E3 2012: Nintendo conference round-up

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Nintendo

Last year, Nintendo rocked E3, starting with a Zelda symphony and demonstrating it’s Wii U (in concept, mostly). This year, we expected Nintendo to destroy the competition again – revealing the Wii U’s release date, price and showing off a wealth of interesting new games.

They didn’t.

The conference opened with a video of Miyamoto in his dressing room – littered with Pikmin. Now on stage, and in the flesh, Miyamoto talked up the Wii U. Serious work on the system, he says, started about a year after the Wii was released. It’s come in to being because it’s important, Miyamoto affirms, that the console is independent and separates itself from the living-room TV.

He then showed Pikmin 3, which will be a launch title for the Wii U.  You have to manage a swarm of 100 Pikmin, all in HD, using either the Wiimote/nunchuck combo or the tablet controller, which they’re calling the GamePad.

Nintendo America’s Beefy Reggie Fils-Aime then took the stage cheers and applause. He said that Nintendo would demonstrate 23 games in their presentation, mentioning a buzzword I’ve heard too much this E3, “asymmetric gameplay,” which describes people playing the same game, but in different manners, or something.

Fils-aime teased the Wii U’s video capabilities – with Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon Video logos but said they just wanted to talk about games today. Confirming rumours, Reggie said the Wii U will support two Gamepads in addition to Wiimotes – though they won’t have any dual pad games to show off just yet.

The GamePad can be used with either a finger the included stylus. It has rumble, stereo speakers, a headphone jack, a home button, a front-facing camera, triggers and bumpers – as well as gyro controls. No mention of the system’s specifications though.

Reggie then showed a little bit of the Wii U’s interface, in Miiverse. Reggie said to think of the system as “Main Street,” where users’ Miis congregate to “cause a commotion” – and share pictures of cocks, probably. Miiverse will, in future,  have support for phones, tablets, PC’s – pretty much anything with a browser.

Reggie then announced New Super Mario Bros U – a four-player, 2D Mario that looks just like New super Mario Bros Wii  in HD. No complaints here! It can be played either on your TV or Game Pad.

Demonstrating a bit of 3rd party support, Martin Tremblay from Warner Bros. came on to announce Batman Arkham City Armored Edition – the same game you’ve already played, just with some new features.  Warner also announced Scribblenauts Unlimited – which is Scribblenauts, in HD with multiplayer. Yes please!

A third party reel was then shown confirming Darksiders II, Mass Effect 3, Namco’s Tank Tank Tank, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, a director’s cut of Trine 3, Ninja Gaiden 3 and Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Reggie shifted gears to more casual fare – with a new Wii Fit and a singstar clone coming to the system. Yawn.

Next up was some 3DS love with three first- party games shown – New Super Mario Bros. 2 was shown, which will be released in the US on August 19. Paper Mario Sticker Star was demoed too. a perfect fit for the 3DS, it has you collecting stickers, changing them in to battle commands. It looks awesome, and will be out this year.

The last first party #DS game shown was Luigi’s Mansion 2, featuring some new ghosts. It dioesn’t seem too changed from its appearance at E3 last year

A third-party reel showed Castlevania, Epic Mickey (YES!), Scribblenauts and Kingdom Hearts 3D.

Reggie came back on to talk about Wii U’s Lego City – kind of a blocky, good-guy GTA. Gameplay showed crimes being fought using the GamePad.

Reggie then proclaimed that the Wii U needed games to appeal to “hardest of the core to the newest of the newbies” – which was the perfect time to bring in Ubisoft president Yves Guillemot. Ubi showed off Just Dance 4, ZombiU and briefly, in a sizzle reel, Assassin’s Creed 3, Rabbids game, Rayman Legends, Sports Connection, Avengers and a new YourShape.

 

Expect Nintendo to end off the conference with a bang? Well, no. Reggie wrapped up announcing something called Nintendo Land, Minigame training wheels to help people “get” the console. Katsuya Eguchi, Wii U software producer, came out to explain how Nintendo has transformed beloved Nintendo franchises into a digital theme park, which is just another name for “collection of minigames”

 

No solid release date, no price, and no real surprises. Nintendo played it safe – and in doing so, completely underwhelmed.

Last Updated: June 6, 2012

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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