Nintendo has been on a universal accessibility of gaming binge in the last 8 or so years now (I’m counting the development of Wii and the DS, here). They’ve been pretty successful, too. They always have E3 press conferences that stress ‘fun’ games. These don’t have to be ‘heavy’ games, thrilling games, or incredibly difficult games (Nintendo originate it’s own difficulty rating back in the 8-bit era, though). These are games you just have fun playing. Two Wii games I really enjoy playing are No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle, and Okami – and I admit the former of those is rather violent and heavy, but that’s not the point. The point is that two of my favorite games to play are on a system geared for casuals, so there is at least minimal core appeal (better than none).
Nintendo makes gaming fun for its own sake. I have two disappointments from the Big N: no celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Metroid series (the last installment was pretty sad), and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword wasn’t released last year. This year, we have a new console to look forward to, and loads of games. Let’s get right into the Nintendo E3 2011 Press Conference…
This opens up with a small orchestra playing Zelda music with a montage of former titles, all of which becoming favorites of fans, and lasting the timelessness test (even Wind Waker, which many moaned about). This is the intro to the Zelda 25th Anniversary, as Shigeru Miyamoto is introduced on stage, and he almost instantly asks for a translator – I don’t blame him.
Miyamoto highlights the evolution of the Zelda music, not the game itself. He has the orchestra play some little bits. He’s making a point – that the music is as iconic as the game itself. First announcement, Legend of Zelda 3D will be released worldwide (by this publishing, it is already out). This is a remake of Ocarina of Time, which has updated graphics, a master quest mode, and a boss challenge mode.
In September, The Legend of Zelda, The Four Swords will be released for DSi as a free download. Miyamoto also announced that Skyward Sword will come out this year. In addition, there will be a golden WiiMotion Plus Controller coming along with the release. LoZ:SS is reported to have the most content of any Zelda game to date.
Also announced is the Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversay Symphony concerts in every region of the world. Those interested are asked to keep their eyes peeled for more information. While we’re on music, two CDs are announced. The Ocarina of Time soundtrack will be offered to the first people who register Legend of Zelda 3D with Club Nintendo (www.nintendo.com). The second will be a cd that accompanies the Symphony concerts.
Next out is Satoru Iwata, the Global President of Nintendo. Iwata draws attention that there is a perception that there are consoles for core gamers (he calls them/us ‘passionate,’ and I don’t disagree with that term, either), and casuals, but there is not a console system that bridges that gap. Iwata says that Nintendo wishes to change that (this dates me, as there was a time when Nintendo had some of the most violent games on the market, and had a monopoly on core gamers – GB). Iwata suggests two words: ‘deeper’ and ‘wider.’
“The new platform will provide deeper game experiences that what even the most passionate gamer has realized before, and it will offer wider appeal to gamers – wider than that of the Wii…it will let everyone see games in a different way.” Those in the audience sat on the edge of their seats as Iwata-san then said that the reveal would come later in the conference.
The audience was then treated to a video presentation of known Nintendo characters and settings, including a new Mario Kart, Star Fox (doing a barrel roll), a classic Mario platformer (which brought many smiles on the people around me), Pit from Kid Icarus fame, and a haunted room – a telling sign of a new Luigi’s Mansion. Reggie Fils-Aime, President of Nintendo of America was introduced. In exceptionally clear languange, he said what everyone wanted from the oldest first-party developer in the industry.
“We hear you; you want what you’ve always wanted, but you also want something new. You want to play and things to look like they always had, but you want something new. You want ‘comfortable’ and ‘surprise.’ Contradictions? No problem, they come with the territory. But is it fair to ask, and is it even possible to deliver, something for everyone?”
Reggie shows a new Mario Kart that is supposed to have new surprises. I don’t count hang gliding, and underwater attachments to karts as a surprise, but they are nice changes on an old franchise. This title will be out this holiday (Christmas) season.
Star Fox has a new title on the 3DS. You can use the buttons to steer, or use the system as the yolk. You can have multiplayer, and the 3DS camera will bring you their faces and reactions in real time. Release slated for this September.
A new Mario platform is coming to 3DS. This is a brand new title, with no rehashing of older content. This includes many elements I haven’t seen since the original Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3 from the Nintendo. Airships, music boxes, Bowser’s kids, and good old-fashioned flag poles. No official date, but Reggie said that it comes out before this year’s end.
I wish I could accurately describe the look on people’s faces about the Kid Icarus: Uprising trailer. It’s sheer magnitude surprised other players. There will be another 4-way multiplayer mode with this game as well. There was also a bit of cards (“augmented reality cards”), bringing in monsters fighting each other using the camera. Also released before the end of the year. I played this on the floor, and it was really good. I cannot wait for a commercial version to review.
The last major announcement for 3DS was Luigi’s Mansion 2. This is part-Ghostbusters, part Mario title (without Mario). It’s no revision, and it makes use of the 3D technology. By the way, all of the 3DS titles do NOT require glasses.
On the 3rd party support end, there’s a Resident Evil game, Sonic & Mario at the Olympics: London, Ace Combat, another Tetris title, Cave Story 3D, another RE game, Driver: Renegade, Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions, Tekken 3D, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D are among the third-party support.
Classic portable games will be made available for a 3DS exclusive Virtual Console. If you have a 3DS, Excitebike is now available for a free download. Another free goodie is a Pokedex 3D that you can use with Pokemon White and Black. It has other features as well. You can only get Pokedex 3D through the 3DS eShop, as a gift from Nintendo.
Reggie then announced WiiU. This is, “…tailored made for all of you.” Haha. The new controller for Wii U is much like a tablet. Too large to be a portable, it has a 6-inch touchscreen, two analog sticks. Hands down, the best feature is the ability to stream the WiiU game onto the controller, allowing the television to be used for…you know…television. I’m going to include the link to the trailer so people can see what I mean about what the WiiU controller can do.
Reggie is gone, and Iwata-san is back. All Wii accessories are backwards compatible with WiiU. That means that you don’t need to go totally broke to bulk up on new controllers (apart from the new WiiU ones). One of the prototype game (not actually in development), there’s a ‘chase mii’ game, where three players on Wii MotionPlus controllers chase the person on the WiiU controller. I tried both perspectives, and it’s great.
There’s a gyroscope with the new controller, and I’m hoping for new perspectives on old games.
There are no latency issues with the streaming, according to Iwata-san. You can use two screens at the same time. This is meant to create a bond between the player, the game, and the internet…or the gamer, the game, and their family. I’m excited for this new console…which will be released in March 2012.