Gaming thoughts... 6/7/11 ... Nintendo E3

Leading in with the Zelda 25th anniversary was a great start. I was excited, and I know the crowd was as well. However, my confidence did suffer just a bit shortly after - I love music from The Legend of Zelda, but the orchestra was keeping me from hearing about new things. And then, there was talk about the various Zelda re-releases.

The free Four Swords available for download in September for the DSi was cool.

And then talk of a promotional gold Wii Remote when Skyward Sword comes out.

And then more about music. Apparently, the symphonic orchestra will visit many regions. And there will be CD's. And then they moved on. I have a small issue with this if only because with the Metroid Prime collection and the Mario 25th anniversary collection, a lot of people were expecting some sort of a Zelda collection. Something remastered to some degree for the Wii. It's not going to happen unfortunately.

Nintendo then went into their 3DS section and they teased 5 titles right off of the bat:

Mario Kart, Star Fox, Mario, Kid Icarus, Luigi's Mansion (Luigi's Mansion?!) - great 3ds teasers before introducing Reggie Fils-Aime

- Mario Kart: Love this series - this is good stuff. Gliders for longer jumps? Underwater? Yes please.

- Star Fox: This looks and feels like a natural fit. The titling system and cameras is good use of tech.

- Mario: This game was a given, and will no doubt get top-shelf treatment, but no surprises on display

- Kid Icarus: Looks fun and flashy, and mulitplayer is a nice addition. The augmented reality cards were interesting. Pit's voice bugged me.

- Luigi's Mansion: This was a big, very welcome surprise. Loved the original, as did my kids. This was the most exciting title for me - maybe just due to the unexpected factor - of the five.

None of these are happening until later in the year - at the earliest. That keeps the 3ds launch a bit underwhelming - a bummer for early adopters no doubt.

Upcoming titles: Resident Evil, Mario & Sonic Olympics, Ace Combat 3D, Tetris, Cave Story 3d, Resident Evil: Revelations, Driver Renegade, Pac-Man & Galagy dimensions, Tekken 3d, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D - quickly teased, and only a few of which really caught my eye.

Nintendo announced a free 3D version of Excitebike that will be downloadable (that game is 27 years old!? Good lord...)

Pokemon. This is another free offering, and the idea is interesting but felt a bit light and gimmicky. Basically it's a visual Pokedex.

Now, for what everyone is curious about:

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The new console is going by Wii U. The controllers look different than rumored - really they look like small tablets. I didn't see a listing of the actual dimensions, though they touted a 6.2" touchscreen in the center. The Wii U will be backwards compatible - both for the Wii games and the various controllers. The controller has 2 analog sticks, 2 trigger/shoulder buttons, a direction pad, face buttons, rumble support, touch screen/stylus interaction, microphone, speakers, gyroscope and camera. They also claim the tablet will stream video games to the controller without any latency. Big claim, but as someone who does get into games to turn over the TV to my wife or kids, it's a neat feature.

Some of the other demoed features like screen over screen overlay, the implications on multiplayer games and more... well, there is a ton of potential here. The quick demonstration of Link playing in high definition looked amazingly good. I don't know if the specs surpass the PS3 by as much as was rumored, but it's a step in the right direction.

A lot of developers seem to be backing the console - and that is huuuuuuge. Nintendo has always been the best at making games for its own console, and that may not change. It would be nice however, to see the gap between what Nintendo makes and what 3rd party development teams produce narrow. Lego City Stories, Batman, Tekken, Assassin's Creed, Ghost Recon, Darksiders 2 were all announcd.

A Super Smash Brothers brought to the 3DS and Wii U was mentioned.

On top of that, Nintendo closed with a quick talk from EA about their future partnership with the Wii U and teasers from:

Darksiders 2, Dirt, Aliens Colonial Marches, Ghost Recon Online, Metro Last Light, Tekken, Ninja Gaiden

The presentation got off to a disappointing start to me. Some of the 3DS games looked cool but... we knew about most of them already. Like Sony and Microsoft, I didn't see a lot of newly announced games. I think Nintendo and Sony fared better because they had new hardware to show off. I think the potential if Wii U could be huge. I will gather my final thoughts and weigh out how I think the big 3 did when compared to one another tomorrow, but one thing really nagged at me when I reviewed this post just now...

Was Skyward sword the ONLY Wii game they announced at all? There may have been more, but... I'm not seeing it. Are they basically abandoning the Wii with this new console still potentially a good ways off? I'm not sure, but that did irk me a bit.
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