Friday, 29 July 2011

Super Mario Heading To Nintendo 3DS For Christmas...2012.

To read the new release date details, please CLICK HERE
2012 - The year of  Mario?

Mini Gamers was conducting the usual trawl through the 'New Releases' and 'Coming Soon' sections of various online retailers, looking for items which might be of interest to our readers, when we spotted that the highly-anticipated 3DS game, Super Mario 3D had now been given a release date on the website.

However, our initial joy soon turned to disapointment when we realised that the date provided was actually for the 2nd of December next year (2012).

Furthermore, the original Nintendo 3DS release calendar cited the potential North-American release date for the game as 'Holiday 2011', but it seems as though this may now also be delayed until sometime next year.

It is unclear whether MarioKart 3D, which it was also hoped would make a 2011 debut will now also be given a 2012 release date, but we can reveal that two other Mario-related 3DS titles - Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and Luigi's Mansion 2 are both scheduled for release on the 3DS console next year, making 2012 the year of Mario 3D.

Nevertheless, the news of a 2012 release is likely to be a huge source of disappointment to both Mario and 3DS fans alike. The 3DS has failed to reach estimated sales figures over the last few months, which has now resulted in a swift price-drop by Nintendo.

One of the main reasons that the 3DS is thought to be unpopular outside of Japan is the lack of many big name 3DS titles, including MarioKart 3D and Super Mario 3D, amongst others.

Thus, it could be argued that by delaying Super Mario 3D until the end of next year, Nintendo have only served to worsen the overall perception of the 3DS as an expensive but short-lived product in the current gaming market.

In fact, the only good thing about Super Mario 3D being released in the UK in December 2012, is that it will give gamers plenty of time to save up money to buy the game. That's if the Nintendo 3DS is still in circulation by that date, of course...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Skimpy line-up, Hefty Price Tag, Game Cancellations - Has Nintendo Failed the 3DS?

The Nintendo 3DS was launched a little over four months ago, but dispite its very unique selling-point - real 3D gaming without the need for glasses, it has sold only 3.61 million units since its inception, which is well-below the 4 million units that Nintendo had originally estimated.

Prior to its release on the 25th March 2011, the Nintendo 3DS was "the most pre-ordered video games system ever" according to online retailer Amazon UK [sourced from:].

However, just a few months later, the console appears to be in trouble. Mini Gamers recently announced that several popular 3DS games had been cancelled, with a few more titles being delayed, pending a cancellation decision. What has prompted video games publishers to do this?

Sega has openly admitted that it has delayed two of its debut 3DS titles - Crush 3D and Shinobi because of the lack of success of the 3DS console in the current gaming market. 

According to Sega Studio Chief, Paul Mottram: "We did our first 3DS title - we got Crush onto that, but we had to delay the release of that because of the [lack of] success of the platform." [sourced from:]

So, what has caused the Nintendo 3DS console to sell far below expectation? There are a few speculative reasons as to why the Nintendo 3DS has failed to attract enough attention in the gaming market so far.

Some people blame the expensive launch price of the 3DS for its lack of success. Although the Japanese version of the 3DS console retailed at a fixed price of under £200, (25,000 Yen), the European price of the console was set by individual retailers, which meant that prices varied wildly between £219 to £250. This made the Nintendo 3DS the most expensive handheld console to date, which was quite off-putting to many handheld gamers.

Another potential reason as to why the Nintendo 3DS has failed to sell the estimated amount of units outside of Japan, is the somewhat weak European launch games line-up. The highest-selling 3DS game at the Japanese launch was Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle, which sold 119,551 copies in its first launch weekend, and undoubtly contributed to the success of the 3DS in its native country.

However, when it was revealed that Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle would not be included in the European launch, it came as a disappointment. Worse still, other popular Nintendo game franchises were also not included in the line-up.

In fact, it was revealed that some of the most popular 3DS titles, including MarioKart 3D (see screenshot), Super Mario Bros 3DMetal Gear Solid 3D, and Resident Evil: Revelations amongst others, would in fact not debut on the console until Winter 2011.

It has been argued in certain gaming circles, that if some of these more popular franchises had been part of the original launch games, it would have encouraged more gamers to trade in their DS consoles for a 3DS. Instead, many gamers have decided to wait until these titles are released, thus, affecting the overall popularity of the 3DS console.

A further reason for the lack of success of the 3DS console is that many of the unique features were not available at the original launch. This included the console's eShop and Internet Browser, and the Nintendo Video Service

These interactive features would have helped to make the 3DS stand out amongst its handheld competitors at launch and would have made the console appear much more versatile. Nevertheless, gamers had to wait several months for these applications to become available, by which time the console was already struggling to maintain good sales figures.

A Netflix film download service has now launched on the 3DS in North-America and is expected to launch in the UK and the rest of Europe some time next year.  It is hoped that this service will raise the console's public profile and lead to more sales, but at this point there is no way of knowing whether this plan will succeed.

Nintendo has now set itself the target of selling at least 16 million 3DS units by the end of the Fiscal year (which is the end of April 2012 in Japan). However, even Nintendo President Sotaru Iwata knows that this will be impossible if big name titles are not released before the end of the year. 

In a recent article on the Nintendo Life website, Mr. Iwata admitted that if big name titles such as MarioKart 3D and Animal Crossing 3D were not released by the beginning of 2012 at the latest, then the target figure of 16 million units was nothing more than a pipe dream.

He said: "If any one of the titles you mentioned right now is not released within this fiscal year, I do not believe that we will sell 16 million units of Nintendo 3DS hardware this fiscal year." [Sourced from:]

Mini Gamers was very impressed with the 3DS console during our review earlier this year, and we are incredibly surprised that the console has not managed to exceed original sales estimations.

 The recent 3DS game cancellations have only helped to fuel the growing accusations that the 3DS is a novelty console whose success could only ever be short-lived.

Nevertheless, it is clear that the next few months will be vital in determining whether the 3DS can become the success that it was originally meant to be...


Do you believe that the 3DS is a failure?

What can Nintendo do in the next 12 months to ensure that the 3DS can be a success?

If you would like to comment on any of the issues raised above, then please leave a message in our Comment's Box below. We'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Australia Gets R18+ Games Rating

It could be argued that videogames has long since ceased to be thought of as a 'teenage' pastime. With more and more games hitting the shelves every year, developers have begun to widen the net on their target audience.

Whilst some developers have chosen to target parents and very young gamers by producing many family-orientated titles that allow children and parents to play together, other developers have gone in the opposite direction all together, prefering to make 'Adults Only' or R18 games. This has also lead to greater classification restrictions on violent and otherwise explicit games.

Now Australia has finally joined the list of countries which allow an R18+ games classification. It has taken campaigners almost a decade to persuade the Australian Government that such a classification was needed in order to stop minors getting their hands on inappropriate gaming material. The new classification changes are expected to be enforced in early 2012.

On Friday 22nd July 2011, all Australian states ( with the exception of New South Wales) agreed that violent and sexually-explicit games would now be rebranded as R18+, which would then replace the previous rating MA15+, although it is uncertain what form this may take.

In a press release on Friday, the Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor explained how the new classification would help to curtail the risk of inappropriate videogames falling into the hands of gamers who were too young to play them. He said:

"The introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games will provide better advice to parents and help prevent children and teenagers from accessing unsuitable material. Once introduced, the new classification will also afford adults the opportunity to view material designed for adults."
[Sourced from:]

Left 4 Dead: M15+ or R18+, that is the question...

 However, it could be argued that the introduction of an R18+ classification is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the legally-enforced classification means that shops will be forbidden from selling games to a youngster who is below the legal age limit.

 On the other hand, it also gives developers the right to produce highly violent and morally corrupt videogames on the understanding that they will only be played by adults, who are said to be mature enough to process fiction from reality.

Left 4 Dead is a good example. The game was originally considered too violent under Australian law and had to be toned down by the developers so that it could attain the highest classification possible at that time, which was MA15+ (not to be played by anyone under 15). Under the new laws, the game would automatically be given an R18+ rating and be released to the public uncensored.

Characters from the later Left 4 Dead games all depicted with weapons

The question is, then: Do R18+ classifications really help to censor and control violent images which may be viewed by young children and impressionable teenagers, or do they in fact encourage the production of even more violent games, which can then still be accessed by youngsters if left around in the family home?

The sad truth is, there is probably no way of knowing for sure...

Surely videogames developers must have some obligation to ensure that in the production of extremely violent videogames, they do not interfere with the correct moral development of impressionable minds.

Moral development is concerned with the process by which young people and those of an impressionable nature internalise the rules and expectations of society. In other words, the moral compass by which they learn about right and wrong.

Thus, Adult Only videogames (should these be viewed by people who are deemed too young to fully-differentiate between violence in a videogame environment and violent acts commited in the real world), can disrupt the moral compass, and nurture an individual who sees these potential acts of violence and depravity, as the norm.


What do you think about the Australian R18+ classification?
Do you think that games which deal with mature themes should be labelled as Adults-Only?
What effect might R18+ classification have on the future of videogames as a whole?
If you would like to share your thoughts on this issue, please leave a COMMENT in the Comments' Box below. Thank you.

See Also:

PEGI & ERSB: What Those Age Ratings Really Mean

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Why Have These Popular 3DS Games Been Cancelled?

It has only been four months since the Nintendo 3DS launched throughout the UK and the rest of Europe, but already several top video games publishers have announced that they are cancelling their up and coming titles for the handheld console.

The list of 3DS games which have been confirmed as having been cancelled includes the following:

Saints Row: Drive By

My Garden

Assassin's Creed:  Lost Legacy

Mega Man Legends 3


Tetris 3D

Omega Five

As well as the above confirmed cancellations, there are also four more games whose production has been halted, pending decisions on whether to cancel them or not. These games are as follows:

DJ Hero (delayed, pending cancellation decision)

Crush 3D (delayed, pending cancellation decision)

Shinobi (delayed, pending cancellation decision)

BloodRayne: The Shroud (delayed, pending cancellation decision)

It is unclear why  many of these games have been axed, but what is even more worrying is that these titles come from big-name franchises and developers, and thus should have been extremely popular upon their release.

However, Sega has come forward and announced that it has chosen to delay their pre-released games, Crush 3D and Shinobi because of potential poor sales of the Nintendo 3DS console.

Studio Chief, Paul Mottram spoke to GameIndustryBiz about the cancellations recently. He said: "we're finding that everyone is not knowing what platform is going to succeed - we did our first 3DS title - we got Crush onto that, but we had to delay the release of that because of the success of the platform." [sourced from:]

Assassin's Creed: Legacy cancelled? Why?!?

The cancellations are also going to mean big gaps in the current 3DS release schedule, meaning that Nintendo 3DS users will have to wait even longer before new titles become available.

Nevertheless, It seems as though some of the cancellations have nothing to do with the Nintendo 3DS at all, but are rather the unfortunate consequences of major shifts within the video games industry instead.

For example, DJ Hero for the 3DS has reportedly been delayed, pending cancellation, because Activision is eventually planning to cease production of ALL its music-related game series, including Guitar Hero for the Wii, PS3 and Xbox because of: "Continued Declines in the Music genre..." [sourced from:]

Furthermore, according to a recent article on the CVG website, new 3DS titles like Bomberman and Tetris 3D, which were going to be developed by Hudson Soft, may have in fact been cancelled because of a company shift in which Hudson Soft has now become a wholly-owned, (as opposed to partially-owned,) subsidary of Konami, but this has not yet been confirmed.

However, even if this is the case, it still does not explain why other well-known videogame developers including EA (My Garden), THQ (Saints Row: Drive By) and Ubisoft (Assassin's Creed: Lost Legacy) have all cancelled their 3DS projects as well.

These game cancellations certainly do not bode well for the future of the Nintendo 3DS. An article for summed up the problem nicely: " If developer after developer jumps ship, what kind of message does it send studios thinking about making a 3DS title?" [Sourced From:]

Mini Gamers is very disappointed to learn that these cancellations have occurred. The hope of the 3DS now rests with the other highly-anticipated game titles such as Resident Evil: Revelations, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater, Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle, Kid Icarus: Uprising, StarFox 64 3D, MarioKart 3D, to name but a few.

However, it has to be said that with many of the above games not being released until Winter 2011 at the earliest in Europe, 3DS gamers could be in for a long and boring wait before something truly interesting comes along.

Let's just hope that these games can do enough upon their release to promote and secure the Nintendo 3DS' dominance in the handheld gaming market over the next twelve months or so.


What do you think of the above cancellations?

Do you think these cancellations will harm the Nintendo 3DS' reputation?
If you would like to share your opinions with other readers on the blogsite, then please leave your comment in our comment's box. We appreciate your thoughts.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Professor Layton and the Specter's Flute/Last Specter Gets New Title For Its UK Release Date...

*Professor Layton 4 Release Date Announced. CLICK HERE for details...*

Professor Layton is one of a few videogame series to which the question: 'What's in a name?' seems to be of great importance. The previous three games in the series all had different Japanese, American and UK titles, and it now seems that the fourth game  is set to continue this trend.

The game was initially released in Japan as Professor Layton and the Specter's Flute. However at E3 2011, a new trailer revealed that the game would also be known as Professor Layton and the Last Specter. The Trailer also revealed a North-American release date of 'Fall 2011'.

However, a recent announcement about the UK release revealed that the fourth Professor Layton game would have a different title yet again. Apparently the UK version of the game will now be known as Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call

Unfortunately, there is still no specific UK release date yet, although the game is apparently still scheduled for release in the UK some time in  late 2011, which means that it will probably hit the shelves in time for the Christmas rush, but this is purely conjecture at the moment.

However, it is now also looking increasingly likely that the long-awaited fifth game in the series, Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle, which will make its debut on the Nintendo 3DS, will now not reach UK stores until 2012 at the earliest.

Keep checking in with the Mini Gamers blogsite for more news on this game as it develops.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Game of the Week: Dream Trigger 3D [3DS]

Dream Trigger 3D is a brand-new Arcade Shooter game specifically for the Nintendo 3DS. In the game, players must use 'Sonar' (a set of coloured squares on the bottom touchscreen) along with rhythmic music, in order to locate and shoot flying enemies in over fifty stunning 3D enviroments.

The overall plot of Dream Trigger 3D is pretty loose. You must locate and shoot various enemies whilst using a cycling trigger system with a close-up reticule for improved targetting if needed. The idea is to return each environment to a peaceful enemy-free state before moving on to the next level.

Enemies are shown on the bottom screen as a set of pixalated purple squares (see screenshot above). Nevertheless, it is still hard to spot them amongst the mass of other colours and shapes within the environment, so keeping a close eye on the patterns of the bottom screen is a must.

Once enemies have been located and their overall attack pattern formulated, players can then plant Sonar Bombs along the enemies' trajectory.

This helps to expose your enemies, which in turn can increase your ammo - a definite necessity in this game, as the enemy bullets tend to rain down on you pretty relentlessly.

The bright 3D graphics help to make the environments both a stunning and slightly hypnotic experience. However, this trippy style may not be to everyone's taste.

Nevertheless, the game has been especially designed for use with the 3DS console, and is therefore a unique and endearing game which can definitely hold its own amongst the various game 'remakes' which have graced the 3DS console so far.

In conclusion, this is a simple little game once the controls have been mastered. The 3D graphics are stunning and are put to great use within each of the environments on offer. However, the bright colours and music rhythms may not appeal to some hardcore shooter fans.

If you have a 3DS and are looking for a unique, graphically stunning, single-player game with high replay value, then this is most definitely the game for you. Overall rating: 8/10.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Nintendo Launches European Video Service For The 3DS

It's finally here! Nintendo has launched its much anticipated Nintendo Video Service throughout Europe tonight.

The video service, (which is available to download  for free from the Nintendo 3DS eShop), will provide short  2D and 3D video clips and films to 3DS users. The video service in the UK has already provided two separate free video samples - 3D Magic and Oasis Cup, which will both be available until the 20th of July 2011.

3D Magic is a very short video clip showing an unknown Magician doing simple card tricks for the camera. The use of 3D is quite subtle in this clip, but still looks amazing on the 3DS screen. The magic tricks aren't that bad either...

Oasis Cup is a seven-minute short film about a little lizard called Oscar Oasis. This quirky and humorous little film is definitely worth a look. It shows how Oscar and his friends cope whilst they are lost in the desert.

The 3D is amazing and certainly sets the pace for any future short films which might appear on the new Nintendo 3DS Video Service.

The Video Service also includes Internet links to the videos that it uses where available. This means that if you wish to find out more about Oscar Oasis, you can click the 'Oscar on Internet' link and be taken to relevant web pages about Oscar Oasis and TeamTo - the very talented Production Team behind the animated series.

Spotpass notifications for the Video Service can also be set to 'ON'. This means that new videos can be downloaded even when the console is in Sleep Mode.

It may not be the full 3D film service that many users had been hoping for, but the new Nintendo Video service provides an extra interactive element for the 3DS, and, if the two video samples are anything to go by, the service is shaping up to be something very interesting indeed.


What do you think of the Nintendo Video Service so far?

Does it live up to your expectations?

Do you like the two sample videos?

What suggestions do you have for future 3DS videos?

Please leave us a comment in our 'Comment's Box' and let us know what you think. We'd love to hear your thoughts.