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Grab a Super-Size Punkaboo in Pokemon X/Y for Halloween

Nintendo is offering a spooky treat for Pokemon trainers this Halloween. Throughout the month of October, Pokemon X and Y players can receive an exclusive Super-Size Pumpkaboo via the Nintendo Network, granting access to the upcoming Trick-or-Treat Friendly Online Competition.

To get Pumpkaboo, players must choose the "Mystery Gift" option on Pokemon X/Y's main menu, then select "Get Via Internet." The Pumpkaboo comes equipped with Halloween-themed moves like Trick-or-Treat and Scary Face, and evolves into a competition-ready Gourgeist when traded with a friend.

Pumpkaboo is available as a free download starting today, and will be up for grabs through October 31.

[Image: Nintendo]

Sakurai: Zelda, Sheik couldn't be one Smash Bros. fighter on 3DS

Character transformations in this year's Super Smash Bros. were nixed due to Nintendo 3DS hardware limitations, director Masahiro Sakurai told Famitsu this week (via Siliconera).

Previous series entries featured characters that could switch outfits mid-battle; Zelda could turn into Sheik, for instance, and Samus could shed her armor and fight as Zero Suit Samus. In the latest sequel, however, Zelda and Sheik are only available as separate characters. "It's basically due to the 3DS' limitations," Sakurai said. "It was impossible to have both characters exist together [as one] on 3DS."

"However," Sakurai continued, "reaching that limit can sometimes lead in good directions. Transforming characters had the drawback of ambiguous tactics and such, and I believe that they have become more fresh now."

Former Smash Bros. brawlers Popo and Nana were also cut from this year's game due to hardware restrictions, as Sakurai found that the Nintendo 3DS was incapable of rendering both Ice Climbers at once in multiplayer battles. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS premieres this Thursday in North America, and a Wii U version is due out this winter.

[Image: Nintendo]

Skylanders Trap Team review: Broccoli Guy's unjust desert

Skylanders' success is borne of equal parts solid game design and marketing savvy. Its central conceit – buy small plastic figurines in order to summon in-game characters – is instantly appealing for kids, and its Gauntlet-styled action-RPG gameplay makes it a guilty pleasure for adults.

The franchise's "toys to life" mantra, despite its potential for audience exploitation, rewards dedicated fans with bonus content and unlockables that mirror the size of their toy collections. There are now hundreds of Skylanders toys to collect, but to date, the series has maintained a delicate balance that ensures a fun experience both for hardcore collectors and for casual fans.

Skylanders Trap Team, the fourth major entry in the series, is the first Skylanders game to upset this balance. Trap Team still offers a fun journey at its core, but longtime fans will be disappointed to find out that they need to purchase several new figures in addition to an expensive starter set in order to explore the game to its fullest.

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Japanese New 3DS ad is sweeter than Pixy Stix

Image A dapper Link? A regal Pikachu? A Kirby that is somehow more kawaii? Brush your teeth after you watch this Japanese New 3DS commercial, folks. We wouldn't want you to get a cavity.... Continue Reading

3DS mod adds smashing GameCube controller support

With the launch of the exceptional Super Smash Bros. for 3DS looming, some might still be miffed that the game won't support the Circle Pad Pro add-on. Though the game will make use of the new 3DS and 3DS XL's C-stick, some may want a separate controller entirely for optimized Smash Bros. usage. A new 3DS mod introduced late last week does just that, giving players the ability to play any 3DS game with a GameCube controller.

The hardware hack is courtesy of dekuNukem, the same modder that delivered an automatic shiny Pokemon finder mod last year. According to the demonstration video seen after the break, those looking to dust off their GameCube controllers for the mod will spend roughly $12 for the parts needed, which include a handful of resistors, a circuit board and an LCD screen from a Nokia phone. The screen offers a visual aid so players can change button configurations from the controller itself. DekuNukem doesn't have a full detailed list of instructions for the mod yet, which results in an empty circuit board on the bottom side of your still-functional 3DS, but they are accepting a few send-in modification requests.
[Image: dekuNukem, YouTube]

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New 3DS themes invade Japan in October firmware update

Do you hate the staid, utilitarian aesthetic of the Nintendo 3DS' Home screen? Do you live in Japan? Come next month, Nintendo may have a solution for your woes.

When the handheld's next firmware update rolls out, it will include access to a selection of 50 themes designed to alter the appearance of the 3DS' Home screen. Prices on these themes range from 100 to 200 yen (roughly $0.90 to $1.80) and alongside various color-coordinated designs, the themes also feature standout Nintendo characters, such as Mario and the anthropomorphic critters of Animal Crossing.

It's currently unknown if Nintendo has plans to launch the themes outside of Japan, and our attempts to pry further information from the company's representatives was met with a boilerplate "no comment." However, if you can contain your jealousy, you can visit Nintendo's Japanese website to view the themes for yourself.
[Image: Nintendo]

Report: Smash Bros. glitch is MASSIVE

A glitch in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, which is currently available in Japan, sees Yoshi go through quite the growth spurt. If you've ever had fantasies of Godzilla in a Yoshi suit, prepare for them to potentially come true in the game's survival mode.

Our review of the game called it "the most feature-complete, compelling Super Smash Bros. entry to date." SSBfN3DS is available this Friday, October 3, in North America and Europe.

Report: America favors gaming consoles for media streaming

Game consoles aren't really game consoles anymore. Sure they play games, but they're also capable of plenty of non-gaming activities. In today's age, we have an abundance of apps and features installed on our consoles that make watching our favorite shows and movies easy and convenient. But of course, you already knew this.

What you may not have known is that researchers at Parks Associates claim that game consoles are currently not just able to help us catch up on the latest season of <your favorite show>, but are reportedly the most popular method of doing so in the US. As reported by Home Media Magazine, Parks' data shows that roughly 46 percent of broadband-connected homes use a console to access non-gaming content via the internet, and of those homes, 28 percent use the console as their primary connected device.

This high percentage of users edges out connected Blu-ray players, as well as streaming devices such as a Roku box or Apple TV. Smart TVs are reportedly the second-most popular way for people to enjoy non-gaming internet media.

This may sound surprising, but really, using game consoles for non-gaming entertainment has been around for some time; after all, one of the PlayStation 2's most-touted features was its ability to play DVD movies. Remember those? Remember physical media? Good times. Gooooood times.

Update: An earlier version of this story incorrectly related the statistics regarding usage of game consoles. It has been corrected.
[Image: Sony/Microsoft]

Metareview: Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS

We handed Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS four and half stars, calling it "the most feature-complete, compelling Super Smash Bros. entry to date," and setting it right alongside Fire Emblem: Awakening and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds as a game that every 3DS owner should play.

Critics around the web seem to agree that Super Smash Bros.' first outing on 3DS is worthy of high praise, though experiences with online play seem to vary across the board. Our own experience was fairly positive, depending largely on the geographical proximity of opponents. One critic notes lag issues in local multiplayer, especially in 4-player matches.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS launches in North America on October 3.

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Super Smash Bros. 3DS review: Only the strong

It may not be the undisputed industry leader these days, and Nintendo currently faces stronger competition than it ever has, but one thing you can't take away from the Japanese gaming giant is its wealth of iconic, beloved characters. From Mario to Link to Donkey Kong (and on through another few dozen familiar names), Nintendo is responsible for the majority of gaming's most famous faces. In hindsight, the idea to combine them all into one massive fighting game nostalgia bomb was sublime genius, and the Super Smash Bros. games have been among Nintendo's most popular releases on each console they've reached. It doesn't hurt that the games have all been solidly constructed from a combination of unique fighting game mechanics and spot-on controls, but let's be frank, people are buying these games because they're the best way to punch Pikachu in his cute, smug little face.

That all might change with the latest entry in the series, however. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (that's the full title) is as much a trip down Nintendo's memory lane as any of its predecessors, but there's more meat here than in prior games. More to see, more to do, and all of it is built on the most solid fundamentals the series has yet seen. But is all of that enough to survive the franchise's first jump to a portable system? And what of the new online components, which have been a key failing of prior Super Smash Bros. games? Nintendo, along with development partners Namco and Sora, seems pretty confident, and the more time I spend with Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, the more I see why.

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New Nintendo eShop releases: Hyrule Warriors, Mario Golf: Advance Tour

Nintendo and Omega Force's The Legend of Zelda-inspired brawler Hyrule Warriors launches in the eShop today, letting Wii U owners slash their way through endless hordes of Moblins and other familiar critters as they quest to save Hyrule.

Wii U players can also look forward to a Virtual Console version of Mario Golf: Advance Tour this week, along with other downloadable offerings like Angry Bunnies: Colossal Carrot Crusade, Darts Up, and a demo of Spin the Bottle: Bumpie's Party. The Nintendo 3DS, meanwhile, hosts its very first Yu-Gi-Oh! game with today's launch of Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL World Duel Carnival.

Both platforms see a round of discounts as part of Nintendo's ongoing Super Smash Bros-themed sale, as this week spotlights a number of games starring Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Kirby, and other franchise characters. Nintendo partially revealed its October lineup as well, announcing that Konami's Castlevania: Dracula X (likely the SNES version) and Game Boy Advance launch title Castlevania: Circle of the Moon will stalk the eShop in the weeks leading up to Halloween.

Hit the break below for a full list of all games hitting the Wii U and 3DS eShop this week.

[Image: Nintendo]

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Super Smash Bros 3DS tourney in US GameStop stores

Nintendo is hosting a Super Smash Bros 3DS tournament at GameStop stores across the United States on October 4, the day after the game launches. Tournaments will be held at 16 stores across the country, including 15 GameStop locations in California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Washington, Florida, Georgia and Texas, plus the Nintendo World store in New York.

"Participants for the 64-player local tournaments on October 4 are selected on a first-come, first-served basis with no pre-registration required," Nintendo says in a press release. "Participants may bring their own Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo 2DS systems and/or Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS games to the tournaments, but are not required to do so."

Tournament winners will be flown out to the New York Nintendo World store on October 11 to compete in the Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS National Open Tournament. See the full list of GameStop stores hosting tournaments on October 4 in the press release below.
[Image: Nintendo]

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New 3DS reaches Australia, New Zealand in November

When Nintendo first revealed new versions of the 3DS and 3DS XL handhelds last month it was unclear if the device would be released globally or if it would be exclusive to Japan. Thanks to a new Nintendo Direct, we now have an answer.

Below the break you'll find what Tom Enoki, managing director of Nintendo Australia, describes as the "first Australian Nintendo Direct" video. The nearly 15-minute clip focuses on a number of upcoming 3DS games - Super Smash Bros. in particular - and also reveals word that the new model will launch in Australia and New Zealand on November 21. The 3DS will bear a price of $220AUD while the 3DS XL is priced at $250AUD.

That's great news for people living in those regions, but it also suggests that the new 3DS models may be coming to Europe and North America as well. If nothing else, those regions offer Nintendo far more potential sales than the gaming giant would see by launching exclusively in Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
[Image: Nintendo]

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Ace Attorney Trilogy screens flaunt enhanced graphics

To properly hype fans for this winter's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy, Capcom has prepared a series of screenshots comparing the original Ace Attorney games to their updated, 3DS counterparts. As you'd expect, the leap from older handhelds to the 3DS offers Capcom's artists more aesthetic freedom and the result is a more colorful, less pixelated adventure.

To see for yourself, visit the Capcom Unity website, where the publisher has posted 12 comparison screenshots in addition to the image seen above. We're still waiting on an official release date for the game, but as we're rapidly approaching the holiday season, that information should appear soon.

2DS to go see-through in EU with new designs, out in Nov.

Two new transparent 2DS skins are coming to Europe in November, letting continentals take a peek at the innards of the 3DS variants. The red and blue models first launch in the region on November 7, with Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby bundles arriving alongside the Poke-remakes on November 28. Nintendo of Europe didn't disclose prices in its press release (2DS standalones are regularly priced £110 on Nintendo UK's online store)

The transparent bundles clearly come with the games pre-installed on a 4GB memory card, with the red system including Omega Ruby and the blue system Alpha Sapphire.

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