Nintendo’s upcoming console, codenamed NX is receiving a barrage of media attention as speculation mounts regarding the device’s form factor. The majority of these reports stem from a number of patents which make for very interesting reading. In theory, Nintendo could be creating a hybrid device which works with PCs, mobiles and tablets. Furthermore, it’s rumoured to run the latest version of Android, and could allow more freedom than you typically expect from Nintendo. The Wii U and 3DS are both region locked and this even applies to digital content! Hopefully, Nintendo now understands how the global market works today and going to adopt a more consumer-friendly approach.
The latest piece of news revolves around Macronix International, a manufacturer of non-volatile memory. During an online Q4 2015 financial results conference, the company’s president C.Y. Lu weighed in on the current ROM business and claimed one of their biggest partners is preparing for a next generation platform. The company confirmed that the partner in question is Nintendo, and the platform in question is the NX console. Here we can see a slide from the presentation:
“Japanese video-game company Nintendo will launch their new NX system this year. Macronix’s General Manager (CY Lu) said that Macronix will supply products for the NX and has considerable expectations regarding this.
Macronix held an online conference this afternoon. Due to Nintendo releasing their new NX system this year, investors were concerned about whether Macronix (who have a longstanding business relationship with Nintendo) will be part of the NX supply chain.
CY Lu stated that Macronix will provide memory units for the NX and, internally, has considerable expectations regarding the NX.
Despite refusing to disclose whether they will supply the NX with ROM, CY Lu did say that he expects ROM sales to be outstanding this year.”
So what does this actually mean? It’s still fairly unclear, but there’s the potential for games ship via cartridges instead of optical media. This makes sense due to the advent of affordable high-capacity storage. Furthermore, there’s no need to complete a lengthy install which should enhance the user-experience. On another note, optical drives are the mostly likely component to fail, so ditching a drive completely will help reliability.
The Nintendo Famicom (also known as the NES to those of us in the west), is a classic console from the almost distant age of 1983, packed with games that have soundtracks that are loved and remixed to this day. Game soundtracks are as popular as ever, some even garnering releases on physical media such as vinyl. Developer RIKI has gone one step further, choosing a Famicom cartridge as the media to release their new chiptune album, 8BIT MUSIC POWER.
8 BIT MUSIC POWER is more than just a music album too. Each one of the 12 original tracks features an accompanying video in charming pixellated Famicom style. These graphics are created by Hiroshi Ono, famous for working on Pac Man, Galaga, Dig Dug and more. If you’re concerned about the quality of music that these graphics are to accompany, the project’s music include entries by popular Japanese video game and anime composers, such as Yuriko Keino (Xevious, Dig Dug), Keishi Yonao (YU-NO) and Hiroaki Sano (Lyrical Nanoha).
For those of you looking to get your hands on this throwback piece, unfortunately, it is currently only planned to have a limited release in Japan. It will be available for ¥3,800 on the Amazon Japan site from January 31st, with a limited run of “several thousand copies” available. If you wish to import, an adapter will be needed to play on American and European NES systems, but there is still hope for a NES release of the cartridge. Already western fans and retailers have surprised the manufacturer, Columbus Circle with requests for a western release, so it may just be possible…
Could projects like this among creative fans of classic consoles see a resurgence of music and homebrew games for the now-dated hardware? I certainly hope so, as even with the current age of HD graphics and sound, pixellated sprites and chiptunes still have a special place in many of our hearts.
Most people would consider tape storage to be a thing of the past, but that’s far from the case. It is still the most efficient and cheapest-per-byte method of storing large amounts of data that’s infrequently used, and cloud storage comes to mind here just as general archives. IBM and Fujifilm together figured out how to improve upon the current technology for a whopping 220TB of data on a 10 x 10 x 2 cm big tape drive.
The new prototype Fujifilm tape packs 88 times as much data as current tape drives that can hold about 2.5TB uncompressed data on a cartridge. You shouldn’t however start saving up for this yet, as it most likely will take 5 to 6 years before it is ready for a mass production. It’s a big accomplishment none-the-less.
“The new technologies won’t come out in products for several years and may not be quite as extreme when they do, but the advances show tape can keep getting more dense into the future,” said Mark Lantz, manager of IBM’s Advanced Tape Technologies Group.
IBM is demonstrating the new technology this week at the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas. “The tracks on the tape are narrower, the heads are smaller, and even the particles of barium ferrite that store each bit are finer. All are now measured in nanometers, so the movement of the heads has to be more precise, too. It’s accurate to within less than 6 nanometers, IBM says.”
A rare Nintendo game named Nintendo World Championships is to be auctioned on eBay, bringing a significant amount of cash flow to both eBay and the seller himself. Why is it so rare and why eBay? Well, eBay is known for being one of the best online auction platforms on a worldwide scale, and as for the game, there were only 116 game cartridges ever manufactured.
It was designed for a game competition that would play out across multiple cities and states in 1990. 90 of the 116 cartridges were of the official grey cartridge seen on most NES games, while the remaining 26 were golden. While the grey ones were given away to semi-finalists of the original competition, the golden ones were given away in separate Nintendo Power magazine competitions. The eBay cartridge is one of the grey oldies, in bad condition however, having its label torn off and written Marion on it with a pen.
Nonetheless, it is still valuable to Nintendo collectors, even in its current state. The motherboard appears to be fine, which is a good sign. Taking a look on eBay, we’ve seen the current bid going from $20,000 to $22,000 in just a few minutes and there is still 1 day of auctioning left. The bidding will be fierce, and what the actual value will become at the end, it is everybody’s guess. But you are welcome to check it out here.