Nintendo recap: Trademarks and patents discovered, plus Mario Kart DLC launches

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Mario Booster Course Pass
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Mario Booster Course Pass (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

Hello everyone and welcome to yet another Nintendo recap. Fans have been speculating about Nintendo's next moves a lot this week thanks to some discovered game trademark filings and a controller patent. In other news, the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe DLC finally released its first wave of new content. We also learned more about the upcoming Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak DLC thanks to Capcom's digital event and we got more confirmation that E3 will be a digital-only event this year.

Nintendo game trademarks and controller patent fuels fan speculation

Nintendo Controller Patent January (Image credit: Espacenet)

Some interesting news from this week has gotten fans speculating that more retro Nintendo classics from the Game Boy Advance (GBA) era and prior could be making their way to Switch. It started with Reddit user @/LongJonSilver posting his discovery of some familiar Nintendo trademark filings, which include The Minish Cap (GBA), Metroid Zero Mission (GBA), Mach Rider (NES), and Dixie Kong's Double Trouble (SNES). Now, it's very likely that Nintendo is just refiling its trademarks to maintain legal rights rather than preparing to bring these titles to Switch. It's possible that a GBA emulator could find its way onto the Nintendo Switch Online service in the near future and join the other Nintendo emulators currently available, but that likely has nothing to do with these filings.

Fans' Nintendo speculation continued this week when Twitter user @SillyTweet5 posted about how Nintendo filed a patent in December (published this January) that looks strangely like the top of an N64 controller without the three prongs on the bottom and missing the Start button in the center. It can be viewed at Espacenet. This strange controller has led many people to wonder what new project Nintendo is currently working on.

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Rather than being a new device, it's more likely that this is just the patent for the N64 Switch controller that released last year for the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack to make playing N64 games easier. After all, just like many other patents, this one states it is subject to change and could have left out that bottom half initially. Patents can always be theoretical, so while it's interesting that these filings were discovered, it isn't confirmation about anything Nintendo might be seriously working on.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Wave 1 DLC brings new courses to Switch

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass Sky Garden (Image credit: Nintendo)

Eight new courses have come to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Friday through the Booster Course Pass. As a quick refresher, the Booster Course Pass is paid DLC that will bring a total of 48 new courses to the game by 2023. However, these courses will release in waves over the next several months, two cups (eight courses) at a time. Wave 1 released this last Friday for anybody who has a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack or who purchases the Booster Course Pass separately. These classic tracks from Wave 1 include:

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass: Wave 1

Golden Dash Cup:

  • Paris Promenade (Tour)
  • Toad Circuit (3DS)
  • Choco Moutain (N64)
  • Coconut Mall (Wii)

Lucky Cat Cup

  • Tokyo Blur (Tour)
  • Shoom Ridge (3DS)
  • Sky Garden (GBA)
  • Ninja Hideaway (Tour)

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has not only been one of the best racing games on Switch, but it has also been the best-selling Nintendo Switch game for several years now, despite it being a port of a Wii U title. Nintendo is thought to be working on Mario Kart 9, but with how well 8 Deluxe has been selling there's no reason to release the next game any time soon. As such, it makes sense that Nintendo opted to bring more content to the successful current game and is likely holding off on releasing Mario Kart 9 on the next-gen Nintendo console. If you're interested in playing new Mario Kart courses on Switch you should definitely check out the DLC.

Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak DLC brings new monsters, a new hub, and more

Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak Garangolm Close Up (Image credit: Capcom)

On Tuesday, Capcom held a special Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak digital event where more details about the upcoming massive expansion were revealed. It releases on June 30 and costs $40. While that's just $20 shy of a brand new Monster Hunter game, it looks like this DLC will be packed with tons of content including new monsters, new characters, new locations, new quests, and a brand new main story to validate the cost.

Anyone who pre-orders the DLC gets some adorable rewards: a Striped Cat Costume that basically turns your Palico into a little calico and a Loyal Dog Costume that turns your Palamute into a Shiba Inu. How adorable is that? I was already planning on getting this DLC, but now I'll make sure to preorder it.

Source: Capcom (screenshot)

Additionally, we got our first real look at what the three new amiibo for this DLC look like. There's Canyne Malzeno Palamute, Malzeno, and Felyne Malzeno Palico. When the original Monster Hunter Rise amiibo released, they were pretty sparse in the U.S. and sold second-hand for way above their MSRP, so we'll have to see if these ones will be more available. Regardless, if you're interested in them, you should jump on a purchase as soon as they're out.

More confirmation that E3 2022 is digital-only

E3 Logo (Image credit: ESA)

E3 has always been a time where Nintendo goes all out and shows us what games and projects we can expect to see in the near future. However, the state of E3 2022 has been a bit confusing this year. You might recall that in January, we learned that the ESA had been planning to potentially turn this year's annual tech event into a digital-only affair as far back as November 2019. However, several developers had stated they hadn't yet received information for the digital event, which lead many to wonder if E3 2022 would happen at all.

Well, this week we got some updated information. Journalist Tom Henderson tweeted that the ESRB had sent out emails to developers where it was explained that this year's E3 event would be entirely digital.

Now, the ESA had previously confirmed "the show is going to be virtual this year," as verified by Ars Technica. But a lack of information from the ESA itself has cast a lot of confusion on the topic, so it's good to see more concrete developments. We'll likely get an announcement sometime in the coming weeks letting us know exactly when and how to watch the event.

This doesn't confirm anything about Nintendo's plans. Regardless of whether or not the Japanese gaming company does participate, we can expect it to at least provide its own Nintendo Direct to talk about upcoming games. We'll keep an eye out for news about Nintendo at E3 2022 and will report as we learn more.

Have a lovely weekend

That's all we've got for this week's Nintendo recap. While I'm waiting for Kirby and the Forgotten Land to release next weekend I'm replaying Pokémon X on my 3DS and about to face the Elite Four. I hope whatever you're playing this weekend is relaxing and fun.

Until next time

- Rebecca Spear

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.