Nintendo Fun Club Podcast – Goodbye, Mr. Iwata

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My visit to Nintendo World

Satoru Iwata’s 10 Greatest Accomplishments (Jeremy Parish – US Gamer)

Iwata’s work on Pokemon

The game industry and others react to Mr. Iwata’s passing

Chip Tanaka – Dedicated to Satoru Iwata

Shigesato Itoi’s farewell message to Satoru Iwata

Iwata Asks interview series

Games:

Balloon Fight, Kirby’s Dream Land, Kirby’s Adventure, Kirby’s Dream Course, EarthBound, NES Open Tournament Golf

Music:

Keiichi Suzuki – Because I Love You (EarthBound)

Iwata’s World

This week, to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, my wife and I visited New York City. Here, we had the opportunity to go to Nintendo World for the first time. We went twice- once when we first arrived in NYC, and a second time, after reading the heartbreaking news that beloved Nintendo president Satoru Iwata had passed away.

When we arrived at Nintendo World on Wednesday, the first thing we saw upon entering was a memorial table for Mr. Iwata. There was a sign, a picture, some flowers, and three notebooks where people could leave messages.

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In front of us was a mom and her two children, a boy and a girl, both probably around six years old. Both were writing in the notebooks. I couldn’t help but glance over to see what they were writing.

The boy wrote, in giant, six-year-old-writing: “I LOVE YOU.”

His sister wrote: “me and my brother really enjoy Pokemon and Nintendo.”

Here, I broke down. Tears filled my eyes, clouding my vision as I wrote my message and signed my name. My wife and I went upstairs. I picked up a plush Kirby to purchase and found myself full-on crying. I stepped to the window, composed myself, and turned around to see Satoru Iwata’s legacy before my very eyes.

To my right, there were teenagers debating between which Zelda shirts to get. Beyond them were kids fascinated by the racks and racks of Pokemon cards. Towards the center of the floor, there was an amiibo showcase, where a boy was explaining to his father who each of the figures were. Beyond the amiibo were TVs, packed with people of all ages playing everything from Super Mario 64 to Smash Bros. for Wii U.

While Iwata didn’t have a hand in creating all the characters and games displayed at Nintendo World, he did touch many of them in some way, whether it be programming or producing. But what I feel is Iwata’s greatest legacy is the way he brought “Nintendo Fun” to the widest audience possible. Looking around Nintendo World, I saw not just “lifers” like myself, browsing the amiibo racks and checking out the Metroid shirts, but multiple younger, future generations who are just as passionate about these games and characters as us old souls with our Nintendo blogs and podcasts.

I can’t even begin to wrap my head around all that Mr. Iwata accomplished at Nintendo, from his humble programming beginnings to running the company. But what I can grasp is what I saw in Nintendo World on Wednesday. Yes, there was sorrow and mourning, but there was also joy in the present, and most importantly, hope for the future.

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Rest In Peace, Mr. Iwata.

Episode 91 – Live Fast

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Games: Splatoon, Freedom Planet, 3D Gunstar Heroes, Runbow, 3D Sonic the Hedgehog, Diddy Kong Racing DS

Music:

The Bouncing Souls – We Love Fun (unofficial Nintendo Fun Club theme song)

The Vandals – Live Fast Diarrhea

2015 Best Buy Nintendo Access Event Impressions

Nintendo and Best Buy are once again partnering this year to bring playable E3 demos to those of us who aren’t able to attend the show in L.A. I’ve attended each year and I want to share a few impressions from my Thursday afternoon visit to a Best Buy in Madison, Wisconsin.

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I’m not sure it’s a great sign for Nintendo, but my experience this year was much less stressful than the past two. Where in the past I had to wait for hours in a line made up of hundreds of Nintendo fans, this year there were only maybe ten people ahead of me when I arrived. The attendance disparity sounds potentially disastrous but it should be noted that  I previously chose to go to Chicago area events and the lines may have been just as long there this year as well. Madison, WI is obviously much smaller than Chicago, especially when factoring in all of the latter’s surrounding suburbs, so I’m hoping for Nintendo’s sake that location rather than popularity is the reason this event was so much quieter.

In any case, the event was absolutely worth the 60 minute or so trip I made to get there. Super Mario Maker was obviously the featured demo, but I was pleasantly surprised to be offered the chance to play Tri Force Heroes while we waited. I was able to bring my 5 year old son along, so we had the chance to demo the game together. There were probably five levels to choose from and Nintendo’s representative gave us enough time to play through the one we chose. I’ll save impressions for the podcast, but the game looked and felt great and it was a wonderful way to pass the time while waiting for Super Mario Maker.

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Playing Mario Kart 8 (2013) and Smash Bros. (2014) was super exciting and fun, but each play session lasted no more than a few minutes and it was in some ways a light payoff after waiting hours in line. I wasn’t sure how Super Mario Maker’s demo would be handled, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that each player was being given somewhere close to ten minutes of time with the game. I’m not sure if this was the case everywhere or if it was a result of lighter attendance numbers, but it was great having that much time with the game. The demo is, however, limited to playing through the many levels that are already built and ready to go; no level creation allowed. I assumed that this would be the case though considering how much time it would probably take to design a level for one’s self, so I wasn’t disappointed. I was able to test two or three levels and there were many to choose from in all of the games available art styles too. See the video below for some footage of one of my fellow attendees attempting one of the available pre-made levels.

The Nintendo Access event is happening again on Saturday the 20th, so I recommend making the trip out if there is a participating Best Buy location nearby. With two unreleased games to play and some major Street Passin’ opportunities, this is a super fun event and I hope Nintendo and Best Buy will continue to host them each year.