The future of gaming: Ninty shows us how it's done
It is genuinely difficult to know where to start with this one. Nintendo evokes the gaming passions of our youth like no other company has since. Don’t get us wrong, we love our PS3 and Xbox 360 as much as the next hardcore nerd, but there is something about playing classic Nintendo titles such as Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Kid Icarus and others that is almost primal. And these are the games that we still love to play today, as grown-ups who really should know better.
It is also, perhaps, why emotions always run riot amongst games journalists attending E3’s Nintendo conference each year. If they ‘do a bad one’ (like they did last year) then you can see the hacks morose-looking faces as they file out of the theatre after the event.
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However, if they do a good one, which they clearly have this year, the excited chatter following the event is really all you need to hear to realise that the Mario factory has already won the gaming PR war that is E3. Microsoft can keep its glorified Kinect webcam and Sony can shove its 3D car games where the sun don’t shine, as far as many of the journalists attending this year’s Nintendo E3 presser were concerned. The litany of immense gaming announcements was simply outstanding. And then they also revealed the new glasses-free 3D-ready 3DS handheld. Sold.
If last year’s Nintendo conference was lacklustre, marred by no majorly exciting new game announcements and no really exciting new tech (Wii heart monitor, anybody?), this year’s was the complete opposite. Shigeru Miyamoto, Satoru Iwata and US marketing boss Reggie Fils-Aime really know how to pull gamer’s heart-strings. And they do this by bombarding us with new information on new Zelda, Mario, Metroid. And then they deliver the killer blow by making us play with their new 3D handheld, as hordes of pretty girls filtered out through the crowd after the event to give demos of the new machine.
To kick things off this year, Nintendo showed off the new Zelda game – The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, a new Wii game with support for Wii MotionPlus – which should quieten-down all of those naysayers that criticised the last game for being ‘a GameCube port’ (which, to be fair, it was, although it was also still awesome).
While too many third party publishers have almost but abandoned the Nintendo Wii as a viable platform from which they can make money, it is still massively heartening to see Mr Miyamoto and co still making these gloriously-sprawling epics of interactive entertainment.
There was mention of a number of other games, although all of that blurs into insignificance, because the next big announcement from Nintendo at E3 2010, and one we were all way too aware of waiting to hear more on, was the reveal of the new Nintendo 3DS handheld.
The next leap forward
The Nintendo 3DS is essentially the next major technological leap forward in handheld gaming. It has a slider which lets you choose the ‘level’ of 3D that you want from your game. It requires no glasses. And it just works, really well (going from our first reports from those lucky enough to play with one in LA this month).
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime bullishly criticised the idea of having to use 3D glasses for playing 3D games, and it was clear to see where his confidence came from. Specs-wise the 3DS’s upper screen has been expanded to 3.53 inches and it is also widescreen, at 800 x 240 resolution.
Perfect for watching 3D movies then. Which is perhaps the most surprising and astounding announcement made by Nintendo at E3 2010, with Disney, DreamWorks and Warner Bros all lined up to deliver 3D movies to your Nintendo 3DS.
Nintendo 3DS games
And if movies don’t interest you, then the announcement of 3DS title Kid Icarus: Uprising really should serve to reinforce the message that Nintendo is not messing around with 3D. This is not a gimmick. This is the next generation of gaming on-the-go.
Nintendo’s 3DS has three cameras, two of which are on the outside, which will let you take your own 3D photos. The console also packs in motion and gyro sensors, which should make for some interesting new games later this year.
If all of that wasn’t enticing enough, Nintendo then rolled out a list of games that made many hack’s jaws hit the floor. Konami is readying a new and exclusive Metal Gear Solid game. Capcom is making a 3DS version of Resident Evil. Enough said.
Suffice to say that we cannot wait to get our mitts on a 3DS to try out all of these games (and more).