Real Talk By: Ms. Throwback
As the opening scenes of the Nintendo conference began I started to get excited. During a pre-recorded scene, Our Pikmin friends that we have grown to love, join Mr. Miyamoto in his living room, finding a space to hide in his seemingly giant shoes. Upbeat music is played as the legend joins the conference onstage, and the Pikmin run along behind him.
On-stage Miyamoto introduces us to Nintendo’s new gaming system the Wii U, making sure to inform us that the decision was made to add a screen to the controller of the system so that players were not restricted to the use of the television. The screen in the controller and the television screen may be used in tandem or separately for the users convenience.
Pikmin 3 is introduced with much applause. The graphical enhancements of the game are a selling point for Nintendo although personally while I find the game to be beautiful, I’m finding it hard to see huge advances in the graphics myself. Maybe side-by-side a difference would be noted. A new type of pikmin is added as well to enhance the experience. The strategy of the game due to the motion controller seems much more advanced however, adding more depth to battles in gameplay. The Wii U controller is put to use showing us a world map where pikmin can be more easily delegated to perform tasks. near the end of the games play through Mr. Miyamoto playful pulls a stuffed pikmin from his pocket and bows, thanking everyone as he leaves the stage. The mood is delightful.
Reggie Fils-Aime, President of Nintendo of America, comes to the stage welcoming us to the convention. He begins to tell us of Nintendo’s hope that the Wii U will become the sole interactive experience in the living room, naming off companies like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and Amazon Video as taking part in that dream. Reggie tells us that he won’t go into all of the interactive features of the Wii U today, and that the focus will be on the games. Reggie begins to use a term called “asymmetric gameplay” in which the user interacts with other players through the Wii U using multiple game pads and screens. (I and everyone else in the audience believes they are referring to their new pro controller which can be found using this link: http://playlegit.net/2012/06/03/nintendos-e3-pre-emptive-strike/ ) the audience yells out and cheers as a trailer for the new Wii U controller with a screen is introduced.
The screen of the Wii U controller is shown to be a touch screen exactly like the Nintendo DS, and can be used with a fingertip or stylus. Thank goodness the stylus isn’t the only option, be prepared for your child to lose it within a week of owning one. The controller also features typical buttons including dual analog sticks and triggers. An accelerometer, gyroscope, and rumble feature are also built-in, as well as a camera, microphone, headphone jack, volume control, and a designated home button, tv, and power buttons. The Wii U system is also shown in both black and white colors.
Miiverse is now introduced as a way to interact with your gaming friends. Nintendo calls it “main street” a way to organize your multiple family accounts and online friends. It will be the first screen players come to when they turn on the system. Miiverse will keep track of your personal tastes as well as the global trends for the online universe. The Mii’s in this universe aren’t just for looks but interact with each other on their own sending information about the player. The player can also interact through the Mii’s sending simple messages, drawn pictures, or a screen capture of the game you’re currently playing as well as a record of gaming activity. Reggie goes on to inform us that eventually, although not on launch day, you’ll be able to join Miiverse from your Nintendo Ds, computer, smart phone, or web enabled mobile device.
Super Mario Bros. U is now introduced with an in-game overhead Mario map. The main difference we see is text bubbles from the Miiverse as an in-game interaction. Players will now be able to communicate through the game itself how they are doing, where there are hidden areas, or what is going on in the game. There isn’t much applause from the crowd at this point as it seems to be confusing how we will communicate by texting while trying to play a game. A trailer for the game is now set in motion, in classic Mario fashion and beautifully rendered 2-D graphics we see a new mushroom item, a type of flying squirrel cape being use by Mario to gently float through the air. New types of Yoshi’s pop from shells, one expands into a balloon and glides through the Mario atmosphere. Reggie tells us that up to four people may play during the game and yet another player can help by placing on-screen blocks. The game can also be played using on the Wii U remote control. It’s clear that any Nintendo/Mario fan is going to absolutely adore this game. Another Mario masterpiece from Nintendo but there is no applause, presumably because Mario is always expected, and we still need more information on Nintendo’s plan for online features!
Reggie moves on to introduce some games that will be available from third parties. Batman Arkam City: Armored Edition is the first game named, Martin Tremblay joins Reggie to introduce the game. A trailer is played of the title including cut-scenes and gameplay elements, personally I find them quite impressive graphically. Better than I was expecting considering Nintendo has never been one to boast about the graphics. The Wii U remote is used for map display and weapons selection. Martin goes on to introduce Scribblenauts Unlimited where anything you can imagine can be made using the Wii U’s remote screen. Creations that you make can be shared with friends, where they may alter the creation and share it back.
Reggie introduces us to more third-party titles in the works including Darksiders II, Mass Effect 3 (I peed), Tank Tank Tank, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Trine 2 Directors Cut, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, Aliens: Colonial Marines. Big cheers from the audience are heard.
Many of the title names previously were directed toward more hardcore audiences but we are now moving on to talk about the more casual titles with music and fitness being mentioned. WiiFit U has been introduced using the Wii U controller to not only choose the exercises but to lay in front of the Wii Fit balance board to create a more interactive experience or as a component of the exercises themselves. A new feature is available now, a pedometer that you may take with you on the go and upload the steps directly to the Wii U remote. The WiiFit U is also shown being played on only the Wii U remote as another person is watching the television. WiiFit U is pretty impressive and several standard claps are heard from the crowd.
Sing is introduced as a working title, a type of karaoke/dance game where you can compete with friends instead of just the in-game computer. The hope is that it will create a party atmosphere although the atmosphere at the conference is lack luster.
Scott Moffitt comes on stage to finally talk about some Nintendo 3DS action and then tells us that there is an entire other showcase they are presenting the next day to cover it. So much for that. Regardless he introduces some titles: New Super Mario Bros. 2 which features a focus on the collection of massive amounts of coins, whistles and cheers come from the audience, a date is set for August 19th. Next up, Paper Mario Sticker Star and Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon available this holiday season. Both titles look amazing. Some third-party titles are shown through a short trailer including Castlevania: Lord of Shadow-Mirror of Fate, Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, Scribblenauts Unlimited, and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.
Reggie returns to the stage to show us Lego City for Wii U, along with ZombiU, Rayman Legend, Just Dance 4, and once again “asymmetric gameplay” is used as a term. ZombiU is shown to be a first person shooter with very dark seeded roots. Graphically it is impressive once again considering that hasn’t ever been a huge focus for Nintendo. Inventory and maps are accessed with ease on the Wii U remote. Holding the remote and screen up in front of you, overlapping the television screen, shows us a night vision view of the landscape or a sniper view through a scope. It is also used as a touch keypad to enter through a door, honestly this is awesome! Screams and loud cheers from the audience. Another application of the Wii U remote is shown as Reggie takes a quick picture of his own face and he is turned into a zombie for the game, visually this application seems to need work however as the zombie face almost becomes unrecognizable.
Some more third-party titles are shown from Ubisoft, Assassins Creed III, Rabbids Land, Avengers Battle for Earth, Sports Connection, Rayman Legends, and YourShape Fitness Evolved 2013.
Moving forward Reggie, Jonathan Yeckley, and Katsuya Eguchi introduce Nintendo Land which gathers many of Nintendo’s most popular franchises into a kind of casual gamer theme park. The players Mii will visit the theme park and change into a new costume for each attraction. Altogether Nintendo Land makes up 12 attractions although today during E3 they have brought five of the attractions to try including The Legend of Zelda Battle Quest, Animal Crossing Sweet Day, Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, Donkey Kong’s Crash Course, and Takamaru’s Ninja Castle. Some of the games are shown, they are simple and effective entertainment outlets as Nintendo has presented before with games like Wii Play. The main difference for these games in the multiplayer aspects and the use of the Wii U remote during the Miiverse experience. This seems like something that ties everything Nintendo wants to accomplish together. The Wii U remote will be used in tandem with the Wii motion remotes making “asymmetric gameplay” possible. Seems like pretty decent way for Nintendo to tie it all together without overloading the shelves with half games that should be downloadable. Nintendo Land will launch with the hardware this holiday.
and with that we conclude the conference….
Watch my personal reaction to this E3 Conference
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