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Nintendo Land

Hey, new Wii U owners: Don't forget to play Nintendo Land

Jul 04 // Jordan Devore
Nintendo Land has 12 separate games, but I'm not going to cover all of them in-depth. Some are solo-only, others cooperative and/or competitive. Some are surprisingly lengthy and detailed, others simple. All of them make interesting (though not always great) use of the GamePad. This may be a collection of tech demos, essentially, but Nintendo Land's presentation -- an amusement park you're free to walk around in that's packed full of references -- doesn't feel as shallow as it should. Plus, several of the games are real, real good. Playing them earns you coins, which you're then able to spend inside a pachinko-style game to unlock items for your park. You'll also see folks' Miis wandering about as guests, complete with speech bubbles saying things that, wow, that really made it past Nintendo's censors, huh? My favorite "attraction" in Nintendo Land is Pikmin Adventure. It's obviously not as deep as Pikmin 3, but it's surprising just how far it goes. One player is Captain Olimar and as usual, must fling Pikmin at creatures until they're dead -- but you don't have to worry about your troops dying, and everything is mechanical (this is a theme park, after all). It's super cool, aesthetically. Other players will use a Wii Remote and appear as a larger Pikmin, which can move around independent of Olimar to smack foes or be picked up and thrown onto enemies' weak points for extra damage. Levels are highly detailed, there's quite a few of them, and some even have full-on boss battles. Really, this feels like a miniature Pikmin game. Don't miss it. The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest is like a more fleshed-out take on the Motion Plus sword games in Wii Sports Resort. You liked those, right? The person using the GamePad wields a bow and arrow, which is a novel experience with gyro controls. I think I'd like it more if it weren't so on-rails, but as with Pikmin Adventure, the art (in this case, fabric-esque) is wonderful. Metroid Blast, the third and final of the "team attractions," has the GamePad player flying around in Samus' Gunship, blasting away at waves of aliens from above as everyone else helps on-foot using Wii Remotes and Nunchuks. I still haven't perfected the controls for the former setup (which uses both analog sticks for movement, plus gyro for aiming) but I'm getting there. It's also nice to be playing something, anything Metroid-related as we wait for the next installment. [embed]277589:54747:0[/embed] Mario Chase and Luigi's Ghost Mansion are perfect for more casual players, provided you have enough spare Wii Remotes to accommodate. Both are one-versus-many games in which what's displayed on the television and what appears on the GamePad screen vary. In Mario Chase, a tag game, everyone's trying to catch the GamePad holder in maze-like areas, but their view is limited. On the GamePad screen, there's a special top-down view of the map, providing opportunities for the runner to hide and make daring escapes. It's tense. Even more tense is Luigi's Ghost Mansion. Here, the GamePad player, a ghost, is going after everyone else. It's like Pac-Man Vs., if you played that gem -- the ghost doesn't show up on the TV, but players' Wii Remotes will vibrate when the apparition draws near. Turn around, fast! The ghost wants to sneak up on and attack the other players, who have multiple lives, while they want to shine their light on it for long enough to drain all of its health. If you're playing with a full group, someone will yell, guaranteed. These asymmetric attractions are ideal for get-togethers. I'm less into the single-player games on the whole, with notable exceptions being the stylus-controlled Balloon Trip Breeze and the tilt-controlled Donkey Kong's Crash Course. The former is self-explanatory, as it sticks to its Balloon Trip roots, but the latter game is this gigantic obstacle course resembling the arcade classic. It's deceptively challenging -- just reaching the end is a feat, much less getting there quickly for a top leaderboard spot. Music's amazing, too. So, yeah -- all told, I'm quite pleased with my purchase. You don't have to love every included game or even most of them to dig Nintendo Land. If you were thinking of getting it right now for the three-day weekend, it is no longer downloadable from the Wii U eShop, but you can find it for under $30 at online retailers. That's a totally fair price. Once you get past the annoying tutorials -- be warned, there's a ton of 'em -- you're in for a mostly good time. Though, I should say, the more Wii Remotes, Nunchuks, and Motion Pluses you have at your disposal, the better. Nintendo Land is meant to be shared.
Play Nintendo Land photo
One of the few launch titles still worth visiting
I forgot Nintendo Land existed until a couple weeks ago. Like some of you, I only recently bought a Wii U and after looking at some "what to play" lists for my next multiplayer game, I was reminded of this minigame collection...

Nintendo Land eShop photo
Nintendo Land eShop

You won't find Nintendo Land on the US eShop anymore


But really, who doesn't already have this that wanted it?
Nov 11
// Brett Zeidler
In a strange move that no one understands, everyone's favorite Mario factory has recently removed original Wii U pack-in Nintendo Land from the system's eShop. Exactly when, we're not sure. NeoGAF users found the title gone f...
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Storm's Adventure with Wii U and Nintendo Land


Fanboys unite!
Feb 02
// Storm Dain
Next in line for "Playing Catch Up to the Catch Up" is my Wii U premiere video. True be told, it isn't the really the premiere video, that honor belongs to this live stream (I brand them as "Live Boredom"). Click that to wat...

An aural tour with the composer of Nintendo Land, part 3

Jan 24 // Jayson Napolitano
On the audio capabilities of the Wii U "There is a full stereo speaker setup inside the Wii U GamePad. You have a pair of stereo speakers located near the player in addition to the TV sound output, and I think this allows for audio that feels more direct and can work in tandem with the TV speakers to provide a wider range of expression. With Nintendo Land, music and sound effects are divided between the TV and GamePad speakers, something that I think produces a better-feeling game experience as you play. Hopefully people are enjoying it." Pikmin Adventure [embed]242778:46449:0[/embed] "Unlike the original Pikmin, this attraction has practically no time limit. As a result, when producing the soundtrack, I tried to keep in mind the sort of up-tempo excitement you feel controlling Olimar and the Pikmin. A lot of tunes in the original have this mysterious, fantastical feel, but the rearranged versions here have a much more prevalent beat and are nice and easy to get into. Something had to feel new here, of course, so I produced new tracks for the autumn stages, mid-boss sections, battles, underground stages, and so on that built upon the original's image. "I hope people enjoy this music -- it's faster-paced, but it still has some of that slightly mysterious feel from the Pikmin games." Takamaru's Ninja Castle [embed]242778:46459:0[/embed] "This game uses the main theme, Takamaru's theme, the castle-indoors theme, and so on from the original game. I arranged them with electric guitars and strings to make the game feel cooler while you play. "The final boss battle music is an original composition. The 'eiya-sa-sa' Japanese-type chanting you hear is, again, me dubbing over recordings of myself repeatedly. There are about twenty Nagamatsus involved. See if you can chant along while you play; I think it'll help you mow those enemies down faster." The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest [embed]242778:46451:0[/embed] "This attraction is based off an extremely popular series, so I decided to chiefly stick to arranging the original music. "The game's visual design reminds you of toys made with things like cloth and wood. As a result, the soundtrack's overall feel is arranged around strings, xylophones, recorders, and so forth. "I used the main title track from the original, of course, as well as Saria's theme from Ocarina of Time, Ganon's theme, and other songs that went well with the atmosphere. Gerudo Valley made it in because they added a sunset-themed stage near the end of development, and I figured nothing could've matched better." "The sound environment changes with the atmosphere of each stage, from darkness to fire and water and so on, and I hope that helps players feel more immersed in the attraction." Yoshi's Fruit Cart [embed]242778:46452:0[/embed] "The Yoshi series has all of this really great music, and again, I had trouble deciding which ones to arrange. The music that plays while you're figuring out your path was arranged to be this really soothing tune that evoked the feel of the green game board and simple gameplay. Also, I personally love two songs from Yoshi's Story, 'Yoshi on the Beach' and 'Yoshi's Tale,' so that's another reason [they were arranged]. "Yoshi's Fruit Cart is a pretty tough game that requires a lot of concentration, but the arrangements rev up more and more every time you beat ten stages, so I'm hoping you can complete the game up to where you hear the final version!"
Nintendo Land composer photo
Commentary from composer Ryo Nagamatsu
This is our third and final entry in our series featuring composer Ryo Nagamatsu as he walks us through the attractions in Nintendo Land one-by-one, giving us an inside look at what he was thinking about when he wrote the gam...

An aural tour with the composer of Nintendo Land, part 2

Jan 23 // Jayson Napolitano
On his approach to Nintendo Land and the main theme [embed]242635:46453:0[/embed] "For Nintendo Land's music, we decided to go with a mixture of nostalgia, fun, and novelty, something that could be enjoyed by people who have played a lot of the old games as well as those playing a Nintendo title for the first time. "Videogame music has evolved with the times, going from the classic NES sound to the point where it can recreate the feel of real instruments. Following that flow, I chose to use NES-type sounds for flat scenes but a more realistic sound using orchestras and acoustic instruments for larger, more spread-out 3D scenes. "Nintendo Land's main title tune plays throughout the Plaza, but it's set up to change as the local environment does, like when you press the buttons that change the time of day or start the parade. "There's also a jukebox in the Plaza that lets you enjoy all the new rearranged tracks that play in each attraction. "You can use the jukebox to bring up your favorite tune while walking around a Plaza filled with all the prizes you earned in the Coin Game. Or you can play with the time-change or parade buttons and take in the atmosphere that results. Either way, I hope players take the time to adjust the Plaza environment to their full liking." Luigi's Ghost Mansion [embed]242635:46415:0[/embed] "Given the attraction's ghostly theme, the soundtrack is generally pretty soft and quiet. "The first stage uses a rearranged track from the original; everything besides that is new music. There's a fun stage with a bunch of conveyor belts in it; I was inspired by the tune you hear when Professor E. Gadd makes his first appearance in the original when composing that stage's music. "Meanwhile, the scarier-looking stages go all-out scary with the music. I hope that players get a sense for that scariness and the chase-or-be-chased excitement of the game." Mario Chase [embed]242635:46413:0[/embed] "This attraction uses arrangements of old tunes in all of the stages. "The assorted 'Athletic' and 'Slider' themes from the Mario series were arranged with strings, electronic sounds, and so forth to match the game's atmosphere. "The music speeds up in each stage when time's about to run out, accelerating to a point where a human being would never be able to play it. I went with this after conferring with Mr. Kondo, who figured that games are clearer and more fun if they take simple-to-understand tactics like that." Metroid Blast [embed]242635:46414:0[/embed] "Metroid Blast is the most complex attraction in Nintendo Land, one that gives you a really full-on action experience. I gave the music an orchestral arrangement for an epic, flamboyant sound, something that made you feel you were playing inside an enormous space. "The chorus you hear in the arrangement of Super Metroid's 'Lower Norfair' music is composed entirely with my own voice, without any processing. "There's a lot of original music here, too, songs that retain that grand sort of Metroid impact. I hope it'll help players really lose themselves as they're thrown into battle inside this massive space!" Octopus Dance [embed]242635:46458:0[/embed] "I went through a great deal of trouble producing the music for this game since, after all, there wasn't any other game I could base the music off of. [Laughs] "As a result, everything in this game is an original composition, and since this is a dance game, I tried to get as much variety in as possible. So I produced music that'll expose you to a bunch of different styles as you go through a set of stages. The tune that plays as you're selecting a player in the game uses the sound effects produced by the original Game & Watch title as a motif. If you still have it around the house, try it out and compare the sound!"
Nintendo Land composer photo
Commentary from composer Ryo Nagamatsu
We're back with part two of our audio walkthrough of Nintendo Land with composer Ryo Nagamatsu. This time we visit Luigi's Ghost Mansion, Mario Chase, Metroid Blast, and Octopus Dance. And be sure to read part one of our feature which covered four other Nintendo Land attractions.

An aural tour with the composer of Nintendo Land, part 1

Jan 22 // Jayson Napolitano
On the pressure he faced working with Nintendo's most beloved franchises "There was a certain amount of pressure that I felt. "However, as a composer, I think it's vital that you produce the kind of music that's most appropriate for the game you're working on. As a result, the amount of excitement I had over producing the music for a game running on the new Wii U console, not to mention one called Nintendo Land that bears the Nintendo name so brightly, was greater than any pressure there was. "I had the original composers (including Mr. Kondo) look over the tracks regularly and offer their advice, but I was able to do my work freely without any great restrictions." Animal Crossing: Sweet Day [embed]242631:46408:0[/embed] "The Animal Crossing series has a massive amount of music attached to it, a package that's attracted a lot of fans, so it was hard for me to decide what to use. I used the title tune from Animal Crossing: Wild World as one of the stage tracks -- it's a light, breezy tune that wouldn't normally at all match with the gameplay here, but I think I've managed to arrange it so it matches well enough. I think a march-like tune goes really well with a game like this. "Another stage uses a song taken from Animal Crossing: City Folk. I've made this into another march-like song, although it retains some of the laid-back feel of the original. "The tunes change in the second stage, so hopefully you'll make note of that tempo change as you play!" Balloon Trip Breeze [embed]242631:46409:0[/embed] "The main title music from the original Balloon Fight is one of the most famous tunes in games, but since Balloon Trip Breeze runs on regular morning/afternoon/evening/night cycles, I challenged myself to produce a number of arrangements of this one song and make the results impressive to players. "All four time periods feature the original tune with the melody arranged to fit appropriately with the visuals. Each time period experiences its own changes, from rain to wind and storms, and the tune changes to reflect the atmosphere this weather brings to the experience. I hope you enjoy all of this audio and visual variety as you have a nice trip!" Captain Falcon's Twister Race [embed]242631:46410:0[/embed] "This is one of those game series where the soundtracks are really popular, so I decided to use tracks from the original games to some extent in this title. "However, since this game's play style and sense of speed differ from the original, I don't bring the old songs out right after you start the game. They come in the later areas, and that also serves to provide some of that "I'm in the final stage" emotional excitement. "Some of the tunes differ quite a bit from the originals, but I think that's resulted in music with a new and unique taste. Hopefully you can get into the tempo while you play!" Donkey Kong's Crash Course [embed]242631:46412:0[/embed] "Personally, this is my favorite of all the Nintendo Land attractions. "It's a game with a flat look similar to the original, but requires an extreme level of concentration to master. I tried to give the music a simple, retro feel that wouldn't interrupt players' concentration." "The melody in the music for Stages 2 and 4 is simply the reverse (from the end) of the melody in Stages 1 and 3. I wonder if anybody has noticed."
Nintendo Land composer photo
Commentary from composer Ryo Nagamatsu
I have to admit that I was secretly looking forward to Nintendo Land a great deal. While I wasn't sold after Nintendo's E3 press conference last year, seeing the title in action really got the nostalgia flowing for me in all ...

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Nintendo Land pack-ins will be eligible for Club Nintendo


Nintendo Land bundled with Wii U Deluxe Set lacks Club Nintendo PIN
Nov 20
// Tony Ponce
If you are like me and furiously register your new Nintendo games for the Club Nintendo coins as soon as you open the package, you were probably surprised to discover that the copy of Nintendo Land bundled with the Wii U Delu...
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Nintendo Land: Last three attractions detailed


How I long for deep-sea dancing
Oct 29
// Dale North
Nintendo has decided to fully detail the last three Nintendo Land attractions that we told you about earlier this month. These last three round out the list of 12 attractions coming to the Wii U launch title, both of which dr...
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Nintendo Land: details on Octopus Dance and 2 other games


"...dancing its sweet little ass off..."
Oct 18
// Dale North
GoNintendo has an image of a list of details for some of the Nintendo Land minigames, giving us details on Yoshi's Fruit Cart, Captain Falcon's Twister Race, and Octopus Dance.  Octopus Dance is the greatest name ever g...

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