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Nintendo held its annual E3 press conference today in front of a packed and excited audience. We were able to get pretty good seats, which transates to pretty good movies. I'll break down the important events of the briefing and you can view several movies of the most interesting parts of the media briefing.
It started with Nintendo executives like George Harrison (President of NOA), and Satoru Iwata (President of NCL) explaining Nintendo's position in the industry. They seemed to emphasize that Nintendo while Nintendo was in a strong second place, they were aware of the challenges that they now face and are actively doing something about it. Iwata admitted that games like Mario Sunshine and Metroid Prime had not performed as well as they hoped and that they did not meet their GameCube hardware sales goals. However, they mentioned their many strengths and their worldwide status that is not really threatened by the Xbox. Aided by graphs and statistics, Harrison explained how well Nintendo did in March with the release of The Wind Waker and the special free game deal with the GameCube console.
Acknowledging the challenges they face in competing with Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo explained how they were already acting to gain a better foothold and a wider user base. They really emphasized exclusive and collaborative projects with many of the biggest 3rd party developers. In fact, the whole press conference seemed to emphasize strong relations with various thrid parties, even shadowing Nintendo's in-house projects. A lot of focus was put on games that would appeal to older audiences as well. Still, Nintendo reminded us that they haven't forgotten about their own unique strengths and that they will still remain the same company.
"...Mario will never shoot hookers," assured Harrison. In the focus on 3rd party and "mature" titles, Nintendo wanted to let us know that they are still committed to their own franchises and styles of development. They're not "selling out."
Game Boy Advance/GameCube connectivity was also emphasized. There will be over 20 games that utilize this connectiviy on display at E3. Nintendo showed off some very fun and unique examples of how the connectivity can be used.
Will Wright, creator of The Sims, was there to explain his collaboration with Nintendo on two new Sims games exclusive to Nintendo. There will be both new GBA and GameCube Sims games. They will both be complete games seperately, but if the two systems are connected, many new features will be available. Players can move characters between the two games. Characters can visit other towns, or even move there permanently. You can even use the GBA to transport characters from your GameCube to a friend's GameCube game. There are still yet more features, including ways to get new items that can't be obtained without the connectivity.
The following movies are accompanied by explainations:
This clip shows a medley of several different games including Mario Kart: Double Dash, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Star Fox Armada. There are several other games on the video as well.
This clip is a promo trailer for Rebel Strike: Rogue Squadron III. It shows off a lot of gameplay footage. George Harrison also mentioned that the developer, Factor 5, was working on another secret project.
This clip has Shinji Mikami, producer at Capcom and creator of Resident Evil, explaining some of Capcom's exclusive GameCube projects. It includes some gameplay footage.
This clip is pretty interesting. n-Space, which developed Duke Nukem, is making a first person shooter exclusive to GameCube. It has an interesting twist. The player is a spirit. By posessing different people, the player can take on different abilities and weapons. Even the posessee's memories can be of use. The player can also play in the spirit form as it searches for new people to posess.
This shows a lot of footage of the exlcusive Final Fantasy game for GameCube. Four players can play using their Game Boy Advances. No cartridge is required.
This was a delightful surprise. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords for GameCube is a game that expands upon the exprience of the original Four Swords. The concept is basically the same. It is a wonderful mix of cooperation and competition. When the four players are together, they play on the TV screen. If one or more players seperates from the group, by going into a building or cave for instance, then that player sees the game on their Game Boy Advance while the other players can still play on the TV. They showed off several areas, including a huge battle with dozens of enemies on screen at once. When the enemies were destroyed, they exploded in a stylistic puff of smoke -just like in The Wind Waker. A Game Boy Advance is required to play this game, but no cartridge is needed.
This clip is another medley of many games, but of course, the most interesting part is the less than 15 seconds of footage of the sequal to Metroid Prime.
This was another very interesting clip. Miyamoto is developing a multiplayer Pac-Man game (not without Namco's approval, of course). Up to three players can play on the GameCube viewing the TV, and another player plays with a Game Boy Advance connected to the GameCube. The GBA player plays what looks like a traditional Pac-Man game. He can see the whole maze all at once. Of course, his goal is to eat all of the dots and avoid the ghosts. If he eats one of the big dots, then he can eat the ghosts. This should all be very familiar to you. The twist is with what the other players are doing. Up to three other players can take control of a ghost. They must try to chase Pac-Man. The trick is that they can only see a small area of the level at once. They can't see the whole maze as the person playing as Pac-Man can.
Nintendo has many other games that they did not show at the conference, including a new Mario & Luigi game for the Game Boy Advance and three new Pok�mon games for GameCube. We'll have a preview of these shortly.