Tag Archives: nintendo

Miitomo and Wii Transfer

On episode 18 of my Timetable podcast, which I just published this morning, I mention the new Nintendo game Miitomo. Federico Viticci also wrote about it today:

I’ve been keeping an eye on Miitomo – I still don’t completely understand it, but I’m intrigued by the premise of a friend-based network with mini-games and the ability to collect coins. Those coins can then be used to claim rewards and redeem other Nintendo-related content such as games and customizations. I’m curious to see how Miitomo will perform outside of Japan.

For a several years between 2006 and 2010, I sold and actively worked on a little Mac app called Wii Transfer. It was the first time I realized that I could make a living selling Mac software, even though it didn’t always have great sales consistently by itself. To this day, one of the features I’m most proud to have ever written is the Mii export, which could sync Mii data over Bluetooth from the Wii remotes and render it to let you save your Miis as PNG files on your Mac.

I’ve often mused on Core Intuition that I stopped selling the app too soon. At one point I worked on a companion app to the Nintendo DS with similar themes, but didn’t ship it. And I considered building a version for iOS just with the Mii functionality.

From a blog post in 2012, announcing that Wii Transfer would no longer be available:

I’m retiring Wii Transfer to focus on my other apps. It’s not that it doesn’t sell; it still does. It’s just that it’s not an app I actually use anymore. By officially shelving the whole project, I hope to remove a psychological burden of sorts — to no longer worry that I’m ignoring an active product.

I’ll never know if it was a missed opportunity — a mistake for the direction of my indie business to stop selling something that people liked — or the right call to refocus around what I actually cared about. In any case, I’m glad Nintendo is doing something new with Miis. As I play with Miitomo, there’s a part of me that regrets not doing more with Nintendo-compatible software while I had a competitive head start.

Twitter @wii

Last week my “@wii”:http://twitter.com/wii account on Twitter passed 3000 followers and seems to finally be growing strong after a year of neglect. I now try to post once every couple days with Nintendo news, and I’ll eventually throw in a tweet on new Wii Transfer updates. That was my evil plan from the beginning: have some fun with the account but also use it to build an audience and promote my own projects.

I view @wii as a gift. I don’t know how long it will be under my control. As Twitter continues to go mainstream, eventually I expect Nintendo will want my little 3-character Twitter name for themselves, and I might just be glad to hand it off. Twitter works best with a personal voice, and I’ve already all but closed some of my secondary accounts.

I’m more conflicted about what to do with the “Wii Friend Codes site”:http://wiitransfer.com/codes/. At one time I imagined it as a full Riverfold product, with integrated Mac and iPhone apps, but now I find that I lack the passion to really take it to new places. And to be honest, it works as is.

The Wii fad, 2 years later

Video game console sales numbers for November are in. Two years after the Nintendo Wii was introduced — you know, the console that was derided as a gimmick, a fad, just a faster GameCube — the little white console still outsells the Xbox 360 over 2 to 1. It outsells the PS3 over 4 to 1. (“Here’s a 4cr post”:http://www.4colorrebellion.com/archives/2008/12/12/wii-buries-the-competition-in-november/ with official numbers.)

The doubters were so wrong about this one. The fans and industry experts who were quick to sell Nintendo short kept waiting for a fail that never happened. If you go into a Best Buy right now the video game section is completely owned by the Wii and DS.

Not everyone can take a risk and have it pay off so well, but it’s at least important to acknowledge that conventional wisdom and focus groups (what “everyone” knows) would have doomed Nintendo. The trick is being able to tell when you’ve got an idea that is truly special, and not just something you are clinging on to out of a stubbornness to be different.

In related news, I imported a “Nintendo DSi”:http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ds/series/dsi/index.html from Japan last month and it’s a great rev to the portable system. It would be even better if I could read Japanese.

Nintendo Wii purchase

If you’ve talked to me recently about video games or read my post about trying for a Wii pre-order, you know I have become obsessed with getting a Nintendo Wii at launch. The high scores that the new Zelda was receiving last week pretty much sealed the deal for me: I had to have one.

Thursday and Friday if I was out doing errands and passed a store I would inquire about their launch plans. It wasn’t looking good, with mixed messages from employees about how many units they would be receiving. Saturday afternoon I stopped by Wal-mart at around 2pm and already there were 22 people in line for the midnight launch of only 29 systems for that store. They urged me to stay, but I couldn’t. I had a whole day planned already, and it didn’t include video games.

Saturday evening I made a list of a half dozen possible stores and called each one. It was clear right away that if I wanted a Wii on the launch weekend, there was only one choice.

Wii line at Target   Wii sunrise   Wii ticket

I arrived at Target at about 9:30pm Saturday evening with a chair, blanket, Nintendo DS, and book. They would open ten and a half hours later at 8am the next day, but tickets would be passed at around 7am. Early line campers who had arrived at 3pm in the afternoon had a sign-in list to ensure there was no confusion. I was number 33 out of 60 confirmed Wii systems. By midnight, all the consoles were accounted for, and everyone who arrived afterwards was turned away.

I had a great time talking with other line waiters. It was an interesting mix of people, from John next to me who worked at Apple here in Austin, to a set of young gamers who pulled up with a truck and unloaded two couches, a rug, and a coffee table.

Around 4 in the morning I realized how unprepared I was. It was in the 40s that night and my blanket was completely insufficient. If I ever do something crazy like this again, I’m packing several blankets, a sleeping bag, and pillows. By 6am I considered the few hours of uncomfortable sleep I got a success and took a jog around the parking lot to get my blood flowing and stop from shivering.

The sun rose and tickets were passed out. The excitement of the night before was back as a Target manager confirmed that they would indeed have a full 60 copies of Zelda, and almost as many for other games. Not everyone is going to get a Wii the first week, but from where I’m standing Nintendo has done a great job of shipping out as many systems as possible and making sure the games and controllers are there to go along with it.

I’ll post again next week about my impressions on Wii Sports and Zelda, but so far I am not disappointed. I make no apologies for being a Nintendo fan, but the Wii is neither over-hyped nor a gimmick, and I think the system will live up to its original codename.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wii pre-orders

Two weeks ago I casually showed up to EB Games 5 minutes before they opened, hoping to luck out with a “Nintendo Wii”:http://us.wii.com/ pre-order. Unfortunately the last slot was taken by someone who was there over two hours earlier, and at least a couple dozen people (including me) were turned away before the store even opened.

I’m determined to get one of these consoles, and there’s something interesting about trying to get one at launch. Every day new reviews flow in to gaming blogs. I don’t see myself as a hardcore gamer, but the Wii looks like an innovative system with several fun games available at launch or shortly after.

So I called Toys R Us last night to inquire about pre-orders opening up today at 10am. He said they had 10 Wii and only 3 PS3s. Furthermore, mall security wouldn’t let anyone on the property until 4am. This would seem to limit the opportunity for all-night campers, so I was pretty hopeful as I left for the store shortly after 4am this morning.

Yes, you read that right. I have become so obsessed with this that I was willing to spend 6 hours in line. Luckily, the weather is beautiful this weekend. I packed a book, iPod, and sketchpad into my bag and left feeling pretty good, that at the least I would have some time alone to read or write or listen to music.

Wii line from phone There were already at least 20 people there when I arrived. Several in line were hoping to reserve both Wii and PS3. One made the comment that they would be selling the PS3 on Ebay, but keep the Wii for themselves. There was even someone waiting for the new Elmo doll, which made the whole scene even more bizarre.

Apparently some of the folks had been there well before 4am, probably closer to midnight or earlier. The details are sketchy, but the story I heard involves a bewildered security officer, two police cars, threat of jail time, and a mad dash at 4am to the front door. By the time I got there, the last Wii pre-order slots were being decided by a foot race across the parking lot. Seriously. Meanwhile, a second line at the exit door was setup in a futile effort by those too stubborn to admit defeat.

I finished the banana I had brought for breakfast, played a little multiplayer Nintendo DS, and left before 5am with a “good luck” and a wave to those crazy enough to get there before me. I guess I’ll try again at Best Buy or Target next month. Rumor points to “as much as 120 units available”:http://gonintendo.com/?p=7517 at some stores.

Video Games podcast

My second podcast episode is about video game music. You can download it here, or subscribe to the new podcast feed in iTunes.

» Download (MP3, 13.4MB)

» “Audio-only RSS feed”:http://www.manton.org/audio.xml (drag to iTunes)

I started working on this last year but it quickly became too ambitious and stalled. I picked it up again just a couple of days ago, simplified it considerably, and got it done. As usual, I learned a bunch, and look forward to improving a few things for the next one. Enjoy!

And some related links for the topic covered:

Buy at Amazon: “Lumines”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=as2&path=ASIN/B0007VDF22&tag=mantonorg&camp=1789&creative=9325, “Electroplankton”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=as2&path=ASIN/B000CI8EXA&tag=mantonorg&camp=1789&creative=9325, “Katamari Damacy”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=as2&path=ASIN/B0002Y2XXQ&tag=mantonorg&camp=1789&creative=9325

All games at Gamespot: “Zelda”:http://www.gamespot.com/nes/adventure/legendofzelda/, “Tetris”:http://www.gamespot.com/gameboy/puzzle/tetris/, “Super Mario World”:http://www.gamespot.com/snes/action/supermarioworld/, “Super Metroid”:http://www.gamespot.com/snes/action/supermetroid/, “Ys Book I & II”:http://www.gamespot.com/turbocd/rpg/ysbookiii/, “Myst”:http://www.gamespot.com/pc/adventure/myst/, “Electroplankton”:http://www.gamespot.com/ds/puzzle/electroplankton/, “Ocarina of Time”:http://www.gamespot.com/n64/adventure/legendofzeldaoot/, “Lumines”:http://www.gamespot.com/psp/puzzle/lumines/, “Myth”:http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/myththefallenlords/, “Katamari Damacy”:http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/action/katamaridamashii/

Remix credits: “Super Mario World by Jason Cox”:http://www.archive.org/audio/audio-details-db.php?collection=opensource_audio&collectionid=xoc_SMW, “Super Metroid by The Wingless”:http://www.ocremix.org/remix/OCR01048/

Game history: “TurboGrafx-16”:http://www.classicgaming.com/museum/tg16/, “Ys I and II (Classic Gaming)”:http://www.classicgaming.com/ninjagaiden/ys/music/ys12pce.html, “Ys I and II (PC Engine Bible)”:http://pcenginebible.roarvgm.com/HTML_Games/Ys_I_II.htm

Music archives: “VGMusic.com”:http://www.vgmusic.com/, “Zophar’s Game Music Archives”:http://www.zophar.net/music.html

More links: “Composing with Electroplankton”:http://www.milezero.org/index.cgi/gaming/society/art/composing_with_electroplankton_toc.html, “Video game music emulators”:http://www.bannister.org/software/vgmusic.htm, “Bungie’s Myth”:http://www.altpop.com/stc/reviews/myth.htm, “Myth II demo”:http://projectmagma.net/what/, “Ocarina instrument”:http://www.songbirdocarina.com/