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Nintendo unveils new releases

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Nintendo has revealed details about several new and upcoming Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games.

The news, carried in a Nintendo Direct presentation, included the reveal that iconic video game character Cloud from FINAL FANTASY VII will be added as a playable DLC fighter in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

Other notable announcements included the reveal of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for the Wii U console, and news that the Pokémon games that started it all – Pokémon Red Version, Pokémon Blue Version and Pokémon Yellow Version – will launch with wireless communication functionality on Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS family systems on February 27th. To view the Nintendo Direct video in its entirety, visit http://www.nintendo.co.zaNintendoDirect or go to Nintendo UK’s YouTube channel for the complete video and additional new trailers.

Some of the highlights revealed in the presentation, according to Nintendo, include:

Wii U and Nintendo 3DS

  • A New Challenger Approaches!: Cloud Strife – the legendary protagonist from the classic RPG game FINAL FANTASY VII – will enter the battlefield as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS in the future. Additionally, a special broadcast – the last one for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS – will be released in December. More information is available at http://www.smashbros.com/en-uk/dlc
  • Animal Crossing Series amiibo: Resetti, Blathers, Celeste and Kicks join the ranks in early 2016.

Wii U

  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD: Originally released for Wii and Nintendo GameCube systems in 2006, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is a visually-remastered remake of one of the most critically-acclaimed games in The Legend of Zelda series. The new game launches on 4th March in a bundle with a detailed new amiibo figure modelled after the Wolf Link and Midna characters in the game, plus an official soundtrack. The game will also be compatible with five other The Legend of Zelda amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. Collection.
  • The Legend of Zelda for Wii U (name not final): Next year marks the 30th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda series. And with that comes The Legend of Zelda for Wii U, the next entry in the legendary series. During the Nintendo Direct presentation, it was revealed that certain saved data from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD on the Wolf Link amiibo can be carried over to this new game. To help ease the wait somewhat, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks have been released on Wii U Virtual Console shortly after the presentation. Until November 19th, players who buy one of these two games will get 50% off the other if purchased on the same Wii U.
  • Pokkén Tournament: A collaboration between The Pokémon Company and BANDAI Namco Entertainment, Pokkén Tournament is a new fighting game that lets players use their favourite Pokémon characters to battle it out in fighting arenas. Fans who purchase a first-run version of the game at retail will receive a limited-edition Shadow Mewtwo amiibo card that immediately unlocks the character in the game after tapping it to the GamePad. Pokkén Tournament launches in spring 2016.
  • Star Fox Zero: It’s a new beginning for the Star Fox series, with a unique control scheme that uses both the TV screen and the screen on the GamePad, players pilot multiple vehicles through intergalactic levels with Fox and his classic crew in Star Fox Zero. The game launches exclusively for Wii U in April 2016.
  • Splatoon: On 13th November a free software update adds over 40 pieces of new gear including more winter items, while a new stage called Museum d’Alfonsino will become available on 14th November. Further stages and features will be added in future updates through January.
  • Super Mario Maker: In December, a new web portal that can be accessed anytime, anywhere will offer a more detailed search function to find and filter levels on the go, register them to your “Play Later” list and then have them ready to play when you get home!
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: Massive RPG Xenoblade Chronicles X launches exclusively for Wii U on 4th December, and Nintendo Direct viewers were treated to some unforgettable scenes directly from Planet Mira.
  • FAST Racing Neo from Shin’en (Wii U): It’s almost here! The high-octane racing game with up to four-player local multiplayer and up to eight-player online multiplayer, launches exclusively in the Nintendo eShop on Wii U in December.
  • Typoman from Brainseed Factory and Headup Games: Using the GamePad in a unique way, in Typoman players set out on an adventure to explore the incredible power of words, how they can be used to survive the environmental hazards and overcome vicious enemies. The game launches exclusively on Nintendo eShop on Wii U on 19th November.

Nintendo 3DS

  • Pokémon on Virtual Console: The original Pokémon games that started it all – Pokémon Red Version, Pokémon Blue Version and Pokémon Yellow Version – are coming to Nintendo 3DS on February 27th, the same day that the original games first released in Japan in 1996. Using the wireless communication on Nintendo 3DS family systems, players can trade Pokémon with other players.
  • Hyrule Warriors: Legends: Take the epic Hyrule Warriors experience on the go! Hyrule Warriors: Legends offers players the entire Hyrule Warriors game on Nintendo 3DS, but with even more content! This time, Tetra, Toon Link and the King of Hyrule from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker join the Skull Kid from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask on the battlefield. In addition, new character Linkle, a girl who lives in a small village filled with Cuccos and wields two crossbows, joins the large cast of playable characters. Players will be able to command multiple characters on the battlefield for strategic moves and immediately switch between any of them to be in the thick of battle at all times. Hyrule Warriors: Legends launches also as part of a Limited Edition bundle including a Compass watch and the game on 25th March.
  • Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros.: The hilarious Mario & Luigi series meets the charming Paper Mario series in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros., launching on December 4th. Using compatible amiibo, players can create a corresponding character card in the game, which have powerful effects during battle.
  • Fire Emblem Fates: There are multiple adventures waiting to be experienced in Fire Emblem Fates in 2016. By purchasing one of the two main games – Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright or Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest – either at retail or on Nintendo eShop, players choose to embark on a unique quest with a different story and different experiences. After purchasing one game, the downloadable version of the other is available at a reduced price via an in-game purchase. There will even be a third downloadable version, Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation, which will reveal some secrets about the story that will affect the way you think about the other paths. For fans of the series, a special edition will be available that includes all three games, plus an artbook.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes: New free DLC is coming on 3rd December, adding Linebeck’s Uniform and Fierce Deity Mail outfits, each with unique powers, and the new Den of Trials with more than 30 stages to conquer. The upcoming software update also makes it more convenient to get Friendly Tokens by purchasing them from the Street Merchant once the princess’s curse has been lifted. Additionally two adjustments will ensure a more comfortable online experience: by answering a question before matchmaking, you will be matched with other players who gave similar answers, plus players who leave a game in progress through the Pause menu can be added to the blacklist.
  • Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon: Players can become one of 20 Pokémon in Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, launching on February 19th. With turn-based battles and ever-changing dungeons, players can encounter every single known Pokémon in the game – all 720 of them!
  • Nintendo Badge Arcade: Freshly available on Nintendo eShop shortly after the presentation, Nintendo Badge Arcade is a free-to-download game that lets players control a variety of badge catcher machines to earn badges from popular titles used to customise their Nintendo 3DS HOME Menus. Players can purchase plays using Nintendo eShop funds or enjoy 5 free practice plays per day in which with a bit of luck free plays can be won.
  • DRAGON QUEST: The line-up of RPGs on Nintendo 3DS continues to grow with classic games DRAGON QUEST VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past and DRAGON QUEST VIII: Journey of the Cursed King. Both remastered titles are coming in 2016.
  • Pokémon Picross: The popular Picross series meets the lovable world of Pokémon when free-to-start game Pokémon Picross launches exclusively in the Nintendo eShop in early December.
  • Bravely Second: End Layer from Square Enix, Inc.: The successor to the cherished Bravely Default arrives in Q1 2016, also as part of a Deluxe Collector’s Edition including an Original Soundtrack CD, Agnès Mini Figurine* and a Deluxe Artbook of around 250 pages.
  • FINAL FANTASY EXPLORERS from Square Enix, Inc.: In the first FINAL FANTASY action-RPG on Nintendo 3DS, journey to an island filled with mystical crystals. Up to four players can connect in local or online multiplayer and team up, assigning allies 4 different combat roles. More than 20 jobs can be learned, each with its own set of special skills. At launch on 29th January, it will include all the DLC that was previously released in Japan. The game will also be available as part of a Collector’s Edition that includes an artbook, a 20-track CD sampler, a Nintendo 3DS case and exclusive quests that unlock legendary FINAL FANTASY weapons.
  • Mega Man Legacy Collection from Capcom: Capcom’s iconic Blue Bomber has been a classic part of Nintendo history since the NES days. Mega Man Legacy Collection launches on Nintendo eShop on February 23rd and features faithful reproductions of  the first six NES Mega Man games (Mega Man 1-6), plus new ways to experience these classics with Challenge Mode’s remix stages and Museum Mode’s repository of original production art.
  • SteamWorld Heist from Image & Form: For a limited time, players that purchase side-scrolling, turn-based strategy shooter SteamWorld Heist in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS when it launches in December will receive an exclusive Nintendo 3DS HOME Menu theme.

Arts and Entertainment

SA rises as Spotify turns 10

October 2018 marks 10 years since Spotify officially launched its music streaming platform and to celebrate this milestone, Spotify has taken a look at some of its biggest discoveries in music.

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Spotify provided the following information:

The service only launched in South Africa in March this year, so this country is not included in the retrospective, but Spotify supplied Gadget with the following local streaming landmarks:

·         Most streamed South African artist – Jeremy Loops

·         Most streamed female South African artist – Shekhinah

·         Highest first-day streaming record – AKA’s Beyonce

Since launch Spotify now sits at 180 million monthly active listeners across 65 countries. These Spotify users can enjoy a music library of over 40 million songs and podcasts, and over 3 billion-plus user-created playlists. As of 31 August 2018, Spotify has also paid over 10 billion euros to rights holders since launch.

To date, over 2 000 genres of music have been identified on Spotify, among them Wonky (electronic music characterised by synths with unusual time signatures), Shimmer Pop (a Swedish cousin of indie pop and indietronica), and British Blues (the blues…with a British flavour).

Spotify has also done an assessment of “listening diversity,” – the number of artists the average user streams per month – which has risen on Spotify over the past 10 years, at an average of about 8% per year. In the past three years alone, listening diversity increased about 40% on the strength of new personalised and editorial playlists – meaning people are listening to an increased number of artists on a regular basis.

An official Decade of Discovery playlist features the most-streamed songs over the past  decade, including favourites like Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” Hozier’s “Take Me To Church,” Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.,” Rihanna’s “Work,” Sia’s “Chandelier,” Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” and the star-studded “Despacito Remix”.

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Festival taps into source code of African identity

The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival enters its final week from 24 to 29 September with a special focus on gaming and beats. With the theme of “Tap Your Afro Source Code”, this year celebrates technology, creativity and innovation from across the African continent.

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Dr Tegan Bristow, Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival director, says that the theme centres on African visions of technology by tapping into the sources of African tradition and culture alongside technology, creativity and innovation: “This year we are exploring how local culture can move and change the future of technology. How would you understand and unpack the source code of your African identity?”

In its final week, the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival explores music culture via the annual Beats Programme curated by WeHeartBeat, which will descend on the Tshimologong Precinct with a six-day takeover of Braamfontein’s tech hub. The program comprising of workshops, experiences and performances, facilitates the meeting of mind and spirit in an environment geared around the festival’s theme, “Tap Your Afro Source Code”.

The Fak’ugesi Beats Lab, running from the 24th to the 28th of September will host international electronic artists and explore the connection between music, technology and culture with local and international artists. The outcome from these sessions will result in an EP release, a short documentary and a live showcase performance at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party on the 29th. The artists featured in the 2018 Beats Lab are S.Fidelity (Switzerland), Zikomo (USA), Morena Leraba (Lesotho) and South African artists Bonj Mpanza  and Hlasko.

In partnership with Ballantines Whisky and Business Arts South Africa, the programme includes panels on: ‘The Future of Music’ facilitated by Tefo Mohapi from iAfrikan.com and featuring guest panellists Riky Rick and Thibaut Mullings; ‘Managing Health Amongst Creatives’ featuring psychologist Thembi Mashigo and panel guests Ayanda Seoka, Mx Blouse and more. The day will include a Masterclass with Black Milk (USA), The Art of Remixing with Zikomo(USA) and close with a ‘Power of Collaborations’ session featuring Zikomo, S.Fidelity , Morena Leraba and Bonj Mpanza.

The last week of Fak’ugesi Festival also hosts a special session on the Future of African Gaming on the 28th and 29th of September. A full day on gaming, this will take place in collaboration with Red Bull Basement and focus on the theme of Tech for Good. The programme includes an Indie Games Arcade; a ‘Games for Good’ workshop focused games that address issues in South African urban environment.

The workshop will be followed by a “Futures and Networking” session, inviting the gaming community in the Southern Africa region to contribute to an understanding of what and how the Fak’ugesi Festival can develop and better support African games. This invitation comes after Fak’ugesi Festival in 2018 says farewell to A MAZE. / Johannesburg, which has supported its program since 2013 as the gaming partner.

A MAZE, under the leadership of its creative director, Thorsten S. Wiedemann, linked the Johannesburg gaming scene to an international network of indie developers for six years from 2012 until 2017. The two-way bridge between A MAZE. / Berlin and A MAZE. / Johannesburg inspired other projects like Super Friendship Arcade in Cape Town and Glitch Face in Johannesburg and was a huge impetus in the development of the Game Design programme in the Wits School of Arts. When the Fak’ugesi Festival was established in 2013, A MAZE fell under Fak’ugesi Festival support as the gaming partner. Weidemann added: “It’s been amazing meeting, working and learning from the local and national game and playful media community.  We definitely made history together.”

The week’s activities culminate in a celebration at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party   on Saturday 29 September. This event will reignite the energy and spirit created at the inaugural party in a union of performance, music, technology and digital innovation. The Bloc Party aims to showcase the best in underground talent, both local and international – etching its name in the cultural textbooks as an inspiration to future generations of creators, producers and innovators. The second instalment of this ground-breaking event will host performances from the Beats Lab participants, as well as Black Milk and a strong local contingent including Langa Mavuso, Mx Blouse, Symatics + Ramz, and Micr.Pluto.

Tickets for Thursday 27 September are R50 per session and can be purchased via WeHeartBeat. There will be a limited run of R200 student tickets available for Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party, upon presentation of a valid student ID. Workshop and student tickets can be purchased throughout the week at the reception of the Tshimologong Precinct.

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