Episode 12: Twitter Tea Leaves with Peter Spezia

Peter Spezia returns to the show to run through the September 2021 Nintendo Direct. Next month is jam-packed with releases, more Directs, and a new tier of Nintendo Switch Online. The fifth year of the Nintendo Switch is also shaping up to be one of its busiest and best. And of course, Seth Rogen is Donkey Kong.

The Direct’s Opening

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

The Next Stretch

Nintendo Switch Online – N64 and Genesis

“Mario” Film Cast

Delta 1.3 Thoughts & Impressions

I’ve been on a bit of a journey with my game collection over the past year or so. Kickstarted by my Super NT, I’ve been chasing after preserving and digitizing my physical game collection. From the Game Boy to the Wii, I’ve found solutions for backing tons of my games up. A natural side effect of all this has been finding new ways to play my games.

Personally, I have been and am a proponent of real hardware, followed by hardware emulation, and then software emulation. Through all this archiving, my monkey brain has come around on emulation on the whole. With my save data and my digitized copy of a game, I am wholeheartedly accepting of emulation now.

So on Connected 357: I Need My Hands, Especially in the Summer when Federico Vitcci talked about his journey to play the Metroid games before Dread, he landed on using Delta on iOS.

Delta is a game emulator from Riley Testut for iOS that can be installed on iPhones through Riley’s alternative app store, aptly titled AltStore.

I had installed AltStore before. I used it to run Dolphin on my iPhone, thanks to Snazzy Labs. I never kept up with it. Now that my collection is backed up, I thought it’d be fun to see what Delta offered. I reinstalled AltStore and Delta this past week and have been delighted by Riley’s work.

The very first element I noticed was how Delta feels. This has a beautiful design that employs plenty of native iOS features. Riley has implemented Peek & Pop, haptic feedback for the on-screen buttons, shortcuts, and more. I’m not sure how much, if any, of the code is Swift or SwiftUI, but Delta has that native iOS feel that is polished, and what I would consider essential.

The set-up was simple, but did have some hiccups along the way. Delta created a folder in my iCloud drive. It actually created six; Delta, then Delta 2-6. The data lives in “Delta 3,” but I’m worried the app will be confused if I delete the other five folders and just drop the “3” from the folder name. I migrated all of my game ROMs into the folder and then began importing.

Delta automatically categorized the ROMs by platform. It even found art for some of the games. Most however, did not have any art. Thankfully, this is easily remedied with a Force Touch (or long press) on the game and selecting “Change Artwork.” I picked “Game Database” and picked the art I preferred. I do wish Delta was better at finding the art to begin with, but I am super happy I can use whatever art I’d like for the games.

Importing save data is just as easy with a Force Touch and selecting “Import Save Data, then you navigate to the data in Files and import. You can also sync your ROMs and save data. I hooked up Dropbox and Delta began syncing the data right away. This easily allows me to manage the save between Delta, my MiSTer, and the physical cartridge.

Actually playing the games is simple. Just tap and go. A beautiful controller skin pops up with the game above, when the iPhone is in a vertical orientation. Flipping the device sideways displays a transparent layout over the game. For touch-based controls, they work quite well. Riley has implemented wonderful haptic feedback to help simulate a real button press. The buttons are spaced well and I don’t find myself making many accidental presses. The down sides revealed themselves when I needed to press more than 3 or 4 buttons at once. Like in Metroid: Zero Mission, if I want to run to the right, aim up or down on the diagonal and shoot missiles, that is a 4 button combo and my two thumbs can’t pull it off. The loss of proper shoulder buttons, etc. is heavy.

Thankfully, bluetooth controllers can be synced up! This really helps with NES through GBA games. I was even able to connect a real N64 controller to my phone and play with it! I did have some issues getting some buttons to work. I am not sure if this is Delta, the iOS 15 beta, or the 8bitDo SN30 Pro itself. For example, the “Start” button would not work with “pause” or “start” , which is kind of the standard. This resulted in up on the D-Pad being “start” for Super Mario 64.

Now for the real reason to install Delta — to play games! From the NES up through the GBA, the games look and run nicely. I’m not sure at what scale they are running at; there are no settings to adjust output. But on an iPhone Xs Max in my hands, I’m not sure that matters. The OLED screen is brighter and clearer than any official GameBoy screen. Pixels are sharp and the emulation appears to run accurately, at least to my eye.

I am excited to compare it to the Analogue Pocket later this year, since they are both handheld devices, and the Pocket’s resolution is close to my iPhone Xs Max with a superior pixel density. I also wish there were some filters that we could use – gridlines, CRTs, etc.

The best system to emulate in Delta has to be the Nintendo DS. With touch being an integral part of the DS, the iPhone makes for a perfect emulation device. The DS screens are close and look wonderful on an iPhone with the gorgeous layout designed by Riley. Touch just makes sense.

Now, the DS was designed with a stylus in mind, not pudgy fingers, and that can be felt in Delta. Elite Beat Agents is tougher with my index finger tapping along instead of the tiny stylus every DS came with. This could be mitigated with a capacitive stylus – or even the Apple Pencil when iPad support comes to Delta someday.

The DS emulation also runs into similar “too many buttons and too few fingers” problems. This is more situational though. Metroid Prime Hunters? That seems to be quite playable since touch was essentially take up one hand at all times. Phantom Hourglass? Very doable. Even the slower-paced Pokémon games are easy to control. Super Mario 64 DS on the other hand, is a bit more finicky. I haven’t figured out how to “close” the DS, which is essential in some games, like Phantom Hourglass. I’d assume there is a way, I just haven’t found it yet (Update: Found it! Simply sleep & wake the phone itself, very slick).

This is, by far, the easiest way to play DS games today, outside of real hardware. Even using homebrew on the 3DS to keep my collection accessible digitally is a far more involved process. The same goes for playing my games on the Wii U, where you have to use a PC to package the game up in a special format. I can’t see myself wanting to pick up and play a DS game any other way.

Delta is a wonderful app. I have been completely won over and it has earned a spot right on my home screen. I can’t think of higher praise when it comes to an iOS app; I’m pretty picky.If you’d like your collection in your pocket, there’s no better app.

The Good Ol’ Nintendo Rumor Mill

Nearly two weeks ago, Twitter user @markomaro tweeted out a lengthy thread filled with quite a few too good to be true rumors about Nintendo and the Switch’s upcoming lineup. There are some that are specific, while others have plenty of wiggle room. I thought it’d be fun to look at the thread and gauge the possibility.

DK 2D NEW adventure is one of the big hits for next year Still unclear when since there was planned for this Holliday season time ago but will make sense to use it as a closing or opening FY. Splatoon 3 Should come early next summer.

This one leads with a straight-up contradiction to pre-E3 rumors! It’s rumor vs rumor when it comes to the future of Donkey Kong. Personally, I would love for the ape to return to 3D, but 2D is where this series predominantly lives. With Retro working on Metroid Prime 4, I do find it odd that there is no dev attached to this rumor. The 3D game is associated with the Super Mario Odyssey team. Since it’d be exciting if Nintendo returned to 3D, I assume that means the 2D rumor is true.

Buddy Mission: BOND it’s unlikely to be localized since Famicom Detective Club Didn’t performed very well, Numbers are estimated to be under 25K worldwide. There is plans for a new entry for FDC, but with this situation is unlikely to happen.

This comes off as industry analyst, not a rumor or prediction. 

Style Boutique/Savvi for Switch waiting to be release at some point, probably around Christmas time or early 2022, But they holding this release as a random release in weak months.

This comes off as peak DS/Wii game. The Switch is reaching those numbers though.

Bayonetta 3 not shown at the E3 was really weird since i heard that the game is at the final stage of development. There is stuff ready to be shown. In September or late this year they will release first trailer. There is also 1-2 PG ports ready and waiting in the bench.

I agree. Not showing Bayonetta 3 at E3 2021 was odd. It’ll be cool to have the game essentially be re-revealed at some point, hopefully close to launch. What is a PG port? Certainly not a “PG-rated” port of Bayonetta 1 and 2? This one has gone over my head.

Intelligent S is supervising Advance Wars 1+2, Done With Wario Ware , Finished the new Fire Emblem Echoes (1H 2022) and working in the Paper Mario Remake (2022-2023), it’s also Working in a Small Game for the eShop.

Start packing in your pipe and get ready to dream. Paper Mario Remake? I just can’t buy it. Paper Mario is definitively not the franchise it was in 2000 and 2004. It hasn’t been that way since, as I’ve come to realize over the course of Chapter Select Season 1. But maybe that’s my little paper heart protecting itself after years of nada, just like it was with Metroid.

Another Fire Emblem game strikes me as an obvious and safe bet.

Next LG next game going smoothly, probably ready to be shown at some point next year, there is also an early prototype for Wii’s Punch-Out! on the Switch may be for a future port/remake or a sequel.

I take LG to stand for Next Level Games from Luigi’s Mansion 3 fame. If there is a Punch-Out! prototype, it sort of sounds like Markmaro is guessing that Next Level Games is behind it.

Rhythm Paradise/Heaven Gets a green light for a new entry for Switch months ago, but i shouldn’t expect it until 2023. Pikmin 4 was a game with many years of work behind and 1 unofficial restart around 2016-2017 similar to MP4, finally the game is very close to be finished.

Sure? I suppose most folks will forget about this Rhythm Heaven rumor by 2023, so it works out either way. Pikmin 4 is a safe bet. Just like the Metroid Prime Trilogy, we know that Pikmin 4 is in development. Actually, even more so, since Miyamoto has said as much in an interview! We just need that reveal.

Kirby’s Next big adventure is something to be expected in 2022, Game was designed as a 3D adventure with…RPG elements.

It is a shocker that there is another Kirby game in development for the Switch. Combined with the vagueness of “RPG elements,” this is practically a lock and just about anyone could have said so.

Metroid Prime Collection Should be ready for the 1H 2022 even if it’s finished since ages, i heard they include more stuff since then, so it’s not 100% Metroid Prime Trilogy Wii HD, first look at Metroid Prime 4 later on. The game is at 65% of it’s development cycle .

Go ahead and light up that pipe.

Hard to picture Metroid Prime 4 at 65% completion with all the hiring Retro Studios is still doing for the game. Take as much time as you need, but I don’t think Metroid Prime 4 is out until 2024.

As for the Metroid Prime Trilogy, I hope there is more than jus ta port of the Wii game. It’d be a great package to celebrate Metroid as a whole. Throw in the GBA games. More likely, I could see more concept art and a demo or something for Metroid Prime 4, just like Nintendo did with The Legend of Zelda Collector’s Edition on GameCube; four Zelda games and a demo of Wind Waker.

As i Said before, even if N said no more Zelda for the anniversary, WW and TP are done for a while so there will come sooner than later, Don’t know anything about OOT And MM HD (but something abut the N64 ver. that maybe we will know later this year).

This also feels safe. Nintendo has been porting the Wii U greats since the Switch launched. Nintendo also knows the Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask are iconic. There is a reason they were remade for Nintendo 3DS (it was money). Ocarina of Time will turn 25 in 2023, I could see something by then.

As i state a year ago, there is a remake for Oracles of Ages/Seasons in the works (2022-2023) there where plans to include a third game that was planned originally for the GBC, what it’s clear at least since the start it’s that will be separate releases.

The grammar here makes this one harder to parse out. Remakes of these two games also makes sense, especially after the surprise launch of Link’s Awakening for Switch. Nintendo has always taken their portable Zelda games and made sequels and spin-offs with the assets. 

Detective Pikachu 2 will make a trailer debut early next year alongside the first one that will be ported to Switch.Gen 9 unlikely to happen in 2022 since there is a Pokemon Let’s Go Sequel planned for later next year. Pokemon Pinball will make a comeback in some way,somewhere.

The first sentence is not shocking at all. Detective Pikachu has viability on Switch, I think, especially after the movie. With Diamond and Pearl being remade this year and Legends supposedly launching in January 2022, not seeing Gen 9 next year makes sense.

The real shocker and closer is Pokémon Pinball making a comeback.

This was fun. Do I believe all of this? Certainly not. I think there are some super safe observations in there under the veil of a rumor. The more exciting rumors feel too obvious as a business/consumer idea, so that makes me think Nintendo will not do them. Only time will tell.