E3 06: Wii unveiled at Nintendo's E3 conference

Zelda: Twilight Princess to be released in Wii and GameCube versions at system launch; Super Mario Galaxy, other new games announced.

LOS ANGELES--This year, Nintendo held its pre-E3 conference at the Kodak Theater, which many know as the current site of the Academy Awards. The red-carpet analogy is appropriate, as Nintendo is responsible for several of the industry's biggest stars.

However, the recent years haven't been as kind to the onetime gaming giant--Sony and Microsoft have stolen a lot of Nintendo's crowd, particularly in North America. Nintendo moves forward by continuing to innovate and living by the mantra that games are supposed to be one thing: fun.

With the Wii, formerly code-named Revolution, at the forefront of this year's pre-E3 conference, there promised to be plenty of new games and ideas presented at the event.

9:00 a.m.: A mass of industry media has assembled in the cylindrical multitiered lobby of the Kodak Theater as they wait to file in to their arranged seating. Things are moving slowly, but thankfully there hasn't been anything that resembles the hiccups that plagued Sony's conference.

Hello, sir. Can you tell me the way to Hyrule?.
9:25: The hall is filling up--it's about 80 percent full now, so it looks like the press conference will start close to its scheduled time of 9:30 a.m.

9:28: The Kodak Theater is a great venue for this event--a beautiful old beaux arts structure. Inside, the stage is dark except for a huge glowing Nintendo logo.

9:30: The attendees have repeatedly been told that the conference will begin promptly at 9:30. They've also been told to turn off their laptops and cell phones. Neither side appears to be keeping its end of the bargain.

9:31: The MC has noted that the event will start promptly, an apparent dig at Sony, whose preshow press conference yesterday started 50 minutes late. The announcement sparks a ripple of laughter from the attendees.

9:34: The conference did not start promptly. Laptops are still powered on throughout the theater. Stalemate?

9:35: The lights dim.

The calm before the storm.
9:36: It's on. A giant screen rises behind the stage, and Miyamoto enters from the left, grinning like a little boy.

9:37: A mock symphony is playing familiar Nintendo music as CG characters play the Legend of Zelda theme. Miyamoto is really hamming it up asthe conductor. He then plays through a series of game demos, including Red Steel.

9:37: Thunderous applause. What looks like RC Pro Am is on the stage, except this ain't your daddy's RC Pro Am. One player on an elevated stage is controlling the game using the Wii controller.

9:38: Red Steel is on now. Another player makes slashing motions with his controller. Miyamoto goes back to conducting the electronic orchestral music. Reggie welcomes the crowd with "If you're looking for the next generation, you're in the wrong place. We're not just next, we're new. It's no longer confined to the few. It's about everyone. What you see is not always what you get. Playing is believing."

9:42: Video demo running now. Begins with Pixar rip-off Wii ad, with the bouncing lights. Hip kids and others use the controller to play drums, tennis, golf, play maestro, race cars, Mario! Speaker in controller confirmed.

9:43: Mario fights a giant Octoboss in a pit of lava. A kid flies a biplane with the Wiimote. Metroid FPS shown.

9:43: Table Tennis with Wiimote--take that, Rockstar. Now they're showing wacky Japanese party games, including paper shredding, key unlocking, squats???

9:43: Two-player ping-pong, a track-meet game, a range of minigames incorporating the controller (hula hoop, broom balancing), baseball, more Red Steel...

9:44: ...and here's Link!

Miyamoto hacks and slashes his way through Red Steel.
9:45: Link is fishing with nunchaku. Player nearly falls out of his chair as the crowd goes ballistic. Zelda is confirmed for 2006. Reggie back onstage.

9:46: "Today you will see, and tomorrow you will start to feel." He says that Nintendo will offer up "inspiration" rather than "information" this week.

9:47: Now Reggie is talking about the fact that many gamers know people who have "never played a video game." He says, "This has to change."

9:47: Reggie notes there are some questions that people probably want to ask: pricing/availability, why the name, why so different? Reggie pooh-poohs incremental improvements. "That strategy works, but ultimately it's fatal."

9:49: "In the same way that Mario 64 changed everything, we ask, how can we make games feel new again?" Reggie says there won't be a price announced today.

9:50: "As for date and price, we think it's best to keep those details quiet a little longer. You will play Wii in the fourth quarter of 2006." That was met with tepid applause; the crowd wanted more details.

Shiggy goes off-roading with Excite Truck for the Wii.
9:50: About the name: "We want to thank all the people that wrote good things about it the first time they heard it...both of you." Audience laughs. Name chosen to stress inclusiveness--all of us, all gamers, around the world. Promises more news on third-party partners later in this event and on the E3 show floor.

9:51: A video is shown: Metroid again, then Dragon Ball, Dragon Quest (sword game announced yesterday by Square Enix), Fire Emblem, here's Mario again in a platformer. A Tony Hawk game, Sengoku Action from Koei.

9:54: Disaster: Day of Crisis. SpongeBob. Cars. Super Mario Galaxy. SD Gundam Breaker. Tony Hawk Downhill Jam. Excite Truck (RC Pro Am look-alike). Red Steel. Rayman 4. Super Swing Golf Pangya. Sonic Wild Fire. Project Hammer. One Piece Limited Adventure. Madden. Just Madden. No 07. FF Crystal Chronicles.

9:56: Twilight Princess: "It is by far the best Zelda game we have ever made, also the most beautiful." Zelda will launch alongside Wii. First look coming right now. Nate and Bill from NOA are going to play Zelda on the Wii. Movement on nunchaku. Weapons, items are mapped to D pad on remote.

9:57: When you shoot an arrow, you'll hear the bowstring twang at your ear from the speaker in the remote. Other developers also have a lot of ideas for how to use this speaker. There's a built-in rumble feature. Sony gave this up for its six-axis motion detection.

9:59: Link's iron boots return too, this time used in combination with magnets. They show Link using the iron boots and a magnetic ceiling to travel around a room.

10:02: Reggie back onstage on elevated platform. Nintendo will launch two different versions of Zelda: one for Wii, one for GC. The game will come out for both GC and Wii on the same day: the Wii launch day.

Reggie lays down the law.
10:03: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption clip shown. It's dubbed the "most intuitive FPS ever." Then it's more Super Mario Galaxy.

10:04: "But can the system truly be new if all the names are the same? That's why we're working on new franchises," he says. ExciteTruck, Project H.A.M.M.E.R. (a beat-'em-up), and Disaster, which looks like an action game.

10:05: Now Reggie segues into third-party efforts, saying he'll introduce just a few of the games in development for Wii. Sonic! Gameplay footage of the hedgehog's Wii game. Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, as announced by Square Enix yesterday, is coming to Wii.

10:06: And Madden 07 is coming to Wii, as is Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam from Activision. And Rayman from Ubisoft. A Wii SpongeBob game is coming from THQ. 27 Wii games are playable on the show floor. Of course, that doesn't include the games available for Virtual Console. Reggie introduces two Ubisoft executives, who will talk about Red Steel.

10:08: They are Xavier Poix and Roman Campos. The stage has now taken a nice red color. Player is doing something onscreen, but we can't see the game footage. Ah, there it is finally. They describe Red Steel as a "first-person action game set in both the US and Japan." It takes "full advantage of the Wii controller."

10:10: They're showing actual gameplay, though it's not clear what the game is running on--an actual console or development hardware. AI on enemies seems a bit dim. Player flicks nunchaku to reload. Levels include city streets full of neon and a pachinko arcade.

10:13: Z button on Wiimote fires gun. Freestyle mode lets player target enemies in slow motion, opting to shoot them fatally or disable them.

10:14: Now they're showing some swordplay. They describe swordfighting as "intuitive." You block with your left hand and slash with the right. In the game, the player is fighting a tattooed Yakuza member on a rooftop. Now Reggie is back. He wants to turn the focus to the DS and introduces George Harrison.

George Harrison talks up the DS.
10:14: Harrison describes the DS as a disruptive device that shook up dominant thinking with "a different approach to portable play." Harrison says that despite claims from detractors, it wasn't just the early adopters who came to the DS--the games brought a much broader slice of users to the handheld. Claims 16 million DSs sold worldwide since launch, a number that's "millions more" than the number of PSPs sold since launch.

10:16: 1.3 million people have participated in Wi-Fi gaming over DS. Harrison speaks on Brain Age: 120,000 units sold in North America in the three weeks since it launched here. Says this compares favorably to Japan sales when it launched there.

10:18: And now Harrison is talking about the DS Lite, set to come to the US soon. Gives some love to New Super Mario Bros., which he notes will be on shelves soon. Other upcoming games: Starfox DS, Diddy Kong Racing, and Yoshi's Island 2.

10:19: Final Fantasy III is coming to US on DS with improved 3D graphics. No release dates on any of these. Downhill Jam will feature VoIP. Zelda DS clip shown. 100 new DS games expected between now and end of year.

10:20:Mario Hoops 3 on 3 named. Star Fox DS clip shown. A pink DS Lite is on the video. A game called Elite Beat Agents. Clips of Yoshi's Island show baby Nintendo characters.

Iwata: Who's your daddy now?
10:23: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Diddy Kong Racing, Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Big Brain Academy, and Mario vs. DK: March of the Minis finish up the clips. Now Satoru Iwata has appeared onstage. He's greeted by enthusiastic applause.

10:23: Iwata says his main goal when he took over the helm of Nintendo was to expand the number of people who play games. To do this, he needed to attract those who used to play but then quit, as well as those who have never gamed.

10:23: To get both types of nongamers to play his games, the usual model of producing increasingly more complex, more graphically detailed games won't work; these gamers are put off by increased complexity. Instead, he decided to reinvent games. The DS and especially the Brain Age games are one example of how they've reinvented games. The Wii controller is another example. "In addition, most lapsed gamers have wonderful memories of the games they used to play." Hence, the Virtual Console.

10:28: The Wii console uses the Opera browser!

10:28: "I have always been developing and playing games. But these days I am busier and busier. When I have to wait for a loading screen I get frustrated. Maybe this has happened to you, too. If serious gamers find this frustrating, how can we expect the mass market to show more patience? The Wii console can power up and load virtual console games almost as fast as a telephone, in a few seconds."

10:29: Now he's talking about something called WiiConnect24. The console can be connected 24/7, allowing developers to push content to consoles even "while you are sleeping." Networking software is included in the hardware.

10:30: We're aiming for a system that is "new every day."

Iwatlays out the Nintendo philosophy of "distruption."
10:30: Finally, we wanted to reach people who had never played games. The new console and controllers are very important, but most important is the software. We needed games that allow core gamers and nongamers to "happily and immediately compete with each other."

10:31: One package addressing that need is WiiSports, a game that includes tennis, golf, and baseball and that will be a launch title. He promises to "help destroy the wall" between gamers and nongamers. "Wii can provide everyone with fresh new experiences."

10:33: Iwata exits to more applause, and Reggie returns. Reggie says "We'd like to invite all of you up onstage to play." That can't happen, but they do have three people selected through Nintendo's promotion with AOL.

10:33: Miyamoto will select one final grand-prize winner to play the Wii onstage. Miyamoto comes to the stage, says that the game to be played is tennis. He gives a demonstration, holding the remote like a racket. Twisting the remote while swinging yields topspin.

10:35: Miyamoto pulls an envelope from his jacket and reads the name: "The winner is...Scott Dyer." Scott comes up from the audience, all smiles. He's going to play doubles with Miyamoto. They're going to play doubles against Reggie and Iwata.

10:36: The game features avatars of Reggie, Iwata, and Miyamoto, with a big question mark on a body for the contest winner. When the audience sees the personalized avatars, there's general laughter.

10:37: They're only playing three points. Dyer burns Reggie with a cross-court shot. Another one. His angles are Wimbledon-worthy. It looks like the Miyamoto/Dyer team won, and they decide on a rematch. The second game is tied...no, Miyamoto takes game point for his second win. Tennis will be playable on the show floor.

10:39: Reggie: "The bottom line of every E3 is what's hot and what's not. Here's our take. What's hot is what you can feel... It's about the heat of emotion, not the chill of technology... We were the disruptor 20 years ago and we still are today. DS was only the first example. Wii will come next." He says Nintendo knows that "seeing is just an impression--playing is believing" and tells the audience he hopes he will see them all on the show floor tomorrow.

10:42: He walks off the stage, and the stage lights go down--the press conference is over. As attendees leave, they are being given DS-themed travel bags with the press kit.

For another take on Nintendo's E3 2006 press conference, check out Senior Editor Jeff Gerstmann's live blog of the event.

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Discussion

934 comments
rivalswords
rivalswords

wii has it in the bag, u know? i mean the 360 has really poor games, and ps3 has a wee bitt too much money cost, wich is $600. and then theres the wii. it has great games, it is very low cost of $. and it is alot more work for you

ToxDuris
ToxDuris

Poor Sony... Poor Microsoft... NINTENDO WII won this year!

brimasra
brimasra

*sigh* must Nintendo always outshine Sony and Microsoft.....YES!

YOnyx360
YOnyx360

hmph... cough* wii is the greatest and ps3 is a bump £600 4 a consol for get about it WII IS THE BEST and ps3 copied the wii controller.

elementkid177
elementkid177

i cant wait till the wii comes out ima reserve that thing i cant wait for mario galaxy it looks insane i cant wait!!

iceman7
iceman7

The Wii looks great! What I'm hoping for in the furture is some kind of zombie- shooter action adventure type game, like Resi 4 but more off a shooter, that would be sweet. Coz then you could shoot/cut various limbs off, such as the chainsaw wielding arm of an attacking undead corpse. But for now I can but dream...

newcoma
newcoma

The love of a man and his console. Broke back Controller

roll450
roll450

That is f nice I wanna get one

saberwolf444
saberwolf444

Wii Is the best thing to hit the gaming world!!

G_W_X
G_W_X

Is it a sign I forgot? to post a comment here two weeks ago during the show?. I mean anything Nintendo and am there--but not this time? :) ....THIS can only mean one thing?... It a sign....that.... There is more.(call me insane--everyone thinks I AM) And whats more..it going to be bigger than the speaker in the microphone!!!... maybe literally? as well as figuratively?.... :) It all has to do with a little game Tennis from Wii Sports... (as played on the stage---notice the WAY it was played---everyone doesn't have TWO tvs in their house you know!!!) Now am I suppose to believe that that game will work on my tiny 15" screen TV in multiplayer?--and again, everyone doesn't have two TV's---and what about the PC monitor function Nintendo said it would support?---last year they said so..and also projectors--and basically Wii should e compatible with ANY kind of TV old or new HDTV or not!) So, I propose ANOTHER major perihperal or 2? is in hiding in Nintendo's "closet."... and will be probably revealed close to launch day/the same months as???.???... Furthermore if launch day is in November like PS3 is..then maybe, just maybe Nintendo will spill some beans at TGS 2006! (they did reveal thecontroller at TGS2005 you know... Thats my 2C on things....

Naiman14
Naiman14

Is super mario galaxy for the wii the replacement for mario 128 or its another original game by itself?

DoubledToKe420
DoubledToKe420

Without even checking out the features....this will be a nice addition to my Xbox360's table:) #&$^ PS3...that is all.

metdevthegamer
metdevthegamer

Right, it's not really a copy. just a lesser version of the Wiimote, tacked on at the last second in an attempt to show up Nintendo. Did they show them up? Nope, far from it. To make it worse, not a lot of people are enthusiastic about the PS3 controller's motion sensing capabilities. Nintendo invested a lot of money in Gyration Inc. in 2001, 2 years later than the claimed 1999 Sony patent. Along some line, you could say Nintendo copied Sony, but farther down the line we can see that Nintendo stepped up the idea. I have no doubt Sony will try to implement the full capabilities as the Wiimote, instead of just 6 degrees of freedom, in time. They might even put all the details into it, like force feedback and the speaker. The speaker in the controller is definitely original. No one can say that Nintendo was unoriginal about that, I haven't seen anyone else put one into a console controller.

zintura
zintura

wow...i ve changed my mind

mgsseries4life
mgsseries4life

New information!!!!!! The PS3 motion sense controller its not a copy, Sony had this idea since 1999!!!!!! PS3 controller patented in 1999 Patent number: JP11099284 Publication date: 1999-04-13 Inventor: KOBAYASHI HIROAKI; YORIZUMI MINEO Applicant: SONY CORP Classification: - International: G06F3/033; G06F3/033; (IPC1-7): A63F9/22; G06F3/033 - European: Application number: JP19970265541 19970930 Priority number(s): JP19970265541 19970930 View INPADOC patent family Abstract of JP11099284 PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To instruct an operation by the movement of a small controller that is close to the movement of a character by making the controller movable, detecting its movement and outputting a signal, and switch-recognizing the direction of the movement on the basis of the outputted signal. SOLUTION: The controller detects an angular speed by a detection section provided in a connecting section that connects the right and left operating sections of a controller unit 82. For example, rotation in the direction of rolling in relation to the right and left operating buttons 55, 56 of the left operating section is detected as an angular speed in the direction of rotation in the XY plane by the detection section 70 with the Z axis as the central axis. The detection section 70 is comprised of a movement detection section 71 made up of an angular speed sensor 72 and an amplifier 73, and a direction detection section 74 made up of movement direction recognition switches 79, 80. Therefore, movement can be instructed by the movement of the controller without operating the operating buttons 55, 56, etc.

Bazook
Bazook

Nintendo get me Wii and Satoru and Miyamoto so I can play some tennis and Red Steel and if possible super smash immediatley

funkchild75
funkchild75

Schwiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!!!

Thesilverpimp
Thesilverpimp

ok i got to put my serious hat down to say WOO LOO LOO YIA bring ON THe WEE! correction...that was WII!

mgsseries4life
mgsseries4life

GameCube is fun plus it's cheap, thats why i bought it... im just mad that they will get us buy the same thing just for the controller but i dunno i might get it anyways cause i like the games, oh well hope they wont do the same thing next time.

Jow_Black
Jow_Black

HUmmm!!I think taht will be good!!!...

the_junk
the_junk

why did you even buy a gamecube, ya fanboy

mgsseries4life
mgsseries4life

really, what's new about the Wii exept the controller? yeah thought so, nothing!! they just had to come out with the same controller for my GameCube. they wont get an extra 250$ from me just for a new controller.

the_junk
the_junk

so i really enjoy reading how angry some people get *cough* mgs4 *cough* over nothing. everyone's like "stupid nintendo fanboy, shut up you're so annoying! sony pwns and will rule all!" can you say hypocrite? omg. grow up children. so you like sony better. then dont buy the Wii and quit commenting on nintendo news posts. nintendo's got a solid approach for selling their product. new gamers aren't gonna hop right into the mix and start playing games like Ninja Gaiden Black or some deep and indepth graphically stunning game. yes graphics are important, but you gotta realize that they aren't what MAKES the game OR OR OR OR OR (emphasis on OR)system. There ARE people out there that have never played a videogame before. so which do you think they'd choose for their first time? something fun, or something so complex and hardcore they have an anurism just trying to figure out what they're doing or where to look? Nintendo's keepin it real quite honestly. dont get me wrong, now, i love Sony and MS too (i have ps2, xbox, gc) but Nintendo's freaking amazing just cuz they let me have FUN with my games, and when you think about it, that's what it's supposed to boil down to. entertainment. good job Nintendo. Just cuz something looks good does not mean people are going to sit and stare at it for hours on end and be satisfied. MGS4 might think he looks good, but come on, who's gonna sit and look at him for more then 2 minutes? haha. fun and originality are what make a great game and nintendo's got it sold. how many of us still pull out our SNES or PS games for good 'ole time's sake? i do, few times a month. ya cant forget the classics. it's what everything came from. You "sony/MS fanboys" best realize where this whole thing really kicked off. how can you call yourself a true game lover if you reject the classics? heathens. lol.

mgsseries4life
mgsseries4life

Nintendo fanboy just give up u know that the Wii is ridiculous in front of the PS3 so just don't try to squeeze ur self in this next-gen and don't try to compare it to the PS3, cause Wii is not next-gen at all. btw, why didn't Nintendo just come up with the same controller for the GameCube? cause obviously it's the same console in terms of Graphics, features and games. If Nintendo really cares about their fans then they would just keep the GC and try to come up with a way how to use the new controller with it. And not have u spend an extra 250 or 300$ to buy the same thing just with a new controller.

dazzzilla
dazzzilla

this is a cool console n im gona get it wen it comes out n i have a ds so i can connect them

mgsseries4life
mgsseries4life

This is good, but i still think that the PS3 is more for hardcore gamers and Wii for kids or amateur players.

LordGamer0001
LordGamer0001

im excited and amazed and i havent even played this yet.

strawhat3
strawhat3

I'm on super smash bros. brawl and twilight princess all the way!

andromeda_ray
andromeda_ray

Sony's QC is so "Good". Let's see how many times and how much to pay for the fixing of PS3.

neonvzla
neonvzla

Like you can compare Nitendo's full control motion with Sony's 6 degrees of "freedom". Next time pay attention to math and notice the difference, rich boy.

mgsseries4life
mgsseries4life

Actually Sony helps us save some money cause instead of buying the Wii for its controller and the Xbox360 for xbox live, now we can buy one wonderful console with all in one and more!! this time, like before, SONY is going to own every other company out there!! ALL HAIL PS3!!! .........................................................MGS4 ROCKS!!.............................................