Hiroshi Yamauchi, who turned Nintendo into a Video Game Powerhouse, Dies at 85

Hiroshi Yamauchi, who transformed his great-grandfather’s playing-card company, Nintendo, into a global video game powerhouse, died on Thursday in Kyoto, Japan. He was 85.

The cause was complications of pneumonia, the company said.

Mr. Yamauchi, who led Nintendo from 1949 to 2002, was Japan’s most unlikely high-tech success story. Named president of the family business at 22, he steered Nintendo into board games, light-emitting toy guns and baseball pitching machines – fruitless forays that he later attributed to a “lack of imagination” – before the company arrived at arcade games.

Its Donkey Kong and the original Mario Bros. became hits and gave rise to Nintendo’s wildly successful home video game business.

The Nintendo Entertainment System, a console first released in Japan in 1983 as “Famicom,” unseated early leaders in the video game industry, selling more than 60 million units thanks to shrewd marketing, close attention to product quality and a crop of games based on unlikely yet endearing characters that soon became household names.

Read the rest of the story: Hiroshi Yamauchi, Who Steered Nintendo to Dominance, Dies at 85


Super Mario 3D Land leads 3DS to big sales in Japan

Things have been a little dark for Nintendo lately, with an unprofitable year along with a goofy, poorly-introduced peripheral, but now that the first of its big holiday releases is hitting stores things are starting to look better for them… in Japan at least. Last week the 3DS and Super Mario 3D Land both took the top spot in the Japanese sales charts in a big way.

After slashing the price on the 3DS system, hardware sales had been up in a big way, but software sales had remained, well, soft. Apparently in October total games sold for 3DS games in Japan were at the surprisingly low 122,000.

Read the rest of the story: Super Mario 3D Land leads 3DS to big sales in Japan last week, Super Mario 3D Land DS News.

Nintendo’s 3D handheld goes on sale in Japan

Nintendo’s latest game machine, offering glasses-free 3-D images, has gone on sale in Japan, ahead of a global rollout, and analysts say it promises to be the world’s first 3-D mass-market product.

The 25,000 yen ($300) handheld went on sale in Japan on Saturday. It goes on sale in Europe on March 25 for 250 euros, and arrives in the U.S. on March 27 for $250.

Kyoto-based Nintendo Co. is banking on the 3-D technology as sales momentum gradually fades for earlier hits such as the Wii home console and predecessor DS models.

Read the rest of the story: Nintendo 3-D handheld goes on sale in Japan.


Nintendo 3DS premiere in Japan is a Hit!

Thousands of Japanese game fans flocked to an exhibition hall near Tokyo as Nintendo let the general public try its 3D-enabled DS console for the first time.

The new-generation DS machine — which allows users to play 3D games without wearing special glasses — missed the Christmas season but will be released on February 26 in Japan and in March in the United States, Europe and Australia.

Thousands of gamers on Saturday converged on the hall as Nintendo kicked off an admission-free, three-day event for the 3DS in Chiba, east of Tokyo.

Nintendo declined to say how many people had gathered, but hour-long queues did not deter those waiting for a trial lasting just a few minutes.

"It’s fun, I want it," Reika, 12, declared after she visited the event with her parents.

Her 48-year-old father was also impressed.

"It was surprising that images come out like seeing images on 3D television with special glasses," he said, adding his daughter would get a new machine, despite the family’s already having a number of consoles.

However, he said, his daughter’s gaming time would likely be limited.

"I don’t think she will play 3D games too long as they tire you more" than conventional video games, he said.

Nintendo has warned that children under the age of six should not use the 3D console because of possible damage to their eyes.

The machine allows the illusion of depth to be increased or decreased so that games can be played in both 2D and 3D, while built-in cameras let users take 3D pictures.

Read the rest of the story: AFP: Thousands flock to Nintendo 3DS premiere in Japan.

Monster Hunter Portable 3 has sold more than 2.5 million copies

Along with the flagging rhythm genre, slumping sales of Wii games and portable titles have been blamed for the US game industry’s 2010 woes. However, the picture in Japan is considerably different. Media Create released its Japanese sales figures for the week of December 6-12, and games for the PSP, DS, and Wii claimed eight of the top 10 chart spots.

Monster Hunter Portable 3 has sold more than 2.5 million copies in its first two weeks on sale.

Monster Hunter Portable 3 dominated in its second week of release, adding 629,541 copies to its first-week total of 1.95 million copies sold. Capcom’s multiplayer-focused action game far outsold the closest competition, with the Studio Ghibli-Level Five collaboration Ninokuni: Shikkoku no Madoushi selling 179,548 copies in its week of release. The DS role-playing game narrowly beat out Wii platformer Donkey Kong Country Returns, which led Nintendo’s offerings with 163,310 copies sold.

Nintendo had a strong week on the whole. In addition to Donkey Kong Country Returns, the company claimed the middle of the charts with Pokemon Black and White, Mario Sports Mix, Wii Party, Super Mario All-Stars, and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem in fourth through eighth place, respectively. The final two spots were occupied by the PlayStation 3’s only two representatives on the chart, Namco Bandai’s Tales of Graces F and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.

Read the rest of the story: Big in Japan December 6-12: Monster Hunter Portable 3.

Panasonic to Enter the Video Game Industry with Portable Video-Game Player – code-name ‘Jungle’

Panasonic Corp. began testing of a handheld video-game player in the U.S., as the Japanese electronics maker aims to return to the market after more than a decade to challenge Sony Corp. and Nintendo Co.

The company’s U.S.-based unit invited users in the country to test the player, code-named “Jungle,” Panasonic Cloud Entertainment Company said in an e-mail to registered customers today. Panasonic’s Tokyo-based spokesman Akira Kadota confirmed the e-mail, without providing details about when the device will be unveiled and its price.

The Osaka, Japan-based company, which together with Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. and Atari SA, ceded the console market to Sony and Nintendo, is looking to return to the video game industry estimated to reach $20 billion in sales in the U.S. this year. Besides its traditional rivals, Panasonic also faces competition from games played using smartphones and tablet computers, such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad.

“We know other companies out there have traditional hand- held gaming covered,” Panasonic said in the e-mail. “We’re doing something very different.”

Read the rest of the story: Panasonic Begins Testing of Portable Video-Game Player `Jungle’ in U.S..

Amazon Japan Announces Their Top Ten Best Selling Games of the Decade

In honor of their ten-year anniversary, Amazon Japan has released their list of the top ten best-selling games of the decade, starting from October 1, 2001 and ending on June 30, 2010.

Out of the top ten titles, six of them are Nintendo titles. In first place is Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies for the DS. The title was released in Japan in 2009.

Four of the titles belong to Square Enix, with two being Final Fantasy titles (Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XII), and two being Dragon Quest titles (Dragon Quest XI and Dragon Quest VIII).

The full list is as follows:

1. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS)

2. Final Fantasy XIII (PS3, Xbox 360)

3. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)

4. Wii Fit (w/ Balance Board) (Wii)

5. Tomodachi Collection (DS)

6. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (PSP)

7. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (PS2)

8. New Super Mario Bros. (DS)

9. Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS)

10. Final Fantasy XII (PS2)

Source: Nintendo World Report – News – Amazon Japan Unveil Their Top Ten Best Selling Games of the Decade.

Super Mario Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Nintendo has celebrated the 25 anniversary of the iconic Super Mario video game franchise.

The franchise has sold around 240 million units worldwide since its first launch.

Mario, who was created by Japanese game developer Shigeru Miyamoto, is the most successful Nintendo gaming title ever, having featured in over 200 video games since his inception.

The celebrate this iconic event, Nintendo has started a competition for loyal Mario players, asking them to share their favourite Mario moments with the company for a chance to win a Nintendo Dsi XL gaming console in either Yellow, Red and Blue.

Read the rest of the story: Super Mario Celebrates 25th Anniversary.

Festival more than a blip for chiptune artists

Taking Nintendo’s Game Boy to places it was never meant to go, a lineup of international chiptune artists will be converging on Koenji High this weekend for Japan’s first ever Blip Festival. The roster includes acts such as Nullsleep from New York, who takes a blowtorch to sweet "Super Mario" style ditties, gradually melting them down with a battery of zaps and bleeps until the listener is caught up in a dog fight (or goomba fight) of raw electronic sound.

"I kind of made a real pain in the ass of myself with a whole bunch of people trying to convince them (the event) was possible," says organizer David Adams over coffee in the Higashi Nakano area of Tokyo. He has made it his mission to bring Blip Festival to Japan ever since being blown away by it in New York in 2008, and it’s hard not to get caught up in his enthusiasm over the possibilities of the chiptune genre.

Read the rest of the story: Festival marks blip on the radar for chiptune.