The launch of WiiWare - small games that you can download from the Wii Shop - is the fulfilment of part of Nintendo's promise for the system. As the hype was building before the console's launch, Nintendo made much of the idea that the system would encourage creativity and lower the bar for developers - allowing people to experiment with innovation without taking huge financial risks. A year and a half after launch, here we are. WiiWare allows developers to create small games - with small teams and small budgets - and then make them available online, priced at 500 Wii points (GBP 3.50, or EUR 5.00) and upwards. Speaking with us in Frankfurt ahead of the launch, Nintendo's European marketing boss Laurent Fischer confirmed that there was no content approval process - developers can create whatever they want, provided it passes the technical approval process and gets a recognised age rating.
Nintendo's WiiWare service for downloadable first- and third-party games has launched in Europe with six brand new games to try out.
The headlining duo are LostWinds from Frontier Developments, which earned itself a handsome 9/10 in our review, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King from Square Enix, which is a sort of RPG Sim City.
The other launch titles are Dr Mario & Germ Buster, a Wiimote-enabled remake of the classic Nintendo puzzler; Star Soldier R, a high-scores shoot-'em-up from Hudson; TV Show King, a basic quiz game from Gameloft; and Toki Tori, a puzzle/platform game where to play as a chicken.
Since you've already stared lovingly at the European WiiWare launch line-up, some of which are due out on 20th May, we thought you might like a bit more information on each of the games. Prices listed are based on US and Japanese equivalents, as Nintendo was unable to confirm European pricing when we asked.
(Update 20th May, 7.17am: Pricing is now confirmed. The only two on this list not available at the 20th May launch are Pirates: The Key of Dreams and Pop.)
Dr. Mario & Germ Buster (Nintendo) - 1000 Wii Points (GBP 7 / EUR 10 approx)
Nintendo has announced the European WiiWare launch line-up, which is headlined by LostWinds from Frontier and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King by Square Enix.
Yesterday saw the launch of the US WiiWare service, featuring six titles, but we actually get eight in Europe on 20th May, missing out on the US' Defend your Castle and V.I.P Casino: Blackjack but gaining Dr. Mario & Germ Buster from Nintendo, Pirates: The Key of Dreams from Oxygen Interactive, Star Soldier R from Hudson and Toki Tori from Two Tribes.
Update, 12.05pm: Nintendo has been in touch to say "not all eight titles will be immediately available from the May 20th launch date". The wording in the press release was, "From 20th May onwards a whole host of brand new creative games from developers across Europe and the rest of the globe become available, including..." followed by a list. We've asked Nintendo to clarify which ones will be out when.
As well as adding Sonic to the Smash Bros. roster, Nintendo's Japanese press conference also brought us the local release date for Wii Fit, news of motorbikes in Mario Kart and a few details on the first games for downloadable service Wii Software (Wii Ware), announced this June.