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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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Wii U gets organized with folders in latest update

Much like a prospective office assistant, Nintendo's Wii U can now put "good organization skills" on its resume. Thanks to a new system update this week, the console will now allow players to sort their home screen icons into folders. The Wii U menu also added a download management icon in the latest update and updated the home menu's layout.

The system's quick start menu, which was added this summer to cut down on the Wii U's boot times, also received two small changes in the firmware update. The menu will now display when the Wii U is powered on from the GamePad's TV remote menu. Additionally, players can choose software to hide from the quick start menu in the system's power settings. The console manufacturer was a little slower to learn icon management this time around; Nintendo added folder sorting to the 3DS just over a year after the system's launch compared to nearly two years after the Wii U arrived.

[Thanks, Deric!]
[Image: Nintendo]

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]

Joystiq Deals: VPN Unlimited, Injustice, Wind Waker HD

This edition of Joystiq Deals aims to keep your web browsing safe from prying eyes no matter where you're logged onto the 'net, while Amazon has discounts on two recent hit games.

For the next three days, Joystiq Deals members will be able to purchase a three-year premium VPN Unlimited membership for $19, a 70 percent discount off the subscription's standard $65 price point. For that money, VPN Unlimited offers access to region-locked websites, prevents others from viewing your web history or intercepting data and makes even the most insecure public wifi hot spot as safe as your home network. More details and everything you'll need to subscribe can be found at the Joystiq Deals website.

On the gaming side of things, Amazon has $10 discounts on two big-name game releases. Wii U exclusive epic adventure The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD is currently available at $40, while the PlayStation 4 re-release of Netherrealm's superhero fighter Injustice: Gods Among Us can be purchased for $20. Injustice earned 4.5 of 5 stars in our review, while Wind Waker HD was described as "an excellent opportunity to enjoy one of Nintendo's most satisfying experiments."
[Image: Nintendo]

Dead or Alive ninja Ayane's 'chest wobble' gets special attention in Fatal Frame 5

The spectral horrors of Fatal Frame 5: The Black Haired Shrine Maiden will find themselves stalking a more dangerous foe than they're used to, thanks to a cross-publisher cameo from the Dead or Alive fighting game franchise.

According to the latest issue of Famitsu, Yosuke Hayashi, head of Dead or Alive developer Team Ninja, requested that the next Fatal Frame entry feature an appearance by Ayane. In lieu of appearing as a secret costume, the Fatal Frame developers have given Ayane her own playable scenario that sees the purple kunoichi sneaking through darkened halls while wielding her own unique weapon. Despite the new, eerie setting, fans of the female form need not fear that Ayane's grown any more modest. Famitsu claims the Fatal Frame team paid special attention to the character's unrealistically buoyant bosoms. "[The developers] spent a lot of time adjusting things like the wobble of her chest," claims Famitsu. "Team Ninja gave them lots of advice."

Fatal Frame 5: The Black Haired Shrine Maiden debuted in Japan on September 27. There's currently no word on a Western release for the survival horror game.
[Image: Koei Tecmo]

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.

Paradise Lost: First Contact to break free in mid-2015

Paradise Lost: First Contact won't escape from the metaphorical glass tube of development until "mid-2015," according to developer Asthree Works' update on Kickstarter. Planning a telekinetic alien lifeform's romp through a science facility is proving a little more complex than Asthree initially imagined. To be more specific, the team has reworked almost 80 percent of Paradise Lost's animations, added more detail to background environments, and spent a significant amount of time meshing gameplay mechanics together in a congruent, sensible manner.

If you're a visual learner, comparing the initial map to its more recent counterpart explains a lot, though there are also extra, to-be-added dialog and scenes to consider. Asthree's update reads confidently regarding the delay however, explaining that it's "the correct choice in order to make a whole experience, the vision of PLFC that we had wanted it to be."

The mid-2015 estimate is likely for the PC, Mac and Linux versions, as the stretch goal for a simultaneous Wii U launch wasn't reached during Paradise Lost's Kickstarter. An Ouya version is also due sometime after the initial launch.
[Image: Asthree Works]

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]

Epona is the weaponized horse you always wanted in Hyrule Warriors

Link's horse, Epona, is a new weapon in the first DLC pack for Hyrule Warriors, supervisor Eiji Aonuma says in a blog post. Everyone wants a pony, right?

Epona is a new weapon in the Master Quest DLC pack due out on October 16 in the Americas. "Some of you may be surprised to hear that Epona is a 'weapon,' but in Hyrule Warriors, she can team up with Link to attack enemies!" Aonuma writes. "I already had a chance to try out Epona in the game. By riding Epona, I was able to blow herds of enemies away and gallop swiftly through the fields, and I had a lot of fun trying out this re-imagined version of her in Hyrule Warriors."

Hyrule Warriors gets four pieces of planned, paid DLC, available in a season pass bundle for $20, which also nets players a special Dark Link costume. The DLC packs include new weapons, characters, maps and costumes.

See the Hyrule Warriors launch trailer below, and check out our four-star review here.
[Image: Nintendo]

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Joystiq Giveaway: 12 Skylanders Trap Team Legendary Starter Packs

Bet you thought we were done after Destiny! Nope. Joystiq is all about doling out the gaming goodness. We're shifting away from the go go grim gun fantasias for our next big giveaway, though! This time, it's all about action figures.

Joystiq is giving away 12 Skylanders: Trap Team Legendary Starter Packs, three each for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and for the first time in the series, a tablet version of the game that is feature complete.

Every Legendary Starter Pack comes with that console's version of the game, the new portal, two Skylanders figures, two traps, sticker sheets with secret codes, posters, and trading cards. What's more, every one of our 12 winners will also get a random assortment of Skylanders Mini figures, standard figures, and a lucky few will also get deluxe Trap Master figures as well.

All you have to do to enter is "Like" Joystiq on Facebook using the widget below between September 26 and October 10, and also be an American or Canadian citizen over the age of 13. You can extra earn extra chances to win by following us on Twitter and

Full prize list and giveaway rules after the break.

Joystiq Giveaway: 12 free copies of Skylanders Trap Team
[Images: Activision]

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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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