When the Wii Zapper was announced at E3 2007, there was a collective groan here at Eurogamer Dungeons. As a plastic cradle to hold a Wii Remote and Nunchuk, we wondered exactly how it was going to offer more value than one of those Wii accessory packs that you find in bargain bins across the land. Or just holding it differently. After all, is Wii Sports Golf really that much more like playing golf if you've got a tiny plastic golf club attached to your Wii Remote?
Mario Party 8. Eight Mario parties! That's a lot of cake, streamers and mini sausage rolls over the years, and that's with fudging the numbers; there was also the poorly received Mario Party Advance, plus an e-Reader card game and an arcade installment that were never released here. With that in mind, the first Mario Party to hit the Wii had better do something pretty special to make it worthwhile if you've already purchased one already - especially considering you probably already own about 5 mini-game collections for the Wii, anyway.
Well! It sure looks like things have got a little interesting for Xbox Live gamers in the market for a board game designed by a German with a title that begins with the letter C, huh? With the release of Carcassonne, based on Klaus-Jürgen Wrede's tile-based landscape building game, the amount of options has literally doubled.
Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree is a difficult sort of title for a video game reviewer to approach. Okay, sure, it has many of the trappings of a traditional video game; medals for playing well, a multiplayer mode, it comes in a box on a disc that you put into a console, that sort of thing. But as part of Nintendo's "Touch Generations" line-up, it's probably as uncomfortable with me using the term "game" to describe it as I am. The difference is, of course, is that Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree probably thinks of itself as "lifestyle software," I think of it as the digital equivalent of a dog-eared primary school maths book.
I've got a big idea, readers. Why don't we all get together and declare that we've had enough of the same old clichés that lazy Japanese RPG developers like to foist upon us, eh? Just draft up a nice letter, get someone to translate it, and send it off to "All videogame developers, Japan." I'm sure it'll get to someone. And viola! No more amnesiac heroes with a vague but important secret. No more precocious young lads from tiny villages who turn out to be the chosen one. And no more heroes that stand mute, while their companions talk and the plot progresses around them.
Hands up if you remember when "arcade-perfect" meant something.
First things first: some of us still have normal-person televisions. Catan is yet another game that completely ignores the fact that some people will need to play it on SDTV. Much of the text is tiny. Worse, it's tiny for no particular reason at all. Double-worse, it's actually pretty tiny on an HDTV, too.
I've always considered Wario as one of the most unusual characters in Nintendo's roster; while he plays a stock baddie in Nintendo's sports and party game titles (little more than an evil, palette swapped Mario) he's starred in two innovative series of his own, making a mark with the Wario Land series before the celebrated Wario Ware games made him a bankable star in his own right.
At E3 this year I got to try out the demo of Elebits. At the end, I turned around to hand the controller to the next person in line (who happened to be GoldenEye designer Martin Hollis, but that's neither here nor there), who asked me what I thought of it. "It's alright," I said, "but the final version better have more to it than just zapping tiny creatures and flinging objects about."
Thought for the day: perhaps the travelling circus is a jinx. Excellent TV series Carnivale didn't make it past a couple of seasons, and Pee-Wee Herman's career suffered a severe downturn since the disastrous Big Top Pee-Wee (although touching himself in an adult theatre probably didn't help). If the travelling circus theme is a curse, then, it's one that's now caught up with Monster Rancher series.
There came a point during Nintendo's E3 conference - somewhere between the time Reggie was banging on about "innovation" and "feel" and "change" and "it's hot if it's disruptive" and "the next leap" and "inclusion, not exclusion" and the time we tried to fashion a noose out of our laptop keyboard only to realise it was over and we could go home - that it dawned on us there wasn't really a lot of time spent discussing the new new things.
Catharsis. The simple purging of emotional tensions, if we're going to take the dictionary at face value, it's the kind of thing that drives us to watch scary movies or play scary video games to allow us to experience, say, fear, an emotion we wouldn't get to (nor want to) experience naturally, and purge that tension from our systems.
Nintendo has created so many franchises over the years that it's been easy for a few to fall by the wayside. But if there's one thing Nintendo has learned with its recent reissues of classic NES titles on GBAe and the coming Virtual Console for Nintendo Wii, is that it's worthwhile to pay homage to their past. So it was with an almost reverent joy that I received the news that Nintendo is at least paying lip service to one of my most favorite, most forgotten NES titles on the Nintendo Wii.
As I had chosen the (almost definitely incorrect, when it comes to the matter of time management) plan of playing the Wii games in the order they were presented when walking round the hall in the correct direction, I didn't actually get to this game until after I had played all of the Wii Sports games, and by then I'd become somewhat accustomed to playing using the Wii controller. Despite this, were Nintendo planning on recreating the glory days of consoles being released with a 'pack-in' title, I'd recommend above all it includes WarioWare: Smooth Moves in the box.
This is the game, apparently, that Nintendo just didn't want me to preview. You see, Retro were kind enough to give the E3 punters a demo which was, roughly, twenty-five minutes long. A serious investment of time. Nintendo, or at least the floor monkeys, didn't seem to know that, so the first day the lines were so long, and so static, that it was a waste of time. Day 2, of course, they've got a plan in mind. They'll limit everyone to about 10 minutes. Which means that by the middle of the demo, roughly, you're kicked off. So, therefore, I need to wait in line about 6 times, ensuring I time it right half the time so I can play it from the middle onwards (continuing someone else's game) to ensure I get all the way through it.
No one sitting in the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles was particularly surprised when the lovable Reggie Fils-Aimes, in his traditionally charming style, told us Nintendo would release The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on GameCube and Wii simultaneously, and on the Wii launch date. I guess, at best, we could say we were a bit surprised when he used the slightly technical term "separate SKUs" to describe the two different versions, but naturally that's only to establish that there are quite distinct differences between the two versions. For example, one's a giant badger.
With the last day of E3 looming already, despite reading our excellent coverage of the rest of the show, and getting to hear what Miyamoto and Sakurai think of the new Nintendo Wii (they think it's brilliant, shockingly) you're probably wondering where on earth our hands-on coverage of the Nintendo Wii first-party titles has been.
I have watched Hideo Kojima take a wee. Now, I expect there are two possibilities going through your head, here, one; that I'm making some kind of juvenile joke about Hideo Kojima picking up a Wii controller, which he didn't do, so that one's out, or two; that Hideo Kojima has some kind of a weird urine fetish and let his basest desires take hold during the Konami Pre-show press conference. No, no that one either. The actual fact is that I just happened to be waiting behind him in the line for the sole urinal in the toilet of the LA public library that held this year's event. I wasn't really paying attention, I swear, I was just a bit shocked when he turned around and was... Hideo Kojima.
In the two days I've spent inside the Wii section of E3, nothing has been more stressful than having my badge ripped off me directly in the middle of it. Because, well, they won't issue you a replacement one. No matter what you do. As despite being a slightly well known games journalist (hey, I've been slagged off on people's blogs!) who is actually working at the show (not just having a nice time waiting in line) apparently I might have went outside and sold my pass for 'one and a half thousand dollars'. That is, naturally, insane. Literally anyone can buy a pass for three hundred as a general attendee. What, it's worth $1500 to get the most inedible sandwiches ever at 11:30a.m sharp and use a stupidly crowded media room, which seems to have bigger lines than the Wii booth?
As we all know, Nintendo is hoping to revolutionise gaming later this year with a new form of control input. It may be just what we need really. Because game developers are never, ever going to give us fully configurable controls.
Who'd want to be a farmer? Foot and Mouth, Mad Cow, Bird Flu - these are only some of the epidemics that threaten them. Crop farmers aren't exempt from suffering either, as supermarkets demand the best quality produce at the lowest cost, while consumers bitch about pesticides and genetically engineered food.
Despite our best efforts to remain impartial here at EG Towers, we often find ourselves challenged by our preconceptions, such as when reviewing a new title in an established franchise. Pokemon Link (aka Pokemon Trozei), for example, leads us to imagine a puzzle game saturated with the Pokemon series' insufferable anime style, and therefore of no interest to anyone who isn't already enamoured with Nintendo's carpet bomb approach to cute. It's nice to say, then, that Pokemon Link is a truly pleasant surprise.
The first thing you need to know about Metroid Prime Pinball is that it's bundled with a rumble pack. Nintendo, up to its old tricks again, has seen fit to launch a new accessory for a system by attaching it to a game, which works fine when it's the calibre of say, Lylat Wars (the N64's rumble pack bundle) but less so when it's a Donkey Kong 64 (the N64's memory expansion bundle).
Back in the distant heyday of the Dreamcast, we should probably have seen the trouble on the horizon. Despite featuring a great selection of titles in general, Sega’s underappreciated box of wonders featured a mere two RPGs that anyone deemed worth talking about; Sega Overworks’ Skies of Arcadia, and Game Arts’ Grandia II.
There is one nice touch in State of Emergency 2. During the introduction to the game, the name of the publisher and then the name of the development studio roll by as neon signs in the generic future-o-city of the game's environment. It's subtle enough that you could almost miss it, and shows that at least during one stage of development, real attention was paid. Sadly, that's the only nice touch in State of Emergency 2. By then we've already seen a prostitute touting her services and heard the first in a long line of tedious expletives thrown about like swearing is going out of fashion.