic.

3.Controllers: They included the first D-pad,the first shoulder buttons,the first thumbstick,and the first motion capabilities in their consoles as they created new consoles.Now we see every console manufacturer must have these thins.So what cool new idea is next?They mentioned these iPad like things,which at first sounded dumb,but then I got to thinking.

If they made these things better sized and more ergonomic than the little wafers that the iPads are,they could work.They MUST have physical buttons,but what if they had a touch screen too?What if each screen could display a different image for each person?Imagine that multiplayer possibilities.You could have 8 way multiplayer battles,with the TV being a map,and each controller displaying the person's actions.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.Just think for awhile what each person having a screen could do.You'll come up with something cool.

Now what about motion control?They just can't drop the idea that sold 85 million units.I believe they should make it possible to use the same controller for motion gaming as well as regular gaming-perhaps by a plug in nunchuck like device-so that everyone doesn't need two sets of pricey controllers,but if that makes the idea's above impossible or difficult,separate controllers may be necessary.I really hope not.

4.Handheld connectivity:What if you could use the 3DS for a controller in certain events?How about a combination of a game on your console and an AR game on your 3DS?Perhaps you receive a mission from your console,and then you take your 3DS and walk around your house searching for your objective.Maybe there could be a way to make it so you can play a multiplayer game from your console with a mash-up of people using the console and the 3DS,with a different graphical presentation on each,so there is no need to dub down the graphics on the home console versions.This would be interesting because different capabilities would be available to you depending on what system you use.

5.Third party support:This has never been much of a big deal for me.But there are some 3rd party games I'd like to play on a Nintendo console.Like Portal 2.The Burnout series.A Need For Speed game more like Most Wanted or Carbon.I'm sure the list is bigger for other people,and there is no reason Nintendo shouldn't try for more 3rd parties.In fact,they are already working on it by building relationships with these developers on the 3DS.

6.A new Nintendo franchise:Miyamoto mentioned recently in an IGN article that he was working on a new character,his first since the Pikmin.I can't wait to see him/her/it/them.It's be nice if they make their debut in HD.

And of course,I want them to keep everything they had before.I want the Wii Shop and Virtual Console.I want backwards compatibility.I want a simple interface.I want Miis.I want everything the Wii has to be streamlined,improved,and kept in the new system,minus those horrendous Friend Codes.

So now we wait.While you wait,what are your hopes for a new Nintendo console?Speak up in the comments below.

A Slice of Future, Anyone?

[Note: The "Defending Gaming" Series has been cancelled, and will be replaced with a more streamlined stand-alone article at a later date.]

Gaming is one of the fastest progressing technologies mankind has to offer. In the past 30 years or so, games have gone from 2D, pixelated experiences in giant boxes that you could rent time from for a few quarters, to sleek, futuristic, glowing devices in our homes that let us watch movies on the Internet, and play in HD,3D environments. We have controllers with loads of buttons for doing all kinds of things, and now, we can even control the games with motion. While cars still use the 100 year old technology of gasoline. Lame, cars. Lame.

Now with the 3DS looming upon us, we will soon have the capacity to play games and watch movies in true 3D-without glasses. However the feature I'm most excited about, and will be speculating about in this article, is the Augmented Reality, or AR games.

AR isn't new. The ability to appear to project a gameworld into the player's world via screens and cameras has been around for awhile. The exciting thing about the 3DS's AR is that now the tech fits in our pockets. Now every table, park bench, sidewalk, or flat-headed bald guy's dome-piece can be the setting for a gaming experience. How cool is that?

And of course, it's all in what being called eye popping 3D by critics and reviewers.

Think for a little bit about what potential AR has. A game can now be played using nothing more than a little playing card. I imagine pegs stuffed with them hanging next to shelves of 3DS titles, there for the picking. These could be the thing Nintendo needs to combat smartphones. For $40 dollars, you can get Mario 3DS, or for 5 to 10 bucks you can pick up one of these cards(perhaps a pack of 5?) and have the same kinds of games smartphones have people going ga-ga over. Only if you just look at the tech demoes they've shown for these games(Sony's T. Rex bit sounded very impressive.), they have much more potential.

Speaking of Sony's T. Rex, what if he wasn't standing still? What if those aliens you normally fight in a simulated city were actually crawling out of your closet? What if evil robots busted through the fabric of space-time, and launched an assault on your bedroom, a la Faceraiders? With the 3DS and NGP's abilities, a game could happen right there in your room, in 3 dimensions, without having to keep the system glued to a card,because the system can be made to remember what information was on the card.

With the 3DS's ability to communicate with other units, multiplayer AR is entirely possible. Imagine Pokemon. The card game was big back in the day, and with this, they could bring it back. A set of mystery cards could be included in every pack, with different groupings of cards for each individual cartridge bought, to encourage trading. Rare Pokemon could be made on sold-separately cards, and you and your friends could collect them, then battle them in 3D on your living room floor, or in your bathroom sink.

Special content for nearly any game could be released with AR cards, either included with the game, or as stand-alone, pick up and play add-ons.

I'm sure developers are hard at work figuring out what they can do with this little chunk of future. This is just what I've come up with, and I'm constantly thinking of other ways this could be used. What about you? What are YOU hoping to get out of Augmented Reality?

Defending Gaming Part 1:Nintendo

To get one thing out of the way,I'm a Nintendo fan.Always have been,always will be,provided Nintendo stays the same they always have been.I remember playing Snake Rattle N' Roll,Mega Man 6,and Dig Dug 2 on my dad's NES as a little boy in the early 90s. Then it was on to to Yoshi's Island,Super Mario World,and Donkey Kong Country on the SNES.To summarize,my family has,and still owns every Nintendo home console ever made,plus the Gameboy Advance SP and the Nintendo DSi.

So how do I not define myself,my dad,or my brother as fanboys?Well what is a fanboy?Put simply they give sole devotion to a company,genre,game,system,etc.If the subject at hand competes with or is not in any way supportive of the object of their obsession,they tend to slam it as hard as they can,primarily with insults.That is the difference between fans and fanboys.Because we also own a PS2,360,and a PC,and do not insult the fans of other entities,my family do not qualify as fanboys.Does this mean if you don't own consoles from multiple companies that you are one?No. But it helps give credibility to my claim that I am not a fanboy.

As they are under the heaviest fire from haters and fanboys,Nintendo shall be the first group I defend in my little series of humble blogs entitled: Defending Gaming.

Now to the meat of the matter.I've been looking at reviews,previews,and news articles on Gamespot and there is a highly disturbing trend.Fanboys,and their console bashing ways.It's preposterous. Primarily on Nintendo's pages here on Gamespot,fanboys of rival systems come and post the same lame attacks again and again. They whine that the Wii possesses no graphics power and no gaming beyond children's gimmicks. Many say the Wii is just for casual gamers. In my defence of The Big N,I'm here to prove these claims wrong.

Firstly,the issue of graphics. No the Wii does not push the envelope in this department.No it does not do HD gaming. But it also does not only have the capabilities to produce visuals that make you want to hurl. In fact,the Wii can produce very beautiful visuals,as evidenced in games like Conduit,the Metroid Prime Trilogy,and Donkey Kong Country Returns.

In the end,graphics play second fiddle to most of the other things that go into a game.Yes you want to have nice presentation and all,it is very important.I do not deny that bad graphics can adversely affect a game's first impression.But in the end,as long as the graphics exceed previous generations of games,there really is nothing to complain about if the gameplay is good.That's why we call them video GAMES,you see.

This brings us to point number two.Gameplay itself.Many people point to "Bouncy Billy's Backyard Ball Bash 4" and say,"LOOK!Gimmicky controls!" And they're absolutely right. No system ever produced in Man's history has had such a flood of utter scrap in gameplay.Skeptical and "newbie" game developers either make cheap wannabe games consisting of nothing but arm flinging,or they take a decent old game,or a new one even,and throw the motion controls on top of the Wii version just because they are there,even though the Wii has several perfectly functional buttons that could do the same job.

But this is where fanboys make their mistake.The PS2 is probably the system with the second largest game library.Go into any gaming store and there are HEAPS of PS2 games for sale.Many are fantastic,many are decent,but a fair percentage are just these same type of under equipped developers trying to get in on what the system had to offer.Does anyone today deny the PS2's excellence?A few perhaps,but the majority of people put aside the junky games made for the system,and embrace what worthy developers brought to the table.

Today the Wii is on a roll,doing what the PS2 did years ago though so far,to a lesser extent.It's being sold at breakneck speeds,and along with it,mountains of junk.But it is easy enough to sift through this pile and find games right for you no matter who you are. Particularly in 2010,the Wii has had many phenomenal games released for it.I ask the fanboys to put aside their prejudices-really put them all out of your mind-and try several Wii games.The selection is massive.

A final note on the subject of gameplay. Even amongst all this bargain bin trash there is something to be said here.Nintendo has managed to introduce gaming to a wider audience than ever before.The very young,the elderly,even the infirm can play now.The Wii is used in certain forms of rehab,and in nursing homes.People who once couldn't,or wouldn't pick up a controller now have access to games that they have the ability and/or desire to play.If anything,as gamers in general-even if you somehow still cannot find a Wii game right for you-we should be commending Nintendo for broadening the horizons of the industry,and making people take it seriously,while still keeping hardcore games in its library.Yes I said it.They're there.Just look.

So in the end,the Wii is just as viable an entertainment option as the HD systems. It can have a practical place in any person's gaming life,even if you have an HD console,as evidenced by my family,and that of several of my friends'.So what I'm saying is-bluntly put-shut up.That's right.Shut up. If the issues I've mentioned here are what are keeping you from buying a Wii,give it another,deep,honest look. You may be surprised.

Of course I'm not saying you have to buy a Wii.If you don't want one,or even after honest consideration still don't like them,fine.That's life.But there is no need to go around making an idiot out of yourself trolling websites posting hater comments on the Wii's pages,whether the subject of the page is reviewed positively or not.All you do is anger people,make yourself seem immature,and give others less reason to put stock in your opinions.So for the good of everyone,every now and again we could all-particularly fanboys-just shut up.

Whether this gets read or not,Part 2 will be out next week entitled,Defending Gaming Part 2:Xbox360.