Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games 3DS
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Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Product Details
Released on 10-Feb-2012
GAME : 3DS update Round-up
If there's one thing the latest generation of consoles has taught us, it's that newly purchased gaming systems aren't the finished article when you first take them out of their shiny wrapping. Not to say they 're lacking anything fundamental, far from it in fact, but system updates now mean it's possible for platform holders like Nintendo to dramatically improve a console's functionality and boost the user experience post-launch.
December's free 3DS system update is a prime example, introducing fresh game content, social features and hardware functionality to the console. Here, GAME runs you through all the major new additions.
One of our favourite new features is the ability to make ten minute long 3D videos with just a few simple button presses. Icons on the 3DS touch screen allow you to select or fine-tune different recording features such as the 3D effect, altering the sharpness and brightness of your video, and choosing whether to film in regular colour, black and white or sepia. The quality of the recordings we've made so far is surprisingly good, although you obviously have to see them in person to get the full 3D effect.
While the basic ability to record in 3D is a cool feature in itself, special praise is reserved for the three Trick Shot modes. Interval Shot takes still snaps at your choice of intervals, between every half a second and 60 seconds, before playing them in a rapid slideshow.
Frame Pick, which essentially enables you to create stop-motion animations, is similar to Interval Shot except it lets you capture images of a physically manipulated object whenever you choose, creating the illusion of movement when the series of pictures is played as a continuous sequence.
Meanwhile, Clip Link enables you to record various video segments which are then mashed together in the same video file. There's no doubt that budding animators and movie makers will spend a lot of time playing around with these simple to use but rewarding new video recording features.
New Plaza updates
The system update also introduces a range of new features for Mii Plaza, the place where 3DS owners can view the Mii characters they've met via StreetPass (which automatically swaps the Miis and gameplay profiles of players who pass each other on their travels). These include a follow-up to the free, in-built 3DS RPG-style game StreetPass Quest, and new 3D puzzles of famous Nintendo characters to complete by collecting pieces from other players.
You now receive congratulatory messages in the Mii Plaza for achieving goals such as meeting a certain numbers of Miis or ones from different countries (which are displayed on a new StreetPass Map showing the locations of all the Miis you've encountered), or by working your way through StreetPass Quest 2. There are 78 accomplishments to get in total and a congratulatory message for each. They also unlock up to 35 different tunes to listen to in a new Mii Plaza Music Player.
The new Puzzle Panel pieces we've collected so far are for Donkey Kong Country Returns and Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D. The puzzles themselves are larger than the originals, with 24 pieces to collect instead of 15, including four pink pieces which can only be collected via StreetPass (others can be purchased with Play Coins, a virtual currency accumulated by carrying your 3DS around with you like a pedometer).
New Street Pass Quest
StreetPass Quest 2, in which you control a team of fighters made up of your friends' Miis, challenges players to save three fictional family members kidnapped by slimy monsters and placed in separate cages. It contains branching paths as well as brand new enemies, and even lets players make parties of Miis to carry out team attacks using weapons or magic. The game also offers players the chance to collect a total of 57 hats for their Miis, compared to the original game's 16, but the title's only accessible if you've completed the first one twice.
Additionally, the 3DS system update paves the way for players to download demos of 3DS games, although none have been made available yet, as well as making it easier to browse and pay for games and content in the Nintendo eShop. Players can now transfer games purchased from the eShop, as well as account funds and save data including photographs and audio files, from one 3DS system to another too.
All in all, the 3DS system update is an impressive release, adding great new hardware functionality, amusing new game content and cool new social features. It has been almost nine months since release and our 3DS feels like a fresher piece of kit than ever before, all of which leaves us eagerly awaiting the next major system update.
2011 has been a fantastic year for gaming most recognisable face, Nintendo Mario, and 2012 looks set to be another. From platforming to kart racing, tennis, Olympic sports, role playing and party games, the portly yet agile plumber is clearly a highly versatile character who can do it all. Here, GAME takes a look back at a couple of the best Mario games from this year, in case you missed them, and looks ahead to some of 2012 undoubted highlights.
3DS hasn exactly been lacking in quality games in its first year on the market, but the arrival of Super Mario Land 3D (3DS) in November and the launch of Mario Kart 7 earlier this month have really made the portable console a must own system. Mixing the best elements of older Mario games with new ideas and technology, the former is perhaps best described as a blend of the more straightforward, accessible 2D Super Mario Bros. games for Wii and DS and Wii more challenging 3D Super Mario Galaxy titles. Its magical worlds are essentially made up of left to right dashes through obstacle courses, which see players running, jumping, hovering and gliding to master the environments with the aim of reaching a flagpole at the end of each level. With simple, intuitive controls, it instantly accessible and there always a clear path to completing each stage, usually littered with coins to collect, question blocks to bump and enemies to stomp. But Mario can also wander around a little in the game 3D environments, and only explorers and the most skilled players will locate all of the secret areas, items and unlockables ingeniously hidden away in the expertly designed levels.
Mario Kart 7 is another must-play title for newcomers and series veterans alike, mixing old and new to great effect too. It offers 16 new courses and 16 classic ones from older MK games for players to compete on, all based on environments and characters from Nintendo Mushroom Kingdom. The best showcase of the console's 3D screen yet, theye absolutely gorgeous to look at and just as well designed, featuring exciting new airborne and underwater sections to compliment the on-track action. With basic accelerate, brake, fire and jump buttons, the game easy enough that anyone can pick it up and play instantly, but itl take months of practice to master the multi-route tracks, learn all of the shortcuts and become an online karting king.
Looking ahead to 2012, Mario will be joined by a host of Nintendo stablemates as well as characters from Square Enix popular Dragon Quest series in January release Boom Street (Wii). A Monopoly-style board game that challenges players to play the real estate and stock markets to win,here are 27 characters to choose from 13 from Mario games, 13 from Dragon Quest and your Mii and over 15 boards based on memorable areas from each series, with different shapes and layouts providing loads of replay value. Players race around the board trying to accumulate wealth and hit a target value while buying, selling and trading property to see who can be the first to cash out, and with both beginner and advanced settings, it could be the perfect game to get the family huddled round the telly on those cold winter nights.
Mario Tennis (3DS) also looks set to be a smash hit next year. If previous games in the series are anything to go by, itl do its best to nail the balance between realism and zany, fast-paced tennis action starring all of your favourite Mushroom Kingdom characters, as well as a few surprise ones. Wee expecting a mixture of tactical tennis gameplay, special moves and plenty of mini-games that should make a great title for Mario and sports fans alike.
Mario and friends, including Sega favourites like Sonic the Hedgehog, will keep things physical in Mario & Sonic At The London 2012 Olympics on the Nintendo 3DS, which launches in February 2012. Players will go for gold in over 50 Olympic events that make full use of the handheld different control methods, serving up a wide variety of ways to play. Competing for the top of the podium alone or in head-to-head games with friends, players will frantically slide the Circle Pad round and round to row, tilt the system to keep their balance on the beam, and blow into the microphone to keep breathing at the right time while swimming.
Also in 2012, players will see the moustachioed, genre-hopping plumber embark on an exciting new role playing adventure in Paper Mario also on the Nintendo 3DS. It will feature frantic, turn-based battles set in a colourful and varied 3D world that takes in weapons, locations and items from Mario past and present,. It will also require clever strategic use of a range of ability-giving stickers, which can be used to carry out attacks on enemies or to fill in missing parts of the levels.
The London 2012 Olympic Games kicks off this Summer, and already athletes around the world are training harder than ever to ensure they're at peak fitness to take part in the glittering highlight of the sporting calendar. But what of us gamers? Our exercise may be mostly centred around the thumb area, but that doesn't mean we can't get into the Olympic spirit in our own sedentary way.
The most obvious solution is to tackle the official video games of the Olympics. The first is the gracefully titled Mario & Sonic at London 2012 Olympic Games, or MSL2OG as we like to call it. Admittedly, this isn't the most realistic recreation of international athletics you'll play, but it is incredibly good fun and even involves a bit of actual exercise. MSL2OG is out now, for Wii and Nintendo 3DS.
If the thought of fat plumbers and blue hedgehogs is too silly, then consider pre-ordering London 2012 �The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games, aka L2TOVGOG. This Sega-developed spin-off boasts over thirty official Olympic events and will use motion-captured footage of real athletes to deliver maximum authenticity. That's due on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii later this year.
That's all very well and good, but what if you're not interested in playing every Olympic event but still want to join in at home? Here are our suggestions for the games that will let you recreate your own video game Olympics at home.
FootballYou're spoiled for choice here, but FIFA 12 is your obvious choice even if the games being simulated won't match those in the Olympics. Alternatively, pick up Football Manager 2012 for a more cerebral take on the beautiful game.
BoxingThe Fight Night series from EA Sports should be your first choice here, with latest entry Fight Night 4 offering the chance to pit legendary boxers from throughout the sport's history against each other. Perfect for resolving those inevitable �ho was the greatest?�arguments.
TennisAnother sport well served (ho ho) with games, so we'll point you in the direction of Top Spin 4 for the very best court-side action.
BasketballNBA 2K12 is your slam dunk choice for this event, attracting critical acclaim for its nuanced yet accessible simulation.
Table TennisRockstar's appropriately titled Table Tennis is your best �and, let's face it, only �choice. Thankfully, it's a genuinely great game.
EquestrianA tricky one. My Horse and Me for the Wii should supply all the dressage action you'll ever need, while the Kinect-enabled Champion Jockey for Xbox 360 supplies the excitement. No, horse racing isn't an Olympic sport, but it's either that or trotting around in Red Dead Redemption. Your choice.
WrestlingCan we get away with suggesting WWE '12 for this category? Probably not, but are you going to argue with these guys?
ShootingModern Warfare 3 counts, right?
Finally, a sampling of the various motion sports games �Wii Sports, Kinect Sports for Xbox and Sports Champions for PlayStation Move - will supply a broad array of suitably Olympian events, along with enough cardiovascular activity to make you feel like you deserve a gold medal of your own.
It's the kind of game that Nintendo's handheld was invented for; you are guaranteed your very own Olympian-style workout as you tilt, flick, yell, sweep, twist and, err, literally row your way through the 55 different events on offer, in 3D. All your favourite characters from the houses of Nintendo and Sega are included - on Team Sonic, Tails, Dr Eggman and Shadow to name but a few, and on Team Mario; Princess Peach, Wario, Bowser and the rest of mushroom-lovin' posse.
On Your Marks...
With a character chosen, there are dozens of gold-winning games to indulge in, including the 110m hurdles, judo, balance beam, BMX riding, kayaking and many, many more. Each has been tailored to make the most out of the 3DS's many half-pint-sized attributes; especially its gyroscope. Be warned though; if playing this game in public, expect the police to drag you off the bus for an all-expenses paid stay at your nearest NHS 'mental health facility'.
Why? Well, how does shouting at your 3DS to make Donkey Kong raise his dumbbells sound? Or blowing into the mic to ensure Wario doesn't drown during the swimming events? Or even pointing and shooting with your 3DS while playing the augmented reality-powered clay-pigeon mini-game?
Play in the safety of your home, though, and Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games offers a perfect companion to the pomp and ceremony of the real deal. Better still, you can play as a blue, speed-fuelled hedgehog, safe in the knowledge that this is a more believable scenario than actually laying your hands on a ticket to the men's 100 metres finals...
THQ's new mixed martial arts game UFC Undisputed 3 has performed an aggressive takedown on its competitors in the UK all-formats chart this week.
The acclaimed Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 title debuted in first place in the official GfK-ChartTrack rankings, edging ahead of perennial favourite FIFA 12, which was back up to second.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 once again showed off its impressive staying power to climb back up to third place, while Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games achieved its highest ever chart position with a fourth-place finish.
Aside from UFC Undisputed 3, no other new games entered the top 40 this week, though there was a newcomer to the top ten: Activision's sleeper hit Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, which continued its steady ascent up the chart to seventh.
Next week, the charts will be well and truly shaken up by the debut of PlayStation Vita, Sony's newest handheld console, as well as a number of blockbuster games.
PS Vita launch titles such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss and WipEout 2048 are sure to make a splash, as are multiplatform games like the sci-fi shooter Syndicate.
Sega has revealed that it is already dreaming up concepts for how Sonic the Hedgehog games will look on the next generation of consoles.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Sega's Takashi Iizuka said he believes the successors to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms will provide all sorts of interesting ways in which the fast-paced 3D Sonic games can evolve.
He reassured fans that the extra graphical power will not lead Sega to try and add more realism to Sonic's colourful world, but suggested that new visual tricks like improved lighting could help make future Sonic titles more convincing and involving.
Meanwhile, Mr Iizuka also said he believes the iconic blue hedgehog is a "perfect fit" for Nintendo's new Wii U, which will be released later this year and will introduce a revolutionary tablet controller.
"How we will apply using the controller to Sonic is something we're still thinking about at the moment," he added.
Sonic celebrated his 20th anniversary last year and is currently riding high from the success of the popular Sonic Generations, as well as the crossover hit Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
It's the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, which means we all get an extra day off. So with the weather being predictably unpredictable, why not spend it in the company of some great games?
Here's our handy guide for some of the best games to enjoy this bank holiday weekend, with ideas for children, for friends and family, or for getting some serious single-player gaming done!
Games for the kids:
If you have a kids and a Kinect, there's really only one choice - Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure, giving the chance for the little ones to play along with all their favourite Pixar characters, like Woody and Buzz, Remy the Rat, Lightning McQueen and the Incredibles. Kids will love using the Kinect to interact with their Pixar friends, lifting, steering, flying, swimming and smashing their way through a variety of fun games that will keep them occupied for hours, and feeling like they're part of the story.
For more quirky fun with their favourite characters, it's hard to go wrong with our wide choice of LEGO games. Kids can take a trip to Hogwarts and help Harry Potter and chums defeat Voldemort, set sail with the Pirates of the Caribbean, use the Force in Star Wars, or hero-up alongside Batman or Indiana Jones. With classic adventures recreated in LEGO's trademark building blocks, and delivered with LEGO's trademark sense of humour, there's plenty for kids of all ages to enjoy - and for parents to enjoy once the children have gone to bed!
Skylanders continue to be a big hit with the kids, and you'll be a big hit with your kids if you bring Skylanders home! The age-old battle of good versus evil is brought to life not only through the video game itself, but enhanced by the collection of character toys that interact with the game. There's a whole host of cool characters to collect and who join are brought to life in the game via the Portal of Power, so the opportunities for new games and new challenges are endless!
Games for friends and family:
When's the plenty of people round, a little friendly competition always goes a long way. Where better to find out who's best than at the Olympic games? And who better to play with than Mario and Sonic? Well, as luck would have it, Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games is chock full of fun contests that test a wide variety of skills, with unique ways of interacting with the action. There's everything from sprinting to table tennis, canoeing to show-jumping, as well as some imaginative twists in the 'Dream' events, like a long-jump that takes you flying from cloud to cloud. And all for a lot less than a ticket to the real Olympics!
If you - or your party - starts to get a bit more active, then there's always Just Dance 3. The latest chapter in the hugely successful dancing game series continues to challenge all to bust their best moves. This time there's an even wider variety of dancefloor-classic songs from almost every era and a range of different game modes to keep the party fresh and four-player action for the ultimate dance-off! It's compatible with Wii, PlayStation Move and Kinect, and pushes motion controls to their funky limits!
Games on your own:
Looking for a game to put some serious single-player hours into? Well, you can always journey into space with Mass Effect 3, one of the biggest and most talked-about games of the year. This sci-fi adventure is as much an in-depth role-playing experience as it is a third-person shooter, promising a journey where you choices really define the way the game is played. Thousands of people all over the world have committed almost as many hours following Commander Shepard across the Trilogy, so why not spend this weekend finding out just why?
If you prefer your role-playing a little more traditional, then the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Pandora's Tower are two fantastic offerings. Questing in fantasy worlds, battling mythical beasts, swords, sorcery and an ending based on how you play - the whole RPG experienced wrapped up in a complete package! Skyrim offers a first-person adventure and dragons, while Pandora's Tower gives you classical music and a very personal quest. Either game will take up your entire weekend!
For time consumption of a different kind, Minecraft has finally made its way to Xbox 360 thanks to Xbox LIVE. This 8-bit phenomenon has become a global cult classic, with it's simple sandbox gameplay: mine things and then build things. What sounds so simple becomes perilously addictive as your skills and ambitions become greater and greater still, and the long weekend is ideal to get settled into a time-sucking game like this!
Olympic fever has gripped the planet, and we're only just over halfway through a year that has already been defined by amazing sporting action. From regular favourites like Wimbledon and the UEFA European Championship, to the glitz of the Olympics and surprise wins in the Tour De France, sport has never hogged so many UK headlines. As always, where there's an audience, there are video games looking to capitalise on the popularity - and a famous face certainly helps to catch our attention (although Mario and Sonic don't really count...). Here's our look back over the history of sporting heroes in games.
You can almost go back to the dawn of gaming and find examples of famous athletes promoting games. Daley Thompson's Decathlon was one of the enduring classics of the 8-bit home computer era, a keyboard-bashing run through ten track and field events overseen by the ghostly white pixellated face of digital Daley.
It was inevitable that a footy-loving nation such as ours would attract a flood of cheesy football endorsements as well, with everyone from squeaky scouser Emlyn Hughes to telly pundits Saint and Greavsie, to top flight players like Gazza and Beckham, putting their name to digitised kickabouts. We even had the bizarre sight of a Peter Shilton goalkeeping game, cheekily renamed Handball Maradona after the infamous "hand of god" incident at the 1986 World Cup. And while there's no name on the box, there's no ignoring the key players endorsing both FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer even today.
Ever-obsessed with sports and strategy, it didn't take long for American software companies to follow suit. John Madden had already retired as both player and coach when his name first adorned the Madden NFL American Football simulation in 1988, but it kicked off a series which endures to this day and is widely considered to be the benchmark of gridiron gaming. Madden was part of the EA Sports stable, a label that knows the value of the right endorsement. In 1999 the company's popular PGA golf series became Tiger Woods PGA Tour, and the fairway superman has been the face of golf games ever since. Indeed, the close tie between game and name may soon become a problem, as the digital Tiger performs better than his struggling real-life counterpart. Will the series revert to plain old PGA Tour when Tiger's star fades, or will EA find a new golfing hero to carry the torch?
That's the gamble when signing a player at the peak of their game. Sometimes, a games company will sign an up and coming athlete in the hopes of backing a long term winner. That worked for Nintendo, when it paid a young Mike Tyson $50,000 to use his likeness in the NES Punch Out boxing game. Within months, Tyson was on his way to being the world heavyweight champ, and the retitled Mike Tyson's Punch Out benefited from his success in the USA.
In the UK, meanwhile, Punch Out was ported to home computers with our very own Frank Bruno as the main character. Punch Out returned to Wii minus its star, while Tyson makes a surprise return to games this year in WWE '13, re-living the brief sting he spent using his name to boost the wrestling company's ratings.
Often, a sport will bubble up to the top of the popular consciousness thanks to the eye-catching feats of a particular sports-person. In the late 1990s, it was Codemasters that perked up long-running, but fairly obscure rugby and cricket sims, by shrewdly putting hot new stars like Jonah Lomu and Brian Lara above the title. Likewise, it was only when legendary racer Colin McRae put his name to the publisher's rally games that they became the owners of a blockbuster franchise, and while the DiRT series has continued to thrive without him, it was his name that got the customers through the proverbial door to begin with. Such moves weren't restricted to cult UK sports either. In 1999, Japanese firm Namco quickly rebranded the latest entry in its fledgling tennis series as Anna Kournikova Smash Court Tennis in order to attract European gamers.
It's perhaps notable that the area where celebrity endorsement paid off most spectacularly was in the rise of extreme sports, where off-beat personalities are more openly celebrated and the players are more likely to be gamers. Tony Hawk pioneered this with his skateboarding games, lending not just his credibility but also his insight and expertise to ensure maximum authenticity. Snowboarder Shaun White and BMX rider Dave Mirra quickly followed Hawk's example. Hawk's back this year, too, in an HD re-jigging of some of his classic titles for Xbox LIVE; he's gone from extreme rebel to a traditional figure, but we still love him!
Whenever sport becomes national obsession, you can bet an enterprising games developer will seize the opportunity. Gold medal-winning swimming star Michael Phelps has got a head start on his Olympic peers this year, with his Push The Limit game for Kinect already on shelves. Will we see Bradley Wiggins grace the cover of next year's Tour De France game? Will Jess Ennis and Mo Farah be running alongside us in the next Kinect Sports? Whoever is next on the podium, it's a good bet that gamers will be the winners.
In what may yet prove to be one of the signs of the apocalypse, SEGA has announced that the European release of the next three Sonic titles will be exclusive to Nintendo.
This isn't the first time the former rivals have collaborated, of course. The Mario and Sonic Olympic games are a well established tradition now, but even so - to see the speedy blue hedgehog officially under Mario's roof should still cause any child of the 1990s to do a double take. It's like Han Solo giving the Millenium Falcon to Captain Kirk.
The deal covers the next Olympic title - Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games - which will be a Wii U exclusive. Figure skating doubles is one of the new events added, and you'll be using both Wii remotes and the Wii game pad for different mini-games.
Nintendo will also be publishing Sonic: Lost World, the next entry in the main Sonic the Hedgehog series. This too will be exclusive to Wii U and 3DS. A solitary screenshot was released to mark the announcement, showing Sonic and Tails' iconic red biplane approaching what looks like an incomplete jigsaw planet. More details are promised at E3 next month.
What will the third game be? SEGA isn't saying just yet, leaving us to simply contemplate a terrifying new reality where cats love dogs, Mick Jagger is in The Beatles and Sonic lives at Nintendo.
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