Tuesday, June 7, 2011

that was completely unexpected.....

a new challenger has appeared

So there were tons of speculative ideas for what Nintendo was going to show. a lot of people were bemoaning the idea of Nintendo abandoning the Wii for a newer more "hardcore" gaming platform, while others like yours truly were trying to diffuse the moans and welcome a new console that would be attempting to break down the walls between the expanded and core audiences. What we weren't expecting was that what was shown at the Nokia theater was an entirely different thing altogether.......

This is "project cafe" otherwise known as the new Nintendo Wii U. And it's positively intriguing.

First of all I want to say that I'm very pleased that Nintendo decided to continue utilizing the Wii and not just stiffing it for the remainder of the year. Though there has been little to no Wii software shown at the conference except for Skyward Sword and the future promise of a Smash Bros. game that can be played on both Wii u and 3DS with connectivity of some kind. This certainly raises some possibilities of seeing most of the games being released in japan being brought over to the states. which is good because I want to see Xenoblade and the last story in US stores.

The Wii U, which actually resembles something of more like an add-on than an actual new console provides an complementary feature to your existing console by creating a means of playing deeper experiences (the industry games that have been kept away from the Wii ). These games can be played via the television or wirelessly streamed to the controller itself to allow others to use the television as they like.  This isn't just the only feature as it expands Wii games into another level as well. It reminds me of how the DS inspired the Wii's creation, and in a way I suppose you could say that this is a full circle expansion.

Three tech demos were shown that are playable on the floor. One of them being a Mario themed version of hide and seek with the Wii u controller user being "it" and the others chasing that person using the sideways Wii remotes. The second demo was a two-on-one battle game with the Wii U user being a spaceship and the other two Wii remote users playing as Miis in Samus' chozo armor gunning the ship down. The third demo shown was a pirate game that has you moving the controller around the room to catch arrows being thrown at you from all angles. While these demos aren't necessarily driving interest. the games featured from enthusiastic developers is. Expect to see games like Ninja Gaiden 3, Arkham City, Tekken Wii Successor and others on the Wii u very soon.

I probably should also mention that the controller doubles as a lifestyle device as well which features not just video chat, but also internet browsing and the ability to draw using the screen as a touch pad. Very sneaky Nintendo. You guys took an Ipad and a wacom tablet and  turned it into a gaming device.

On the 3DS end there were some more information about Kid Icarus Uprising - which features multiplayer battles and AR card features. Star Fox also includes multiplayer battles with the pilot screens being replaced by your own face. Super Mario was shown with more details and an interesting setup featuring the Koopa Kids and the Tanooki suit in it's furry glory. That reminds me. Mario is the only character in video game history that can have a heathy obsession with furry fandom and not be rejected by the general public... odd. His brother will be in his own adventure when Luigi's Mansion 2 makes it's debut. Reggie promoted not just one but several mansions to explore with different aspects. Reggie and Iwata also teased a free pokedex download for 3DS for users of Pokemon Black and White which will allow you to scan and trade pokemon data using saves, spot pass, and AR cards. It's not the Pokemon MMO that people were clamoring for, but we all knew that Nintendo isn't into doing MMOs 

And finally if you like Zelda you're in for a few treats. The 3DS VC is featuring Links Awakening as one of the first games available for purchase. A free download of Four Sword adventures, Two Zelda albums, one of which being available to the first people who get a copy of Skyward Sword via the Nintendo points club, and Ocarina of Time 3D will feature not just a mirrored version of master quest, but a boss rush mode as well.

Granted there wasn't that much to show at this year's conference, but the surprises were in abundance, and it was once again the best conference out of the three. As for me I'm keeping tabs on the Wii u, and i can't wait to see what else Nintendo has in store.

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