By now we should expect this from Nintendo. The maker of the Wii and DS Lite underwhelmed at the annual E3 conference only to overwhelm during the following year of sales.
Gaming and tech pundits always seem to expect PlayStation and Xbox 360 games and cutting-edge hardware innovation from Nintendo at E3, which delivers this in its own casual, fun, mainstream sort of way.
Nintendo did it again Tuesday. The maker of the world’s best selling games console, the Wii, and the leading portable game device, the DS Lite, introduced even more products aimed at a wider audience, if that’s even possible. Nintendo’s announcements included a multiplayer community game “Animal Crossing: City Folk,” “Wii Sports Resort” (a sequel to the hit “Wii Sports”), and “Wii Music.”
“Animal Crossing: City Folk” is a game that features a new USB peripheral called Wii Speak, a microphone/camera that integrates into the sensor bar that usually sits atop TV sets. It will allow rooms of people to speak to each other while they do things — redecorate, hang out, fish. It may seem like standard “Animal Crossing” fare, but the ability to send messages and pictures to the Wii message board, cell phones, and computers is a nice community/social touch.
“Wii Music” plays off the popularity of games such as “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” but in the usual Nintendo casual manner-of-play. “Wii Music” will let players simulate more than 60 instruments by moving their bodies with Wii remotes and pressing buttons. The game makes sure you play the right notes.
Just like the cool hep cats of Fifties Jazz, players can sit in and play guitar, piano, horns. Drums will use the Wii Balance Board (that comes with “Wii Fit”) for kick drums.
“Wii Music” is so laid back that it seems maybe too kid-like. You can’t keep score, miss a note, or lose a song. It’s “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” for those who have a song in their heart but not the rock ‘n roll spirit.
“Wii Sports Resort” will not be available until next spring at a cost of $50. Bummer. You may be getting tired of bowling, tennis, golf, and the other games that came with “Wii Sports.”
“Wii Sports Resort” will come with the MotionPlus accessory that will give players a true 1:1 motion mirroring on their Wii remotes, meaning it should give more accurate game play and immersion.
Unfortunately, for the hardcore Wii-er, no new Mario or Zelda games were announced.
“I hope everyone came away with the understanding that we are continuing to drive innovation to appeal to the mass audience in addition to the core,” Reginald Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America president and CEO, said in an interview with The New York Times.
“Our focus is on having the breadth to drive enjoyment for the consumer,” he said.
Which Nintendo certainly did on Tuesday.
Photo credits: Reuters