Friday, 28 March 2014

Nintendo To End Its Video Service on the 3DS and Cease Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection Services on Wii and DS...

Nintendo has announced through their official Japanese website that after nearly an entire decade of offering unique downloadable content for various Nintendo games, Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, will be coming to an end. This means the end of online functionality for over sixty Wii and Nintendo DS titles.

The service is expected to end on the 20th May 2014, and includes online applications such as:  online play, matchmaking and leaderboards for many Wii, Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi games such as Animal Crossing: Wild World, 100 Classic BooksMario Kart DS, and Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass to name but a few. A full list of the affected titles for both Wii and DS can be found here.

Nintendo have stressed that not all online services will be affected and that applications such as The Wii's Internet Channel, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Nintendo DS Browser, Nintendo DSi Browser, Nintendo DSi Shop and YouTube will be completely unchanged.

There was further bad news for fans of the Nintendo Video Service on the 3DS. The application which allows users to watch and download free 3D film trailers, animated shorts, SKY 3D trailers and various 3D videos will also cease its services on the 31st March 2014. Purchased and downloaded 3D videos from the Nintendo eShop will be unaffected by the cessation of this service.

No reason has so far been given for why these services have been discontinued, but we can all hope that these changes may hail the arrival of some newer and more exciting services from Nintendo in the near future. Fingers crossed!

Monday, 10 March 2014

One To Watch: Dr. Kawashima's Devilish Brain Training [3DS]

It's finally here! The latest installment of Dr. Kawashima's hugely successful Brain Training franchise is set to arrive on the 3DS in the UK for the very first time. Dr. Kawashima's Devilish Brain Training: Can you stay focused? was first announced back in 2012, but despite several rumours that the game would be scheduled for European release on the 8th March 2013, it failed to appear - until now.

The game, (which is also known as Dr. Kawashima's Concentration Training outside of Europe,) offers another difficult set of mental agility challenges for players to complete, but whereas previous titles in this series have tended to focus more broadly on logic, mathematics comprehension, perception and long-term memory recall, each of the exercises in Dr. Kawashima's Devilish Brain Training: Can you stay focused? have something to do with concentration and training the player's working (short-term) memory to stay focused whilst facing various distractions.

So, what exactly has the game got to offer fans of the series? Well, Dr. Kawashima's Devilish Brain Training: Can you stay focused? offers a total of thirty daily exercises and minigames, including eighteen exercises which have never appeared in the previous Brain Training games. Furthermore, many of the featured core exercises can be uniquely tailored for brain training enthusiasts of all abilities.

For example, Devilish Calculations challenges players to recall the answer to a previous mathematical problem while paying attention to the next one in line. The questions come thick and fast and it will take all of a player's concentration skills to successfully remember all of the required information without making any mistakes.

Meanwhile, Devilish Mice,  challenges players to simultaneously track the path of some mice while they are being chased by cats. It sounds simple but it's a lot harder than it might first appear.

However, this is where the game usefully adapts itself to the player's performance and understanding. If players struggle during the exercise and seem to perform badly, then the game dynamically adjusts the difficulty based on the player's real-time results. By offering a difficult challenge from the start and shifting the difficulty to match the player's individual performance, Dr. Kawashima's Devilish Brain Training: Can you stay focused? constantly pushes players to attain new high scores, helping them to stay alert, engaged and to use their short-term memory to its fullest.

As well as putting themselves to the test with the daily challenges on offer, players can also build up their concentration skills via the Training Supplements mode, which seeks to further train the brain using other exercises from those that are completed during the daily challenges. Players who are feeling confident in their short-term memory capabilities may also wish to complete the difficult Concentration Challenge

Furthermore, Dr. Kawashima's Devilish Brain Training: Can you stay focused? has now made it even easier for players to compete against friends and family by using multiple save slots to keep different profiles on a single Game Cartridge.

Like many other 3DS games, Dr. Kawashima's Devilish Brain Training: Can you stay focused? will now use the 3DS' StreetPass to trade data with other users of the game and allows players the chance to compete against one another to attain the best brain training challenge scores.

 The actual UK release date for the game is yet to be confirmed, but with more screenshots and a newly-designed European boxshot cover design slowly emerging on the Internet, it would seem that Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training days are far from over. 

The following video presentation from Nintendo Direct (originally filmed in December 2012) helps to give an idea of the gameplay and challenges that players can expect to see during the game. If you are having trouble viewing the video on your device, please CLICK HERE.

As with the previous games in the series, Dr. Kawashima's Devilish Brain Training: Can you stay focused?  has a nice 'adult' feel to it, whilst still remaining entertaining and accessible enough to appeal to slightly younger gamers as well, making it a very good family game. 

If you enjoyed the previous Brain Training games but are looking for a new challenge, or if you just feel that your short-term memory could do with a work-out, then this is definitely the perfect game for you. Overall rating: 9/10.

Keep checking in with the Mini Gamers blogsite for more release date and gameplay information on this game as it arrives!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Jack Tretton Steps Down as CEO of SCEA...

Jack Tretton has formally announced his decision to step down from his position as the President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America [SCEA] after almost twenty years with the company.

 This decision has reportedly been a "result of a mutual agreement between Mr. Tretton and SCEA not to renew their contractual relationship", according to the official Sony press release. [sourced from:]

Jack Tretton first began working at the SCEA during its inception in in 1995 and has been personally  overseen the development of every single PlayStation gaming console to date, including the PS Vita handheld.

He has become a familiar face to many PlayStation fans, who have witnessed him giving several presentations at big gaming events like E3 over the years. During these presentations, Tretton never failed to show how proud he was of the SCEA and how grateful he was to its many fans for their continued support in the growth of the PlayStation brand.

Today, Jack Tretton echoed those sentiments in the following statement: "Serving PlayStation fans for the past 19 years has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my career. Your passion for gaming inspired me every day. I want to thank you for constantly pushing PlayStation to deliver breakthrough gaming and entertainment experiences, and to never settle for “good enough.” The embodiment of this commitment can be found in the PS4, which has quickly become the #1 next-gen console worldwide...thanks to you. We’ve shared many memories over the past two decades and I’ll always be grateful for your support." [sourced from:]

Tretton has also been noted as helping to lead the company to several important company milestones, including surpassing fifty million units sold with the PlayStation 2 in North America, and aggressively growing the PlayStation business in Canada and Latin America

Most recently, Tretton led the record-breaking launch of the PS4, which sold more than one million units in 24 hours in North America and is now considered to be the number one next generation gaming console in North America and worldwide.

Thus, it seems like an odd time from the CEO to step down from his position. Nevertheless, it seems as though Jack Tretton wishes to leave the company on a high note. In a message posted to the Playstation blog earlier today, Tretton announced: "I leave knowing that the PlayStation brand has never been stronger, PlayStation 4 momentum continues to accelerate, and the future will only get brighter for our gamers" [sourced from:]

Jack Tretton will officially step down at the end of March 2014. The current Vice-President of SCEA, Shawn Layden, is set to take over from Tretton on the first of April this year.

Layden announced that he is very excited to be given the opportunity to lead the Playstation brand into the next generation. He said: "It's an honor and privilege to join Sony Computer Entertainment America and be a part of the team that is leading the next generation of gaming and entertainment. SCEA is committed to delivering breakthrough gaming experiences that inspire fans and exceed their wildest expectations. As PS4 shows us every day, there has never been a better time to be part of the PlayStation community and I look forward to working with our retail, development, publishing and network partners to further demonstrate why PlayStation is the best place to play." [sourced from:]

It remains uncertain  how the departure of such an influential figure such as Jack Tretton will ultimately effect the PlayStation brand, but Shawn Layden, (a fifteen year veteran with the Sony Computer Entertainment corporation himself,) certainly has some very big shoes to fill if he is to succeed in his mission to continue the success that the SCEA has seen under his predecessor.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Sci-Fi Adventure Forma.8 Coming To PS Vita and PS4!

Forma.8 is a new action-adventure game from Italian indie game developers, Mixedbag. The plot for this game is a fairly simple one.

The game is set in the future, where a small space probe known as Forma.8 has been abandoned on a small alien planet with one important mission - find and recover a powerful energy source deep under the surface before it’s too late to save humanity.

However, things are not as simple as they first appear, and Forma.8 will have to face many battles (and boss battles) with some unforeseen hostile enemies before it can finally complete its mission. Nevertheless, this game is very innovative in that it is up to the players of the game to decide how and where the game unfolds next.

Forma.8 starts with no powers, no weapons, and no hints of what to do or where to go. There is no verbal communication in the game at all, instead everything is conveyed to the player with images, sounds, and the gameplay itself.

Players must explore the planet independently, collecting powers sometimes having to deal with alien hostiles along the way, and gradually unlock the rest of the story. Physics plays a big part in the game too; everything in the in-game world is physics based, with plants, ropes, liquids, enemies, rocks,etc., all interacting and reacting in a realistic way, which helps to add unexpected twists to the game.

The graphics of Forma.8 are also very unique, and consists mainly of hand-drawn vector lines, which have then been rendered in HD to create a very smooth-looking, slightly strange but beautiful environment.

Very little is known about Forma.8 at the moment as the game is still in development, but is expected to become available for download from the PS store by Spring 2014. If you want a space adventure with a difference, then this might just be the game you are looking for.