|Developer(s)||Nintendo EAD Tokyo Group No.2|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer online and locally|
Flipnote Studio, originally released in Japan as Moving Notepad (うごくメモ帳 Ugoku Memochō?), is a free downloadable application for the Nintendo DSi's DSiWare digital distribution service. Developed by Nintendo EAD Tokyo, Flipnote Studio allows the user to create both word and picture-based notes with the stylus, add sound, and put them together to create frame-by-frame flipbook-style animations. Though referred to as Moving Notepad by Nintendo in prior English-language keynote addresses and conferences, the application was announced at E3 2009 officially as Flipnote Studio. It was released in Japan on December 24, 2008, in North America on August 12, 2009, and in Europe and Australia on August 14, 2009. It was also included as a preloaded program on the Nintendo DSi LL/XL and Nintendo DSi with firmware 1.4. An online service, titled Flipnote Hatena (うごメモはてな Ugomemo Hatena?) allowed users to download flipnotes created by other users.
Flipnote Studio is not available to be downloaded or transferred onto the Nintendo 3DS as a successor, Flipnote Studio 3D, was developed specifically for the system. It was released on July 24, 2013 in Japan, and was originally scheduled for release in North America and Europe in August 2013, but has been delayed due to possible technical fears after "unexpectedly high levels of user activity" occurring in Japan.
The online Flipnote Hatena service officially retired on May 31, 2013. However, users will be able transfer the Flipnotes from their Flipnote Hatena account to the new online service which is provided with Flipnote Studio 3D.
Flipnote Studio offers the user three main tools with which to create drawings: a pen, an eraser, and a paintbrush. With these tools, the user may create frames for short animated sketches, called flipnotes. Additional features such as layering, shrinking, and enlarging are also available, as well as the option to import black-and-white images via the DSi Camera Album. The Japanese version of the software allows the user to take photos directly from Flipnote Studio itself. One animation may consist of hundreds of frames (maximum 999), and to go along with the animation itself, the user may choose to record up to 3 different sound banks (each holding up to 2 seconds of sound) with the DSi microphone, then save it as a 'mastered' soundtrack (which can hold up to 1 minute of sound). The speed ranges from 0.5 - 30 FPS.
Shortly before the release of Moving Notepad in Japan, Nintendo announced that they were partnering with Japanese web services provider Hatena to provide the means to share works created with the software. Speaking for Nintendo, Yoshiaki Koizumi stated they chose to work with Hatena because "it takes a special skill set to maintain the User Generated Contents (UGC) site, and we don't have that skill. We rely on Hatena on that part." 
Flipnote Hatena is the name of both the portion of the Flipnote Studio application that connects to the Flipnote Hatena website as well as the website itself (the Japanese version of the program differentiates between the two, but not the English version). Through the DSi portion of the application users were able to download Flipnotes to their DSi, add stars to Flipnotes uploaded by others, and upload their own. Users could also 'spin off' another user's Flipnote, by downloading it and editing it. Flipnote Hatena was shut down on May 31, 2013.
As for the website itself, Flipnote Hatena offered the ability for users to rate and comment on the works of others, as well as to embed their animations into other webpages. Users could also flag submissions as inappropriate; flipnotes thus flagged will not be viewable via the DSi's Flipnote Hatena and may be removed from the website altogether.
When uploaded, Flipnote animations were placed into specific categories by their creators. These categories included general classifications such as "Musical" and "Comedy," as well as more specific categories suggested by popular Flipnote users and accepted by Hatena. For example, one category entitled "Stick Figures" was suggested by the creator of a popular comedy Flipnote series known as "TeenChat." The series' animated cast, which consisted of floating faces and stick figures, established a basis in character design for comedy Flipnotes. Another category that a user suggested to Hatena was a "Spoof" category, which included Flipnotes imitating songs, movies and other media. Users were able to place categories they visited or contributed to most often into their own "Most Visited" folder.
The most-viewed Flipnote as of mid-2013, when the service ended, was an informational Flipnote explaining to new users the site's functions. Along with basic facts, this note also included warnings on which Flipnotes not to give stars (mainly copies made of others' Flipnotes without permission).
Flipnote Hatena also had its own economy of "stars." Stars were used to rate Flipnotes (similarly to YouTube's "like" function), and users could add as many stars as they desired to any Flipnote. In addition to the regular Stars, users could purchase or earn Color Stars. In increasing rarity, these colors were green, red, blue, and purple. Users could earn Green Stars by reporting inappropriate Flipnotes, using other Hatena services, posting Flipnotes frequently (based on the number of days they posted Flipnotes), or managing a popular Channel. Red Stars were given to creators whose Flipnotes were featured in the Weekly News. In addition, users could purchase "boxes" containing a certain number of color stars. The contents of these boxes were randomized, so users wouldn't know how many of each color they would receive, but the larger the box purchased, the more likely the user was to receive Color Stars.
The Star system on Flipnote Hatena had a mixed reception from users. The ability to add infinite stars was a major drawback, as a large part of the Flipnote Hatena community became focused on receiving as many stars as possible. This lead to a practice referred to among the community as "Star begging." These Flipnotes with no entertainment value, often direct copy of another, would quickly rise to the top of the Most Popular section.
End of the service
Prior to the release of Moving Notepad/Flipnote Studio 3D, the closure of the Flipnote Hatena communities was announced, and have been inaccessible as of May 31, 2013. Fans vocally protested the shutdown, and contacted Nintendo, Hatena, and even news media in an attempt to prevent the end of the services. Several fans even created websites and servers to continue sharing flipnotes after the shut down.
Nintendo has announced that the Flipnotes on Flipnote Hatena will be transferred to the new online service for Moving Notepad/Flipnote Studio 3D. The DSi Flipnotes will be accessible from the Nintendo DSi Gallery, a free-to-access section of the upcoming Flipnote Gallery: World. The main purpose of the DSi Gallery will be for users to transfer their Flipnotes from Flipnote Studio to Flipnote Studio 3D where they can be edited like any other Flipnote.
Aside from the Flipnote Hatena website, Flipnotes may be shared between two users via the DSi's Wireless Communication feature. When a Flipnote has been shared in this manner, the users may choose to save their contact information as friends on the Nintendo DSi and on the Flipnote Hatena website. Flipnotes may also be shared via saving to an SD card (to be inserted into another DSi). When a person receives a Flipnote from a creator the first time, they become friends with each other.
As part of the 25th Anniversary celebrations for the Mario (1985-2010) and Zelda (1986-2011) series, Nintendo has sponsored official Flipnote contests. For both contests, users were invited to create a Flipnote based on the series using template Flipnotes (with music and sound effects) posted on Flipnote Hatena. Entries were judged and selected by some of the head developers of the series, including Eiji Aonuma for the Zelda Flipnotes, and Shigeru Miyamoto for the Mario Flipnotes. Winning Flipnotes were made available to view on YouTube and Nintendo's official website, the Nintendo Channel, and the 3DS eShop (Zelda winners only).
Billy Polard is one such artist. Polard used looping .gif files created in and exported from Flipnote Studio. For his song Losing Light, Polard's music video told a sad story about two monsters. A year later, Polard released a music video for another song, When Our Bedrooms Were Once Haunted, that was also created in Flipnote Studio.
Artist Arman Bohn took a different approach. For his music video for Brain Games, he created hundreds of elements, including anthropomorphic numbers and letters, in Flipnote Studio and exported them as .gifs. He then used computer software to assemble these elements into his music video. The random arrangement of objects was intended to serve as a contrast to the lyrics of the song, which is about the Scientific Method. In his blog, Arman Bohn described his effort to keep the "jaggy" quality of the Flipnote art.
Flipnote Studio was developed by Yoshiaki Koizumi and Hideaki Shimizu. The two began working on the project without the knowledge of anyone else at Nintendo EAD Tokyo. It was initially designed as a tool for taking notes with the name Moving Notepad, and it was considered early on as a possible WiiWare application to transmit these notes from a DS to the Wii to be shared with other users of the application. When the Nintendo DSi was announced, it was decided by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata that the company would work with Hatena, as the latter had recently shifted its R&D department to Kyoto, where Nintendo Corporate Labs is located.
It was released in Japan on December 24, 2008, in North America on August 12, 2009, and in Europe and Australia on August 14, 2009. It was also included as a preloaded program on the Nintendo DSi XL and Nintendo DSi with firmware 1.4.
As of January 10, 2009, there had been more than 100,000 user-submitted creations. During its first six months of operation in Japan, Flipnote Hatena reports having received over 1,000,000 user-submitted creations.
Official Nintendo Magazine awarded it 95%.
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