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Insert Quarter: A Profile of the Video Game Archivists at the Library of Congress
Xbox Store Today: Volgarr the Viking
Most Recent: Wii U
Insert Quarter is our showcase for some of the best and most interesting writing about video games on the Internet.
With more than 6,000 titles, the Library of Congress is home to one of the largest video game archives in the world. But the curation and management of the collection is in the hands of just four part-time employees. BuzzFeed’s Joseph Bernstein reached out to these four men to learn how the Library of Congress is attempting to preserve America’s gaming heritage and how much more still needs to be done:
No, the work of game copyrighting and archiving at our country’s signal institution for cultural preservation is not done by a dedicated full-time staff. Instead, it’s the passion project of a handful of archivists who want to be the new standard-bearers in the preservation of video games. Indeed, the state of video game collection at the Library is something of an expression of the liminal state of video games in American popular culture writ large. The Library recognizes the cultural importance of video games, but only devotes four people part-time to their archiving; Game companies insist that their products are the medium of the future, but don’t trust archives with their source code; Collectors sell their troves on Craigslist and eBay rather than considering donation.
Even to get to this point, though, has been a journey in and of itself.
You can read the rest of the article at BuzzFeed.
Nintendo has got a slick and spooky update planned for the eShop this week.
The NES and Super NES adventures of Firebrand the Gargoyle will make their eShop debut this week as Gargoyle’s Quest II: The Demon Darkness was released for the 3DS and Wii U while Demon’s Crest is now available to download only on the Wii U. A terrifying Kirby game, Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land, has also been added to the Wii U eShop.
OK, so Kirby is never frightening. And neither is Double Fine’s Costume Quest 2. But the Halloween-y RPG is also new on the Wii U eShop this week. It’s joined by Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones, a Wii U-exclusive puzzle platformer from Curve Studios.
More than a dozen other titles were also added to the Nintendo eShop this week including Falling Skies for the Wii U, Duck Dynasty for the 3DS, and next Tuesday’s Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley (also for the 3DS). You can read all about these games (and many more) after the break. (more…)
Nintendo announced a ton of Wii U games during this Summer’s E3 Expo. A dozen, if you’re counting along at home. And within the pages of their latest quarterly financial report, the publisher has revealed that all 12 are still on track for release next year. In case you missed it the first time around, here’s what Nintendo has planned for the Wii U in 2015:
First Half of 2015
Second Half of 2015
- Devil’s Third
- Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
- The Legend of Zelda Wii U
- Mario Party 10
- Mario vs Donkey Kong
- Project Guard
- Star Fox Wii U
- Xenoblade Chronicles X
On top of this, Nintendo even has a few games currently planned for beyond 2016, such as Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem and the currently untitled Super Mario Bros. 20. It’s an ambitious scheduled, possibly the most ambitious of Nintendo’s nearly 40 years in the video game business.
Thankfully, their financials are starting to turn around. Elsewhere in their latest quarterly financial report, the publisher revealed they sold 3.22 million copies of Super Smash Bros. For 3DS in September and 3.49 million copies of Mario Kart 8 since its launch in May. These two strong software launches were complemented by sales of 1.12 million Wii U consoles, pushing its life-to-date sales total past the Xbox One to 7.29 million.
Last year might have been “The Year of Luigi,” but 2015 might be “The Year of Nintendo.”
Fans have really taken to Nintnedo’s decision to expand Mario Kart 8 into “Super Smash Kart” with downloadable content. The announcement that Link would get a kart of his own was met with huge applause from the Mario Kart community. And the return of the B Dasher and Yoshi Circuit certainly revved up the franchise’s fans as well. But I think Nintendo’s next announcement might top them all. The Legend of Zelda X Mario Kart 8 Pack, which will be available in November, will include “Excitebike Arena,” a course based on the NES edition of Excitebike.
Excitebike was famous for including one of the first track editors in gaming history and Nintendo will channel that spirit by randomizing the layout of Excitebike Arena with every race. Jumps, oil slicks, grass hazards… if you remember it from Excitebike, it’ll be included in Excitebike Arena. Check out the trailer above for a look at how the randomization will work.
In retrospect, mixing Mario Kart with Excitebike seems so obvious that a part of me is amazed that Nintendo never tried it before.
Nintendo uploaded a new Nintendo Direct video earlier today all about Super Smash Bros. For Wii U. Nintendo’s “50-Fact Extravaganza” video revealed a ton of new details about the game including confirmation of a special 8-player battle mode. The unimaginatively titled “8-Player Smash” will allow up to eight players to battle it out in special larger arenas for the first time. For obvious reasons, this mode is only available locally, so I hope you can cram eight people onto your couch, because it sounds awesome.
Other “Facts” revealed today include:
Amiibo Figures: When a player touches an Amiibo figure to the Wii U GamePad, the character joins as a “figure player.” The Amiibo figures can gain levels to become stronger and add equipment as they gain experience through battling. Players can have Amiibo fight one another, and Amiibo will bring you presents from the battles they fight in.
Custom Stage Creation: The touch screen of the Wii U GamePad makes it easier than ever for players to build their own stages and eventually share them with friends and other players around the world using broadband Internet access.
Smash Tour: World Smash is a fighting party game that looks like a board game. Players use items, spin a wheel and advance around the map. Up to four players can compete at once as they navigate the board and gain fighters and power-ups they can use in a final battle.
Ridley. Yes, Ridley: Fans have been clamoring for Ridley to appear in a Super Smash Bros. game for a while, and now they’re getting their wish. But true to form, Ridley appears in an unexpected way. Players will find him in the Metroid series-inspired Pyrosphere stage, but he does more than just hassle players. If one player attacks Ridley enough, Ridley will join that fighter’s side and attack others. Players (including the one on Ridley’s side) can KO Ridley to earn a point toward the match result total. And if Ridley consumes enough energy, he will become Meta Ridley and all the more vicious.
Special Soundtrack Offer: Everyone who buys both the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U versions of Super Smash Bros. and registers both games on Club Nintendo by January 13 will receive a two-disc soundtrack of music from the games.
Finally, Nintendo confirmed today that Super Smash Bros. For Wii U’s roster will be expanded with downloadable fighters at a later date. The first character to be available will be Mewtwo, who will be available as a free download in Spring 2015 for players who purchase Smash Bros. Wii U and Super Smash Bros. For 3DS.
You can learn even more new “Facts” by watching the complete Nintendo Direct video, which is embedded above. And don’t forget, Super Smash Bros. For Wii U will be released on November 21.
I think this may be one of the biggest weeks ever for Nintendo’s eShop… and it’s actually almost all due to Nintendo themselves. The consolemaker will release four games tomorrow: Platinum’s action sequel Bayonetta 2, the original Bayonetta, the RPG/life simulation mashup Fantasy Life, and the drawing game Pokemon Art Academy.
But this week will also see the release of…
- Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (3DS), the latest game in WayForward’s beloved platformer series (and another “Nindie” backed by Nintendo).
- KORG DSN-12 (3DS), the latest game in the music synthesizer series.
- Just Dance 2015 (Wii U), the newest game in Ubisoft’s dancing franchise.
- Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (Wii U), one of the best Castlevania games to ever grace the Game Boy Advance.
- The Legend of Korra: A New Era Begins (3DS), a strategy game based on the popular animated series.
- Big Hero 6: Battle in the Bay (3DS), an action that takes place after the upcoming Disney film.
More details on all of these games (and a few others) can be found after the break. (more…)
Analysts from ICO Partners recently reported that donations to video game projects on Kickstarter have seen a dramatic decline. They estimate that by the end of 2014, $27 million will have been pledged, compared to $58 million at the end of the previous year. A 50% reduction makes for grim reading if you are a game developer looking to launch a project, though it should be noted that 2014 is lacking in many of the big name campaigns that were launched in 2013.
Perhaps the bubble has already burst, or perhaps people have become pickier about which projects they participate in, disenfranchised by the multitude of disreputable characters who have tried time and again to launch projects with no aim of actually keeping their promises. As Evil As A Hobby discovered during their broad analysis back in January 2014, only one in three game projects launched between 2009 and 2012 delivered a finished product and accompanying rewards.
As I was finishing up this month’s edition of Kickstart This!, Boston-based Dejobaan Games reached their funding goal for Elegy For A Dead World, “a game about writing fiction,” according to the official description. It is awe-inspiring in its art design, offering a uniquely free reign in crafting the story of the game itself. Thankfully, there are more projects worthy of bringing to your attention. And that’s the point. There will always be great games begging to be made. If there is less money out there, it means less great games, but perhaps it will also add some quality control to a system untamed by accountability.
Unfortunately, the game’s deadline did not meet my own (although I did go on Twitter and rave about it). Thankfully, there are more projects worthy of bringing to your attention. And that’s the point. There will always be great games begging to be made. If there is less money out there, it means less great games, but perhaps it will also add some quality control to a system untamed by accountability.
We kick things off with side-scrolling puzzle shooter Red Cobra, survival adventure Impact Winter, and sci-fi survival horror Extract 237. After that, there is mech vombat MOBA Voxelfield, and last, but not least, The Interactive Adventures of Dog Mendonça and Pizza Boy.
Yes, that last one is real. (more…)
Nintendo of Japan has confirmed that Yoshi Circuit, which was originally included in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! on the GameCube, will be part of the retro Egg Cup in the upcoming “Legend of Zelda X Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack.” You can get a glimpse of the revamped Yoshi Circuit, as well as Tanooki Mario’s Tanooki Buggy, in the newly released trailer above. Link and Cat Peach will also be added to the racer roster thanks to the DLC pack, along with Mario’s B Dasher, Link’s Master Cycle, and a kart based on Captain Falcon’s hovercraft from F-Zero.
“The Legend of Zelda X Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack” will be priced at $7.99 when its released in November.