It’s about 1am here in Hong Kong, and I am dead tired after a long, hot day. But watching these E3 press conferences streamed online sure beats flying all the way to LA to do it!
Nintendo’s press conference is taking place right now, and the first 20 minutes going over the same sales stats we’ve seen before sure didn’t help with my fatigue. Thankfully, they eventually got to some announcements:
After showing a couple snap-on toys for the Wii controllers (a Wii Zapper which takes the Nunchuk and Remote, turning them into a machine gun, and a steering wheel addon) that have been sold by 3rd parties for months now, some new gameplay footage was finally shown.
For the first time, we got to see Metroid Prime 3 being played. Unfortunately, it still looks like a Metroid Prime game, and not a Metroid game… To many, I’m sure that’s a good thing. But for me, Metroid was at its best as a 2D side scrolling platformer with incredible depth and atmosphere, and not as a shoot-em-up with some puzzles.
After that, Nintendo announced better online support – mostly in sports games for now (Mario Soccer, and EA’s soccer and football games), and Pokemon of course. Oh yeah, Guitar Hero III as well! But then…
MARIO KART! WOO!
Mario Kart will be available in Q1 2008, and will be fully playable online! There will be several control styles available (I was nervous when Reggie said that first-timers will easily be able to keep up with veterans – what is the point of that!) including the aforementioned Wii Wheel (Wii Wiil?). He showed it, and it looked a lot like the one that came packaged with GT Pro Series Racing. The levels they showed all looked to be from Mario Kart DS.
And finally, Super Mario Galaxy is dated – NOVEMBER 12. No live gameplay, but I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more from the press that is there this week. Mario is wearing a bee costume. Seriously.
And finally the big announcement: Wii Fit, I guess the successor to Wii Sports. Miyamoto is TOTALLY stoked about it. It comes with a new peripheral looking look those platforms used in step aerobics. But it can sense balance upper body movement – Cool! Nevermind the Wii Zapper and Wii Wiil – now this is a cool peripheral.
Miyamoto demoed several modes of play – something resembling yoga, and a ‘step game’ that looked like a very basic version of Dance Dance Revolution. Finally, they showed how the game can measure your weight and BMI (and it will let you know if you have bad posture). Did you think the Wii was the ultimate mainstream gaming machine before? That was nothing. I can’t see how they can possibly even manufacture these things fast enough to keep up with what’s sure to be an astounding amount of demand.