Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why a Legend of Zelda Movie Would be a Bad Idea

Despite some impressive April Fools efforts by IGN, there is no Legend Of Zelda movie. I think that there never should be for three reasons: the gameplay, the characters, and the story.

The gameplay of the Zelda series is timeless. The problem with a movie is that there is no audience interaction. In almost every Zelda game, Link travels around to several dungeons, gets an item from that dungeon, then beats up the dungeon's boss. I personally think this would be boring as a movie. Link travels to dungeon after dungeon defeating various and sundry monsters for vaguely defined reasons. I think it would be more akin to watching someone play a Zelda game rather than just playing it yourself, and that is a boring thing to do.

As far as characters go, let's start with Zelda herself. Princess Zelda is almost always kidnapped/ put in harm's way in some fashion that forces Link to save her. This makes Zelda seem like a very weak character at times, and may cause the audience to find her annoying in a movie. Also, Link setting out to save her after only just meeting, or sometimes not at all, seems like a very transparent motivation. It works in the games because they don't really rely on the story as much as a movie would.

The biggest character problem is Link. Besides a few grunts here and there, Link doesn't speak, and based on some of the negative reactions to Samus Aran having a more fleshed out character in Metroid: Other M, it may be a good thing that Link never talks. For the actor playing him, this would be utterly confusing. How do you play someone with literally no character information to go on? Is Link wise, confused, sarcastic, heroic, cowardly, scared, or oblivious? Some information can be gleaned from simply playing the games, but not enough to give a convincing performance. Although, a silent movie may be kind of cool, but it would create more problems rather than fix a few.

The story in Zelda games is obviously just an excuse to travel around and beat up monsters. Gamers know this. In a movie however, characters need reasons to do things. The most reasoning ever given in the games is that Zelda was kidnapped, or Hyrule is on the brink of destruction, and usually Link is the “chosen one” that can save everyone by collecting some magical items. That one sentence can not be expanded to make a full two hour movie without some liberties being taken. Also, the seven or so dungeons would just be boring, there's no getting around it. The movie would either feel rushed to fit seven dungeons into two hours (like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World with the seven evil exes), or the movie would trim things down, eliminating key components of the games. Plus, giant monster fights are only so interesting for so long (like 2010's Clash of the Titans).

A Legend of Zelda movie would be interesting, but at the same time I feel it would be a disappointment because it just can't translate well to the big screen. Yes, I'd still watch it, but I probably wouldn't be happy with it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why Multiplayer is Always Fun

I remember one time I visited my cousins and we played the multiplayer vs portions of Teen Titans for the GameCube. Invariably, it came down to who could get to a certain character first, and then during the fight, just mash down the ranged attack button. However, the game was still fun, despite this obvious flaw.

When you play a multiplayer game, it really is not about the game at all, it's about the people you're playing with. It was fun just to hang out with those cousins, who I hardly ever see. Multiplayer has a way of bringing people together. If you can get so many people in the same room all there to play a game, then there is obviously a deeper connection than the game. I didn't visit them just to play Teen Titans, I didn't even know they had the game, I visited to see my cousins. Also, using multiplayer to facilitate a gathering can lead to a distraction from the awkward parts. Multiplayer is also about forming bonds with people. People set up events just to get people in the same room, playing the same game because of their common interests and, most likely, friendship. By demonstrating your similar interests, you can become closer to other people and players. 

This is one of the reasons I've always been wary of online multiplayer. You never really meet the other players or get to know them, so any real bonding is out of the question. It can be fun, but you never know someone till you have meet them face to face. Yes you may add someone to your friends list and you may see them again in the game, but you don't really know them. You're playing the game for the game, not to be around other people. Do people play MMOs to meet people, or to kill dragons? Do people play online shooters because they want a connection, or because they want to show their supremacy in the game?

Multiplayer is fun not just because of the game, but because of the people you are playing with. Online multiplayer games can't replicate being in the same room as someone playing a game.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Most Disappointing Games I've Ever Played

Not every game can live up to the hype. This doesn't make a game bad, just a disappointment. Here are a few games that have disappointed me the most:

Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time for the DS was the sequel to the wonderful Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga for the GBA. Where Superstar Saga offered a unique story and was a nice departure from the Mario standards. Partners in Time however reused the standard Mario story of Peach being kidnapped, and also included some odd time traveling. The Mario Bros. Teamed up with their baby versions and carried the babies around on their backs and occasionally threw them to separate the groups. This lead to some interesting puzzles and battles. Sadly, the puzzles were very repetitive, and most of them could be solved by throwing the babies at them. The battles eventually become complex as sometimes you had to use the X and Y buttons to control the babies, and A and B to control the older brothers. You may get used to it, but it was still annoying. The game also cut out the overworld from Superstar Saga and replaced it with a rather dull hub system. Partners in Time lacked some of the best parts of Superstar Saga, but luckily Bowser's Inside Story was very good.

Animal Crossing for the GameCube seemed good, but was disappointing in the end. In the game you move to a new town full of talking animals. The first thing that happens is you buy a house, and end up in massive debt. I rented this game at first and it was great. Every character was hilarious, and I legitimately thought that by selling bugs and fish I could eventually get out of my debt. Upon buying the game, I realized the sad truth, it was boring. Yes the characters were still there, and I eventually got out of debt, but then I had no more goals to complete. Sure, I could have committed myself to collecting every fish, but that just felt like a waste of time. I have not been to my Animal Crossing village in a very long time, but I still bought the DS sequel, Animal Crossing: Wild World, and was disappointed again.

Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days for the DS was a Kingdom Hearts spinoff/ sequel that was fun but ultimately disappointing. I am a Kingdom Hearts fan, make no mistake, but 358/2 Days didn't quite live up to the hype. First of all the story was interesting, but it felt like an unnecessary detour in the Kingdom Hearts world. The one new character who was introduced was killed off in the end, and since Roxas doesn't remember any of this anyway, it just felt unnecessary. While the game itself was very impressive for the DS, an inflexable mission system, sucked some of the fun out of the levels. Beyond the story, there was some fun multiplayer that allowed you to play as the various members of Organization XIII, and some extra challenge missions, but they too ultimately amounted to nothing.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nintendo vs The Internet: Update

Since blogging about the recent cease and desist letters sent out by Nintendo to some Pokemon fansites regarding the images of the newly released Pokemon Black and White, there has been some new information. Nintendo really was just worried about the amount of images that the sites were putting up at one time. There was so much going up in such little time that Nintendo got spooked and tried to defend itself. They may have thought about this before hand though, as this seems slightly premeditated. Anyway, now that the dust has settled, Nintendo's lawyers have allowed to post some images, and I'm sure will eventually follow suit. I remain of the opinion that Nintendo should have just let it go, because they have more to lose by resticting the sites then they could gain by just letting them do what they want (within reason of course).

my original post

Pokebeach post explaining the situation

Serebii post saying they are going to put images back up (under Massive Notice)

This update has also been appended to the end of the original post. I just wanted to make sure that you, the readers, knew what was going on. Below this post is today's post which has almost nothing to do with Pokemon whatsoever.

Why Complex Games Are Fun

Most games today implement some complex systems. Yes, they are designed to be as user-friendly as possible, but they can still be quite daunting. Look at the average RTS or RPG for proof. Despite this, these genres are very popular.

Life is complex, and reflecting that, games can also be complex at times. In any given RPG you'll most likely have to keep track of the HP, MP, EXP, AP, attacks, and items of three or four characters. That can be a lot, but usually it is not a big deal because of the way the information is presented, in easy to read bar form and simple menus. In an RTS you may also have to keep track of and coordinate a myriad of units, troops, resources, and keep a general strategy in mind and keep track of the enemy's units and strategy. Games can also have some hidden values that can be difficult to track, but vitally important. Not to mention games like these usually have a story holding everything together, which can be convoluted, especially when talking about a series of games. Again it can be a lot, and a casual gamer may be overwhelmed.

However, by mastering these systems, gamers feel empowered. They know what's going on, what to do, and probably what's going to happen next. People can get characters in RPGs with crazy high stats because they know how the game figures out those stats, usually with hidden values, and then can maximize their character's potential. Ever face a tough opponent in Starcraft? They probably knew how to work the game better than you. Some people are willing to put in the time to master a game. Chances are these people are very clever and know exactly what they're doing. This is usually the line between hardcore gamers and casual gamers.

Complex games can be fun, if the time is taken to master the game's systems. This is the kind of stuff that hardcore gamers find fun and are willing to put in the time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nintendo vs The Internet

This past Saturday, the 18th, Pokemon Black and White were released in Japan. As such several sites imported copies of the game and have played through it and posted various details and screenshots across the web. Nintendo didn't like this and sent cease and desist letters to,, and possibly others, forcing the sites to remove any photos of the games. This is the most confusing thing I have ever seen Nintendo do.

Pokemon has a strong fan-based community, like many other games. Yes there are little kids that play, but Pokemon has remained so strong because of the long time fans. Nintendo crossed a lot of fans by forcing the pictures to be pulled down, and angry fans don't buy games. The kids will still buy the games, but Nintendo could lose some of the customers that have kept the fandom going for so long (though honestly that's a worst case scenario).

Also, Nintendo apparently doesn't like free advertising. Nintendo in no way pays for or contributes to fan sites, so this really is free advertising. By looking at the screenshots and seeing the new Pokemon, I only get more excited and wanted to play the games more. If the casual fan Googles Pokemon Black and White, they are inundated with fan sites that simply want to let other people know about the Pokemon games. Yes the sites use ads to make some money, but otherwise they wouldn't be up at all. I think it would have been better for Nintendo to just keep reaping the rewards of the free advertising like they have in the past.

Mainly though, I wonder why this is just now an issue. Pokemon fan sites have been around for a long time, why is Nintendo now getting angry? I understand that maybe they don't want the games spoiled by the sites, and yes they do have the law on their side, but how is just showing pictures spoiling things when they can still talk about the games? If this is really a problem with Nintendo, then they could pursue legal action to take down all Pokemon sites not officially affiliated with Nintendo. This would be insane, because, again, the fandom is part of what has kept Pokemon going for so long. I thought Nintendo realized that.

I don't understand why Nintendo would force Pokemon Black and White pictures to be taken down from fan sites. Free advertising never hurt anyone, and the fandom is very important to Pokemon. I'm sure they had some reason, but I hope it's better than they don't want things spoiled.

UPDATE 9/22/2010: It seems Nintendo really was just worried about the amount of images that the sites were putting up at one time. There was so much going up in such little time that Nintendo got spooked and tried to defend itself. They may have thought about this before hand though, as this seems slightly premeditated. Anyway, now that the dust has settled, Nintendo's lawyers have allowed to post some images, and I'm sure will eventually follow suit. I remain of the opinion that Nintendo should have just let it go, because they have more to lose by resticting the sites then they could gain by just letting them do what they want (within reason of course).

Pokebeach post explaining the situation

Serebii post saying they are going to put images back up (under Massive Notice)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Games I've Always Wanted to Play but Never Did

I've missed a few opportunities in my life, sadly some of them include some of the best games out there. Here are a few games I've always wanted to play, but never quite got around to:

Super Mario World was a platforming game for the SNES featuring Nintendo's star plumber. The game came packaged with the SNES and helped to sell the system. The game made a few improvements on the Super Mario Bros. formula by introducing Yoshi, and expanding upon the overworld map concept from Super Mario Bros. 3. Not to mention the improved graphics and sound afforded by the SNES. Sadly, I completely missed the SNES. I went straight from NES to N64, mainly because I was too young to notice. In 2001, Super Mario World was ported to the GBA, which I also missed out on because I just didn't buy it. The same goes for the Virtual Console version.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is an RPG developed by BioWare for the Xbox. BioWare is the legendary company behind various Western RPGs including Mass Effect and Dragon Age. Knights of the Old Republic takes place 4000 years before the original trilogy of movies and focuses on an amnesiac Jedi fighting against the Sith Lord Darth Malak. Eventually the player can choose to be a Jedi or a Sith. I've always wanted to play the game because it focuses on a time period in the Star Wars universe I'm not too familiar with, and I like RPGs. I've never owned an Xbox or a gaming quality PC, so I could never play this seemingly great game.

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky is the ninth game in Square Enix's Dragon Quest series (not counting spin-offs) and is for the DS. Dragon Quest is an RPG and tells the story of a fallen angel of sorts trying to get back home and figure out what happened to the other angels. Everyone in the player's party is fully customizable, allowing you to create a truly unique party. Dragon Quest IX is insanely popular in Japan, selling roughly 4 million copies. That's a lot. I always thought playing Square Enix's other big RPG would be fun, but the closest I've gotten is Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime also for the DS. Even though Dragon Quest IX is for the DS, when it was released, my DS was broken, and since I've bought a new one, I haven't had the money to buy the game.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Most Beautiful Game I've Ever Played

The most beautiful game I've ever played is not in HD, it is not ultra-realistic, and it does not utilize high-end graphics processors. It is The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.

Wind Waker drew a lot of criticism for it's use of cel-shaded graphics, rather than the realistic graphics that were teased by Nintendo a year or so before Wind Waker was announced. Some gamers dismissed it as cartoony, and it was heavily criticized by the media before it was released. Regardless, the core Zelda gameplay remained as strong as ever, and after it's release, Wind Waker became one of the most popular Gamecube titles, and received almost universal praise.

Wind Waker was beautiful because of the spectacular art direction. Wind Waker was very cartoonish in looks, but it worked for the game. The game would simply not have been possible using realistic graphics. The style gave the game world a personality that would have been lost otherwise. While sailing in the game, if you looked around, at the horizon, at the sky, at the water, you could feel the world come together as a whole, united by the art direction. The visuals did nothing for the gameplay, but they still contributed to making the game wonderful.

Wind Waker is not the only game that is beautiful because of it's art. Okami featured a style based off of classical Japanese paintings, and it tied the game together. If the game was made with realistic visuals, part of the charm and grace of the game would have been lost. The game seemed more engrossing because of the distinctive style of the game. In fact, one of the extras in the bonus section of Okami is a trailer from early in production that uses realistic graphics, and it just is not the same (as seen in the picture above). The trailer feels like it could be any game, because it lacks the full game's style.

To me, a game with a distinctive and original style will always be more aesthetically pleasing than an ultra-realistic game. Of course, some games do have a nice style but fail in other respects.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Famitsu Review Process

Video Game reviews have always been slightly controversal. The bottom line is that it is hard to account for individual taste when reviewing a video game. The people over at the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu use an interesting review process to try to rectify that.

Instead of just one person playing a game and scoring it, four people play the game and rate it between zero and ten. The scores are then added up for a game's total score out of forty. This helps minimize any one reviewer's personal opinions because if one reviewer doesn't like something the other three may like it thus evening out the total score. This also allows the scores themselves to be more objective where the reviewers may be slightly biased. Many video game reviewing organizations are also accused of unfavorably scoring games, giving games that deserve a bad score a good score or visa versa, or just scoring everything averagely or near perfectly. Famitsu on the other had has only ever given fifteen games a perfect score, and a scant nineteen games have received a thirty-nine. This makes it seem as though the scores themselves are less biased because few ever rise to the top.

However no system is perfect. Of the fifteen perfect scores, eleven of them have been given in the past five years, leading many to think Famitsu's review process is corrupt. Also, most of the games with perfect scores are for Nintendo systems, and most of them are Wii games, another suspicious fact. The Japanese culture is also vastly different then America's, leading to more widely favored genres and games in Japan receiving higher scores. No Western game has ever received a perfect score, and only three have come close. Famitsu has also been accused of giving away good scores to higher profile games to help boost the Japanese gaming market.

Famitsu's review process is famously rigorous, and I think it is a good system. However that has not stopped some people from criticizing Famitsu for some odd scoring. This just proves that no review should be taken to literally, as the only way to judge a game for yourself is to play it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

More Games I'm Looking Forward To

Here are a few more games that I am looking forward to:

Epic Mickey is an upcoming Wii game from Warren Spector utilizing the vast history of Mickey Mouse. Part of Disney's efforts to reinvent Mickey, in the game you guide Mickey through the distorted Wasteland and use paint and paint thinner to alter the environment. The game also features a morality system that is based not only on your decisions in game, but the amount of time you spend using paint (to build) and thinner (to destroy). The morality system has yet unknown ramifications within the game, but theoretically you could have an evil Mickey Mouse. Epic Mickey takes place mostly in 3D (not stereoscopic), but to move between levels, players travel through a 2D stage based off of a classic Mickey cartoon, for instance Steamboat Willy. The game looks good so far, but I remain cautious that it could turn into Disney trying to sell new Mickey merchandise. Epic Mikey is due out for the Wii this November in North America.

Okamiden is the sequel to Okami for the DS. The game takes place nine months after the original and features lots of the same characters. In the game you play as Amaterasu's young son, named Chibiterasu (“Chibi” means “cute” in Japanese). Celestial brush techniques return and are executed using the DS's touch screen to mimic painting. Also along for the ride is a kid named Kuni, who rides on Chibiterasu's back, but can also move independently at times in order to solve puzzles. While the game uses some of the same locations as the original, new areas are also included. If some of the problems with Okami can be fixed here, I'm sure this game will be great. Okamiden will be released for the DS September 30th in Japan, and sometime in 2011 for North America.

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is the third game in the Professor Layton series. The games blend puzzles and riddles with point and click exploring to delightful effect. In the game you aid Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke in solving puzzles, and eventually solving a big mystery. The story for this game is that after receiving a letter from ten years in the future, Layton and the present day Luke investigate a time machine unveiling in London. Chaos and puzzles ensue. The Professor Layton games have always been fun, and the puzzles have always been intriguing and mind bending. Professor Layton and the Unwound Future for the DS will be released September 12th in North America.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why I Don't Like DLC

The concept of Downloadable Content seems fine, buying additional levels/content for a game. It's the same idea that expansion packs work on. But unlike expansion packs, which often offer tons of new features, DLC may only add an additional character to play as or maybe a multiplayer map.

If I buy a new game, lets say $50, I don't want to spend more money on additional content, especially if it doesn't add anything to the game. Yes, a new multiplayer map may be fun, but I don't need to play on it. And chances are that adding a new character, probably won't change the game very much. DLC just doesn't really do anything. Some games' DLC may add game-changing features, but most don't. If levels are added, they may be outside of the normal game, and not have any repercussions in the main game. This is so that people who have not beaten the game can still download the DLC.

My biggest problem with DLC is that it is never added to the original game, but created solely to charge gamers an extra $5 or so. The PS3's Blu-Ray discs have insane amounts of storage, why could the DLC not be fit on there? Sometimes, if the game sells well enough, it will be re-released with the DLC added in. Why could that not be there to begin with? If I had bought a game, and the DLC, only for the game to be re-released with the DLC added in, I would be angry. It just seems to me that if the developers could have had it in the original game, but held it back for DLC, they only wanted to get the extra profits. I could understand if maybe the developers wanted to add something in, but couldn't finish it in time to get it in the game, so they released it as DLC, but charging for it seems greedy.

I never liked Downloadable Content because it just seems like a cheap way for the developers to make more money.

Monday, September 6, 2010

How to Make Games Like Miyamoto

Shigeru Miyamoto is arguably one of the greatest game designers ever. Besides creating The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Mario franchises, he has worked on dozens of other beloved games including the Metroid, Pokemon, and Wave Race series. A lot of Miyamoto's newer games are based on his hobbies, Pikmin and Nintendogs for example.

Miyamoto uses his hobbies as inspiration for his games. He explores around Kyoto as a child, he goes on to make Zelda. He starts to garden, Pikmin is born. He gets a dog, he creates Nintendogs. He starts to track his weight, Wii Fit is made. This is different then most creative processes for games. Most other games start as an idea then evolve into games from there. Some games do involve real world testing, for instance, Call of Duty creators used real guns to get a feel for how the game should be. The game still started as an idea, not a hobby. By using a hobby as inspiration, a designer can come into a game knowing how things work in the real world. The dogs in Nintendogs probably seemed life like because Miyamoto knew how his own dog acted and tried to mimic that. Miyamoto uses his hobbies as inspiration so often that Nintendo has reportedly told him not to tell anyone about them.

By simply using his real life experiences, Miyamoto is able to add another layer to his games. When playing Zelda, don't you feel a little confused and turned around in the dungeons? Miyamoto aimed for that feeling and knew when things were right because he explored as a child. Being able to mimic that feeling a game is extraordinary. That elevates a game beyond racing to the finish for the highest score, and makes it an experience. I doubt that Zelda, or any of the other games, would have been the same if Miyamoto had not had those hobbies.

Miyamoto is a brilliant game designer. Everyone of his games is fun and innovative, no doubt because he uses his real world experiences as a guide.

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Favorite Wii Games

The Wii is rampant with shovelware titles, much to my dismay, but luckily the Wii still has some good games. Here are three of my favorite:

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga is a reimagining of the iconic films with everything made out of Lego bricks. The game is built on simple platforming, puzzle-solving, and combat. Most of the game is spent going through some very well designed levels, based on the movies of course, and then fighting a boss at the end of the movie's levels. The amount of characters available to play is insanly vast, Jedis, Sith, droids, humans, and more. Jedis and Siths can use lightsabers and the Force, other characters can use a blaster, and some are used only for certain puzzles or to open certain doors. Some of the levels drag in places, but a drop-in co-op system helps to make this game fun. Plus the scenes from the movies made with Lego minifigures are hilarious.

Super Mario Galaxy is a Mario platforming game set in outer space. Mario travels across the stars to collect the Power Stars and eventually rescue Princess Peach from Bowser. The level design is brilliant with each world feeling unique and challenging the player in different ways. Mario's power-ups are always fun and inventive, and there are great ones like Bee Mario here. Plus the music is beautiful, and the orchestra pieces are a joy to listen to. Sometimes the camera and controls can be a little weird when you're running around a small planetoid, but you get used to it. Hopefully one day I'll get Galaxy 2, which is supposed to be even more awesome.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess  is pretty much like every other Zelda game, and that's a good thing. You play as Link, a young boy from a small village, and when your friends are kidnapped by the mysterious Twilight monsters, you set out to rescue. After a while you are also tasked with saving all of Hyrule from some Twilight Realm baddies. You use your various items and equipment to solve puzzles and kill monsters, and you also transform into a wolf at various times to explore the Twilight Realm. The tacked on waggle controls that swing your sword are annoying, but at least it's accurate. The various items are original and fun, from a giant top that you ride on to the very useful sniper bow combination.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Mystery of the 3DS Release Date

Ever since wowing the press at E3 with the 3DS, Nintendo has been vague on details. Information has been released here and there, but the release date has not been spoken of.

The system itself seems ready to go. At E3 Nintendo had the system ready to play and had a lot of systems available. Nintendo has also stated that the model seen at E3 is near final, with only a few minor tweaks possible. So the system is pretty much done, and chances are the manufacturing process is also up and running.

The tech demos shown at E3 were impressive, but not final, which means that the studios may need more time to get things finished. If Nintendo wants a strong launch, it is imperative that they have good games to go with the system. So, the longer they wait, the more the launch titles can be polished up. Considering that 3D is still relatively new, I would imagine the developers want all the time they can get.

Nintendo still remains elusive on the release date though. On the late night talk show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Reggie Fils-Aime said that the 3DS would be released next year, coinciding with Nintendo's statements of before March 2011. Nintendo then said that Fils-Aime was mistaken. But I question if Nintendo would miss the holiday season. Both the DS and the Wii were released in November, so why wouldn't we see the 3DS this November too? And with the DS's price cuts, I wouldn't be surprised to see the 3DS by the end of this year.

However, Nintendo has games for the DS planned through 2011, most notably Pokemon Black and White. Pokemon is a very profitable franchise, would Nintendo risk losing some steam for Pokemon by getting the 3DS out earlier? Of course the Japanese release date is September 18, 2010, so they'd only be losing money in the rest of the world. It's normal for games to be released for a previous generation's systems a while after a new system is released, but Nintendo usually doesn't keep that up for long. Besides Pokemon, the only other first party title for the DS is Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, which has a release date of November 29, 2010, but I can't imagine Nintendo hesitating because of Golden Sun.

In the end, we'll only know when the 3DS will be released when Nintendo decides to tell us. Nintendo plans to announce new information on September 29, so we'll just have to wait.