VC Tuesday: Go, Ninja, Go

If ever there were a game worthy of a Hanabi Festival (or its American equivalent, "oh, hey, I guess there are some Japanese games on the Virtual Console now") it would be Ganbare Goemon 2. The first Ganbare Goemon, under the name Legend of the Mystical Ninja, is a beloved SNES classic, and the sequel ... pretty much ditches its signature gameplay in favor of side-scrolling platforming, but maintains much of the same wacky feel.

Goemon is joined by fellow ninjas in the Neo Geo side-scroller Ninja Combat, and, uh, a bunch of wrestlers who we can't tie into the ninja theme. Oh, some of them wear masks!

* Ganbare Goemon 2: Kitteretsu Shogun Magginesu (Super Famicom, 1-2 players, 800 Wii Points)
* Fire Pro Wrestling 2nd BOUT (PC Engine, 1-4 players, 600 Wii Points)
* Ninja Combat (Neo Geo, 1-2 players, 900 Wii Points)

In addition to these three VC games, two WiiWare games are now available: Oekaki Logic and Saikyou Ginhoshi Shogi, a Japanese board game published by ... EA?

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New Sam & Max screens require no puzzle-solving to view

Unless you consider clicking on one of the thumbnails at the bottom of this post a puzzle, consider these new screens from the upcoming Wii adaptation of the episodic PC title on the house. All we ask is that you give them a good home and care for them as much as we have. It took quite a bit of effort to get Sam & Max Season One onto the Wii, so don't go wasting that effort by ignoring delicious new screens.

So, hit up the gallery below and then tell us how you're handling the wait for the game!

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Rumor: Konami VP mentions Castlevania Wii?

This is a pretty weird rumor, but perhaps the same could be said of all rumors. Apparently, Konami USA's Shinji Hirano made a reference to new Castlevania games on the Wii and DS during a press conference Tuesday in Sao Paulo. The weird part is that the event in question, according to Arena Turbo, was a launch for Grand Theft Auto IV and Iron Man. Is GTA IV even out in Brazil? says it isn't. And why would a Konami executive even be there making statements? So sketchy. Of course we can't find any reference to this event anywhere but this post and this GameTV post.

But we've heard Wii 'Vania rumors before, and this extremely dubious one doesn't make the game any less likely. Maybe it'll get sorted out next week, as Hirano reportedly said.

[Via GoNintendo]

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Message of Miyamoto to Hardcore Players

"The core gaming market didn't buy the Wii to play Wii Sports," he says, referring to the system's ultra-casual sports pack-in. "But it was a means by which gamers could get the nongaming people in their lives to take an interest in their hobby. Wii Fit will play a similar role: It will continue to broaden interest in videogames. That's important for the core gamer -- the bigger the audience, the greater the chance for something that's new and unique to succeed"

"Rather than be concerned that we're abandoning them, core gamers should realize that we're creating a better environment for their hobby"

Source: 1up

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Wii Fit Review

Wii Fit takes the whole concept of games as exercise to a new level with the inclusion of a balance board peripheral that can tell you on the fly exactly how well--or how poorly--you're doing with its various activities. As such, Nintendo is heavily marketing this innovative title as a mixture of fitness and fun, and for the most part it works. It's a decent alternative for those bored with the repetitiveness of going to a gym or too self-conscious to join a yoga or aerobics class. Unfortunately, Wii Fit is hamstrung by some odd omissions (such as not being able to create your own program from the available exercises) and questionable health advice, limiting its effectiveness both as a fitness tool and as a game.

At the core of the Wii Fit experience is the new balance board, an elegant-looking yet surprisingly sturdy peripheral which features several internal scales that can detect changes in weight and pressure as you're standing on it. The board--which is also quite hefty at roughly 8.8 lbs (4kgs)--interacts wirelessly with the Wii, and takes four AA batteries (which are included). The board has four rubber feet to help prevent it from slipping on smooth surfaces (and even comes with four extra feet that can be used to raise your balance board higher should you have thick carpet on your floors). Like the Wii Remote before it, the balance board is intuitive to use once you get into an exercise or game in Wii Fit, with its extreme sensitivity allowing it to pick up even the most minute shifts in weight. Its sensitivity only goes so far, however, with the board able to take only 330lbs (150kg) maximum weight, locking out the particularly robust from joining in on the Wii Fit fad.

Not that plus sizes need worry that they're missing out on a prime weight-loss opportunity. Despite its moniker, Wii Fit isn't a total fitness solution, with its included exercises focusing more on improving muscle tone and balance than on cardio and weight loss. What it does offer is a better way to track your weight, body mass index (BMI), and time spent exercising both within the game itself and from any other external activities, giving users a clearer picture of how their health is progressing over time. It's no more going to make you super-fit than Wii Sports is going to make you a tennis pro, but it can provide a strong anchor for a more expansive fitness regime should you have the motivation.

As a title focused on health, Wii Fit makes some fairly significant judgments about its users' fitness. This happens right from when your Mii is first registered with the game; after inputting a date of birth and height, you're asked to step on the balance board for a weigh-in (all guided onscreen by a cartoon version of the board). From the height and weight data, a user's BMI is calculated, with the user tagged as underweight, ideal, or overweight depending on the BMI score. A simple balance test then occurs (usually involving having to shift your balance to certain areas within a time limit) before your Wii Fit Age is displayed in large numbers on the screen. Only one Wii Fit Age result can be recorded daily, although you can practice the variety of balance tests as many times as you want.

It's here where Wii Fit could possibly become problematic for some. Judgments such as BMI and fitness levels usually come from doctors and health care professionals, not cartoon versions of a computer game peripheral--and Wii Fit frankly doesn't do a good enough job of explaining the science behind its measurements. While BMI, for example, is a well-established tool for measuring a person's ideal weight, Wii Fit fails to make players aware that variables such as muscle mass and age can significantly affect a score (giving an otherwise healthy person with more muscle an overweight rating, for example). The title also throws the term "metabolic syndrome" around quite often, stating people with poor balance and low health can suffer from it without ever explaining what it actually is. Although most users of Wii Fit will probably not take the game's BMI or fitness age calls too seriously, but there's bound to be some overanxious player who does.

Wii Fit is most reminiscent of the various Brain Training games on the Nintendo DS, with the title broken down into a series of exercises that players can do regularly to improve their health. These exercises are split into four different categories: yoga, muscle, aerobic, and balance. The yoga and muscle categories feel the most like traditional exercise, with 15 yoga poses and 15 muscle-toning moves to work through. Yoga poses range from the absurdly simple (standing still and breathing--yep, that's all) to the quite difficult and possibly lawsuit-in-the-making shoulder stand. It's a similar situation with the muscle-toning section, with basic lunges mixed in with more strenuous activities such as the parallel stretch and push-ups. Virtual trainers (you can choose from either male or female) guide you through the yoga and muscle exercises, offering praise or criticism depending on how well you're doing.

Wii Fit's included exercises do have the potential to positively impact your health, but thanks to its lack of exercise options, poor support for multiplayer, and shallow health advice, this title isn't a gaming fitness revolution. What it does do is serve as a great introduction to the very impressive balance board, a peripheral which is already being lined up for use in other games. But for a game that's being marketed so heavily on fitness and fun, Wii Fit is a little underweight in both.

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Sam & Max: Coming To The Wii

It isnt rare to see PC games being ported to a console, and vice-versa. Usually when ports are released, they arent met with much love or acceptance. Sure theres the occasional hit that is loved by both worlds.

Its this kind of logic that looks to be driving TellTales decision to release the Sam & Max Season 1 on the Wii. On the PC, the new iteration of Sam & Max (the original was a PC game back in 93),is being released in an episodic format. This format seems to be working, as the new Sam & Max series seems to have a pretty strong following. The first season of Sam & Max spawned six episodes, and all six will be available on the Wii when it releases sometime in Q4, 2008.

No details of any kind of Wii functionality, or Wii-exclusive content has been released as of yet. Keep checking in, as soon as any details emerge, Wiiplus will be posting them.

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Media Create 05/05 to 11/05

PSP 89,884
Wii 67,308
DS Lite 51,228
PS3 8,054
PS2 7,464
Xbox 360 1,298

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Shenmue is back!

Sega has rereleased classics like Nights,Bass Fishing and House of the Dead lately. Now it's said that Shenmue is next. But don't think that it's about a new game, instead, they're bringing back the two original Shenmue games with extra Wiimote-minigames which will be released for the Wii.

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Wii: 25 million worldwide

The Nintendo Wii has succeeded in overcoming the mark of 6 million units in Japanese territory. Launched in November 2006, the little white console needed 18 months to achieve the new level of sales.

In the U.S. things are even better, were 10.61 million Wiis Americans. In Europe, with 7.94 million units sold the video game, also sold more than Japan In total were 25 million worldwide.

Speaking on sales of Nintendo, Wii Fit is dominating Japan: The package sold 2 million, statistically speaking it every 3 Japanese buying the Wii Fit

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Nintendo: "There is no casual gaming"

Nintendo Europe's senior marketing director Laurent Fischer says the casual gamer is a myth and that there are only people who play games and people who don't.

"For me, you are a gamer or non-gamer," he told CVG at Nintendo's German HQ yesterday. "I think most of you know that you can spend ten or twenty hours on an internet flash game and have not realised. The guy who plays these games regularly - he's a core gamer."

But what about Brain Training, we hear you scream? And we really did hear that. "Someone who is fifty-years old who only plays Brain Training, but plays it like a core gamer is a core gamer," Fischer added.

"I don't like this word casual so much. Because people consider that casual needs to be something easy. If you're good at any game you can play at a high difficulty level.

"Take Tetris. There is incredible gameplay, it's very simple, very easy to understand, but it's also very different. I think a game can be a light enough to enjoy and for all gamers to become a core gamer on it."

Fischer concluded: "There is no casual gaming. There is just a different way to play." Look out for more from Fischer later on today.


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New Level-5 Franchise Console-Bound

Over yonder in the Land of the Rising Sun (Tokyo, Japan to be exact), Level-5 (of Dark Cloud 2 and Dragon Quest VIII fame) president Akihiro Hino held a press conference today discussing the company's upcoming plans for Inazuma Eleven franchise. Izanuma Eleven, a sort of Soccer/Role Playing Game hybrid for the DS, marks Level-5's second self-published franchise.

What does any of this have to do with the Wii? Well, towards the end of the conference, Hino revealed that the next installment to the franchise, Izanuma Eleven: Break! is being developed for an undisclosed console. In an interview with Famitsu, President Hino mentioned having an interest in developing on Nintendo's Wii, and that there is indeed a possibility for their new games to debut on Wii.

Do the math, and cross your fingers! Soccer games might be very popular Stateside, but some bizarro Soccer-RPG monster could very easily develop a cult following. Or perhaps I just like Level 5 that much.

Via IGN.

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Nintendo Wii is the successor to the Nintendo GameCube. Until its official name was announced on April 27, 2006, the Nintendo Wii was known by the codename Nintendo Revolution. The Nintendo Wii is quite different from its competitors the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Instead of focusing on graphical power Nintendo with its Wii will change the way people play games. The system is unique in that the console's controller - affectionately dubbed the 'wii-mote' - can be used as a handheld pointing device as well as detecting motion in all three dimensions. The controller also contains a speaker and a rumbling device.

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