While Sony failed to impress with their lack of innovation and effort, Nintendo came out swinging and left me with a huge smile on my face. Even though the majority of the games they’ve been showcasing don’t appeal to me in the least, I’m still extremely stoked on the Nintendo Wii and the direction Nintendo is headed in the next generation of console gaming. It didn’t take long to get over the name (Wii) and even less time to convince me that the Wiimote/nunchaku controller is the way to go. It’s apparent that Nintendo has a clear vision of where they’re going and they’re serious about changing the way we game.

The press conference opened with Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo GM, creator of Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, etc.) conducting a faux-symphony of some very Nintendo-esque characters on a giant screen behind him. This continued while various people would take focus while they played games using the Wiimote. Right off the bat, Nintendo addresses what everyone has wanted to know since last year’s Tokyo Game Show – how do you use the controller? After a short spiel, they cut to some game footage showing people using the controller to play new games which haven’t yet been announced, including a new 3D Super Mario game called Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, a handful of kiddy-looking sports games, a first person action game called Red Steel and wrapping up with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. This is a perfect example of why Nintendo knows exactly what they’re doing. They realize the gaming industry isn’t about sales figures and how many units you’ve shipped. It’s not a big dick contest as some who have you believe (Sony, I’m looking in your direction). It’s about playing games, having fun and innovation. Within the first 10 minutes of the conference, Nintendo demonstrated this and reminded us all why we love gaming and furthermore, how important Nintendo as a company and a leader in the industry, really is.

Wii Controller

To clear something up right off the top, the Wii is not competing directly with the PS3 and Xbox 360. It outputs a 480p signal while the Xbox 360’s native resolution is 720p and the PS3 is supposedly 1280p. Don’t even bother comparing specs as there really is no comparison. Nintendo is the underdog when it comes to hardware once again. They’ve made it perfectly clear that the next generation for them is not about just making things look better, but adding a new dimension to the game play experience and truly changing the way we play games.

Wii Retro Controller

The Wii has been referred to as a virtual console. Not a whole lot has been explained about their online service. But we do know that the Wii will be able to play GameCube games (disc required) and there will be downloadable games from the NES, SNES, N64, Sega Genesis and Turbo Grafx 16 consoles. That in itself, is extremely exciting for those that have been gaming for years and miss those old games and even more exciting for the younger gamers who will have a library of hundreds, maybe even thousands of games at their fingertips. It should be mentioned that there will be a generic controller available for the retro-games, so you don’t have to worry about trying to play Super Mario World with the new controller.

The release date and price hasn’t yet been announced. But they did mention the Will will be available this year – so Q4 most likely. The new Zelda game will be a launch title, and will also be released for the GameCube the same day. So even those who can’t get a Wii at launch still have something to look forward to.

When it came time to see the games in action and hear people’s reactions to the controller’s unique functionality, I was totally skeptical. I just didn’t see myself sitting on my couch, waving a remote around in front of my TV. A lot of the games they’ve showed look very gimmicky. Red Steel looks like one of those old arcade shooters where you literally held an over-sized plastic gun and shot dudes that popped out around corners and from behind objects. There’s a tennis game that up to four people can play, but how realistic is that? Four people in one room swinging remotes around – don’t tell me you’re not gonna get back-handed playing that game. But then I saw how the controller and nunchaku were used for Zelda and Metroid Prime 3 and it all started to make sense. I’m sure we will see some games designed specifically to make use of the controller. But for games like Metroid Prime, that have suffered from poor control schemes in previously installments, the Wiimote will be a saviour.

Wii Controller

The basic idea behind the controller is that you use the nunchaku in your left hand to control movement. It has an analog thumbstick and a couple buttons. The Wiimote is used to look, point and aim. I’m sure with a little practice, this will be a deadly combination for first person shooters and I’m ridiculously excited to try this out with Metroid Prime 3. One thing I didn’t realize about the nunchaku is that is also has motion sensing capabilities. I saw a video of a dude playing Metroid Prime 3 and he locked on to a dude with the Wiimote, then with a quick jolt of the nunchaku he had pulled a shield away from an enemy. That, is just cool!

I really think this console is going to be one you’ll have to get your hands on to be sold on it. So hopefully Nintendo sets up some good demo kiosks for people to try it out. There’s still lots of unknowns and plenty for us to look forward to in the coming months. Q4 is shaping up to be an exciting time for games in 2006!


Comments

I’m totally looking forward to the Wii’s release. I haven’t been this pumped about a console release for a really long time. It’s good to see that Nintendo continues to follow their roots as innovators. That will ensure them a healthy market share for years to come if they keep it up.

while i personally loved the showing Nintendo gave at the e3, i think the wiimote may turn off a few in the end. although it offers funtionality that no one else can match, nintendo failed to factor in one thing, ego. no gamers wants to be flailing around his living room like an idiot while his friends watch. you also may have to factor in the ammount of room required to play with a group of friends. if you have a smaller tv and jerk the wiimote to the right to fire at someone and bust your friend in the face, i don’t think its gonna go over too well. just a thought

This was my reaction too. The Xbox and Playstation seem technologically superior, but that Wii looks like way more fun! And in the end, that’s all that matters.

Great post, Matt! 🙂

I’m really interested in the Wii for several reasons, one because I’ve been in love with Nintendo since the SNES (I’m too young for a NES, but beleive me when I brought one of those last year I loved it), and because of the direction the Wii is going in.

The Wiimote looks very interesting and I aplaud Nintendo for swaying me (and thousands of others) to the Wii after that controller and that name. But they have done it and some of the effects (Doppler Effect anyone?) really are astounding.

But really, do I want to change the way I’m gaming? I love my complex controller (and my keyboard and mouse). Because of this I have my eye on a 360 and maybe a Wii if/when I have a bit of spare cash and time.

I agree fully Matt.

I bet the NEXT round of "Next gen" consoles will all have a base controller like the Wii remote. I know the first time I put my hands on it, it will feel like thats how I should have been playing games all along.

"but adding a new dimension to the game play experience and truly changing the way we play games"

Thats a solid statement — just like "Wii will change everything". Nintendo has some good PR people as well as good ideas.

I’m very Impressed with Nintendo.

I spent most of the time E3 was on looking desperately through all the coverage sites hunting for a UK release date for the DS Lite (can’t wait to get my hands on one of those beauty’s!) but every time I read something new about the Wii I got more and more interested in it, and how different it will be to play.

I am a PC gamer, always have been and no doubt I always will be, but playing something so differently is looking really exciting! Plus Zelda is a launch title; Q4 better hurry up and get here…

Nintendo totally caught me by surprise.

Suddenly, their remote/nunchaku combo makes perfect sense… and like you said, I can’t wait to play Metroid using that, or the future quality FPS for Wii, it’s the perfect controller for FPS!

Nice article Matt, ditto to you. One thing im concerned about the Wii is that from the videos of Metroid Prime 3 and Red steel, the gameplay looks a bit spotty. Just like those dreadful arcade shooters.

Im really looking forward to the Wii, glad about the retro control, the ability to use gamecube controllers and play gamecube games, they’ve really thought about making the wii really accessible

can’t wait for duck hunt 2

I just hope the peripherals don’t cost an arm and a leg. One of the big hurting points I think for the gamecube, at least here in the UK was that the games were relatively expensive, practically the same as the ps2 or xbox which didn’t seem reasonable. So I hope they don’t make the same mistake with the wii games

Hadn’t even seen the retro controller before.

@Roraz — In the US, the gamecube prices were roughly the same price as the xbox and PS2 games as well.

I’m super excited about the Wii, as someone who has been gaming for 14 years now, I’ve gotten tired of the same old same old on consoles… occasionally there might be something slightly innovative that involves the use of joysticks or a certain set of buttons, but I’d say standard gamepad controllers are really played out for me (pun intended). This wiimote will definitely be fun, and I have no reserves about flailing around like a loser in front of friends.

I’m reserving my judgement on the Wii. The biggest problem I think will be it’s application. So it’s a TV remote basically, there not much it can be used for except for pointing, aiming and the old 3D directional stuff (Pilotwings). I’m sitting firmly on the fence at the mo when it comes to the Wii, just like the DS it depends on how developers (and more importantly Nintendo themselves) can use the Wiimote.

I’m impartial about buying Wii, but I’m definitely convinced that the gaming experience will be entirely different.

The way console pricing is lately, I think that Wii probably has a better chance of getting my purchase than PS3 and 360, but I’m still not sure about this whole nunchaku thing. I’ll have to really see it in action before I make that final judgement. Also, on the other hand, I did just purchase a used Gamecube just for the Mario franchise, I might sell that on eBay or somethin’ and keep the games.

Hmmm, lol I think I just may have convinced myself that I’ll probably buy Wii while writing this. o.0

If all else fails, I’ll just get rich and buy them all lol

you can use gamecube controllers and games with the wii, plus the wii itself has its own retro styled controller (picture in the article above)

for me the Wii’s selling point is the huge nintendo back catalogue of games available for download

super mario bros, goldeneye, the zelda games, original mario kart – the list goes on

plus the new duck hunt 2 games with the zapper peripheral that turns the remote into a zap gun

come on!

I’ve been gaming all my life and have always been into what Nintendo has put out, and there will be no exception for the Wii. Just the great amount of innovation was enough to convince me to get it, but once I heard about the massive downloadable library, I was dead set on getting that sucker.

Great article Matt…

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