Hot on the heels of Microsoft's show-stopping Project Natal reveal last night, Nintendo has this evening sought to regain the initiative with Wii MotionPlus via a lengthy on-stage demo of the imminent Wii Sports Resort.
Following a slick 'lifestyle' video feature MotionPlus being used in myriad ways, Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime seemingly took a pop at Microsoft's Natal demonstration, sniping: "on video you can do almost anything".
NOA's Bill Trinen was then called out on stage for a live demo of Wii Sports Resort, the sequel to the phenomenally popular game collection bundled with Wii since launch in the West. He began, in best Dylan Thomas style, at the beginning. A Mii was seen skydiving, fully and subtly positionable via delicate movements of MotionPlus.
After a short while, the camera zoomed out and the Mii joined scores of others in formation before parachutes popped and they sailed gracefully towards an island. "Welcome to Wii Sports Resort," said Trinen. He claimed that with this demo, players would understand the game before they even stepped foot on the island.
Next up a demo of archery. "It requires a great deal of skill," said Trinen, before proving his point by doing really badly. He explained - and showed - that the bow is held "just like you would hold a real bow". We've done this in other Wii games, of course. But, with MotionPlus, accuracy and control should be enhanced. A button to grip, Z to draw back, and the sight zooms in.
The longer Z is held, the smaller the area of focus, introducing a timing element. Additionally, distance, wind direction and moving targets must be compensated for. Trinen continued to shoot erratically. "It's not about learning controls, it's about doing what's natural," he explained, before completely missing the target.
Finally, Reggie, in full QVC presenter mode, was called back out for a head-to-head on basketball. After exchanging a few excruciating scripted jokes - met with total silence by the audience - the game began.
It's a rapid shootout against the clock "just like a real three-point contest," said Trinen. If you've ever played one of those basketball machines in arcades where you shoot multiple balls against the clock, you'll know the drill. And like that, rhythm is important. All in the wrist, said Trinen.
Reggie won 19-17 with a last gasp basket. Trinen now off-stage, his boss wrapped up on Wii Sports Resort, saying it brings "a new level of physical reality to a world that's distinctly Nintendo".
Despite the cheesy gags, it all looked like jolly good fun. And will undoubtedly sell squillions.
Wii Sports Resort releases in Europe on 24 July, and in the US two days later.