1.) Nintendo is going back to basics with more Mario
The overarching theme of this year’s E3 conference was striking a better balance between the new gamers Nintendo has been reaching out to for the past several years without alienating its long-standing audience.
For the latter category, then, they brought back Mario, with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, a single-to-four-player classic sidescroller due this holiday season that brings in the ‘co-opertition’ elements it brought to Zelda: Four Swords to its other hit franchise.
Nintendo also announced Super Mario Galaxy 2, an extension of its 3D Wii debut that will more prominently feature his Yoshi companionship, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: March of the Minis, a version of its Mario puzzler series coming next Monday as a DSiWare downloadable, and a fall 2009 localization of its DS Mario & Luigi RPG: Bowser’s Inside Story, a Fantastic Voyage-esque game that sees the characters moving through Bowser’s body on the lower screen, mixed with Bowser’s own exploits on the screen above.
2.) Nintendo is revitalizing other franchises with new partners
Nintendo ended the conference on its hardest-core note, by announcing that Ninja Gaiden developer Team Ninja would be partnering with the company to develop Metroid: Other M: a third-party action based Wii followup to Retro Studios’ first person games, due out in 2010.
3.) Nintendo is not finished with creating and exploiting new hardware interfaces
Namely, the newly unveiled Wii Vitality Sensor, a small WiiMote-connected device that clips onto your finger to measure your pulse. Nintendo head Satoru Iwata explained that the company wants to be able to “visualize something otherwise invisible” — nervousness, focus — and possibly create new games that focus on relaxing, rather than stimulating, the player.
Nintendo also re-revealed the new MotionPlus sensor which gives the WiiMote greater precision with the upcoming sports mini-game collection Wii Sports Resort, due July 26th, and third party sports games like EA’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour and Grand Slam Tennis, and Sega’s Virtua Tennis 2009.
That also goes for Wii Fit, which will be getting its own expansion, Wii Fit Plus this fall with new workout activities, new minigames, and, most importantly, the ability to string exercises together without any interruption (as does older PC, Xbox, PS2 fitness trainer Yourself Fitness).
4.) Nintendo also wants to more tightly integrate with social networks
Like Microsoft announced yesterday with its Xbox 360 Facebook application, Nintendo also announced that its DSi handheld — equipped as it is with two on-board cameras — will also be able to natively integrate with Facebook to upload user photos directly to the service.
5.) Nintendo want to continue to cater to everybody
This was made clear from the start with their underlying and repeated catchphrase “everyone’s game”, and their diverse first and third party lineup.
Games showcased for the DS: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, a localization of create-your-own-microgame studio WarioWare: DIY, new Zelda adventure Spirit Tracks, gritty new Ubisoft IP adventure game C.O.P.: the Recruit, and a return of underdog Game Boy Advance RPG series Golden Sun, all for the hardcore. For the wider audience, James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club: Games of Passion visual novel series, and fashion-based game Style Savvy.
And for the Wii: Square Enix’s open world adventure Final Fantasy: The Crystal Bearers, Sega and High Voltage’s first person shooter The Conduit, Capcom’s Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles, and EA’s rail shooter sequel Dead Space Extraction.
New images and movies will be added to this post as they are released!