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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Well this news is a few days late, however "Mario Vs Donkey Kong" is now available for your Game Boy Advance.

Pick it up today.

- Report By Sean Kelly at 2:15 PM

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Friday, May 14, 2004

Well it is time for the final day of my E3 coverage.

Even though I'm done, there still might be more. I have invited, SMBhq founder, Kyle Orland (who is actually attending E3) to post a few few hand thoughts on the show. So, we will just see if he pops up (even if he doesn't pop up here, you could always read his thoughts in his own blog)

Well enough talk. Let's get onto the GBA games.

Mario Golf: Advance Tour

Just like the N64 version of Mario Golf, Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour has a companion coming out for GBA.

Official Nintendo Description: Take on the role of golf students Neil or Ella and enter a world of crazy golf courses and minigame challenges like Club Slots and Go-Go Gates. You'll have to work your hardest if you want to earn the right to challenge the golfing residents of the Mushroom Kingdom.


  • Crazy Courses: From deserts to forests to tropical beaches, you'll have to challenge many courses to earn a trip to the Mushroom Kingdom

  • Earn custom clubs and help your character improve his or her golf game

  • Get experience points and improve your skills

  • Play singles or doubles tournaments

  • Get connected! Link up with Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour on the Nintendo GameCube to unlock features and transfer your characters



Pick up the latest golfing news in the clubhouse, practice your skills in head-to-head challenge matches, and ultimately try to become the champ of all the country clubs! The residents of the Mushroom Kingdom take on only the very best.

SK's Thoughts: I always thought that the Gameboy editions of Mario sports games really do nothing but create new characters that could be brought to it's companion game (Mario is only in like 3 of the 12 screenshots below). However the minigames sound neat.

Screenshots














Mario Party Advance

You can now party in the palm of your hands.

Official Nintendo Description:Mario Party Advance takes all the fun of the home console game and puts it in your hands. All-new mini-games and a host of Professor E. Gadd's incredible Gaddgets -- unique trinkets, toys, detectors and tricks like the Lip Disguise-o-matic that let you play tricks on your friends, test your compatibility and much more.

Discover the 60 mini-games as you play through the single-player game boards. Earn coins as you play the mini-games, use those coins to unlock Gaddgets, and link up with your friends to duke it out in a two-player battle game, or trade Gaddgets, mini-games and coins to share the party fun.

With Mario Party Advance life is a party. Go live it!

SK's Thoughts: This is one of those surprise E3 games that you really just have to love. Who would have thought Nintendo was going to bring the Mario Party games to the GBA? Too bad it's only going to be two players.

Screenshots










Mario Pinball

Go flippy for Mario Pinball.

Official Nintendo Description:When Bowser kidnaps Peach and escapes to another dimension, a scientist uses his Spherifier to transform Mario into a ball and fires him after the fiend with his Super Cannon!

Features

  • Play through the varied worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom

  • Collect Star Keys, defeat enemies, buy special items, and rack up the points as you rebound through dangerous locales full of familiar enemies

  • Single-screen, 3-D isometric view



Bottom Line
Lightning-fast action, crazy pinball worlds, and Mario. What's not to love?

SK's Thoughts: Another surprise E3 game. This game has awesome graphics for a GBA game. Also, who DOESN'T like Pinball?

Screenshots








Mario Vs Donkey Kong

The most classic videogame rivalry returns!

Official Nintendo Description:After years of apparent good will, Mario and Donkey Kong are at it again -- this time on Game Boy Advance! Donkey Kong has stolen all the Mini-Mario toys from the Mario Toy Co., and now it's up to Mario to hunt down his long-time nemesis and retrieve the pilfered goods. He'll have to race through confounding levels, finding keys and releasing Mini Marios, before time runs out. Along the way he'll master new moves in order to scale the puzzling heights of six action-packed worlds!

Features

  • Leap, climb, and battle through increasingly difficult levels as you use switches, conveyor belts, hammers and other tools to save the day.

  • A unique mix of action and puzzle gameplay elements will challenge your brain as well as your reflexes!

  • Shy Guys, Piranha Plants, Bob-ombs, and other classic Mushroom Kingdom baddies stand between Mario and his goal.

  • Before battling Donkey Kong at the end of each world, you'll have to collect all the Mini-Marios and lead them to safety.


Mario has always been more athletic than his somewhat portly appearance would have you believe, but he really struts his stuff in Mario vs. Donkey Kong. Mario backflips high into the air, walks on his hands, and even spins on gymnastics bars. You'll have to master all of Mario's new moves to save all of the Mini-Mario toys.

Once you've collected all of the Mini-Mario toys in a world, you then have to lead them into a toy box in a follow-the-leader game. The Mini-Marios will follow big Mario anywhere -- even if it means falling to their demise. Safely guiding them into the toy box is a tough task which will require you to overcome both action and puzzle challenges.

Even with the Mini-Marios safely tucked away, Mario's mission in each world is not done until he goes toe-to-toe with Donkey Kong. The big ape may not be the smartest enemy Mario's ever faced, but he sure is strong!

Bottom Line

Mario vs. Donkey Kong perfectly blends action and brain-teasing elements into a unique title that's a great choice for gamers on the go. Increasingly difficult challenges will put even the most advanced gamers to the test, and there is enough replay value packed in to keep you coming back for more. The classic confrontation begins on May 24!

SK's Thoughts: 10 years ago, the Gameboy version of Donkey Kong reinvented the original arcade classic into a full fledged 96-level platform game. Now, with the release of Mario Vs. Donkey Kong, the gameplay is kicked up one more notch, and that's nothing but a good thing.

Screenshots










And that is E3 2004. Hopefully you will enjoy the games when they come out. You should expect Mario Vs. Donkey Kong in about 2 weeks.

For the rest of the release dates, make sure to check out the scroller.

- Report By Sean Kelly at 10:51 AM

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Thursday, May 13, 2004

Alright! It is now time for Day 2 of the SMBhq E3 coverage.

After yesterday's Nintendo: DS overload, everything else is going to look so anticlimactic.

Well, today we have the two new Mario games that Nintendo has unveiled at E3 for the Nintendo Gamecube.

Paper Mario 2

That 2 1/2-D RPG for the N64 gets a sequel for the Gamecube.

Official Nintendo Description: Time passes, the pages turn ... and a new chapter unfolds in an unfamiliar land! Get ready for a two-dimensional role-playing adventure for the ages as Mario returns to paper form in pursuit of a threat unlike any he's ever faced.


  • Timing Action Commands help you dodge or inflict damage, and impress the crowd to give you power for super attacks

  • Fold into a paper airplane and take to the air, turn sideways to slip through narrow passages, and roll into a tube to bounce to safety



This time around, more emphasis is placed on the paper abilities of Mario and his friends. He can turn sideways to slip through cracks, fold into a paper airplane to fly, roll into a tube, and much more. He can also use tons of items like hammers and thunderbolts.

SK's Thoughts: The original Paper Mario started as a sequel to Super Mario RPG, but it turned into a great game on it's own. It brought back some classic Mario gameplay that hadn't been seen in years. Now with the sequel, we should expect bigger and better things (that screenshot with Mario facing a whole room of Dry Bones looks neat).

Screenshots








Mario Tennis

Mario returns to the court for another round.

Official Nintendo Description: The wild multiplayer action of the smash Nintendo 64 hit, Mario Tennis, returns with even more powerful shots and new, character-specific power-ups guaranteed to make for the craziest matches ever.

Everyone's favorite Mushroom Kingdom characters are here! Donkey Kong and Bowser can hit insanely powerful Megaton Balls, finesse players like Shy Guy can use instant Tornado Returns and defensive masters like Luigi have all kinds of tricks in their bags.

Players of all ages can pick up the game and instantly start whacking tennis balls around and yet a deep level of skill awaits those willing to master it. Build up more and more skill points as you play to use stronger and stronger shots with all kinds of spin.

SK's Thoughts: The N64 Mario Tennis game was fun. However, if you think about it, the only significant thing about this game, other than it was a tennis game staring Mario characters, is that it was the game that introduced Waluigi to the Mario world. This game looks to change things. The themed "Luigi's Mansion" and "Super Mario Sunshine" levels look awesome. And is that a giant hammer I see?

Screenshots












Sadly that is all the GCN Mario games being shown at E3 this year. There are a few games staring Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong's Jungle Beat and Donkey Konga), however I won't get into those, since DK is pretty much it's own series right now.

We will conclude the 2004 E3 coverage with the new GBA games (and there are some good ones) tommorow.

- Report By Sean Kelly at 10:18 AM

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Well, E3 has started today and there is SO MUCH new Mario stuff to talk about.

As a result, I am going to split the E3 coverage into 3. The first day (today) I will talk about the new Nintendo: DS system, tomorrow will feature the new games for Gamecube, while Friday will have some new GBA games.

Lets get started with the Nintendo: DS

First I will give you the official Nintendo overview of this interesting new system:

Nintendo: DS image courtesy of http://www.theregister.co.uk

Dual Screens: Two LCD screens offer one of the most groundbreaking game-play advances ever developed: experiencing a game from two perspectives at once. Imagine the possibilities. In a racing game, drivers might see their own vehicle's perspective on one screen and an overall track view on the other. In a role-playing game, the action could take place on the first screen while the second provides a reference for a player's tools inventory. Game play also could use both screens at once, offering a giant boss for heroes to defeat. In the future, games could be created allowing users to play games on one screen while text messaging other DS users on the other. Each 3-inch screen can reproduce a true 3-D view and is backlit to assure comfortable play in any lighting condition.

Touch Screen: The lower screen will offer something never before provided by any game device: PDA-like touch capabilities. Players no longer have to rely on just buttons to move characters or shift perspectives. They can navigate menus or access inventory items simply by touching the screen with stylus or fingertip. A software-based keyboard might even allow the screen to be used as an input center for games and messaging. The possibilities are limited only by developers' imaginations. The screen will have a tougher film cover for durability, and will come with a stylus.

Microphone: An available microphone port means that in the future, players might need only to tell their games what to do. DS software could identify everything from voice commands to hand-clapping. Players might be able to move their characters simply by telling them which way to go. The voice capabilities also could allow gamers to chat with one another over the Internet while playing.

Wireless: DS users will be able to connect with a local wireless network of up to 16 players. Nintendo's guaranteed range is 30 feet, but will extend far beyond that depending on circumstances. It assures high response rates required for real time game play, and will make use of both IEEE 802.11 and Nintendo's proprietary communication protocol, which provides low battery consumption. Players will be able to chat and play games without any connecting cords, completely untethered. The DS technology also provides for a wireless LAN connection, which could allow a theoretically infinite number of players to connect at a hot spot and compete at a central game hub on the Internet, even if they're thousands of miles apart.

Wireless Game Sharing: If software developers desire, multiple players can compete in wireless games, even if only one person has a game card inserted. Players could also test-play games for themselves as long as they stayed connected.

3-D: With the newly developed graphics engine, DS can reproduce impressive 3-D renderings that can surpass images displayed on the Nintendo® 64. Games will run at 60 frames per second, and allow details like fog effects and cel shading.

Sound: The 16-channel sound allows for greatly expanded use of voices and music, and a richer, more immersive game experience. A plug for headphones transmits stereo sound.

Battery & Power Management: The battery is rechargeable and the unit features a low-energy-consumption design. The DS also has Power Management functions of Sleep mode and Standby mode. In Sleep mode, players can stop and resume game play whenever they like. If the user receives a message from a friend or user nearby, DS activates itself from Standby mode.

Processing: The unit will run on two processors, one ARM9 one ARM7.

New Media: For its compact cards, the unit uses newly developed semiconductor memory, which allows for lower cost, shorter manufacturing time and memory capacity of more than one gigabit of information.

Dual Slots: Nintendo DS makes a vast library of Game Boy® Advance games readily available. Developers could find ways to make new connections between GBA games and DS games. The GBA port could be used for new hardware, enormously expanding the functional expandability of the DS.

As you can see, this is more than just a mere GBA upgrade. This is truely the next generation of portable gaming for Nintendo.

Now for a preview of the neat new Mario games that will come out for the Nintendo: DS:

Picochat

This is not a Mario game, but I had to show you this (at least the screenshots have Mario in them).

Official Nintendo Description: Up to 16 players (two in the E3 demo version) can use the wireless functions to link together and exchange instant messages or drawings. The bottom screen shows a standard keyboard, while instant messages from other users appear in the top screen. Players can type text messages using the keyboard, use the stylus to send messages in their own handwriting or simply draw and transmit a picture. If another user sends a picture, the recipient can modify it and send it back. Play a game of wireless virtual hangman or send covert messages to other users.

SK's Thoughts: Picochat looks very neat. It looks like a mix of a PDA and a chatroom and it looks like it would be one of the most unique Nintendo creations since the Game Boy Camera (hopefully Picochat would last longer)

Screenshots








WarioWare Inc: DS

A WarioWare game with one screen wasn't enough, now you have a WarioWare game with two!

Official Nintendo Description: One screen isn't big enough to contain Wario's greed and ego. He appears on the top screen and drops boxes to the bottom one, where they open an assortment of wild mini-games. Use the stylus and touch screen to drag a net and catch some fish, or to cut a rope to drop a cage around a duck. Players might have to erase or draw pictures, or slice at food that gets thrown at them. Finish as many mini-games in 35 seconds as possible. The game features the same good humor and fast pace that are hallmarks of the WarioWare franchise.

SK's Thoughts: The Dual Screens make this WarioWare seem a lot more like a Game & Watch Game (I wouldn't be surprised to see G&W: DS in the future). Also the use the of stylus would allow more control than the controller would allow you. This is a game to watch out for.

Screenshots








Super Mario 64x4

One thing to say - Super Mario 64: Multiplayer

Official Nintendo Description: The landscape and the characters all look familiar. This is the opening castle area of Super Mario 64, only with a few DS twists thrown in. Up to four players can link up using the wireless capabilities. Players move familiar characters like Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and Wario around the 3-D landscape, exploring and looking for stars. While one screen shows the player’s character position, the other provides an overall map of the area. Touch a spot on the screen to pop the camera over to another player’s position, or to take a close-up look at the castle.

SK's Thoughts: See Luigi IS is Super Mario 64. So is Wario. And Yoshi is down from the roof. This game looks interesting, and with the Bowser screenshot, it looks like this will hopefully be more than "Super Mario 64 as Mario Kart"

Screenshots










Other Screenshots:

While Nintendo decided to cover only the three games above in their preview, our good friends at TMK have scored some addition screenshots from two other games, that I would like to share with you.

Mario Kart: DS

Screenshots:









SK's Thoughts: Mario Kart: Super Circuit (the GBA game) did a good job at emulating the N64 graphics. However, if you look closely, it was still a 2D game. That can't be said for this game. This is 3D Mario Kart action in the palm of your hands. Also, I think the lower screen might be used for more than just a map.


NEW Super Mario Bros

Screenshots:







SK's Thoughts: OH MY GOD!!!!! You may recall that I did an April Fool's news report that talked about a new version of SMB being released for the Nintendo: DS. However, I wouldn't have thought in a million years that Nintendo was ACTUALLY MAKING ONE!!!!!! You can't can't tell much about NSMB by the screenshots other than it will be a "2 1/2 D" platform game. Time has yet to tell on whether or not Nintendo will do the "Mario and Luigi simultaneous" thing.


That's all for today! We will get to the (now boring) Game Cube tommorow.

- Report By Sean Kelly at 11:23 AM

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