News: A Difficult Labo

Switch’s Chastity Busted Wide Open

For a while now Nintendo Switch software hacks have been available to the public. Switch hackers have been showing off their system running all kinds of cool retro emulators. Not just the expected 16bit emulators, but some lesser seen ones too. From more obscure systems like the Atari Jaguar and Sega Satrurn, to some relatively complex machines such as GameCube and Wii.

They only have themselves to blame.

And just like that Nintendo’s security was switched off!

Of course Nintendo has been just as attentive to close these software exploits where they were encountered. Almost suspiciously attentive given how steadfastly inattentive they are in every other aspect of their business. A year on the market is apparently not enough time for Nintendo to write so much as a NES emulator, yet within this same time period hobbyist hackers have managed to get all manner of advanced emulators running on their console – giving Switch owners the kind of exciting Virtual Console experience that they should have received from Nintendo!

Now Nintendo has created the kind of situation wherein console hacking has become a highly desirable application of the hardware – and it would seem that the days of forestalling this with a firmware update are now behind us. Since the start of 2018 there had been rumours swirling that fail0verflow had discovered a hardware exploit that could not be patched out. In fact rumours suggested that fail0verflow had discovered this exploit by simply reading Nvidia’s own documentation for the off the shelf Tegra chip that Nintendo chose to use for the Switch. Presumably fail0verflow must have held off of releasing this information in order to investigate just how resilient this exploit would be to firmware updates seeking to address it. Regardless of their findings fail0verflow has this week decided to release the physical exploit to the public, and on the face of it it looks to be a permanent way into the console.

Within the Switch’s sliding groove made to accommodate the right Joycon it is possible to access two wires, and by bridging these two wires it is possible to force the system into USB mode, which forces the system to run any code that users attempt on it. People have already made this process one step more simple by designing a 3D printable tool which just slides into the Switch to put it into USB mode. The only way for Nintendo to stop this exploit now is to rush out a hardware revision. So congratulations to any current owners of Switch hardware, as that hardware potentially just became way more valuable!

Labo Flops Hard in Japan

Labo launched ten days ago, and while there are no firm numbers for the Western launch, there has not exactly been much buzz about it, has there? Labo did at least make it to the top of the weekly charts in Japan, yet it has only managed to sell 30% of its initial shipments, meaning that it has dramatically undershot Nintendo’s own internal expectations regarding how much demand there would be for $80 cardboard in the land of the rising sun.

This shit is going on sale!

The rising sun has already set hard on Labo!

Combined, the two SKUs available for purchased managed to sell 119,039 units, which means that Nintendo must have shipped somewhere in excess of 400,000 units of Labo to stores. Selling 100,000 units of overpriced cardboard is not a bad effort at all here, and yet it is clear that Nintendo has grossly overproduced initial shipments, which may eat into profitability.

The eternal question here still remains: what to do with these cardboard contraptions once they have been assembled – and for the Japanese with their limited living areas that question must burn even brighter than for most. It is one thing to pay $80 for a few ultra expensive cardboard boxes, but it is quite another thing to pay $80 for an expensive pile of trash that will not fit anywhere, and which will become damaged at the drop of a hat:

I thought about the reviews I’d read, a significant percentage of which were clearly written by men in their mid-20s who probably hadn’t even seen a child in months.

My anger eased when I discovered Nintendo is selling replacements (at reasonable prices) and has provided PDFs to allow exasperated parents to print off their own parts. But a huge part of me thinks everyone — Nintendo especially — is underestimating how much time parents have to “fix” toys they’ve literally just paid money for.

Case in point: It took my 2-year-old son five minutes to undo two hours of work. And the worst part: The outcome was damn near inevitable. I had no one to blame but myself. I should have seen it coming.

Because Labo is made of cardboard. Cardboard, people! Cardboard is fragile. Cardboard is not a good material for children’s toys. Particularly when your 2-year-old has a fondness for casually shredding everything within his grubby grasp.

Some parents (with their older, better children) are having a blast with Labo, and I respect that. But from my pained, weathered perspective, Labo is a bad idea. A brilliantly executed bad idea, but a bad idea nonetheless.

The above is a portion of a review taken from Cnet’s Mark Serrels, a guy who is pretty much Nintendo’s ostensible target demographic. He basically ended up feeling that the glowing reviews were being written by childless twenty-somethings, whereas in a real use scenario he quickly found that his purchase was destroyed in under a day by the children intended to play with it. Money would truly have to be no object for any parent buying this for their children, as the money could be much better spent on something durable and equally as crafty like Lego. Childless twenty-somethings really does seem like a better market for Labo than children, however adults willing to pay out $80 for soyboy arts and crafts supplies does seem like it would be a fairly limited market, mostly comprised of soy swilling Nintendonlies.

Starting a New Quest

This week Dragon Quest Director, and longtime Enix staffer, Jin Fujisawa, announced his surprise departure from Square Enix. It sounds as though his retirement from the company has been an ongoing process, but while it was occurring he was still allowed to work on the Square Enix mobile title Fortune Tellers Academy. Square Enix has made no statement regarding Fujisawa’s departure, and it sounds like he has a new gig lined up for his post-Enix career.

Perhaps he left in order to work on a more personal project?

Dragon Quest IX: one of the bigger roles that Jin Fujisawa has served.

I, Fujisawa, have resigned from Square Enix.

After resigning, I did continue writing for Fortune Tellers Academy, but currently I’m tackling a new challenge with a different company. I think I’ll be able to share more about the present condition on a separate occasion.

I truly apologize for the sudden announcement.

Jin Fujisawa joined Enix in 1998, where he worked as a scenario assistant on Dragon Quest VII. He went on to fill the same role on the PS1 remake of Dragon Quest IV and the PS2 remake of Dragon Quest V. He was credited as scenario staff for Dragon Quest VIII and battle director for Dragon Quest Monsters Joker. Fujisawa’s biggest roles were as co-director (alongside Akihiro Hino) on Dragon Quest IX and as director and writer for Dragon Quest X.

Given Jin Fujisawa’s involvement with the Dragon Quest series, this departure is no doubt a loss for Square Enix. That said, this is no cause for alarm given the degree of control that Yuji Horii has over the series. Dragon Quest should continue being great so long as it has Horii working on it. Fujisawa does not appear to have worked on Dragon Quest XI, and by all accounts it is one of the best games in the series. The Day Tonight salutes Jin Fujisawa’s work on Dragon Quest, and wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavours.

5 comments on “News: A Difficult Labo”

  1. Despite the shills screaming that it would ‘revolutionise the way we think about video games’, Labo was doomed the moment they set the price point at an outrageous (and transparently arrogant) $80/$70. The product is not robust, as they admitted, and there is no intention to provide replacements. Nintendo themselves said, “just buy it again,” and “you can recycle it,” which demonstrates that this is by design. They would love for children to ruin these cheap cardboard pieces so that parents have to keep shelling out $70 at a time to buy more paper.

    Parents aren’t always savvy when it comes to such things, but in this case one would have to be a world-class blockhead not to work out that the Labo cardboard would be destroyed by children inside of a week. $70 is an insane price for bits of paper, and I hope Nintendo has to write down a massive loss on the R&D here (although they are not likely to lose any money on production costs because it is just cardboard!).

  2. It seems so easy to exploit Nintendo systems for homebrew. It’s a nice feature.

  3. Cardboard is the console of the future! Vringback hard wood panelling for my cardboard controllers.

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