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Miyamoto says players can share levels in Mario Maker

Players of Mario Maker, the upcoming Wii U game that lets players build their own 2D worlds in the style of the Super Mario Bros. series, will be able to share their creations online, according to Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto.

In a recent interview with YouTube personality iJustine (translated by Nintendo Senior Product Marketing Manager Bill Trinen) Miyamoto said, "You'll be able to see what happens when other people play your course or when you play other people's courses. There will be some popularity rankings for the most popular courses and things like that. So there's a lot on the community side."

Miyamoto hopes you won't forsake those in your own home though, elaborating that he still pictures couch-based play, with a creator handing off their level to a friend or family member who is in the room. "But of course we will have the internet ability to exchange courses as well." We can't wait to see all the age-appropriate and completely family-friendly designs that the internet will come up with.
[Image: Nintendo]

Report: Captain Toad's release date brought forward in UK

Captain Toad's UK adventure may be starting early, after his game began showing up on British doorsteps ahead of its January 2, 2015 due date. While Nintendo's yet to comment, multiple reports indicate the publisher's given retailers the green light to release Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker early - or less late compared to the North American release date.

MCV reports it's "been told" all UK online retailers can start shipping the game ahead of a new launch date of Monday, December 22. Similarly, Nintendo Life sources indicate GAME has begun shipping the game out, while VideoGamer.com went to its local GAME store and bought a copy this morning. In other words, if you're a Brit waiting patiently for the Wii U puzzle-platformer, you might want to track down some early treasure on the high street.

While you're doing that, we've reached out to Nintendo for official clarification.

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Duck Hunt flocks to Wii U Virtual Console on Christmas

As the turkey takes the prominent spot at your dinner table this Christmas, Nintendo has another bird in mind for your TV. The Wii U Virtual Console edition of Duck Hunt, announced earlier this year, will hit the eShop on December 25. Once you're stuffed to the gills, why not take aim at a few virtual ducks? Or, if you need to cater to Grandma's delicate sensibilities, you can always blast a few clay pigeons instead.

Here's hoping the Wii Remote makes a decent stand-in for Nintendo's classic Zapper light gun.

[Image: Nintendo]

New Nintendo eShop releases: Mega Man Zero, Meme Run

Mega Man X's often-dead pal Zero joins Nintendo's Virtual Console service today with the launch of Mega Man Zero, a 2002 Game Boy Advance spinoff known for its exemplary platforming and punishing difficulty. Power up Zero with new upgrades and abilities as you keep the peace between humans and Reploids in the century following the events of the Mega Man X series. If you're in the mood for more Mega Man, Capcom is currently hosting a themed eShop sale, dropping the prices of many of the Blue Bomber's games for the NES, SNES, and Game Boy.

SNES brawler Natsume Championship Wrestling also joins the Virtual Console catalog this week, accompanying Wii U eShop releases like EnjoyUp's minimalist arcade-style puzzler 99Moves, multiplayer eat-'em-up Plenty of Fishies, and Internet meme-infused infinite runner (yes, really) Meme Run.

3DS owners can expect to see a digital version of Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D this week, along with Asterix The Mansions of the Gods, Minecraft-like Cube Creator 3D, and Skipmore's action-RPG puzzler Fairune. If you have any French children hanging around, you'll also want to check out Mes Comptines, which might be the 3DS's first-ever French nursery rhyme compilation.

Hit the break below, s'il vous plait, to see this week's full release lineup.

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Mega Man channels Cut Man to deal with Virtual Console prices

Capcom kicked off a sale on games in its Mega Man series through the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U eShops today. The sale coincides with the 27th anniversary of the iconic blue hero as well as the debut of another game on Nintendo's Virtual Console: Mega Man Zero. The Game Boy Advance classic is now available on the Wii U eShop for $7.99.

The "Mega Manniversary" sale hacks 50 percent off the price of six Mega Man games until Monday, December 22 at 11:59 a.m. ET (8:59 a.m. PT). On sale are the Game Boy versions of Mega Man 2, Mega Man 3 and Mega Man 4 for 3DS, each down to $1.49. As for Wii U, players can download NES games Mega Man 5 and Mega Man 6 for $2.49 each as well as Mega Man 7 for $3.99. Of course, kids these days may have troubles with these difficult retro platformers.
[Image: Capcom]

Skylanders Trap Team Light and Dark expansions hit retail this weekend

Skylanders veterans will soon be able to master in-game elements never previously seen in the series via a pair of new Skylanders Trap Team expansion packs premiering at retail this weekend.

Trap Masters Knight Mare and Knight Light join the Skylanders roster as part of Trap Team's new Light and Dark Element Expansion Packs. Each pack includes a character figure, a Trap accessory that allows players to trap and control Light and Dark villains, and a location piece that unlocks new levels featuring Light and Dark element-specific content.

Players who ventured through Skylanders Trap Team likely noticed deactivated element gates scattered throughout specific levels. These gates can only be accessed using the new Light and Dark element characters, opening up a significant portion of the game that was locked off since launch.

Trap Team's Light and Dark Element Expansion Packs will launch exclusively at Toys"R"Us stores on December 21 at $29.99 apiece.

[Image: Activision]

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This week's UK charts are last week's UK charts

It's nearly the time for merriment, which means it's nearly time for the Christmas Doctor Who special. The UK gaming chart is already getting into the festive mood by re-enacting the "Blink" episode. The chart managed to keep its eyes wide open for the whole week, meaning the top five games have stayed in exactly the same position, and nobody's going to get eaten and sent back to the 1920s by sharp-toothed gargoyles. For now.

So, it's (gasp) FIFA 15 on top for the second week running, followed by Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Grand Theft Auto 5, Far Cry 4 and Lego Batman 3. There aren't even any new releases to holler about, so the only real action comes courtesy of Destiny. Bungie's shooter planet-hopped seven places into ninth, no doubt boosted by the new Dark Below expansion.

The top ten below the break may be almost the same, but the customary (and lovably roguish) music video isn't! Don't worry, it's not at all festive; we'll save that ear-bomb for next week.

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Rosalina amiibo exclusive to the Target Galaxy

Lucario, Shulk and Meta Knight aren't the only amiibo figures to sign exclusivity deals with various retailers across the country; now Princess Rosalina and her Luma buddy (which are packaged together as one figure) will also take some extra effort to track down. According to an online listing, the figure - which is due for release in February - will be sold exclusively at Target.

Who knows how popular this particular amiibo will end up being or how many units Nintendo will ship, but if it's got your eye, it might behoove you to grab it while you can; Nintendo recently announced that, while the company may return select amiibo to shelves after their first run has sold out, "other [less popular] figures likely will not return to the market once they have sold through their initial shipment."
[Image: Nintendo]

Weekend deals include GOG bundles, Shadow of Mordor, Wii U bundles, 3DS XLs

Should you be looking for a few good gaming deals, this weekend holds plenty of promise. For starters, Good Old Games is finishing off its Big Winter Sale with an encore offering of every daily bundle that was featured in the two-week sale. Deals focused on The Witcher, Rayman, Prince of Persia series and others can be had, with titles ranging in support for PC, Mac and Linux platforms. Flash deals and general discounts will also be offered until the sale's conclusion later today at 2pm GMT.

If you're willing to deal with limited availability of physical goods, deals on several notable console games are also available to the swift; Among Amazon's batch of sales is Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Xbox One) for $27.99, Driveclub (PS4) for $34.99, Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Xbox One) for $44.99, The Last of Us: Remastered ($29.99), Forza Horizon 2 and Sunset Overdrive (Xbox One) for $39.99, and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 (Xbox 360, PS3) for $14.99. Xbox owners can also snatch up Destiny (Xbox 360) and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Xbox One) for $30 apiece from the Microsoft store.

Lastly, leaked details concerning Target's weekly ad suggest that starting on Sunday, the retail chain will offer the 32 GB Wii U with Super Mario 3D World and Nintendo Land for $250. Shoppers should also be able to pick up a 3DS XL for $149.99.
[Image: GOG]

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Nintendo: Amiibo sales on par with Smash in the US

Nintendo's amiibo toys are selling 1 for 1 in the US with Super Smash Bros. Wii U, according to the publisher. In November, the console fighter sold "nearly 710,000" units going by NPD data, and Nintendo of America said amiibo sales are "approximately equal" to those of the game.

This week's seen Nintendo tiptoe around the subject of some amiibo not returning to market, but the company's kept firm on the most popular toys staying available. Nintendo of America reported the best-sellers to date are, in order, Link, Mario and Pikachu. Sorry, Wii Fit Trainer.

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PBS' Game/Show probes the endless popularity of Smash Bros.


Multiplayer mascot fighter Super Smash Bros. is one of Nintendo's biggest franchises and only seems to be growing in popularity with each new entry, but why? The latest episode of PBS' thoughtful YouTube series Game/Show aims to answer that question.

The footage above offers numerous possible reasons for the series' swelling fanbase, from the unintentional foresight of introducing one of the first major crossover games to an industry that would soon fall in love with the notion, to Nintendo's efforts to create a fighter that's less reliant on memorization and tight execution than Street Fighter or Tekken.

In just over nine minutes, Game/Show offers a wide range of solid, objective reasons why the Super Smash Bros. series remains a massive hit, but the truth is that the popularity of these games has a different origin for everyone. Some enjoy Smash Bros. because it allows them to recall fond memories of late night battles against their siblings, while some just like to see Mario get punched in the face. If you're a Smash Bros. fan, what's your reason for remaining loyal to the series? Leave your responses in the comments below.
[Video: YouTube]

November NPD: Xbox One leads consoles, Call of Duty tops software

Overall retail sales for new hardware, software and accessories saw an 11 percent drop in November 2014, versus the same reported period last year. For most of 2014, software sale declines have offset year-over-year hardware spending, however, this November, "hardware declines totaled $294 million while software declined $17 million or 2 percent," NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan said.

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Castlevania precursor Vampire Killer coming to Wii U Virtual Console...in Japan


One of the earliest entries in Konami's long-running Castlevania series is due for resurrection via the Wii U's Virtual Console service in Japan on December 17, Nintendo revealed this week.

Originally released for MSX home computers in 1986, Akumajou Dracula (aka Vampire Killer in European territories) resembles the 8-bit NES Castlevania aesthetically, but takes a more open-ended approach to its gameplay. This exploration-focused style returned in 1988's Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest, and became a defining element of later series entries like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

Unfortunately, given that MSX games are not featured in the Virtual Console's catalog stateside, it's unlikely that Vampire Killer will see a North American eShop release. Castlevania fans will have to be content with recent Wii U Virtual Console releases like Dracula X and Aria of Sorrow instead.

[Video: World of Longplays]

Bidding tops $25,000 on Peach amiibo with missing legs

The only thing Nintendo fans love more than the highly collectible amiibo are amiibo with massive factory defects. For proof, look no further than eBay, where a Peach amiibo with no legs recently attracted bids as high as $25,100.

Described as "factory sealed and in mint condition," the amiibo features the same flowing dress found on normal Peach figures, but in this apparently valuable defect, the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom appears to have misplaced her legs within all of that pink fabric. Despite the aesthetic oddity, this defect has no effect on the NFC chip that allows the amiibo to transfer data to and from Wii U games.

While all eBay auctions are suspect until money actually changes hands, this is not the first time an oddly constructed amiibo has drawn huge bids on the auction site. Earlier this month, we reported on the auction of a Samus amiibo equipped with an extra arm cannon that reached $2,500.
[Image: Nintendo/usmik_72rcplxb]

New Nintendo eShop releases: Bob Loblaw Law Blog Edition

When you take a moment to really think about it, isn't it odd that Arrested Development came up with the name "Bob Loblaw" before the wordplay-stuffed Phoenix Wright did? When you start replaying the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy this week, try to imagine Scott Baio at Phoenix Wright's desk, repeatedly closing a book from different angles - doesn't it just fit?

Capcom's updated trilogy is this week's headline debutante on the eShop, even if Bob Loblaw is this week's headline. That said, it sure ain't the only new release. As ever, you'll find the full list of newbies below the break, and if you're after eShop sales then drop that law bomb here.

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