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Posts tagged with "nintendo"

Using the iPad Pro as a Portable Monitor for My Nintendo Switch with Orion, a Capture Card, and a Battery Pack

Tears of the Kingdom on my iPad Pro.

Tears of the Kingdom on my iPad Pro.

Those who have been reading MacStories for a while know that I have a peculiar obsession for portable setups free of the constraints typically involved with working at a desk or playing games in front of a TV.

It’s not that I don’t want to have a desk or dislike my 65” OLED TV: it’s that I don’t want those contexts to be my only options when it comes to getting work done or playing videogames. This is why I’ve spent the better part of my career fine-tuning my iPad-first lifestyle and why I’m so excited at the prospect of a giant screen that can always be with me. Modularity, portability, and freedom from a desk or TV are the driving factors in everything I use or buy these days.

For these reasons, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I embraced the ability to use the iPad Pro as a portable monitor for videogame consoles thanks to UVC support. As I covered in my iPadOS 17 review, this feature was primarily conceived to let iPad users connect external webcams to their computers, but that hasn’t stopped developers from re-using the same underlying technology to create apps that allow you to display a video feed from any accessory connected via USB.

It’s a very intriguing proposition: the 12.9” iPad Pro has a gorgeous mini-LED display; what if you could use that to give yourself a little extra screen real estate when playing Super Mario Bros. Wonder or Tears of the Kingdom without having to pack a separate portable monitor with you?

In my review, I mentioned the Genki Studio app, which I used to play games with my Nintendo Switch and ROG Ally and output their video feeds to the iPad Pro’s display. Today, I want to explain how I took my setup a step further by enhancing the picture quality of the Nintendo Switch when viewed on the iPad Pro and, most importantly, how I created a fully-portable setup that allows me to play Switch games on the iPad Pro anywhere I am.

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I Used a Game Boy Camera for FaceTime Video Calls in iPadOS 17 and It Was Glorious

A major change introduced by iPadOS 17 that is going to make video creators and gamers happy is support for UVC (USB Video Class) devices, which means an iPad can now recognize external webcams, cameras, video acquisition cards, and other devices connected over USB-C. I started testing iPadOS 17 thinking this would be a boring addition I’d never use; as it turns out, it’s where I had the most fun tinkering with different pieces of hardware this summer.

Most of all, however, I did not anticipate I’d end up doing FaceTime calls with a Game Boy Camera as my iPad Pro’s webcam.

I’m in the process of writing my annual iOS and iPadOS review, and in the story I’ll have plenty more details about the changes to iPadOS 17’s Stage Manager and how I’m taking advantage of UVC support to play Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck games on my iPad’s display. But in the meantime, I wanted to share this Game Boy Camera story because it’s wild, ridiculous, and I love it.

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Tears of the Kingdom Travel Guide Is the Ideal iPhone and iPad App to Keep Track of Your Zelda Adventures

TotK Travel Guide.

TotK Travel Guide.

If your summer’s going to be anything like mine, some of these things should sound familiar: you’re going to play around with the iOS and iPadOS 17 betas and get on some TestFlights for third-party apps; you’re going to spend some time at the beach or perhaps even travel abroad; and you’ll still be playing through The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, which is a ridiculously massive game well worth waiting six years for. If the latter scenario applies to your life right now and in the near future, you’ll want to install TotK Travel Guide, which came out earlier this week for iPhone and iPad.

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Apple Adds Nintendo Online Classic Controller Support to the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV

It seems that Apple slipped a little extra controller support into yesterday’s updates to iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and tvOS: Nintendo Online classic controller support.

Nintendo sells wireless versions of its classic NES, SNES, and Nintendo 64 controllers, plus the Sega Genesis controller for use with its Nintendo Online Service for Switch. The controllers are a fun way to play the games from those old systems that are offered as part of Nintendo Online and its Expansion Pack add-on service. Yesterday, Steve Troughton-Smith tweeted that the classic SNES controller works with iOS and tvOS 16.1:

Sure enough, it does, along with iPadOS 16.1 and macOS Ventura. With each OS, the controller shows up as ‘SNES Controller’ in Bluetooth settings when in pairing mode. Federico has confirmed that the Nintendo 64 controller works, too, but neither of us has an NES or Sega Genesis controller to test.

The Nintendo 64 controller paired with the new iPad.

The Nintendo 64 controller paired with the new iPad.

This isn’t the first time Nintendo’s wireless versions of classic controllers have been adapted for use beyond the Switch. Steam added support for the controllers in July.

Pairing my SNES wireless controller to my iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Pairing my SNES wireless controller to my iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Apple has gradually added deeper and deeper support for third-party controllers over the past few years. The latest official additions, which were first announced at WWDC, are the Nintendo Joy-Con and Pro Controller. Some third-party controllers like the 8BitDO SN30 Pro+ that emulates other controllers can be paired with Apple devices, too, but they show up as generic controllers.

I love many of the retro games available on Apple’s platforms that are inspired by Nintendo’s early systems. What’s great about the support for the wireless controllers is that now they can be played with the controllers of the systems that inspired them. The Nintendo 64 controller is perpetually out of stock, but if you’re interested in picking up any of the others, they are available on Nintendo’s online store.


Nintendo Switch Online 2.0 Gets a Redesign and Adds a Few New Features

Since it debuted, Nintendo Switch Online’s utility has been primarily limited to initiating voice chats and other online features in the Switch games that support them. That’s still the core of version 2.0, but the app has been redesigned and adds a couple of nice new features.

The new design divides the screen into a scrolling row of friends along the top, thumbnails of the games you own that support online services, like Animal Crossing, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, and Splatoon 2, and the app’s Voice Chat feature. It’s a simple, good-looking design, but the abundance of blank space, if you’re not using voice chat, reveals just how little else the app has to offer.

Tapping on a friend's Mii shows you what they're playing or when they were last online.

Tapping on a friend’s Mii shows you what they’re playing or when they were last online.

The row of friends indicates who is currently online and who you’ve marked as a ‘Best Friend,’ which pins their Mii avatars to the beginning of your friends list. Tapping on a Mii shows you what someone who is online is playing or when they were last online. The game-specific thumbnails act as launchers for each game’s service, and voice chat is only activated if you first start a game on the Switch in a mode that supports it.

Nintendo Switch Online walks you through the process of starting a voice chat and lets you manage your visibility to friends.

Nintendo Switch Online walks you through the process of starting a voice chat and lets you manage your visibility to friends.

A small but welcome touch is the ability to copy your friend code in the app’s settings. Previously you had to grab your Switch, dig into your profile, and manually copy the information if you wanted to send it to someone. Personally, that’s been a huge drag on how often I share my friend code, so I appreciate the change.

It’s good to see Nintendo Switch Online updated, but it’s still a little disheartening to think that it took the company five years to get to a version 2.0 with such modest feature additions. Still, the update is an improvement, and hopefully, it’s also a sign that Nintendo is prepared to invest more time and effort into the app as a way to enhance the Switch experience.

Nintendo Switch Online is available as a free update on the App Store.


MacStories Starter Pack: Frame Nintendo Switch Screenshots with SwitchFrame

Breath of the Wild, framed with SwitchFrame in Shortcuts.

Breath of the Wild, framed with SwitchFrame in Shortcuts.

Editor’s Note: Frame Nintendo Switch Screenshots with SwitchFrame is part of the MacStories Starter Pack, a collection of ready-to-use shortcuts, apps, workflows, and more that we’ve created to help you get the most out of your Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

Following the release of version 11.0 of the Nintendo Switch firmware in December 2020, I released ShortSwitch, a shortcut that simplified the process of importing screenshots and videos from a Nintendo Switch console on the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone or iPad. ShortSwitch continues to be one of my favorite utilities I’ve built in the Shortcuts app, and it’s become my default way of transferring media from the Switch to my iPhone before tweeting it. With ShortSwitch, you don’t need to scan the second QR code displayed on the console, and you can quickly preview or save multiple files at once. It still works reliably, and you can download it here.

That said, I’ve always wondered if I could improve another aspect of screenshots captured on the Nintendo Switch: framing them with a physical device template of a Switch console, just like I can frame iPhone, iPad, and Mac screenshots with Apple Frames. So a few months ago, Silvia and I got to work. After finding a Switch template we liked, Silvia modified it, and I was able to put together SwitchFrame – a shortcut that frames Switch screenshots with a classic Nintendo Switch console featuring red and blue Joy Cons.

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ShortSwitch: A Shortcut to Quickly Import Screenshots and Videos from a Nintendo Switch on Your iPhone and iPad

ShortSwitch for iOS 14.

ShortSwitch for iOS 14.

Last week, Nintendo rolled out a new feature that simplifies importing screenshots and videos taken on a Nintendo Switch on any smart device. As part of the console’s 11.0 firmware, you can now share up to 10 screenshots or a single video capture from the Nintendo Switch media gallery and, by scanning a series of QR codes with your phone or tablet, wirelessly connect your device to the console and save them via a web browser. Although Nintendo’s approach may not be as intuitive or modern as, say, Microsoft automatically saving all screenshots you take on an Xbox console and uploading them to your Xbox account, it is a clever, platform-agnostic solution that will keep working with any device that can scan a QR code and connect to the console’s Wi-Fi network.1

As someone who plays a lot of Nintendo Switch games2 and has always disliked having to share screenshots via Nintendo’s Twitter integration on the Switch, I’ve long wanted an easier way to send images and videos from the console to my iPhone and iPad. As soon as I tested Nintendo’s new feature, I had a feeling I could further speed up the process with Shortcuts and remove the (little) friction left in Nintendo’s system for sharing media between the console and smart devices.

The result is ShortSwitch, a shortcut that automatically recognizes media being shared by a Nintendo Switch over Wi-Fi and which gives you the option to save all items at once in Photos or Files, share them via the share sheet, or copy them to the clipboard. ShortSwitch does this by directly accessing the local web server created by the Nintendo Switch to share media; because it doesn’t need to connect to the Internet or use third-party apps, ShortSwitch runs instantly and allows you to save multiple items at once in just a couple seconds. Even better, you can configure ShortSwitch to run as a Personal Automation on your iPhone and iPad, which means the shortcut will run automatically as soon as you connect your iPhone or iPad to a Nintendo Switch.

You can download ShortSwitch at the end of this article and find it (alongside 220+ other free shortcuts) in the MacStories Shortcuts Archive. Now, allow me to explain how ShortSwitch works and how I put it together.

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Mario Kart Tour Coming to iOS September 25

Following a pre-announcement in 2018 and a delay earlier this year, Mario Kart Tour will finally arrive on the iPhone and iPad soon. September 25 is the official release date, and you can pre-order the game on the App Store now so it will automatically download on release day.

Mario Kart Tour will be a free download upon launch, with In-App Purchases required for certain content. It’s unclear at this time which gameplay elements will be free and which will be locked behind an In-App Purchase, but more details are expected leading up to the title’s release.

The video above offers a glimpse at the game’s control scheme. Steering will take place by holding one finger on-screen and dragging it slightly to the left or right; it may just be a video, but the controls seem especially well suited for a smartphone, appearing far more natural than something like on-screen buttons might have.

In years past the debut of a popular title like Mario Kart Tour might have been something we’d see on-stage at the September Apple event. This year, however, Apple Arcade is bound to receive all the stage time dedicated to gaming, and to this point Nintendo hasn’t signed on to create any Arcade titles. If Arcade takes off, however, it will be interesting to see if that approach changes in the future.


Nintendo Announces Dr. Mario World Coming to iOS July 10

Today Nintendo announced its latest mobile venture coming to iPhone and iPad: Dr. Mario World, which is available to pre-order now and will launch July 10th.

Dr. Mario World is a match 3-style game in the vein of Candy Crush, whereby you try to match your limited quantity of colored capsules with the various virus creatures on-screen to clear the game board. Fitting the Mario theme, the board in each stage will feature not just viruses, but also fan favorite power-ups such as a red shell or bomb that can knock out more viruses at once when activated. Based on early details, the game appears to stray very little from the classic match 3 formula, complete with hearts that determine whether you can start a stage, and diamonds that enable things like extending your turns. Match 3 games are a guilty pleasure for me, and I love Nintendo, so while some may prefer more originality, I’m excited to try a Mario-themed spin on a classic game mechanic.

When Dr. Mario World launches, it will be a free download with optional In-App Purchases for things like diamonds – a common business model for this type of game. There will be five worlds at launch, consisting of a variety of stages, and more worlds will be added over time. And following the tradition of other Nintendo titles such as Super Mario Run, gameplay will require a persistent Internet connection.

You can pre-order Dr. Mario World now.