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Interviews Nintendo Nintendo Switch Reviews

Super Mario Party is the Game to Gather ‘Round This Thanksgiving

While the
Mario Party series has been defining the party game genre for over two decades, even the most famous games can lose themselves to sequelitis. It’s probably for this reason that Nintendo decided to shed the previous numbered installments and rebrand the series as Super Mario Party on Nintendo Switch. And boy does it deliver.

A traditional Mario Party pits one to four players against each other in a digital board game, rolling a single die to move around the board collecting stars, coins, and new in
Super Mario Party, ally characters. If you land on an Ally Space, a character is chosen at random from the playable roster, lends you their unique character die to use at any time, and supplements your die roll with rolls of their own. These specialized dice are one of Super Mario Party’s greatest new features; players can weigh the risks and rewards of rolling a standard six-sided die, in addition to their own and their allies’ dice, each of which come with distinct advantages and disadvantages, like the risk of losing coins for the reward of higher rolls.

Every turn of the board game is ended with one of eighty minigames chosen at random, where players compete for coins and bragging rights. It’s what makes
Mario Party so much fun, and it’s where the friendly (and not-so-friendly) competition come alive. Players might punch each other in front for the camera, shake gems out of a jar, and pilot planes through an obstacle course.

It’s here that
Super Mario Party not only insures itself as intuitive fun for everyone, but locks in Nintendo Switch is a must-own for gamers and casual players alike. Every minigame uses the Switch’s detachable Joy-Con controllers, either in a horizontal position for traditional buttons, or veritcal for Wii-like motion control minigames. No matter the use case, it just works—usually easy enough for Grandma to join in.

Super Mario Party does include a single-player mode called Challenge Road, though it only unlocks after you’ve unlocked every minigame in the multiplayer modes. Besides a fun run through the minigames with a sparse few extra challenges thrown in the mix, it’s little else.

Super Mario Party features perhaps the series’ widest variety of alternate modes. The aforementioned Classic Mode is supplemented by a co-op called Partner Party, where players team up for a two-on-two competition. Both players on each team roll a die, which are then combined into a shared total dice roll. Players are then free to move around the board as an open grid, rather than sticking to Classic Mode’s preset paths. It’s a really great way to play without ruining all your friendships,

If two-player cooperation isn’t enough, everyone can team up in River Survival, a new mode that sends four players careening down a river in an inflatable raft. Players move the controllers to control your oars, working together to steer the boat into balloons that activate unique team-based minigames. While it’s true that most modes are better with human players (and optional drinking game rules), it’s especially apparent in River Survival. WIth friends you can communicate and work together, but when you play with CPUs, it’s easy to feel like you’re carrying the team.

Mariothon pits players against each other in a tournament-style marathon of back-to-back minigames at home or online. Unfortunately its fun is short-lived, as the tournament only lasts five games. This is unfortunately the only mode available to play online.

Other modes include Square-Off, another minigame-based game; Sound Stage, a delightful mode of rhythm-based minigames; and Toad’s Rec Room, a collection of toys and games showing off technical elements of the Switch. The most impressive game you’ll find here use two Nintendo Switches in conjuction with each other to play games that spread across one Switch’s touchscreen to the other’s. They’re fun diversions and great tech demonstrations for concepts to use in future party games, but not much else.

Super Mario Party’s sheer variety makes it undoubtedly the series’ best in a decade, longtime fans may find each of these modes just a little undercooked. Sound Stage, Toad’s Rec Room, and River Survival only have three, five, and fifteen minigames respectively. Mariothon and the two board game modes share a much larger pool of eighty minigames, but Super Mario Party only has four boards to choose from. They’re all good, reliable fun, but none of them quite satisfied the creative itch of the series’ most memorable locales.

Super Mario Party sheds the series’ last few rounds of sequelitis to deliver a game well worth of the Mario Party name. Whether you’re buying for your kids, throwing a college kickback, or gathering the parents and grandparents around the living room for the Holidays, Super Mario Party is a game you won’t want to forget.

Our Verdict
Super Mario Party
Great minigames, intuitive fun for everyone, and more gameplay variety than ever.
Most game modes could be fleshed out a little further

3DS Nintendo Nintendo Switch Podcast

Nintendo Week Reunites to Discuss Pokémon, Smash Bros., and Our E3 Predictions

It’s been almost a year since the Nintendo Week Podcast team last reunited last, and on the cusp of E3 2018, we’ve finally returned to discuss Pokémon Let’s GO, Super Smash Bros., and our predictions for Nintendo at E3 2017. You can check out all this and tons more in the episode below—or if you’d like to save it to listen later, you can
check the latest episode out on iTunes, available now.

At the end of the episode, Ben announces some upcoming podcast content in the works, so be sure to give us your feedback on what you’d like to hear!

Nintendo Week is currently available in full on
iTunes, Podbean, and right here at Gamnesia—and tons of videos from the show are available on YouTube where it’s easy to find them based on your favorite subjects… Between it all, there are plenty of ways you can engage with Nintendo Week, one of the best places to find all things Nintendo. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes for the earliest possible access to new episodes, or subscribe to our channel on YouTube for totally neato visuals. But if you’d rather not subscribe, you can still find all of our Nintendo Week content right here at Gamnesia.

If you’d like to be heard on Nintendo Week, please email me at
[email protected]. We regularly run segments for listener questions, gaming advice, suggestions on discussion topics, and more from listeners like you, so we’d love for you to reach out! You can also reach me at that email address with any feedback you have, and we’ll do our best to improve our show! We want to give you guys the best podcast we can, so please don’t be afraid to leave suggestions.

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This week’s outro music is insaneintherainmusic’s rendition of “Coconut Mall,” from
Mario Kart Wii.

Our Verdict

Features Nintendo Nintendo Switch Reviews Wii U

Pokkén Tournament DX Brings the Same Pokémon-Fighting Fun to Nintendo Switch (Review)

Pokkén Tournament DX is the latest in Nintendo Switch’s fast-growing library of games, upgrading the Wii U fighting game Pokkén Tournament with extra modes and five new Pokémon fighters.

The battles are split between two phases, labeled the Field Phase and the Duel Phase, which seamlessly shift between one another to create a satisfyingly complex yet fluid pace of battle. The Field Phase is what you see in many promotional materials, where your Pokémon run around a 3D battle field launching projectiles, rushing in for attacks, and spacing each other to gain the upper hand. The Duel Phase is more reminiscent of classic fighting games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, where Pokémon stand on a 2D plane and use a variety of techniques and combos to leverage momentum into massive damage. Phase Shifts, transitions from one battle phase to the other, can occur when you land specific attacks or deal a particularly heavy blow to your opponent.

The primary offensive battle mechanics include attacks, counterattacks, and grabs. These three options create a triangle wherein players can punish an opponent’s attempted grab by attacking, punish an attempted attack with a counterattack (or charge the counterattack to take the opponent further by surprise), and punish an attempted counterattack by grabbing. Players on the defensive can use shields—called Blocks—to protect themselves from attacks and counterattacks, or use evasive maneuvers like dodging to avoid all three offensive techniques.

Pokkén Tournament features two special abilities that radically influence the battles.

Players can choose a set of two “Support Pokémon” before a battle and then bring one such Pokémon into each round as a backup. A player’s Support Gauge will charge over time, and once it’s ready, players can use the support to heal their damage, interrupt their opponent, unleash major damage, cancel an action to take opponents by surprise, or any mix of the above and more. Facing off against the same fighters is not only refreshing every time they choose a different support Pokémon, but it allows players to complement or counterbalance their favorite fighter’s strengths and weaknesses (or the player’s own) by choosing different Support Sets. And we can all agree that it’s wonderful to see thirty beloved Pokémon like Diglett, Umbreon, and Victini represented in Pokkén despite missing their shot to join the roster of playable fighters.

Pokkén also features a powerful battle condition called a “Synergy Burst.” Players can fill their Synergy Gauge by successfully shifting Battle Phases, collecting Synergy on the battlefield during Field Phase, and more. When the gauge is full, players can enter Synergy Burst, cancelling out an opponent’s move while greatly increasing both offensive and defensive powers for some time afterwards. Synergy Burst also gives players access to a powerful Burst Attack, which can completely reshape the outcome of the battle.

While all this may sound frighteningly complex, the truth is that it’s quite simple to learn by experience. In fact, I found myself understanding and capitalizing on the deep complexities of battle by sheer intuition before I even knew how to describe many of them. But Pokkén recognizes this fear and introduces a thorough tutorial system in its Practice Mode for players who need a clear cognitive understanding of the game’s systems, from the most basic fundamentals to its most complicated tricks. Practice Mode unfortunately organizes its tutorials by skill level, and it’s impossible to find an individual technique to practice and master without repeating the entire subset of tutorials over and over again.

It was more personally disappointing for me to see that the stages and music in Pokkén Tournament are completely original, which greatly limits the sense that this game truly takes place in the world of Pokémon. The vast majority of stages create original locations based on tired themes, most of which are already familiar to Pokémon fans. There’s a quiet rural village, an Eastern-European town square, and a haunted mansion, all of which would have easily passed for beloved locales like New Bark Town, Laverre City, or the Old Chateau, even without any cosmetic changes. A small handful of standout stages do make a point to feature certain Pokémon, but their designs nevertheless fail to capture the appropriate magic of the Pokémon world.

The music, likewise, had the opportunity to stand out with pulsing remixes of beloved battle themes and background music from the series’ history, but ended up with a soundtrack that accomplishes little else but to fill the silence.

The character selection is a wonderful contrast, however, as it brings together fan-favorites and surprising curveballs. The Nintendo Switch version’s lineup includes four Pokémon previously exclusive to the arcade version of the game, and one brand-new fighter in Decidueye. Each of the 21 playable fighters brings a distinct personality to the game, from their unique playstyles to their expressions. Machamp, is brash and dominant, while Braixen is bubbly and charming, and each one has been brilliantly realized in a way that’s as heartwarming as it is true to the Pokémon themselves.

The main attraction in Pokkén Tournament is surely the battle system, but there’s a campaign mode called the Ferrum League for players who want direction in their solo game time. It’s a fairly simple mode where players will challenge five opponents in a row to climb the ranks of the Ferrum League. It’s an excellent way to hone your skills as you familiarize yourself with the game. The Nintendo Switch version also features a Daily Challenge mode, where players are incentivized to try out different characters and techniques.

Gamnesia was provided by Nintendo with a copy of Pokkén Tournament DX for review.

The Verdict: Still Great

Pokkén Tournament DX is a lively, refreshing fighting game, loaded with gorgeous visuals, mechanical nuance, and an incredible cast of Pokémon. The dichotomy between Battle Phases, in both gameplay and strategy, combined with the core battle mechanics and special abilities, creates a rich fighting experience that’s both novel and energizing. Technical nuances buried within each playable character will require deep thought to master, but don’t sacrifice the vigor and joy that players of all skill levels will find on the game’s surface. If you played your fill of Pokkén when it launched on Wii U, Pokkén Tournament DX may not have enough new content to suck you back in, but it’s nevertheless an incredible outing for young gamers and hardcore fighting fans alike, and a wonderful addition to Nintendo Switch’s lineup.

Our Verdict
Pokkén Tournament DX
Rich battle system, gorgeous visuals, fun roster of Pokémon fighters
Previous owners may find it to be more of the same

3DS Articles DS Features News Nintendo Nintendo Switch Retro Wii Wii U

It Sounds Like Nintendo is Rethinking the Virtual Console Before it Comes to Nintendo Switch

In 2011 Nintendo launched the “Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program,” granting then-owners of the Nintendo 3DS exclusive access to twenty downloadable games. The program included ten NES games, which were later released to the public as Virtual Console games, and ten Game Boy Advance games, which remain exclusive to Ambassador Program members to this day.

At Nintendo’s latest investor meeting, one investor asked whether Nintendo has thought about distributing these games publicly. Senior Executive Officer Satoshi Yamato responded, and though he neglected to answer specifically whether these Game Boy Advance games will make it to the 3DS’ public Virtual Console space, he did offer a glimpse into how Nintendo may distribute classic games in the future.

“We have been thinking about a lot of different ways to make use of Virtual Console titles, and not just Game Boy Advance titles. Similar to these software titles we have made available on a variety of platforms over the Internet, we consider the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Famicom … to be a type of Virtual Console. It would be possible to sell these titles as packaged software or via download cards, but if we were to start selling products like this in the future, I think we would first have to consider whether we can establish that kind of business model, and do our due diligence in finding out if there is sufficient demand for it.” —
Satoshi Yamato (The full Q&A can be read here.)

This is especially illuminating for Nintendo Switch, a platform whose owners have been eagerly awaiting a Virtual Console feature like that of its predecessors.

But perhaps Nintendo’s previous services shouldn’t define our expectations for the future. Nintendo of America’s President and COO Reggie Fils-Aimé was recently careful not to associate the name “Virtual Console” with Nintendo Switch. “We’ve not used the term ‘Virtual Console,’” he told Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo before reframing the subject to focus on Nintendo Switch’s online services and promising more information in the future.

Yamato’s statement makes it clear Nintendo considers their Virtual Console program to be distinct from the platforms on which it appears: one which can manifest as digital downloads, packaged software, and even miniature replications of classic consoles. It seems Nintendo is specifically rethinking the Wii-borne Virtual Console model and exploring new ways to approach their legacy content.

That doesn’t mean Switch owners won’t have classic games to play.
Nintendo has already announced a subscription service which grants access to a library of classic games, including Balloon Fight, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Dr. Mario, enhanced with online multiplayer features. Perhaps the ideal endgame for consumers would be for this service to encompass Nintendo’s entire back catalog, but Nintendo’s likely to take a more nuanced approach which considers the specific business opportunities for collections and remasters on a game-by-game basis.

Ultimately how the Virtual Console manifests itself in the future is largely unknown, at least to the public. But one thing seems clear: just because its appearances on Wii, 3DS, and Wii U bore strong similarities doesn’t mean the old model will persist forever.

Our Verdict

News Nintendo Nintendo Switch Wii U

Reggie Says Nintendo Could Bring More Wii U Games to Switch with New Bonus Content

Two Wii U games are confirmed to have a new home on Nintendo Switch, in the previously-released Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and the upcoming Pokkén Tournament DX.

Though Wii U was Nintendo’s worst-selling home console to date, it was home to
some of the most critcially-acclaimed games of its generation. Switch, on the other hand, shows more promise, as it’s already outpacing sales numbers from the early days of the Wii. It would make sense, then, for Nintendo to give more games from Wii U’s library a new shot at life.

Nintendo of America’s President and COO Reggie Fils-Aimé publicly acknowledged this business opportunity in an interview with Waypoint, agreeing ”
there was some fantastic content that consumers did not get to play.” He adds that when Nintendo has discussed this subject internally, they’ve come to the question of additional content.

Pokkén Tournament DX supplements the Wii U game with five additional fighters, including Pokémon Sun and Moon‘s Decidueye, who was created specifically for the Switch release. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe goes even further with additional characters, vehicle customization parts, and an all-new battle mode. It would seem this approach is key for Nintendo.

“I think the way we will continue to evaluate this is: yes, do we have opportunities with great games that maybe were not played as broadly on the Wii U, but then what’s the plus alpha that’s going to make it really compelling for the consumer?” —
Reggie Fils-Aimé

Reggie didn’t mention any specific Wii U games in the works for Switch, but they do have a number of titles that would make great additions to the Switch’s lineup, including
Super Smash Bros., Super Mario Maker, and Hyrule Warriors, to name a few.

To read Waypoint’s full interview, you can find it
right here.

Source: Waypoint

Our Verdict

News Nintendo Retro

Nintendo Explains How They Chose Which Games to Include in the SNES Classic Edition

Nintendo recently announced the SNES Classic Edition, a miniature replica of the Super Nintendo loaded with 21 of the console’s most famous games. The system includes signature hits of the 16-bit era, like Final Fantasy III, Super Metroid, Zelda: A Link to the Past, and more, even going so far as to include the never-before-released Star Fox 2.

The game lineup has been a significant topic of discussion since the system’s announcement, considering notable omissions like
Chrono Trigger and Donkey Kong Country 2, as well as game selections that differ between the system’s Japanese and Western versions. Speaking to Famitsu, Nintendo explained how they chose the games they did for each region.

There are three factors Nintendo laid out: a game’s popularity, the number of units a game sold, and “whether people were familiar with it.” Nintendo continues, “We carefully hand picked each title to ensure the game lineup appealed to a large audience, so it makes the SNES Classic an easy purchase.”

Famitsu went on to ask about
Star Fox, Star Fox 2, and Yoshi’s Island, three SNES games which have never before been redistributed on Nintendo’s Virtual Console services. Because these games were built with a special processor called the “Super FX Chip,” Nintendo explains that it was difficult to bring them to Virtual Console. They were able to circumvent this limitation with the SNES Classic Edition, however, and thus we can finally see their return.

Whereas 2016’s NES Classic Edition was infamously understocked and quickly discontinued,
Nintendo plans to manufacture “significantly more” units this time around. Though there is a catch: the SNES Classic Edition will only be shipped for a few months, between the end of September and December 2017. Nintendo tells IGN that their primary commitments are to Nintendo Switch and 3DS owners, and the SNES Classic Edition is made in “special recognition” of their retro gaming fans.

The SNES Classic Edition launches on September 29th for an MSRP of $79.99.

Source: Famitsu (via NintendoSoup)

Our Verdict

3DS Features Indie Mobile Platforms Nintendo Nintendo Switch Podcast Retro Wii U

Nintendo Week Returns to Discuss E3 2017 Predictions, Including GTA V, Virtual Console, and More

It’s been five months since Gamnesia’s podcast crew got together to talk Nintendo, and with E3 fast approaching, we couldn’t wait any longer. Join Alex, Ben, and Colin for a long-awaited new episode of the Nintendo Week Podcast, as we catch up on everything we’ve missed from Switch, 3DS, and more. After the break, Alex and I sit down to discuss our predictions for Nintendo at E3 2017.

You can check out all this and tons more in the episode below—or if you’d like to save it to listen later, you can
check the latest episode out on iTunes, available now.

Nintendo Week is currently available in full on
iTunes, Podbean, and right here at Gamnesia—and tons of videos from the show are available on YouTube where it’s easy to find them based on your favorite subjects… Between it all, there are plenty of ways you can engage with Nintendo Week, one of the best places to find all things Nintendo. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes for the earliest possible access to new episodes, or subscribe to our channel on YouTube for totally neato visuals. But if you’d rather not subscribe, you can still find all of our Nintendo Week content right here at Gamnesia.

If you’d like to be heard on Nintendo Week, please email me at
[email protected]. We regularly run segments for listener questions, gaming advice, suggestions on discussion topics, and more from listeners like you, so we’d love for you to reach out! You can also reach me at that email address with any feedback you have, and we’ll do our best to improve our show! We want to give you guys the best podcast we can, so please don’t be afraid to leave suggestions.

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This week’s break music is Bulby’s 8-bit rendition of the Hau’oli City theme from Pokémon Sun and Moon. This week’s outro music is “Super Mega Ultra Pipe House,” by DDRKirby(ISQ)

Our Verdict

Features Nintendo Nintendo Switch Reviews

ARMS: Nintendo’s Latest Switch Game Barely Packs Enough Punch (Review)

It wasn’t long ago that Nintendo surprised the world with its funky new game for Nintendo Switch:
ARMS. The development team behind Mario Kart presents a completely different multiplayer outing with this colorful fighting game wherein every competitor is graced with extendable arms. It’s a delightful concept reflective of Nintendo’s signature whimsy, but does it have a leg to stand on?

You’ll find a host of familiar fighting game mechanics in
ARMS, including shields, grabs, jumps, and dashes, alongside ARMS‘ signature feature: extendable punches with customizable fists called “ARMS.”

There are thirty different ARMS, all of which can be applied to any fighter for an unthinkable variety of match-ups. The Slapamander flicks across the stage like a whip and leaves opponents charred. The Coolerang flies in an outwards arc and returns to the user, freezing those it hits on the way. The Megaton hurtles across the stage, overpowering any fists in its path. And when you’ve charged your “Rush Gauge,” you can unleash these ARMS’ super-powered attacks.

Each such punch, you’ll learn, is a commitment; it takes time for your ARMS to travel across the stage and back. During this time, your fighter is unable to perform any actions that require both arms, such as grabbing or blocking, and you’re left vulnerable to damage.

What seems simple enough so far is surprisingly complex in the 3D fighting space. To land a punch, it matters whether you use your left arm or your right. It matters too whether you send the punch out from the left, right, or center. And it matters, from there, which direction you curve the arm as it flies toward your opponent. Each of these decisions matters deeply.

The result is that it’s quite difficult to make your punches and grabs land on your opponent, and that’s what makes it interesting: because each punch is a commitment, every miss shoves the door wide open for your opponent to punish your mistake. These windows of opportunity are where I’ve found the majority of action lies. And while that may turn
ARMS into a game of sitting and waiting on your opponent’s move, it cleverly encourages aggressive play-styles by slightly filling the rush gauge as a reward for each punch—whether it misses or not. You can also play more aggressively by landing hits on your opponents’ ARMS, causing them to break over time, rather than landing direct damage.

If it sounds complicated, it is, and there are still more mechanics than I’ve described. It’s an extraordinary number of variables to any given fight, and thus a steep learning curve for anyone seeking to master the game. It feels phenomenal and rewarding to be in control of a match, and yet utterly disempowering to get beat on with no idea for recourse.

Such frustration is often caused by the game’s control schemes, none of which I’ve found particularly compelling.

ARMS is primarily designed for motion controls, of which the implementation is quite sound. You hold one of Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con controllers in each hand and control the vast majority of your fighter’s actions by mimicking the gesture in real life.

When it works, it’s wonderfully immersive; many players from the game’s free “testpunch” already swear by it. Glorious though those moments may be, I’ve found them few and far between. The majority of my time with motions controls has been plagued by one issue after another: it may punch when I grab, or guard when I move, or act when I do nothing at all. Numerous times the Joy-Cons have succumbed to a delay where my inputs will idle for as long as ten seconds before the game catches up on everything it missed all at once. The worst of these issues are likely a result of my play environment more so than
ARMS itself, but it is the first time I’ve had significant technical issues with Nintendo’s Joy-Cons.

Button controls are a worthy alternative, though not without their own sacrifices. Motion controls allow players to widen the coverage of a grab by twisting their arms outward, whereas button controls offer no solution. Button controls also use the left joystick to control both a player’s movement and the curvature of their arms, linking these two separate mechanics into one.

Guarding is particularly unpleasant with button controls—it’s done with a click of the left joystick and leads to cramps during long play sessions—which begs the question why
ARMS doesn’t offer customizable controls. It’s a standard feature in many fighting games that ARMS, to its own detriment, completely ignores.

ARMS features ten playable characters with special abilities that afford each one a unique approach to the fight. Ribbon Girl can jump multiple times to dance around opponents in midair, while the heavy Master Mummy can slowly restore health using his shield. The stealthy Ninjara can warp short distances around the stage, while Twintelle can hover in the air and slow her opponents’ punches. They’ve squeezed as much variety as possible from a relatively small number of characters, and when you start mixing and matching these abilities with the game’s many ARMS, you could spend hours mastering any given setup.

Unfortunately the characters themselves fall far short of the potential established by their vibrant, playful designs and brilliantly-animated personalities. This is more true for some than others (the delightful and bizarre green glob of goo, Helix, stands out). Their appeal is often compared to games like
Overwatch, but perhaps generously so.

Whereas a game like
Overwatch uses voice lines to expand on a character’s individuality, ARMS takes a lesser approach by vocalizing simple phrases loosely associated with a character’s design. Upon victory you may hear Spring Man shout, “Woohoo spring!” or Ribbon Girl say, “Ribbon ribbon.” Twintelle often quips “Two to tango,” half a sentence made even stranger after a three-player match. They’re lazily conceived and poorly delivered, and it sticks out terribly in 2017. It’s a shame, as this is an area where a little work would have gone a long way.

ARMS features a handful of game modes you can play alone or with a number of friends. Beyond the standard battle mode, you can play free-for-alls and team battles with up to four players. It also features its own spin on volleyball, basketball, and a shooting gallery as a fun way to hone skills with friends.

After a match you can find
ARMS‘ fun replay feature and re-watch the match exactly as it unfolded. Nintendo makes it easy on players to skip to a given round of the match and fast-forward to find all the best moments, and it offers a variety of camera angles great for spectating. It’s a good way to analyze games for self-improvement or simply watch for the fun of it. It’s so tempting to find pivotal moments of a match to watch in slow motion, but unfortunately the slo-mo feature is extremely choppy and just unpleasant to watch. The biggest caveat, however, is that there’s no way to save replays for later.

If you find yourself alone (or just have no friends), you can play these modes against CPUs or head to a lobby where you can play a mixup of these games with players around the world. Connecting is seamless, and a bustling lobby will waste no time moving you from one match into the next. Its ranked battle system is just as smooth, even letting players enjoy offline game modes while passively searching for a battle partner.

The main single-player mode is the Grand Prix, which is a simple ten-match tour through the game’s roster, sprinkled with two minigames for a change of pace. Its seven difficulty settings can get immensely challenging, making it an excellent way to familiarize yourself with any character’s play style. At any time you can save your progress and quit, returning to the Grand Prix where you left off.

You and a friend can also approach the Grand Prix as a doubles tournament, though the setup is less than ideal. In any of
ARMS‘ two-on-two matches, both characters are tethered to each other by rope, which prevents you from moving beyond a short distance apart and makes you fall victim to any grabs successfully executed on your teammate. Be it in the Grand Prix, local battles, or online lobbies, I find this setup far less fun than it is frustrating.

The Verdict: Just Barely Packs the Punch

ARMS is quite good—but it’s not quite great. It introduces Nintendo fans to a lineup of new characters, stages, and game modes that turn its inventive gameplay into a full-fledged experience worthy of Nintendo’s name. Despite a slew of issues and missed opportunities with its features, there’s an incredible new game at ARMS‘ core. But the rich layers of strategic complexity and their steep learning curve are too sadly compromised by its unreliable control schemes.

With a few patches on top of the additional content Nintendo has already promised,
ARMS will shine bright as a multiplayer icon on Nintendo Switch, and a strong start to what I hope becomes a running series.

ARMS was reviewed with a free download code provided to Gamnesia by Nintendo.

Our Verdict
Unique Concept; Deep Strategy; Rewarding Learning Curve; Fun Characters; Great Music
Notable Missing Features; Poor Voice Lines

3DS News Nintendo Nintendo Switch Wii U

Rumor: Leaked Images Reveal Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo Switch with Extra Content

Super Smash Bros. is inevitably arriving on Nintendo’s latest home console, the Nintendo Switch, in due time. But if a recent leak of images is to be believed, we may have a first look at the latest version of the game.

Before reading any further, do be aware these leaked images come from 4chan—make of that what you will—and while nothing has been discovered within these images to determine them as frauds,
the Smash community has been duped by fake leaks before.

If the leak is to be believed, Nintendo Switch’s version of
Super Smash Bros. acts as a sort of “deluxe” edition for both Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. One image shows Mario fighting Bowser Jr. on a visually-enhanced rendition of the 3DS-only stage “Paper Mario,” while others show a local multiplayer game of the mode “Smash Run,” previously only available in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.

The most surprising content shown off in these images is a revitalized Target Test mode featuring Yoshi’s Target Test stage from
Super Smash Bros. Melee. This would seem to indicate the Super Smash Bros. series will give each character their own individualized Target Test challenges for the first time since 2001.

UPDATE: GameXplain and GoNintendo claim to have seen evidence and to have it on good authority, respectively, that these images are fake. Neither outlet has revealed the source of their certainty, but it seems likely that more information will surface in the coming hours and days if they are indeed fake. Otherwise we may learn more when E3 rolls around in just a few weeks.

Source: 4chan (via Nintendo Everything)

Our Verdict

Mobile Platforms News Nintendo

Report: Nintendo’s Working on a Zelda Game for Mobile Devices

Nintendo’s plans to release five mobile games for smart devices have been progressing slowly, as Miitomo, Super Mario Run, and, more recently, Fire Emblem Heroes, have all come to market. The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Nintendo’s mobile partner DeNA is working on the fifth game in this lineup, based on The Legend of Zelda.

Nintendo previously confirmed that their fourth mobile game would be an
Animal Crossing title, which was originally scheduled to launch by this past March but has since been delayed to a new window of this fiscal year, which ends on March 31st, 2018. The Wall Street Journal reports that the new Animal Crossing title will launch sometime in 2017, with the Zelda game launching sometime thereafter—though the timing hasn’t been finalized.

There’s no word on the style of gameplay or the monetization strategy behind this new
Zelda game, nor how it may fit into the Zelda series writ large. If I got my wish, it would be a Zelda-themed gyroscopic shooting gallery à la Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask 3D, though I personally doubt that’s likely. Given the many incarnations the Zelda series has seen over the years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a spinoff game that pays tribute to the entire series canon, as did Hyrule Warriors.

The Wall Street Journal also mentioned that The Pokémon Company is making a new card-based game for mobile devices, but The Pokémon Company declined to comment.

Source: The Wall Street Journal (via GameSpot)

Our Verdict

News Nintendo Nintendo Switch

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Has Become America’s Fastest-Selling Mario Kart Game in History

This past weekend Nintendo released Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, an enhanced port of Mario Kart 8 featuring new content on Nintendo Switch. Though some believed the game’s sales would lag due to its original Wii U release in 2014, the story couldn’t be any different. In fact, in one day it became North America’s fastest-selling Mario Kart game in existence.

Nintendo of America revealed that
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sold over 459,000 copies in the region on its first day, between retail and digital purchases, becoming the region’s fastest-selling Mario Kart game. The same record was previously held by the phenomenally popular Mario Kart Wii, which sold around 433,900 copies on launch day and later became one of the best-selling games of all time.

It’s no wonder
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is doing so well. It achieved a score of 93 on Metacritic, the highest aggregate score a Mario Kart game has gotten since 2001’s Mario Kart: Super Circuit achieved the same score on Game Boy Advance. It’s also one of the most accessible Mario Kart games for new players, as it introduces new “auto-accelerate” and “smart steering” mechanics to ease first-timers onto the road.

Nintendo stated that 45% of Switch owners in the US bought a copy of
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe the first day it was available, meaning nearly one half of all the console’s owners have a copy of Mario Kart available at home and on the go.

Source: Nintendo PR (via Nintendo Everything)

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3DS News Nintendo

Reggie Explains Why the “New Nintendo 2DS XL” Exists

Nintendo surprised the world last week when they announced a new entry in the Nintendo 3DS family of systems: New Nintendo 2DS XL. Retaining the clamshell design of the Nintendo 3DS and its many variants, the New Nintendo 2DS XL scraps the 3DS’ stereoscopic display to provide a cheaper alternative to the New Nintendo 3DS XL.

Though Nintendo already provides the original Nintendo 2DS for $79.99, just over half the price of the newly-introduced New Nintendo 2DS XL, Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime told TIME that the original 2DS is designed as an entry-level gaming system for young children, whereas the New 2DS XL is intended for older gamers on a budget.

“There is a visual impact difference between these different items, and we believe in our market by having these three different variants. The Nintendo 2DS really focused on that entry level gamer, the four-, five-, six-year old that is just getting into gaming, but wants to play Mario Kart, wants to have a Super Mario Bros. experience, wants to play Pokémon. And we feel with Nintendo 3DS XL at $199 that it’s a fully-featured product, that it is, if you will, the Cadillac of handheld gaming. And then we heard from consumers, ‘Boy, I wish there was something in between.'” —
Reggie Fils-Aime

Though the timing may seem odd, as Nintendo recently launched their latest home console, Nintendo Switch, for gaming both at-home and on-the-go, Reggie explains that Nintendo 3DS hardware sales have actually increased 13% in the Americas year-over-year from 2015. That said, he doesn’t expect the device to face the same kind of hardware shortages that plagued the NES Classic Edition. As he explains to The Verge:

“We make estimates on what consumer demand is, and if the demand dramatically exceeds what we plan, it creates some tightness in the marketplace. We think we’ve estimated for New Nintendo 2DS XL pretty well, and we’re confident that the consumer who wants to buy it on July 28th is going to be able to do that. We get it right more times than we get it wrong. But sometimes we get it wrong.” —
Reggie Fils-Aime

Reggie also stated, however, that the Nintendo 2DS only accounts for 11% of the total sales volume for Nintendo 3DS systems.

“If you look life-to-date at the overall performance of the platform, almost 90% of the unit sales have been with 3D visual capability. So maybe said a different way, 2DS to date has represented only 11% of the total volume base. What that tells me is that for the vast majority of consumers, 3D is an important feature.” —
Reggie Fils-Aime

Source: TIME, The Verge

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3DS News Nintendo

It Looks Like Nintendo is Remaking the Mario & Luigi Game that Started it All

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga originally launched on the Game Boy Advance in 2003, kickstarting an entire sub-series of colorful Mario RPGs on Nintendo’s handheld devices. After a mixed fan response to last year’s Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam on Nintendo 3DS, it looks like the team has decided to revisit the game that started it all.

Pokémon hacker by the Twitter handle “SciresM” recently dug into the servers for the Nintendo 3DS eShop and claims to have discovered a file tentatively called “Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga DX.” He later revisited the server to uncover the game’s official icon, alongside that of the upcoming 3DS RPG Ever Oasis. Both of these icons can be seen in the gallery below.

SciresM later dumped the full English name of every game with data available on the eShop servers, revealing that the full title of this supposed remake is “Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions.” Given the diagonal split across the game’s icon, it would appear the game comes alongside some sort of new game mode, but any more details are currently unclear.

While nothing is official until further confirmation, this isn’t the first time Nintendo’s eShop servers have prematurely revealed upcoming games. Just over a year ago,
dataminers discovered the Zelda-themed My Nintendo Picross game before it was officially announced. The lid was even opened on The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD just a few months before that. Nevertheless, do be wary in case this turns out to be an elaborate (and oddly-specific) hoax.

Source: Twitter (1, 2, 3)

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News Nintendo Retro Videos

A Second Item from GoldenEye 007 Has Been Discovered in Smash Bros. Melee

An item called the Motion-Sensor Bomb has been a staple in the Super Smash Bros. games since the series got its start on Nintendo 64, and many fans know of the item’s extensive ties to the “Proximity Mine” found in Rareware’s iconic Nintendo 64 adaption of GoldenEye 007, as well as their later Nintendo 64 hit, Perfect Dark.

The item has been continually redesigned and distanced from its appearance in
GoldenEye, due in part to the many complications of obtaining all the proper licensing rights to depict the item as a part of the James Bond universe. In Super Smash Bros. Melee specifically, its appearance varies by region: it appears in the Japanese and PAL versions of Melee as the Proximity Mine from Perfect Dark, while it appears in the US as the version from GoldenEye.

But a fellow named
Lewys Wilson has recently discovered that Super Smash Bros. Melee actually planned to include a second item from GoldenEye: the Time Mine. Hidden within the game he discovered a 3D model for the item, complete with a sound effect to go along with it.

Source Gaming
speculates that the item was removed as an indirect result of the US market’s content ratings. Because using the item’s Perfect Dark appearance would have automatically increased Melee‘s age rating, director Masahiro Sakurai reverted its appearance for the NTSC version to its GoldenEye look, and he specifically redacted references to the James Bond universe. The team then decided to remove the Time Mine, Source Gaming theorizes, because it too closely resembled the GoldenEye-inspired Motion Sensor Bomb and could easily confuse players.

Source: Source Gaming

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News Nintendo Nintendo Switch Wii U

Yes, Link Can Wear His Famous Green Tunic in Zelda: Breath of the Wild

We’re less than two weeks away from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s official launch, and we still have yet to see Link wearing the Hero of Hyrule’s legendary green tunic.

Last June,
Shigeru Miyamoto expressed concern that Breath of the Wild‘s new equipment system, which plays an important role in its gameplay, might be overlooked by players who simply want Link to wear his green tunic all the time. He wouldn’t say whether the iconic outfit is present—though we here at Gamnesia believed he was keeping quiet so as to keep it a surprise when players finally discover the outfit in-game. But Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma has finally confirmed that the Hero’s clothes are indeed available to players.

This news comes from Nintendo France’s Twitter account, where Eiji Aonuma is appearing for daily Q&A videos about
Breath of the Wild.

There’s still no word on how or when players may encounter Link’s green tunic, nor what gameplay properties it may hold.

Source: Nintendo France

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3DS News Nintendo

Pokémon Sun and Moon Just Got an Officially-Licensed Album of Amazing Jazz Remixes

Ya like jazz?” So go the immortal words of the great legal scholar Barry B. Benson, and they couldn’t be more relevant today for fans of the popular new Pokémon games Sun and Moon, which are breaking all kinds of sales records for Nintendo. Their incredible soundtrack is one of these games’ highest accomplishments, and now you can listen to eight of your favorite Alolan melodies reimagined in one beautiful jazz album, called “Alola That Jazz.”

Alola That Jazz is the latest album by Carlos Eiene, better known as the popular YouTube musician “Insaneintherainmusic,” who’s previously released a number of video game cover albums, including the Undertale-inspired “Live at Grillby’s” and “Back to Your Littleroots,” based on music from Pokémon‘s Hoenn region.

To get a little taste of what
Alola That Jazz has in store for you, you can check out the preview embedded below:

If you like what you hear, you can find the full
Alola That Jazz album at the following links (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, and Spotify) and start enjoying lovely twists on your favorite battle music, town themes, and adventurous musical motifs. And, whether or not you buy the album, if you want to follow Insaneintherainmusic’s work, you can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and of course on his YouTube channel, where he uploads impressive new jazz arrangements of video game music every Saturday.

Alola That Jazz is officially licensed through Distrokid, a service which lets independent artists legally distribute works based on pre-existing material.

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A Message About the Future of Our “Nintendo Week Podcast”

Hello everyone!

I’m sad to let you know the time has come to stop expecting weekly episodes from Gamnesia’s very own
Nintendo Week Podcast. Gamnesia’s undergoing some changes behind-the-scenes, and myself, Alex, and Ben have all had a rough year—we just don’t have the time and energy we did when we started the show just about two years ago (time flies!).

You may have noticed this has been a long time coming, as we changed the format up late last year, our YouTube activity has plummeted in the last two months, and we even took a break for all of December.

We still love all you guys, and we’ll be making new episodes when we can! Every time we do, you’ll find them on
iTunes, Podbean, and of course here at Gamnesia—and of course you can stay in touch with us and up-to-date on the show’s production in the Facebook group, Nintendo Week Fun Club, or with myself, Alex, and Ben on Twitter.

Unfortunately we don’t yet know what this means for Nintendo Week’s presence on the YouTube channel,
GamnesiaTV, and our NWC articles and videos.

Thank you all so much for the time and support you’ve given us in the last two years. We’re so grateful to have a successful podcast running new episodes (almost) every week for two whole years, and they’ve been full of fun! But you know how it goes: life happens, and unfortunately for now, that means Nintendo Week has to take a backseat.

Please understand!

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Indie Nintendo Nintendo Switch Retro

The Underrated Reason Why Nintendo Switch is the Most Exciting Game Console Ever

I know, I know, everyone’s freaking out because the inauguration is just two days away, and everything’s on fire, and 2016 never really ended because the passage from one unit of time to the next has no bearing on the course of human events. I get it. But let me take your mind off it for just a moment, and then I’ll let you get right back to the existential dread.

I’ve been excited this week, because I like video games. And I’m easily excitable, so of course I’ve been excited at least once.

But I’m talking about Nintendo. You know, Nintendo, with Mario, and Pokémon, and that one-handed Wii controller that can become anything you want. It could be a baseball bat, or a steering wheel, or a magic wand with the power to shatter televisions on command. It’s Nintendo!

This past week
Nintendo announced their next big thing: it’s their next video game console, and this thing is gonna have every game anyone under forty could ever need to play. I don’t know if many of you remember the 1980s, but I, being age negative-eleven at the time, remember it like it was yesterday.

And believe me, to us gamers, it was the Golden Age they only speak of in legend. A time when Mario was born. A time when Pac-Man was… well, Pac-Man was already pretty boring. He’s a yellow dot, it gets old quick.

This system
is gonna have games from way back then all the way through now. It’s gonna have Smash Bros., it’s got Mario Kart, and FIFA, and Minecraft, Bomberman, Street Fighter, Smash Bros…

…Did I say
Smash Bros. yet? Hell yeah I did. Because you know there’s no way this thing is getting by without Smash Bros.

It’s even got
the game Nintendo thinks is the next Wii Sports, where you forget about the TV screen, stare your best friend deep in the eyes, grip the controller firmly yet gently, and the advanced rumble technology lets you feel like you’re really stroking it. “It” being the udder of the cow you’re having a milking contest underneath—but I know what you were thinking Nintendo, don’t you silly-billies try to fool me.

And the catch is, this system’s not even a console. It’s a little tablet, with
these little controllers on the sides. When slide it out from its slot next to the TV, that screen goes dark and the little tablet one comes on. And you can play all those games everywhere you go.

So I will. Oh I will, and I’m gonna love every
second of it, because the best part is the tablet’s controllers split in two. Everywhere you go, you have two fully-featured video game controllers for Mario Kart, and Bomberman, and Street Fighter.

I won’t leave the house without this sucker, and everyone I run into can hop in for two races of
Mario Kart, or one minute of Smash, or three hours of Bomberman—let’s face it, you won’t need to think about any other responsibilities if you’re playing Bomberman. You’re in a good place.

When anyone I run into asks “why is one side red and the other one’s blue?” all I need to do is slide one off and say “wanna play?”

And that’s it. One motion. Two words. “Wanna play?”

It’s an offer no one can refuse! Everywhere I go, people will be under my total control. I’ll be the game master.

Wanna play
Mario Kart—BAM, now ya do! Wanna play Mega Man—BAM, now ya do! Wanna stare into each other’s eyes and see who gives it a better stroke? …On second thought, I’ll probably leave that game alone.

This miracle console is called the Nintendo Switch, and right now there’s only one bad thing that gets me about it:
it comes out in six weeks. …And I’m not sure our democracy can survive that long.

Enjoy the existential dread!

Our Verdict

Features Nintendo Nintendo Switch Podcast Retro

Five Exciting Things About Nintendo Switch We Didn’t Learn from Their Presentation

Thursday night,
Nintendo fully revealed the Nintendo Switch, their latest in their famed line of video game consoles. But amidst tons of announcements for games, release dates, trailers, and more, some of the biggest stories got drowned out. Today we’re going over five of the most exciting stories you may have missed about the Nintendo Switch.

Street Fighter is Coming to Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con setup has the dominoes in place to revive two-player gaming to a glory unseen since the days of the Super Nintendo. Taking two mini controllers everywhere the console goes is the perfect way to get one friend on board and pass the time playing bite-size good ol’ two-player experiences like
Bomberman, Puyo Puyo, and Mario Kart‘s battle mode. How fitting it is that all of these experiences will be available on Switch!

But perhaps the most compelling two-player game coming to Switch is
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, a modern reimagining of one of the world’s most beloved two-player fighting games. A lightning-quick clip of Street Fighter was shown off during the presentation’s sizzle reel, but it wasn’t until later that Capcom explained the details.

Street Fighter II is an absolute classic, and this version comes with two different graphics settings for players who like to see modern-day artwork and those who just can’t get enough of that timeless 16-bit fun. If Capcom can find the right low price to convince audiences to double down on a decades-old game, Ultra Street Fighter II could become a sleeper hit that shows the multiplayer power of Nintendo Switch off in public and attracts positive attention from traditionally non-Nintendo gamers.

Free Retro Game Rentals

When Nintendo’s new online system goes live, one of the benefits it brings users will be
a free NES or SNES game rental every month. Many have been scoffing at this offer, saying the free games Nintendo distributes shouldn’t have an expiration date.

The way I see it, they’re not giving us exclusive rights to free games and then clawing them away; they’re offering
rentals, a model long-forgotten next to Blockbuster’s grave. Longtime players get a chance to relive their favorite retro games, while new players get a chance to try all the best games they missed from an era long past. When most of the games from the eighties and nineties can be completed in a few hours, one month is more than enough time to get a full fill of every title they offer. What’s more is they’re adding new online functionality to some SNES games, and we get to enjoy this entire program for free!

…At least for a few months’ time, at which point Nintendo’s online service transitions to a paid subscription model like those of Xbox’s and PlayStation’s.

It’s Got a Multi-Touch Screen

We sort of knew this was coming, but it’s still nice to
get confirmation that Switch’s touch features more resemble those of a modern mobile device than a late-90s Pocket PC.

It Supports 256 GB microSD Cards

Switch’s hard drive sounds measly in comparison to Microsoft and Sony’s offerings at just 32 GB of internal storage, but the good news is it supports
microSDXC cards up to 256 GB.

Those little suckers will likely cost you upwards of $100, and that’s still a small size compared to the internal storage you get
inside Xbox and PlayStation. But if you take into account that Switch games are largely stored on cartridges, which means they likely won’t be installing huge amounts of data the way its competitors’ home console games do, 32 GB should last you at least as long as it did on Wii U, at which point you can get microSD cards at flexible sizes and price points to expand your options as you see fit.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe went largely unmentioned during the Switch Presentation, relegated only to a role as filler footage for sizzle reels. But Nintendo quickly uploaded a trailer for the enhanced Wii U port, revealing additional items, characters, the new Battle Mode the world’s been waiting for, and more.

Best of all, the latest Nintendo characters to break out into kart racing are
Splatoon‘s spunky Inklings, who drive around on karts made of Super Soakers and perform tricks in midair by turning into squids as they fly off ramps.

You can learn more about
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe through various other posts we’ve made on the site. Now let’s hope for some new course reveals. Sky Garden and Wario Colosseum, baby, don’t let me down!

Our Verdict

3DS Nintendo Nintendo Switch Podcast Retro Videos Wii Wii U

NWC: It’s Totally Obvious Super Smash Bros. is Coming to Nintendo Switch

It’s been floating around the world of Nintendo news for quite some time that Nintendo might be porting Super Smash Bros. for Wii U to their upcoming console, the Nintendo Switch, and the now-infamous reporter Laura Kate Dale recently came forward to say that it is true.

This was one of the talking points on
the 82nd episode of Nintendo Week, our Nintendo-themed podcast here at Gamnesia. Check out the discussion video above for our full thoughts, or keep reading below for a brief, brief summary.

Yeah, yeah, I know this discussion happened a while ago, but the show has been on break for the winter holidays and without a new episode in this week leading up to the official Switch reveal this Thursday, we decided to come back to YouTube with clips that provoke interesting thoughts about what we might see on Thursday.

None of us are remotely surprised, and in fact we all think it’s most certainly happening. The big question in our minds is whether the port will include any new content, which gets a big giant “maybe.” It’d be hard to believe it wouldn’t, but you know what Alex says: “Nintendo gonna Nintendo.”

If it does, the most likely scenario we see is veteran fighters like Wolf, Ice Climbers, and maybe even more returning from their respective games. We also think it’s possible the Inklings may make an entrance to celebrate the recent success of
Splatoon and to leverage it even further for its release on Nintendo Switch. Of course there are questions abound regarding new and returning stages, including ones from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, but time will tell how it all plays out.

If you like the video, you can
subscribe to Nintendo Week on iTunes, where we release new episodes every Sunday, or you could check out the full episode embedded below. If you don’t like long-form podcasts, you can subscribe to us on YouTube, where we upload highlight clips from the show throughout the week, and you can find tons more discussions on what kind of content we’d like to see in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch and why. If you like what you hear, we’d love it if you leave us a review on iTunes, where you can find episodes covering tons of other subjects, or send us your feedback! We’d love to know what you think of the show, and how you think we can improve it.

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