Super Mario Bros. officially turns 35 years old

In other news, I'm old!

Well, gang...today's the day. Technically tomorrow in North America, but over in Japan, it's time to celebrate. The original Super Mario Bros. is now 35 years old!

It's hard to believe that so much time has passed since the first true Mario adventure released. You have to wonder if Nintendo had any idea just how big Mario would be all these years later. You can bet Nintendo hoped that would be the case, but I'd imagine things have grown beyond even their wildest dreams.

Happy 35 years to Super Mario Bros.. Here's to another 35 years of fantastic games!

Nintendo opens websites for Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels in honor of the 35th anniversary

A new way to celebrate

Super Mario Bros. is officially 35 years old on Sept. 13th, 2020, and Nintendo is celebrating in all sorts of fun ways. We've already seen multiple products announced, and now Nintendo has given the game something that just wasn't possible 35 years ago...its own website.

Nintendo has opened an official Japanese website for Super Mario Bros. that runs through what the game is all about. Not only is this a celebration of the game itself, it's also a handy reference for those who'll be playing Super Mario Bros. for the first time through the upcoming Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros..

Obviously the website doesn't share anything longtime fans don't know about the game, but it's still nice to see. Have a look through the site here.

Along with that, Nintendo has also opened a website for Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. You can give that one a look here.

Thanks to Sephazon for the heads up!

New line of Hobonichi MOTHER Project merch revealed

More irresistible items for fans

The Hobonichi MOTHER Project has already given us a ton of great MOTHER/Earthbound merch, and now a whole new wave is on the way. Check out a breakdown of the newly-revealed items below.

- MOTHER Earth silver necklace (¥19,800)
- Franklin badge (¥3,850)
- brass key ring (¥7,700)
- Starman brass pin (¥4,400)
- glass bead pixel art charms (¥2,530)
- towels (¥3,300)

Final Fantasy: Memory of Heroes, novelizations of the first 3 games, seeing an English release

You played the games, now read the books!

Light and darkness hold the world in balance-and should that equilibrium ever break, only the four warriors chosen by the Crystals can prevent inevitable ruin. This is the story of three times the balance shifted-and the three bands of friends who came together to save the world.

See where it all began with the novel adaptation of the first three stories from the classic FINAL FANTASY series, penned in celebration of its 25th anniversary!

Believe it or not, Square-Enix released Final Fantasy: Memory of Heroes in Japan back in 2012. Its taken 8 years for a localization to happen, but at least we're getting one! The book features novelized versions of the first three Final Fantasy games, and is set for release on August 18th, 2020. You can preorder from Amazon here.

Japanese man picked up by cops for selling mobile phone cases that play pirated Nintendo games

No one can escape the Nintendo ninjas

Osaka police have filed charges against a Japanese man who was selling mobile phone cases that also packed in pirated Nintendo games. The cases, seen above, included a variety of pirated Famicom/NES software, including games from Taito, Nintendo, and more. The cases were being sold for 10,000 yen a piece, netting the man 2,000 to 4,000 yen per sale.

The man said he had sold 10 units so far across the span of 2 years. Nintendo and Taito claim that selling these units qualifies as copyright infringement, as games were sold without Nintendo's permission.

Famicom/Super Famicom Switch Online: Shin Megami Tensei, Donkey Kong Country, and Gun-Dec coming in July

Heavy hitters incoming

The next Switch Online Famicom/Super Famicom update for Japan has been announced. Later in July, Switch Online members will be able to enjoy Shin Megami Tensei and Donkey Kong Country for the Super Famicom, as well as Gun-Dec for the Famicom.

The Famicom's designer thought Nintendo's president was drunk when he requested the creation of the system

From drunk ramblings to a pop culture phenomenon

Masayuki Uemura is the man responsible for the Famicom and the NES. While others in the company were making games, Uemura handled the hardware creation from the get-go. Without Uemura, the Famicom and NES could have turned out completely different.

In an interview with Kotaku, Uemura reveals that he didn't even think the request to create the Famicom was real at first. He mistook the mandate as nothing more than the drunk ramblings of then president Hiroshi Yamauchi.

It started with a phone call in 1981. President Yamauchi told me to make a video game system, one that could play games on cartridges. He always liked to call me after he’d had a few drinks, so I didn’t think much of it. I just said, “Sure thing, boss,” and hung up. It wasn’t until the next morning when he came up to me, sober, and said, “That thing we talked about—you’re on it?” that it hit me: He was serious.

Once Uemura realized Yamauchi was being serious, work on the platform began. It turns out Yamauchi had even more impact on the Famicom's creation, as he came up with the color scheme.

The colors were based on a scarf Yamauchi liked. True story. There was also a product from a company called DX Antenna, a set-top TV antenna, that used the color scheme. I recall riding with Yamauchi on the Hanshin expressway outside of Osaka and seeing a billboard for it, and Yamauchi saying, “That’s it! Those are our colors!” Just like the scarf. We’d struggled with the color scheme. We knew what the shape would be, but couldn’t figure out what colors to make it. Then the DX Antenna’s colors decided it. So while it ended up looking very toy-like, that wasn’t the intent. The idea was making it stand out.

Project Blue for Famicom launches on Kickstarter

Out of the blue

Project Blue is a brand-new 8bit Action-Platformer for the Famicom/NES, created as a team-effort by the talented ToggleSwitch, FrankenGraphics & M-Tee.

The game's base gameplay is heavily inspired by classics like Megaman and Super Mario Bros. 3, but mixes things up with a unique dystopian setting and creative level design with lots of unique challenges and multiple game modes to tackle.

The project was successfully funded and realized as a NES-compatible cartridge release through Kickstarter in 2019. For this year, the developers have teamed up with First Press Games to bring Project Blue to the Japanese sister-system of the NES, the Famicom.

Aside of making it available for the different hardware, the goal is also to create a thoroughly localized packaging, manual and even implement translated in-game text to make it a truly fleshed-out release for the console.

This Kickstarter aims to fund part of the production for the Famicom version, which will be quite expensive due to many involved custom parts.

While new NES releases are a common feat nowadays, well-made Famicom games are very hard to find on the retrogame aftermarket. First Press Games wants to change that and tackle it the same way as they did with Tobu Tobu Girl Deluxe:

Custom-manufactured cartridge shells, newly-assembled PCBs and self-developed, authentic packaging to give the whole product a proper edge over anything you have ever seen before!

Make sure to follow the Kickstarter updates closely, a lot of exciting details and behind-the scenes content will unleash during the course of the campaign.

Check out the Kickstarter here

New round of Earthbound/MOTHER merch spotted (UPDATE)

Yep, it's the motherload

The Pollyanna comic collection that released as part of the Hobonichi Mother Project is chock-full of Mother/Earthbound tributes, but it turns out the book also offers a look at what's to come.

Another round of Mother merch is on the way, and they're pretty darn fancy. The lineup includes the following.

- Franklin Badge replica
- Starman and Mr. Saturn lapel pins
- Mother series keyring
- Mother Earth Silver Necklace

UPDATE - Turns out there's even more merch than first thought. A new round of items has been discovered.

Along with what was mentioned earlier, the following items are on the way as well.

- Master Belch plush
- Mr. Saturn plush
- Assorted character bead keyrings
- Mr. Saturn and house plush
- T-shirt
- Assorted Tote bags
- Assorted Towels
- Set of books with scripts from all three Mother games

GoNintendo Thought: Namco Museum Archives' PAC-MAN Championship Edition demake is absolutely fascinating

What we do here is go back

I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on PAC-MAN Championship Edition next week. I love the original release and follow-up, and I'm dying to see how this Famicom/NES version plays. I just had to share my excitement for it! As always, thanks for reading.

After a Japanese announcement of the Namcot Collection, retailer leaks, and an Asian localization, we finally got word today that Namco Museum Archives Vol. 1 and 2 are heading to both North America and Europe. The collections bring together classic NES/home console versions of numerous Namco classics, including Dig-Dug, Mappy, Xevious, Galaga, Rolling Thunder, and more. It'll be great to have another way to enjoy some classic games with added bonuses, but out of both collections, I'm most excited for the one "new" title included.

Just a couple weeks back, Bandai Namco announced that Namcot Collection in Japan would have a special bonus game. Those who separately purchased 10 titles in the Namcot Collection would be able to download PAC-MAN Championship Edition. This isn't the 2007 title that hit multiple platforms, but instead, a demake of that game. All the other games in this collection are straight from the NES days, but PAC-MAN Championship Edition is made to not only pay tribute to the NES, but also adhere to what was possible on that platform.

Namco Museum Archives Vol. 1 and 2 could have been fun enough on their own. A collection of legacy games from Namco with bonus features like save states, rewind, borders, and more. Fans of those old titles are more than happy to dive into a collection that groups them into two packages, and those quality-of-life improvements sweeten the pot. That said, the addition of PAC-MAN Championship Edition has taken this package and turned it into something really special.

Companies are extremely eager to remake their games nowadays. Remakes and re-releases are a huge deal, and they usually bring in big bucks for the devs and pubs. Take a game that is well known and loved, revamp the graphics and sound, tweak some gameplay mechanics, and watch the dollars roll in. Remakes and re-releases have always been a thing, but they really started to take off during the PS3/Xbox 360/Wii era. When devs and pubs started to see how much cash these reworkings could make, countless companies got to work on making them happen. Nowadays remakes and re-releases are pretty much expected, and are something fans clamor for.

While remakes are commonplace in today's industry, demakes are few and far between. Yes, there are plenty of developers who look to emulate the visual style or sounds of legacy platforms, but that's an artistic choice. Furthermore, that approach is being utilized for a new project. Shovel Knight, Panzer Paladin, The Messenger, and other games in the retro genre are brand-new experiences that are looking to recapture elements of consoles and gaming eras gone by. A demake takes a game that already exists and ports it down to a platform that we've long since moved on from.

Fan-made demakes are somewhat frequent, but official demakes are a rare beast. This is what intrigues me so much with PAC-MAN Championship Edition. Bandai Namco actually gave the go-ahead to take a game from 2007 and port it down to hardware that was thriving in the mid-to-late 80s. This isn't something you see nowadays! It's just so out of the ordinary that I can't help but be excited by it.

The story gets even crazier when you dig into it more. Turns out Bandai Namco worked with M2 to handle PAC-MAN Championship Edition's demake. For those who enjoy retro games, M2 is the king of the ports. The company pays a ridiculous amount of attention to making sure ports of classic games look, sound, and feel like they did back in the day. They know fans of those titles expect the exact same experience when they play straightforward re-releases of those games today, and it seems there's no one better at nailing the minutia than M2.

Just recently, we learned that PAC-MAN Championship Edition was originally going to see release on the 3DS. Now while it's not perfectly clear, it does seem the plan for the 3DS version was to mimic the original release, rather than be a demake. For reasons unknown, the 3DS version didn't end up panning out. Eventually things shifted over to the Namco Museum Archives, and M2 saw an opportunity to do something special. With Bandai Namco's blessing, they went ahead to create an NES/Famicom replication of PAC-MAN Championship Edition. While bringing PAC-MAN Championship Edition to the 3DS would have been hard enough, now M2 was working with a more powerful platform, but limiting themselves even further by adhering to what the NES could do!

According to M2, the team has been working on PAC-MAN Championship Edition for 5 years now. Again, it's not clear how much of that time was spent on the 3DS version and the Switch version, but it's still an incredible amount of time to work on this one project. Even if the demake only took a year's worth of time, that would still be extremely surprising. All that time spent to replicate a platform that we moved on from decades ago. If anything, it only goes to show just how dedicated both Bandai Namco and M2 are to not just respecting the history of games, but also keeping it alive in new ways.

I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on PAC-MAN Championship Edition in the Namco Museum Archives. Seeing such a love letter to the early days of gaming tickles me a million ways over. We finally got to see some footage of the game today, and it certainly looks the part of a Famicom game. PAC-MAN Championship Edition in 2007 retained the look of Pac-Man while enhancing it with tons of neon lights and special effects. PAC-MAN Championship Edition's demake looks right in line with what the NES/Famicom could do, but still tries to keep some of those fancy bells and whistles from the 2007 outing.

What we don't get to experience in the trailer is the audio side of things, which I might be even more excited about. PAC-MAN Championship Edition has an amazing soundtrack, full of thumping beats and pulse-pounding music. I cannot wait to see what M2 and Bandai Namco have done for the demake. Will they keep those same tunes but recreate them in a chiptune style? Will they work on all-new chiptune tracks? Will it be a mix of both ideas? I am so bummed they didn't let us hear what was going on in the debut trailer, but it makes me that much more excited to go hands-on next week.

All in all, I think there's one main reason why I love seeing official demakes. When you take a game and try to make it run on hardware that came out decades prior, a lot has to be stripped away. Visuals can't be anywhere near as good, sound is limited, and features have to be cut back. With all that said, the core thing that has to be retained is the fun. A demake is forced to boil a game down to its most essential features, showing what makes us enjoy the game to begin with. When you strip a game down to its bare-bones, you're left with something that either excels in fun or doesn't. I have no doubt PAC-MAN Championship Edition's demake will be just as fun as the 2007 it stems from.


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