E3 2006 Nintendo press conference Finished
Live from LA again! Nintendo's E3 press conference begins on Tuesday May 9th at 9:30am PDT (5:30pm UK/6:30pm CEST). Eurogamer will bring you live updates from the event to this page, including Wii, DS, Mario, Zelda and everything else Reggie, Miyamoto and the rest of Nintendo's blazing squad have to shout about this year.
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Welcome! Were just getting ready for the second conference of the week - its Nintendo up to bat this time, in the Kodak Theatre slap bang in the middle of Hollywood. Our US ground team (its like being in the army, but for unhealthy people) is en route to the theatre as we type, and well be getting updates out of them in the next few minutes.
Everyones filing into the giant, tiered Kodak Theatre. Slowly, but a bit more freely than we experienced at Sony yesterday.
Nintendo just issued a command over the PA that people turn off laptops, wireless and Bluetooth devices before the conference. This could be interesting! Not to worry, though - theres always the high-tech solution of putting our laptops under our coats while updating.
"The programme will begin promptly at 9.30," apparently. Theyre still telling us to turn off laptops and so on - our best guess is that theyre worried that too many devices running in the hall will mess up their wireless controllers. Back in the UK, though, Marks best guess is that Miyamoto is actually a Bluetooth-controlled robot who has been masquerading as him ever since the real thing died in a freak cosplay accident. I think we all know the truth of this.
Its looking like theyre actually going to start on time. Were being clandestine with our laptops. Tom may well get violent if they try to throw him out, though, so keep an eye out for Nintendo security brutality footage on EGTV later.
Fine, maybe theyre not starting on time after all. Theres a healthy buzz anyway, even though the theatres nowhere near full - which is unusual for Nintendo conferences, as theyre normally packed to the gills.
A big blue curtain screen just rose up behind the Nintendo logo, and Miyamoto has walked on-stage.
Hes conducting an in-game orchestra on-screen playing the Zelda theme. Using the Wii controller to do so, his actions reflected in the music tempo.
The little characters look like bobble-heads, wiggling their instruments erratically. Miyamoto makes huge sweeping gestures to finish.
Now the lights are up on a guy on-screen playing a driving game - a pick-up spinning through the desert as he twists his hands to turn.
Next we have a sword-fighting game on the opposite side of the stage - first-person slashing. Graphically none of this is that exciting, but its clearly using the Wii controller fully.
The lights are up on Reggie Fils-Aime. "If all you want is next-generation, youre in the wrong place." "Its not just next, its whats absolutely new." "Playing is no longer just about looks, its about the feel." "Its about everyone."
"Playing is believing." Goes into a trailer reel. Thank god for that.
The Wii logo dances onto the big white screen. Four controllers appear, and two guys pick up two each and start drumming. A groups playing tennis, whacking the balls with the controller.
Now theres a golfer. All these sports demos have a common graphical theme. Now the orchestra game is back, with people conducting the wand like a baton.
Running around on small worlds, using the wand to smack things at bosses. Now theres a flying game with the wand used to change the arc. And Metroids on now, first-person shooting one-handed in MP2-quality visuals.
And now a running game, and Warioware - slicing things, trying to balance a stick on a hand, shaking motions, turning keys, wiggling a hula hoop. Now a big hand. There's a table tennis game up now.
Whacking the ball with the controller. And now an FPS, with the player marking targets before blasting with a GoldenEye style reticule (though, well, it's hardly going to be that is it). The fighting game's back. And now Zelda.
Firing arrows, swiping enemies with the Master Sword. Throwing a fishing line into the water to snag a bass as Link sits in his little boat.
The Wii logo lands back on the screen. Everyone applauds. "2006" it says.
Reggie's back up. He points out that people were surprised by DS - he's making a point about how people were sceptical of the DS too, and the Wii controller.
"Today you will see. And tomorrow you'll start to feel. Welcome to the next leap in gaming."
"We have answers to some questions, but deliberately not to all." They want to jolt our right brains with inspiration, apparently. Last time I jolted my right brain it was when I fell off my bike. I guess this is going to be different.
Reggie says he's going to answer questions, but maybe not everything. He's walking us through the old days - 96 and Mario 64. "Even then, it was about the feel."
"The memory of that moment was the starting point for Wii." No, he's not cringing when he says the name. Admittedly, we're doing enough for both of us.
Date and price: "We believe it's in our interest to keep the details private." More fun for less money, in Q4 2006. A ripple of applause.
"Next, the name." "First, we want to thank everyone who wrote good things about it the day you heard it." "Both of you."
"At first every distinctive name sounds strange." Did we love Lexus, Ikea, Google, he asks. "Change is good." It means "just what it sounds like".
"It's the sound of the future." There's lots of this sort of soundbite flying around. "What about third parties?" In detail in a few minutes, he says.
(Yes, he did just say that Wii is the sound of the future. The jokes are STILL writing themselves.)
Another trailer reel. Metroid Prime 3 Corruption - firing at stuff in the air, morph balling. Dragonball something 2. Dragon Quest Swords - a volcano erupts, water hits. Fire Emblem! Woot! A bird lands on a girl's hand.
Spongebob. Cars. Super Mario Galaxy. More darting through the skies. SD Gundam.
Dynasty Warriors or somesuch. Necro-Nesia. Excite-truck.
Elebits from Konami. Looks quite basic. That gun game earlier was Red Steel by the way. Rayman 4's up - lots of rabbits getting boshed. Super Swing Golf PANGYA. Sonic Wild Fire.
Project HAMMER (Nintendo), Finalfurlong Revolution. One Piece Unlimited Adventure. Madden.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles - airships in the sky, chars wandering around looking stylised like FFCC Cube. Zelda's up too. And the Wii logo. Phew.
The Zelda Twilight Princess logo hangs over Reggie's head now. "It is by far the best Zelda game we've ever made." "This is the first Zelda game that will be right there on launch day alongside a new Nintendo system."
A first look, he says. Nate and Bill from NOA turn up to play the game on Wii.
Familiar to anyone who's played Zelda. Movement on analogue nunchuck. Items d-pad. Targeting on Z button.
There's a fairy on screen indicating where you're pointing. He's going in to battles - sword swing on B button with remote.
The bow is aimed using the pointer "like all distance weapons" - aims with a circle in the centre of the screen where the cursor moves; when you move outside the circle the camera turns.
There's also a depth of sound effect. The Wii remote has a speaker. "You'll hear the bow-string go taut." The sound will run from the controller to the screen where it'll be heard impacting.
A quick jab with the Wii remote - a thrust, really - and you'll feel the impact through the rumble friction. They're just playing it on stage - a tiny TV and a Wii.
The classic Zelda chime will be heard on the speaker on the remote, apparently. We're seeing a stripped down bit of one dungeon.
You can pick up crates with A on the remote, and then throw them by doing a chuck gesture.
Iron boots are back. They don't just weigh you down, but lift you up - Link hangs upside down form a big electromagnet.
"The E3 version is just a very compact dungeon." Also toned down in difficulty so it's accessible as a demo.
Fires an arrow at some string to make a bridge fall. Quick rotation with nun-chuck for spin attack, then a stab to do a down thrust.
There's a big door. Apparently they're not going to show it to us because it's awesome. We'll also have a Zelda fishing demo at E3, he says. And they're off.
Reggie: "This Zelda of course is the first ever to feature free control." But it'll work on GameCubes too, he reiterates. "Here in the Americas, Nintendo will launch two different versions." Same day as new console launches.
"The name of the game is still games." "Actions speak louder than words." Lord. Aha, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. More running and gunning with Wii and nun-chuck controller.
Super Mario Galaxy. The world's like two giant dishes cupped together and you can run around either side. Swing hand to battle objects, grab shooting stars with pointer.
"Hard at work on new franchises." Three early previews, starting with Excite-truck.
Tilt controller like handlebars, he says. Terrain deforms beneath you in real-time.
"In Project HAMMER, swing the controller and the bad guys get nailed."
Disaster: Day of Crisis. "Bring the catastrophe under your control." That's where the volcano was from earlier.
Third-party stuff. We won't see much from them today apparently, except Hyper Sonic. (Wasn't it Sonic Wild Fire a minute ago?)
FF Crystal Chronicles again. "Wii will take what is familiar and reinvent it." The FF stuff was CG basically.
Madden's up on screen now. Reggie seems excited. You'll use lots of gestures for that. Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam now. Rayman. They're not showing these - just logos.
"While we're not going to specify a launch number this morning, you'll be playing 27 different Wii games tomorrow on the show floor."
And seeing even more on video. That includes "none" of the titles due with Virtual Console, he says.
Another example coming up. Ubisoft's here to talk through Red Steel.
Launch title exclusive. Set in USA and Japan. He uses nun-chuck in left hand and fire gun with other controller. But, er, the video's not on the giant screen.
Might be a bit of a technical issue, this. We can hear him playing it and see him doing it, but no video. Apparently you can push doors, and "you are in the game" etc.
"Where's the game?" some bloke behind us yells. Aha, and the vid's up.
Applause. Looks quite current gen but controls are the key. He's pointing with the cursor and firing, ducking behind stuff, reloading, opens door by gesturing it aside.
Trying to keep action fast-paced, he says. AI has a clan system to work together, apparently. Destructible environments. Physics. Soft bodies.
By holding a button you can effectively pause the action, tag enemies' weak points by pointing, then resume to kill.
Move left hand and movement follows. And now he's going to fight with a sword - the demo we saw earlier.
You block with left, slash with right, in any directions. "Dozens" of combinations available.
Easy to handle, hard to master. And that's the Red Steel demo.
Reggie: "We want to switch gears now." From Wii to DS. Introduces George Harrison, who comes out of a special sliding door in the stage face. Weirdos.
"No matter who you are we will make things better." Shows people playing it in various places, smiling like they're getting paid. HAHA it's all so merry!
Apparently he's not going to talk sales figures, which is nice of him. "Some of you questioned if we were up to the challenge" when PSP came out, he says. But it's all about the games, he argues. Nintendogs, Brain games, seamless portable Wi-Fi play.
"In terms of actual sell through to players, DS has sold more than 16 million units." Says PSP is "millions less" - cites independent sources.
"Easy and free is a pretty persuasive offer" he says of the Wi-Fi Connection sales. Over 1.3m users, 40+m sessions.
Now he talks Brain Age. Mine's still 20 by the way. 5 million players in Japan, he says, including old people like Kristan, who is looking in horror at all the text I'm sending you.
Touch Generations - Big Brain Academy, Clubhouse games, Sudoku Gridmaster are all part of this idea of games for all.
Talk about DS Lite, and New Super Mario Bros. "Which is the very picture of old school." It does look a bit sexy.
Pokemon Blue Mystery Dungeon and companion Red version for Game Boy coming soon too. Already huge sellers in Japan - due in US on Sept 18th.
Diddy Kong Racing DS, Yoshi's Island 2, Starfox DS are all up, logos. No trailers.
Final Fantasy III coming with improved 3d graphics he says. Shows Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam DSnow. 3d on top screen, 2d general map on bottom.
Aha, Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. "Picking up where Wind Waker left off." Sailing, swordplay, controlling path of boomerang with stylus.
Trailer reel. Mario Hoops 3 on 3. Starfox DS - nice 3d, can't see touch-screen. New SMB vid. Elite Beat Agents. Yoshi's Island 2. Very distinctively Yoshi's Island styled.
Pokemon Mystery Island DS. Diddy Kong Racing - looks similar to Mario Kart with overhead on touch-screen.
Zelda, whacking a big squid. Big Brain Academy. Local wi-fi 8-player. Mario vs. DK: March of the Minis. Create your own levels.
"Playing = believing" it says. And Satoru Iwata joins us on stage. Talking in English.
"When I became president, we decided on a new goal for our company: expanding the total number of people who play games." Current, and two different types - who once played, and those who never played.
It's similar to the TGS speech he made last September. Graphics are not necessarily the way forward for non-gamers and former gamers, he says.
"The solution is to reinvent the relationship between player and game, the game controller interface."
This will also excite core gamers he says. "Core gamers always represent our most important audience."
First "disruptive innovation" was DS, he says. People began to understand through Nintendogs. And the brain games.
"So how do we continue this strategy with Wii?" One-hand control is just like the touch-screen of DS, he says, breaking down the barrier.
Virtual Console will bring old gamers and their stuff together again, and add as a way of getting simple, intuitive games. With Wii control matched to VC, "maybe a game like Tetris can be feasible again".
Says load-times annoy him. These days he's busier than ever and he doesn't want to wait 30-40 seconds for a game to load. He's probably not a WWE PSP fan then.
He says he's spoiled by the DS suspend option, just closing the screen and opening it again.
"If serious gamers find [load delays] frustrating, how can we expect mass market to put up with it?"
The Wii will also help this. Virtual Console games and Opera browser saved to flash ROM will load in just a few seconds.
"Let me describe one more hardware feature." No console does anything when it's off, he says. "We designed a machine to provide a variety of services even when it seems like it is turned off." It will be the "system that never sleeps". "Wii Connect 24" will auto standby, but still do key functions.
This means the Wii console can be constantly connected, he says. Devs can push new content to you even while you sleep. "Starting with something like Animal Crossing, any time the console is in standby they may find a friend has visited their village and left a message or a gift."
"Programmers won't need to write a single line of code - networking software is included in the hardware."
"What we are aiming for is a system that is new every day."
"Finally, the most difficult job is to reach people who've never played before" - by removing several walls. Most important is software. Says the games will bring old and new games together.
"What kind of game can do that?" Examples tomorrow include Wii Sports - the things I reckoned looked the same earlier. Tennis, golf and baseball. Due at launch.
Sorry, that just sank in. "WII SPORTS". They tell us we'll get used to the name in time, and then they do this? God.
Four player support judging by vids and shots. Iwata reckons it'll appeal to people with differing levels of experience.
"We will help destroy that wall between them." Shows a wacky family, with Mum looking like she's about to gaily whack junior on the back of the head.
"This is our answer. Thank you very much." He says. Not about domestic violence, though. Reggie's back. Says hello to people watching online. Hi, Reggie!
Aha, the AOL sweepstakes bloke is about to be brought out. Three grand prize finalists, he says. Miyamoto has chosen the winner.
Miyamoto is on. "Before I pick the winner, I should explain how we play." "Even your Mum can play it." "Just hold it like a tennis racket."
He tosses up, serves, hit forehands, swing low-to-high to lob, do top-spin. He's really doing it - his dramatic actions reflected perfectly by the player, including movement across the stage.
"The winner is," he says, opening an envelope. Scott Dyer won apparently. He looks a bit bemused. "Can I ask you to be my partner in the next game?" asks Miyamoto.
Reggie's coming to join in, and he's got Iwata too. Looks like we're going to have doubles. "Maybe this year I can take the names and you can kick the - you know." Heh, an Iwata char in game. And a Reggie. They're cute [Tom said this. Views certainly do not reflect the views of the rest of Eurogamer, etc, etc...]. And Miyamoto, and a mystery blue man with a crown on.
They're playing doubles, split screen vertically so each group can stand behind their chars. 3 points and you lose. Miyamoto serves, Iwata misses.
"Rematch! Come on!" says Iwata, starting on the new guy. Fight!
Miyamoto just missed the ball completely. New guy plays it out. Looked a bit more fluid before when Miyamoto was demoing.
And they're done with that one. "Be sure to wear some loose clothing so you can really get into it," the translator advises the E3-bound crowd.
"The bottom line of every E3 is simple," says Reggie. "What's hot and what's not." Feel and the next leap are hot, apparently. "It's hot if it's disruptive, it's not if it's predictable." "The future of our industry is inclusion, not exclusion." I'm not even going to keep typing these.
"Wii and the DS represent the same thing: risk. Risk allows progress. We don't run from risk, we run to it. Change is good." "Seeing is just an impression. Playing is believing. Thank you all. See you tomorrow."
It's all over. Thanks for tuning in! Now to go and find out which random European dates they've slipped into the press pack.