I swear this year just started, but apparently we're almost to August. While we've tried to beat the heat this week, several things happened in the Nintendo world, including some news regarding a Joy-Con drift fix and new updates heading to some Pokémon Switch games. Plus, one of Nintendo's mobile games is getting shut down for good. Some of this is pretty straightforward, but other parts have bigger ramifications that impact Nintendo fans.
Goodbye Dr. Mario
On Tuesday, we learned that Dr. Mario World, which has been available for iOS and Android since 2019 will be getting shut down in November. It's had me thinking about a few years ago when the Wii U was floundering and the Nintendo Switch had just launched. Nintendo was pushing out a bunch of mobile games like Super Mario Run, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes, some of which have gone on to become highly successful. People thought Nintendo was about to drop out of the console game and solely become a mobile developer. However, years down the line the Nintendo Switch has proven them wrong. In fact, the company seems to be moving away from mobile gaming.
Nintendo pumped out fewer mobile games this year than the previous few years, and while it still supports several of its apps it seems to me that it's not really focusing on new mobile gaming ventures. Of course, when it comes to Nintendo games, Pokémon is a Ponyta of a different color. Pokémon Go is run by Niantic and Pokémon Unite is run by The Pokémon Company, so they don't actually count as Nintendo mobile games.
An end to Joy-Con drift?
Many of us, including myself, have experienced Joy-Con drift — the problem where your video game character moves without you touching the controller. This frustrating issue has basically been around ever since the Nintendo Switch first released and players have been trying to figure out how to fix Joy-Con drift ever since. Nintendo has even been sued repeatedly over the issue and though the company refuses to admit there is a problem, there is a dedicated Joy-Con repair ticket on the Nintendo Support page.
This month, a newly-discovered fix from Youtube user VK's Channel has given players afflicted with Joy-Con drift new hope. The fix centers around the idea that the contacts around the joystick get worn down over time. This makes the analog stick incredibly sensitive to any pressure and thus leads to signals going through when they shouldn't.
VK's Channel's solution is to open the controller and put a small bit of padding between the metal casing on the analog stick and the plastic Joy-Con casing. This makes it so the warn-down components can no longer send a signal quite as easily and has stopped drift on a number of Joy-Cons. Though, It remains to be seen if this is just a quick fix that will only work for the short term or something that lasts. Either way, it's worth trying. A small bit of cardboard or foam padding is a whole lot cheaper than buying brand-new $80 Joy-Cons.
Then shortly after this new fix had been discovered, someone opened the Zelda Joy-Cons, which released on the same day as Skyward Sword HD, and discovered that they came with foam strips inside them over the analog stick casing. Perhaps this is Nintendo doing something about the drift issue with a fix similar to the one VK's Channel mentioned. It appears that these foam strips also exist on some of the other newer Joy-Con models, but definitely not the original sets that first released in 2017. Either way, hopefully, this simple fix permanently resolves the issue that so many of us have been afflicted with.
Free update coming to New Pokémon Snap
On Thursday, The Pokémon Company announced that a free update will bring 20 additional Pokémon and three locations to New Pokémon Snap on August 3. These new characters will be joining the current list of 217 Pokémon already in the game. While we don't know who all of these new additions will be, the trailer does show us that some of them are Shroomish, Psyduck, Gyarados, Snorlax, Ho-Oh, Feraligatr, Swalot, Tropius, and Rockruff.
This update also makes it possible for the NEO-ONE car to shrink down in size and follow paths previously unaccessible. That's sure to add more variety to the kind of shots you can get, like really up close pictures of Wurmple or other Pokémon hiding out of view. I hope you're not tired of Pokémon yet because this week there was big news for yet another Pokémon game.
Pokémon Unite has a pay-to-win problem
Last week, Pokémon Unite exploded onto Nintendo Switch and has still been going strong. This week millions of users experienced the game's first big update, which had Gardevoir join the Pokémon roster as an Attacker. Now it seems that the game is in need of another update, because it definitely seems to have a pay-to-win problem.
Streamer Moistcr1tikal (penguinz0 on Youtube) spent over $220 while experimenting with Pokémon Unite's mechanics and Item Enhancers. He found that he only needed to put in about $100 to max out most of his items and become a dominating menace that no one could fight against in the battle arena. It's hard to say whether this pay-to-win structure was just an oversight or the way The Pokémon Company intended the game to work. But either way, it's infuriating players and making them ask for change. As it stands, it seems like just a few small tweaks to Pokémon stats and purchasable items could fix the problem. But that might not be fair to people who have already spent a lot of money in the game.
That's it for this week's Nintendo news. Nintendo's Fiscal Year earnings report will take place next week on August 5, so I'm sure there will be some interesting information to go over then. For now, enjoy your weekend! I hope you get to play a favorite game or find a new favorite.
Until next time.
- Rebecca Spear