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E3 2009: Nintendo

by June 04, 2009
Forecast Calls for... more of the same

Forecast Calls for... more of the same

While I'll try to refrain from remarking that the upper management of Nintendo seems to talk to everyone like they are in 3rd grade, the presentation this year started off with, what else, Mario. "New" Super Mario Bros. Wii is a reworking of the classic game but with additional features like four player co-op and new suits. The entire game looks and plays very similarly to the original so even the most old school of gamers should feel right at home. Co-op, in this game is very strange in that you can help each other to get to additional areas but you are ranked at the end. Sort of a contradiction.

We saw Wii MotionPlus last year at E3 and it was pretty much all the rage this year. Wii Fit Plus takes one of the most popular "games" and improves upon it by eliminating interludes, customizable workout routines, and six additional activities/exercises. This one will be released in the fall with and without the balance board. Also to look for Grand Slam Tennis, Vitua Tennis 2009, Tiger Woods, RedSteel2 all will require MotionPlus controllers.

The whole point of the MotionPlus add-on is that it increases the precision of the Wii-mote. Gross movements are fine but with the MotionPlus, you get a finer level of control thanks to the additional sensors. The MotionPlus is going on sale on June 8th. One of the games that will be taking advantage of this additional control is Wii Sports Resort. We also saw this title last year at E3 but this year we got to see the opening sequence (skydiving) where the controller became your character. One of the things I found interesting was that the MotionPlus seemed to share some of the same glitches that I saw with the Project Natal controller during the Microsoft press event. In specific, the character would sometimes flip 180 degrees and quickly flip back. The Wii Sports resort demo also showed kayaking (or canoeing, I'm not sure), ping pong, basketball, waterskiing, swordfighting (against a piece of bamboo so not sure what that's about), and the even popular archery (look for this one again in the Sony write-up). Wii Sports Resort hits the shelves July 26th.

One of the joys of having a console that is fundamentally different from every other console on the market is that you are practically guaranteed exclusive games from 3rd parties. Sure, they may be trimmed down versions of the "real" games because you console lacks power and tweaked to take advantage of your unique controller, but they are exclusive. For the Wii, you're going to get a first person shooter called The Conduit in June. Also look for Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, Dead Space: Extraction (which is a prequel to the original game - doesn't bode well for your character surviving and makes me wonder if it is anything like animated Deadspace: Downfall straight to DVD movie), and Final Fantasy: The Crystal Bearers. None of these games have release dates.

Of course, the DS and DSi had a bunch of announcements as well. On Sept 29th you can look for a new Kingdom Hearts game. Also a new Mario game called Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story in the fall. Fans will be excited to see a Golden Sun title hit the handheld (reportedly in 2010). Like always, Nintendo is just thinking inside the box, but also outside the box (some might say outside the room the box is in but you can't argue with success). Look for Women's Murder Club: Games of Passion for the DS which looks to be a playable novel. COP: The Recruit is a sandbox type game which looks interesting but has few details. But what really has Nintendo excited is the port to the US of a Japanese title which will be called Style Savvy. This game allows players to run a boutique, design clothes and even have runway competitions. Players can shop other players boutiques and share ideas.

Mario is taking a page from SockBoy's book with Mario vs. Donkey Kong - Minis March Again. This side scroller for the DSi will allow users to design and share their own levels. It is available for download on June 8th and will probably become an overnight success. On a personal note, it's nice to finally see Nintendo copying someone else for a change. With all the new motion controllers and avatars coming out, I was beginning to think Nintendo had a lock on all creativity.

The DSi will be getting other features such as Facebook support as well but the big new app (not really news) is the new Zelda game. Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks had few details about it but promises to sell even more of the handheld consoles.

They always like to end these conferences on a high night and Nintendo had two of them. First, Super Mario Galaxy II for the Wii is in development. While it looks as iconic and original as ever, the constant "Woo Hoo" at every jump got a little old even though the movie was no more than a couple of minutes. There was now release date so I wouldn't be surprised if we see this one again at the next E3.

Lastly, there was Metroid: Other M for the Wii. Fans of the game have been clamoring for this one... well... pretty much since the last one. A 2010 release date was really all the was announced though the trailer looked pretty cool. Sure, they billed it as a "mature" title, which it probably is compared to the 99% of the stuff on the Wii, but it doesn't exactly hold up to the pure graphic violence of either of the GoW (Gears or God) titles.


For those that have seen the press conference on the Internet, you're probably wondering why I haven't mentioned the Wii Vitality Sensor. I'm sorry, I just can't. It's so incredibly... weird? lame? unbelievable? that I just have to let it go. For those that must know, it is clip that attaches to your index finger (yes, like those heart rate monitors at the hospital) and connects to the Wii-mote. Through bio-feedback and, listen, I don't know, it's supposed to help you relax. The idea is to... geesh... I give up. It's weird OK. Just weird.

Forgetting (I'd undergo electroshock if I thought it'd help) the Vitality Sensor, the Nintendo press conference was exactly what I expected - more accessible games, more peripherals, and more Mario. Nintendo didn't disappoint. Their games, while not exactly geared for the hardcore (no matter how much they try to convince you otherwise) look to be some of the most fun and original on the market. Their idea of targeting games specifically for the non-gamer (Style Savvy) in an effort to bring them in will certainly work and it something that Sony and Microsoft should be doing. As Sony and Microsoft fight over the hardcore and casual gamers, Nintendo is trying to get new gamers while still throwing the occasional bone to the base. I see no reason why Nintendo's dominance will wane over the next year.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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