Nintendo's Wee Revolution

No longer any need to get all out of breath and sweaty while playing tennis. Do it Wii style and you don't even have to stand up

Feature by Josh Wilson | 15 Jun 2006
E3 : Exposition.

The Electronic Entertainment Exposition, held annually in sunny LA showcases all the latest technology from all the main players to an audience of 600,000 industry insiders. I was all set to get on my plane and scoot of to the show... until I realised we couldn't afford it. Instead I've watched all the videos, perused every press release and scanned all the pictures to bring you a condensed, uber-informative E3 breakdown…

E3 kicked off with the Sony press conference, where the big one let loose with info pertaining to their next-generation console offering (after a lot of toss about projected sales). The PS3 – to be released on November the 19th here, will retail for 599 euros for the full wack console. This includes a Blue-Ray drive (phat DVD) wi-fi capabilities, six-axis motion sensors (aping Nintendo much?) HD-TV compatibility and a 60gig hard drive. Which is all very nice, until you consider that the 360 should be about half this price by the time the PS3 emerges. If you're thinking "ah but the games will looks so much better", we'll they don't. Sure the console is a beast but you cant really discern the difference between what Sony had on show and what Microsoft did. Speaking of Microsoft; Sony are setting up a Live! style gaming network. With movies on demand, downloads and online play, it seems that the console may have everything. 'Grand Tourismo HD', 'Metal Gear Solid', 'Tekken 6', 'Brothers in Arms: Hells Highway' and a few more were all shown. All of which looked very nice and shiny as you would expect, but none of them blew me away. On top of this PS3 jazz, Sony also announced the PSP will soon be playing PS1 games downloaded from the net, as well as advanced browserness to watch videos from the net and Voice over IP support - the wee handheld is sounding cooler than ever.

Nintendo's conference came next, where they showcased 26 playable games for the Wii (the new name for the revolution – pronounced "We"). All these games utilised the Wii's new motion sensor controller to some degree, which looks very promising. The basis of the controller is a TV remote with motion sensors, attached to a nunchuk. Confused? I was, but from everything I've seen, it seems to work very well. Wave it about like a sword and your weapon will move exactly the same on screen. Now you no longer have any need to get all out of breath and sweaty while playing tennis. Do it Wii style and you don't even have to stand up. Point and shoot in games with the wand end, or draw it back to fire arrows from you bow in easily the most exciting game they showed - 'Zelda: Twilight Princess'. The franchise is back, and utilising everything Wii has to offer: better graphics, massive gameplay, using the new controller to its fullest for some hot sword slashing action.

Available on launch day for both the Wii and the Gamecube, 'Zelda' will surely be a huge selling point for Nintendo. Combine this with the other 25 launch titles available: 'Mario Galaxy', 'Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles', 'Metroid Prime 3: Corruption', 'Red Steel' (looks very cool) all of which work very well with the controller set-up, it all sounds just a little bit gravy. And then there's the old school: Nintendo will be offering old games from all its previous consoles for download for free (or next to nothing) to be played on the Wii. There really is something for everyone. While no definite dates were given for its release, the Wii will be out by Christmas and will cost less than both the PS3 and 360 (my guess is about £120). The big N's conference oozed innovation with this new style of gameplay, and their console easily took both the biscuit and cake. Their whole attitude was epitomised as they got two high ranking designers up on stage to play tennis on the Wii against audience members; you could see that they really do enjoy it (a refreshing change when compared to the all together more faceless machinations of the Sony/Microsoft empires).

Microsoft themselves didn't have anything remarkably new. They showcased some games which all looked very polished, as a next-gen game should, as well as announcing their dedicated advance into Japan with some games made specifically for that market. They also let rip with the HD-DVD (counter Blue-Ray) add-on for the 360 which will be available this Xmas. On top of 360 info, the big boss Gates came on to show some of the new Windows Vista features, mainly the cross-platform gamer card and gaming system which will let you play games on the PC against players on a 360. The main point of the show (outside of more tedious Sony style sales chat) was that Sony wasn't safe. Microsoft announced that the latest 'Pro Evo Soccer' will be available on the 360 from its launch, as well as 'Grand Theft Auto 4', both of which were previous Sony only games. New games of interest announced included 'Gears of War' – a super brutal amazing-looking shooter which is apparently the dog's. Oh and then theres the 'Halo 3' movie to boot…

Check online for more E3 info and links to more videos that you can shake two rather long and pointy sticks at.