Home / E3 2006: Nintendo Plays with Wii, Announces Super Mario, Zelda for Wii

E3 2006: Nintendo Plays with Wii, Announces Super Mario, Zelda for Wii

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Nintendo begins in grand style, with Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto directing an animated band playing the Zelda theme with a Wii controller. A video montage follows behind him of many new and never before seen titles for the Wii. The mood is undeniably fun and light-hearted.

Reggie Fils-Aime begins a quotable conference with, “If all you want is next generation, you’re in the wrong place. What this is absolutely new.” He says that “Playing is believing,” which is the signal to start another video montage. This is like last years teaser video of people of all types playing with the controller, only this year video clips are inserted. Games include later-to-be announced simple sports games like tennis and golf, along with an unnamed racing game. The big announcements begin to fly with the short clip of a new Super Mario, Metroid, a collection of mini-games, an unnamed flying game, table tennis, baseball, and FPS Red Steel.

The lights come back to Reggie who tells the audience that he won’t answer all the questions we have. The Wii signals and change, and that change begins here, as it has already with the DS. This would be the common theme throughout. He said those that fail to change end up in “the industry graveyard.” He claims the Wii will change things like Mario 64 did back in 1996.

The crowd moans as he says that no pricing or date will be announced today. The only information is that the Wii will be giving you more fun in the 4th quarter of ’06. He then proceeds to explain the name, while mentioning the two people who told them they liked it. “Change is good, and the Wii is what it sounds like: We.”

He steps aside for another montage featuring many of the same games as the earlier clip show, though this time with names:

Metroid Prime 3 Corruption
Dragon Quest Swords
Disaster, Day of Crisis
Fire Emblem
Dragon Ball Z
Mario Galaxy
SD Gundam Breaker
Tony Hawk Downhill Jam
Excite Truck
Red Steel
Super Swing Gold
Sonic Wild Fire
Project Hammer
A Horse Racing Sim
One Piece
Madden Wii
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

Zelda Twilight Princess becomes the featured game now. The announcement is made that it will be available alongside the Wii at launch. The game is now played on the Wii right on the stage. Movement is controlled by the analog extension, the control pad is used to change weapons, and the Z button targets. An on-screen fairy is exclusive to Wii to show where controller is pointing.

The B button on the bottom swings the sword, while you’ll aim with the remote for arrows. The announcement is made that there is a speaker in remote, which allow players to hear the arrow moving from the remote to their screen. They’re calling this “depth of sound.” Sword fighting moves can also be controlled by the remote, and its rumble feature will be used. Throw items will happen with the nunchuck extension, which also has a motion sensor. The demo seemed accurate and responsive. A fishing demo will be available on the show floor.

Fils-Aime continues to announce that a GameCube version will be out on the same day. These will be two separate versions, one for each console. Fils-Aime begins to briefly go over the first party games shown in the previous montages. Mario Galaxy will allow for free hand control to move Mario in various directions on the screen. Excite Truck uses the remote like a steering wheel, and Madden ’07 will be controlled by the remote for hiking, passing, and running. Twenty-seven playable games will be on the show floor.

UbiSoft developers are brought out to show off Red Steel, and they begin pushing how everything is controlled. Destruction is incredible, the AI reactive, and the demo ran smooth with a perfect frame rate. Free shot is a feature to freeze time to allow the player to target weak points. Enemies can submit when they feel like they’re in danger, and the player has the choice whether or not to kill them. A brief boss fight shows off sword fighting, which involves blocking with the left hand and slashing with the right.

Fils-Aime brings out marketing director George Harrison to discuss the DS. He runs down basic numbers, and how it’s always about games. He discusses sales figures for the DS that include 16 million units sold in 18 months, and that it was millions less for the PSP. He runs down Nintendogs numbers and their Wi-Fi connection with 1.3 million users.

Brain Age is discussed with 120,000 copies sold in the US. This is a bigger number than in the same time frame in Japan. They display Touch Generations, which are simple games to draw in new audience like Sudoku. The DS Lite is launching soon as is a new Mario in a weeks time.

Pokemon Blue Mystery Dungeon will debut on the DS and its counterpart, Red Mystery Dungeon will be on the GBA Sept. 18th.

More games are brought up on screen, including Yoshi’s Island 2, Star Fox, Diddy Kong Racing, and a remade Final Fantasy III DS. Tony Hawk Downhill Jam for the DS will be Wi-Fi enabled with full voice over IP chat. Zelda: Phantom Hourglass will use the stylus to direct ships, Link’s sword, and his boomerang. A montage of DS games follows:

Mario Hoops
Star Fox DS
New Super Mario
Elite Beat Agents
Yoshi’s Island 2
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon
Diddy Kong Racing
Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Big Brain Academy
Mario vs. DK: March of the Minis

Satoru Iwata, President of the company, takes the stage when the video is finished. He says they’re targeting everyone, including those who stopped gaming, and those who never started. “More complexity is not a solution,” he says. This is the time to reinvent the player and game controller interface. The DS was their first implementation of this idea, and the trend of non-gamers spreading West with things like Brain Age prove it.

“Wii is for anyone,” and hardcore gamers have virtual console to relive their memories. He briefly teases the possibility of a new Tetris for the Wii. He moves on to say that these days people are too busy, frustrated by loading times, and can’t wait to play. He himself has been spoiled by the quick play on the DS. How can a mass market accept this?

Wii will solve this problem, loading the Virtual Console and web browser in a few seconds. The Wii will always be on with Connect 24, a mode that automatically puts the system in standby mode when turned off, while using less power than a miniature light bulb. He says developers can push new content onto the console without it being turned on, and all the networking software is built in. Wii Sports, a compilation that included Tennis, Golf, Baseball in one package will be out on launch day. “There should be no wall between those who play and those who don’t, and give those who do a new experience,” says Iwata.

Reggie returns to make the announcement that three finalists of a contest are in the audience, and one will be invited on stage to play the Wii. Miyamoto comes on stage to make the announcement of the winner. First though, he plays tennis. The flawless controls add to his physical and happy demeanor. The winner comes up to play with Miyamoto against Reggie and Iwata. They play for about five minutes in a tightly contested match up.

Reggie closes with “Look is secondary, hot is the feel. Hot is the next leap, not a small step. We run to risk. We are the disruptor.”

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.