China Toy Fair


Pac-Man to Join the Cast of Super Smash Bros.

Recently, SSB_Screenshot_1-1Nintendo revealed that Pac-Man will be joining the cast of the upcoming Super Smash Bros. games for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems. This addition brings together video game legends Mario, Mega Man and, of course, Pac-Man for the first time.

The game is set to launch on October 3 for the Nintendo 3DS and on Wii U during the 2014 holiday season.

Masahiro Sakuri, Super Smash Bros. developer, also announced that players will now be able to customize any Mii character they want and set them fighting in this new game. Other highlights include a Super Smash Bros. invitational tournament, and a live broadcast showcasing a variety of upcoming Nintendo games.

Nintendo’s Wii Sports Club for Wii U Arrives in July

WiiSportsClubBaseballNintendo’s five-sports-in-one packaged version of Wii Sports Club for Wii U hits stores on July 25. The game features new versions of the five original classic sports–tennis, bowling, golf, baseball and boxing–enhanced with an online multiplayer option and optimized for play with the Wii U GamePad controller.

Wii U has also added high-definition graphics, Wii MotionPlus technology, and creative uses of the Wii U GamePad. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Video Game-Based Toys Can Ease Kids into Other Kinds of Play

KNEX.SuperMarioDesertIt’s summertime, which for a lot of kids means playing outside in the sunshine, swimming, and maybe even going on trips to visit nature. But for others, summer means staying indoors and playing video games all day. It’s probably best to moderate any activity that involves staring at a screen; however, the question is, how to get video game-obsessed kids to take up a different form of play? The answer may be toys based on popular video game titles, and there are quite a few of those available right now.

We kick off our non-comprehensive list with K’NEX, which since 2010, has partnered with Nintendo on construction toys based on its popular Mario property. Recently, I spoke to an executive at the company, who said that no small part of the partnership’s success came from replicating game elements in K’NEX’s construction sets: For example, many of its Super Mario building sets have a mechanism that simulates the avatar’s in-game jumping ability. [Read more...]

Nintendo Enters Toys to Life Category with amiibo

AmiiboAt the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) video game trade show in Los Angeles, Nintendo began showcasing new interactive figures called amiibo, which feature popular Nintendo characters. The company’s entry into the toys to life category, amiibo can interact with Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games in unique ways.

Nintendo will launch the new amiibo line this year with 10 figures, and more during the holiday season and throughout next year. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will be the first game to support the figures, and upcoming games include Mario Kart 8, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Mario Party 10, and Yoshi’s Woolly World. A new NFC reader/writer designed for Nintendo 3DS is scheduled to launch next year.

Sega Creates All-New Character, Sticks, for Sonic Boom Franchise

SticksArtSega has introduced Sticks, a brand new character that will play an integral role across all Sonic Boom platforms. Sonic Boom is the newest branch of the Sonic the Hedgehog universe and was announced earlier this year.

Sticks will join the Sonic Boom team alongside Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy. She will appear in the Sonic Boom television series, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS video games, and merchandise.

Sticks is a jungle badger who has spent most of her life living alone in the wilderness and wields her trusty handmade boomerang. She is wilder than the other members of the team, exhibiting animal instincts, sharp survival skills, and fearsome combativeness. These skills will play a pivotal role through the new Sonic Boom content as Sticks tries to adapt to civilization and become close to her new friends. [Read more...]

Nintendo to Launch Character Figurines that Interact with Video Games

NFPNintendoNintendo is planning a new line of character figurines that can communicate with video games, similar to Activision’s Skylanders and Disney Infinity. The new Nintendo Figurine Platform (NFP) was announced last Thursday by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata at the company’s annual financial briefing.

“Other than using character IP in Nintendo’s video game software, we need to start a new business that will someday become one of our core activities,” said Iwata. He stressed the importance of taking risks and coming up with interesting ways for Nintendo to leverage its character intellectual property. [Read more...]

Nintendo’s NES Remix 2 Hearkens Back to 1990 World Championship

WiiU.NESRemix2NES Remix 2 will launch exclusively at the Nintendo eShop on Wii U on April 25. The game has a new mode inspired by the 1990 Nintendo World Championship, which challenged players to achieve the highest cumulative score in three specific games through a multiplier-based scoring system.

The three games in Championship Mode include Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, and Dr. Mario. Players will take on three successive score-based challenges to achieve a cumulative total score, which they can post to Miiverse. The first NES Remix game is required to access Championship Mode in NES Remix 2.

NES Remix 2 is a mash-up of classic Nintendo games including Metroid, Kid Icarus, and Kirby’s Adventure, with added challenges and modified stages.

Nintendo and National Park Foundation Team Up for 2014 White House Easter Egg Roll

NintendoNintendo of America will join with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, to bring fun, active-play video games to the White House Easter Egg Roll. Nintendo will be at the event with Wii Fit U and Wii Sports Club, two Wii U games that ask players to get active.

Mario and Luigi costumed characters will also be on site to greet guests, take photos with fans, and cheer on families as they play. The White House Easter Egg Roll, which takes place in President’s Park on the South Lawn of the White House, supports the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative to help kids grow up healthy.

New Princess Peach Controller Is the Royal Wii Remote

NintendoWiiPeachRemoteNintendo will be releasing a Wii Remote Plus controller styled in the fashion of Princess Peach. It features many touches that pay homage to the heroine, who recently starred in Super Mario 3D World for Wii U. The new controller includes a crown design over the speaker, blue buttons styled after Peach’s jewelry, and a golden-yellow plus pad that evokes her crown.

The new Peach Pink Wii Remote Plus will start appearing in stores in late April, and joins other controllers themed to Nintendo characters, including red Mario and green Luigi ones.

COMMENTARY: These New Japanese Toys and Games Aren’t Just for Kids, Part 1

Phil.April18.2014.1I may not be the biggest aficionado of Japanese pop culture, but I do consider myself a fan, having devoured lots of manga and anime over the years. What I also appreciate are the toys: Japan has some of the most exquisitely-made action figures and giant robots ever made, and in their native land, these items are generally aimed at adults.

Now when it comes to toys and games, Japan has long enjoyed a healthy foothold in North America—think of all the Pokémon, Hello Kitty, and Power Rangers products that have made their way over. So far in 2014, that trend has continued, with several new properties either just launching or expected to launch soon. But these are Japanese imports, meaning they’re sophisticated enough for grown-ups, even if they look like they’re for kids. [Read more...]