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Nintendo at E3 2006
by: version2  18 june 06
rating: rating of 5

It’s been one month since E3 which has gave everyone time to calm down after the initial hectic days and take stock of every tidbit of news and new game out there. This year as an important one for Nintendo as it was the proper debut of their new console. New consoles are nothing new but the Wii (the name was announced a few weeks before in a wise move or else that’s all we’d be talking about at E3) with its motion sensor controller and emphasis on new ways to play over boundary pushing graphics could have been a risky move.


It’s what everybody wanted to know about and so obviously it came as no surprise that the big focus of the conference and E3 as a whole was the Wii.

Just a few hours previous to the Nintendo conference Sony decided to unveil something new about their controller. It dropped the often mocked ‘boomerang’ design as shown last year and the results are a striking resemblance to the DualShock. However Sony had another trick up their sleeve with the shocking announcement that the controller would feature motion sensing. It was a quite unsubtle attempt at stealing Nintendo’s thunder but of course, as they’ve shown with the rumble and analogue control, Sony aren’t afraid to imitate. With my Nintendo FanBoy hat off I will state that the Sony controller is only motion-sensored to a ‘degree’ it doesn’t feature tracking control like the Wii and will most likely just be a matter of titling left or right. Either way that didn’t really do much to dent Nintendo’s draw at the show.

Nintendo showed one more secret to the controller that wasn’t revealed last year and that was the speaker. The speaker will match the sound of whatever the controller is in the context of the game whether it is a tennis racket, a sword or a gun. An example of this was shown with Zelda, when you fire a bow you will hear the drawstring pull back on the controller then here it connect with whatever it was supposed to on your TV.

Online plans were not given out in too much detail. Iwata mentioned the new service, WiiContect24. This service will keep your console connected all the time to the internet taking up no more energy ‘than a low watt light bulb’. The service will download packages to your console whether you’re playing on it at the time or not. It will also mean that in a game such as Animal Crossing people can visit your town even if you’re not online at the time. One slight drawback of the online service is that it will be similar to that of the DS. Those hoping for a Live hub system will be disappointed and it seems the swapping of Friend Codes will still have to be used.

Nintendo didn’t comment on the price or the exact release date of the Wii. Analysts predict a sub $200 price point and Nintendo have pretty much pointed at a release in November or October though, as ever, there is no guarantee that us people in Europe will get it at the same time.

Those doubting the Wii before the conference (and there were a few) didn’t have any doubt after E3. The Wii was a phenomenal draw. Videos on the Internet show people on the opening day running to the Nintendo booth (much to the bafflement of the nearby Sony stand). The crowds got so long that a queue of up to 3 hours snaked around the floor (though people were not allowed to queue near the Sony booth). Success, then? I’d say so.


If anyone did manage to get to play any of the Wii games there were quite a few to test out the new controller on.


Though it wasn’t on the floor creator Katsuya Eguchi has spoke about the latest Animal Crossing game. Wii Connect 24 will feature heavily, letting friends pop into your town without you being there. Obviously the scope for control is something to look forward to, no doubt you’ll be able to catch fish and dig for fossils just as you’d do in real life.

Released: 2007


Those who have played the fantastic Journey of the Cursed King on the PS2 will be looking forward to this title. Not much is known as to how Square Enix will use the Wii in this RPG (the trailer showed a sword slicing technique against one of the monsters) luckily we wont have long to wait as this is one of the launch titles.

Released: Launch Title


Elebits are kind of like Pikmin except they’re not quite as helpful. Apparently they are used to energise the whole world but they’ve gone on strike and are in hiding. Using the Wii controller you essentially zap places where you think the little guys are hiding, you can push, pull and throw objects around to flush them all out too. Not much else was shown about the game though hopefully there will be a little more variation to the gameplay to stop it becoming too samey as time progresses.

Released: Q1 2007


Remember Excite Bike? Well this is the spiritual sequel to it but now, obviously, you drive a big ass truck. This will probably mainly appeal to the Americans who seem to like big things but it shows off how the controller can be used as a steering wheel. Handling was said to be good if a little sensitive and people have cited the fact the game looks pretty ugly which may just be down to it being an early version of the game.


It comes as no surprise that Legend of Zelda is now a Wii launch title. It made little sense in keeping it for the GameCube which is nearly on its way out, however Zelda is still planning to be released for the GC (though apparently only in America) for those not wanting to play it on the new system. Controlling link with the Wii controller is fairly simple, you’ll be able to draw it back when you want to fire an arrow and swing it when you want Link to hack at some enemies with his sword. The game still looks gorgeous as it did when it was first unveiled and now the Twilight Realm is doused in faint colour instead of just being black and white. Coupled with the fact that this is supposed to be the biggest Zelda ever and we have a very exciting launch title for the Wii.

Released: Launch Title


The final game in the Prime trilogy was shown very briefly last year and this year people had a chance to play it. This E3 was a chance for people to get to grips with the controls and see if they are suited to the game and reports seem to suggest it does work. The Wii controller will be used for shooting while the Nunchuck will control the movement of Samus. You’ll also be using both hands to shoot with as the Nunchuck will control the Grapple beam, flicking it forward will make it latch to something and you can pull it back to swing or move an object out the way. Graphically the environments are bigger and there are fancier lighting effects but it isnt a huge leap from what we’ve seen on the GameCube though the first two games still look amazing to this day so it’s not too much of a concern.

Released: Launch Title


There will be a lot of bashing in this game. A simple story of aliens attacking and you armed with a hammer was all that was shown in the game. The controller can be swung around to mimic the hammer movement and slung down to slam down on enemies. Luckily you can use the normal buttons on the controller as well to save your arm getting tired from all the fighting you’ll be doing.

Released: Q1/Q2 2007


Did you see the trailer before E3? If you haven’t try and find it and you’ll be amazed not by the game but by the stupid haircut some girl has, seriously it’s scary. The game itself though is far from a typical all console platformer. Rayman 4 will be available on all the consoles eventually but it’s a launch title for the Wii and it will make extensive use of the controller.

Released: Launch Title


Ubisoft seem to be one of the biggest early supporters of the new console, with Rayman and now this exclusive title. Red Steel is a FPS but also a sort of slasher thanks to the inclusion of a sword to play with in the game. A demo was shown at the conference (not entirely without bugs) that showed that using the Wii controller as a gun is pretty fluid. While not based on the final Wii hardware at the time of showing the game it still looked very impressive and should cater for those wanting a bit more bloodlust at launch.

Released: Launch Title


Stop your sighing because this 3D Sonic game might actually be worth a look. The other consoles may get a new Sonic of their own (with yet another bloody new character) but Sega re developing an exclusive Sonic for the Wii. It seems that Sonic will be taken back to his fast paced roots in this game and there are no sidekicks to speak of which can only be a good thing. You’ll use the controller horizontally and tilt it in the direction you want Sonic to go and more than likely holding down A to move him forward, seemed to work pretty well.

Released: 2007


While Sunshine may have been a let down to some, Galaxy seems to have made everyone forgot past disappointment. Its announcement, however, was relatively low key for a new, fully fledged 3D Mario outing with a trailer being shown among all the other games at the conference. The small demo people had a chance to play saw Mario glide through space and land on small planets of varying environments. It was one of the most graphically impressive games on the console and it seems that the Wii controller suited play well. Miyamoto has also confirmed that up to four people can play the game via multiplayer.

Released: Early 2007


Little needs to be said about this game. Monkeys in a ball will always be too tempting to resist and this new game will certainly win a few new followers. The Wii controller will obviously offer a greater control and emphases on precision that the GameCube pad couldn’t match. Coupled to this the inclusion of hundreds (really) of new minigames and it looks like a winner. The only let down is that it looks unlikely this will be the title that finally lets your monkeys go online.

Released: Launch Title


This wasn’t shown in the E3 conference but a bit later on in the show and understandably had a massive reaction. Super Smash Bros Melee is the biggest selling game on the GC and it was already mentioned that a Smash Bros was in development for the Wii. The trailer released shows the same action as before albeit on a higher graphical scale. It also has new characters including Wario, Zero Suit Samus and, pleasing quite a lot of people, Snake from the Metal Gear Solid Series. Add to this the fact that it will include online play and we have a sure fire hit. The only drawback is that it has now been pushed back to a 2007 release date as opposed to it being a launch title.

Released: Spring 2007


From DS to the Wii, Trauma Centre will offer another chance to help (or inadvertently) kill people. Use of the Wii controller seems very suited to the games controls and, like the stylus, it will be used as a pointer to operate with. The style of the game remains pretty much the same though obviously with far more colour and a higher resolution. Whether it will be as frustrating as some parts of the DS game were, remains to be seen.

Released: Launch Title


No surprise that this was announced. This game carries on the same style as the previous games. Twisted gave us a bit of motion to use, the DS gave us the ability to touch (and blow) and so the Wii will give us slicing, balancing, swatting and anything else the controller can handle.

Released: 2007


Showcased on the conference where Miyamoto, Reggie, Iwata and one lucky winner from the crowd played Tennis together this visually basic game hosts a collection of great games that make excellent use of the controller. Tennis was the one everyone wanted to play and, with a simple swing of the controller, you’ll be hitting the ball just as you normally would. Simple enough but with hidden depth for you to be able to add ball spin and other techniques to the hit. Other titles in this package contain Baseball, Aeroplane and Golf. While these titles all are pretty basic to look at they do look like immense fun and with a probable budget price (or even imbedded in the console itself) it will be a great taster for people to play with.

Released: Launch Title


With so much attention drawn to the Wii it was easy to miss the DS in all of its sparkly newness. However the DS has had a fantastic year or so and, within the addition of the DS Lite and over 100 new games out for it before the end of the year it seems Nintendo are still very healthy in terms of the handheld market.


The little robot that could escapes from the confines of the house and into the big wide world, or at least a big garden. This was a very early build of a game that seems to take the same concept of spreading happiness to the outside world. There was no sighting of Telly-Vision (no doubt some people will be pleased by that) or the Sanderson family but they could be introduced once more details of this game emerges.

Released: Q1/Q2 2007


What is a little Slime meant to do when all of his friends are captured? Well the little blob, Rocket, aims to set free his buddies and battle the people who took them. As you capture more of your fellow Slimes you’ll be able to make up a fighting team that can fight enemies in a specially crafted tank where the battles are played out in an Advance Wars type of way. While not a traditional RPG its something Dragon Quest fans should look out for.

Released: Q3 2006


Another Code was a nice little game, though too little for some coming in at under five hours. However it did show how the DS and its capabilities are suited for the adventure genre. Cing are bringing us another game in the same vein but hopefully a bit more beefed up. The style of the game is noticeable for the black and white characters on top of the normal colour backgrounds and you’ll also be using the DS on its side.

Released: Q1 2007


The GBA game of last year heads to the DS. The stylus will be used to control all the Mini Mario’s as opposed to them following you around. What is more interesting is the fact that the game will allow players to design their own levels and then give the chance for people to download them to their DS via the Wi-Fi connection which should see this platform game have a bigger lasting appeal.

Released: Q4 2006


Another Mario sports game? Yep, though this time being developed by Square Enix of all people. Obviously basketball is the order of the day though obviously with Nintendo themed moves and odd rules. The controlling of characters with the stylus on the DS touch screen may seem a bit awkward at first though hopefully with a bit of time it’ll make sense. Rather oddly this doesn’t seem to be online though this may be included later on.

Released: Q1/Q2 2007


Once more Capcom are offering you the chance to shout ‘OBJECTION!’ into your DS microphone as the sequel to this years fantastic game gives four more cases to trawl through. The DS will likely be using all its features for this game (as opposed to just one case on the original) not much is known about this game, though it is keeping to its original 2D, manga style and will also see Maya reappearing.

Released: Q4 2006


While Pokemon Crystal is still some way off Nintendo are releasing a new Pokemon game in the meantime. Pokemon Dungeon offers something a bit new because it lets you be one of the little pocket monsters instead of a trainer. You will be set tasks around the land from other Pokemon and, by helping them out, you’ll be rewarded. You wont be doing this on your own because you can create your own monster team (you can build up your team by recruiting wild Pokemon) which will help you out and battle with you. The game will be released on the DS (Blue) and the GBA (Red).

Released: September 2006


Starfox Adventures and Assault may not have been the best examples of the series but the new DS game, back with its original developers, may change that. The emphasis really is about the flying through space as opposed to those pesky on-foot sections. Looking quite pleasing on the DS it looks to set right some of the wrongs the series has made over the past few years.

Released: Q3/Q4 2006


The much loved SNES classic and big selling GBA game finally gets a fully fledged sequel. Touch & Go may have made use of the touch screen but it wasn’t the sequel everyone wanted. Yoshi’s Island 2 is back to its plat forming roots though now Yoshi has Baby Peach and Baby DK as well as Baby Mario to ferry around. Level design will make use of the two screens but don’t expect a massive use of the touch screen though you shouldn’t really mind if the game is the same calibre as its predecessor.

Released: Autumn 2006


Zelda wasn’t just showcased on the Wii but also in its new game for the DS. Phantom Hourglass retains the same look as the Wind Waker but will have new additions to gameplay thanks to the DS hardware. The touchscreen will be used for solving dungeon puzzles, sword fights, drawing a route to sail on the sea and, rather usefully, noting down where important items are on the map which can then be displayed on the top screen to avoid you losing your bearings in dungeons. There’s also a multiplayer mode where two people can go head to head with each other. With all the hype focussed on Twilight Princess it’s easy to overlook this other new Zelda but, like its bigger brother, this is shaping up to be quite special too.

Released: Q4 2006


It isn’t quite dead yet. Nintendo showed off a couple of new games to send off the GameCube this year.


Just when you thought you’d never use your Bongos again it seems they will be used one final time. You’ll control your character in races through the jungle on a pair of airborne bongos, because you find those all the time. Controlling the game can be done by banging your bongos either left or right depending which way you wish to go. You can also play the game using the traditional GameCube controller. There are five worlds to play through, hopefully each with a few courses which will mean the game shouldn’t just be over in an afternoon.

Released: Q4 2006


Mario isn’t just going to be 2D on the DS. Super Mario Paper takes the style of the Paper Mario RPG games and moulds it into a new platformer featuring side scrolling 2D views as well as flappable 3D ones. You will play as Mario, Peach and Bowser during the game.

Released: Q4 2006


Nintendo has succeeded in putting to rest any concerns people may have had about the Wii. The new console works and the games shown were impressive. Hopefully it will be able to have more third party support than the GameCube and the N64 had which will obviously depend on how popular it is with the masses. Those who have had a go have found it accessible and fun which is what Nintendo have wanted to do for a few years now. Silly name aside the Wii is something to genuinely be interested in, the market doesn’t need three consoles to push the boundaries of graphics after all.

Hopefully the Wii, with its new style of gaming, will mimic the success of the DS which has gone from strength to strength in terms of sales and in terms of high quality software that is set to continue. The GameCube may not have been the success that Nintendo were hoping for and this year marks the end of its cycle but its time to move on and it seems the Wii is more than ready to take its place.
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