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Skylanders Trap Team Dark Edition debuting at Comic-Con this week

Developer Toys for Bob will showcase the upcoming figure-powered action game Skylanders Trap Team this week at San Diego Comic-Con, giving showgoers an early look at the collector-oriented Dark Edition prior to its launch in October.

Skylanders Trap Team's Dark Edition is a special starter bundle that features the Ultimate Kaos Trap, an accessory that allows players to capture and control series antagonist Kaos for the first time. The package also includes two additional trap accessories, a redesigned Portal of Power, a poster, sticker sheets, trading cards, and exclusive black-and-silver variants of new characters Snap Shot, Wildfire and Food Fight.

Toys for Bob will additionally host a Skylanders-themed panel discussion and costume contest starting on July 24. The Skylanders Trap Team Dark Edition retails at $99.99, and is set to launch on October 5 for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PS3, Nintendo Wii, Wii U, and 3DS platforms.

[Image: Activision Blizzard]

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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]

Joystiq Streams: Fatal Frame 4's ghoulish Kodak moments [Update: Watch the replay!]

Update: The stream is over, watch the replay above! Twitch was being a little twitchy, so the stream was split into three videos. Follow the annotations to move onto the next videos.

It's fitting that Fatal Frame: Nuregarasu no Miku, the first HD entry in the series, would find its home on Nintendo's Wii U. Like Fatal Frame's haunted villages, Wii U is also full of Japanese ghosts, with once dead games like Bayonetta 2 and Devil's Third getting new life on the box. Plus the tablet controller, so difficult to find appropriate uses for even for its creators, is a natural fit for the Camera Obscura. As Fatal Frame is reborn, we lay the Mid-Summer Terror Train to rest with Fatal Frame 4, the long lost entry that never made it out of Japan. Officially at least. Don't worry if you're not fluent in Japanese - we've got a patch that translates the game into English.

Starting at 4PM EST on, we'll be streaming a solid hour of Fatal Frame 4. Will ghosts devour Richard Mitchell's soul as he plays? Will Anthony John Agnello and Susan Arendt be able to stop talking about how awesome Fatal Frame 2 is long enough to learn about this obscure horror game? [Note from Susan: "Probably not."] Will the chat start posting pictures of ghosts that are really just their cats? [Other note from Susan: "Man, I hope so."]

These questions and more will be answered when we go live at 4PM EST on
[Images: Nintendo]

Sony to 'welcome back' Wii owners with PS4 remakes

Sony is positioning the PlayStation 4 to capture a returning audience who skipped the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in favor of the Nintendo Wii during the previous console generation, Sony Computer Entertainment president Andrew House told Eurogamer this week.

"Our big opportunity is to welcome back an audience much earlier in the lifecycle that possibly bought into the Wii previously," House said. "[O]ur consumer data suggests some of those people are already coming in now and that's what's contributing to the really great sales we've had."

Sony plans to introduce the returning audience to a slate of remastered and rereleased games from the last console generation, starting with this month's launch of The Last of Us Remastered for the PlayStation 4. Sony's PlayStation Now service will also offer a number of streamed classics upon its launch.

"I hesitate to say this because I know committed gamers may roll their eyes about it," House admits, "but there's an opportunity with some of the remastering or re-imagining from PS3 franchises that will potentially find an audience that hasn't played them in the previous generation because they skipped that generation."

House continued: "That bodes well for us as a platform, but it bodes well for developers and publishers as well. I've always looked with envy at the movie industry about what a great job they're able to do with taking content and making it work. Disney is the best example of this, right, of taking classic content and reintroducing it to audiences over time."

[Image: Naughty Dog]

Sega's plans for Wii U Virtual Console are non-existent

The age-old rivalry between Sega and Nintendo may be all but over, but that doesn't mean the two companies are sharing everything with each other. Case in point: the distinct lack of Sega games on the Wii U Virtual Console. Case in sad point: that situation may not change anytime soon, if ever.

In response to a Twitter user's question about plans to bring Sega games to the Wii U Virtual Console, Yosuke Okunari - a company producer who has worked on 3DS conversions of classics like Outrun and Space Harrier - said plainly that "there are no such plans." Not all hope was dashed however, as Okunari suggested the fan make their desires known to Sega West.

So the bad news is the Wii U Virtual Console shall be sorely lacking Sega favorites like Sonic The Hedgehog, Golden Axe, Altered Beast or - let's face it, everyone's favorite - Vectorman, at least for now. The good news is you can still play most games released for the original Wii's Virtual Console by going through the Wii U's emulation software by selecting the "Wii Menu" channel on the console's start menu. You'll have to use a Wii Remote or Classic controller to play the thing, and you won't have access to that game's Miiverse or off-TV options like you would if it were native to the Wii U Virtual Console, but technically you can still play.

So on the bright side, you're not actually missing out on access to some of these games, it's just time-consuming and inconvenient! Yay?
[Image: Sega]

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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FIFA 15 offers world's favorite game a virtual facelift

Image Even if you believe soccer consists solely of Uruguayans chomping nearby shoulders, this latest FIFA 15 trailer demonstrates that the game should render those ravenous attacks in gorgeous fashion. [Image: EA]... Continue Reading

Just Dance is now an eSport

The realm of eSports isn't confined to fighting games, competitive FPSes, and MOBAs anymore. Ubisoft's Just Dance series has joined the Electronic Sports World Cup as the organization's first casual game.

Just Dance competition finalists will be chosen during qualifying rounds taking place globally and online between June 24 and September 21. A group of 20 top players will then compete in a final round at Paris Games Week to determine the world's best money-maker-shaker. Awards will be announced soon.

Players who would rather cavort in the privacy of their own homes can submit entries for the Electronic Sports World Cup through Just Dance's World Dance Floor mode during qualifying sessions on July 13, July 20, July 27, August 3, August 31, September 7, September 14 and September 21.

[Image: Ubisoft]

UK court rules against Nintendo in patent infringement case

A UK court has found Nintendo's reasons for creating devices with both a camera and motion-sensing technology "unconvincing," and has ruled against the house that Mario built in a patent infringement case brought forward by electronics company Philips. The decision impacts the Wii and Wii U consoles, as both systems utilize such technology via Wii Remotes and the Wii U GamePad.

"The common general knowledge did not include a device combining a physical motion sensor with a camera and the reasons advanced by Nintendo for putting those two sensors together in one unit are unconvincing," judge Colin Birss wrote in his decision, possibly channeling his inner Ron Burgandy. What this means for fines and damages is currently uncertain, as Nintendo has said that it will appeal.

Philips filed against Nintendo in the US last month, seeking damages for Nintendo's "deliberate and willful" patent infringement, as well as a ban on the Wii family of products.
[Image: Nintendo]

May NPD: PS4 leads hardware sales, month five

For the fifth consecutive month, Sony's PlayStation 4 led sales in the US, beating out Microsoft's Xbox One, NPD Group reported in its May breakdown. Overall hardware sales were up 95 percent from May 2013 to $187 million, and while most of that growth is attributed to PS4 and Xbox One sales, Wii U and Vita sales also grew year-over-year.

"Two examples of hardware bundles that helped to drive hardware sales in May 2014 include Mario Kart 8 bundle for the Wii U, and the Borderlands 2 bundle for the PS Vita," NPD analyst Liam Callahan said.

Software sales jumped up 57 percent year-over-year to $274 million, breaking six months of declines. Callahan called out new launches Watch Dogs, Mario Kart 8, Wolfenstein: The New Order, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Kirby: Triple Deluxe as the reasons for the increase. The No. 1 game in May was Watch Dogs, followed by Mario Kart 8, MLB 14: The Show, Wolfenstein and Minecraft. See the complete list below.

Sony SVP of Brand Marketing Guy Longworth provided an internal analysis of the NPD numbers: "PlayStation continues to be the best place to play for innovative IP, as PS4 was the preferred platform for May's biggest releases, including Watch Dogs and Wolfenstein: The New Order, and held four of the top five spots for next gen software sales. PS4 is the leading next-gen platform for sports, highlighted in May by the best-selling sports game, MLB 14: The Show."

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Skylanders Trap Team takes character-driven action to ridiculous extremes

Today, I saw a monstrous piñata who spews candy and bludgeons his enemies with a gigantic lollipop, a tomato-blasting sentient artichoke who eats his own ammo to grow stronger, and an honest-to-god rock'n roll werewolf who shreds on a guitar and slides into his enemies on his knees, Pete Townshend-style.

Believe it or not, I have not yet contracted E3 Flu, and my brain is not currently being wracked by fever dreams. These characters are all part of Skylanders Trap Team's playable cast, and developer Toys for Bob is clearly ramping up the creativity for the latest entry in its toy-powered adventure game series with an army of ridiculous characters and outlandish settings.

[Image: Activision]

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Just Dance 2015 grooves onto systems in October [update]

Like day follows night and night follows day, Just Dance 2015 will shake its evergreen booty on systems this October - a trailer shown during Ubisoft's E3 conference listed Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Wii U while the official site also lists logos for PS3, PS4 and Wii. There's no Aisha Tyler in it though, and that's always a disappointment. Meanwhile, Just Dance Now promises to give players a mobile way to groove.

Update: The game will launch on October 23 in EMEA regions, and then the day after in the UK. The North American release window remains October. Additionally, Ubisoft unveiled some of the 40 tracks coming to the dancing game, which you can check out below the break.

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Enter the Super Smash Bros. melee with GameCube-inspired controllers

Do you want to take on the challengers of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U with a sense of fa-melee-iarity? Good news: third-party accessory manufacturer PDP is working with Nintendo to produce the Wired Fight Pad, a controller designed after the original, fan-favorite GameCube controller.

The Wired Fight Pad will connect via a Wii Remote's bottom port, so you'll already need to own said Remote to use the Fight Pad. The good news is, that means it's also compatible with the Wii. The Wired Fight Pad will work with any of that system's games that support the Classic Controller or Classic Controller Pro.

The Wired Fight Pad is set to release alongside Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, with an estimated price of $24.99. We've been told to expect Smash sometime this winter.
[Image: Nintendo]

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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]

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]

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