Nintendo’s Mario Animated Movie Given A Release Window

Nintendo is partnering with Illumination Entertainment, the company behind Despicable Me and the Minions movie, to produce an animated film based on the Super Mario series. The project was formally announced last January following a report by the Wall Street Journal, and now Nintendo has revealed when it’s expected to hit theaters.

In Nintendo’s financial results briefing, president Shuntaro Furukawa announced that development on the Super Mario movie is “moving along for an anticipated theatrical release around 2022.” Nintendo didn’t share any other new details about the film, but it has previously been confirmed that Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto will be producing.

This, of course, isn’t the first feature film to be based on the Mario series. A live-action Super Mario Bros. movie released in 1993 and was a critical and commercial failure. Bob Hoskins, the late actor who portrayed Mario in the film, called it the worst movie he’s ever been a part of. Nintendo, likely wary of another flop, has said it may abandon the animated film if it isn’t “interesting” enough.

The animated Super Mario movie is part of Nintendo’s new initiative to leverage its IP beyond video games. Nintendo is also partnering with Universal Studios Japan to build a Super Nintendo Land theme park, which is slated to “open in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.” On top of that, Nintendo has announced it is opening an official Nintendo Tokyo store in Japan this fall.

Despite these new initiatives, Furukawa reaffirmed that Nintendo will remain first and foremost a video game company. “Nintendo’s core business will continue to be the integrated hardware-software video game platform business,” he said in the financial results briefing. The company has a number of big exclusives for Switch lined up for this year, including a new Animal Crossing game and a “core” Pokemon RPG.

Nintendo also has multiple smartphone games on the way. The company recently announced a Dr. Mario mobile game, which is due out early summer. However, its Mario Kart mobile game, which was originally scheduled to launch by the end of March, has been delayed.


Free PC Games With Twitch Prime For February 2019 Out Now

As January comes to a close, Twitch has unlocked five new games that you can download for free during February. Once the month ends, you’re out of luck. But if you download them now, you can keep ’em forever. As always, you’ll need a Twitch Prime subscription (which comes with an Amazon Prime membership) to claim them, but at $11 USD a month, you’re actually getting all five titles for less than their combined retail price.

Pikuniku is the noticeable stand-out this time around. Added to Twitch Prime games in late January on the day it released, the adorable title looks like a children’s book come to life, and yet it utilizes a more sarcastic, irreverent tone to tell its story of a town battling a corporate takeover–one that’s sure to resonate with an older crowd. In our Pikuniku review, James O’Connor gave the game an 8/10, writing, “From Piku’s weird wobbly gait and looping jumps in the opening right through to the game’s funny, bizarre ending, Pikuniku is more gripping than its simple aesthetic and playful tone would suggest. It’ll make you feel like a kid again.”

Until February 28, you can also download Dear Esther: Landmark Edition, Downwell, The Flame in the Flood, and Draknek & Co Puzzle Collection. You might remember Dear Esther as the game that popularized the “walking sim” genre, and this special edition of the game comes with remastered audio and developer commentary. Downwell is a fun roguelike for its simplicity, and you can just keep jumping down its randomly assorted pits for hours. The Flame in the Flood is also a roguelike, but one geared towards survival as opposed to fast-paced action. Finally, Draknek is a collection of three puzzle games, the chemistry-focused Sokobond, the building-focusing A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build, and the frustrating but cute Cosmic Express.

Twitch Prime’s Free Games For January 2019

  • Pikuniku
  • Dear Ester: Landmark Edition
  • Downwell
  • The Flame in the Flood
  • Draknek & Co Puzzle Collection


Someone Got Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Working On A Sony Watchman

Photo: NESNerd427

Sometimes gaming enthusiasts are so preoccupied with whether or not they can, they never stop to think if they should. How else to explain one Smash Bros. fan’s decision to create an elaborate retro electronics setup so they could play 10 rounds of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the 1.8 inch screen of a Sony Watchman.

Reddit user NESNerd427 recently shared a picture on the Smash Bros. subreddit of the game’s opening menu displayed on the FD-30A Watchman, one of Sony’s old portable handheld TVs from the 80s. In an email to Kotaku, NESNerd said wasn’t too difficult to do, but it did require a bunch of different adapters and cords to ultimately transmit the HD output of the Nintendo Switch to a battery-powered gadget from three decades ago.

NESNerd427 started by running a mini HDMI from the Switch to an A/V converter box in order to switch from HD to analog. He then wired the converter to a 2001 Zenith DVD/VCR combo unit with a coaxial output. With a coaxial cord, NESNerd427 then ran the signal through a Cable/VCR VHF amplifier to boost its integrity before routing it through an RCA TV antenna, which then broadcast the game to channel 3 on a VHF TV and could then be picked up through the antenna on the Watchman.

Photo: NESNerd427

The signal still doesn’t travel far, so NESNerd427 said they have to keep the Watchman and RCA TV very close together. Still, it makes it possible to play the crisp, colorful Smash Bros. Ultimate on one of the worst screens ever. Because the refresh rate of the Switch doesn’t quite match up with the Watchman, there are some rogue green lines, but overall it’s a retro futurist gamer’s dream.

NESNerd427 said he’s big into messing around with old electronics, including repairing stuff like old Pac-Man arcade cabinets. “I’m the kind of person that would go with a 1980s Western Electric telephone rather than a new wireless handset phone,” he told Kotaku. Naturally, trying to combine gaming’s present with technology’s past was a fun project for him.


5 must-play iOS and Android games from January 2019

A flood of new iOS and Android games arrives each month, and there are always some hidden gems in the mix. January was a bit of a comedown after another enormous December haul from the App and Play Store, but there was still some fun stuff worth sticking on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device.

There’s something for you whether you’re into blasting creepy creatures, demolishing neon signs, or getting absorbed in interactive fiction. Here’s a look at five of January 2019’s most enjoyable mobile games.


You’d be forgiven for catching a glimpse of Backfire and assuming that it’s another twin-stick Geometry Wars clone. It’s not, thankfully.

This mobile original still looks and plays like a classic arcade game, but it has an original feel and flow to it. Your little ship only fires shots from the rear, and you’ll move around the screen by tapping in new directions in order to bait your pursuers into the line of fire.

That’s a fun little hook by itself, but it’s surprising how much the unlockable weapons change the experience. Backfire keeps the twists coming throughout the challenging missions, whether it’s introducing a shotgun blast that only fires when you tap the screen, or a warp gun that lets you teleport around enemies.

Available on iOS and Android, $2.99.

Nano Golf: Hole in One

Nitrome has established itself as the go-to publisher for odd but enticing arcade-style games with chunky pixel graphics — such as Leap Day and Magic Touch — and Nano Golf: Hole in One is another example of its impressive knack for finding small, quality games.

Nano Golf: Hole in One is actually a spinoff of last year’s Nano Golf but, as the title suggests, this one’s all about making those satisfying one-and-done shots.

Nano Golf: Hole in One feels like a rapid-fire challenge, even without a timer staring you down, as you aim and release to fling the ball towards its destination. If you sink it, you’re immediately flung to the next hole. You start all over again if you miss.

It’s a game you can keep returning to, as it offers seemingly endless courses and increasingly complex challenges.

Available on iOS and Android, free with in-app purchases.


Don’t let the generic look and almost impressively silly title scare you away: There’s a lot more to this military shooter than it might seem.

Tacticool is a streamlined five-versus-five game that tosses you into tense battles on tightly constructed maps. Racking up kills is important, of course, but finding and holding onto the money bag will do even more to help your team surge ahead in points.

The matches are fast, frantic, and seriously entertaining, as you mow down foes, protect allies, and even drive vehicles and control turrets. Tacticool could have been overwhelming, given how many things are at play in any one match, but the simplified controls, which include auto-firing weapons, kept me focused on the combat. I’m interested to see the impact of in-app purchases over the long haul, however, given the presence of $90 currency packs.

Available on iOS and Android, free with in-app purchases.


Smartphones and tablets are useful for displaying static text, but they also hold the potential to do so much more with the written word. That’s the premise of Maginary, a clever interactive novel that loops in some light, but amusing, game elements.

You serve as the main character in the story: a person who is reading a book about a man who previously read the very same book, but now is apparently stuck within it.

That’s a bad omen. As you read, key portions of the text flutter, fade, are erased or replaced, and you’ll have to fiddle with your phone’s brightness, point it in a certain real-world direction, and even walk a certain distance to continue reading and help the trapped man. The first two chapters are free, letting you get a taste of this unique approach to the story, and then it’s $5 to unlock the rest.

Available on iOS, free with in-app purchases.

Hit the Light

I can say with authority that bursting the neon lights of Hit the Light is much less messy than the real thing, having once dropped a fluorescent tube in the stock room of a retail store.

It’s pretty satisfying, too. Hit the Light is essentially a riff on Breakout, but with less challenge. The game is much more about smashing things than skill or survival.

The task here is to bash every last neon tube from hundreds of elaborate, glowing light designs, and I took pleasure in picking apart intricate artwork with balls, bombs, and throwing stars. It’s somewhat mindless, but in a good way: Hit the Light is an attractive, simple game that you can hop into for a few moments for some cathartic, consequence-free destruction. The ads and in-app purchase prompts are very aggressive, but it is free to try.

Available on iOS and Android, free with in-app purchases.


The Best Gummi Ships Players Have Made So Far In Kingdom Hearts III

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when you give someone a chance to customize anything in a video game, they will try to make a dick. Players have made the requisite penis out of their Gummi Ships in Kingdom Hearts III, and thankfully a lot of other, varied creations.

Gummi Ships are basically the main method of transport between the different Disney-themed worlds in Kingdom Hearts. In the first two games, you could customize those ships, and you can in the third as well. Let’s get this out of the way. Yes, someone made a penis:

And what a fine penis it is. But there have been a lot of great, non-penis designs as well.








And before you ask: yes, someone made Loss, too.


Destiny 2 Xur location and items, Feb. 1-4

If you played Destiny, you may be familiar with Xur, the weekly Exotic item merchant. In Destiny 2, he’s back, and he now appears all over the map. This week, he’s in the EDZ. You can find Xur hanging out on a bluff next to a Fallen Ketch.


Xur’s inventory this week consists of the following:

  • Huckleberry, exotic submachine gun: 29 Legendary Shards
  • St0mp-EE5, Hunter legs: 23 Legendary Shards
  • An Insurmountable Skullfort, Titan helmet: 23 Legendary Shards
  • Claws of Ahamkara, Warlock boots: 23 Legendary Shards
  • Isochronal Engram: 97 Legendary Shards

Xur’s inventory caps out at 631 if you’re at 650 power. He also offers specific rolls on each armor piece each week, giving out different perks for the same pieces. We’ve highlighted any great rolls below.

The Huckleberry

The Huckleberry is an exotic from Warmind. Its intrinsic perk is Ride the Bull, which causes the gun to fire faster and have increased recoil the longer you hold the trigger. Kills with the gun partially reload the magazine. The Huckleberry’s secondary perk is rampage, which causes each kill to increase your damage for a short time.

The Huckleberry is a very fun gun to use. Its perks combine to offer you a little mini-game of trying to fire for as long as you possibly can without having to reload. It may not be particularly useful in a lot of end-game content — although it has some PvP potential — but it’s a blast to use in Adventures, Public Events and Escalation Protocol. Pick up The Huckleberry if you can afford it.


St0mp-EE5 is a powerful traversal exotic for Hunters. The exotic perk, Hydraulic Boosters, increases slide and sprint speed, as well as increases jump height. This exotic is very strong in a myriad of situations. In PvE content, it can be great for getting where you need to go quickly. In PvP, it’s a perfect exotic to disorient foes and get to unexpected places quickly.

This week’s roll:

Slot 1: Fusion rifle dexterity, hand cannon dexterity, outreach (class ability use reduces melee cooldown)

Slot 2: Scout rifle scavenger, special ammo finder

This is actually a pretty decent roll on a great exotic, thanks to hand cannon dexterity and special ammo finder. Outreach can be pretty useful as well, considering how often Hunters can dodge. Consider picking up this week’s roll.

An Insurmountable Skullfort

An Insurmountable Skullfort is an excellent PvE and PvP exotic for Striker Titans. Its Transfusion Matrix perk will cause your melee ability kills to instantly trigger health regeneration as well as fully restore melee energy. With the Forsaken buffs to Titan dashes in PvP, this helmet has become one of the most powerful exotics for any activity. If you’re a Titan player and you don’t have this yet, rectify that.

This week’s roll:

Slot 1: Fusion rifle targeting, hand cannon targeting, hands-on (melee kills grant Super energy).

Slot 2: Sniper rifle reserves, machine gun reserves

Hand cannon targeting is great for a lot of players, as is hands-on. Machine guns are also really powerful right now, which makes machine gun reserves pretty potent. This exotic is already extremely powerful, and this desirable roll makes it even better. Pick this one up!

Claws of Ahamkara

The Claws of Ahamkara are Warlock gauntlets added in Destiny 2’s Warmind expansion. Their exotic perk, The Whispers, grants any Warlock that wears these gloves an extra melee charge. Warlocks have some pretty powerful melee abilities, so these are great gloves if you love getting up close with your enemies.

This week’s roll:

Slot 1: Fusion rifle loader, hand cannon loader, impact induction (melee damage reduces grenade cooldown)

Slot 2: Sniper rifle scavenger, machine gun scavenger

This is a good roll on a decent Warlock exotic. Hand cannons are very popular and machine guns are useful in most situations. This exotic is fun and useful in some situations. If you’re used to playing Titan and want to try out hitting stuff with a Warlock, check out these gloves.


Switch Online Has 8 Million Subscribed Accounts, Nintendo Working To “Expand” Service

After multiple delays, Nintendo finally rolled out its paid online subscription service for Switch last September. While the company doesn’t typically disclose usage numbers, it did share some insight on how the service has been faring thus far.

In its recent financial results briefing, Nintendo revealed that the Nintendo Switch Online service has more than eight million subscribed accounts. According to the company, this figure doesn’t include accounts that only participated in the free trial, but it does factor in every account included under a family membership, which allows up to eight account holders across different Switch consoles to share the benefits of one subscription.

“Nintendo Switch Online has had a good start,” president Shuntaro Furukawa said in the briefing. “In keeping with the goal of providing Nintendo Switch owners with ‘More Games. More Features. More Fun,’ we are working on continuing to expand the service offerings.”

Nintendo didn’t share any further details on how it will expand NSO, but during the briefing, the company teased that it is working on an unannounced Switch game that is “suitable” for the service (via Siliconera), presumably meaning it will emphasize online play. Rumors have circulated that SNES games could also be coming to the service, although Nintendo hasn’t confirmed this.

Much like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live, the Nintendo Switch Online service is required to play Nintendo Switch games online. It gives subscribers a few other benefits as well, such as the ability to back up their save data to the cloud and exclusive access to a library of classic NES games. NSO subscribers are also eligible for “special offers,” such as an exclusive set of NES-style controllers for Switch.


Sharing Xbox One Screenshots And Videos Just Got Much Easier

Sharing screenshots and videos from Xbox One has been notoriously difficult throughout the console’s life cycle. Thankfully, Microsoft has listened to people’s concerns and made it a little easier, though you’ll need to use a separate app to take advantage.

The Xbox App–known earlier in its life as SmartGlass–has been updated, and it can now share media from your Xbox One to social networks and your smartphone directly. Xbox director of programming and community figurehead Major Nelson shared the news on Twitter with a screenshot that showed Instagram, Discord, iMessage, email, and Twitter as some of the sharing options in the newly updated app.

Be warned, however, that at the time of writing Xbox Live is experiencing sign-in errors on Xbox One, so you might struggle to try out the app’s new features for the time being.

In other Xbox news, the free Games with Gold for February have now been revealed. The Xbox One games include Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, an 8-bit style game modeled loosely after Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse that’s available for the entire month. Super Bomberman R, meanwhile, joins the rotation on February 16 through mid-March. On Xbox 360, you get Assassin’s Creed Rogue, which is available through February 15, after which it will be replaced by the original Xbox game Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.


For Honor’s New Fighter Leans Into The Game’s Simple Pleasures

Screenshot: Kotaku (For Honor)
Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

For Honor got its first new fighter of 2019 yesterday: Black Prior. I could talk about how it’s cool that Black Prior is sort of emo and brooding and has a weird affection for skulls. Or how the character puts an interesting emphasis back on turtling, a strategy that almost strangled the fun out of For Honor early on. Really, though, I just like how he can flip people with his shield.

In the two years since Ubisoft’s medieval brawler released it’s basically become Mortal Kombat for ancient weapon nerds, especially the type who might find themselves watching someone on YouTube analyze who would win in a matchup between say, a European broadsword and a pair of Chinese dagger-axes. For Honor has depth for sure, but the thing that most keeps me coming back (and potentially others when the game becomes free with PlayStation Plus next month) is the excitement of seeing what will happen when two strangers try to cut each other’s throats with wildly different weapons.

Black Prior is currently live in the game for anyone who bought the the $30 year three season pass but will be available to everyone else for 15,000 steel (the in-game currency) on February 7. He’s by no means my favorite character, at least after spending a few hours with him. He’s a bit slow to react, and hiding behind a giant kite shield isn’t my preferred style of play. Still, I can’t get enough of his unique counter ability. Unlike other fighters, Black Prior can go into something called Bulwark stance and block everything from any direction save for a guard break. In addition, he can counter incoming attacks by going from Bulwark stance to an attack at just the right moment. When timed right, this happens:

I love doing this. Especially when going up against two or more opponents at once. I don’t ever see myself being good with Black Prior, the same way I’ve never been good with say, Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion. But few things are more satisfying than successfully spearing someone’s neck and whipping them across the screen. Black Prior’s shield flip is the same way. Win or lose, you know when you successfully shield flipped someone. They know too. And sometimes that’s enough.


While a lot of the new fighter equipment added in the latest update feels a bit lackluster, the emotes and executions remain top notch. The only thing better than shield flipping a gigantic Shugoki as it comes hurtling toward you is shield flipping them and then going into a combo that lands you one of Black Prior’s execution moves, all of which are pretty amazing. I don’t usually worry about grinding steel in For Honor to buy new stuff, but I think I’m going to have to make an exception for this:

The game is still due to get three more fighters this year. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend getting season pass right now just for Black Prior, it’s definitely worth unlocking him as soon as he’s available next week. The game has also had a few issues since the new update yesterday, including missing items and frozen matchmaking, so it’s also probably a good idea to wait until most of those are sorted out.


Free Game Now Available On Steam, For A Limited Time

Steam is offering another free game to download through its client. This time it’s the 2015 indie horror game Kholat from Polish studio Imgn.Pro. The creepy game is narrated by actor Sean Bean. You can pick it up now on the Steam Store until February 4 at 9 AM PT.

Kholat has you exploring the Russian Ural Mountains to uncover the mystery of nine students who went missing in 1959. The game is based loosely on the real-life Dyatlov Pass Incident, in which nine students ventured into the Kholat Syakhl (“Dead Mountain” in Mansi) and were each found dead over the span of four months. The game goes in a much more supernatural direction with their disappearance.

“In many stories, blizzards and the frigid cold provide a specific kind of terror, and Kholat’s moaning winds cry out tales of lost souls that the game ignores in favor of shapeless nonsense,” critic Kevin VanOrd wrote in GameSpot’s review. “Its ideas reveal the game Kholat wanted to be, but its aspirations soar far higher than the game it became. What good is a mystery if you don’t care about what it might tell you?”

Steam has been giving away free games through its service for some time, but it recently got more competition with the advent of the Epic Games store. Epic’s challenger to Steam’s PC store dominance is offering its own free games–currently the Jackbox Party Pack–as well as striking exclusive distribution deals for games like Metro Exodus and The Division 2. This has started to garner a response from Valve regarding the aggressive moves. The Ubisoft store is also offering a free game right now, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China.


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