E3 2012: Nintendo Press Conferences Summary

Nintendo’s highlight: the unveiling of wii U.

At 9 am this morning, Nintendo held it’s press conference at E3, focusing on wii U.  We were able to live blog the conference on our sister site, All That Gaming Stuff.  This is in addition to their “pre-conference” Sunday evening and their 3DS “post-conference” being held tomorrow, June 6th at 6 pm PST

Thanks to those of you that followed along with our live blog at All That Gaming Stuff yesterday.  For those of you that didn’t get a chance to follow along, and don’t have the hour for the pre-conference and over hour and a half to watch this morning’s conference, we’ve created a handy summary for you here.  Read below the jump for the games and news announced, links to trailers and game play footage, and more!

Obviously, the biggest news is the wii u gamepad, and miiverse.  In fact, this is probably the biggest news of all of E3 2012.  There was much discussion over using the gamepad to break free from the TV.  All of the current wii games can be played using the gamepad.  It appears that access to Miiverse, Nintendo Land, and other aspects of game play can be done completely separate from your television.  “Asymmetric gameplay” is intentional.  Dual gamepad support was confirmed.

The homescreen of Nintendo’s Miiverse will eventually be browser-enabled.  We liked that you can add screenshots from the games you’re currently playing up on the Miiverse homepage.  The screen also shows your friends, others that share your interests, things that are trending in the Nintendo universe, and your own updates.

The asymmetric gameplay is an increasingly interesting concept.  Will it promote family fighting and sibling rivalry over who gets to use the gamepad and who uses the standard wii controllers?  Playing the same game with two very different kinds of play expands the possibilities for almost every game.

Pikmin 3 – The wii U will have a touchscreen map that you can use to enhance your game play.  Also featured is motion plus technology, new controls, and more depth to the game.  You can record your playthroughs and then watch them later, in order to develop a better strategy on your next run through.  This struck us as an awesome concept.

New Super Mario Bros. 3 –  The game has a lot of new gameplay elements, including blowing up Yoshis to use as hot air balloons.  A fifth person can play in game using the Wii U gamepad, either adding blocks or working in “speed” mode, while the four others are playing on standard wii remotes.

Batman Arkham City Armored Edition – New features have been added to the wii U version of the game.  There is a B.A.T. Mode, in which Batman takes energy from opponents and then can use it to become more powerful.  Also pretty slick is using the Wii U gamepad to place gel explosives where you think you need them, then choosing when and how much of it to set off.  Very cool in terms of strategy!

Scribblenauts Unlimited for wii U – Added a LOT of features where you can create just about anything this time around.  Game is set up for multi-player mode where you can collaborate on two gamepads.

Wii Fit U – I think this might have been our favorite new feature, in addition to the Wii U.  Wii Fit U will enhance the exisiting balance board.  We’re glad Nintendo’s taking into account its existing peripherals, unlike some other gaming systems (*cough, cough, playstation*) that seem to forget their earlier technology.  We liked the use of the gamepad to view and store weight/age/BMI data, rather than showing it on the TV screen.

The Fitmeter peripheral is awesome.  You can use it without the Wii system, then later synchronize your data.  Given that most people don’t use Wii Fit as their only way of working out, this keeps all your workouts in one place.

During the post-conference film, hosted by Iwata, a few of the new Wii U Fit games were shown, Trampoline Target (we’d be really tempted to just jump off the trampoline and let the player crash a few times), Core Luge (it was hard to see the point of the gamepad here, though), and Dessert Course, which struck us as a really funny title for a system that’s supposed to promote getting fit.

Sing (working title) – A demo of another way that Wii U has asymmetric play.  It’s basically another karaoke game, with added features.  The gamepad shows the lyrics, as well as directions to the audience, while the tv shows dance moves.  This works well when you do NOT want people singing along to the lyrics.  It would also lend itself to a host/hostess format, perhaps in a bar or stage setting, where you want one person controlling the action, rather than at home.

There was a short amount of 3DS news, though most of it will be in tonight’s press conference.  Some highlights:

Super Mario Bros 2 is going to be released August 19th, 2012.

Paper Mario Sticker Star – More game depth.  You can steal stickers from local property owners and use them in battle.  Game is to be launched during this year’s holiday season.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 Dark Moon – Looks pretty cool!  New ghosts, new elements, and fun graphics.  Game is also to be launched during this year’s holiday season.

With that, the Nintendo press conference went back to focusing on Wii U….

Lego City Undercover – a new version is in the works.  We laughed out loud twice during the trailer, the first time when the detective is holding a criminal by the wrist over the edge of a building, only to have this yellow plastic hand slip right out of his shirt.  Near the end of the trailer, the main character assembled green Legos into a Super Mario Bros – style tunnel, then stepped in.  The gamepad will work as a crime dispatch and interactive map.

ZombiU – The trailer was pretty damn amazing.  TV shows one view of the game, while gamepad shows a second one.  VERY cool, and more than mildly creepy to be alternating between looking down at the gamepad to solve part of the game, then look up at the TV to see a zombie coming straight for you.  There also appears to be a feature where you can turn your own face into that of a zombie.

Nintendo finished by focusing on Nintendo Land, which we have confirmed is a pack-in for Wii U.  Nintendo Land is deeply integrated into Miiverse.  Nintendo Land gathers popular attractions (currently, mini-demo style games)  into a “theme park” that your mi can visit.  You will change into different characters for each of the twelve lands.  Five of the lands are being shown at E3.  Three of them were shown in more detail during the post-conference film:

Panorama (working title) – highlights how moving the gamepad will change the image on screen.  All I could hear during this demo was my five year old whining, “My turn to control it!  Give it to me!”  This is definitely NOT a multi-player game.

Animal Crossing : Sweet Day – Similar to the Chase Mii demo we saw earlier.  It has a lot of new depth, though, with swollen heads that slow down the characters, candies, and multi-player cooperation to get candies out of trees and other elements.  We also liked that the gamepad controlls two chasers, one with each of the thumb-joysticks.

Donkey Kong Crash Course– Looks like a way to demo the gamepad’s tilt features.  Tilt too little, and your cart doesn’t move.  Tilt too much, and your cart crashes into the next element (which, honestly, would be rather fun to do a few times.)  The interesting dynamic is that the player using the gamepad can’t be aware of everything happening on the tv screen, and needs the help of other players to get him or her through the course.

The post-conference film ended with trailers of a couple of the titles discussed during the conference, but with no new information.  Tune back in to All That Gaming Stuff tonight for live blogging on Nintendo 3DS!

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