Nintendo just launched new options for online Switch customers, allowing them to customize the color of their Joy-Con and accompanying straps — up to a point.
The page is on Nintendo’s Japanese store, and hence is in Japanese. I apologize for any translation errors — I’m relying on Google for the information.
Each of the Joy-Con and straps come in the color of your specification, as long as it’s a color the company has already produced. Want to mix and match Splatoon Pink with Neon Yellow? Now you can (if you want to blind yourself).
Your options are also somewhat limited — for example, Splatoon Green doesn’t appear to be an option for right controllers, but it does for left. The opposite is true for pink. This aligns with how the colors are laid out on the Splatoon 2 version of the console.
Still, it’s a nice concession to customization from a company that hasn’t really offered much in the way of options up until now. It’s not quite as good as a Scarborough Fair Xbox Controller, but it’s a start.
At the moment, this is only available for Japanese customers, but there’s always a chance it will roll out to other regions as well. Hopefully the recent legal dispute over the Joy-Con doesn’t get in the way.
Zelda expansion, Death Stranding and other titles hyped at The Game Awards
The Game Awards, an event that’s exactly what it sounds like, took place shortly ago and, like any gaming event, it was shot through with trailers and announcements. What’s the biggest announcement, you ask? It’s probably a tie between the sudden release of a new expansion for Zelda: Breath of the Wild and a teaser for the next project from From Software, the creators of Dark Souls and Bloodborne.
Well, let’s be honest – a new Zelda expansion, available now, is pretty much the only thing that matters in the world. Everything else can wait.
The Champions’ Ballad appears to be a follow-up to the original story, with the four champions working to defeat “the beast” once and for all. More importantly, there’s new horse armor that lets you teleport your mount to your location instantly. New weapons and armor await, and it also looks like there are a number of new shrines and larger dungeons. Oh, and you get an “ancient” motorcycle. I’d be playing it now if I hadn’t left my Zelda cartridge in the U.S. when I crossed the pond for Disrupt Berlin. What was I thinking?!
Less immediate but perhaps ultimately more intriguing is From Software’s minimal trailer for its new game, which has no name but does have a tagline: “Shadows Die Twice.” Some speculate this is a reboot of Shadow Tower, one of From’s earliest games, but others point out that not only is this a line from venerated ninja series Tenchu, but the music and writing suggest a Japanese theme. No one is quite sure what the gruesome hardware on display is, though my guess is it’s a grapple made from a bone.
Next on the hype train is Death Stranding, the next project from Hideo Kojima, of Metal Gear fame. In the longest and most substantive look at the game so far, which really isn’t saying much, we see a space-suited-up Norman Reedus attempting in vain to hide from invisible and enigmatic pursuers that seem to be attracted to… suffering? Life? Anything but the baby in bottle that later turns up inside Reedus.
We’re really no wiser than we were before, but Kojima’s eye for the uncanny and dramatic is clear. He may be rather off the rails, but often our most interesting artists are.
Some other trailers of note: The developers of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, a creepy mystery, show off their latest project, Witchfire.
But if you were expecting another somber, slow-moving affair, the developers would like to remind you that they were also behind the excellent Painkiller and underrated Bulletstorm. It looks like a high-energy shoot-em-up in a strange, arcane world.
I’m particularly interested in Campo Santo’s In the Valley of the Gods, in which it appears you and a partner (likely computer controlled) infiltrate a tomb not to raid it, but to document it with an old-timey movie camera.
Perhaps you’re not as much of an antiquarian as I am, but this looks like it should be a very interesting little adventure.
Some other things worth noting: Bayonetta 3 was teased as a Switch exclusive, along with remasters of 1 and 2. This should please hardcore action fans who might not be satisfied with the console’s otherwise great selection of games.
And the soul still burns: Soul Calibur 6 was announced, though honestly I’m still happy to play the original on Dreamcast.
Nvidia’s Shield TV offers Wii and GameCube games in HD in China
Nvidia just rolled out a very interesting selection of software for its over-the-top Shield TV box in China – Wii games, running in 1080p resolution, including New Super Mario Bros. Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and PUNCH-OUT!!. It’s only in China, where Shield TV is launching for the first time, but it’s an official tie-up between Nvidia and Nintendo, which could offer some hope, however narrow, that this could make its way to other Shield hardware around the world.
Remastered Wii games on the Shield TV retail for around $10 per title, and other games including Metroid Prime and Super Mario Galaxy will eventually make their way to the platform, too.
Nvidia and Nintendo have partnered before now, of course – the graphics hardware maker created the processor that powers the Nintendo Switch portable hybrid game console. China has also been a tricky market for Nintendo to operate within thanks to a ban on video game consoles first instituted in 2000 and lifted only in 2015.
Lest you hope that Shield TV playing Wii games could be a sign that ports arrive on Android more broadly, take note that the Shield TV Nvidia is selling in China is “completely localized,” with its own store and local content and Baidu’s DuerOS and iQIYI media service, so there’s a lot of this that is going to be totally unique to China.
New Destiny 2 Alexa skills let you ask Ghost to do stuff in-game
Destiny 2 fans will know that you get your own virtual assistant of source in the game world – Ghost, who sort of floats around and guides you. The new Alexa skill for Destiny 2 allows you to ask Ghost to do a number of things for you, including provide guidance about your in-game mission, calling backup, equipping different armour and weapon sets and providing lore and fictional world background info.
This is clearly an example of ‘brands being brands’ ™ and teaming up to make each other look cool, but the integration is actually pretty neat, especially because it works with a physical, Wi-Fi connected Ghost speaker accessory that Bungie and Activision also revealed. The speaker doesn’t have Alexa on board directly, but can pair with Alexa devices and provides an even more realistic simulation of actually speaking to the in-game companion character.
Alexa-based voice commands for calling up info and doing things like equipment and inventory management without having to open sub-menus and dig through complex visual interfaces in games actually sounds like a super cool feature that could be applicable to a range of different titles and genres beyond Destiny 2.
The Alexa skill for Destiny 2 requires on the game, and an Alexa device like an Echo to work. But if you want to grab the Ghost speaker, it’s an $89.99 pre-order with a ship date of December 19, 2017.
I already use Alexa to control my home theater, fans, my lights, my thermostat and a lot more, so why not also use it to up my gaming skills? Here’s hoping this turns into a trend.
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