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Damon Baker is Nintendo of America’s Senior Marketing Manager of Publisher and Developer Relations. He’s also the new face of the company’s indie efforts.

Over the past few months, Baker has led the way on a couple of surprising and interesting eShop programs from Nintendo. The Humble Nindie Bundle was made available in late May, and just a few weeks later, Nintendo introduced [email protected]. Along with providing Wii U owners with the opportunity to try out new indie titles well before their release during E3 week, [email protected] had the added bonus of giving those who downloaded the demos a 15 percent discount when the full games launch.

We recently had a chat with Damon Baker to go more in depth regarding [email protected] Our discussion included talk about how the idea came to be, the challenges of bringing it to fruition, and the possibility of seeing it again in the future. Head past the break to read our full interview.

As part of its E3 2015 plans, Nintendo launched [email protected] in June. This was a special one-week promotional period in which Wii U owners were given the opportunity to download and play demos from upcoming indie titles. For gamers who couldn’t make it to E3, it allowed them to experience some of the excitement of being at the expo.

We reached out to five developers who were involved with [email protected] to share some thoughts about participating in the program. Below you’ll find some musings from 13AM Games (Runbow), Brainseed Factory (Typoman), MixedBag Games (forma.8), Ripstone (Extreme Exorcism), and Wales Interactive (Soul Axiom). What was it like for these studios to participate in Nintendo’s newest eShop initiative? How was it getting the demos up in time for E3? How do they feel about the program as a whole? These were just some of the topics the developers we reached out to touched upon, and each team shared some very interesting insight about the process of being included in [email protected] Continue on below for their thoughts.

Let’s Talk #17: Thoughts on the latest Smash Bros. update/DLC

Nintendo gave Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS a whole bunch of content last night. While there weren’t any new characters, we do have access to a number of new things.

Both versions of Smash Bros. added two classic levels: Hyrule Castle and Peach’s Castle. Several new Mii Fighter outfits came out as well.

On Wii U, Nintendo finally launched the game’s Tournament Mode. Uploading replays to YouTube is also now possible.

The latest Smash Bros. content has only been out for about a day, but I still wanted to have this week’s discussion focused on what’s new in both games. Have you been able to give the new stages a whirl? What are your thoughts on the Tournament modes? I’m also curious: how many of you are actually interested in the Mii Fighter costumes? Sound off in the comments below!


Highlights from last week’s topic: Most anticipated Wii U games

Guymelef
My most anticipated announced games for Wii U would be (in no particular order):

Xenoblade Chronicles X
Lego Dimensions
Guitar Hero Live
Star Fox
Shin Megami Tensei X FE
Fatal Frame
Devil’s Third
Zelda U

For 3DS (I know it’s not part of the survey, but just to include): Fire Emblem Fates and Monster Hunter X

while I’m interested in Yoshi’s Wooly World and Mario Maker, they’re not on top of my list.

Killey

Fatal Frame V, Rodea: The Sky Soldier and Star Fox Zero are the games I’m looking forward to, I’lI probably add Devil’s Third and that’s it for this year. Zelda and SMT x FF so far for 2016

David Arkema
The wii u games I looking forward the most are

Skylanders superchargers, because I love the amiibo support, this will ve my first skylanders game and the gameplay looks really fun.

Devil’s third, because I need an action game next to bayonetta and singlepalyer gameplay looks amazing and what you can do the online multiplayer looks funny like hell, but may need some patches.

Xenoblade chronicles x, because I loved the first one the wii and I love wandering in a massive openworld with gorgeous enemies and you can ride in a mechsuit.

Pokken Tournament, because I need a (wii u) pokemon game that isn’t a mainstream pokemon game (fire red/emerald/y) and I really love fighting game, especially street fighter and ssb. graphical it looks amazing, but the cast (playable characters) needs to be expanded.

superphillip32

Super Mario Maker – As someone who really enjoys level design and wants to go into the field of game design after graduating college, Super Mario Maker’s creation tools seem like a godsend to me. I will get to make levels with what looks like to be a very easy and intuitive interface, practice my skills and creativity with designing levels, and get inspiration from other creators while enjoying playing the levels as well.

Yoshi’s Woolly World – It pained me to see the North American release date of Yoshi’s Woolly World be so far away in comparison to the European, Oceania, and Japanese launches. The game looks like what many have been wanting from the Yoshi series since Yoshi’s Island. Throw in some awesome looking levels, hidden goodies, and a reported challenge, and I can’t wait to be able to play this game.

Star Fox Zero – I’ve waited a long time for a new Star Fox game that I really enjoy. I did love Assault, and of course I greatly was enamored with 64. Command was okay, but now we have another traditional Star Fox game to look forward to. I trust Nintendo and Platinum Games to create a compelling and engaging campaign to blow me and other players away.

System: Nintendo 3DS
Release: August 4, 2015
Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Atlus


Author: Dennis

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold is an epic dungeon-crawling experience in which you and a fixed group of party members embark on a journey. The objective is to complete a century-old ritual by a princess you randomly run into inside the forest close to the town your newly formed guild stumbles upon, High Lagaard. It is here you familiarize yourself with the townsfolk and collect quests to help you on your way to completing this ritual with the Princess. However, while deep in the dungeons heading towards the location where the ritual will take place, you come across a large monster in which you are forced to fight. It is here you stumble into other adventurers from faraway places and transform suddenly into an inhuman monster— wielding the power of a legendary sentient being once known as the Fafnir Knight. From this point forward you aim to figure out exactly why, and how, you were bestowed this power. You must uncover this mystery all while trying to complete this ritual with new friends and allies. Just as you have your own special skills and abilities—so do your allies, each with their own individual strengths and weaknesses. You are the hero of this tale, with your guild and a princess; you embark on a quest to uncover the truth behind the origins of the powerful Fafnir Knight.

No weird audio problems for this show, and nobody died this week so it’s back to form for us. Laura is in town though, so we’re recording in the same room like old times again. I did quite like listener mail this episode though so that’s good. Here are your chapters:

Intro Shenanigans

0:00 – Intros, talking about John Cena
6:45 – Game of the week: Solar Striker!

What we played

10:19 – Casual Splats for Austin (Splatoon)
16:33 – Bring me back to Tomodachi Life
24:37 – Earthbound Beginnings, but mathematical anecdotes soon follow and poop talk
28:50 – Actual Earthbound Beginnings
37:39 – Kingdom Farts for Austin

Shenanigans II

50:50 – Lazy freetures
52:47 – Donkey Konga music break.
54:15 – Tales from the Crypt with Jack

Listener Questions Mail

59:57 – Miiverse Vulgarity
1:01:45 – False Perception of Cynicism with regard to roller coasters
1:07:05 – Playing games while donating blood plasma
1:11:35 – Any Sony game suggestions for a new PS3 owner?
1:15:20 – Can Metroid ever be a big-event game?
1:21:40 – Book club talk from fans yay
1:24:55 – Should other mediums (books, movies, etc) use frustration to create a sense of adventure like games do?
1:31:26 – Should we do an Iwata book club?

Shenanigans Finale

1:32:35 – Villain of the Week: Alex Rodriguez
1:33:33 – Solar Striker QUIZ


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Let’s Talk #16: Most anticipated Wii U games

There are still plenty of Wii U games to look forward to. From Nintendo alone, the company is bringing us Zelda Wii U, Super Mario Maker, Star Fox Zero, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem (Genei Ibun Roku #FE), Xenoblade Chronicles X, Yoshi’s Woolly World (in North America), Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, Devil’s Third, Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival, and Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash. There are also a smattering of third-party offerings like Rodea: The Sky Soldier, LEGO Dimensions, Disney Infinity 3.0, Skylanders SuperChargers, and Guitar Hero Live. It goes without saying that there’s still a ton of indie content on the way as well.

All of that being said, is there one Wii U game that you’re looking forward to above all else? If you can’t pick one, what are your top highlights? Let us know in the comments below!


Right now there are three games I’ve been wanting to get my hands on above all else. Let me briefly talk about each.

– Zelda Wii U: it’s Zelda! This series is what really motivated me to pay more attention to video games. Even though I had played games before, going through Ocarina of Time is when my interest really spiked. I was disappointed when Nintendo announced Zelda Wii U’s delay to 2016, but we should be getting a fantastic title in the end.

– Xenoblade Chronicles X: honestly, I do wish this one had already launched in the west at this point. That original January 2013 trailer feels like so long ago. Still, Xenoblade Chronicles X should be worth the wait. Xenoblade ended up as one of my favorite games of all time, and while X should be a fairly different experience, I’m anticipating that there will be enough there to make it both familiar and new at the same time.

– Super Mario Maker: after Nintendo showed this game at last year’s E3, I was mildly interested. I knew I’d pick it up eventually, but it wasn’t something where I thought I needed it at launch. My opinion changed greatly following Super Mario Maker’s showing at E3 2015. I’m just amazed by the amount of crazy things you can do inside different levels. I’ll be playing other creations rather than making them myself, so I can’t wait to see what people come up with.

Update: Our winner is in! Congratulations to Scalpium!


We’re kicking off a new worldwide giveaway over on Twitter today. The prize? A pair of tickets to The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess concert!

You can enter the giveaway by following us on Twitter, re-tweeting this post, and tagging/telling a friend. We’ll be choosing a winner on July 24. Good luck to all!

Jon and I discussed the tragedy surrounding the passing of Nintendo president Satoru Iwata in this week’s episode of Just a Chat. It was rather tough to get through, but we managed to record this somehow!



Stuff:

Brian’s Twitter
Jon’s Twitter

Let’s Talk #15: Remembering Satoru Iwata

Given the tragedy surrounding Satoru Iwata, it only seemed right to dedicate this week’s Let’s Talk to his memory. In the comments below, feel free to talk about anything related to Nintendo’s president.


It’s crazy to think that Satoru Iwata is no longer here with us. It’s also crazy to think that everything happened less than a week ago. Despite it having been a few days, I’m still barely able to come to grips with the fact that Iwata passed away.

A lot of thoughts and emotions have been running through my mind since Sunday evening. I can’t begin to tell you how shocked I was when I heard that Iwata had passed away. I just happened to stumble across Nintendo’s IR site with the news – it wasn’t even publicized on Nintendo’s Japanese Twitter account at the time. I almost considered not posting about it on the site when I discovered the announcement since I couldn’t believe it was real. I haven’t been that shocked about something in a very long time.

Even though I never knew Iwata personally, his passing has greatly affected me. It’s been a very sad and long week. There was a lot about Iwata that made him different compared to your typical company president/CEO, so I think that’s one of many reasons reason why many people have been taking this so hard.

Iwata seemed like a very lovely and personable man. Of course, he delivered the Nintendo Direct presentations to us, and during those videos, he wasn’t afraid to poke fun at himself. The Iwata Asks series was another key aspect during his time with Nintendo. These interviews/discussions provided very interesting and valuable insight into the development of Nintendo’s various games.

Iwata’s experience with game development made him quite the unique president. Of course, before joining Nintendo, he worked at HAL. Over the many years in the industry, he was involved with games like Balloon Fight, EarthBound, and Pokemon. He even helped Smash Bros. Melee make its release date. He was a programmer at heart having made a baseball game on a calculator despite it not having graphics.

A lot of people have been asking me over the past few days if I have a favorite memory of Iwata. Truthfully, I don’t. That’s because when I start thinking about his role at Nintendo, there’s so much that comes to mind. There are all of his Nintendo Directs obviously. E3 appearances. 2005 GDC speech. There was also the Game Center CX episode that struck a chord with me, in which he talked more about his life. And those are just the times we saw him in person. Outside of video-esque appearances, there was the time when he dramatically cut his salary in light of the Wii U’s struggles. Introducing Wii and DS to the world, and initiating the Blue Ocean Strategy to wild success were also key parts of his career.

I started paying attention to games during the tail end of the GameCube era, so honestly, Iwata being at Nintendo is really all that I know. It’s extremely tough to picture Nintendo without Iwata at the helm of things. Nintendo will most definitely continue on, but things won’t be the same without him. All we can do at this point is be thankful for his many years at Nintendo and how he put smiles on many people’s faces. He will be greatly missed.


How do you feel about Devil’s Third?

slihm

I’ve been extremely intrigued ever since the multiplayer trailer last year.

Additionally, the campaign looks to have my type of humor. It’s odd because a lot of people seem to be missing the jokes all together. For reference, watch the “Machete Kills” trailer. It’s basically that kind of humor, but in a game. And it’s amazing.

Recent news has made me a little skeptical. The only thing I’m concerned about is the frame rate, because people who have allegedly played the game have been complaining about the inconsistent frame rate.

Blazer

As far as Devil’s Third go, I was interested in the game after seeing it. It’s not the usual type of game you find on Nintendo consoles, but the fact that they seemed to be backing it felt like a sign that I could pay it a little bit of attention. After seeing a bit, I was interested in it because it seemed like a brutal but fun action/shooter game with some cool online components, which I felt I could get behind, especially since it didn’t look as dull as some games.

The concept art, for instance, looks really cool IMO, and while you could certainly make complaints about the main character, I’m fine with his design and approach: he’s at least more memorable than the main characters in many other shooters, IMO. Pretty much, it was a game I had intended to give a good chance since there’s not much else like it on the console, and I like supporting developers who make exclusives for Wii U, esp. since I’ve enjoyed the Wii U a lot–more than most other systems. Dare I say it helped get me back into gaming with a few quality games despite lacking quantity.

Now that the game potentially isn’t being backed by NoA and could be very poor for whatever reasons, I’m less interested/more skeptical and need to have some kind of confirmation on how the game is. I mean, we’ll just have to see, there aren’t even reviews out and even then I take reviews and such with a grain of salt because ultimately they’re just opinions from people who are often only slightly more qualified to analyze, criticize, and praise games than the bulk of other people.

While I’d like to give it a try anyway, if the game is said to be terrible, it’s difficult to justify purchasing it, especially when video games are expensive and there are a ton of other video games out there I’ve yet to beat… play… buy… or even hear about. I mean, I only have so much time, money, and patience, so ultimately I can’t try out every game myself. Hopefully I hear some good things about it so I can keep my pre-order and get it as planned. In that case though, I can only hope someone else actually picks it up so I have people to play with online.

Not having more than a handful of friends (who I rarely talk to) that play Splatoon, for instance, really stinks. I had pretty much no one to play Bayonetta 2 with, either. It’s one of the few problems of preferring to play with friends (esp. with voice, meaning on the Wii U, I need to have them on Skype/they can’t be strangers, since it doesn’t have integrated voice chat into its games), and playing on a console with a low install base in specific regions (I’m not interested in voice chatting with random Japanese people, for instance, but if you limit matchmaking in such games to specific regions where there’s a common language, the wait etc. would be even longer than it already is).

tl;dr, I was interested, and will still pay attention, but I’m skeptical and my purchasing decision hangs in the balance of whether the game seems good enough to be worth giving a chance.

Pretty much, if it’s not a broken game and it’s at least fun but “with problems”, and the Metacritic score is in the 70’s or higher, I’ll probably get it. If it’s in the 60’s, it’ll be a much tougher call dependent on what specifics I hear about the game, and anything lower would really be pushing it. (Granted, it’s less about the arbitrary numbers we call review scores and more with the associated comments that generally come with those numbers.)

What a week. As you might expect, our podcast this week includes quite a healthy amount of reflection on the life of Satoru Iwata in the form of six “Iwata Bits” featuring quotes and anecdotes about the beloved CEO and some of our personal thoughts about him, but we also manage to keep on with some normal happenings as well. Enjoy.

Opening Shenanigans

4:32 – Iwata Bit #1, “The early years”
6:49 – GOTW – Radar Mission
9:59 – Iwata Bit #2, “My personal Superman”
16:14 – Balloon Fight Remix music break

What we played

18)1 – Jack dedicates his time to Earthbound Beginnings
31:53 – Austin joins the Order of Ecclesia
42:40 – Jack read Geoff Keighley’s book.
48:58 – Iwata Bit #3, “Nintendo is for kids?”
50:10 – Kirby’s Adventure Music Break

Shenanigans Redux

51:18 – Iwata Bit #4, “Iwata Balboa”
52:37 – Our personal appreciations of Iwata

Listener Questions Mail

59:38 – Need for Speed Most Wanted a platformer?
1:05:50 – Custom characters vs. pre-made characters
1:12:28 – Splatoon does allow for something.
1:13:54 – Breath of Fire recommendation.
1:16:52 – Book club recommendations.
1:22:45 – Buster needs to stop hating Majora’s Mask.
1:26:35 – Sometimes, a podcast is all you need.

Ending Shenanigans

1:29:32 – Iwata Bit #5, “Iwata saves Pokémon”
1:32:00 – Radar Mission quiz
1:33:58 – Iwata Bit #6, “A unique CEO”
1:34:57 – The End.


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