Recapping Nintendo’s Big Day of Surprises

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Earlier today we brought you news of Nintendo’s third-generation DS upgrade called the DSi, but turns out that wasn’t the only surprise the house that Mario built had up its sleeve today. Far from it, in fact. Nintendo also sent out a massive press release this afternoon detailing product plans for the holiday season and first details on games in the works for next year. Continue reading for a recap of the main points, including the official press release in its entirety.

– The Club Nintendo rewards program already available throughout most of the world will finally be launching in North America this holiday season. For those who don’t know what Club Nintendo is, it’s a program that allows fans to register purchased products and participate in surveys to collect “loyalty coins” that can be used to purchase collectible swag-like items (keyrings, shirts, soundtracks, etc.).

– Nintendo promises that Wii and DS units will be in far greater supply at retail this holiday season compared to last year.

– A new Wii Speak Channel will be launched on November 16th alongside the Wii Speak community microphone to be sold separately for $30, finally bringing online voice chat to the Wii. Animal Crossing: City Folk, also launching November 16th, will be the first game to take advantage of Wii Speak.

– A bunch of new games are on the way this holiday season and beyond. Titles due out by the end of the year include Wii Music (Wii), Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii), Tetris Party (WiiWare), Strong Bad Episode 3 (WiiWare), World of Goo (WiiWare), Cave Story (WiiWare), Boingz (WiiWare), Personal Trainer: Cooking (DS), and Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia (DS). Brand new games scheduled for 2009 include Sin & Punishment 2 and the long-awaited Punch-Out!! rebirth both for Wii, and for DS Personal Trainer: Math, Personal Trainer: Walking (also introducing a new wireless pedometer accessory), Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, Mario & Luigi RPG 3, and Rhythm Heaven.

NINTENDO’S HOLIDAY 2008: WII SPEAK CHANNEL, CLUB NINTENDO, MORE SURPRISES

Nintendo Announces ‘Significant Increase’ in Q4 Wii Supplies over 2007

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 2, 2008 – Nintendo today disclosed a number of surprises, including new games, the ability to use the Wii™ console to chat with friends near and far, and the expansion of the popular Club Nintendo rewards program to North America.

Continuing its commitment to supply new game experiences for every level of player, Nintendo revealed a wide range of games for the 2008 holiday season and beyond. A number of games are slated for 2009, including a new Punch-Out!! ™ and Sin & Punishment 2 for Wii, and Fire Emblem™: Shadow Dragon and Mario & Luigi™ RPG 3 for Nintendo DS™. Consumers also can expect a new “Personal Trainer” series of titles designed to help users enrich their lives and learn new skills in fun and interesting ways.

Nintendo also announced that North American supplies of the Wii video game console between October and December will see a significant increase from 2007’s levels, and that Nintendo DS will also be available in greater abundance than ever before.

“We have new games and new experiences for every kind of player this holiday season, and that will certainly fuel increased interest in Wii and Nintendo DS,” said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “While there’s no way to gauge total demand for our hardware systems, we’re trying to satisfy as many of those players as possible.”

The new Wii Speak™ Channel arrives on Nov. 16 and uses the Wii Speak™, a microphone that sits on top of your television. This accessory is sold separately at an MSRP of $29.99. People who buy the microphone are given a code that allows them to download the Wii Speak Channel from the Wii Shop Channel at no charge. The Wii Speak lets people in up to four locations who have traded Friend Codes chat with one another at no extra cost. When you use Wii Speak in real time, your Mii™ appears on your TV screen and mimics your chat. You also can leave audio messages for your friends and family members or use Wii Speak to narrate captions for your photos.

Gamers have longed for the expansion of Club Nintendo to North America for years, and now Nintendo is making it a reality for everyone. Club Nintendo rewards Nintendo loyalists who complete surveys and register Nintendo products with loyalty coins that can be redeemed for exclusive items available only to Club Nintendo members. Club Nintendo is set to debut in North America this holiday season.

Key software available for Wii this holiday season includes:

* Wii Music™: It’s a new Wii experience that launches on Oct. 20 and gives you the ability to play a wide variety of musical instruments by using the Wii Remote™ and Nunchuk™ controllers to mimic the motions used to play real instruments. Everyone in the family will enjoy jamming together, while music fans will enjoy creating their own fresh, stylized takes on a variety of songs. Songs range from classical favorites like Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” to pop hits like “Material Girl” or “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” to Nintendo standards like the Super Mario Bros.® theme.

* Animal Crossing™: City Folk: This game lets you live your life in a virtual community that’s all your own. You can interact with the fun characters in your town, customize everything from your house to your clothing and even chat with other friends in the game using the Wii Speak. Animal Crossing: City Folk launches on Nov. 16.

o WiiWare delivers great new games directly to Wii consoles that are connected to the Internet. Nintendo’s downloadable game service will see games like:

o Tetris Party: This game will feature 18 game modes, including 10 never-before-seen single-player and multiplayer variations of Tetris. Some modes will use the unique capabilities of the Wii Remote and the Wii Balance Board™.

o Strong Bad Episode 3: This third episode in the series features humorous story-driven game play, music-themed collectibles and achievements and an old-school side scrolling shoot ’em up mini-game, as well as a special celebrity guest appearance by rock gods Limozeen!

o World of Goo: This title is an award-winning, physics-based puzzle/construction game. Grab living, squirming, talking globs of goo to build structures, bridges, cannonballs, zeppelins and giant tongues.

o Cave Story: This title is an action-adventure game with new, exclusive content and features created only for the WiiWare version.

o Boingz: Developed by the award-winning studio NinjaBee and published by RealNetworks®, Inc., Boingz introduces players to bendy, stretchy little critters who’ve found themselves scattered about an alien world. Using the Wii Remote, players can grab, stretch and fling the rubber-band bodies of the Boingz to bounce them around the environments and help them find their way home.

Key games planned for Wii in 2009 include:

* Punch-Out!!: Nintendo is reviving one of its most storied and popular franchises with the first new Punch-Out!! boxing game in 15 years. Players will once again follow the exploits of the up-and-coming challenger, Little Mac, and take on a series of opponents, including favorites from the past like Glass Joe and King Hippo.

* Sin & Punishment 2: The announcement of a sequel to one of the most popular Japanese import titles ever is a dream come true for avid Nintendo fans. This new sequel blends intuitive Wii Remote pointing controls with the shooting and sword-swinging game play that made the original an instant classic and fan favorite.

Some Nintendo products available this fall for Nintendo DS include:

* Personal Trainer™: Cooking: This title launches on Nov. 24 as the first in Nintendo’s new Personal Trainer series. Personal Trainer: Cooking includes more than 200 recipes from around the world and transforms the Nintendo DS into an electronic, interactive cookbook, complete with a glossary of terms and even instructional videos. In 2009, the Personal Trainer series will expand with Personal Trainer™: Math, a collection of basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division drills based on the Kageyama method. Meanwhile, Personal Trainer™: Walking will introduce a wireless pedometer, letting consumers not only track every step they take, but also turn walking into interactive entertainment.

* Pokémon™ Ranger: Shadows of Almia: On Nov. 10, this new installment in the Pokémon Ranger series allows you to use the power of Pokémon to protect nature and help people in need as you strive to become a Top Ranger. Use the DS stylus to encircle and capture Pokémon with the “Capture Styler” as you explore the vast new Almia region.

Key games planned for Nintendo DS in 2009 include:

* Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon: A reinvention of the original NES™ titles with revamped graphics and intuitive touch control, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon will finally introduce longtime fans to the stories that gave birth to the series nearly 20 years ago in Japan, while introducing the Fire Emblem franchise to a broader audience of strategy and chess fans. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon also reveals the back story of Marth, the original lead character in the Fire Emblem series introduced and made popular in North America by the Super Smash Bros.® series of fighting games.

* Mario & Luigi RPG 3: The acclaimed Mario & Luigi series returns with another hilarious action role-playing game. Join the Mario Bros. as their travels take them far and wide.

* Rhythm Heaven™: If you can snap your fingers in time to music, you’re ready to play this simple but infectious rhythm game. Just tap your stylus on the touch screen to the beat of the music.

Nintendo has a strong lineup of legacy games and accessories that have continued selling well, even a year after they launched. These include Super Mario Galaxy™, the Wii Zapper™ accessory, Wii Fit™, Super Smash Bros.™ Brawl and Mario Kart™Wii. These five products are expected to remain in high demand as shoppers look for ways to make their holiday dollars go further.

Remember that Wii features parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about these and other Nintendo products, visit www.Nintendo.com.

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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!