Nintendo recap: Gen 9 is official, emulators on Steam Deck, and more

Plus, Triangle Strategy launched and a Kirby and the Forgotten Land demo is available.

This has been a packed week for Nintendo fans, with the Gen 9 Pokémon games getting a surprise reveal. Additionally, the highly-anticipated JRPG, Triangle Strategy, launched for Switch and we also got a free demo for Kirby and the Forgotten Land on the eShop. In other news, several Nintendo console emulators have made their to Steam Deck already, and an NVIDIA leak might reference the next-gen Nintendo console. There’s a lot to discuss so let’s a-go!

Gen 9 announced: Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

Last Sunday, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet were announced during the February 2022 Pokémon Presents. We got to see the world Gen 9 will take place in along with the starters. There’s the Grass-type cat, Sprigatito, the Fire-type crocodile, Fuecoco, and the Water-type duck, Quaxly. With help from some iconic visual cues, it looks like this latest entry is inspired by Spain and has a charming art style to match. The game is set to launch in “late 2022” and if you’re excited, you can already preorder Pokémon Scarlet and Violet on Amazon.

The really exciting news is that these are going to be open-world games. In fact, these will be the very first open-world core Pokémon games in the series. We have yet to see what the battle and catching system looks like, but it’s likely more in line with the older-school RPGs than it is with Pokémon Legends: Arceus. For those of us who experienced Arceus’ catching style, it will really be hard to go back to the classic battle and catching system.

Switch emulators are already on Steam Deck

People have been comparing the Valve Steam Deck to the Nintendo Switch since they’re both portable handheld gaming systems. One of the biggest reasons gamers have been interested in Valve’s upcoming device is that it could be used to access emulators. As such, it’s not too surprising to hear that there are already Nintendo emulators running well on the Steam Deck. Jeff Grubb of GamesBeat even posted a video checking out a GameCube simulator on Steam Deck.

Nintendo can’t do much about coding for emulators that use open-source material, but it can pull down videos that show off these emulators playing its games. As we’ve already seen many times, Nintendo doesn’t mess around when it comes to its copyrighted works and taking people to court when they can. Just look at how the Japanese gaming company dealt with Gary W. Bowser earlier this year when he was sentenced for running a website for a hacker group. He wasn’t even a leader within the jailbreak group, but he must now pay millions to Nintendo. It will be interesting to see what Nintendo does in regards to piracy and emulation going forward as the Steam Deck becomes more accessible.

Currently, the Steam Deck is open for reservations through the Steam platform. You can choose between three models that range from $399 to $649. They’re expected to ship in Q2 2022.

Nintendo Switch Online gets new Missions and Rewards system

Nintendo launched a new section within Nintendo Switch Online (NSO) that gives players simple missions and then rewards them with Platinum Points for completing them. For instance, this week the four missions were to play Super Mario Bros on the NES emulator, back up save data, play an NSO game that supports online play, and use the NSO application. Using the Platinum Points that I accrued from doing all of these tasks, I was able to purchase character icons, backgrounds, and frames for characters from Super Mario Odyssey and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Icons, frames, and backgrounds are only available for a limited time, and most challenges change out each Monday. However, when it comes to Animal Crossing, only the villagers who have birthdays this month are available for purchase. While not groundbreaking at all, this new system does provide a fun new way for players to customize their NSO accounts and make them aware of the various things the subscription has to offer. It also gives subscribers more stuff to do with the money they pay each year.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land demo releases

On Thursday, a free demo for Kirby and the Forgotten Land landed on the eShop for all Switch owners to check out. Unfortunately, the demo doesn’t transfer to the full game, but if you reach the end you’ll see a code that you can use to give yourself a decent number of goodies within the full game when it launches on March 25.

In addition to that, I got a change to access a Kirby and the Forgotten Land preview this week, which showcased the games’ two-player co-op, Mouthful Modes, Copy Abilities, and difficulty levels. Kirby’s latest adventure stands out from any he’s previously had before, and truly makes a fun co-op experience that both players can enjoy. With the choice between two difficulty levels and different ways to complete each level, there’s plenty of replay value, too. I highly recommend checking out the demo if you haven’t already. If you’re an amiibo collector, you might want to dust off your Kirby amiibo as well since scanning them in the full games will provide helpful in-game goodies.

NVIDIA leaks might reference new Nintendo console

Hackers tapped into NVIDIA’s servers and have been slowly leaking out data regarding employee information and ongoing projects. As part of this, some people took a look at the list of leaks and noticed something called “nvn2.” It’s believed that this could be graphics api for an unannounced Nintendo console since “nvn” was the reference to the api that was developed by NVIDIA for the Nintendo Switch.

A closer look at the leak shows Ampere with ray tracing support and DLSS 2.2, which the Nintendo Switch does not have. Ray tracing and DLSS, which make graphics and reflections look more realistic and boost framerates, respectively, are features we could potentially see in a next-gen Nintendo console.

However, it’s a good idea to take this information with a grain of salt. Even if this information is for a new Nintendo console, it likely won’t release for a few years since the Switch is still selling incredibly well and plans for the next-gen Nintendo console are likely to change a few times before solidifying.

Triangle Strategy launches to positive reviews

Ever since the first Triangle Strategy demo launched back in February 2021, there’s been a lot of interest surrounding Square Enix’s HD-2D JRPG, which promises to be a robust adventure packed with dozens of hours of content. Now, the full game has finally launched exclusively on Nintendo Switch. So far, it’s been receiving very positive reviews and had a score of 83 on Metacritic last I checked. Our very own Samuel Tolbert is waist-deep in the story and working on a review for the game, so we’ll have that available sometime soon.

Build your team

Triangle Strategy

$60 at Amazon
$60 at Best Buy
$60 at Nintendo

2D but also 3D?

Triangle Strategy follows characters in a war-torn land who must strategize in battle and make difficult decisions as the story progresses. See what where your choices lead you.

Nintendo acquires SRD, developer who worked on many classic games

Nintendo acquired Systems Research and Development (SRD), which has worked closely with Nintendo over the last four decades on big games within the Super Mario and Legend of Zelda series. Most recently, SRD worked on several Switch games, including Ring Fit Adventure and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. In an official statement, Nintendo explained why it chose to fully acquire the developer.

Completion of the Acquisition (exclusive of treasury stock) will serve to strengthen the management base of SRD and secure the availability of software development resources for Nintendo, in addition to facilitating an anticipated improvement in software development efficiency.

With so many other video game developers getting gobbled up by Microsoft and Sony, it might seem like Nintendo is attempting to keep up. But really, bringing a long-time third-party developer officially under its wing helpsit have better control of the works it produces. It’s really a no-brainer move, but it’s a bit out of character for Nintendo.

In the past, Nintendo hasn’t been big on acquiring third-party developers, even when they work on massively successful and iconic Nintendo games. Banjo-Kazooie developer Rare is a prime example of a great studio that Nintendo allowed to get away. Maybe the big gaming company has learned from its mistakes and has sought to secure itself further.

Expansion Pack updates improve the N64 emulator

There have been many complaints regarding the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack since it launched, and many of these problems had to do with classic N64 games glitching or looking very different from their original versions. For instance, the Water Temple Dark Link boss fight in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time lacked fog and the water wasn’t reflective, which is a huge aspect of the scene. But it seems that the latest 2.0.0 update, which introduced Majora’s Mask, also included several patches for existing games.

According to OatmealDome on Twitter, the patch included adjustments to Banjo-Kazooie, Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64, and even fixed a major game-stopping glitch in Paper Mario. It’s nice to see Nintendo actually updating the service and making it a better experience for subscribers, which is especially important considering it looks the company will be leaning heavily into the service going forward. For instance, the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass DLC will be joining the current list of services and additional DLC will likely become part of the subscription as well. So it’s good to see the Japanese gaming company improving what’s on offer.

That’s all for now

Well, that’s another exciting Nintendo week over and done. I’ll be spending my weekend diving further and further into Triangle Strategy and hoping my decisions lead me in a good direction. Have fun playing whatever games you’re playing and if you don’t have anything currently on your playlist, check out the Kirby and the Forgotten Land demo.

Until next time.

- Rebecca Spear

Read more at iMore.

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