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E3: Nintendo

While Microsoft and – later – Sony tried to one-up the other with how rapidly they could flail their collective limbs, Nintendo – famous for making some of the worst in recent memory – had a conference which consisted of game announcement after game announcement; anyone even remotely interested in Nintendo was in for a treat.

Reggie Fils-Aime1 started the show to talk about now it is not the tech that makes the console shinier that matters, but the games that give you the experience you can only get by playing a game, a matter that sometimes seems more ignored than it should in today’s climate of high resolution graphics.

Link returns to cel-shading in a new adventure.

The new Zelda came first, from which last year we only saw a vague picture that many tried to figure meaning out from. This year, we not only got a subtitle in the form of “Skyward Sword”, but live footage, played – a little haphazardly, apparently due to electronic interference – by Shigeru Miyamoto2 (creator of Mario, Zelda and many other Nintendo faces)*. The game is sporting a cel-shaded look like that of the Game Cube’s Wind Waker, but without the miles of ocean that dampened that game, and hopefully a less inane end quest as well. When the remote was working properly, the gaming legend showed off just how the Wii Motion Plus can achieve near 1:1 motion almost as well as the competition, slashing mushrooms into neat slices.

Mario and Sport games have been around in droves these last few years, starting with Tennis on the Nintendo 64 – and how the Wii’s virtual console. With games like Ice Hockey basketball and Volleyball; Mario’s sport titles tend to be fun in a genre built on serious, at least until went overboard with the power-ups. An updated version of the 16-BIT classic NBA Jam was announced as a exclusive title for the Wii, its arcade style gaming might seem a bit old hat in today’s market though.

After talking about how the Wii is alive and healthy – we do know the wii is selling well thanks – Reggie made way for trailers of various games.

Wii Party looks exactly like Mario Party, only with Miis standing in for Mario and company; the Mario Party series never got the blood plumping before and watching the same kind of thing with Nintendo’s limbless avatars doesn’t make it look anymore enticing.

Just Dance 2, no comment, I mean, just no, was it really needed, showing this…

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. One of the Game Boy Advance’s most popular original RPGs finally gets a sequel for the DS, the screenshots look impressive for the system, though I still think that 2D sprites would’ve looked better than the PS1-ish models the DS puts out. It also being made by the same people who did the first, which is usually a good thing

Goldeneye an exclusive for the Wii, judging by the video, it might not be the same game that players remember from their old N64 days, for a start it features the face of the current Bond: Daniel Craig, all these new elements may work against it, I mean it certainly did for that Goldeneye Rogue Agent game. Mind you behind the scenes policies aside, one thing Activision can do is a FPS game.

Warren Spector3 and Adam Creighton arrived to talk about the world’s most recognisable cartoon mouse, with the latest build of Disney’s Epic Mickey, playing a demo for the crowds, most spent talking to Smee from Disney’s Peter Pan. They explained the mechanics of sucking and spraying ink, and took us through a platforming section which reminded me of Sony’s old SNES game Mickey Mania.

Kirby spins a new yarn on the Wii

After some lame wool puns/analogies, we find that Kirby gets a new game, and it a sort of return to the oddball graphic designs that Nintendo used for a few of its later SNES and N64 titles, with a wool and textile motif. The game looks interesting and here’s hoping that it plays interestingly too, rather than just another Kirby game.

Dragon Quest IX, one of the few game properties from Square Enix that manages to eclipse their own Final Fantasy series, in Japan anyway, finally got its English language version announced in a trailer, and a U.S. release date of July 11th.

Metroid: Other M still looks as cool as it did last year, yet we really didn’t get much more information about, though we were assured that it still has the isolation and exploration that the series is known for; the question I ask is: will it have the insane difficulty that Team Ninja games are infamous for.

Donkey Kong Country was one of the more beloved games on the Super Nintendo, before Rare took the ape on that collectorthon for the Nintendo64. It was announced that Retro Studio, who made the Metroid Prime saga, has been working on a brand new sequel in the Country series, returning Kong to his 2D platforming and barrel blasting roots.

President Satoru Iwata unveils Nintendo's 3DS

Of course the big news story, was the unveiling of Nintendo’s new handheld, the 3DS. What appeared at first to be a mock-up prototype of the new device, turned out to be the finished, genuine article. Nintendo’s President Satoru Iwata assured us that plenty of companies were behind the project: like Square Enix, Konami and Capcom, bringing with them Kingdom Hearts, Metal Gear Solid and Super Street Fighter IV to the system.

"Sorry I'm late" Pit states in his trailer.

Not ones to be outdone by their third-party colleagues, Nintendo announced their own line-up for the system, via trailers. Amongst the stars was a remake of Star Fox 64, a new entry for Pilotwings, Mario Kart and Nintendogs.

The real killer though was the game staring a character who hadn’t been in his own game since ’91. Kid Icarus: Uprising sees the angel Pit return and if the footage shown was in-game, then the 3DS is going to be something worth looking in to, and if the 3D’s as good as some are saying, well…

Reggie ends the show talking about how Nintendo is transforming the experience of playing games, but the one thing that had changed was Nintendo’s conference, from an abysmal joke in the last few years, to possibly the best showing of the “big three” of 2010, now that’s a transformation.

1. Nintendo of America’s Chief of Operations.

2. Honesty it’ll be easier to list the Nintendo characters he didn’t have a part in.

3. Creator of Deux Ex, System Shock and the Thief series, essentially making him the father of FPS role playing games.

This Blog entry can also be found on Gaming Till Disconnected

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