NES Classic Edition

Nintendo’s new mini console relies on your memories of the ’80s

Between Humble Bundles and Steam sales, everyone loves a good collection of cheapo games. In the spirit of bundle-based generosity, Nintendo has announced a kind of physical manifestation of their Virtual Console in the form of the “NES Classic Edition.” The size of a 10-dollar sandwich, the NES Classic Edition will have a fixed library of 30 NES games, 28 of which are currently available on the Wii U Virtual Console. For the first time ever, Bubble Bobble (1986) and Final Fantasy (1987) will be legally playable in 1080p, having only been on the lower-resolution Wii Virtual Console and NES…

Pokémon Kanto/Johto map

Fear not, Pokémon will save the planet

Pokémon has a complex relationship with nature. It’s among the most explicit and enthusiastic depictions of natural history in kid-oriented pop culture, but environmental educators begrudge its popularity. The series gains species while our planet loses them, and that somehow feels like a bad trade—it leaves a sour taste, though it’s far from obvious that it’s a trade at all. In a sense, Pokémon’s value as an environmentalist work is something we can only see now. Climate change has touched every part of the planet, and economic development in some of the most biodiverse regions of the world is inevitable.…

rhythm heaven

Whoa, you go big guy! Rhythm Heaven Megamix stealth released

E3 is always full of surprises. Sometimes they come in the form of a C-section-scarred Norman Reedus. Sometimes they appear as P.T.-esque, immediately downloadable demos. For Nintendo, surprises are ushered in a very different way: by straight up releasing a game, Beyoncé style. At the tail end of Nintendo’s all-day Treehouse stream on Wednesday, the quirky rhythm game compilation Rhythm Heaven Megamix was announced as available on the eShop to purchase immediately. When Nintendo embraces its off-kilter, eccentric side, they flourish. The Rhythm Heaven series marries the sweet melodies of prolific music producer TSUNKU♂ (who was one of the primary designers and composers…


The Witness swaps polygons for pixels in its NES demake

For all its naturalistic beauty, one of the more interesting lines to come out of reviews for The Witness when it dropped earlier this year was that it didn’t actually need to be in 3D. Creator Jonathan Blow and his team may have spent eight years crafting the game world’s intricate details, but conceptually, as noted by Dan Solberg in Kill Screen’s review for the game, as well as popular YouTube journalist George Weidman in his own, it is most similar to a collection of newspaper brainteasers or a book of riddles. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Even while the player interacts with…

Conveni Dream

Conveni Dream tries to make management sympathetic

The dream starts small. It feels big, but in the grander scheme of life and business, it is small. You have a convenience store, and a small one at that—just a few shelves and one part-time helper. But maybe—just maybe—it can be something more. If you work hard, if you make the right choices, and if everything goes your way. If, if, if. This is both the promise of small-time entrepreneurship and of Conveni Dream, a new game for Nintendo 3DS that turns the challenges of starting a small business into a colorful joyride. Sure, there are stakes—some will build…


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…


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

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…


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…