We are in! Not sitting at the front like last time, and I can't see any execs. The VIP rows are still mainly empty, though.
Nintendo E3 Conference
Two Mario Wii games! Metroid: Other M! Pulse sensor!
Nintendo has been delivering its E3 keynote address and we reported every ounce of information live, directly to this page.
Among the announcements were Wii Fit Plus, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid: Other M - a collaboration between Nintendo and Team Ninja for Wii.
RPG Golden Sun was unveiled for DS and will arrive next year; we'll finally see Mario & Luigi RPG 3 autumn; and Ubisoft showed a handheld game called Cop: The Recruit.
Our full, blow-by-blow account follows. The earliest entries are presented first.
Our live coverage of this event has finished.
They're playing a song by Natasha Bedingfield, LEWISHAM'S MOST FAMOUS DAUGHTER. The campaign to have a blue plaque place outside the Bedingfield home continues.
The auditorium doesn't seem to be quite as big as the one for Microsoft's conference, or as the one for Nintendo's last year. Blame the monster munch perhaps.
We're quite high up in the auditorium. On the stage are a load of screens of various sizes, all displaying the Nintendo logo. We've yet to see anyone in a Mario costume but there's always hope.
And it's started! Poppy music and a montage of - YES - old people playing videogames! And some kids, and some women. And some more old people! Mario and Luigi are on the screen now, but then then it's back to the old people and the women. There's a lot of white.
Cammie's opening the conference, dressed in a white suite Madonna's Music video. "How are we trending?" Bit 2002 to be honest, Cammie.
"Maybe you've noticed a woman on the plane playing the Nintendo DS system," says Cammie. "Today, everyone's game."
Today, we're promised "innovation in the form of the next leap forward in game control". Is it an invisible steering wheel, Cammie? Lots of "surprises" are promised too. Now she's on about a videogame icon - it's got to be Mario, surely! Or Peter Molyneux? No, it is Mario. Time for a nice retro montage.
"Mario in 3D was great. I think everyone remembers leaping into the pictures in the castle," says Cammie. "The number four is the key to Mario's next surprise. For the last 15 years, Mr Miyamoto has been thinking about one new way to let you play a Mario game that's never been possible before. Today here's his answer - New Super Mario Brothers for Wii."
Bill Trinen from NOA's on now. It's not just about more levels, enemies and items, apparently - "It's also more players." Cammie and three other chaps are joining him on stage, playing as Mario, Luigi, yellow toad and blue toad. On the big screen they are playing 2D Super Mario together. It's all a bit LittleBigPlanet.
You can throw your friends at enemies or pits, or help each other out with co-op - by letting them out of a bubble they're trapped in, for example. Expect pipes, hidden areas and lots of coins to collect. "The battle mode for those coins is probably a bit more fierce."
On screen, someone's picked up a propeller suit - their characters start spinning through the sky and drifting down. You operate it by shaking the Wii remote.
We're at the end of the level. Luigi grabs the flag. As soon as one player grabs it, the others have three seconds to do the same and finish the level. Then your bonus points are tallied and you get a total. Cammie came fourth. Typical woman.
Cammie says NSMB for Wii will launch "holiday 2009".
But "Mario wasn't big enough to attract all consumers to our category". There's a balance board on the big screen. "Wii Fit has been the best-selling videogame around the world" since it launched, says Cammie. 15 million sold.
They've been looking at ways to make Wii Fit more applicable to your daily life. Here's the result: Wii Fit Plus.
It will help you find a specific workout routine that's exactly right for you. You can enter "the locker room" and become your own personal trainer. There are six activities included, but the key is how you mix them up - combining and repeating them as you please. "You can omit all the interludes between exercise, so your routine can move continuously" up to 40 minutes at a time. You can strength, tone and condition depending on what you want to do.
It's "also a lot of fun", says Cammie. There are 15 new balance games including juggling. She's showing one where you swing your ass against numbered balls to make a sum. Now a Mii is jumping over rolling logs. Hang on, wasn't that in Family Trainer?
Wii Fit Plus will be out this "fall", as a standalone disc and also bundled with the board. And she's off. Bye, Cammie! Time for another lifestyle montage! Who knew there were so many ethnic minorities in the world. And Reggie's on! "Wii continues to attack the games market like no system before."
He's banging on about "the mainstream" again. "But the primary weapon for all of this is interface. First, there was a thing that looked like an odd TV remote. Then you realised it was controlling the action in an entirely new way. The nunchuk kept the joystick in play." And of course there's the balance board.
"Today we want to explain the next advance" - Wii Motion Plus is on the screen. Is that it? "What emerges is a new sense of realism in gameplay. Not the kind that makes a game look more real, but feel and play more real."
"Over the last few years, physical reality has become the new proving ground for innovation." You don't need to tell that to Microsoft, Reggie. Now we're seeing a video of WMP. An Asian later is whacking a table tennis ball. A tall gentleman is shooting a hoop. A samurai is pulling a sword, except it's really a Wii remote, etc etc etc.
Now a muscly man is drawing back a bow and arrow. More close-ups of the WMP device. A lady in a skirt like a plaster whacks a golf ball. Oh, was that basketball for Wii Sports Resort? Perhaps these are all games in it? Yes, archery - we're seeing in-game footage now - canoeing, shot putting, golf, table tennis, sword fighting. Yes, the Wii Sports Resort logo is on the screen.
Muted clapping. Definitely no whooping. Bill Trinen's back on stage, he's going to show it how we works. Even though we know. The clapping isn't even polite now.
"WMP detects the position of your Wii remote." Thanks for that, Bill. "The remote and WMP offer precision and motion." Aha! Now we see a Mii sitting on a plane - this is how you will start Wii Sports Resort, by skydiving.
With WMP your Wii remote is your Mii in skyydiving. You twist it to control him or her in the air. You can use it to grab other skydivers, dive down or stay flat. Lovely blue skies and white fluffy clouds as a group of five Miis hold hands in mid air. Looking down, we see a lush green island. The Miis are diving in formation now, and then their chutes open. They drift down to the island.
So that's the intro sequence. Now he's going to show us archery. It's sunset and his Mii is standing on a clifftop. You hold the Wiimote in front of you and the nunchuk behind, like a real bow. "It feels great." Pan left to right with the Wiimote to move the camera, then let fly. There's a wind gauge in the top hand corner so you have to compensate for things like wind and moving targets.
Trinen's not very good at this. "You get three shots per target." You can arch shots, just like you would with a real bow. "As you can see it's not about learning the controls, it's about doing what comes naturally. Then it's dependent on your own skills, which is precisely the kind of challenge long time gamers strive for."
Reggie's back on stage though - "I hope you shoot baskets better than you shoot arrows," he says. No one laughs.
Trinen and Reggie are doing some trash talk, Nintendo-style. No one is still laughing. There's a split-screen showing Bill and Reggie on each side. The banter is actually painful.
Reggie and Bill are shooting hoops, lifting the remote up just like you would do with a real ball. "Once you find your rhythm you can keep it going," says Bill, "Just like a real three point contest." They're on a court with palm trees in the background. It's nighttime and there's a big moon shining above, along with some nice fireworks. Reggie wins 19 to 17 and Bill crawls off into the wings, SHAMED.
Wii Sports Resorts is launching in the US on July 26th. Now Reggie is talking about third-party games and WMP, like Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, which will be bundled with WMP. As will Grand Slam Tennis and Virtua Tennis 2009. "This means every little mistake you make in the real world... Will be faithfully reflected in the game," he says.
He's banging on about Red Steel 2 now. "Third-party development is flowing to Nintendo, and that's because last year, in America, more third-party games were sold for Wii than any other platform - and DS came in second."
Now he's talking about RPGs. "RPGs are mainly about what goes on inside your head - the story, the strategy, the quests and the combat. RPGs allow developers to vary their approach. For Squenix, this means a specific open world adventure built for Wii." It's Final Fantasy Chrystal Bearers trailer.
Some people with spiky hair are racing round in chariots, skydiving and talking about crystals,. And it's over. "Square is also bringing a classic RPG franchise to DS - an exclusive version of Kingdom Hearts" available on September 29th. More spiky haired people with enormous eyes. There's a bit of rowing and some fighting. Tinkerbell! Hercules! It does look very impressive for a DS game.
Bowser's on the screen now. "The latest Mario and Luigi RPG game, subtitled Bowser's Inside Story" - Mario and Luigi will be "reduced to micro-size" as they check out Bowser's "internal pipes" Urgh. It's a DS title: we see Bowser munching a mushroom and burping, then sucking up Mario, Luigi and Daisy, Mario and Luigi are shown battering ulcers with giant hammers, jumping on bacteria, dealing with Bowser's heart burn.
To end we see the DS held vertical and Bowser blowing fire across both screens. The game will be out in Europe and North America this fall.
"2010 will bring a new dawn with Golden Sun DS." Footage of the game - a character runs around a mountain landscape, jumping over platforms and gazing at the sunset. A big yellow dragon is shown, then a lady riding a white horse. Another lady shoots arrows from the sky. There's a lovely sunset, and it's over. Cammie's back!
She's talking about how the huge installed base of DS helps developers innovate. To demonstrate this, she's talking about James Patterson. Beginning 18th October, THQ is bringing James Patterson's Women's Murder Club Games of Passion to DS. "Why join a book club when you can join the women's murder club?" I've often thought that myself. Play as Lindsay or Claire or some other woman. "Investigate secret motives!" And play a bejeweled clone, by the looks of things.
That was amazing. Now she's talking about Cop: The Recruit, a new game from Ubisoft. Expect a "gritty open-world". You play as a New York cop trying to unravel a conspiracy, called Dan Myers. He's an underground street racer. We see him racing around city streets, then shooting baddies in a warehouse. Looks like you'll get to drive speedboats too.
Now Cammie's talking about Girls' Mode, as it's known in Japan, or Style Savvy as it will be called in America. You can design your own clothes. Looks like you hold the DS vertically and pick from "more than 10,000 fashions". But can you go crotchless? "Customise your shop. Compete in Runway Contests. Shop in other players' boutiques. Visit a wide world of shops." And buy things. In them.
Cammie doesn't wait for applause. "DS delivers something for everyone." She's talking about the DSi now, and how it lets developers deliver surprises. Montage time! It's real people talking about how much they like the DSi. "I'm a really on the go person," "With the touch screen you're like in the game" and so on. "The internet is going to be awesome."
"It's better than being alone and playing by myself," says a girl. There are snickers. Back to Cammie. "As of today, total Nintendo DSi sales in America have surpassed 1 million units. Consumers have purchased 400,000 Lites" since it launched, too.
"People today don't just consume entertainment, they create it and share it." Just look at pornography, for example.
The movie maker - Flip Notes Studio - will be available in the US this summer. No word on Europe. Other user-generated content is on the way: Mario vs. Donkey Kong Minis March Again. It will let you design levels from the ground up.
You'll be able to share them locally or via Wi-Fi Connection. "Obstacles lie between the minis and the goal, but what are these obstacles? Now, that's mostly up to you." The game will be available as a download for DSi from 8th June - yes, Monday. It's not clear if this is worldwide.
WarioWare DIY now. It will let you design games from scratch. You control everything. "We believe this is close to essential game design as any game has ever come." It's "deeply compelling", says Cammie. Once again you can share your games with other WarioWare DIY owners.
Beginning this summer, you'll be able to auto-upload photos taken with your DSi and send them straight to Facebook. The ten editing lenses "makes it even more fun" to share your photos on Facebook.
Zelda Spirit Tracks now. "I've played it, and so can you, on the show floor this week."
"There has never been so much going on for Nintendo portables... In our world, everyone's game." Another lifestyle montage! Wii Fit. An old man using a remote. A woman playing the DS on an escalator. Another woman walking across a street holding a DS. And now... Iwata's on stage!
He comes on stage to the biggest cheers of the event so far. Tick off "expanded" on your E3 conference bingo sheet.
Nintendo divides the population into three groups: those who actively play games, those who say they will never play and those who say they might some day. It's the Maybe group which will grow the gaming population. He reckons there are more than 295 million active gamers in the US, Europe and Japan. They buy lots of software. But there are more than 149 million potential players still.
A photo of some ethnically mixed people holding steering wheels appeal on the screen. Now a woman is shown playing the DS while another woman does her hair. "We have been able to erase the viewpoint that those who never played games in the past will never play them in the future. Our next goal is to create individual titles which satisfy every type of game player."
I can't keep up with what he's saying. I'm transfixed by all the lifestyle photography and consumed with envy. Why don't I live in a white loft with wooden floorboards and a muscled gentleman with a huge afro?
He's banging on about space invaders and pong now. A girl is shown playing the DS next to a cat. It's all about making games experienced and less experienced gamers can play together, says Iwata, like Mario Kart Wii.
He's going on about Wii Sports Resort and Super Mario Bros, Wii and Wii Fit Plus now - these are games all types of gamers can play together. "But I understand this solution may not be entirely convincing."
"What's next? I though I should give you at least one potential answer. So I'd like to give you a sneak peek at an entirely different way of thinking about games." Brain Age was about training your brain, Wii Fit about your body. "Today, please look for the first time at the Wii Vitality Sensor." You put your finger in a little white module wired up to your Wii remote and it measures your pulse. "The point is to visualise something which otherwise is invisible."
"The WVS intends to help you see the information relating to the inner world of your body. People would be able to use the product we are developing with this to aid greater relaxation. Maybe everyone under pressure could use this as a way to relax with a videogame."
Traditionally games have been developed to excite and stimulate, "But in the future they may be used to make you relax and even fall asleep." Doing a good job so far.
He's off, and Cammie's back on. "Thank you, Mr Iwata, for that look into the future." Yes thanks very much. But Cammie's going back to simulation now. Mario is back on screen.
"A second full 3d Mario title is going to appear on a single console." Trailer shows Mario spinning through space, running round planets, riding Yoshi.
Big robots, Mario zooming down ramps, talking to brick monsters, avoiding spinning blades, rolling a snowball round an arctic planet, diving underwater, jumping on a pressure pad, swimming, collecting coins, jumping between platforms, running found a planet as flowers bloom, flying in a bee costume, being stalked by ghost Marios, avoiding giant Koopas, jumping on mushrooms, avoiding giant bullets, spinning out of stars, flying on Yoshi's back. Super Mario Galaxy 2.
The trailer's over and Reggie's back. He's listing what we've just seen. "But I'll be honest, I read the blogs too. I've been a gamer myself for a long time. I know there are still people out there saying, OK, great, but I want more. That more is generally associated with publishers not named Nintendo. So here are examples of third-party titles with a little harder edge, ones you'll be playing exclusively on Wii before year-end." Starting with The Conduit.
Conduit trailer. Lots of shooting, robots, explosions, people saying things like, "There's no time, Michael!" But is it compatible with the Vitality Sensor?
Resident Evil Darkside Chronicles now. More shooting. Blood spatters, Zombies. What no dogs jumping out of the wardrobe?
Dead Space Extraction now. Fine, but when's Super Mario Galaxy 2 out? Reggie's not saying.
"But what about Nintendo itself? Could a new, edgier game be coming from us? Absolutely." Come on Reggie! Show us your game! Footage - a stormy sea. The camera pans up through clouds and over a mountain. The Team Ninja logo appears on screen. We're in space now. Missiles are blowing up a space ship. Now a girl in a tight shirt is wandering through a space station, and looking at the sunset. "Any objections lady?" says a man in uniform. It's Metroid: Other M
In-game stuff now - lava level! Lots of big spiky enemies battling it out. A big explosion. The girl in the Metroid costume says hello to another girl. The numbers 2010 flash up on the screen.
Back to Reggie. "This historic collaboration is going to reveal a Metroid game unlike any you've experienced before. It will take you deeper into Samus's story and the Metroid universe."
"We believe we can provide something for everyone. There's a place in gaming for everyone and we remain committed to making Nintendo everyone's game." And it's over. Clapping. Rock music. Time to get the bus to Sony!