New Super Mario Bros. Wii Press Conference Impressions

New Super Mario Bros. is heading to the Wii, and Nintendo gave us a brief demo at its E3 2009 press conference.

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Mario's been around for more than 20 years and has featured upward of 200 million games sold worldwide. Back in 2006, Nintendo returned to where it all started, Super Mario Bros, with a remixed version for the DS. New Super Mario Bros was released to critical acclaim, and since then Nintendo fans have been waiting for a sequel.

During this morning's press conference, Nintendo's executive vice president for marketing, Cammie Dunaway, announced that a sequel would be coming this year--not to the DS, but rather to its home-console sibling, the Wii. Although Mario has featured in two and three dimensions before, this time around Shigeru Miyamoto decided to take him into the "fourth dimension" with four-player competitive and cooperative multiplayer.

Product manager Bill Trinen introduced New Super Mario Bros Wii to the audience at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. Developed in Nintendo's Kyoto studio, New Super Mario Bros Wii will let you play with up to four friends with characters that include Mario, Luigi, a blue toad, and a yellow toad. Four helpers including Dunaway grabbed a Wii Remote and played through a typical Super Mario Bros stage during the demo. The level features brown dirt underfoot, green rolling grass, and the quirky cylindrical hills of the Mushroom Kingdom that Mario fans are more than familiar with. How you play the game is completely up to you. Friendly play is a viable option, and for fans of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, all-out battle against your coplayers is also possible.

In the side-scrolling platformer, you can pick up and carry players and choose whether to protect them from attack or throw them at an enemy, presumably injuring them in the process. When players lose a life, they return within a bubble, and you can choose to burst the bubble to let them back in or let them bounce around helplessly. New SMB Wii features Mario regulars such as warp pipes, hidden areas, and coins. In the demo, the four players went underground to a typical coin room and raced to collect the most coins.

The camera automatically zooms out to show all players, but you can be left behind if you're too slow, which might cost you a life. A new propeller suit, collected with a P icon from a question-mark box, lets you perform a high jump and drift slowly back down to the ground. At the end of each level, a scoreboard shows how each player fared, with overall scores and extra stats. New Super Mario Bros Wii will be coming this holiday season and will be playable on the E3 expo floor, so be sure to check back for a more in-depth preview later on.

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