[E3 2008] Nintendo E3 Press Conference Recap: A Whole Lot of Casual, Very Little Core

Nintendo’s E3 press conference is officially in the books and I’m not sure about you but for me it was extremely, extremely disappointing. There were some big announcements, like Animal Crossing: City Folk for Wii that’ll use a new “community microphone” accessory called WiiSpeak, an all-new Grand Theft Auto built specifically for the DS called Chinatown Wars, and the first live demos of Wii Music and the new Wii MotionPlus Wiimote add-on with the game it’ll come packed with, Wii Sports Resort, but overall everything was so focused on casual games that I personally have very little interest in.

Wii Music was pretty impressive in demo form watching someone play it, as it features over 50 different instruments that you play however you like by holding and moving the Wiimote and nunchuk like you would the real instruments, but I don’t see it having that much long term appeal. After watching and listening to the group demo at the end where five players took the stage to perform the Mario theme song as a band my interest peaked and dissipated all at once. It’ll be a fun game for kids and families to mess around with, but it doesn’t seem like there’ll be enough to it to hook more experienced gamers who can already get Rock Band and stuff like that.

Same with Wii Sports Resort, it’s use of the Wii MotionPlus was technically impressive. It’s 1:1 motion control will add an extra level of precision and responsiveness once games start to use it, but I don’t know, the mini-games demoed with it weren’t all that exciting. The sword dueling was cool at least, especially how it realistically rendered in game every slight movement of the remote to give that true feeling of wielding a sword, but the other two, playing Frisbee with a dog and jet skiing looked pretty lame. The Wii MotionPlus will be packed in with Wii Sports Resort, but sadly it won’t be available until next spring. No other games expected to take advantage of the MotionPlus were announced.

The DS was a big focus of the conference. Obviously, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars was the headliner, but no real specifics were given nor was any footage of the game shown. A new Pokemon game was announced, Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, and it’ll be out on November 10th. But again, no game details were given. And in continued Guitar Hero over saturation, another Guitar Hero DS game was announced and is already due out this fall. It’s called Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades. The nice thing is it’ll allow song sharing between both On Tour games. So say a friend has the first On Tour and you buy Decades, you’ll be able to share songs from the new game with them, and vice versa.

So yeah, Nintendo’s E3 conference was a letdown for me. A lot of neat ideas were shown, but all of it was so heavily directed towards the casual audience. Not one game from the presentation has me saying “I can’t wait to play that” or “oh yeah, I’m buying that right when it releases”. I love Nintendo, but after Microsoft’s presser yesterday this was a total snooze. Hate to say it, but that’s the truth.

Below is Nintendo’s official conference recap press release. Watch for additional news and media from Nintendo’s E3 lineup throughout today and the rest of the week.

Nintendo Again Redefines Game Control, Puts Spotlight on Community Building

Nintendo Unveils Wii Music, Wii Sports Resort, Animal Crossing: City Folk for Wii and Exclusive Grand Theft Auto, Guitar Hero Games for Nintendo DS

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)– At the E3 Media & Business Summit today, Nintendo unveiled an enhancement for its iconic Wii Remote™ controller and new games that promise to further enrich and engage players around the world. These offerings build on Nintendo’s ongoing efforts to remove the barriers between expert and novice video game players, an approach that has been instrumental in creating a paradigm shift for the industry since the advent of the Nintendo DS™ portable system and the Wii™ home console.

“Much has been reported about the ‘expanded audience’ for games, but what’s really at play is an expanded experience,” said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “People of all ages having fun together—whether in the same room or from remote locations—puts smiles on faces and drives millions of new players into video game entertainment.”

Wii Sports™ Resort is not just a simple sequel to one of the world’s most popular console games, Wii Sports. It is the first title to make use of another Nintendo advance, the Wii MotionPlus accessory, which plugs into the base of the Wii Remote controller to provide an incredibly realistic motion experience. Scheduled for release in spring 2009, Wii Sports Resort includes new game experiences such as Sword Play, Power Cruising on a water scooter and Disc Dog, along with the new Wii MotionPlus accessory and Wii Remote Jacket at no additional cost. The Wii MotionPlus enhances precision and player immersion for the Nintendo-pioneered motion-controlled gaming trend that has drawn millions of new people to the world of video games.

This holiday season, Animal Crossing®: City Folk lets players move into a fun community populated by quirky animals. Players can improve their community, chat with the locals or just spend the day fishing and collecting fossils. There is also the opportunity to catch a bus into the new urban city area. Though you’ll never see other players in the city, you can connect with them in new ways using WiiConnect24™, such as bidding on your friends’ items at the auction house or visiting the Happy Room Academy headquarters to see the top-rated player house. Another new feature in Animal Crossing®: City Folk is the ability to visit friends’ towns and chat with one another using the new WiiSpeak™ microphone. The WiiSpeak microphone is sold separately at an MSRP of $29.99 and allows Internet voice chat among Wii Friends – not just from person to person but from room to room.

Wii Music™ makes it easy for people to jam to tunes, even if they don’t know anything about music. Wii Music transforms the Wii Remote and Nunchuk™ controllers into more than 60 different instruments, including a violin, steel drums, electric guitar – even a cowbell. Players strum, shake, tap and drum along to the music in a pressure-free musical playground where there are no mistakes. They can improvise on their arrangements by skipping a note – or adding 10. The music always sounds great, but it’s up to players to come up with creative arrangements that they can then send to friends and family who have Wii Music. Those Wii Friends can then put their own spin on the arrangement and send it back and forth over WiiConnect24. Wii Music will be available in the United States for the holidays.

In the portable category, Nintendo DS remains on top. Nintendo DS has sold more than 20 million units in the United States and more than 70 million worldwide. Third-party publishers continue to take advantage of that installed base. Coming this winter exclusively to the Nintendo DS is Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, a new entry in Rockstar Games’ award-winning and hugely successful Grand Theft Auto franchise. Activision’s exclusive Guitar Hero® On Tour: Decades makes its anticipated debut this fall, as does a collection of wild and wonderful critters from Electronic Arts’ Spore™ Creatures.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!