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Mario MMO Playable Characters Announced

On an story reported earlier, Nintendo announced Mario MMO as being a launch title for the Revolution. The playable characters had been kept secret... until now. Below are the confirmed playable characters or "races" for the new massively multiplayer online Mario game.

  • Yoshis: Everybody's favorite Mario dinosaur has been confirmed as being a playable race in the new MMO. Players will be able to choose their own color for their Yoshi and will start on Yoshi Island. Yoshi's specialties include speed, the ability to eat objects and creatures, and the use of "shell form". Yoshi is sure to be a popular character among Nintendo fans.

  • Toadstools: Toad has had an off and on run with Nintendo franchises. Toad was a playable character in the first Mario Kart, but was left out of Mario 64. He had a drought for awhile, as he was left out of being a playable character in many Mario Party games and Super Smash Bros. The Toadstool race was even abandoned for Piantas in Super Mario Sunshine. However, he will be a playable race in Mario MMO and will supposedly be the "balanced" character with no huge strengths or weaknesses, just an all around jack of all trades. Toadstool characters will start out in the Mushroom Kingdom.

  • Piantas: These guys are one of the newest additions to the Mario world with their introduction in Super Mario Sunshine. Their specialty is their offensive strength and they will start on Isle Delfino.

  • Boos: The ghost enemies that have been found in many Mario games will be a playable character and will start off in the Haunted Mansion. Boos will have the ability to turn invisible temporarily as well as causing fear in other creatures for a paralysis effect.

  • Koopa Troopas: Koopa Troopas have been a staple in most Mario games and Mario MMO will be no different. Koopa Troopas will come in a variety of different colors and will have strong defensive capabilities. Players choosing to be a Koopa Troopa will start in the Mushroom Kingom.

  • Goombas: The Goombas will be another balanced character. Not overly strong or weak in any one area, their balanced stats are their strongest trait. Goombas will also start in the Mushroom Kingom.

With this announcement, Nintendo also explained how the PvP aspect would work. Toadstools, Yoshis, and Piantas are all considered "good guys" and Boos, Goombas, and Koopa Troopas are all "bad guys". The good guys cannot attack each other, same for the bad guys. However, if any good guy character meets with any bad guy character they can attack each other at will. Nintendo hopes to have epic good guy vs bad guy battles with hundreds of players all fighting for control of key areas.

The list is supposedly not a complete list, and other playable characters are expected to be announced closer to launch.

[tags]Revolution, Nintendo, Mario MMO, Mario characters[/tags]

Nintendo Working on Mario MMO

There have always been talks of whether or not Nintendo would bring one of its popular franchises to a massively multiplayer online universe. It seems as though that question has been answered, and it's Mario and his friends that are going to greet you online when Nintendo's next console, code named the Revolution, launches later this year.

Supposedly Square Enix is working with Nintendo on the game, which is simply named Mario MMO for now. Squaresoft was the developer for the beloved Super Mario RPG for the Super Nintendo, and is supposedly bringing in many elements from that game to the new Mario MMO.

Confirmed gameplay elements include:

  • Platforming: Players will move from town to town viewing the world and their character with a 3-D isometric camera view. Classic Mario platforming elements (as found in Super Mario RPG) will be a part of the world, including breaking blocks with your head and bouncing on weak enemies to kill them and bouncing on tougher enemies to get an advantage in the fight.

  • Classic Mario Locations: It wouldn't be a mario game without your typical lava, haunted mansion, desert, and underwater locations.

  • Timing Based Combat: An increasingly popular combat mechanic in mario RPGs is the ability to time a button press or joystick movement with a maneuver to increase the damage and/or string combos. This feature will be a prominent part of hte battle system in Mario MMO. Specific attacks have not be revealed, but rest assured fireballs, bouncing on heads, and hammers will all likely be present.

  • Items and Gear: Most MMOs put a strong emphasis on collecting items and gear, Mario MMO will be no different. Confirmed items included racoon feathers, frog suits, stars, mushrooms, shells, and even tanooki suits! Nintendo said to expect to find just about every item from all mario games, including mario kart, in Mario MMO, though some of the popular ones will obviously be rare and difficult to obtain.

  • Characters: Unfortunately Nintendo and Square Enix are being very tight lipped about the types of characters you can choose to play as. Nintendo has announced that you will not be able to play as any of the "main" Nintendo characters, such as Mario, Bowser, or Princess Peach. However, Nintendo has assured everyone that all those characters will be in the game as parts of the story and as NPCs. Some may even join you on certain missions.

That's about all the information released as of now. ATN will keep everybody posted on any new information as it gets released.

update: Mario MMO playable characters revealed.

[tags]Mario MMO, Nintendo, Square Enix, Super Mario RPG[/tags]

IRS Plans On Taxing Your Gaming Items

Virtual Currency Regulator
With it being tax season, the discussion of whether or not the IRS will tax virtual game items and gold is heating up. Unfortunately for gamers, it appears the IRS is indeed planning on taxing in game items and gold in 2008. That means that everything earned in an online game next year will subject to federal taxes.

So far the IRS plans on taxing "anything that can be bought or sold outside the virtual world." This includes items, gold, and even characters. Apparently the IRS has even started posting job listings for "virtual currency regulators" (click thumbnail for larger view) whose responsibilities will mostly be to "determine the currency exchange rates between the virtual and the actual along with monitoring any inconsistencies with returns by performing the necessary audits."

The Internal Revenue Service is focusing on the virtual market as "gold mining" in MMOs has become a lucrative business model for some companies. Though most gold mining companies reside in foreign countries, many buyers of the gold, items, and characters are U.S. citizens. The IRS believes that virtual earnings have become so commonplace that they should be regulated in the same manor as more traditional earnings.

"It's no different to spend hours a day earning gold in a game to sell it on eBay as it is to go to work and earn a wage," an IRS spokesman said last week. "Just because the currency starts off as ones and zeros doesn't mean somebody can eventually exchange it for real cash later. We are just trying to balance the taxation process as to not put the entire burden on those earning money in traditional ways."

The IRS has yet to release any official documentation on exactly how the virtual assets will be taxed, but they say a system will be in place for 2008.

[tags]IRS, internal revenue service, MMO, World of Warcraft[/tags]

Xbox 1 Games Available on Nintendo's Revolution

Gamers around the world rejoiced yesterday when Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's President, announced that Sega's Genesis console games would be available via Revolution's "virtual console". Many speculated that Nintendo kept secret a few other key publishers, not wanting to let too many cats out of the bag before E3. Well, those speculations were confirmed this morning in a private meeting between Nintendo representatives and key members of the gaming press.

So what other games will Nintendo be offering for download onto the Revolution? Xbox games. Yup, Nintendo announced in the meeting that Xbox 1 games would be available via the "virtual console". Not only that, all Xbox 1 games are reportedly going to be downloadable, including the many popular games missing from the Xbox 360 backwards compatibility list, such as Top Spin, Burnout, Project Gotham Racing, and EA Sports Titles.

There is debate about why Microsoft has allowed this to happen. Some people are claiming that it was a loophole in the publishing deals Microsoft made, and that Microsoft can't legally stop Nintendo. Others are saying Microsoft made a very lucrative deal with Nintendo for exclusive download rights to all previously released Xbox titles, and that Microsoft's royalties and upfront money will more than cover any loss of customer to the competition.

No matter what the reason behind this remarkable news is, Nintendo's Revolution is definitely making some waves.

[tags]virtual console, Nintendo Revolution, backwards compatibility[/tags]