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Pixels review photo
Pixels review

Check out Flixist's review of Pixels


'We need quarters to do our laundry'
Jul 24
// Matthew Razak
Hi! Nick Valdez over at Flixist has just reviewed Pixels, a film starring Adam Sandler and some video games you might have heard of. Here's a little bit of what he thought:  I really have no idea where to start with thi...
Feminism! photo
Feminism!

E3 2015: You play like a girl


And that's a very good thing
Jun 19
// Matthew Razak
[Here's a guest editorial from Matthew Razak, Editor-in-Chief of Flixist, and former Destructoid staff. You may remember him as Cowzilla. It's nice to have him back.] This year as I sat at home watching press events from all ...

Review: Wii Fit U

Nov 20 // Matthew Razak
Wii Fit U (Wii U)Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 5, GanbarionPublisher: NintendoRelease Date: November 1, 2013MSRP: Free for one month ($19.99 for full game with Fit Meter) Things are much improved from the previous Wii Fit iterations with more workouts, a dance mode, a personal trainer mode, improved games, more focus on mental fitness, GamePad incorporation, and the Fit Meter. That final object might come as a bit of a surprise to some who haven't been keeping track of Wii Fit U (or Dale's weekly updates), but the game incorporates a little doodad that tracks your daily movement like a Nike Fuel Band or a Jawbone Up. This alone is a sign at how much Nintendo was actually trying to push Wii Fit into a legitimate healthy lifestyle platform, but it definitely isn't the only sign considering just how much more robust Wii Fit U is.  Of course, being more robust than something that could be used to define a lack of robustness doesn't actually make you truly robust so let's start with what's lacking: there aren't many new yoga or strength training exercises. Almost every one of these exercises is from the previous games so there will be very little shake up in your workout in that department. Thankfully, you can transfer your data from Wii Fit and thus not have to be locked into redoing all the beginner level stuff. For some reason it does occasionally make you go back through the workout explanation, but everything is skipable so it's never a pain. It will be familiar though. Other than a slight redesign to the trainers and the admittedly helpful highlight of targeted body parts almost all of the voice work and actions are exactly the same. Nintendo did almost no advancement in these sections. That's probably because they were advancing almost every other part of the game. The most welcome addition if you're using the game for exercise or stretching is the Personal Trainer mode. Probably the biggest gap in the previous games was that they gave you a bunch of exercises and mini-games and then just basically told you to figure it out for yourself. Plus featured some structured exercise, but not much. Personal Trainer changes this, allowing you to choose the amount of calories you want to burn or the length of your exercise. Then, using the types of workouts you've told it you want, the system will put together a routine for you. The routines are always unique (or have been so far) and give you plenty of variety.   [embed]265341:51480:0[/embed] Then there's the Fit Meter. This circular gadget clips onto your waist band and is really nothing more than a pedometer and altimeter. For 20 bucks, it isn't a very good one at that. You can easily fake it out by shaking the device back and forth to garner more steps and the altimeter seemed wonky at best. However, if you don't already have a nicer pedometer it will do the trick and even if it isn't the most accurate altimeter it is cool to see how far you've moved up and down. The data your Fit Meter collects can be imported to Wii Fit U and then your calories burned are tracked and you can see your activity graphed pretty nicely. More importantly, though, you can use your steps and gained height to unlock things! Of course, as gamers, we all have the uncontrollable urge to unlock everything ever so it's a solid motivation to get moving or at least shake your Fit Meter back and forth quickly (cheater). You unlock these things through the Fit Meter Challenge, which has you walking famous distances (the Great Wall of China) and climbing famous objects (the Statue of Liberty) with the stats you import. Sadly, all you get to see are some crappy world map graphics as you do this despite the fact that Wii U has a really fantastic Google Maps built in that could have made the walks actually something interesting to do other than seeing your Mii hop around a map. But maybe you aren't buying Wii Fit U for fitness. Maybe you're buying it to play games. Well, that's kind of dumb, but we'll run with it. There just aren't that many new mini-games this time around if you exclude the dancing portion. Notable letdowns are the rowing game, which as a rower, I can tell you officially sucks, and the luge game, which has you sitting the board and hurting your back and abs trying to steer. Highlights include a racquetball game that involves both movement and strategy and the surprisingly addicting trampoline game where all you do is time ever-higher jumps and lean back and forth to make sure you hit the center of the target. Seriously, it sounds idiotic, but you'll just keep on doing it until you actually jump off the board in excitement of landing your Mii dead center and the game kicks you out (that board is damn sensitive).  The online aspects of Wii Fit U should also be mentioned even though their robustness is, well, it's on level with most of Nitnendo's online offerings. You can join Gyms, which are groups of Wii Fit U users. Doing this populates your screen with Miis in that group and you can check out their stats while also seeing the group's overall stats. You can also join one of the big national gyms or, if you have friends, create one of your own. It's possible to share every single detail of your workout on Miiverse pretty easily as well, which is actually a nice feature if you want to brag a bit.  Since it is such a big new part of the game, the dancing modes should be mentioned, but they are almost relentlessly worthless to anyone who has played any other dance game on any other platform. While they do get more challenging as you unlock higher modes there's no licensed music, no dance moves you'll recognize, and very little in actual enjoyment or fitness to get out of them. At the sake of full disclosure I will admit to being a rhythm-less white nerd, but I've enjoyed other dancing games despite sucking at them completely so I can safely say it wasn't just my lack of ability to find a beat. On top of this, if you want to fully use the dance mode you'll need to have four controllers at the ready (Balance Board, 2 Wiimotes, GamePad). That's eight AA batteries! So a major addition to the game just isn't that good, but it's OK because that really isn't the star of Wii Fit U. The new exercises, mini-games, and Fit Meter aren't either. The best thing about the game is its simplest new feature: the fact that you can do almost everything while watching TV. Sure, this is easily achievable with a tablet, an app, and your television, but then you're cutting out the motion controls and balance board that make videogame fitness a different beast from an app. You can also use the GamePad as a camera in mirror mode. With this you set it up in its stand pointing at you and then you can see yourself (embarrassingly) on TV. While you might realize just how much of an idiot you look like it's particularly helpful for knowing if you're keeping your form correct. In fact you could probably say that for almost every aspect of Wii Fit U Plus. There's almost always a better product out there that does one element of what this can do in a far superior manner, but nothing else that has the whole package. Considering that right now you can download the game for free and simply buy the Wii Fit U Fit Meter for $19.99, it's a pretty cheap package at that. Buying all the separate, but better, items that would do what Wii Fit U does would definitely start to run you up into hundreds of dollars. Applying a score here is a little tough. If Wii Fit U gets you motivated, moving, and helps you lose weight then it's easily a 10 out of 10. That's the goal and if it works then it works. As the next game in the franchise, Wii Fit U definitely moves the series forward about a million steps, but it's a million steps that have already been taken elsewhere. Wii Fit U brings the series up to date as a fitness game, but doesn't push it any further. Meanwhile Wii Fit U's mini-games are fun, but still suffer from being single-player/non-simultaneous multiplayer and there just isn't that much new stuff. If you're looking for something that will keep you motivated and get you moving, it could definitely work and the Fit Meter is an extra level of motivation, but if Wii Fit didn't do it before then I'm not sure it will work for you now. The good part is that the game is free until the end of the month so you can find out for yourself. 
Wii Fit U review photo
Moving forward one step at a time
When Wii Fit launched, it kicked off the fitness craze in gaming for better or worse. Soon the Nintendo innovation (much like many of its other innovations) was being duplicated and improved upon everywhere. As motion co...

Review: Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

Nov 16 // Matthew Razak
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (3DS)Developer: Level-5Publisher: NintendoRelease: October 28, 2012MSRP: $39.99 For those keeping up with the adventures of Professor Layton, his apprentice Luke, and his assistant Emmy, this fifth installment in the series takes place before the first three games, but after The Last Specter. Continuing with its predecessor's goal of filling in the back story of Professor Layton and Luke, Miracle Mask actually takes place during two time periods. Unlike the faux time travel of Unwound Future, the game actually cuts back and forth between the present day and Professor Layton's past, when the wise, puzzle-solving educator was just a teenager. Like all Layton games, the story involves the Professor being contacted by an old friend to help solve a mystery. This time he is contacted by his childhood best friend's ex-girlfriend to come to the carnival town of Monte d'Or where a strange man wearing the titular Miracle Mask is terrorizing the town. Layton must dig into his past in order to solve the current mystery as he and his best friend Randall were the ones who discovered the mask originally. In this way, each chapter of the story jumps back and forth between the times, filling you in on the back story while while the mystery unfolds. It's actually a great storytelling trick that keeps the plot fresh even if most of Hershel Layton's teenage years are simply expository, puzzle-filled fun. The Layton mysteries aren't really mysteries anyway, but more fantastical excuses to present as many puzzles as possible before revealing a pretty ludicrous ending to the entire affair (*cough* underground recreation of London *cough*). [embed]238204:45796[/embed] Of course anyone coming to Layton for a grounded mystery is sniffing at the wrong top hat. It's the grandiose charm and quirkiness that makes Layton work so well and it's found in spades once again in Miracle Mask. Somehow, Level-5 manages to keep Layton and his cohorts feeling fresh despite this being the fifth game in the series. Professor Layton's gentlemanly demeanor is still as charming as ever and digging into his childhood -- a time when he didn't like puzzles (!) -- is actually quite a treat. The town of Monte d'Or is also dazzling fun to explore, and explodes with more life than any of Layton's previous locales.  Part of that life is because Mont d'Or is the flashiest city that Layton has been in, but the majrority of it is thanks to the game's new 3D look. Miracle Mask is a complete redesign of the Professor Layton gameplay for 3D that magically still feels exactly like the previous games. Gone are the admittedly gorgeous 2D frozen images and they're replaced by fully 3D, cell-shaded character models. Every character from Layton to background NPCs are now full-motion, 3D characters. At first, the change may be jarring as you indignantly think that it ruined the art or something like that, but once you're in the game, there is no denying that the new look breathes new life into Layton's world. Characters now move when they talk and the world now feels far more alive than in previous games where the backgrounds were fantastic, but often felt like ghost towns. Another worry was that the push for 3D would ruin the artwork and creativity present in the Layton series, but it's only made them better. Level-5 really took full advantage of the 3DS's capabilities when it came to the "level" design. Without losing Layton's trademark look, they've built each scene into a spectacular 3D background. Each new section of the Monte d'Or you head into is exciting simply because it looks so good. The same can't be said for the locales in Layton's past, which are a bit more mundane, but that's only in comparison Monte d'Or. Of course, because of the new 3D design, the gameplay had to change a bit. Most of what makes a Professor Layton game a Professor Layton game is still in tact: the main story is told in cutaways to (now 3D) animation; discussions are still handled in text boxes with characters appearing on opposing sides of the screen (though they're now moving as they speak); and you still move from one still area to another, clicking on people and objects to unlock stories or find hint coins. However, since the top screen is now the screen that holds the image you're searching around in, you are no longer directly touching it. Instead your stylus controls a magnifying glass that pops in and out of the different depths of the scene as it runs over items. It's actually pretty cool to simply see the cursor bounce around the screen's depth, and even a jaded film critic like me, who is about to stab every film that comes out in 3D, had a moment of, "Damn, that's pretty neat." You can, of course, easily slide the 3DS out of 3D mode, but I found that really detracted from the game's look. Now that multiple paragraphs have been wasted discussing the visuals in a game about puzzles, we should probably talk about the puzzles. The problem is they're really just great puzzles and that sums it up. The puzzles in Miracle Mask were a bit more difficult (or maybe I'm just getting dumber) than in prior games, but there's nothing especially profound to say about them. All the puzzles are up to the same quality and charm of the previous four titles. There's some pretty clever new ones in there, but it's more of what you've seen before, and that isn't a bad thing at all. I would have liked for the developers to have integrated the 3D into the puzzles a bit more. Some of the puzzles have top-screen action that adds embellishment, but none really utilize the depth for any practical reason. There is an action game where Layton rides a horse that is an obvious attempt to really emphasize the 3D, but it's lackluster at best. There's also another section in the game that breaks with Layton tradition pretty roughly by turning into a top-down dungeon exploration game, like a very simplified Legend of Zelda. It's actually a fun and decently lengthy twist where each room in the dungeon is a puzzle based on moving boulders and avoiding automated enemies. It's a great diversion from the standard Layton action, but never really gets the chance to take off in any meaningful way. The room puzzles never get particularly challenging, which is odd because the traditional-style puzzles found in that section are. As with previous Layton games, there is a plethora of extra content (though not as robust an offering as the last game's RPG, London Life). There's a clever shop puzzle game where you have to align items by color and type so that customers will buy them, a guide-the-robot game in which you must help a robot reach a certain point, and a more in-depth game where you have to teach a rabbit tricks and then have him perform them in a play. The latter of the three gets old quick -- the rabbit is not as much fun to train as one would hope despite the fact that he is adorable. Once again the puzzles don't stop at the end of the game as new puzzles become available weekly. Like all of the other Professor Layton games, it simply comes down to whether or not you enjoy solving puzzles. Fans will enjoy the added life, charm, and depth (yes, I said it) that the 3D redesign brings to the series, but this isn't going to win over any non-Layton lovers. The beauty of it is that no one really wants the series to change. In a gaming world where everyone demands that the next game bring something new and different, it's a little refreshing that a gentleman in a top hat can deliver consistent, quality gaming that pleases despite the fact that it's just what we played before... but now in 3D.
Prof. Layton photo
New look, same Professor
When Disney started re-releasing all their classic animated films in 3D because they like money and their classic films are really worth watching again in the theater, I wrote this review of the 3D release of Beauty and the B...


Review: 007 Legends

Oct 29 // Matthew Razak
007 Legends (Playstation 3 [reviewed], Xbox 360)Developer: EurocomPublisher: ActivisionRelease: October 16, 2012MSRP: $59.99 I can't stay mad at developer Eurocome for too long, because given time they can clearly make a fun Bond game. 007 Legends was obviously rushed to meet three deadlines: (1) the release of Skyfall; (2) a release date before CoD landed; (3) the 50th Anniversary of James Bond in film. The first and second reasons actually mean you're not even getting the full game right off the bat. One of the levels is based on Skyfall and will be released as free DLC once the movie hits theaters in the U.S. so as not to spoil the plot. Why not just release the entire game after the film then? Because Activision wouldn't want this going up against their newest edition of Call of Duty -- not that it poses much of a threat. Considering the game feels short even if you take into account you'll be getting another level it's hard to say your even get a delayed bang for your buck here.  Since it is Bond's 50th anniversary in film the game is not a straight Skyfall game. Legends takes you through five classic Bond films, which are Goldfinger, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, License to Kill, Die Another Day and Moonraker. All the stories have been updated to current day and star Daniel Craig's Bond -- if we can even call the creepy, monotone, non-Craig-voiced, mannequin that stars in the game Bond. The updates mean that any charm  of going through the older films is sucked right out and the look of these classic films is obliterated too. The stories are also rushed through carelessly, and for the most part don't even hit the best one-liners. The advertising claimed that they had seamlessly integrated the stories into the Skyfall plot, but what that really amounts to is Bond having a bunch of disconnected dream sequences. Not to mention the fact that if these are supposed to be adventures Craig's Bond has been on in the past it completely obliterates the new canon established by the current films. For a game supposedly celebrating Bond's 50th anniversary they sure didn't care much about his history. I felt more care for the franchise playing through the bait-and-switch that was GoldenEye: Rogue Agent or even, dare I say it, From Russia with Love.  But maybe you aren't a big Bond fan and the careless use of your favorite film character doesn't make you want to punch small puppies in the face. I understand that not everyone is quite as obsessed with Bond. Even if you aren't, 007 Legends still shows all the telltale faults of a game not given enough development time. You've got shoddy AI, repetitive level design, horrific load times, very little ingenuity, a busted cover system, almost completely non-destructible environments, poor controls, second thought multiplayer, and the annoying use of horrible and repetitive NPC voices. It's a bunch of stuff that simply screams that there wasn't time to pay attention to details. You can play through the game with either regenerative health or classic life mode, but neither makes it anymore fun. The films are broken up into two types of gameplay. The first is longer first-person shooter sections, which almost always involve charging through the level to the bad guy's office and then charging back out through the exact same rooms you just shot your way through. The other is an action sequence where you're either driving or an playing an FPS variant. For instance the gimmick level in OHMSS is some down hill skiing FPS action with terrible controls while Die Another Day gets some driving action with horrible controls. The game also features hand-to-hand combat, which is how you take care of a lot of bosses. This is basically a bunch of quick time events where you have to flick the joystick in the right direction to punch your enemy in an unguarded spot and hit the triggers to dodge his punches. Let me tell you how incredibly fulfilling fighting Oddjob in a crappy QTE event is. Not at all, and even less so because it's the same way you fight every boss and even a few random henchman. On top of this the game had to be in first-person (thank you for sucking and not selling well Blood Stone) so the action sequences you really want to play through from the films are done in first-person cinematic. You basically have to watch the best parts of each movie. I know that we're never going to get the likes of Uncharted quality here, but it can obviously be done and Bond would be so amazing in a game even remotely close to that ilk.  However, what we do have is an FPS and it could have been fun. A lot of the flaws really don't make sense considering Eurocom had a fully functioning game engine when they made GoldenEye: Reloaded and Legends is based on that engine. What it comes down to is that you've got the same crappy graphics, but now things that worked  before are completely busted. The cover system for instance is ruined because Bond seems to have lost the ability to detect when he's crouched behind something. Instead of easily being able to pop up from behind many items to take out bad guys you now have about a 50/50 chance to be put into cover mode when crouching behind something. Lazy design also means that walls are often too high for you to pop over anyway, and when you are able to hop easily into cover it's pretty much  not worth it thanks to the game's shoddy AI. The AI had enemies running headlong at me sometimes despite me shooting them in the face. On other occasions they'd simply walk straight into something and get stuck there often repeating over and over that they were "Going to check something out." I almost felt kind shooting them in the head and putting them out of the eternal loop of misery they had somehow locked themselves into. Even worse was when an enemy would charge randomly in one direction and then his AI would kick in and he'd realize he needed cover so he'd stop dead then jerk in another direction and charge that way (that is of course if I hadn't easily shot him to death by then). These things do happen in games every so often, but all of these issues arose on multiple occasions. What's really fun is when you combine shoddy AI with poorly designed levels and then ask the player to perform stealth missions. A good stealth mission works like a puzzle where you can figure out the pieces and make your moves accordingly. A bad stealth mission is based mostly on luck and puts you in a randomly designed room with enemies that seem to be able to see out of the back of their heads. I'm all for challenging stealth, but when you've got AI that isn't working it just becomes unfair stealth. Bond does get a crafty tool on his watch, which functions as a radar and in a better designed game it would have been a really cool mechanic. Here it's pretty useless.  As are Bond's other gadgets including a cell phone and a dart pen. The cell phone has three settings. The camera setting isn't used except when they make you take pictures of things like that's still an interesting gameplay mechanic. The EMF setting lets you see electrical wiring and to hack into computers. It actually could be a nifty piece of gameplay, but is never really used to its full potential except for once near the end of the game. And the final scanning mode, which I called purple mode, basically lets you see fingerprints and was really just around so they could make it seem like they had more gameplay options. The pen is pretty dumb as well. It probably came about because of the heavier focus on stealth in this game, but the sleeping dart and the electrocution dart are exactly the same and the distraction dart, meant to pull an enemy away from another so you can take them out more easily, rarely works or distracts both enemies so that the point is moot.  There's a new XP system in place now that lets you upgrade your weapons with new attachments and buy upgrades to Bond as well. It would be an interesting addition if it wasn't actually not interesting at all. While many of the upgrades do make life easier they are by no means something you need to think about or even use to beat the game. You also get XP points for doing almost anything (seriously, shooting a guy with any gun will get you points). If you're into easy gratification this is your game, but taking all the challenge out of earning points takes all the fun out of it too. You can earn even more points by completing secondary objectives, but considering that the primary objectives are lackluster at best you can guess how much fun the secondary ones are. This all sounds pretty horrendous, but what is really aggravating is the fact that the entire game doesn't suck. The first four films are completely worthless in almost every way, but then you get to Moonraker (the level the conveniently demoed for press) and suddenly you're playing a game that's at least fun. There's an entire stealth section that works, a well designed escape sequence, a less annoying female sidekick and a pretty damn clever zero gravity gun battle. It's like they designed this level then looked up at the calendar, realized they had to release in a week and decided that they'd just take a dump on the rest of the disk. I'm not sure if I should be happy that the game has a saving grace or pissed off because now I know it could have been that much better had someone tried.  I should mention the challenge modes, where you are tasked with completing a certain challenge in order to be the bestest ever, that are included with the game, but they aren't really that much fun thanks to the new found flaws riddled throughout. The multiplayer on the other hand actually functions. While the level designs aren't anything too special the insane amount of gameplay customization returns and is once again welcome in a world where mutliplayer gameplay is often taken way too seriously. Plus any game that gives me four-player split-screen gets at least a silent nod of approval. My biggest issue was not really being able to find a lot of people to play with online, which I would assume will become even more of an issue as the holiday gaming season rolls in. 007 Legends is a game made to trick people into playing it by leveraging the incredibly strong brand that is James Bond. It's a disjointed and senseless game that has about as much to do with James Bond as an ill fitting suit. To add insult to injury it shows no care towards the classic stories it is ripping off and even less care towards the character of Bond. It then takes this lack of care and combines it with lazy game making and rushed development. The end result is something that will simply have you asking why the game can't just be a good boy and die. 
007 Review photo
Far from legendary, Mr. Bond
After it turned out that the new GoldenEye game didn't suck and Activision simultaneously published a new third-person Bond adventure in the form of Blood Stone (seriously flawed, but showed promise) I actually had ...

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License to Kill/Die Another Day appearing in 007 Legends


Aug 15
// Matthew Razak
We have two more classic Bond films appearing in 007 Legends now with the announcement that License to Kill and Die Another Day coming out of gamescom. With this announcement it's pretty clear that the game will feature a mo...
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Pre-order bonuses for 007 Legends revealed


Aug 11
// Matthew Razak
As is wont with such things 007 Legends has picked up some exclusive pre-order bonuses from different retailers. Folks who buy the game from Amazon will receive the Nemesis Pack, which contains both Jaws and Baron Samedi as p...
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007 Legends brings back classic Bond actors


Jul 27
// Matthew Razak
Activision has announced that it's not just loading up on past Bond films for the upcoming 007 Legends, but past Bond actors as well. Not only have they confirmed that Daniel Craig will be performing as Bond throughout the ga...
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The Network Roundup: DeGrasse Tyson/Star Trek throw down


Jul 18
// Matthew Razak
If you're any kind of nerd at all you know Neil DeGrasse Tyson and you know Star Trek. You probably also know the earth shattering effects of the two of these things combining. At this year's SDCC DeGrasse attended the Stars...
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Movie Review: Ace Attorney


Jul 14
// Matthew Razak
Destructoid's friendly, neighborhood movie site Flixist is covering the Japan Cuts Film Festival in New York all this week (along with the New York Asian Film Festival all last week) and to kick off the events they've got an ...
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OHMSS gets its 007 Legends trailer on


Jul 12
// Matthew Razak
I'm pretty sure they could play the Bond theme over a video of a peanut butter and banana sandwich and I'd get excited so playing it over a new trailer for 007 Legends is basically giving me conniptions. This trailer, w...

The truth about New Super Mario Bros.

Jul 09 // Matthew Razak
When NSMB first launched on the DS, it was easy to assume that it was a main series Mario game. After all, sidescrolling, platforming Mario is what the series was born with, so Mario returning to his roots shouldn’t be considered a spin-off game, it should be considered as a new installment of the series. Even when NSMB jumped to the Wii with NSMB Wii, one could argue that the series should still have been considered within the main run of Mario games despite how closely the two were released. A traditional Mario title on a home console is pretty much the definition of what a non-spin-off Mario is. But then you start to think about it. What other Mario games have iterations on both handhelds and consoles? Not the main series, unless you count ports of older games, which we won’t. It’s the Mario spin-offs that get this treatment. The likes of Mario Kart or Mario Party or Mario's sports games all double up on their console publication. Main-line Mario games hit one console that they’re usually designed specifically for. Once you consider this, it becomes pretty obvious that Nintendo isn’t treating NSMB as a hardcore Mario game, but as a spin-off that they can publish regularly while they work on the "actual" Mario games in the background. The evidence piles up once you look at the sequels coming out this year. First, there are two of them. Two true Mario games in one year? Doesn’t happen. However, you can easily point to a plethora of sequels and multi-platform releases when you look at the spin-offs. This also explains (excuses?) the cut-and-paste style of the games. Nailing down the gameplay to near perfection and then pumping out sequels with slight alterations remind you of anything else you’ve played with Mario in it? It’s not a tent-pole Mario game, I can tell you that. One of the reasons tent-pole Mario games are so popular is because of the fact that they are so different. Hell, the very fact that we talk about NSMB as a series in and of itself defines it as separate from Mario’s main exploits. Nintendo might point to New Super Mario Bros. 2 (that’s the one on the 3DS) to argue against this logic. After all, it is all about the coins (a decidedly old-school spin where things like high scores still matter). The problem is, as we’ve already shown, the design isn’t changing much with this iteration as the locales, graphics, and basic gameplay seem to be the same. The emphasis on coin collection is a new spin on the same formula. This would be akin to Mario Kart: Double Dash where an entirely new focus was put on the game, but the basics were still the same. These are major changes in a series, obviously, but they still function under the same rules and designs. Other easier-to-identify signals in NSMB are updated powers which are exactly the same thing as new weapons in Mario Kart or new spaces in Mario Party. It’s pretty easy to see that Nintendo considers NSMB a base for a Mario spin-off series not a standalone, core title. What is the issue with NSMB being a spin-off instead of a core title? Very little if you’re excited for more quality platforming Mario antics and don’t treat the games as something more than spin-offs. After all, we've been accepting cut-and-paste antics from Nintendo's spin-off games for years and enjoying it, for the most part. The issue really arises when Nintendo expects us to be just as happy with a spin-off as we would be with a totally new core Mario game. These aren’t the same things, and when Reggie doesn’t understand why people aren’t over the moon about NSMB launching with the Wii U as a true Mario game it shows either an awful lot of disconnect or a clear cover-up of the fact that Nintendo knows these are spin-off games. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that this is some sort of conspiracy and Nintendo is evil, but they should really just call a spade a spade. Of course, as fans, we can do better as well. The reason that there are so many spin-offs that sell incredibly well is that most of them are good. Yes, it’s easy to be disappointed when you start thinking of NSMB games as spin-offs that will be produced in the same manner as other spin-offs, but in reality, what we’re going to most likely get is a lot of really good, old-school, 2D platforming games up to the usual quality of all of Mario’s exploits. I find it tough to complain about an influx of good games in a genre that’s horribly underrepresented even if they are spin-offs. Now, if you believe that the Mario spin-off games need to do more to innovate as well, then adjusting your perception of NSMB isn't going to do much. You may in fact be even more upset with the series. That's a personal call.However, if you put your expectations at Mario spin-off level instead of core Mario, all that’s needed to ditch the complaints and be entirely happy with the NSMB series is a simple shift in perspective. These aren’t the games that will once again redefine what we should expect from platformers, they’re just the quality filler that holds us over. If Nintendo admits to this and the fans accept it, we’ll be as happy before we play the NSMB games as we are once we actually get our hands on them.
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There’s a lot of hubbub around the two New Super Mario Bros. games coming out this year. Tony wrote an awesome piece on why he thinks their copy-and-paste design is a failure. Reggie has come out saying that the fan...

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OHMSS the next Bond film to appear in 007 Legends


Jun 29
// Matthew Razak
Today Activision announced the next film in 007 Legends that players will take on Bond's role in is On Her Majesty's Secret Service. They've sent along some screens and concept art to show off their take on the Bond film, whi...
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007 Legends gets a trailer and release date


May 22
// Matthew Razak
Today (or yesterday depending on the location that you are reading this) was a good day for Bond fans. First we got the absolutely incredible trailer for the new Bond film, Skyfall, and now the first trailer for the upcoming...
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Get yourself into the latest James Bond game


May 02
// Matthew Razak
A few weeks ago Activision announced that they were releasing a new Bond game, 007 Legends, this fall to coincide with the release of the new Bond film, Skyfall and Bond's 50th anniversary. I totally missed the announcem...
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The Network Round-Up: I Am In Control Day


Mar 30
// Matthew Razak
Ready to get some history laid one you? In 1981 on this day President Reagan was shot. While he was in the hospital then Secretary of State Alexander Haig uttered the words "I am in control here." The media took off with i...
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The Network Round-Up: The day Coke was invented


Mar 29
// Matthew Razak
Today's holidays were a bunch of suck so I've gone with a historical fact. On this day in 1886 Coca-Cola was invented. In case you didn't know, the secret recipe for Coca-Cola is totally top secret. In fact the awesome peo...
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The Network Round-Up: Something on a Stick Day


Mar 28
// Matthew Razak
Here's a day I can get behind. Put something on a stick and it's instantly better. It just is. In the past you could only get things like hot dogs and corn on a stick, but these days daring chefs are putting all sorts of s...
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The Network Round-Up: Wha's in a name?


Mar 27
// Matthew Razak
All right, folks. New marching orders. Old jokes from movies only a partial part of the reading audience gets and even less think is funny are out, straight forward is in. Welcome (again) to The Network Round-Up. I actuall...
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Wha' Happened: Spinach Festival Day


Mar 26
// Matthew Razak
I have to admit I am not a big fan of spinach. Despite the repeated attempted brainwashings by the nefarious sailor Popeye and his animated antics I never came over to the cult of Spinach. It's just so mushy and gross when...
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Wha' Happened: National Goof-off Day


Mar 22
// Matthew Razak
Sometimes I'm upset that I do these posts at night because I don't realize that the day is some holiday and thus I don't celebrate it. Today I totally missed my chance to goof-off at work all day without getting in trouble...
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Wha' Happened: National French Bread Day


Mar 21
// Matthew Razak
French bread is by far the best kind of bread. Slather some butter on that baby and you've got a simple tasty snack that's as long as a yard stick. Sure, there's garlic bread and banana nut bed, but those don't stand on th...
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Wha' Happened: Extraterrestrial Abductions Day


Mar 20
// Matthew Razak
An entire day for the celebration of alien abductions? I mean, I guess so. I kind of wonder how people celebrate this holiday. Do they go out and stand in a field hoping to be taken up to the stars? Does the family gather ...
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Wha' Happened: National Poultry Day


Mar 19
// Matthew Razak
Hurray for chickens! Aren't they just delicious and everything tastes like them. Fried, grilled or diced up and compressed into a nugget form they just keep on giving. But let's not forget that there is so much more to th...
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Wha' Happened: Niero's Birthday


Mar 16
// Matthew Razak
What? The birthday of this entire wonderful network's founder is totally a holiday. You wait and see. 100 years from now we'll all be getting this day off in celebration. Also, we will be living a lot longer so that we can...
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Wha' Happened: National Everything You Know Is Wrong Day


Mar 15
// Matthew Razak
I'm not making these holidays up. According to Hallmark, the people who make holidays up professionally, every holiday I put here is totally real. Of course since today is National Everything You Know is Wrong Day and you ...
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Wha' Happened: National Pi Day


Mar 14
// Matthew Razak
You know it's mighty disrespectful to the flaky crust and fruity filling of pies everywhere that everyone seems to be spelling the name of the holiday that recognizes them wrong. Nah, I'm just kidding. I know all about Pi a...
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Wha' Happened: Earmuff Day


Mar 14
// Matthew Razak
Yea, you heard right. It's Earmuff Day... or it was. I'm a bit late today so the holiday is technically over in some places, but that shouldn't keep everyone from wearing some earmuffs despite the unseasonably warm weather...
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Wha' Happened: National Alfred Hitchcock Day


Mar 12
// Matthew Razak
Did you know today was National Alfred Hitchcock day? I had no clue, but it's inspired me to rename this feature so that each day we learn of an awesome new holiday such as this. I mean without this day would have stopped ...
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Wha' Happened: The Network Roundup (3/9/12)


Mar 09
// Matthew Razak
Today I was going to try to tie all the posts from around the Modern Method network together with some kind of theme. So before writing this I went around and collected everything that caught my eye and then stared at it f...

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