Nvidia's Shield is a solid, high-end streaming micro-console with the distinction of using the same Tegra X1 silicon found in Nintendo Switch - which makes the existence of a high performance Wii emulator for the system absolutely fascinating. An official project, developed by Nvidia and Nintendo in partnership, is this an early preview at how Wii and GameCube titles could be added to the Switch library? Our first look at the emulator running Super Mario Galaxy proved compelling, but follow-up analysis on The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess tosses us a curve ball, in that it's unlike any other version of the game available on the market today. It's still emulation - but with very specific customisations that set this release apart from the pack.
As things stand, we only wish that more Wii-emulated titles were available for testing - and that they were easier to come by. Right now, just four games are supported - Zelda, Mario Galaxy, Punchout and New Super Mario Bros Wii - and they're only available for Shield owners in China. Nvidia and Nintendo have done a pretty thorough job in locking out the games for other Shield users: you can only access them on Chinese hardware, and without access to specific Chinese social media platforms, they're impossible to buy even if you could access the appropriate store on Western Shield hardware.
Having overcome the availability issue by importing a Chinese console, we're now getting a sense of how much thought and effort has gone into this Nvidia/Nintendo collaboration. Super Mario Galaxy had full, localised Chinese text, perhaps suggesting that the developers are doing more than simply wrapping an emulator around the existing binary. Zelda: Twilight Princess goes much further - yes, there's the same localisation effort (obviously on a much larger scale for an RPG) but the game itself is a curious amalgamation of both Wii and GameCube versions, with one or two bespoke flourishes.
An extremely dedicated Zelda fan has successfully achieved his ambitious goal to 100% complete every single canon Zelda game in Nintendo's back catalogue - and the entire endeavour took a little over a year.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's first proper DLC pack, The Master Trials, launches worldwide this Friday. To celebrate, Nintendo has been taking a look at some of the wearable items included in the DLC, and the classic Zelda characters which inspired them.
Blogs featuring details on the new Midna's Helmet item, as well as the Tingle suit, Korok mask and Phantom armour are all worth a read.
The article on Midna is especially interesting. In it, Breath of the Wild art director Satoru Takizawa reveals that Midna, your ally in Twilight Princess, was based on a design originally concepted for another, "secret project" Nintendo worked on before Twilight Princess was greenlit.
I'm really looking forward to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While I have a few concerns about the Nintendo Switch, its open world launch game looks stunning - you can chop down trees, use the physics engine to make elaborate Link catapults, and you can even cook things over a fire. I'm especially looking forward to that last one.
Earlier this week a couple of hardcore Zelda fans put up a browser-based remake of the original The Legend of Zelda made with voxels to commemorate the series' 30th anniversary. Now that fan tribute has been removed due to Nintendo issuing a copyright strike.
Sign up for the My Nintendo customer reward scheme and it looks like you'll get free downloadable games in return.
Go on Google Maps today and you'll spot a cute The Legend of Zelda surprise.
The Twilight Princess HD Wolf Link Amiibo will bring the Wolf Link/Midna duo into Super Mario Maker.
It's enough to give you goosebumps, even today. There's an endearing nuttiness to the shrill enthusiasm that met The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess' reveal at E3 in 2004, the excitement building to a crescendo of raw hysteria by the time Shigeru Miyamoto stood proud on stage mimicking Link's heroic pose, shield in one hand and sword in another with his smile as wide as it's ever been. It's a snapshot of fandom at its most intoxicating, and its most powerful; this is what happens when you give the faithful what they want.
The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess HD
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD includes a cheeky nod to the as-yet untitled new Legend of Zelda for Wii U.
Developer Tantalus hits all the right notes in its Zelda: Twilight Princess HD remaster on Wii U: a full-blooded 1080p production with overhauled textures, boosted shadow quality, and tweaked bloom lighting. As a visual upgrade it's a satisfying one - and marks Zelda's 30th anniversary with some style. We've drawn comparisons with the Wii version already, but bringing the GameCube version into the fold lets us see the full extent of the upgrade across three generations of Nintendo consoles.
Of course, visual differences between GameCube and Wii are notoriously few, and both 2006 releases match up very closely indeed when planted next to this Wii U remaster. Even as the technological midpoint of the three, Wii's extras are fairly meagre in hindsight - the same texture assets, effects and geometry as GameCube, all presented at the same 480p standard. Adding a new widescreen mode (and an entirely inverted world layout) distinguished it to a certain extent, but otherwise these two were very much on par. With motion controls added, its status as a Wii launch title overshadowed the other version, and sadly, fewer people enjoyed the game in its original GameCube orientation.
This all changes for the Wii U release. Twilight Princess HD defaults to the non-mirrored layout intended for the game, while a harder Hero mode offers the Wii's inverted look. It's all output at a native 1080p too, but the benefits of finally running the game at a 24-bit colour depth can't be overstated. All captures below are taken via the Wii U's HDMI port, where the 16-bit colour on GameCube and Wii versions still cause a visible 'pinstripe' artifact across the output. This dithering is common to games of this era using heavy alpha effects - and thankfully it's a thing of the past on Wii U.
Three generations of Nintendo home console, one game. The story of Zelda: Twilight Princess' development is now a fabled one, starting as a flirting snippet in a GameCube demo showreel, and finally appearing fully-formed at an electric E3 2004 reveal. However, the game that eventually arrived came much too late for its intended format, forcing a hybrid release on GameCube and Wii. Ten years later, a far more ambitious HD remaster now arrives on Wii U - a machine that shares a core IBM-based architecture with its two predecessors, but uses improved CPU speeds and superior GPU power to achieve full 1080p resolution and a host of other visual upgrades.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD launches on Wii U with sharper visuals and improved textures.
Here's a terrifying thought: at some point later this month, The Legend of Zelda turns 30. All of which probably means Link's pondering the end of his 20s, trying to squeeze in a couple more weekends of unchecked debauchery before he resigns himself to a life of herbal tea and bedtime at 10pm.
Last week, Nintendo confirmed that Zelda: Twilight Princess HD's Wolf Link Amiibo would unlock a whole extra dungeon in the game.
The news was treated with excitement (largely from those Nintendo fans planning on buying the NFC toy) and some frustration (from those complaining about locked-off content).
Today, there's good and bad news for both camps.
Last week it was revealed that The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD would feature an all new dungeon that would require the Wolf Link Amiibo to access. Now the full details regarding the game's Amiibo functionality has been allegedly revealed via Famitsu leak at Hokanko-alt (translated via Nintendo Everything).
Nintendo has created a new dungeon in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD - but you'll need the game's Wolf Link Amiibo to access it.
Nintendo's latest Nintendo Direct conference was heavy on Zelda with the announcement of Twilight Princess HD, Linkle (female Link) coming to Hyrule Warriors Legends, and Spirit Tracks and Phantom Hourglass launching on the Wii U eShop, but the Kyoto-based company kept things close to its chest with the upcoming The Legend of Zelda Wii U. But it did reveal a snippet of glorious new footage showing how the under wraps main attraction is shaping up for its launch in 2016.