Nintendo held their annual E3 press conference inside the Nokia Theater this year, and offered a number of surprises for fans and the press. Everything from announcements of new games of their beloved franchises to the unveiling of a new handheld, Nintendo offered something for everyone. Casual game players, electronics fans and Nintendo loyalists all have something to look forward to for the upcoming year.
The presentation opened up with a bang, and gave gamers exactly what they wanted without a moment of hesitation. A trailer unveiled the new Wii Zelda game, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto then made a dramatic appearance on stage by jumping out from behind the screen to demonstrate the revamped control scheme for the game, which is what differentiates itself from past Zelda titles.
The controls are designed to mimic using a real sword and shield using the Wii Motion Plus attachment. When the player raises the controller toward the sky, for example, Link will point his sword in that same direction. The shield is controlled by the left hand's nunchuck controller. Unfortunately, as the demonstration progressed, players are reminded of the Wii's often unresponsive controls when Mr. Miyamoto had difficulty using the new controls to perform certain acts, such as using the bow and arrows. His translator, Bill Trinen, took the opportunity to poke fun at Steve Jobs by asking the audience to turn off their wi-fi. Despite the technical difficulties, the new Zelda looks great. It's more of what makes the Zelda franchise so popular, with the addition of a new control scheme and cel-shaded art style similar to the fan favorite Wind Waker. The game will be released 2011.
Many Wii exclusive games were announced back to back at this point, in an attempt to end the misinterpretation that Wii owners only purchase the system for Wii Sports or Wii Fit. The games included were NBA Jam, Mario Sports Mix, Wii Party, Just Dance 2, and Golden Sun 3 for the Nintendo DS. If there's one thing that Nintendo does better than any other company, it's their ability to repackage retro games that appeal to long time Nintendo fans. Nintendo announced a new Goldeneye game, which is a modern version of the Nintendo 64 game that many still consider the best shooter of all time. The game trailer looked great, even compared to some shooters on the XBOX360 or PS3. With the James Bond music playing during the trailer and everyone's fond memories of the N64 original, it's no surprise the audience loved it. The game is scheduled to be released this holiday season.
Epic Mickey was announced. Warren Spector and Adam Creighton from Junction Point were on stage to demonstrate the game and explain its development. Spector, as many fans know, is responsible for his cyberpunk video games such as System Shock and Deux Ex.
First of all, the game looks great. The game features forgotten Disney characters and environments based on old Disneyland attractions, such as the Tiki Room. Occasionally, Mickey is transported into "films" based on classic Disney films. A side scroller based on Steamboat Willie was demonstrated.
However, one of the most interesting gameplay features of Epic Mickey is what appears to be a morality system. Players have the freedom to solve dilemmas using a variety of methods: The can either destroy or create, using paint thinner or paint respectively. The destroying or creation of the environment is a central theme of the game, and will ultimately affect the outcome of each player's experience. Supporting characters and the world will change depending on your actions. With a deep and thoughtful game starring one of the world's most recognized mascots on the this generation's best selling console, Epic Mickey will undoubtedly be a hit.
More exclusive games announced included Kirby's Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Metroid Other M and Dragon Quest IX. These are more examples of Nintendo repacking their old game franchises with more features and a shiny new coat of paint. However, long time Nintendo fans don't mind, and these games are accessible for even newer, more casual players.
Finally, Nintendo closed their press conference with the unveiling that everyone had been waiting for. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata made a dramatic appearance behind a wall of mist to unveil the much-hyped Nintendo 3DS. The 3DS is Nintendo's successor to the Nintendo DS, which is the best selling console of all time.
The 3DS features a wide-screen on the upper screen, and a touch screen on the lower screen. The graphics of the system have been improved, and based on the Kid Icarus Uprising demonstration, it is comparable to the Sony PSP.
Another feature includes the ability to view games and Hollywood movies in 3D without the use of any special glasses. There were even trailers for movies such as How to Train Your Dragon in 3D available on the show floor.
There are now two front-facing cameras, so that users are able to take and view pictures in 3D.
Surely Sony executives realize now their PSP needs an upgrade, for the 3DS offers just about everything the PSP does, but more. Should we be expecting an response from Sony soon? Absolutely.
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The show ended with a group of female attendants that allowed those in audience to try out the new handheld. Because the systems were tethered to their waists, players are unable to run off with the system--unless they also planned on kidnapping the attendant.
Overall, Nintendo's E3 press conference was very powerful, and impressed fans and press alike. There indeed was something for everyone. From modern twists of favorite franchises to the unveiling of a powerful new portable entertainment device, it's clear that Nintendo's press conference excited the public and brought worry to their competitors.