April Fools! Nintendo Direct Drops Some Truth Bombs

Ryan Smythe ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Growing up, Nintendo Christmases were the greatest events in a child’s life. Now that Nintendo has realized the full potential of their Directs, Nintendo Christmas can happen any time of the year, including on April Fool’s Day.

The decision to release this Direct on the worst day of the year caused too much trepidation over a “GOTCHA!” at the very end, but with everything becoming official after the announcements, it’s time to revel in the beauty that is the world of Nintendo.

First and foremost are the Super Smash Bros. announcements; Mewtwo’s release was no secret, but the decision to release it for free to anyone who registered both versions of the game is a pleasant surprise. The pricing ($3.99 for one version, $4.99 for both) is nothing wallet-breaking, but giving loyal customers this benefit is big. DLC has long been seen as a way to scrape as much money off customers as possible, so setting this precedent takes a lot of the worry away from future releases. If customers that dropped $100 on both copies of the game are rewarded now, what’s to stop them from hoping for the same treatment once Lucas is released in June?

(c) Nintendo
(c) Nintendo

A big hurdle Smash 4 still needs to overcome is the 14-year-old juggernaut Super Smash Bros. Melee, which still owns the competitive scene. There’s no way the new kid on the block can take out its older sibling through game mechanics, so Nintendo is giving it a quick steroid boost of new content. Have a character in mind that would fit perfectly in the Smash world? Just vote on smashbros.com! This new poll, along with detailed information on the upcoming characters, allows gamers to vote for who they want most. Presumably, the most popular character, as long as it’s within copyright limits, will make its way into future DLC.

Interestingly, the poll requires the voter to note their gender, limiting the options to Male and Female. There’s a very good chance this has more to do with Nintendo’s interest in polling their customers to find out who’s mostly interested in Super Smash, but it’s worth noting their lack of non-binary genders. Is this enough to start a riot and call for Iwata’s head? No. But it’s enough to start a conversation about the issues around inclusion and the overall issue with acceptance within gaming culture.

(c) Nintendo
(c) Nintendo

Another issue the Direct brings up is Nintendo’s failure to adequately deal with scalpers, aka the scum who decide to buy up new products at retail price and sell them back to the general public at massively inflated prices. Wonder why nearly the entire Amiibo stock is gone from the first run? Scalpers. The New 3DS? Same problem. This upcoming run of Amiibos looks incredible, but with most if not all being released through “select retailers,” there’s too much of a risk that people will need to either wait for another shipment of the products or shell out stupid amounts of money to get their hands on their favorite fighter. This is most likely to happen to the Yoshi’s Wooly World Amiibo made out of yarn, by far the greatest idea Nintendo has had since they first released the Amiibos. It will most likely be released with the game this Fall, so dedicated Yoshi fans should have their wallets ready the moment they become available.

A purely positive Amiibo announcement accompanied this worrisome one. Each Amiibo unlocks small samples from classic games each character is tied to, though which game sample is unlocked is completely random. This means gamers can either buy multiple Amiibos and hope for the best, or reach out to friends and swap figures. Some will choose the more reclusive and expensive route, while others will go out and find their friends, just like when Pokémon Red and Blue first came out and everyone needed at least one friend with a link cable to get that game-breaking Alakazam.

Splatoon even gets its own Amiibos; a boy, a girl, and a squid that open up special missions to unlock new weapons. Accompanying that announcement were two new game modes, Ranked Battle and Battle Dojo. Battle Dojo gives local multiplayer a boost. Two people compete, one using the gamepad and the other using the TV screen, by seeing who can pop the most balloons. When it’s released on May 29, gamers will finally be able to see if Nintendo’s newest shooter can live up to the Goldeneye standard. Ranked Battle continues Nintendo’s acceptance of competitive gaming with a 4v4 battle mode that will likely include a leaderboard. Even Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is getting competitive, with tournaments hosted by Nintendo available now with more to come in the future.

The three new Splatoon! Amiibos (c) Nintendo
The three new Splatoon! Amiibos (c) Nintendo

The Virtual Console got its own boost in the Direct too. DS and N64 games are on their way. To cope with the dual screen of the DS, the gamepad will serve as the touch/second screen, and to cope with the weird N64 controller, the controls will be customizable to best suit the player’s wishes. The pricing for DS games is set between $6.99-$9.99, and the N64 titles will be between $9.99-$11.99.

Along with these announcements, the eShop, both Wii U and 3DS, are getting their own influx of new titles. Rather than listing all of the new titles here, the simplest way to put it is: Want cheaper gaming options that provide a wonderfully varied number of visual and gameplay styles? The Wii U/3DS just claimed pole position. AAA studios need to step their games up to prove to gamers that it’s still worth dropping $60 on a new game when around four eShop games could be bought for the same price. With every new Direct, Nintendo announces between a handful and a truckload more titles, making the Nintendo consoles the heavy favorites in the discussion of which console offers the most variety.

In case the indie titles aren’t enough game news, Shin Megami x Fire Emblem got a new trailer showing off the stylized graphics and epic monster fights, but no release date came with the pretty pictures. A new Fire Emblem game was teased along with this though, but fans of the franchise will need to wait until 2016 to get their hands on it.

(c) Nintendo
(c) Nintendo

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D for the New 3DS is available on April 10, and the Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 2 comes out on April 23 though. This new DLC pack focuses on Animal Crossing, with racers, karts, and maps themed around the games making up the core of the product. This ties in nicely with the new game, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer for the 3DS, where players take requests from characters in the game to design the perfect house to suit their needs. No more harvesting bugs at night; instead, players will spend their time harvesting cards to unlock more characters to design for. These are real-life cards too, and they will take advantage of a new piece of hardware that allows the old 3DS models to interact with Amiibos and the scannable cards. This is the first time Nintendo will use cards like this, begging the important question of when Pokémon cards will be able to be scanned. Oh, and Mario Kart 8 will be getting a 200cc mode in a free update. So for the masochistic racer who wants to deal with more than just blue shells, get those steering wheels ready.

Like every Nintendo Direct, there was just too much content to cover in a reasonable amount of type. For complete coverage of the entire event, check it out in its entirety here.

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