Nintendo wows this reader!
Hold on a second.
Let me get my breath back.
Cause that, was simply breathtaking!
Nintendo didn’t do just a press conference this morning in LA, they put on a show, and what a show it was. It began with an orchestra, of the animated kind. The composer dictating with nothing less than the Wii remote, naturally.
After the magnificent introduction, Nintendo went about outlining their plans for the future of gaming as they see it. Nintendo tell us, quite simply, that they want more people to game. Wii isn’t just about you and I, it’s not about him, or her, it’s about us and…Wii.
Nintendo showed absolutely no interest in showing us the latest CG videos. Neither were they interested in hardware specifications or half hearted gimmicks. What they did show us, were games. Games that Nintendo claim we’ll be able to not just play, but feel.
The montage of demos displayed included titles such as Zelda Twighlight Princess, Red Steel and fan favourites such as Metroid, Mario, Sonic and last but not least, Yoshi who was greeted by rapturous applause at every mention of his name.
But wait. Hold on a second, I thought Nintendo were supposed to be new and innovative? Don’t the other consoles always give makeovers to old games? Is Wii going to be just like the other new machines banking on games like Metal Gear Solid 4, Tekken 6, Halo 3, and Gran Turismo…34 is it now?
Of course not.
Nintendo didn’t fail to mention that new franchises are already well under way. In fact, they emphasised the point.
Ok, let’s take a break from Wii for a moment. Nintendo did, and they spoke about Gamecube, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo DS Lite. They outlined their ongoing support for Gamecube, with the new Zelda Twighlight Princess being released simultaneously on both the Gamecube and Wii. They showcased a whole host of new titles for the DS and the DS Lite, and didn’t fail to mention that its sales figures quite literally cast a shadow over Sony’s PSP.
That’s enough about that, lets get back to Wii again!
With Nintendo continually focussing on the need to feel games, they ensued with some rather fantastic demonstrations.
They played Zelda Twighlight Princess live on stage, demonstrating the new Wii Remote and Nunchaku (yes, Nunchaku). Even by watching somebody use the device, I could immediately see its appeal. Whilst using the bow and arrowin Zelda, they also told us about the speaker built in to the Wii Remote. As he prepared his bow, the speaker echoed the sound of the string being tautened, the arrow being released and then, as the arrow propelled forward, the sound moved from the remote to the screen. Magnificent, and again applauded by the audience.
Whilst demonstrating Red Steel, it was clearly evident to all how this new device can provide a substantial improvement in the playability of FPS games. Looking around with one hand, and pointing your weapon with the other. Don’t open the door by pressing the ‘blue button’, simply push it open with your hand. Don’t forget, they do after all want us to feel the game, not just play it.
The highlight of the event was the little two on two game of tennis. The winner of a Nintendo competition, sat in the crowd, was called upon to join them on stage and participate in a doubles match alongside Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata. If that’s not reaching out to the gamers, I’m not sure what is.
How did they play tennis with this new device? Well, I’m not sure if I can explain, but I’ll try. Firstly, hold the Wii Remote as though it’s your tennis racket. Than, you throw the (virtual) ball up, and swing at it to serve. Whilst playing, you can use your forehand, or your backhand, you can hit under the ball to plant a lob, over the ball to add a little top spin. Yes, that’s right.
What struck me at this point was that Nintendo had done it. They had made a games console for everybody. They want more people to play, and this is the way to do it. At the start of the show, Nintendo asked if we knew people who had never played a computer game? My answer, yes, my mom.
Will my mom be able to join me on Wii? Yes, and I’m even confident she’ll enjoy it. Although Nintendo didn’t specify the actual price of the console, they did say that “Wii will give you more fun for less money, and you’ll be playing Wii in the fourth quarter of 2006″.
As a closing statement, Nintendo had this to say:
“What’s hot is the feel of the game. The look, is secondary. What’s hot is the next leap. Not, just a small step. It’s hot if it’s disruptive. It’s not if it’s predictable. The future of our industry is inclusion, not exclusion. It’s about the heat of the moment, not the chill of technology. We know that the future is right here. Wii and the DS represent the same thing, risk. Risk allows progress. We’re a company that doesn’t run from risk, we run to it. Change, is good.”
They’ve done exactly what I had hoped, and for me personally, they have redefined the meaning of ‘Next Generation’.
Let’s for a moment forget if we’re running at 720p or 1080p, let’s forget how many frames per second we can achieve. Let’s forget if we have 20GB’s or 100GB’s of storage. Let’s go back to gaming.
I for one can’t wait until Wii get to play.