Thursday, 15 May 2014

New Pokemon X and Y Online Battles Announced!

According to information published today by Nintendo, Pokémon X and Pokémon Y fans can now participate in seven new International online competitions.

Players will have the opportunity to earn Championship Points toward a possible invitation to the 2014 Pokémon World Championships by participating in the 2014 International Challenge May or June tournaments.

The worldwide tournament series allows new and experienced Pokémon competitors to battle others online. Here’s the upcoming Pokémon X and Y  Online Competitions schedule:
  • May 16–18: 2014 International Challenge May. [Registration Closed]
  • June 6–8: Think Fast Competition: Single Battle.
  • Late June: 2014 International Challenge June.
  • July: Eevee Friendly Match [Name TBD].
  • July: All Star Battle [Name TBD].
  • August: Think Fast Competition: Double Battle.
  • Fall: Fairy-type Cup [Name TBD].
  • Fall: Halloween Party [Name TBD].
The Think Fast Competition:  This will be one ten minute Single Battle, with a 30-second preview of the opponent’s Pokémon and just fifteen seconds to choose a move each turn. Only the fastest thinkers will win!

In August, the Think Fast Competition: Double Battle means that players will be forced to go into battle without seeing a preview of their opponent’s Pokémon team, and each player can have only one Pokémon in reserve, a total of three Pokémon per side in each battle.

Eevee Friendly Match: [Name TBC]. Only Eevee and its evolved forms of Pokémon  can participate in this battle.

The Rotation Battle format: adds a new component to the competition.

 International Challenge June : Put your battling skills to the test. The 2014 International Challenge June is open to all Pokémon X and Pokémon Y players around the world.

The July All-Star Battle [Name TBD] will use the Double Battle format where up to two Legendary and Mythical Pokémon can be included on a team.

The Fairy-type Cup [Name TBC] occurs in this Winter, and it’s a competition where entry will be limited to Fairy-type Pokémon. The battle format is still yet to be confirmed.

the Halloween Party [Name TBD]  will take place this October and will feature a special Single Battle competition for Ghost-type Pokémon only. Every contestant’s Battle Box must include Gourgeist.

 Pokémon UK National Championships are set to take place between May 24th and May 25th 2014, in Manchester.

Registration deadlines for the Think Fast Competition: Single Battle and the 2014 International Challenge June are coming up quickly, so you will need to register in order to get a possible invitation to the 2014 Pokémon World Championships, which take place August 16–17 in Washington, DC.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Pokemon Art Academy Spin-Off WILL Get UK Release...

Nintendo have announced that a special Pokemon edition of Art Academy will be released for the 3DS in Japan,  North America and Europe throughout 2014.

The game was originally thought of as a Japanese exclusive, (given the popularity of the Pokemon franchise in Japan) but UK fans can now look forward to drawing their favourite Pokemon characters when the game debuts in Europe on the 4th July 2014.

According to the game's specifications, players can take part in forty step-by-step art lessons, which will teach them to paint and draw many different Pokemon, including: Picachu, Oshawott, Charizard, Torchic, Fletchling and Fennekin, amongst others.

As with the other Art Academy games, lessons will gradually increase in skill and difficulty, allowing players the chance to really see their progress. Players will start out by sketching the basic Pokemon cartoon shapes, but will later be taught to add depth, colour, shading and perspective to their drawings.

This special Pokemon edition of Art Academy will also allow players to take pictures using the 3DS camera and use them as a reference when creating their art in the Free Paint mode, which lets players draw their own Pokemon characters from scratch or allows them to use provided images of over 100 Pokemon as reference.

Furthermore, all of the artwork created in the Free Paint mode can be uploaded via the Miiverse application of the 3DS to be shared with other players around the world. A new Japanese trailer shows some of the techniques that will be explored during the game:

(Having trouble viewing this trailer? CLICK HERE)

We here at Mini Gamers HQ are very excited about the prospect of a new Art Academy game and we look forward to bringing you all a full review of the game when it launches in July.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Nintendo Appologizes For Tomodachi Life Same-Sex Exclusion - Is It Too Little Too Late?

Nintendo have today issued a further apology to ts fans following the mass outcry about the lack of same-sex couples in their upcoming life simulation game, Tomodachi Life, which is scheduled to be released in America and Europe on the 6th of June 2014.

Nintendo had previously defended its position about the lack of same-sex marriage within the game by claiming that the game was "Not a social commentary" on gay marriage. Today however, Nintendo sought to clarify their position via a message posted on the Nintendo website. The full message can be read below:

We are committed to fun and entertainment for everyone

We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to change this game’s design, and such a significant development change can’t be accomplished with a post-ship patch. At Nintendo, dedication has always meant going beyond the games to promote a sense of community, and to share a spirit of fun and joy. We are committed to advancing our longtime company values of fun and entertainment for everyone. We pledge that if we create a next installment in the Tomodachi series, we will strive to design a game-play experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players.
Sourced from:

Tomodachi Life's exclusion of same-sex couples (however unwitting that exclusion might be) has angered many fans and attracted the attention of Gay and Lesbian Rights groups such as GLAAD. A Spokesperson for GLAAD recently criticised Nintendo:  "In purposefully limiting players' relationship options, Nintendo is not only sending a hurtful message to many of its fans and consumers by excluding them, but also setting itself way behind the times," [Sourced from:]

It is yet unclear whether the lack of same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life will definitely have an adverse effect on sales when it is released in Europe next month, but it is a shame that Nintendo did not consider this issue before choosing to release the game to a Western audience. Let's all hope video games producers can learn a lesson from Nintendo's mistake and make games without such inequality in the future.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Sparkle 2 Coming Soon To PS3 and PS Vita...

Yes, the award-winning match-3 game is back with new challenges, new game modes and over ninety different levels in the aptly titled Sparkle 2, which will be available for download from the PS Store soon.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Sparkle series, Sparkle 2 is an addictive indie game where players must score points by matching rows of orbs of the same colour. The gameplay is simple: Tap where you want to shoot an Orb. Match any three Orbs of the same colour to clear them and earn points. Make several matches in a row to earn special power-ups. Try to prevent your orbs from falling into the abyss as you search for amulets that will give you the ability to change the game rules and help you score even bigger matches.

Sparkle 2 is expected to take full advantage of the Vita's touchscreen capabilities and will feature HD graphics, which its predecessor sadly lacked. Little is known about the actual gameplay at present, but this interesting teaser trailer looks very promising:

(Having trouble viewing this trailer? CLICK HERE)

Sparkle 2 will be heading to the PS Vita and PS3 on the 21st of May 2014, with a PS4 version also debuting later in the year. If you like match-3 games but are still unsure whether the game will appeal to you, a free trial version will be available to download from the PS Store within the next few days. Watch this space!

Monday, 5 May 2014

Nintendo stands firm over 'No Gay Couples' Tomodachi Life Policy...

Nintendo of America has announced that its  Tomodachi Life 3DS game will NOT be altered to allow same-sex couples to fall in love or get married when the game is released in America and Europe in June. The announcement comes after it was revealed in a Kotaku article last month that the Japanese game had originally contained a 'glitch' that allowed same-sex couples to exist within the game. This was part of a software bug which, as well as allowing same-sex relationships, also allowed Tomodachi Mii characters to be assigned to various already-married Mii households within the game.

Nintendo quickly created a patch code to correct the glitch, which then made it impossible to assign new Mii characters to married households, and furthermore, made it impossible for same-sex characters fall in love, get married or have children. Same-sex couples were never part of the original game as gay marriage is still illegal in Japan.

As the Western release of the game is based on the original Japanese codes, players in America and Europe will also be denied the chance to create same-sex couples, which has angered Nintendo fans who argue that as the game is supposed to be a realistic representation of their own social group of friends and family, they should have the right to choose to have same-sex couples within the game.

Tye Marini,a gay 23-year old Nintendo fan from Arizona, had launched a campaign urging Nintendo to allow same-sex relationships. The Social Media "Miiquality" campaign had been fighting to get Nintendo to change their mind about the marriage equality in Tomodachi Life, as he argued that fans who chose to create same-sex couples within the game would never be able to experience much of the exclusive content that becomes unlocked after characters have fallen in love.

Nintendo has responded to its angry fans by claiming that:  "Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of 'Tomodachi Life', the relationship options in the game represent a playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation. We hope that all of our fans will see that 'Tomodachi Life' was intended to be a whimsical and quirky game, and that we were absolutely not trying to provide social commentary." [sourced from:]

Nevertheless, whether the game was intended to provide a social commentary or not, as a game which has marketed itself on allowing players to recreate Mii avatars of their own family and friends and have them interact together in a realistic way, it seems rather remiss of Nintendo not to allow western same-sex couples the chance to interact together in the game when they normally would fall in love and get married etc., in real life.

However, it can also be argued that other Life Simulation games have also suffered from these kinds of prejudices in the past, including the ever-popular The Sims  franchise, who (although choosing to feature same-sex couples and marriage,) did not feature any physically-disabled Sims , which upset some players who argued that they could not create a realistic avatar of themselves within the game.

In this enlightened age when equal rights is considered to be a very important issue, it is disappointing to  see Nintendo not taking the feelings and wishes of its fans into account. If we are going to have games which feature real-life simulations, then don't the producers owe it to the fans who play the games to make them as prejudice-free and true to real life as possible?


Is it right for the needs and wishes of different social groups to be omitted from the video games which claim to represent real-life demographics? 

What are the difficulties in trying to change or modify games to feature various marginalised sections of the community?  

Should same-sex couples be given equal rights in Tomodachi Life?

If you have something to say about this issue and wish to share it with other readers, then why not leave Mini Gamers a comment and let us know? We love to hear from you.