E3 ’08: Round 2: Nintendo

Wow, I’m already falling so far behind! By the time I got home and watched all of yesterday’s press conference recordings (via G4), there was no time left to write posts!

Luckily Nintendo announced very little for hardcore gamers, so there’s not a whole lot to say. You can’t really blame Nintendo: they’re making money hand over fist with no sign of that ending. Why rock the boat? Cammie Dunaway, who replaced Perrin Kalpan, played up the ‘soccer mom’ schtick to a point of creepiness, with a pasted on smile that rivaled The Joker’s. She even declared that no one was going to remove that smile from her face.

Lots of number and figures, lots of emphasis on the DS and how Nintendo (and 3rd parties, honestly) is pushing it beyond gaming. I guess there’s a ball park in Seattle where you can use your DS to check scores of other games, data on the game you’re currently playing and so forth. They’re trying to extent that kind of PDA/internet tablet to airports and other places. Trying to get you to carry your DS everywhere.

On the games front, they had Shaun White demo (a bit, Dunaway actually played more than White did) Shaun White Snowboarding, which uses the Balance Board. They announced Animal Crossing Wii for this holiday season, complete with a microphone which sits on the Sensor Bar and picks up everyone in the room talking, so your room full of players can talk to other rooms full of players.

They announced Wii Music which uses the WiiMote, Nunchuk and Balance Board to let you play air guitar, as well as air drums, air saxaphone, air piano, etc, etc. It was really hard to get a sense of what was going on with this, but at first glance it didn’t look very compelling. But we’ve got a while before it gets into our hands yet, so we’ll see.

The MotionPlus attachment, revealed Monday, will come with (or without) a game pack-in. Wii Sports Resort brings all the fun of a day at the beach to the Wii. Stuff like playing frisbee with your dog, jet skiing and…uh, sword fighting. Sounds like a smart way to get us all to buy one, though. Who didn’t love Wii Sports?

The only big surprise for hardcore gamers was Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, for the Nintendo DS. No gameplay was shown, just a logo. Still, that one came out of nowhere, and was another blow for Sony, who no longer will have the only handheld with a GTA game on it.

All in all, Nintendo’s Press Conference felt like it was more for the bean counters and less for the gamers. But again, they’re selling hardware as fast as they can manufacture it. Why would they mess with that? Clearly hard core gamers aren’t a big concern of theirs.