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Joystiq Streams: Once more, with feeling



Ladies and gentlemen it's time/for all the good that's in you to shine/for all the lights to lose their shade/for all the hate that's in you to fade.

Ladies and gentlemen it's time/for the maracas and the tambourines/to play them until they break or until day break/don't hide anymore its time to be seen.


So: here we are. One more Joystiq Streams before we all become something else, something grand, something new. We'll have almost the entire crew on, most playing, for a little bit of the old Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

It all happens on Twitch.tv/Joystiq at 3:00PM EST. Be there.
[Images: Nintendo]

Who The Hell Is: Shulk

The following feature contains substantial spoilers for the game Xenoblade Chronicles.
The rumors are true, and Joystiq is closing. I had only just started my "Who The Hell Is" series, where I gave a brief history lesson on video game characters such as Johnny Gat. After all, if you're going to be playing a game with the character's name in the title, you want to know who he is, right? So for one last time, let me help you get to know someone.

Say hello to Shulk.

For many players, Shulk's first appearance is not Xenoblade Chronicles – the 2010 Wii game he actually stars in – but Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS. There, Shulk can boost his abilities to become harder, better, faster, stronger. He's also the only character possessing a costume equivalent to Samus' sports bra/short-shorts combo thanks to his form-fitting boxer-briefs.

So, why does Shulk get to change his fighting abilities in a way that no one else can? To answer that, we have to go back. Way back. No, further. To the beginning of the world.

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New Nintendo eShop releases: More of the Samus, please

$10 for the Metroid Prime: Trilogy on Wii U with apparently faster load times? Om nom nom. While we're talking, Nintendo, any word on a new Metr-hello? Anyone there?

Oh well. So, check out this week's full list of new eShop releases below the break, as well as the last week of Nintendo's Throwback sale here. And a reminder: After 9AM PT/12PM ET on February 5, Metroid Prime Trilogy goes up to a regular price of $20. Get it while it's hot!

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Super Smash Bros. Wii U update opens 15 more 8-player levels [Update]

Nintendo updated Super Smash Bros. for Wii U today, adding new levels to the game upon which fans can kick the crap out of their loved ones. The update gives players 15 new levels for free, each one for the game's eight-player Smash mode. Nintendo of Japan listed the new stages on its site:

Normal:
  • Mario Circuit (X)
  • Luigi's Mansion
  • Pyrosphere
  • Norfair
  • Lylat Cruise
  • Pokemon Stadium 2
  • Animal Crossing: Town and City
  • Animal Crossing: Smashville
  • Wii Fit studio
Omega:
  • Mario Galaxy
  • Mario Circuit (X)
  • Kirby: The Great Cave Offensive
  • Lylat Cruise
  • Pokemon Stadium 2
  • Town and City
The publisher revealed its latest sales numbers this week, noting that the Wii U's lifetime sales reached 9.2 million consoles. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U sold 3.39 million copies by the end of 2014, topped only by Mario Kart 8's 4.77 million units as the system's best seller last year.

Update: Thanks to a translation error on Nintendo of Japan's page, some of the stages were incorrectly named. We've updated the list.

Nintendo Creators Program shares ad revenue with YouTube users

Nintendo unveiled its new revenue-sharing affiliate program for YouTube users, offering up to 70 percent of ad revenue to video makers using Nintendo-copyrighted content. The House of Mario's christened it the Nintendo Creators Program, and users with both Google and Paypal accounts can take the open beta for a spin right now.

The beta is currently offering 60 percent of ad revenue for individual videos attached to the program, and 70 percent for channels. Nintendo will calculate revenue shares on a monthly basis before sending them out to video creators via Paypal. Furthermore, videos and channels have to be approved by Nintendo before the company begins doling out the cash, and the big N says that process can take up to three business days.

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1.84M New 3DS units shipped in 2014, Wii U up to 9.2M

The New 3DS is off to a "good start" according to Nintendo, after the enhanced handheld shipped 1.84 million units by the end of 2014. The company launched the New 3DS and its XL variant in Japan back in October, before bringing them to Australia the following month.

The New 3DS' arrival helped take the "3DS family" beyond the 50 million mark, and as of December 31, 2014, the 3DS total is 50.41 million units shipped worldwide. On the other hand, Nintendo says 3DS sales haven't grown sufficiently in North America and Europe this fiscal year; both regions are waiting for the New 3DS to launch there next month. Between April and December 2014, Nintendo shifted 7.08 million 3DS systems worldwide.

While the Wii U has gathered steam in recent months, it's still tracking a long way behind its handheld sibling. Nintendo shifted 1.91 million consoles worldwide during the busy holiday quarter of October to December 2014, taking its nine-month figures to 3.39 million, As of the end of 2014, its two-year lifetime total is 9.2 mllion systems and 52.87 million software units.

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Nintendo: Sales tracking below forecasts, weak yen drives profit

Nintendo reduced its annual sales forecast by 6.8 percent today, leading to a 50 percent drop in the projected operating profit for its core business. Nonetheless, the ever-weakening state of the yen is balancing that out by boosting the company's overseas earnings.

According to its revised forecast, Nintendo now expects to earn a net profit of ¥30 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015, which converts to around $255 million. That's up 50 percent from the company's previous projections, and a sharp contrast to the $229 million loss posted the previous fiscal year.

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Hyrule Warriors ships a million, celebrates with wallpaper party

Hyrule Warriors shipped a million units worldwide since it launched last fall, which equates to many, many millions of enemies taken out in the army-mashing crossover. Famitsu reported the milestone today, which we've confirmed with a Koei Tecmo Europe representative.

Koei Tecmo is celebrating like cray by publishing a set of new wallpapers based on the Wii U brawler, and they're not bad desktop bling, it has to be said. Also, there's still plenty of steam in the game's DLC train; Majora's Mask content is due to arrive next week.

And yes, the DLC features Tingle. Like absolutely everything should.
[Image: Tecmo Koei]

Smash Bros. creator Sakurai also has trouble tracking down amiibo

If you've been unsuccessful in finding an amiibo of your favorite Super Smash Bros. character, you're not alone. Series creator Masahiro Sakurai recently vented similar frustrations on Twitter, noting that he went home empty-handed when he hit up local retailers in Japan in the hopes of tracking down Meta Knight, Sheik, Lucario, and Rosalina & Luma.

Nintendo of America announced last year that it would phase out many amiibo after an initial print run, leading to shortages and price hikes on secondary markets like eBay and Amazon. The Lucario figure also remains elusive in the weeks leading up to its release in North America, with exclusive distributor Toys R Us recently raising confusion over whether customer pre-orders are still valid.

First-wave amiibo figures Wii Fit Trainer, Villager, and Marth have not yet seen a second print run in North America, leading Nintendo fans to import cheaper equivalent figures from Japan. Amazon additionally sold out of its initial allotment of Sonic the Hedgehog figurines after opening pre-orders last week, hinting at another impending post-launch shortage.

Adventures of Pip is modern cute plus classic challenge

I'm calling it now: the Kickstarted Adventures of Pip from developer TicToc Games is going to win cutest game of 2015. I don't care that we're not even to the end of January; Pip is so cute that I want him in a kids' TV show. He's so heart-meltingly precious that I want plush figures and a breakfast cereal themed after him.

Pip is so gawl-darned lovable and sweet that it makes me deeply, deeply angry.

The game's charming aesthetic masks a sinister beast. For despite the playful bounce of our square-shaped hero and the bright colors that surround him, this is a world looking to commit straight-up pixelated murder.

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Theatrhythm's new DLC Beat stars The World Ends with You

Theatrhythm Curtain Call continues to ignore its Final Fantasy prefix by adding The World Ends with You music as part of the latest DLC batch. "Twister," the 2007 JRPG's theme song , and "Calling" are two of six new tracks available now in the 3DS rhythm game.

As per the Shibuya-infused DS game, Twister is a Battle Music Sequence in Curtain Call while background tune Calling is a Field Music Sequence. The three other new BMS tunes are "Liberi Fatali" from Final Fantasy 8, "Final Confrontation" from Romancing SaGa 3, and "World Revolution" from Chrono Trigger. The sixth song and second FMS is "Wind Scene," also from Chrono Trigger. All six DLC songs are priced 99 cents (£0.89/€0.99).

To remind yourself of TWEWY's J-pop music - your humble author would argue it's one of the best soundtracks you'll find on the DS - do the Twister again below the break. By the way, don't think the Curtain Call DLC train is stopping just yet. According to Square Enix, the game's next dollop of add-ons is planned to arrive on February 19.

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New Nintendo eShop releases: Half-price Punch-Out!!

You can grab a Little Mac takeaway right now, because Punch-Out!! is on the Wii U eShop with a $10 price tag. Like last week's Wii re-releases, the 2009 boxer is available at 50 percent off in its first week, but be warned: After 9AM PT/12PM ET on January 29 it goes up to $20.

That offer is part of Nintendo's Throwback Sale, which you can check out here along with the last week of the current Super Indie Collection Sale. Otherwise, you'll find the complete list of this week's new eShop releases by ducking and weaving below the break.

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Moon Chronicles DLC episodes touch down on 3DS February 5

After releasing its first episode last May, Renegade Kid's Moon Chronicles is finally ready to receive episodes two, three and four. Creator Jools Watsham revealed on Twitter that Nintendo has approved the episodes and "it's looking like" all three will hit the 3DS eShop on February 5. A "season pass" will be available for $9 to purchase every episode or, according to Nintendo's Moon Chronicles page, individual episodes can be had for $4.50 apiece. The first episode, which also includes special VR missions, remains $8.99.

For those who missed its debut last year, Moon Chronicles is a remake of Renegade Kid's DS first-person shooter, Moon, with improved visuals and 3D support. Also, as Watsham points out, the DLC arrives a week before the launch of the New 3DS, which should give players a reason to use that fancy C-stick.
[Image: Renegade Kid]

Evo 2015 line-up announced, double helping of Smash

Super Smash Bros Wii U and Melee are two of the nine games already confirmed for this year's Evolution Championship Series. As revealed during last night's Twitch stream, the line-up for Las Vegas this July also includes returning games Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Ultra Street Fighter 4 and Killer Instinct, The remaining four games are new for this year, and they are Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, Guilty Gear Xrd Sign, Mortal Kombat X and Tekken 7.

Recent years have seen more games added closer to the event, though a roster of nine is already on the high end for an EVO championship. Whatever the full line-up proves to be, it's coming to the Bally's/Paris Las Vegas Casino, where the world's fighting game specialists will duke it out across July 17-19.

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Club Nintendo closing, 'new loyalty program' on the way

'Club Nintendo is dead, long live the new loyalty program,' is the message from Nintendo this morning, after the company announced it's closing its current rewards service. Users in the US and Canada have until the end March to earn Club Nintendo Coins and until the close of June to redeem them, signalling when the service will finally hang up its brown boots.

"We thank all Club Nintendo members for their dedication to Nintendo games and their ongoing love for our systems and characters," said Nintendo of America executive VP Scott Moffit in the company's press release. "We want to make this time of transition as easy as possible for our loyal Club Nintendo members, so we are going to add dozens of new rewards and downloadable games to help members clear out their Coin balances."

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