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Nintendo Is Back In The Game

Wii-U

What a conference Nintendo held this year. Opening strong with an orchestra playing a selection of pieces from the Legend of Zelda series and going from there Nintendo seem to have stolen the show; a new console, a dream-team of games announced and a beautiful montage of Zelda heritage as a prelude to a discussion of Skyward Sword. But it doesn’t stop there! There’s an update which brings a store with a virtual console section to the 3DS, free game Excite Bike and a free 3D Pokedex with the promise of many more games, demos and trailers to become accessible as time goes on.

The 3DS is finally getting not just a few games, but a veritable landslide of first-party Nintendo titles, among which are the timeless Mario Kart, a fantastic looking Super Mario 3D and a portable sequel to Luigi’s Mansion. The line-up does not stop with everyone’s favourite plumbers, however; Starfox 3D looks to be very promising and another Super Smash Brothers games is on its way for both the 3DS and the Wii U. And don’t even get me started on the third-party titles teased on stage!

The 3DS had a bit of a shaky start. With the first-party launch titles lacking in mass appeal (I’m looking at you, Nintendogs!) it didn’t seem like it was destined for great things. Coming out of E3, though, the 3DS seems to have found its mojo and is set to really turn things up to 11. Mario Kart, as usual, looks to have some old tracks included and all the normal features, but now boasts underwater driving, hang-gliding and customisable karts. Super Mario 3D looks a little like every long-time Mario fan’s wet dream and includes all of the things expected from such a successful development team. Luigi’s Mansion 2 has been less enthusiastically received, from what I can tell, around the internet. Personally, I don’t understand why; Luigi’s Mansion on the GameCube was one of the my favourite games. It had a quirky charm, interesting gameplay and was set in a classic horror-movie mansion. What more could you want? The new game appears bigger than the original, with the inclusion of several mansions and a variety of ghostly fiends. I expect all three of these games will turn out to be massive hits, and rightly so!

As for the new console, the Wii U, it looks like yet another serious and potentially (if you’ll pardon the pun) game-changing innovation. The technology can free the game from the television or, alternatively, interact with it. The controller looks a little like the bottom half of a DS beefed up a bit and boasts nearly every possible functionality Nintendo has in its arsenal. The games announced from third-party developers include Tekken, Darksiders 2, Batman: Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed, and Ninja Gaiden 3. A strong line-up if ever there was one. The best thing? All this and, before too long I should imagine, the central, monolithic Nintendo franchises will find their way onto this new console in beautiful, eye-watering high-definition. Finally! Yes, ladies and gentlefolk, Nintendo is finally joining the big boys in 1080p.

During the conference they openly admitted they’ve become a by-word for casual gaming and, with the Wii U, intend to change that and create something that still appeals to the casual gamer, but that also, crucially, will include the hardcore gamer. Once this new console is launched next year we might witness Nintendo rise up once again and start truly competing with Sony and Microsoft. In my mind there’s no competition over who ‘won’ E3 this year. Nintendo. Hands down.

Video games were a part of Chris's life from the Mega Drive onwards. He has many happy gaming memories, including the first time he collected all the chaos emeralds in Sonic 2, collecting all SSBM's trophies (yes, all of them) and, more recently, collecting far too many platinum trophies on his PlayStation 3. In the real world, he has a degree in French and is currently living in Frankfurt, Germany. Follow him on Twitter @DPrime_Chris

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