WiiDs Ep 71 – Nintendon’t

9 09 2008

– Question Of The Week: Unreleased games
– News
– Disaster strikes on October 24
– Run the Gauntlet in October
– KORG DS-10 announced for October
– Wii and DS to lead TGS
– GTA IV on Wii
– Main Discussion: Nintendon’t
– 10 reasons why Nintendo is not catering for its core gamers
– Is Shigsy still up to it?
– Is the company about to see a radical shift in focus?
– Are hardcore games worth it?
– Where do third parties stand?
– What We’ve Been Playing
– Virtual Console Releases
– Online Section, including e-mails
– Topic Of The Week: Imagine [insert random occupation here]
– Contest: Strong Bad’s Contest For Podcasting People
– More!

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Nintendo E3 Wrap Up

16 07 2008

Nintendo E3 press conference has came and gone for another year, and has delivered us with both a selection of interesting advances for the Wii, big branching titles for the holiday season and more for the traditional gamer to come.

Perhaps the biggest piece of news at this yeas conference was the unveiling of the next advancement in motion technology, known as Wii MotionPlus. This little device contains high-performance gyroscopes, which when combined with the Wiimotes current accelerometer and IR sensor, can deliver 1:1 controls in games. That means that however you move, you character will also move, exactly mapping your movements. This is pretty exciting stuff as no one thought we would be seeing such accurate control this generation, and opens up a wealth of new possibilities to developers. Demos of the technology shown (taken from the new Wii sports Resort, which will bundled with the Wii MotionPlus) included a Frisbee game, there your characters arm movements reflect your movements, a jet ski game, with the wiimote and nunchuck used as throttle and a sword fighting demo where slashes were mapped accurately and percisely. We’ve heard little about other companies projects using this technology other than strong rumours that Punch-Out Wii will be using this technology, however, it will be very interesting to see what becomes of it.

We also saw the unveiling of Animal Crossing: City Folk for the Wii, which brings the joys of living in a forest with animals onto the Wii. So far, we’ve seen that the game supports complete four player Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing each player free roam of the town. As well as the standard text chat (which can be handed by pointy typing or USB keyboard) Nintendo also announced Wii Speak. This device sits on top of your sensor bar and allows voice chat between you and any other players. Nintendo have taken an interesting approach with this, offering community based input rather than solo input as seen on headsets. This allows for greater input from more than one player at once, emphasising on Nintendo’s community approach, but may be too inclusive if it picks up unwanted house members and other noises. From the on floor videos shown though, the mic has some spiffy noise reduction built in, so hopefully background noise wont be too much of a problem. As well as online connectivity, the game also offers a city to explore. Little is known about this yet, apart from that some businesses have moved out there and an online global trading post, so it will be interesting to see what else they implement here. While what we’ve seen so far looks interesting (especially voice chat) I will be keeping an eye out for more features to be announced in the coming months in order to make this title a worth successor to the DS version, as few new town/city features have been shown so far.

Nintendo’s other big holiday title that was unveiled was Wii Music, an improv jam game exploring a different side of music to most rhythm games. While most games in the genre currently focus on giving you a instrument shaped piece of plastic for you to hit/press to the scrolling notes, Wii Music offers a much more open experience, allowing you to pick up one of over 60 instruments and play how you want to play. While this is simplifying the genre, it’s great to see a music game that lets you boot up and muck about. There seems to be a nice selection of Nintendo songs to jam with, as well as some challenge modes such as conducting, and music quizzes. The ability to send your sessions to firends, who can then add their own tracks on top is also very interesting, but i’m just worried if the game will have enugh to fully support it (even though i’ll probably buy it to muck about for days).

Meanwhile, on the show floor, several other Wii games were shown off. First up was Super Mario Sluggers, a baseball game in the Mario Sports series. While it looks to offer a much more in depth baseball experience than Wii Sports, as well as a dash of zany, it’s not one that has grabbed my interest and will only really appeal to sports fans. However, Wario Ware: Shake Dimension on the other hand as me giggling with excitement. The game sees a full Wario platformer on the Wii, complimented by beautiful hand-drawn graphics. As a big fan of the original Gameboy titles this is already pre-ordered 😉

Rhythm Heaven

The DS didn’t get much attention in the conference, but did get some announcements on the show floor. The biggest announcement has to be the upcoming release of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, a brand new GTA game exclusive for DS, which will also feature online connectivity. Also shown off was Kirby Super Star Ultra, a remake of a SNES Kirby pack, which includes over six different Kirby games. I loved the original so with the additional content this is going to be a great buy. Pokemon Ranger: Shadows Of Almia is the second title in the Ranger series, offering a unique take on the Pokemon battles. It offers more of the same, only bigger, better, more options and more Pokemon (which isn’t a bad thing since I enjoyed the original). Make 10: A journey of numbers is an interesting approach at a math game, feauring several games based around the number 10, as you quickly try and formulate equations equalling 10 using a selection of provided numbers, decide wether groups add up to a multiple of 10 or not, scratch out numbers until you are left with ten and many others. The combination of maths and quick play challenges makes this a title to keep an eye on. Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir is a new mystery game which sees you searching for clues and interrogatin suspect to ultimately discover the death of Phil T Rich (gotta love name puns). There have been some great mystery games on the Ds so far, but also a fair share of stinkers, so it will be interesting to see if this title can pull it off and deliver some fun sleuthing action. Finally, Nintendo announced Rhythm Tengoku Gold is on its way over here. I am a MASSIVE fan of this series so this new was excellent to hear. The game looks like its to deliver more rhythm based wario-ware-esque mini-games which is great to hear. My JP copy should be arriving in a few weeks so expect proper hype then.

While players wanting more traditional games felt disappointed, interviews with Miyamoto show theres a lot to look forward to on its way. firstly, the hard drive solution we’ve all been waiting for is near finalisation and should be unveiled within the next month or two. He also revealed that a Zelda Wii, Zelda DS, Mario Wii, Mario DS, Pikmin and Metroid title were in development. He also rather backwardsly confirmed that there is indeed a Kid Icarus title in the works somewhere at Nintendo.

So once again we are seeing Nintendo’s focus at E3 shift towards it’s technological advancements and casual titles while more traditional games are being saved for other events. This years E3 was not one of today, but one of tomorrow, showcasing the future of the Wii and it’s new capabilities while teasing us about its bigger announcements yet to come. E3 is no longer the central platform of Nintendo’s announcement, but a single pillar in a year-spread announcment plan, with new, exciting and innovative news being released to us periodically rather than all at once. Overall I have enjoyed this years showcase and will be keeping an eye on several titles in the months to come.