Video games: one’s escape from reality to become a hero and save the land from a dark malevolence, or weaving among banana peels, and green shells. The video game sector is a tens of billions of dollars industry spanning the globe and everything from portable consoles to powerful PCs.

Return to Hyrule with the Zelda Symphony in 2017

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses

Zelda fans find their seats at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for the 2016 concert.

Vancouver Zelda fans, get ready for another musical adventure with The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. The popular concert is back again and touring more cities across Canada, the United States and Europe for 2017.

Enjoy an evening of 30 years sights and sounds with this classic video game franchise. This year includes selections from the recently released The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and additional songs from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses stops in Vancouver on Thursday, November 30th, 2017 at 7:00 pm PST at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Other Canadian cities include Quebec City, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Montreal.

Tickets are available in advance online through the concert web site.

First experience at playing Breath of the Wild

Nintendo Switch demo

A Nintendo Switch with a demo of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

I had an opportunity to play the demo of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch earlier today. One of the most anticipated titles announced for the Nintendo Switch, the hype around Breath of the Wild is all real. Nintendo teased Zelda fans with videos to show how much detail went into developing this title and promised the most open and expansive adventure in the franchise yet. They’re not wrong about that.

First, let’s look at the Nintendo Switch itself. The whole console is the size of a Wii U tablet, but is easy to hold in handheld mode. I played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with the pro controller, which is Nintendo’s interpretation of an actual gaming controller like those on a PlayStation or Xbox instead of the smaller Joy Con that snap to the sides of the Switch. The pro controller felt light and comfortable; the buttons are easy to reach, and it’s wireless.

The game itself has a 20 minute limit. I didn’t make it far in the allotted time, wandering around, picking up items and cleaving Bokoblins in two, but it opened my eyes to just how massive Hyrule is. The game begins with Link waking up from a deep sleep. Before heading out into the open, there’s a couple of treasure chests containing items of clothing that can be worn. It’s important to remember that the environment affects Link now more than ever before. Certain clothing must be worn to keep him from overheating or freezing — a temperature icon exists onscreen to alert you to this.

A new item called a Sheikah Stone is an accessory that acts as a map and compass. Because the world is so immense, map points make it easier to set locations to come back to later. I’m sure its purpose expands as the game progresses.

Once out in the fields, it’s just breathtaking. The horizon is endless, mountains, rivers, forests, ruins and towns all as far as the eye can see. The first NPC (non-playable character) I met was an old man seated under a cliff with a roaring fire, cooking apples. After picking up a branch, I took some of that fire and proceeded to set some of the grass field on fire. Unfortunately, I had done so at the edge of a cliff and couldn’t escape and thus succumbed to the flames. But it was testament to how interactive the environment really is.

Seizing an abandoned axe, I promptly proceeded to cut down some trees. The axe also proved helpful defeating some of the roaming Bokoblins — a few swings easily felled these creatures. Upon expiring, they leave behind either horns or teeth which are collected for a later use. Apples are plenty, taking the place of hearts to replenish Link’s health.

Gone are the days of speeding across Hyrule as Link now tires after continuous running — a green circle appears when the B button is held down and depletes the longer it is held. Link can now jump on command and climb walls, no more vines or exposed brick to ascend or descend. It all adds to the experience.

I got a little confused using the in-game menus. Items acquired are stored in this menu, but the control sticks navigate these sub-menus where as the L and R shoulder buttons switch between the menu screens.

Another neat feature is the auto save. No more will you have to save your game (or forget to) as the game will periodically record your progress with a visual reminder to show it is doing so.

The graphics are beautiful; sticking with the cel-shading that first appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Nintendo has refined the look to improve the visual experience. 20 minutes is not enough to take in all that is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I look forward to playing it fully and enjoying the fruit of Nintendo’s labour.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild goes on sale, Friday, March 3rd, 2017.

First Fire Emblem Direct of 2017 shows off three new titles

Fire Emblem Echoes amiibo package

Packaging of the Alm and Celica amiibos compatible with Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

Missed the Fire Emblem Direct from earlier this afternoon? Watch the replay below for the latest updates of popular strategy based role-playing franchise that are coming to Nintendo consoles and mobile devices throughout this year and into 2018.

From last week’s Nintendo Switch event featuring a deeper look into the new system, Fire Emblem Direct expands one the title from the previous presentation along with a couple of other new titles on the Nintendo 3DS and mobile platforms.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is a remake the 1992 Famicon (NES) classic, Fire Emblem Gaiden, which was only available in Japan. An upgraded experiences expands the gameplay element with improved dungeons and enemies. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia will be available for the Nintendo 3DS on May 19th, 2017. An amiibo figure two-pack of Alm and Celica will also launch on the same day.

Fire Emblem Warriors brings the Fire Emblem franchise into a whole new world of combat akin to that of The Legend of Zelda series in Hyrule Warriors. Koei Tecmo is working on this title for both the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS consoles. Fire Emblem Warriors is slated for a fall 2017 release.

Roy from Fire Emblem: The Sealed Sword as he appears in Fire Emblem Heroes.

Roy from Fire Emblem: The Sealed Swordas he appears in Fire Emblem Heroes.

Fire Emblem Heroes is part of Nintendo’s expansion into the mobile world. The game is free to download and play, but will include in-app purchases. New characters Alfonse, Sharena, Veronica, and Anna join along familiar faces including Marth, Roy, Lyn, Lucina, Robin and Takumi. Fire Emblem Heroes is available on both the iOS devices through Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store for Android devices on February 2nd, 2017. An official web site is online with character information and details of availability by country.

Lastly, another Fire Emblem title is also coming exclusively to the Nintendo Switch and is expected to launch sometime in 2018.

Sources: Nintendo, YouTube, Fire Emblem Heroes

Nintendo Switch launch details announced

Official box art of the Nintendo Switch.

Official box art of the Nintendo Switch.

We now know more information about the Nintendo Switch, including price and release date thanks to an hour-long online video presentation hosted by the Japanese gaming giant. On March 3rd, 2017, the Nintendo Switch will hit store shelves in Japan, Canada, the United States of America, much of Europe, and Hong Kong. In Japan, the console has a suggested retail price of ¥29,980 JPY, $299.99 USD in the United States and $399 CAD in Canada. Read the rest of this article…

Watch the Nintendo Switch presentation live

Nintendo is hosting a presentation this evening at 8:00 pm PST (11:00 pm PST) to give everyone a better look at its next console, the Switch.

Tune in below with live video straight from Japan (where it’s Friday afternoon) to see what Nintendo has in store for its new portable entertainment device.

New teaser for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The world of Hyrule is immense, and so far, we’ve only seen a fraction of the vast landscape in the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Now, a new video from Nintendo teases us with a look at the towns, new enemies, and someone who quite possibly could be the legendary princess.

An aging stone bridge. A rustic carnival tent offering entertainment within. An idyllic village, nestled in a rocky canyon, where laundry flaps gently in the wind. And as ominous music sets in, a hovering fortress from which new creatures strike forth from and rain ruin upon this beautiful countryside.

A new enemy shoots rays of death — akin to a Beamos if it were created by H.G. Wells. A once glorious town is reduced to rubble; the fountain with the Hylian crest crumbles under drab skies, swirling with smoke and death.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is expected to launch in 2017 on both the Nintendo Switch and Wii U consoles.

Source: YouTube

Nintendo Switch introduces new ways to play

The Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch

Some of the mystery surrounding Nintendo’s next console is gone, especially surrounding the design and name. This morning, the gaming company unveiled the Nintendo Switch, a console designed with both home and mobile entertainment in mind.

When at home, the Switch fits comfortably in a dock allowing it to be played on the television. Removing the Switch from its dock allows the fun to continue without missing a beat while mobile. Emphasizing fun, Nintendo mentioned that in the presence of other Switch consoles, players can take advantage of multiplayer titles together.

Removable controllers mount to the side of the Switch for use in each hand or as individual units between two players. For that classic feel, Nintendo has a separately sold “pro controller” that looks more like a traditional game pad.

Details about the hardware specifications of the console and potential titles were not made available, however a list of participating partners and developers accompanied the release, giving and idea of who to expect future titles from.

Nintendo Switch Partners

A listing of developers and companies supporting content for the Nintendo Switch.

A launch date of March 2017 was mentioned in the press release from Nintendo.

Watch the video below to see the Nintendo Switch in action.

Source: Nintendo

There’s a new Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue trailer from TGS 2016

Straight of the Tokyo Game Show is yet another teaser of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. And with the video is a change in the game’s release: it is no longer December 2016, but instead January 24th, 2017.

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is a compilation of Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD a graphically redone adventure of the Nintendo 3DS title, a deeper dive into Aqua’s history in Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep–A Fragmentary Passage and a glimpse into the mysterious world of the Foretellers through Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover.

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is only available on the PlayStation 4.

Source: YouTube

Nintendo brings back NES with built-in games

Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition

The Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition is so convenient, it fits in your hand!

If you’ve longed for the days of classic gaming without the fancy graphics or gimmicky accessories, you’re in for a treat. Nintendo is bringing back the NES console, this time in a convenient compact format with 30 classic titles included in the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition.

No more blowing on the cartridges to get them to work anymore (even though that practice has been debunked), this miniature replica holds 30 games and connects to your television with an included HDMI cable. A power adapter and one retro-looking NES Classic Controller are also packaged together with the console, and all for the suggested retail price of $59.99. For those two player titles, a second controller is available separately at $9.99. Even better, the Classic Controller and Classic Controller Pro are compatible.

The titles loaded into the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition are:

  • Balloon Fight™
  • Castlevania™
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest™
  • Donkey Kong™
  • Donkey Kong Jr.™
  • Dr. Mario™
  • Excitebike™
  • Galaga™
  • Ice Climber™
  • Kid Icarus™
  • Kirby’s Adventure™
  • Mario Bros.™
  • MEGA MAN® 2
  • Metroid™
  • PAC-MAN™
  • Punch-Out!!™ Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics™
  • SUPER C™
  • Super Mario Bros.™
  • Super Mario Bros.™ 2
  • Super Mario Bros.™ 3
  • The Legend of Zelda™
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link™

Saving your games used to be tough, but with the new check-point feature, you can save your progress and return later to pick up where you left off.

The Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition goes on sale Friday, November 11th, 2016.

Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition Box Art

Source: Nintendo

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild formally named at E3

Archer Link amiibo

Archer Link amiibo

Nintendo drew the curtains on the window, finally giving everyone a glimpse into the wide world of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at this year’s E3. Long awaited, this new title in the Legend of Zelda franchise brings more than just an expansive map to the series.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild breathes new life into the hero Link who now sports a rugged look with a blue outfit in contrast to the traditional green tunic. Adding a touch of realism, Link can cook and eat food. This is helpful in restoring his hearts or boost his strength for a short period. Weapons are scarce at first — Link must find them or steal them from his opponents, though they do wear down over time from use.

Floating across the water

The immersive environment lets Link wander — distant mountains are no longer a border. Forests, rivers and deserts are all waiting to be explored. Distance an issue, leap off a peak and soar the skies with the paraglider, or use the shield as a sled to descend snowy mountain tops. And like the real world, the weather can change on a whim — torrential rain can extinguish fires, whereas metallic objects, like swords, attract lightning.

Wolf Link returns to help

Set to launch in 2017 on both the Wii U and the Nintendo NX consoles, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is also amiibo friendly. There are three amiibos: Archer Link, Horseback Link, and the first articulated amiibo, the Guardian. The Wolf Link amiibo is also compatible with the game; tap it to have Link’s canine form join him to help fight off enemies. Be mindful of the wolf’s three hearts, once they’re depleted he disappears.

Source: Nintendo

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