KOOPA TROOPA

Koopas have it rough. Like Shyguys and Goombas, they almost never get their story told and usually end up on the wrong side of Mario’s boot, fireball or flashing, invincible body. And now, with today’s TeeFury shirt, they’re about to get kicked…again. So grab the figure above, snag the t-shirt below and join the Koopa Troop– they could really use some help.

Harry Potter Lego Sets!

The world of Harry Potter grows ever larger, even as the movies come to a close with the two films telling the book series’ final story: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Whether you’re planning on heading out to see it or you’ve already enjoyed a preview screening–or the midnight premiere for the truly devoted fans–you might enjoy the chance to add even more to your growing Harry Potter collection!

Available now in our LEGO section are SIX new playsets that make it possible for you to create your own magic with Lego versions of the characters and settings.


DOBBY’S RELEASE


QUIDDITCH LESSON


HAGRID’S HUT


THE BURROW


HOGWARTS EXPRESS


HOGWARTS CASTLE

And if you just can’t get enough of the Lego-fied Potter and friends, you might want to snag the awesome Lego Harry Potter games for the Big 3 consoles and the Nintendo DS.

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 for XBox

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 for WII

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 for PS3

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 for DS

Sideshow’s New 20-inch Prince of Persia Statue: DASTAN

Dastan, the Prince of Persia joins the Sideshow lineup as a brand new statue clad in a real fabric costume and bearing a brilliant likeness to actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who of course portrayed the hero in Disney’s 2010 adaptation of the hit video game. Here’s a look:

The statue itself stands a whopping 20 inches tall and wields the twin blades seen in the film. Naturally, the sculpting is top-notch, as anything else would never do for Sideshow, whose items seem to be getting better and better. Fans of the film are sure to love it. And they’re also sure to love this news:

In this piece from The Independent, we learn that The Prince of Persia Surpasses Tomb Raider as the Highest-grossing video game adaptationHopefully this’ll pave the way for a ton of great new movies based on some of the brilliantly-written games currently out there. Assassin’s Creed anyone? Here’s the full story:

With more than $295 million in worldwide earnings, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is now the biggest grossing film adaptation of a video game. The previous holder of the record was 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which held the position at $275 million.

It has taken almost a decade to better the record of the first Lara Croft film starring Angelina Jolie. It took Jerry Bruckheimer’s production starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton to grab the top spot and much of its accomplishment is owing to the outstanding performance internationally.

Prince of Persia’s box office receipts only totaled $81 million in the US, compared to Lara Croft which made $131 million in the US. But Prince pulled in more than $213 million around the world where it was the No. 1 film in most countries.

This success should disprove the conventional wisdom that films based on video games are doomed. Some have theorized that this is because most video games lack a strong narrative.

Resident Evil will try again with another sequel, Afterlife, in September with Milla Jovovich and Mortal Kombat will return in 2013.

Of course, it’s just a great time to be into Prince of Persia over all, isn’t it? Because the new game is doing amazingly well and if you haven’t grabbed it, here are the Amazon links where you can get your hands on it for whichever console you like:

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands for The XBox 360

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands for the Playstation 3

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands for the Wii

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands for the PC

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands for the Nintendo DS

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands for the PSP

The Sims 3 to Hit the Consoles!

EXCELLENT NEWS for Sims fans whose computers might not be up to par when it comes to running the massive game! Here’s the story from PC World:

Surprise, The Sims 3 will soon shed its PC exclusivity by gracing not one, not two, but all three of the major consoles and a handheld to boot. Publisher Electronic Arts just revealed that The Sims 3 (PCW Score: 4.5 out of 5) is in the mixer for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, and Nintendo DS. It’s been secretly churning for some time too, apparently, since EA says it’ll be available for those four already this fall.

Worried it won’t transition comfortably from keyboard-mouse to couch-and-gamepad? Stay skeptical, but EA claims it “tailored each platform [version] of The Sims 3 with exclusive features to allow for even more control, creativity, and connectivity.” (I know, a little silly with the alliterative sunshine…and we’re not even to the part where they trot out shelf-syntax like “rich,” “immersive,” and “seamlessly integrated.”)

New to the console versions, “Karma Powers” let you fiddle more directly with your Sims’ well-being, and EA says you can employ them to help your Sim “get lucky,” offer them an “instant beauty” makeover, or slap them down with an “epic fail.” It sounds like the powers have flip-sides, too, and EA says using them “may have unexpected results and karma may come back to bite.”

Of the lot, it looks like the Wii and DS versions are the ones to beat. The PS3 and Xbox 360 ports will share the PC version’s option to share custom content with others. They’ll also include an option to automatically annoy–I mean “notify” Facebook friends of your in-game achievements.

But it’s the Wii and DS that have with the coolest-sounding new content.

For instance, the Wii gets a brand new beach town, with “unique residents, traits, careers and lifetime wishes.” You’ll be able to square off with friends in a new “Life Moments” mode (no explanation how it works) to earn rewards. And it sounds like EA’s added exclusive “adventure quests” designed to flesh out each area and break up stretches of needs-juggling monotony.

The DS version, by comparison, gets a “never before seen” feature where players can use the device’s stylus to “build their Sims’ homes with tools, draw walls and floors, and customize virtually everything from décor objects, textures, and more.” The Create-a-Sim aspect’s also reportedly been finessed to play to the DS’s strengths, allowing you to literally sculpt your Sims’ attributes and wardrobe. And while I’m not sure what this next bit means exactly, you can “for the first time ever on the Nintendo DS…enjoy a complete life simulation.” I’ll just read that as “notably less emasculated” overall gameplay than previous handheld ports.

Conspicuously absent from the lineup of supported devices? Sony’s PlayStation Portable, whose monthly unit sales are in the toilet. That’s a shame, considering how well the PSP version of The Sims 2 sold (tepid critical reaction notwithstanding) when it shipped back in December 2005.

If you haven’t gotten your hands on the Sims 3 for PC and are still looking for it, or if you want to be kept up-to-date on the impending release of the console ports, be sure to take a look over at EA Games’ Official Site.

Best of all, they’re having a “graduation sale” for the month of May so you can save 10-30% on all your digital game purchases!

The Nintendo DS Goes 3D

We’ve got a ton of Mario/Nintendo toys available for sale over at CMDStore.com. On top of that, you’ll also find Legend of Zelda and Super Metroid items if you’ve a taste for two of Nintendo’s greatest heroes of the non-plumber kind.

But here’s why I bring it up…(besides employement!)

See, I am and always have been a devoted Nintendo girl. In the face of Microsoft and Sony awesomeness, I have always gone for the PC versions of games like Dead Space or Arkham Asylum rather than give in to temptaion and stray from the Nintendo path. When the Wii came out, I was pretty nervous that the competition would eliminate it, but even if I could admit the Wii’s failings, I was thrilled to see it surge right to the top on its own ingenuity. And as you might imagine, I’m always pleased to hear about the success of the DS, which is not only my favourite handheld ever, but seems to have proven itself as the world’s favourite.

They haven’t strayed far from the original formula. They came out with the DS, then the streamlined DS Lite, then the DSi with a camera, now the DS XL with a screen 93% larger than the DSi. But now, Nintendo seems poised to revolutionize their own device by releasing the upcoming Nintendo DS 3D.

Here’s the story from PC World.

Nintendo says it’ll release a 3D version of its DS handheld gaming portable. We learned that much from Nintendo’s official press teaser this morning. But according to Japanese newshound Adriansang, several mainstream Japanese sources are weighing in with claims of tantalizing supplemental specs.

For starters, Nikkei believes Nintendo’s new 3DS will include a stick (a thumbstick?) used to manipulate objects in 3D. Add vibration-feedback to the roster, designed “to communicate attacks and strikes to the player.” Nikkei claims Nintendo nabbed patents for both technologies (presumably in a 3D context) last year.

Expect the 3DS’s integrated wireless to speed up as in the new model, probably to 802.11g. The current models have 802.11b WLAN chip (11Mbit/s), and while 802.11n can handle blazing speeds notwithstanding bottlenecks, 802.11g (54Mbit/s) would be plenty fast.

Look for a battery life boost as well, perhaps a return to DS Lite levels–the newer DSi only lasts about 9 hours on average, versus 15 hours for the DS Lite.

And in a move sure to grab Apple’s attention, the 3DS may include an accelerometer, i.e. a “tilt sensor.” Apple’s iPad and iPhone also employ this technology. Of course we already heard about this back in January.

Japanese news site Daily Yomiuri believes the system will use a Sharp 3D LCD panel that places an additional layer over the screen to create the 3D effect per slight differences in the image seen by either eye. If accurate, that sounds a lot like 3D screen technology previewed at CeBit.

But what about viewing 3D on a tiny handheld device?

According to Nikkei, the 3DS’s screen (singular in the Adriansang report, though this could be a translation error) will measure less than 4 inches, corner to corner.

Imagine viewing a movie like Avatar in 3D on the PSP. Would you really care about the 3D effect in a screen space that small? Remember, we’re talking about a screen that’s typically positioned a foot or more from your eyes. It’s not like a Viewmaster, which can do full stereographic field of view imaging because it’s held directly up to your eyes.

So in summary, here’s what we know: Nintendo says it will release a 3D version of its DS handheld in Japan by March 2011. Full stop.

Here’s what we don’t know, but wish we did: Will the resolution be higher? Will the processor be dramatically faster? Will it use Nvidia’s Tegra 3D chip as previously speculated? Will older DS games be natively processed or emulated? Will it still have two cameras? Will they be any sharper than the low-quality pair in the current DSi? What sort of audio system will it use? Will one or both of the screens be touch-sensitive? Will we still use a stylus? And most importantly: Is the new model meant to be a stepwise family increment, like all the DS’s, or is it a completely new family, like the leap from the Game Boy Advance to the original DS?

And here’s what we don’t know, but some are claiming: The new model will include a 3D control stick, rumble feedback, faster wireless, better battery life, a single (or is that pair of?) slightly-less-than-four-inch LCD(s), and an accelerometer.

Oh, and Nikkei thinks it’ll actually ship 2010 (in Japan, anyway) and not 2011.

Bigger is Better: The Nintendo DSi XL

Look at the size of that thing!

A brand new DSi is about to hit shelves and it’s got one major selling point: the thing is big. Sure, it’s also got a brighter, sharper screen that will make Professor Layton’s declarations of “INCORRECT” all the more shameful, but mostly this is just an upgrade that’s meant to spare our generation’s poor, strained eyes. I know it’ll do me some good, though I’m not sure I’ll upgrade–possible the DS Lite’s greatest fault is that it’s so durable I have no motivation to get rid of it!

Here’s the word from CNet:

It was just about a year ago that Nintendo released the DSi handheld system, the next evolutionary iteration of the company’s hugely popular DS portable hardware. Boasting two tiny cameras and larger screens, we only recommended the device for those who were new to the world of DS gaming or wanted access to the online DSi Shop.

At a press conference Wednesday morning in San Francisco, Nintendo officially unveiled the remaining details about the next DS to hit North America. The DSi XL features even larger screens (93 percent bigger compared with the DS Lite) and has a much wider viewing angle. Set to go for $190, we’ll see the DSi XL in stores on March 28 in two colors (burgundy and bronze).

We got some hands-on time with the DSi XL earlier this month and were instantly surprised by its weight. It’s noticeably heavier than both the DSi Lite and DSi, but we actually enjoyed the sturdiness. Obviously, the most notable detail about the DSi XL is its size, and while our Nintendo rep said it’s still “pocketable,” we can’t imagine a scenario where the DSi XL would fit comfortably in a pair of jeans.

When we first flipped the DSi XL open, we were blown away by the two enormous screens. Even more impressive was the fact that video quality didn’t seem to suffer as a result of enlarging games beyond the size of their native aspect. While we had fears about pixilated performance when the XL was first announced, we’re happy to report that games look great, as our demo with Mario Kart DS proved.

Nintendo is branding the DSi XL as a “social” device, partly because of the dual screens’ generous viewing angle. We tested this claim out with an XL set up on a tabletop and couldn’t find a perspective that seemed to dim the display. While this improvement was no doubt exaggerated by having an old DS “fat” nearby to compare to, the screens truly are vibrant, unlike any DS system currently available.

We also really liked the new stylus the XL will ship with that closely resembles a pen or permanent marker. It’s by far the most comfortable first-party stylus yet, though it won’t snap into the device for storage like those before it. We’ll have our full review of the DSi XL in coming weeks, so stay tuned to CNET Reviews for the latest. For now, be sure to check out our First Look at the Nintendo DSi XL in the video player above.

Of course, our blog is figure-related, so while we’re talking about Nintendo, Mario and the gang, here’s a link to our Super Mario section on Cmdstore.com. We’ve got vehicles, plush toys, figures of all sizes, pixellated keychains, cards and more. Just the thing for any retro gamer or anyone currently following the many adventures of Mario (hopefully via Bowser’s Inside Story–that game was awesome.)! Check it out!

Nintendo section:

CiNG Goes Down

When I first heard about the game Hotel Dusk for the Nintendo DS, I knew that it was exactly the kind of thing I’d been missing: a story-driven game with mystery elements and a point-and-click interface that would be as close to the Lucasarts collection as I could hope to get. When I got my hands on it, I was not disappointed in anything but the brevity of what was a very well put-together game. It had some of the best dialogue writing the Nintendo has seen in years and truly lovable characters who genuinely felt real and interesting.

They’ve announced an upcoming sequel and I look eagerly forward to its release, hoping it will provide answers to the questions that remained at the end of Hotel Dusk. Unfortunately, though, if I finish the next game without closure, I might never get it. Why not? Well…

Here’s the unfortunate news from The Nintendo World Report:

On March 1, developer Cing began the process of declaring bankruptcy in Japan. The company currently lists a debt of 256,000,000 yen (2.5 million USD), and their case is being handled by Japanese legal firm Mihoko Kido.

Cing is best known for creating the DS titles Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and Trace Memory. They also produced a Wii sequel to Trace Memory (released in Japan and Europe, but not the Americas), and co-developed Little King’s Story for Wii along with Town Factory. Their last DS titles, Hotel Dusk sequel Last Window: Midnight Promise and Again: Eye of Providence, will be released later in the year.