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TalkBack / Japanese Weekly Software and Hardware Charts for Jan. 21-27
« on: February 06, 2008, 11:13:08 AM »
The week soon to be known as “The calm before the Brawl.”

 Nothing too surprising this week.  Wii Fit is still selling its $80 boxes at an incredible rate and Wii Sports is still  going strong. There was, however, an unusual influx of PlayStation titles, including the latest version of the ever-popular soccer simulator Winning Eleven on PSP.    

Monster Hunter Portable on PSP is almost neck and neck with Mario Party DS in terms of weekly and overall sales, jostling for the No.6 position.    

Sales / Total Sales
 01. Wii Fit (Wii) – 89,000 / 1,283,000
 02. Winning Eleven: Ubiquitous Evolution 2008 (PSP) – 77,000 / New Entry
 03. Lucky Star (PS2) – 72,000 / New Entry
 04. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (DS) – 50,000 / 140,000
 05. Wii Sports (Wii) – 26,000 / 2,714,000
 06. Mario Party DS (DS) – 22,000 / 1,581,000
 07. Monster Hunter Portable 2nd (PSP) – 21,000 / 1,555,000
 08. Doraemon Baseball (DS) – 20,000 / 138,000
 09. Yggdra Union (PSP) – 17,000 / New Entry
 10. Professor Layton and the Devil's Box (DS) – 15,000 / 746,000

This is all insignificant however, to what will no doubt be unprecedented sales of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which was released here in Japan on the 31st. Initial reports say all of the initial shipment was sold out within days. The lengths that the Tokyo branch of NWR had to go to in order to secure a copy is testament to how in demand the game was at launch.    

On the hardware side of things, the Wii was lagging behind the PSP again this week, which is also reflected in the total-to-date sales of the system. Naturally the DS is the clear leader, and has already passed the half-million mark in 2008 alone.    

Weekly Sales (Year-to-Date Sales)
 1. DS – 79,370 (532,000)
 2. PSP – 77,933 (472,000)
 3. Wii – 74,544 (450,000)
 4. PS3 – 34,363 (175,000)
 5. PS2 – 11,364 (71,000)
 6. Xbox 360 – 4,296 (23,000)

TalkBack / Japanese Weekly Software and Hardware Charts for Jan. 14-20
« on: January 30, 2008, 07:07:05 AM »
The week that had two Marios and two Sonics at the Olympic Games.

 The DS version of the mascot-based Olympics game made a bold entry this week.  Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games almost reached the colossal weekly sales of Wii Fit.    

Wii Sports is also inching its way towards the three million mark, which indicates that a large proportion of the estimated 3.7 million Wii owners in Japan have a copy.    

Super Mario Galaxy, however, seems to be crawling its way towards the one million mark.  At this rate, it will take about three more months to reach that number.    

01. [WII] Wii Fit (Nintendo) – 92,000 / 1,194,000
 02. [NDS] Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games (Nintendo) – 90,000 / New Entry
 03. [NDS] Mario Party DS (Nintendo) – 33,000 / 1,560,000
 04. [WII] Wii Sports (Nintendo) – 30,000 / 2,689,000
 05. [PSP] Monster Hunter Portable 2nd (Capcom) – 24,000 / 1,534,000
 06. [NDS] Prof. Layton and Pandora’s Box (Level 5) – 22,000 / 730,000
 07. [NDS] Final Fantasy IV (Square Enix) – 22,000 / 559,000
 08. [WII] Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games (Nintendo) – 19,000 / 488,000
 09. [NDS] Dragon Quest IV (Square Enix) – 18,000 / 1,161,000
 10. [WII] Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo) – 16,000 / 835,000    

On the hardware side, Wii sales slowed down a little selling 81,638 during the week, just behind the DS Lite which sold 88,575.  The PSP also put up a good fight with 79,923, considerably better than the PlayStation 3, which sold 38,117.  The Xbox 360 sold just 4,552 units.

TalkBack / Japanese Weekly Software Charts for Jan. 7-13
« on: January 19, 2008, 11:45:07 AM »
Wii Fit sales stay healthy, despite a slow week in Japan.

 This week's sales figures from Media Create very clearly show that in Japan, a lot of people are getting fit on their Wiis.  It also shows that Nintendo have three million-plus sellers and incredibly, another three games selling over two million.    

Although this week showed sales in general are down, this was expected after a large holiday sales rush.  Mario Kart DS also managed a fair amount, showing it has tremendous long-term appeal. The always-popular Monster Hunter was the only non-Nintendo platform game to enter the charts.    

For those keeping track, Super Mario Galaxy was only just bumped off the top ten to the No. 11 spot.    

Sales this week / Total sales to date    

01. [WII] Wii Fit (Nintendo) – 90,000 / 1,101,000
 02. [NDS] Mario Party DS (Nintendo) – 43,000 / 1,527,000
 03. [WII] Wii Sports (Nintendo) – 33,000 / 2,658,000
 04. [NDS] Final Fantasy IV (Square Enix) – 32,000 / 537,000
 05. [PSP] Monster Hunter Portable 2nd (Capcom) – 26,000 / 1,511,000
 06. [NDS] Prof. Layton and Pandora’s Box (Level 5) – 25,000 / 708,000
 07. [NDS] Dragon Quest IV (Square Enix) – 25,000 / 1,143,000
 08. [WII] Wii Play (Nintendo) – 25,000 / 2,155,000
 09. [WII] Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games (Nintendo) – 22,000 / 468,000
 10. [NDS] Mario Kart DS (Nintendo) – 17,000 / 2,908,000    

On the hardware front, the DS and PSP were almost neck and neck. Sony’s machine managed 96,159 units, but was beaten to the finish by the Dual Screen, which sold 97,369 in the same week.    

As for the home consoles, the Wii doubled  PlayStation 3 sales yet again, managing 84,530 systems sold compared to the 38,907 for Sony’s console. The Xbox 360 managed only 4,690 units.

TalkBack / Japanese Weekly Software Charts for Dec. 31 - Jan. 6
« on: January 11, 2008, 03:08:46 PM »
Turns out Super Mario Galaxy sold pretty well in Japan.

 This week was very much a catch-up week for Media Create sales figures, seeing the last two weeks coming almost back-to-back. It  looks like Nintendo have done incredibly well the first week of the new year, with 25 out of the top 30 games being on Nintendo platforms.    

There were a few surprises too, both the Wii and DS versions of Mario Party reached one million in sales, as did Wii Fit. But most pleasantly surprising of all was that despite the previous seemingly slow sales of Super Mario Galaxy, it has actually clocked over 800,000 units.    

Sales this week / Total sales to date    

01. [NDS] Mario Party DS (Nintendo) - 196,000 / 1,484,000
 02. [WII] Wii Fit (Nintendo) - 127,000 / 1,011,000
 03. [WII] Wii Sports (Nintendo) - 118,000 / 2,625,000
 04. [NDS] Final Fantasy IV (Square-Enix) - 91,000 / 505,000
 05. [WII] Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo) - 82,000 / 802,000
 06. [WII] Wii Play (Nintendo) - 78,000 / 2,130,000
 07. [NDS] Dragon Quest IV (Square-Enix) - 78,000 / 1,118,000
 08. [NDS] Prof. Layton and Pandora's Box (Level 5) - 76,000 / 683,000
 09. [WII] Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games (Nintendo) - 75,000 / 447,000
 10. [WII] Mario Party 8 (Nintendo) - 66,000 / 1,145,000

TalkBack / Japanese Weekly Charts for Dec 17-23
« on: December 29, 2007, 09:23:13 AM »
The Wii and DS smash records left and right.

 The past week saw another Nintendo dominated week of software sales. The only non-Nintendo platform game was new Naruto Shippuuden game for the PlayStation 2, which debuted at No. 5.    

Top Ten Japanese Software (Weekly / Total)
 1. Mario Party DS (DS) - 329,826 / 1,156,000
 2. Final Fantasy IV (DS) - 287,697 / NEW
 3. Wii Fit (Wii) - 214,334 / 749,000
 4. Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) - 113,831 / 664,000
 5. Naruto: Shippuuden N-Ultimate Accelerator 2 (PS2) - 108,717 / NEW
 6. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games (Wii)- 104,948 / 317,000
 7. Dragon Quest IV (DS)- 94,425 / 963,000
 8. Doraemon Baseball: Dramatic Stadium (DS) - 84,639 / NEW
 9. Wii Sports (Wii) - 83,882 / 2,425,000
 10. Prof. Layton and Pandora's Box (DS) - 83,293 / 527,000    

Mario Galaxy is racking up sales slowly but surely, and is looking to hit one million in the near future.  Not as fast as Wii Fit though, which continues to outsell Mario and is already at the three-quarters pole to a million less than a month afters its release.    

Hardware sales were even more impressive. The previous week saw the Wii outsell the GameCube’s lifetime sales in the single year it’s been out. The Wii has notched up 4,463,951 units, compare that to the Cube which in its five-plus years only reached 4,179,994.    

The PS2 has held the crown for total lifetime sales in Japan, and the rest of the world for some time, but this week saw that change. The PS2’s impressive 20,901,468 units sold in Japan was overtaken by the DS, which has sold 20,954,157 units to date in the country.

TalkBack / Japanese Weekly Software and Hardware Charts for Dec 3-9
« on: December 14, 2007, 06:19:27 AM »
Wii Fit balances confidently at the top.

 Last week’s Japanese charts saw Wii Fit reach the second spot with only a few days on sale, so a full week at retail went exactly as predicted – Wii Fit sold big.  The 8,800 Yen ($80) pack reached the top spot with just short of 150,000 units sold, just ahead of Mario Party DS at No.2 with almost 107,000 units.    

Tales of Innocence on DS entered strongly at No.3 with 104,000 units, giving Nintendo platforms the top three software spots.  Professor Layton’s second outing (No. 5) and Dragon Quest IV (No. 6) remained strong contenders with another 75,000 and 63,000 units sold respectively.    

The software charts have been rather strange of late, and this week was no exception.  At No.7, Lost Odyssey on the Xbox 360 beat out both Mario Galaxy (No. 9) and Mario and Sonic at the Olympics (No. 10), albeit by only 10,000 units.  Mario Galaxy re-enters the top ten after an absence of more than three weeks, indicating that sales are picking up slightly for the winter holidays.    

Hardware charts were business as usual, with the DS selling 168,255 units, just ahead of the Wii, which sold 115,057 in the same time frame. With the PS3 managing only 38,123, that gives the Wii a 3:1 lead in Japan.    

The official Media Create charts can be viewed here.

TalkBack / Japanese Weekly Charts for Nov. 26-Dec. 2
« on: December 07, 2007, 07:44:18 AM »
Wii Fit exercises its domination over Super Mario Galaxy.

 The latest Media Create Japanese software charts proved what everyone expected: Wii Fit sold big in Japan. However, despite it selling 261,000 units, it wasn’t enough to reach the top position.    

That honour was taken by Professor Layton and the Devil’s Box for the Nintendo DS, which managed a staggering 293,000 in its first week.  It should be noted however, that Wii Fit sells at 8,800 yen ($80), compared to DS software at 4,800 yen ($43).  Also, Wii Fit was released at the end of the week, whereas Professor Layton came out nearer the beginning of the week.    

Other noteworthy contenders were Dragon Quest IV on DS managing another 134,000 units to reach the No. 4 spot.  Mario Party DS at No. 6 also notched up a respectable 79,000 units, almost double that of Mario and Sonic at the Olympics on Wii, which placed at No. 9.    

Super Mario Galaxy was again just beaten out of the top ten, but this time by Duel Monsters World Championship 2008 on the DS, which sold 34,000 units.

TalkBack / Japanese Weekly Charts for Nov. 19-25
« on: November 29, 2007, 06:59:03 PM »
This week's software sales really show how poorly Super Mario Galaxy is doing.

 Media Create’s software charts show another strong week for Nintendo platforms, but you may be surprised at with what games.    

At No. 1, clocking almost 600,000 units in sales was Dragon Quest IV on the DS.  The only Wii game in the top tier was at No. 6, with Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, reaching just over 62,000 units sold.    

Most depressingly however, was that this week saw Super Mario Galaxy pushed out the top ten to No.11.  Media Create only supply units sold for the top ten games, but we can assume it sold less than the PlayStation 2 pachinko game at position ten, which managed 35,000 units.    

Hardware proved more promising for Nintendo.  The Wii took back its lead over the PlayStation 3, which had been marginally outselling it for the past couple of weeks.  The Wii sold 54,362 consoles last week, with the PS3 only slightly behind at 50,564 units.  Even if you add those together, you won’t reach the colossal DS Lite sales of 116,694 for that week.    

Keep a close eye on the charts after December 1 and the release of Wii Fit.  It’s widely expected to be a massive seller this holiday.

TalkBack / Club Nintendo Updates Catalogue
« on: November 16, 2007, 05:06:50 AM »
Nintendo of Japan add an exclusive controller to their catalogue!  Also: a two-disc Galaxy soundtrack.

 Club Nintendo, a service in Japan that lets gamers register games and redeem points for cool stuff, has updated its catalog today.  Nintendo have gone all-out for fans of the Virtual Console service.  Original controllers have been available before, such as the Mario and Luigi themed GameCube pads. But today, Nintendo announced replicas of the Super Famicom (SNES) controllers, compatible with the Wii Remote, and that they will be shipped early next year.    

Translated from the official site:    

“Super Famicom" version of the Wii Classic Controller
 For Platinum members of the club (members with over 400 points) we will be supplying this item for use with the Wii Virtual Console. This is available to order now, but will ship from April 2008.    

Super Mario Galaxy Soundtrack : Platinum Version.
 81 Tracks from the recently-released Super Mario Galaxy will be available in this 2-disc set.  The first disc will contain 28 tracks taken directly from the game, while the second disk will have 53 “variations" of the themes. The discs will also come in an exclusive cover.  This item will ship from January 2008.    

Club Nintendo Exclusive Calendar (2 Pack)
 This is dual-sided, freestanding table calendar. One side has designs taken from various Nintendo games, while the reverse is a simple calendar design. This item will ship from December 2007.

Start your petitions to Nintendo of America now.

TalkBack / IMPRESSIONS: Soul Calibur Legends
« on: October 01, 2007, 08:08:32 PM »
With the fourth iteration of the series going to the other consoles, will this Wii-specific slash-‘em-up fill the void?

 Soul Calibur has a long history, but Nintendo fans have only ever seen one game: the fantastic Soul Calibur 2 on GameCube. It fast became one of the system’s best-loved fighters, most probably due to the solid controls, loads of unlockable bonuses through the "Quest" mode, and of biggest of all for Nintendo fans - the inclusion of Link.   But here we are now with a completely different style of game, naturally without Link, in fact with a heavily reduced roster of characters overall. Will Wii owners end up getting a good deal out of Legends?    

At heart, the game plays like a scrolling beat ‘em up set in the Soul Calibur world. Most of the time you’ll be running and slashing your sword, with moves looking very similar to the ones you saw in the fighting game.  Controls are very much what you’d expect. Players move the Wii Remote left to right to get the horizontal slash or up and down to get the uppercut/vertical slash. Hitting the B button causes you to jump, which opens up another set of combos and attacks.  Dashing/dodging can be achieved with a quick flick of the Nunchuk in the appropriate direction. The controls feel very much like Twilight Princess "plus"; nothing groundbreaking, but they are competent and respond well.  The best thing for Soul Calibur 2 fans is that, despite it being a completely different kind of game, it actually feels nicely familiar.    

For the single player option of the demo, only Seigfried and Mitsurugi were playable, and a quick press of the C button let you change between them instantly. Their moves were exactly how I remembered them from SC2, with animations looking almost identical. Whether this is being faithful to the series or just laziness on behalf of the developers remains to be seen.    

Bad guys came in the form of slow-moving, stone golem-type creatures. They were slightly more than just sword fodder; they dodged and attacked with a decent degree of skill. It would have been nice to have more visual variety, but as this version is very early on, it’s easy to forgive.    

The one level I played in the demo was visually uninspiring, with very simple backgrounds and textures. They even had slightly less detail and crispness than the GameCube fighter.  Granted, the levels are bigger and probably require more horsepower, but they definitely felt a step backwards. However, this is early code, and there is plenty of time to spruce up the graphics. I really hope they do.    

The best thing about the demo, graphically and gameplay wise, was battling the huge end-of-level dragon boss.  This required skilful dodging to avoid his attacks, whilst unleashing as many combos and hits with your sword as you could in between his bursts of fire breath.  This is something new to the Soul Calibur world, but it doesn’t feel out of place in this environment. It’s nice to have something not possible in the confines of a fighting arena. I’d definitely like to see more of these battles in the final product.    

In the end I came away with what I’m hoping is just a small taste of lots more to come. There’s a solid action adventure game to be made out of this, with good fighting mechanics and decent gesture control. It’s up to Namco to show that they are making a worthy Wii-exclusive alternative; we Soul Calibur fans all hope that they do.

TalkBack / IMPRESSIONS: NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams
« on: September 26, 2007, 11:45:30 AM »
The sequel to the Sega Saturn fan-favourite nears completion. How did it fare at TGS?

 First of all I have a confession: this is the first time I’ve ever played a Nights game. While this means I am not familiar with the series’ nuances,  I can also guarantee that my impressions are not made through any tint of glasses whatsoever, rose or otherwise.    

To my surprise, Nights plays like a racing game. The TGS demo starts off with the player controlling a young kid, walking along the ground of a fantasy-themed level.  You’ll soon find a golden chain to climb up, which will take you to a floating cage where the Nights character awaits your control.  The timer starts, and players must then fly laps around a course delineated by floating rings. The aim is to fly through rings, collecting orbs and keys as you go. Keys are held by large colourful birds, you must collect these to progress on to the next lap. There are three keys and three laps.    

Flying is steered solely with the analogue stick, while boosting is controlled with the A Button on the Wii remote. Anyone dreading overuse of waggle can sleep well, though anyone hoping for interesting gesture controls may be disappointed.  For me the controls worked nicely: I wasn’t thinking about what my hands were doing. I was just trying to fly gracefully.    

From screenshots I had assumed you would be able to fly in complete 3D, like Mario with his wing cap in Super Mario 64. This was not the case.  Players only control altitude and direction on an invisible path around the level, steering the character in four directions. This may sound too easy, but it’s not simply a case of tapping up or down, left or right; you really need to use the analogue sensitivity of the stick well. Flying through multiple rings in a row earns you chain combos and time bonuses. The placement of the rings also gets harder and cleverer near the end of the level, so trying to complete a perfect lap will surely satisfy the hardcore out there. In the end, I found there is a real skill and challenge involved.    

At the end of the demo level is a boss. The gameplay is very similar to the main game, except restricted to a cylindrical room. In this boss battle you constantly orbit around the room, still only in the four main directions.  The boss hides behind a black curtain in the background. The aim is to find him by looking for sparkles revealing his whereabouts. Players had to then ‘cut’ into the curtain by flying in a small circle. This then revealed the boss, allowing the player to damage him by flying in another quick circle  This proved quite a challenge, and half the fun was working out how to actually damage him.  I hope there are more similarly ingenious boss challenges in the final game.    

Nights looks kind of average for the Wii. The textures are very colourful, like most Sonic Team games. The levels have a lot of background activity, with plenty to look at for bystanders. The aforementioned birds are probably the best looking things in the game.  There was some slight, but noticeable slowdown at times, but nothing too distracting. Anyone impressed by the music from the recent trailer for Nights will also be satisfied with the in-game music, which features some nice orchestrations that add to the fantastical atmosphere of the game.    

As I have no point of reference, I can’t say if Nights on Wii is looking to be an improvement or stagnation of this franchise. It is however an interesting take on a flying/racing game that was fun for the short time I had with it.  I didn’t understand the fuss over Nights before TGS, but I came away seeing a hint of why people are charmed by the series.

TalkBack / IMPRESSIONS: No More Heroes
« on: September 23, 2007, 08:08:04 PM »
Suda 51 turned his back on the "More violent than Manhunt 2" comment (at least for Japan), but does that really change anything?

 UPDATE: Here is some off-screen video footage of the game, shot at TGS 2007.    


I was very excited about playing No More Heroes, the spiritual successor to the fantastically bizarre Killer7 at TGS.  I couldn’t wait to see how it looked and played.  I had a lot of preconceptions and ideas about how I thought the controls would play out. Let’s just say I was wrong with pretty much all of them, but in a very good way.    

Having played several other sword-based Wii games at the show, my wrist was beginning to ache with the amount of frantic swinging I’d had to do previously, so I was pleasantly surprised at how little there was in No More Heroes.  The demo got straight into the action with plenty of sword-wielding and gun-toting bad guys to fight, so I ignited my battery-powered sword and got to it.  The standard "beam katana" attacks were performed with the A Button and with no gestures at all.  That may make it sound simplistic, but it has some nice touches to mix it up.    

For instance, you can raise or lower the remote to waist or shoulder height, or even above your head if you wish, and the game’s protagonist, Travis Touchdown, will mimic the same action. The attacks will then change from low cuts to overhead swings, and it feels very cool to do.  You can also charge up your sword attack by holding down the A Button, with a nice electricity effect to complement it.  This reminded me of the classic Zelda spin attack move.    

The B Button took care of the physical attacks like punches and kicks, which can be linked into combos offering a nice variety of attacks.  When in a combo, sometimes you’ll be prompted with an on-screen arrow indicating which direction you should "slice" your Wii remote.  This will end the combo with a powerful blow, usually destroying the enemy completely in a shower of coins and pixels. There are several motion-based endings, sometimes involving the nunchuk as well. My favourite was done by moving both controllers inwards, which resulted in a wrestling-inspired suplex move.  Very tasty.    

Blocking was handled with the Z Button, which doubled up as lock-on, so it was pretty easy to avoid being shot as long as you were locked on to the guy shooting at you. At first I thought it would feel better if I could block using my own Jedi-like gestures, but realistically, in the heat of battle, I think the lock-on idea works better.  Some attacks couldn’t be blocked, however, such as one of the boss’s beam attacks, so nimble dodging using the D-Pad was required.  It was not ideal, but it worked nonetheless.    

One thing that threw me about the game happened during an end-level boss battle – the sword’s blade went "out", like it was just a stick of metal.  I was suddenly getting my backside handed to me, with attacks doing nothing more than making a clanging sound.    I was then instructed to hold the 1 Button and shake the remote like a spray can, which lets you recharge the beam katana to full power. You are open to attacks during this recharging period, so you’ll have to keep an eye on the power bar and find suitable hiding places to recharge.    

Overall, the controls worked surprisingly well, so it looks like Suda 51 has been doing his homework.  He’s a self-confessed Nintendo fan, so maybe he wanted to improve on Nintendo's own sword controls from Zelda?    

As you’d expect from the guy who made Killer7, the graphics enhance the craziness of the action  They have a great saturated colour style, halfway between cel-shaded and traditional texturing. All on-screen icons and effects look like blocks or pixels, and the characters have intentionally blocky features. One of the enemy’s heads was simply a square brown paper bag, but with the way the game is presented, it kind of fit in  It was only later on when I thought to myself how weird it all was.  I guess that’s a testament to how sucked into the world I was in such a short time with the game.    

Another nice touch was about halfway through the demo when Travis received a phone call.  He was not able to attack while this was happening  I was instructed by the guy at the booth to hold the Wii remote to my ear, and as I did I was listening in to the phone conversation happening on screen. Granted ,I couldn’t make out a word they were saying due to deafening stage presentation next door, but it definitely made me smile. I hope that there are more interactive cut-scenes like this in the final game.    

One thing to note, which you may have already picked up on, is that there was absolutely no blood in this version. But fear not, gore lovers out there, this will be restricted to the Japanese version only.  The European and American versions will be full of the red stuff.   Whether or not it’s as gory as Rockstar’s effort in Manhunt 2 is completely irrelevant, as the style is very different.  I wouldn’t mind playing either the blood splattered version or the stylised-pixel Japanese edit.    

What I saw in this TGS demo bodes well for the final product. If the missions and bosses have the same amount of variety I saw, we could have a stylish, wrist-friendly, sword-based action game. Currently, the game is 90% complete and due out in February next year. I'm looking forward to playing the final product.

TalkBack / Club Nintendo Adds New Items
« on: September 19, 2007, 05:41:47 AM »
Nintendo's Japanese games-for-goods redemption program has stocked up with some new swag.

 Good news for people who happen to live in Japan: there are more goodies to spend your Club Nintendo points on.    

If you’re unfamiliar with Club Nintendo, there are cards packaged in every Nintendo-published game that include a long number to input into the Club Nintendo website.  Unlike the North American counterpart, you can actually use these points to redeem them for real, Nintendo branded goods.    

This update has the usual mixture of useful and crazy items:    

- At the top, we have “Star Ten Billion", which may sound cool to Japanese people, but for us, it’s just a weird name for a crazy-looking puzzle game. By that, I mean a real, physical, using-your-hands puzzle game. Cost: 650 club points.    

- Next on the list is the hilarious-looking “Scream-fighter" (literal translation), which is described as a “Mic-action game". It’s exactly that; you shout commands like “kick!", “punch" and “transform" into the DS, and your little Power Rangers-looking guy does the same action on screen.  How does it work in reality?  Most people will probably lose their voice and/or lungs before level 2. Cost: 500 club points.    

- Next, we have a fancy looking magnetic “Silver Case" to hold your DS games and a stylus. It keeps your games on the fridge as a bonus. Cost: 500 club points    

- Next is another case for DS games and a colorful DS “pouch", Cost: 350 and 250 club points respectively. Why not just buy these in the shops?    

- Last of all, we have the only Wii-related thing on here, a “Wii Remote Control and Nunchuk stand". Do you have your Wii Remotes and Nunchuks wrapped dangerously around your TV cabinet?  Well not any more!  At only 150 club points, it’s a unique, useful item not available in the shops.    

That’s all for this update, be sure to check out the lineup of goods at the Club Nintendo page.

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