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Pokemon Art Academy hits North America in October

Image Pokemon Art Academy launches on October 24 in North America, digitally and in stores for 3DS. This follows the game's launch on July 4 in Europe. Pokemon Art Academy trains players to be master Pokemon artists, starting with basic shapes and working up to blending, shading, and special lessons in d... Continue Reading

July NPD: PS4 leads hardware, Last of Us returns to top software

July 2014 continues the trend of rising hardware sales and declining software sales, according to the NPD, though the software sales charts have seen a shakeup thanks to Sony's Last of Us re-release.

"Hardware sales doubled in July 2014 (vs. July 2013), stemming from growth in eighth generation console sales which offset declines in seventh generation console and portable hardware," states analyst Liam Callahan in the latest NPD report. Callahan adds that combined sales of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 after nine months of availability are now nearly 80 percent higher than prior generation consoles. The PlayStation 4 continues to be the top-selling new-generation console for the seventh month in a row.
[Image: Sony]

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Library of Congress discovers unreleased Duke Nukem game, chews bubblegum

Hail to the king of unlikely archival discoveries, baby. David Gibson, a moving image technician with the Library of Congress, stumbled upon a diamond in the rough while scouring through hundreds of games and game-related media artifacts submitted to the library by game publishers: a complete, playable, but never-released game. Duke Nukem: Critical Mass for PSP, a wholly different game than a version released on Nintendo DS in 2011, was discovered on an innocuous DVD-R.

Far from a piece of random archival material, Gibson found the actual source disc that would have been used for writing the game onto UMDs, the ill-fated proprietary media Sony used for retail PSP games. This led to further complications, though, as he had to find ways to access information locked inside of Sony's proprietary files. While Gibson hasn't found way to make the game fully playable at this point, he was able to access game code and view 3D models for not just the series' iconic Pig Cops but also Duke himself. Duke riding a jetpack, no less.

Gibson's complete report on the discovery is fascinating as both a document of a lost piece of lore in one of gaming's most infamous series, but also as a view inside the challenge of archiving gaming's history. Even with the discovery of the game, sharing the data hidden on that DVD-R remains a challenge due to the proprietary files within.
[Images: 3D Realms]

Fashion thesis dresses you like a thoroughly modern Link

Andrew Shields, a student at Parsons the New School of Design, believes that while it isn't easy being green, Link still looks spectacular decked out in viridian. Hyrule's chosen warrior and his companions in The Legend of Zelda are the inspiration for Shields' BFA thesis, a men's clothing line that will be ready-to-wear provided he acquires the necessary funding to see it complete.

"When I was young I wasn't really allowed to play with Barbies or draw dresses in my notebook, so I stopped and played on the computer, and I learned to play video games," explains Shields, in a brief video on Kickstarter. "My thesis is based on The Legend of Zelda, a game that helped shape my childhood and taught me how to explore and navigate through life."

Navigation Awaits, the name of Shields' line, includes 21 items making up seven different outfits. These range from leafy t-shirt and jeans combos that look like Link's preferred outfit for an Avicii show to more avant garde numbers right out of a Cirque de Soleil adaptation of Twilight Princess.

"The Hyrulian wardrobe is pretty diverse and proportions are pretty well developed so I think most people could pull it off," Shields told Joystiq via email. "If there really was a big difference I would say the addition of synthetics and metal notions like zippers."

"I did think on changing the theme of my collection, by taking inspiration from only Majora's Mask, and doing a really dark, twisted collection. Ultimately, I decided a lighter collection would represent the greater whole and thats more what I wanted to do."

The real question: Will you get to wear these designs?

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PSA: Nintendo eShop undergoing maintenance today

Nintendo's Wii U and 3DS eShop services are intermittently down this evening until 5:00 p.m. Pacific (8:00 p.m. Eastern), the company noted in an update on its network status and maintenance site. Additionally, the Wii Shopping Channel and Nintendo DSi Shop will be down at that time.

Today's maintenance on Nintendo platforms affects all services on Wii U and 3DS for a five minute period at 2:30 p.m. Pacific (5:30 p.m. Eastern). Likely, that brief interruption is over by the time you, dear friends, are reading this. So while it'll be a little longer before you can browse the eShop, you may resume your online Mario Kart 8 races.
[Image: Nintendo]

New Nintendo eShop releases: Guacamelee, Armillo

To coin Sony's term, Squids Odyssey is the first 3DS and Wii U "cross-buy" game, but it's only supported by Nintendo of Europe. Over in Europe, customers who buy the underwater RPG on 3DS can download the previously released Wii U version for free, as long as their Nintendo Network ID is linked across the two systems.

However, Siliconera confirmed the promotion isn't coming to North America. We wonder if there's an element of testing the waters going on, but we'll have to wait and see.

That's all very interesting, as is 3D rolling platformer Armillo (pictured above, check out its trailer below the break) and the excellent Guacamelee, both of which are now on Wii U. Yet our eyes are inexorably drawn to Bombing Bastards. Not because of the game, which has an undeniably familiar whiff about it, but the name itself, which Nintendo is apparently cool with. Remember when Stealth Bastard Deluxe became Stealth Inc on Sony platforms? Looks like Nintendo doesn't care so much, which is not the way round we pictured that.

As ever, you'll find all the new eShop releases below the break. Sales-wise, Kung Fu Rabbit is half-price at $2.49 until July 10, while Just Dance 2014 is permanently down to $40. Also, you can visit the weird and wacky world of 3DS sim Tomodachi Life through a new demo.

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New Nintendo eShop releases: Shovel Knight, Castlevania 3


The gardening tool-wielding Shovel Knight makes his debut on Nintendo platforms this week, joining Konami's NES classic Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Virtual Console. Who would win in a fight, you think -- Shovel Knight or Trevor Belmont? I'm guessing that a shovel would do a lot more damage to a leather-clad vampire hunter than a bullwhip would do to a suit of armor, so we'll give this round to Shovel Knight.

Other Wii U highlights this week include the 3D Arkanoid-like Brick Breaker 3D and the intriguingly-named Monkey Pirates. 3DS owners get a broader selection of choices with games like Skypeace, Toy Stunt Bike, and Mysterious Stars: The Samurai.

This week's update also gives eShop users the chance to save some cash with price drops for Code of Princess, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked, Urban Trial Freestyle, Darksiders 2, and a collection of Ubisoft-published games. You can read more about this week's eShop releases here.

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Retro Game Challenge 2 fan translation released

A fan-made translation patch for Indieszero's classic gaming-themed Nintendo DS compilation, Retro Game Challenge 2 (aka Game Center CX: Arino no Chousenjou 2), has surfaced, rendering it fully playable in English for the first time.

Like its officially localized predecessor, Retro Game Challenge 2 features a quest that takes players back to the 8-bit era, where they must complete difficult challenges across several included games while scouring faux gaming magazines for hints and cheats. While the original game featured simple action games and straightforward challenges, Retro Game Challenge 2 includes multiple text-based adventure games, making the Japanese version a difficult playthrough for players who are unable to read the language.

Though Retro Game Challenge met with acclaim from players stateside, publisher Xseed declined to translate and release its sequel in North America, citing low sales of the original game. Instructions for applying the Retro Game Challenge 2 patch are available at the translation team's website.

[Image: Indieszero / RGC2 Translation Team]

Wii U plugs first DS game into Virtual Console in Japan


Puzzle-poser Brain Age is the first DS game to arrive on Wii U Virtual Console, and it's out now in Japan for free until June 30.

Nintendo revealed plans in January to add the DS to Virtual Console on Wii U, but it's unknown if Brain Age is headed West or when other DS games may come to the system. When approached on the matter, a spokesperson for Nintendo UK told Joystiq, "We have nothing to announce at this time."

To use its oh-so-catchy full title, Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! hit Japan's store shelves back in 2005. The West didn't see it until 2006, but that didn't stop the brain-teaser going on to notch 19 million sales worldwide.

It also didn't stop our love affair with Dr Kawashima's floating polygonal dome, even if he couldn't understand our thick Manchester accent.
[Image: Nintendo]

Wii and DS online play lives on through homebrew server

Pro-tip for life: Don't tell the Internet it can't do something. Case in point, Nintendo shut down its official servers for Wii and DS online play just three days ago, and already there's a community running their own service in its stead. While it may take some extra work and tweaking on your end to configure a DS or Wii system to be compatible with the unofficial server, it is theoretically possible to still get in a race or two of Mario Kart.

We say "theoretically" because, being unofficial and all, the server isn't as stable or reliable as Nintendo's was. Not every game with online play has been tested for compatibility, and even those that have been tested could crash under server stress. Still, the project's wiki page notes that it is being actively developed, so it's possible things will improve. In the meantime, wear a hard hat and watch for falling goombas.
[Image: Nintendo]

2009 patent lawsuit over Nintendo DS dismissed by court

Nintendo emerged victorious this week from a patent infringement lawsuit filed five years ago, after a US District Court dismissed the case outright. Alleged patent troll Wall Wireless sued Nintendo as well as Sony and Nokia in 2009, claiming the companies contravened its patent for the "method and apparatus for creating and distributing real-time interactive media content through wireless communication networks and the internet."

Unfortunately for Wall Wireless, the US Patent and Trademark Office canceled all of the company's relevant patent claims upon re-examination, leaving the case without a leg to stand on. According to Nintendo, the Japanese Patent Office found the company's products didn't infringe on Wall Wireless' patent either. While there's no word from Sony or Nokia on the matter, it seems unlikely either company has much to worry about.

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PSA: Wii and DS online play shutdown imminent

As it was foretold, the end is upon us - or at least, it's upon those of us using a Wii or DS to play online games. Nintendo announced back in March that May 20, 2014 would signal the end of online service for games on the Wii and DS systems, and that day has come. Or, depending on when you read this, is rapidly approaching.

If you want to get in one last match or download any DLC for the games affected by the blackout, this is your last chance. Not sure if your favorite game is affected? Check Nintendo's full list. Note that this is not your last chance to watch Netflix or Hulu using your Wii. Those services will continue, at least for the prophesied foreseeable future.
[Image: Nintendo]

50 EA games going offline due to GameSpy shutdown

EA's efforts to transition its GameSpy-based games have been in vain, after the publisher revealed 50 of its titles are going offline once the matchmaking service shuts down. Not only is it a big list of games, but it includes casualties like Battlefield 2142 for PC and Mac, and Star Wars: Battlefront on PC and PS2.

Other games on the list include Battlefield 2 (PC), Command and Conquer 3 (PC and Mac), C&C Generals (PC and Mac), Red Alert 3 (PC and Mac), Crysis (PC), Crysis: Wars (PC), Crysis 2 (PC), Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (PC and Mac), Neverwinter Nights (PC, Mac and Linux) Neverwinter Nights 2 (PC and Mac), and Star Wars Battlefront 2 (PC and PS2). EA's service site has the full list of affected games, all of which lose their online services on June 30.

"Unfortunately, due to technical challenges and concerns about the player experience, we do not have a solution at this time," EA said on its service page.

The company noted some of the games retain sizable audiences, and it's "investigating community-supported options" in a bid to retain online functionality. However: "Significant technical hurdles remain, and at this time we don't have anything to announce."

If EA doesn't come through, users may turn to services like GameRanger, which provides server support for some of the games in question. However, for many games it'll likely be so long and thanks for all the online fun soon after GameSpy's services go dark on May 31.
[Image: EA]

Joystiq Discussion: How do you like your Nintendo?

Nintendo isn't in peak condition. The 3DS recovered from its debut slump back in 2011, but the Wii U hasn't found a sizeable audience. As the House of Mario announced on Wednesday, it's sold just over 6 million Wii Us since the console hit in November 2012, significantly less than the PlayStation 4 managed to sell in just five months. Even with Super Smash Bros Wii U and Mario Kart 8 on the way, Nintendo only expects to sell 3.6 million Wii Us by the end of fiscal year 2015.

Maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Market defining sales of the Nintendo DS and Wii as well as the popularity of mascots like Mario may have skewed the world's expectations of Nintendo. Not just in terms of the scale its business, but as a creative force. Machines remembered as mighty hosts for genius games like the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube sold roughly 33 million and 22 million consoles apiece over their entire lifetimes, just a fraction of the 101 million-selling Wii. Both had scant few third party exclusives, but they did have an arsenal of spectacular Nintendo-made games, games far weirder and arguably more lovable than the bland exclusives like Wii Party and Wii Fit that fueled Wii's ascendance. Working on a smaller scale and as an underdog, Nintendo gave us Animal Crossing, Wind Waker, Super Smash Bros, Doshin the Giant, and many more.

Maybe, just maybe, Nintendo is at its best when it's not in peak condition, when it's smaller. Little Mac rather than Mike Tyson, if you will.

The question, then: How do you like your Nintendo? Do you want the market giants of the Wii and DS era, raking in cash like never before and pumping out massive family hits like Wii Sports Resort? Or do you want the scrappy weirdos that came up with WarioWare the same year they reported their first ever fiscal loss? Take the poll, talk in the comments.

[Images: Nintendo]

Twitch Plays Pokemon gambles with Pokemon Stadium 2

Gone are the days when Twitch Plays Pokemon was just a random crowd-play experiment based on a popular Game Boy RPG. Not only has the livestreamed game moved on to Pokemon Platinum for Nintendo DS, but it now features another game on the stream entirely: Pokemon Stadium 2 for Nintendo 64. Now, Twitch chatters can bet on battles between creatures in Pokemon Stadium 2, which act in completely random ways, all while participating in Twitch Plays Pokemon's ongoing quest to catch 'em all.

The livestreamed game began in February with Pokemon Red, in which thousands of viewers were able to control the game using Twitch's embedded chat. The first game ended after two weeks, garnering 35 million viewers and countless memes and pieces of user-created lore. Now hovering around 2,500 concurrent viewers, Twitch Plays Pokemon is slowly approaching 60 million total viewers after having beaten four games in the Pokemon series.
[Image: The Pokemon Company]

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