Submitting to Nintendo

Seeing as we have just submitted Pop+ Solo to Nintendo for approval I wanted to write a short post highlighting what sorts of things happens when submitting a game for approval and why we do it. Please note we are covered by a Non-Disclosure agreement so we cannot be too specific. I hope you find this post interesting.

Submitting to Nintendo:

Why submit to Nintendo
Nintendo want to ensure that all games and software which runs on their devices meets some minimum standards. In particular they want to make sure that when you, the user, saves your data or puts your Nintendo DSi to sleep that you do not lose data, shorten the life-span of your device or use up excess battery power.

To this end they have created a submission process and a series of tests to ensure that all software for their platforms conforms to these tests.

What sort of tests are there?
While we cannot detail the specifics of each test we can say that they are less gameplay related and more to do with checking that each game does not break the hardware, shorten its life-span or give the user unexpected results (e.g. losing save data or cause confusion by referring to the Stylus as a pen). There are a lot of tests and we, the developer, know in advance what they are and for the most part how to test for them.

It is then up to us to ensure that in addition to all of our gameplay testing that we also run through and prepare the game or application for Nintendo’s tests too.

Is this a good thing?
Yes it is. For you the end user this ensures that all software on Nintendo hardware reaches a minimum standard. That is not to say that the gameplay meets a minimum standard more that all software will run as expected and not leave you, the user, with a DSi or Wii which malfunctions or a negative impression of the hardware in general.

Is it easy to prepare for these tests?
In general yes although like anything some are open to interpretation and can create some interesting discussions with Nintendo. While others like testing languages can be hard if you do not have people playing your game who speak those languages. Like anything it is all about preparation and although we think we have spent a lot of time ensuring that we pass all of these tests it is not inconceivable that we may fail one or more.

Unfortunately making software is very complex and when you change one facet to fix one bug you can always unwittingly introduce another. We have spent a lot more time testing Pop+ Solo than we did Pop so we hope that this submission will be significantly smoother. So here’s to us finally submitting Pop+ Solo to Nintendo and let’s hope that we don’t have too many issues which need resolved!

-Nic

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