NESmodem
News

NES hack brings your old Nintendo online, complete with Twitter

Despite being over 30-years-old, and therefore predating public internet access, it turns out that the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) has actually been capable of connecting to the internet the whole time. All it takes is a “modem” and a little bit of hacking, courtesy of Femicom Museum founder and serial videogame tinkerer Rachel Simone Weil. Dubbed ConnectedNes, Weil’s hack brings the NES online in three easy steps. First, it takes a Particle Photon Wifi development kit and hacks it together with bits of a NES controller, then plugs it into a standard NES controller port. Because the kit (which Weil has nicknamed…

MADE
News

The MADE, or the importance of games console history you can touch

About 30 miles northeast of the Frank Gehry-designed campuses and complexes where competing cloud environments are designed, there’s an Oakland museum full of game cartridges. You can see the sign from the highway: The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE). That the sign is visible from the highway is a big reason for an uptick in attendance since the museum’s February 2016 re-opening, I’m told, and this seems right to me. In the San Francisco Bay, where programming cultures abound and history is cast as something to be disrupted, forgotten, discarded, the MADE idiosyncratically contrasts the irresistible narratives playing…

Star Fox Zero header
Review

The joyless heroics of Star Fox Zero

As I sit at my keyboard, trying to figure out what in the world I could possibly say about Star Fox Zero, I find myself forced to concede that there’s not that much wrong with the game as a game. As an engine built to allow players to fly around in a high resolution version of a spaceship apparently built out of triangles, Star Fox Zero is entirely functional. There are things to blow up, which will also seek to blow the player up. There are big spaceships, and big imposing robots with hidden vulnerabilities (which are signaled to the…

voxelzelda2
News

Artists are turning to voxels to make the familiar feel new

On February 21, 1986, Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda was first released in Japan. This week, to celebrate the game’s 30th anniversary, series fans Scott Liniger and Mike McGee took to browser to release a complete 3D remake of the first game titled The Legend of Zelda: 30 Year Tribute. Unfortunately, Nintendo has since pulled the project, but what’s notable about it is how it used voxels to make the familiar world of a decades-old game feel new again. Short for “volumetric pixels,” voxels are an oft-forgotten method of rendering 3D worlds that have nonetheless been making a comeback as…

WiiFull
Feature

Nintendo is interested in VR. Just not how you think.

This is a preview of an article you can read on our new website dedicated to virtual reality, Versions. /// In 1990, the word “Nintendo” was the generic trademark for videogames. A quarter-century later and Nintendo is now just one voice among many in a chorus that too often sounds like a single note of varying volumes. To survive so long, Nintendo have had to play an exotic chord or two, pushing in directions beyond what is expected. Their most recent key change, the Wii U, never caught on with the mainstream public; rumors point to production ceasing after only…

Pokemon GO
News

Pokémon GO will encourage players to visit museums and art installations

As a series that has been primarily confined to handhelds since its inception, Pokémon has always encouraged a certain amount of “go” from its audience. For instance, its commercials frequently feature players wandering through forests and cityscapes, getting to know their hometowns better and meeting new friends along the way. Yet, as much as these games want me to take them to the park or the museum and collaborate with others, I’ve mostly always played them by myself while huddled around a power outlet in my bedroom. And given consistent cries from fans for a main series Pokémon game to…

segaheader
Feature

The demolition of Japan’s videogame history

In the eastern region of Kyoto, Japan, there lies an area named Higashiyama, filled with shrines, temples, and the Kyoto National Museum. It was here in Higashiyama that Nintendo built an office complex with buildings adjacent to one another that the company’s greatest designers worked in. Almost everything videogame-related that Nintendo developed before the year 2000 came from the complex known as 60 Kamitakamatsu-cho—from the original Game & Watch and Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), to Donkey Kong (1981), Super Mario Bros. (1985), The Legend of Zelda (1986), and Metroid (1986). But while these games can still be played the buildings…

paperjam4
Review

Mario & Luigi Paper Jam Bros. folds in on itself

There’s something strange—maybe even broken—about fetishizing materiality in a digital world the way Mario & Luigi Paper Jam Bros does, though it’s not the first game to do this. I first noticed this in another Nintendo game from last year, Yoshi’s Wooly World, which trades on a contradiction. It’s a game about adorable dinosaurs in adorable environments made out of yarn and glue. Aesthetically, it’s “crafty,” which we value precisely because of its irreproducibility. Flaws aren’t flaws in this context; they’re signs of the hands that made it. And yet videogames are bits—0s and 1s—all the way down: data perfectly,…

nekointellead
Article

Cats finally take over the world with mobile game Neko Atsume

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Neko Atsume is a smartphone game where players can watch cats. They can’t pet them, or call to them, or scratch behind their ears. The most a player can do is buy a treat or toy and place it in a backyard. If the player is lucky, the toy will attract Snowball, a furry white kitty who enjoys playing with rubber balls. Or, if the player is really lucky, the toy might even attract Pumpkin—who eats all the tuna he can get his paws on. Yutaka Takazaki, the creator of…