Nintendo Going Mobile: 10 Ideas Better Than Miitomo

April 14th, 2016 David S Posted in Japan, Nintendo | Comment »

Nintendo characters

When word spread last year that Nintendo was dipping its toes into mobile markets, fans were absolutely delighted. The expectation was that we might get a gaming experience based on one of the company’s iconic characters or properties that could be downloaded onto mobile devices. Indeed, one has to imagine Nintendo could make an absolute fortune by expanding some of its most beloved titles to mobile. It all seemed inevitable.

Then Nintendo came out with Miitomo, a bizarre social app that has to be one of the bigger letdowns in Nintendo history. As Forbes put it, the app “disappoints and baffles” with its apparent desire to take on Facebook rather than produce a real gaming experience. In Miitomo, your task is to create a “Mii” avatar (you know, like you did when you first turned on your old Nintendo Wii back in 2006), and then answer questions about yourself. Your Mii then interacts with your friends’ Miis like a social network.

But for all its greatness, Nintendo is no stranger to misfires. The company has produced its share of disappointments over the years, but it always seems to rebound. So in the hopes that they’ll do just that, here are 10 ideas for better mobile apps than Miitomo.

1. Super Mario

Let’s just start with the most obvious idea. A side-scrolling, platformer Super Mario game would translate pretty well to mobile devices, and it would most likely become the most popular app in the market.

2. Donkey Kong

Pretty much any Donkey Kong experience could enjoy similar success to a Super Mario app, though it would be really cool to see Nintendo go all the way back to the original Donkey Kong arcades. Those games were not only simple enough from a control standpoint to translate well to mobile, but their pixellated quality fits in pretty well with some hot design trends in app gaming.

3. Pokémon Red/Blue

Yes, Pokémon Go is an interesting idea. But has there ever been a Nintendo game that seems more like a mobile app already than the original Pokémon Red/Blue titles? Built for Gameboy, these games were exceedingly simple from both a visual and a control standpoint. Not to mention they were some of the biggest sensations in video game history. Pokémon Mobile could be the most lucrative app in history if Nintendo decided to go for it.

4. Super Smash Bros.

There are countless mobile games that have adopted the fighter style, pitting foes against each other in simple, swipe- and tap-based combat. It wouldn’t be as sophisticated as Super Smash Bros. games on consoles, but the general format adapts well to mobile.

5. Mario Golf

This game is too often overlooked among other great N64 titles. However, IGN pointed it out in a post about Nintendo franchises that would be great on mobile, and I have to agree. The article made a few wise points about this one. First, you could load up, play a few holes, and come back later, which satisfies the desire for quick gaming sessions. Second, there could be a connected leaderboard feature to satisfy more competitive gamers.

6. Mario Kart

Mario Kart would surely be a hit, even if racing games are a little bit hit-and-miss on mobile. Even if this were done clumsily, people would love the chance to play one of the most iconic Nintendo franchises on mobile.

7. Nintendo Bingo

If Nintendo wants to keep things simple, they could look for a gaming format that allows for the placement of popular themes and characters but doesn’t actually adapt an established title. Bingo is an interesting option in this regard, as there’s a strong precedent for similar games. There are several themed titles at Gala Bingo that are available on mobile platforms and that appeal to fans of various TV shows and the like. Nintendo could do the same with their own themes and characters, using simple backgrounds, cards, and character callers to create a simple, albeit satisfying, experience.

8. Nintendo Poker

Everything I said regarding bingo would also work well with poker. These types of casino games are well established in mobile markets and don’t require a whole lot of invention to embrace themes. It would be particularly cool if a poker game allowed you to use Nintendo characters as your own avatar (you know, instead of a Mii…).

9. The Legend Of Zelda

You didn’t think I’d forget Zelda, did you? These games have covered a pretty broad spectrum of styles over the years, but some of the earlier Zelda games are every bit as simple in look and gameplay as Pokémon and could adapt very well to mobile. Indeed, it’s been tried by other companies, so frequently that Games Radar wrote up a list of 10 games that have blatantly ripped off Zelda.

10. Super Mario RPG

Possibly the most underrated Nintendo game in history, this SNES title was an extensive RPG that utilized a really interesting cast of Mario characters we just haven’t seen very often elsewhere. There’s endless evidence that RPGs work pretty well on mobile, and a Super Mario RPG comeback would be a stroke of brilliance by Nintendo.

This list could keep going and going, but you get the idea. The good news is that Miitomo is viewed as just the beginning for Nintendo’s foray into mobile markets, so let’s hope they get moving with some more interesting ideas.

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Happy Price Selection for 3DS

March 4th, 2016 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in 3DS, Japan, Nintendo | Comment »


The 3DS bandwagon just got a little easier to climb onto as Nintendo have announced the ‘Happy Price Selection’, a range of cut price titles for the handheld. The collection launches on March 17 and each title will sell for a little under Y3000 yen.

Titles include Animal Crossing:New Leaf, Tomodachi Collection, Luigi’s Mansion 2, Nintendogs and several others. Check here for the full selection.

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Pokemon Picross

January 7th, 2016 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in 3DS, Nintendo | Comment »

We’ve been playing around with Pokemon Picross for a few days and are rather enjoying it. It’s a free game with a few restrictions but we enjoyed it nonetheless.

Picross Grid, with numbers above and to the left

For those unfamiliar with Picross, you are presented with a series of grids with numbers above and to the left indicating which squares are filled. For example ‘2,3’ would indicate two filled squares, with a gap of at least one square, then three filled squares. Sometimes these numbers give you enough information to fill in a row/column immediately, sometimes you’ll be able to mark a few squares, sometimes you’ll need to get some help by working out the contents of other rows/columns. It’s a really good core game and has quite a lot of depth to it, as well as being straightforward to pick up.

This being a Pokemon game, there’s a bit more to it than that. The twist here is that every level you’ll free a Pokemon who is added to your roster. You can take a team of Pokemon into each level, where they give you special abilities, such as filling in a couple of rows, highlighting mistakes, or giving you clues on what to fill in next.

Though the freemium nature of the game is a little annoying it doesn’t spoil things too much. You will need to take breaks every now and then as you can only make a limited number of moves within a certain time, although so far we’ve been able to do several levels consecutively without this kicking in. Similarly the Pokemon time outs can be a bit restrictive, but all the levels so far have been do-able without these abilities, and the difficulty spikes have been a welcome change from the gentle overall pace. Puzzle-heads may relish these challenges, but more casual players might not be so keen.

Overall we’d thoroughly recommend taking a look at this. It’s a lot of fun and the fremium stuff isn’t too annoying. There seems to be plenty to get your teeth into, and fans of puzzles and/or Pokemon will find a lot to enjoy.

Have a look at the trailer here:

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Drink Coffee – Get Retro Gaming Goodies

August 29th, 2015 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in Japan, Stuff | Comment »

Sounds like a good deal doesn’t it? Buyers of Demitasse canned coffee will be getting something extra with their purchase this September – one of these cute Namco chain plate souvenirs. There are 7 designs including Pac-Man, Mappy, Xevious, Dig Dug and Galaga.

namco ring toys

I wouldn’t mind picking up a few of these – wonder if the coffee is any good?

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Shenmue Sequel Gets Kickstarted

July 18th, 2015 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in Sega | Comment »

Shenmue III, the long awaited finale to the Shenmue series has been given the green light, following a successful Kickstarter campaign. Over six million dollars was raised by almost 70,000 supporters breaking the record for a video game.

Fans have been demanding a sequel for years, but for a long time it looked like it wouldn’t happen. Shenmue II was released in 2001, but the first two games were commercial failures and didn’t recoup their development costs.

Series creator Yu Suzuki will lead the project and protagonist Ryo Hazuki will again be voiced by Corey Marshall and Masaya Matsukaze in the English and Japanese versions of the game.

Shenmue III is pencilled in for a 2017 release and will launch on PC and PS4.

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Satoru Iwata Passes Away

July 16th, 2015 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in Nintendo | Comment »

Sad news struck the gaming world earlier this week, as Nintendo President Satoru Iwata passed away at the age of 55 from bile duct cancer.

Beginning his career as a programmer, Iwata-san worked on many notable games including Earthbound and Kirby and contributed to series’ including Zelda, Mario and Pokemon. He was also instrumental in the development of the Wii and DS, two of Nintendo’s most successful consoles.

Always a gamer rather than a businessman at heart, Iwata’s passion for coding didn’t stop once he moved into management, he would frequently go back to programming and help out with development. An innovator, he was keen to expand the reach of games, and with the DS and Wii was a key player in expanding the gaming market and reaching out to new players.

A rainbow appearing over Nintendo headquarters was dubbed the ‘Rainbow Road to Heaven’ in honour of Iwata-san, a man who bought so much joy to players round the world.

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Another Region Free Technique for 3DS

July 1st, 2015 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in 3DS, Nintendo | Comment »

There’s good news for 3DS gamers wanting to play games from other regions. An exploit has been discovered that alllows you to do just that:

link: regionFour
source: Eurogamer

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake On The Way

June 16th, 2015 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in Playstation | Comment »

Sony made a big announcement at E3 today. The long hoped for remake of Final Fantasy 7 is at last a reality. It will be a timed exclusive for PS4, and will then launch on other platforms. Fans have been asking for this for a long time, so it looks like they finally got their wish. FF7 is of course one of the best loved RPGs of all time, so many will be waiting for this with baited breath.

We’re looking forward to seeing how closely this sticks to the original. There are quite a few translation issues with the English version, but correcting them may irk some people who are attached to the version they grew up with. We’re also wondering if the ending will be expanded upon as there have been suggestions it was rushed originally due to lack of development time. Any changes or new material will surely be the subject of vigorous debate among fans.

No news on a release date as yet.


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Mario Kart Revs Up With Enhanced DLC

April 3rd, 2015 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in Mario, Nintendo | Comment »

Mario Kart Animal Crossing
Mario Kart 8 has been a joyous triumph for the Wii U. Like so many of the platform’s games it feels like the quintessential entry in the series. The first of its two bundles of DLC was a big success, bringing a generous selection of new tracks and racers to the game.

The second bundle was expected to be more of the same, but it turns out Nintendo have an extra surprise in store for us. For the first time, Mario Kart will be getting a 200c mode, effectively adding a fourth difficulty level. This means that as well as the new tracks, long term players will have a reason to go back to all the old favourites, to try and master them at this new faster speed. Unlike the extra tracks, the 200c mode will be free of charge.

Additionally, the new mode and second group of new tracks will be available earlier than planned, on April 23rd, so there isn’t that long to wait.

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The Silver Ball Planet Pinball Arcade

March 1st, 2015 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in Arcades, Japan | Comment »

Osaka’s America Mura contains a wide range of entertaining diversions, quirky shops, interesting cafes and fashionably dressed shoppers. It’s also home to ‘The Silver Ball Planet’ pinball arcade. The place isn’t too hard to find, it’s inside the ‘Big Step’ mini-mall on the 3rd floor.

Entrance to the silver ball planet

The Silver Ball Planet contains over 100 pinball machines including a number of classics and rarities. It truly is a pinball fanatic’s dream with so many tables in one place.

a row of pinball tables

a range of tables at silver planet

We tried a few of the machines and weren’t disappointed.

star wars original trilogy pinball machine

This Star Wars original trilogy table was fantastic fun. There are also two other Star Wars tables to try, including an Episode One table for fans of the more recent movies.


This classic Black Hole table was still going strong despite being over 30 years old.

Super Mario Mushroom World Pinball

The Super Mario Mushroom World table is a lot of fun, with the ball emerging from pipes in classic Mario fashion.

Spiderman pinball table

Our feeble pinball skills were no match for this Spiderman table.

Wizard of Oz Pinball Table

Enjoyed this Wizard of Oz table, and won a free play!

Overall this place comes highly recommended – for pinball fans it is probably the closest they can get to heaven on earth, and for other gamers it’s worth spending an hour or two trying out a few of the tables. There’s a huge choice so I’m sure everyone would find something that appeals.

Gamers of legal age might also want to check out the gaming bars nearby, Space Station and Bar Continue.

Here’s the official site:
Silver Planet Pinball

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