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Posts tagged with "nintendo"

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.


The Nintendo Switch’s Parental Controls

Kotaku’s Luke Plunkett, in a story about the usefulness and elegant design of Nintendo’s Parental Controls app for the Switch (which is available on iOS here):

But the Switch comes from a very Nintendo place, where it feels like they don’t just want to tick a few legal/ethical boxes, but genuinely help parents (and, by extension, the kids who are being affected by these limitations). Like the Xbox and PlayStation, the Switch lets adults restrict a child’s ability to play games with certain ratings, or stop them from using a specific type of program. But it’s the extra stuff the Switch does, and the ease with which you can do it, that makes all the difference.

First up: I appreciate the fact that the Switch’s parental controls are housed in a standalone app, rather than something I need to burrow down into system menus for. There’s a practical benefit to that, as it’s faster and easier to get to these settings, but it also sends a message: by breaking the parental control suite out into its own app, rather than house everything alongside the rest of the system’s settings, it shows Nintendo are treating them as a separate and more important matter than what my resolution or surround sound settings are.

I don’t have kids, but I’ve long heard from MacStories readers that this kind of model – a ‘Family’ app on the Home screen with lots of stats and easy-to-access controls for parents – would be fantastic to have on iOS. Given Apple’s commitment to families, I’m surprised iOS’ parental controls seem so lackluster when compared to what Nintendo has done with a game console.

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The State of Nintendo’s Smartphone Games

Great overview by Bryan Finch, writing for Nintendo Wire, on the state of Nintendo’s high-profile mobile titles:

With the recent release of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Nintendo has now delivered all of its previously announced smartphone games. The shocking change in company policy that lead to the development of these titles was one of the final projects that Nintendo’s former president, Satoru Iwata, managed before his untimely passing.

These games have been a mixed bag of success for Nintendo, both in terms of quality and profits, and since all of the known games are now out in the wild, it’s a good time to check in and see where each Nintendo mobile game stands at the end of 2017.

My goal here is to examine what the games set out to achieve, how successful they were with those goals on launch, where they are today and where they can go from here.

Finch is spot-on about Super Mario Run and what went wrong with the game, and I agree with his assessment of Animal Crossing’s future potential. I wonder what Nintendo could do with a future mobile Zelda game.

See also: rumors of Nintendo looking for another mobile development partner, and Pocket Camp’s performance thus far.

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Animal Crossing Debuts on iOS a Day Earlier Than Expected

This past Friday, Nintendo America announced via Twitter that Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp would be available on iOS worldwide on November 22nd.

Instead, the game showed up unexpectedly early on November 21st. This isn’t the first time Nintendo has surprised fans with an early release. In September, after announcing a release date for a major update to Super Mario Run on the App Store, Nintendo released that game a day early too.

In a move that may be in response to complaints that some levels of Super Mario Run required an in-app purchase, Animal Crossing is up front about its pricing, imposing a popup during the setup process that explains that Leaf Tickets, which are an in-game currency, can be purchased, but are optional. Before you can get started, there are also other instructions and a 99 MB update to download. It’s a laborious process but doesn’t take long if you have a good Internet connection.

Animal Crossing is based on Nintendo’s 3DS title Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Welcome amiibo and includes some of the same characters. You play as the manager of a campground, building your campsite and interacting with animals you meet. As you play, you collect items and complete tasks for the animals you meet. The materials you collect are used to craft items to decorate your campsite. Leaf Tickets, which you can earn in-game or purchase as an In-App Purchase can be used to purchase accessories for your campsite or speed up the construction of items.

I have only just scratched the surface of Animal Crossing, but it looks great, especially on an iPhone X. The game’s colors are vivid, and it takes full advantage of the iPhone X’s display. While not as deep as the Animal Crossing games available on Nintendo’s hardware, Pocket Camp looks like a fun way to spend some time over the long Thanksgiving weekend in the US. I’m also looking forward to connecting with friends who have Nintendo accounts to see what kinds of campsites they build.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is available on the App Store as a free download.


Remaster, Episode 47: Super Mario Odyssey Review

Mario is back! Is he better than ever?

On this week’s episode of Remaster, we share our thoughts on Super Mario Odyssey. There are spoilers in the second half of the show. This is a good one. You can listen here.

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