Microsoft last night was very interesting, more so for the things they didn't mention than the things they did. There was no mention of an Xbox 360 price cut, no mention of the 65nm 360, and very little time spent on Peter Moore's "Fourth Platform", the PC. While there were some interesting Games for Windows announcements (Gears of War is coming to PC, EA is onboard with Games for Windows, and lots of games are coming to the PC's version of Live. But, there were quite a few missing items, including a standalone Games for Windows Live client, so that we can maintain online presence and connect to gamers anytime we're online.
However, I've managed to infiltrate the Nintendo keynote right now, and I'm sitting here listening to Reggie Fils-Amie talk about the audiences that they've captured using the Wii. The gist is that they've expanded the market with titles like Brain Age, Nintendogs, and puzzle games to include soccer moms, women, and senior citizens. More updates on this article as Reggie gives more details.
9:20: Now the interesting stuff starts. The Wii Zapper, a first person controller attachment for the Wii controller and nunchuck together. It will be available for $20, and will launch with Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles. It looks a little hooptie, but potentially could be pretty cool. The Wii Remote nestles into the top, and the nunchuck fits into the back, so you can use the thumbstick with your right hand. .
9:25 Square Enix games, Mario & Sonic Olympics, and Super Smash Brothers is coming in the US on December 3rd. Four controller schemes (wii, nunchuck,classic pad, etc)
9:30: Phantom Hourglass demo with someone from who's played a lot of Zelda games. Not simpler and trimmed down, it's a revolutionary new type of gameplay. Looks like you drag the cursor to move Link around the screen. It's top down, 3rd person isometric. Cel shaded looks pretty good.
9:32: Now it's Metroid Prime 3. You use the Wii remote to aim, and use gestures to flip switches and change visors. You aim and fire at the enemies, it's almost like a lightgun game. Even when you're locked on to one enemy, you can still shoot at other things on the screen. Hyper mode makes her more powerful, but staying in Hyper mode too long corrupts Samus. Very cool looking.
9:35: Talking about online stuff now, DS connection using Wi-Fi connection is revolutionary. Virtual Console has delivered 5.6 million game downloads, with 112 titles available today. Wii Ware is the name for new standalone content for the Wii, available next year. Now there's a Check Mii Out channel, where you can submit Miis, and vote on them. Take Miis home that you like. It's like Mii Parade on speed.
9:37: "Is Nintendo going to get serious about online gaming?" Mario Strikers will be online. Madden 08 and FIFA 07 will both be online. Pokeman Battle Revolution already supports online and DS interaction. Dragon Quest Monsters Joker is online Wi-Fi connection game.Guitar Hero 3 Legends will be online on the Wii, using an exclusive wireless Les Paul controller.
9: 40: But there's more. Mario Kart in early 08, with online multiplayer. Battle Mode, and Racers. More racers means more fun, so more than 8 players. First timer immediately can be competitve with a Kart veteran. Multiple control choices, including a Wii Wheel peripheral, which looks kind of goofy. No electronics, just a holder for the Remote.
9:45: What's next? Satoru Iwata is onstage. He's reassuring traditional gamers that Nintendo still cares and wants to make games for them. He wants us to go out and recruit new people to games, and remember what it was like for us when we started with games. Remember guys, new people coming to games is not a bad thing. Nintendo's next challenge is to destroy the psychological barrier that separates veteran players from novices. They don't want their products to be narrowly classified, instead they want to make games that are fun for everyone--n00b to hardcore.
9:50: Miyamoto is coming with a new title that will appeal to both newbie gamers and veterans both.
9:55: Reggie's back, Brain Age 2 is selling a ton in Japan, and will be available here on August 20. Super Mario Galaxy is "over the top" and the "first worthy successor to Super Mario 64". They're really pleased with the interface, and will require skill and luck to succeed, but accessible to newbs. November 12 for Mario!!
9:57: Reggie's still talking about stuff that's not the next Miyamoto game. MySims looks neat, and High School Musical is going to be interesting, on both Wii and DS. Brain Games are selling unbelievable quantities, 15 million units around the world. Vision Training game is coming. Word Coach from Ubisoft combines a bunch of games to expand your vocabulary.
10:00: Finally, new Miyamoto-san game? Laps the field, WiiFit is the game. Stand on a floor thing, and maintain your balance doing different things. It's like a yoga game, Pushups, other stuff, and a bunch of isometric exercises. Very cool looking, but I wonder if it will actually sell. People are dancing, doing different moves, and playing mini-games (like soccer goalie, and stuff like that). It comes with a footstep peripheral, that looks like it has a series of pressure sensors.Also, includes some yoga exercises. Miyamoto-san always has the best T-shirts.
10:05: The game tracks body-mass index and stuff like that. They're going to try to get people into shape, using the same types of games that are included with Brain Age. There's step aerobics, stretching, etc. The Step game is part Dance, Dance Revolution. You watch the Miis and match their rhythm.
10:07: The floor sensor helps make sure that your center of gravity is lined up right, and you're doing the exercies properly. They're calling it the Wii Balance Board. It's about 2 inches thick, and big enough to stand on. Measures your weight and balance shifts when you're standing on it. Four main areas of exercise, with 40 mini-games: Aerobics, Muscle activities, balance, and yoga.
10:10: Body check. First it asks you how heavy your clothing is. Then you get weighed, and it shows you how your center of gravity shifts. It asks if you maintain good posture, if you have a big belly, etc depending on your weight shifts. It measures Body Mass index and compares your Mii to everyone elses. Development team is in a contest to see who can get the fittest the fastest. It doesn't show your body weight, but instead shows your body mass index. Miyamoto-san and Reggie are having a soccer Heading contest.
10:15: Reggie won. Reggie is saying that right now is a turning point in the gaming industry. Nintendo is leading the charge to expand gaming beyond the traditional gamer. Nintendo wants to steal everyone's leisure time for video games. And, we're done. I'll be back in an hour or so with news from Sony.