E3 06: Walled-off Wiis draw crowds at Nintendo booth

Attendees can fill up on DS Lite or wait in a lengthy line to see the Wii; playable Wii games include Super Mario Galaxy, Zelda, Wii Sports.


LOS ANGELES--Nintendo is showing dozens of Wii games to attendees of the Electronic Entertainment Expo this year, but they're not making it easy on them.

Much like last year, the front end of Nintendo's E3 booth this year is dominated by the redesigned Nintendo DS Lite. The Game Boy Advance and GameCube are nowhere to be found, with a slew of first- and third-party DS games, including the new DS Pokemon, taking up all the kiosk spaces in the openly accessible front portion of the booth.

All of the Wii games are walled off in the back half of the booth, and anyone who wants to see the Wii needs to wait in a line that will be very familiar to anyone who lost half a day of the Expo just to check out Zelda: Twilight Princess last year.

Before the show even opened this morning, the line of people with exhibitor badges waiting to see the Wii was snaking around the perimeter of the booth. There's a sign warning attendees that the wait in line is an hour from that point, but it serves as little deterrence. The Nintendo faithful are lined up to that sign, out of the booth entirely, down the aisle, and then around the back of the publisher's exhibit space.

Helping them to pass the time are a number of monitors along the wall of the booth that show people who talk to and interact with the attendees, waving to them, explaining the uses of the Wii controller and the like.

GameSpot News got a peek behind the Wii wall, where dozens of Wii systems were set up. Visitors were steered toward an elevated platform, where four Nintendo employees were using the Wii. Two were playing tennis against each other, one was playing Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and another was playing Wii Music Maestro.

After passing by a display case that showed off the hardware, several games were set up in well-equipped alcoves. Further along, the more accessible stations were lined up along the circumference of the inner chamber in Nintendo's booth.

Watching gamers side by side playing with Nintendo's next-gen console is quite unlike it would be on any other system. People are swinging the controller back and forth, holding it sideways, shaking it around, mocking football tosses, and swinging it side to side like a maestro's baton. Because of these active movements, Nintendo is slowly letting people in to avoid crowds that could hinder the free movements.

Want to see just what it was like to enter the Wii portion of Nintendo's booth? Watch GameSpot News' journey into the center of Nintendo's booth to get some hands-on time with the system.

The playable Wii games at E3 are listed below:

Red Steel
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Super Mario Galaxy
WarioWare: Smooth Moves
Wii Sports (including Golf, Tennis, and Baseball)
Project H.A.M.M.E.R.
Excite Truck
Wii Music Orchestra
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam
Sonic Wild Fire (working title)
Sonic the Hedgehog (on the Virtual Console)
SD Gundam
Necro Nesia
Final Furlong
Bomberman Land
SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab
Super Monkeyball Banana Blitz
Several Wii controller demos

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