Nintendo throws Wii Fit, parades new Pokemon in SF

New NOA marketing chief Cammie Dunaway announces Mario Super Slugger's US release, demos Wii Fit and new Pokemon Mystery Dungeon RPG at press event.

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SAN FRANCISCO--Today at a small presentation at the swank Clift Hotel off of Union Square, Nintendo of America gave a presentation to a small group of gaming journalists. The event was a coming-out party of sorts for Cammie Dunaway, NOA's recently installed executive vice president of sales and marketing, and successor to ex-exec George Harrison.

After going over her background with Frito-Lay and Yahoo!, Dunaway buttered up the reporters by talking up their love of gaming. "It's your job to bring the joy of the game experience to everyone," she said. She then praised the "enthusiasm" of Nintendo Inc. president Satoru Iwata and gave props to "passionate" NOA president Reggie Fils-Aime.

"We want those attending to experience that passion," she said, saying, "The games we're showing hopefully will excite the core and grow the total game market."

Given Nintendo's successful fishing of the "blue ocean" of nontraditional gamers with the Wii, Dunaway unsurprisingly touted the upcoming Wii Fit as "the next driver of the expanded audience." She also thinks that the game will provide "a new challenge for the core gamer," a pronouncement the less-than-fit members in the audience greeted with knowing grins.

Dunaway then said that Iwata considers the forthcoming Mario Kart Wii (due April 27) to be a "bridge" title, taking beginners from entry-level games such as Wii Sports and easing them into a deeper experience.

The executive then touched on WiiWare, which she said is "a democratic development environment that allows different voices to have a broader exposure." The development framework was founded so Wii developers could have the opportunity to "try something different and surprise the market" much like the DS has.

Mario Superstar Baseball finally gets a sequel.

Dunaway then announced that the baseball game Mario Super Sluggers, which is set for a June release in Japan, is coming to North America. NOA localization guru Bill Trinen explained that "It takes the fun, active gameplay of Wii Sports, builds on that control, and builds a bigger experience around it." He said Nintendo is hoping that the game will put Mario and other characters "into an approachable experience for the broader Wii audience."

Trinen then ran down Mario Super Sluggers' control scheme, which is essentially a refined, expanded successor to the baseball section of Wii Sports. He pulled back his arm to pitch a ball and then released it once rings had formed around his onscreen character. Players can twist the Wii Remote while pitching to put spin on the ball, and shake it to have other characters run, field, and throw it. Also, hitting a button while shaking will make characters hit the dirt and dive to make a catch. Trinen also showed off a special Mario move that literally brings the heat, setting both the baseball and whoever catches it on fire.

A video game that makes you toned and limber?

Then it was on to the aforementioned groundbreaking game Wii Fit, at which point Trinen busted out its Balance Board peripheral. He demonstrated how players start off by measuring their Body Mass Index (BMI) and lock down their center of gravity on the board. After getting the results of their BMI test, players can set and track fitness goals with the Wii.

The Wii Fit setup process also has a brief questionnaire, which asks reasons why players might have gained weight. Then it brings up a weight-loss graph tied to players' goals sets, which will let players track their diet, activity, and even their posture.

After speaking of posture, Trinen then showed off Wii Fit's actual gameplay. First up was a Yoga demo, which gives a player constant feedback on how to improve his or her pose. Once the pose session is done, it offers feedback and a rating to aspiring yogis.

Then it was on to calisthenics, complete with a virtual whistle to tell you when to start and stop. After a brief tutorial, Trinen dropped and gave Dunaway 20, with the game again offering constant feedback on his form and performance. A fast and furious whirl of Wii Fit's hula-hoop game concluded the demo, with Trinen saying the game has made him more conscious of his health overall.

Don't ask me where to go!

Next up was another NOA localization specialist, Seth McMahill, to demo Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Explorers of Space, due out on April 20. A dual-SKU sequel in the vein of Pokemon Diamond/Pearl, the game is a follow-up to the first Pokemon Mystery Dungeon title, which hit the DS and Game Boy Advance in September 2006.

For a sequel arriving less than two years after the original, the game showed remarkable graphical improvement, and is also innovative in terms of story. Instead of the training-based play of countless other Pokemon games, Mystery Dungeon is a role-playing game that casts players as one of the titular creatures, exploring countrysides and caverns.

The game begins with players taking a personality test that will match them with one of the 16 Pokemon available in the game. After that, the player's Pokemon protagonist will wake up on an in-game beach with no memory. Then, it's up to it to fend for itself by joining guilds and finding work in a variety of vocations. McMahill showed off the criminal board, which lets players take gigs as an outlaw.

The presenter promised that Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Explorers of Space would have a more immersive and detailed story than its poorly reviewed predecessors. Its dungeons will also be entirely randomly generated for increased replayability, and will sport a hybrid turn-based system with ranged comments. Players will also be able to recruit other Pokemon upon emerging from a successful dungeon quest. Another innovative feature is a new rescue system in which players who are in trouble can summon help from a real-life friend by sending an e-mail via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.

Discussion

55 comments
TacticalShado
TacticalShado

Not to stir up controversy or try to make people angry but, are there any good long lasting games for the Wii? I still own my Wii since launch day but i can seem to find any lasting games. SSBB was decent but i played the first 2 hardcore and i got bored of the thrid one fast.

pkujulo2
pkujulo2

@kos1085 Mario Hoops 3 on 3 is a basketball game on the DS. :/

wiidominance
wiidominance

Mario Gardening sim ... bet that would rock ..

lone_wolf815
lone_wolf815

@monkeyd_93, Star Wars :The Force Unleashed is coming in September.....

kos1085
kos1085

@sbjedi What hasnt been done with mario??? Mario hockey and Mario basketball. Cant say I would buy either of these games.

sbjedi
sbjedi

i have no idea what could come next for mario which hasnt he done i really cant think of one

monkeyd_93
monkeyd_93

cant wait for mario kart wii and wii fit coming out over the next month, but super smash bros brawl is still up in the air for australia :( i would really like to see a star wars RPG which makes use of the wii-remote as a light saber. that would be cool *note: i mean like actual star wars game, not lego star wars or short one but a real one

trw534
trw534

the wii pretty cool but i got a 360

xTheExploited
xTheExploited

Bring on a Pokemon MMORPG or at least a RPG. Pokemon was made for something like that, not stupid little rescue games. I know there are DS games like Diamond and Pearl, but give us a Wii game of it.

MrSaturn33
MrSaturn33

Oh yeah, I heard about the new mystery dungeon! (went on the Japanese site and actually watched someone play the Japanese version) It looks awsome! I can't wait to ask my friends for help with Wi-Fi!

necronaux
necronaux

Wii Fit, opens possibilities, like, Wii-Thai-Bo (anyone remember the billy banks video ads?).

kos1085
kos1085

I am excited for mario kart and Wii fit. That only thing that might keep me from getting wii fit is the price. Was told when i reserved wii fit it could be anywhere between $90-$130.

HarlockJC
HarlockJC moderator

Please make Mario Baseball online...Still the best baseball game on the market

jcloverboy
jcloverboy

I want some Animal Crossing for Wii news already.

Noob_Krusher
Noob_Krusher

I am a long time Pokemon fan, and Dungeons was fun at best. I really feel like more of a "story" isn't going to help that game.

EdwardoMario16
EdwardoMario16

"He said Nintendo is hoping that the game will put Mario and other characters "into an approachable experience for the broader Wii audience." I don't get it. Mario Strikers, Mario Party 8, Super Mario Galaxy and Mario Kart Wii couldn't do that? Oh well, another Mario Sports game to check out. Wii Fit and the Pokemon MD sequel sound neat too. Still waiting for Pikmin 3.

EdwardoMario16
EdwardoMario16

"He said Nintendo is hoping that the game will put Mario and other characters "into an approachable experience for the broader Wii audience." I don't get it. Mario Strikers, Mario Party 8, Super Mario Galaxy and Mario Kart Wii couldn't do that? Oh well, another Mario Sports game to check out. Wii Fit and Pokemon MD sounds neat, however. Still waiting for Pikmin 3.

Nintendo_Man
Nintendo_Man moderator

When they announce Kid Icarus at E3, haters will be owned.

Patous
Patous

I c an't wait for Wii Fit. The Pokemon thing sounds interesting and might be pretty good. I guess we will have to wait and find out now won't we?

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

Oh here comes Mario's line up of sport titles.

briank555
briank555

Geiger... yeah because a gym membership is the equivalent to what you can get from the Wii Fit... are you kidding me? The minute you're able to do a bench press, squats, ride a bike, run on a treadmill and sit in a dry/wet sauna with the Wii, you just let me know...

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

I'm looking forward to Wii Fit. I've heard how much it costs for a membership at a gym $99? then you've got to get a spottor/assistant...about$29- $39? so that's $109-$129? and that's not permanent because you have to renew your membership once it runs out, Whereas Wii Fit is a onetime payment (as far as we know) of $90.

Forget the memberships and spotters I'll take Wii Fit anyday its cheaper...

jordis5
jordis5

im excited for all of them im getting Md wii fit and mario baseball,but the game i eant the most is mario kart!!!!

ocdog45
ocdog45

not really into any of those games

Tylendal
Tylendal

Wii-Fit sounds awesome, and I'll probably be getting Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. Explorers of Time, to match Dialga from my Pokémon Diamond. Not sure about Mario Baseball, I'm not a big baseball fan.

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

Well im kinda sad, they need an actual new gameboy Pokemon game ... and for wiifit .... the ONLY game my entire floor at college has had on a wii that has lasted over one week of gaming is Brawl ... every single other wii title is short and really we never even go back to it .... im kind of disapointed at the wii over all its just such an untapped source. Give us something with logetivity because wiifit and the other 90% of the games out there ... are like 10 minute fun rides that end at the end of the day and sit and collect dust thereafter....

Galadreil782
Galadreil782

Awsome, an article almost packed with good news :)

TAKE_IT_BACK
TAKE_IT_BACK

@Adam_the_Nerd only fanboys say stuff like that

Adam_the_Nerd
Adam_the_Nerd

Man, the Wii is just a console for grandmas and overly casual gamers like 6 year olds. This sucks because there's just so much potential there!

Adam_the_Nerd
Adam_the_Nerd

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

BigSmitts07
BigSmitts07

pokemon with guilds?....good lord...

blazethe1
blazethe1

to vbdevpro *sigh* and you totally ignore the 3rd game mentioned that, as the first of its kind, will make you more fit the more you play. I hate when people don't listen.

The_Dude1212
The_Dude1212

Dungeon series was good for a bit, but I thought it was darkness. And at least Nintendo is more innovative than Micro$oft (coughhalocough)

Somebody89
Somebody89

I thought the dungeon series failed, so why are they continuing this?

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

I guess it's too much to ask for online play with Wii Fit.

roll450
roll450

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, it was cool just the dungeon were boring.

Pete5506
Pete5506

I want the new mario cart so bad

nate1222
nate1222

As dull as Mystery Dungeon sounds, my nieces will still eat it up. They love Pokemon. I'm much more interested in Mario Kart. PMD would be cool if it had randomly generated dungeons, a' la Dark Cloud 2 . Or if you could build up your character and traverse 'open-endedly' like Rogue Galaxy. But the same old same old isn't worth it.

tennis12master
tennis12master

Mario kart looks pretty good, but im not very excited for new MD though....

Cloud_765
Cloud_765

Should be interesting to see what the sequel can do compared to the original. I kinda liked the first one, but with the dungeons EXACTLY the same every time, I got bored and chucked it after the main story was beaten. They better allow pre-game finish evolutions this time, too.

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

i agree with Duelmask, good idea, bad execution.

Dualmask
Dualmask

Pokemon MD was a good idea, poorly executed. I'm hoping they do better this time. Mario Kart may look cute and cuddly, but it's as deep and enjoyable as any arcade-style racer. Double Dash wasn't my favorite, but the first MK and MK64 had a lot more depth than one would think if one never played it. All in all, great news. I can't help but admit I am at least curious about Wii Fit. I doubt very seriously it'll give a decent workout, but it should be interesting to mess around with, just like Wii Sports is.

kelseyxo
kelseyxo

all FOUR of these games sound good

Mop_it_up
Mop_it_up

Somebody should tell whoever wrote this article that to get the accented é, you press alt + 130.

CorruptGamerGX
CorruptGamerGX

All 3 of these games are a waste of time except Mario Kart Wii.

wiifan001
wiifan001

Wow first Homestarrunner, then Mario Sluggers and now this! Keep the news comin!

Brambler
Brambler

Dunaway then told her that Iwata considers the forthcoming Mario Kart Wii (due April 27) to be a "bridge" title, taking beginners from entry-level games like Wii Sports and easing them into a deeper experience. That is funny stuff