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Letter from America: Saving Nintendo's bacon

Plus: Orc crackling.

Greetings all.

As we all know, things aren't too rosy at Nintendo Towers at the mo. A point that was well and truly hammered home recently when the company announced that it had reduced its 2013 earnings forecast by £605 million. This mind-boggling shortfall is due to Nintendo's original FY2013 forecast significantly overestimating 3DS and Wii U sales from April '13 to March '14.

Before we go any further, I should make it clear that Nintendo is in no great danger of going out of business any time soon. Its prior successes has enabled it to amass an Uncle $crooge level of wealth, to the tune of (depending on who you talk to) around £5.3 bn in cash. But unless it wants to divide that fortune up amongst its investors and go home, something clearly needs to be done to remedy its tenuous situation, and that's what we thought we'd have some fun with in our article entitled “How would you save Nintendo's bacon?”

Basically, it's a semi-serious collection of ideas that we think could help Nintendo regain some of the appeal it seems to have lost of late. I'm sure you have ideas of your own, and I'd love to hear them. And if you don't care, why? Nintendo makes great games, but what is it about them - or the hardware they run on - that doesn't appeal to you any more?

If I was a betting man, I'd put money on Shadows of Mordor winning the Stabbiest Game of the Year Award. Indeed, I'd place a double on Most Decapitations.

While Nintendo is known for its bright, colourful and cutesy games, I saw the antithesis of that earlier this week in the form of Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor. The thing I hate about doing previews is sometimes you can get fooled by and/or overly excited about a well-crafted demo, and look like a right old chump when the final release is a shambling mockery of the seemingly glorious game you described some months prior. But here I am, ready to look like said chump, because I found it hard to contain my excitement over this slicin', dicin', stabbin', throat-slittin', eye-skewerin', face-melting mashup of Skyrim, Batman and Assassin's Creed. So far, it's looking like a hugely violent, hideously gory Mordor theme park o' fun where you can do things like mind control massive wolves and use them to munch enemies, or enjoy the simple pleasures in life like tossing an orc into a fire and watching him run around while he turns all crispy. What's not to like?

Our Bob was a little more cautious in his assessment of the upcoming Thief makeover. While Shadows of Mordor is a face-stabbin' man's action adventure, Thief is more of your thinking man's type, and he pondered that, and how it's going to affect the way the franchise is being rebooted.

Bob also had a butcher's at Yoshi's New Island, the long-awaited sequel to an eight-year-old Yoshi game whose name I'll leave you to guess. But I'll give you a clue: it's bereft of the word "New." It looks typically bright and cheery, though if you read the article, you'll get the distinct impression that cheeriness didn't rub off on Bob.

One final preview comes in the form of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Kat reckons it's "lovely to look at," but recommends you bring a friend. I'll let her explain why.

Ah! The Duck Hunt dog. How many times did I wish to punch thee? Let me count the ways.

Jeremy's been writing some beezer historical stuff of late. First up is his essay on why Donkey Kong Country was one of gaming's biggest bluffs. He then moved on to Duck Hunt, and explained how the classic NES game helped Nintendo develop a formula that it would use to great effect with the Wii a couple of decades later. His hat trick came in the form of an excellent article on Radar Scope, an early Nintendo arcade game that almost brought down the business. After Nintendo's recent woes, it's a really good reminder that the company is no stranger to danger, and indeed 35 years ago was much, much closer to being deep-sixed by its own hardware than it is today.

We posted a trio of round-ups this week. The first is a list of the best iOS board game adaptations. We also named our 10 favourite Android games of last year. And finishing up is a forward-looking article about the PS4 indie games we're most anticipating. There's some pretty cool stuff on that list that I most certainly can't wait to get my teeth into.

I won't see you next week, because I'll be mooching around Maui wondering where its local arcade used to be. But you'll be pleased to know it'll be business as usual, with a genuine American, one Mr Jeremy Parish, stepping into the LFA hotseat.


Jaz Rignall is editorial director of, a version of Eurogamer that rocks the house both East Coast and West Coast style.

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