Bahn Unplugged: E3 2006 Edition: Part Three Feature - The Next Level

Bahn Unplugged: E3 2006 Edition: Part Three

Guess who's eager to pick up a Wii this holiday season?

Article by Chris Bahn (Email)
May 16th 2006, 02:25AM

There's no doubt in my mind that Nintendo's press briefing was the most anticipated pre-E3 functions this year. As many of you will recall, Nintendo's unveiling of the Revolution's true name sent an unprecedented shockwave throughout the entire industry. Echoes of confusion, ridicule and well... mostly negative banter could be found in nearly every large and small fansite. Developers dismissed the company as one that wouldn't be taken serious. And someone even went as far to call the Wii... gay? The response was quite unlike anything I seen. It makes the flack Nintendo got for the development of the Nintendo DS look trivial by comparison.

But Nintendo was ready. They recognized our confusion and were prepared to set the record straight... to give us clarity. Unlike yesterday's column, I'm won't bother with a recap of the Nintendo's press briefing. Besides, if you weren't actually in attendance, I'm certain you were up bright and early watching the video stream hosted on various well-known video game destinations. So I'll just get right to the point: I loved the conference... getting the first glimpse of Wii games made me very eager for the first day of E3. It struck me as odd that they didn't spend anytime showing off Super Mario Galaxy in detail and dedicated the latter portion of the program to The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I love Link and all, but he had his time to shine last year. Just saying...


However, it wasn't all for naught as Nintendo took the opportunity to unveil yet another secret within the Wii controller -- a built-in speaker which would give gamers a new dimension in how sound plays a vital role in certain titles such as Twilight Princess. For example, when using the bow and arrow in the game, you'll be able to hear the stretch of the bow, the tension, right up to the release of the arrow leaving your fingertips and straight to the TV. Everyone in the audience sounded very impressed.

For reasons known to Nintendo alone, no time was spent talking about the virtual console. Reggie did mention that there were a few more things they planned to keep under wraps just a bit longer, so it's my guess we'll hear about it soon enough. I'm looking forward to hearing more about WiiConnect 24, a built-in feature which according to Satoru Iwata was created to solve the problem of "load times". Here's some of the notes I jotted down on my laptop:

  • WiiConnect enters standby without the front[end] running, but will still utilize key functions.
  • Powered by batteries used in a miniature lightbulb (huh?)
  • Anytime the console is in standby, activities may take place in the background (gives an example of a player obtaining a new visitor or gift in Animal Crossing even when they're not around).
  • Iwata states that they are "aiming for a system that is new everyday."

I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more about this as well in the months to come. We also got our first glimpse of a new product lineup, called WiiSports, created for the casual video game market and will be released on launch day with the console. WiiSports is a really cool, universally accessible title that will allow anyone regardless of age, gender or game experience to enjoy digital representations of tennis, golf, baseball Wii-style. I had the chance to sample a few at the show and will offer some upcoming impressions later in the week.

"I loved the conference... getting the first glimpse of Wii games made me very eager for the first day of E3."

Overall, I really enjoyed the program, though some of the GN crew who watched the stream back at the hotel expressed different opinions. In their minds, Microsoft offered a much stronger presentation this year and felt Nintendo's program was disappointing. So what went down? Tune in tomorrow...

Yes, yes -- I know that I promised to discuss both conferences today. I also said I'd discuss the craziness at the Ramada Hollywood (trust me, I haven't forgotten about that.) The bottom line: I'm a bit worn out from all the "excitement" and E3 aftermath that took place last week. Besides, a good night's rest and having the opportunity to focus my thoughts on something other than E3 for awhile will do me a LOT of good.

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