Nintendo trots out Wii in Leipzig

DS English-language training game, Wii Sports demonstrations highlight the Mario factory's Games Convention presentation.

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LEIPZIG, Germany--The first port of call for many reporters at the Leipzig Games Convention this morning was Nintendo's press conference, which took place in a small auditorium built into the company's booth. Obtaining admission was essentially based on survival of the fittest, since being preregistered for the event appeared to count for very little. GameSpot editors managed to make it inside, though, after a brief struggle.

The press conference was delivered by Dr. Bernd Fakesch, general manager of Nintendo Deutschland, who kicked off his talk by promising that what we were about to witness would be "Surprising! Amazing! Unexpected!" What followed, at least for the next 10 minutes or so, were lots of statistics showing just how many "non-gamers" Nintendo has managed to convert in recent months.

"We've attracted millions of new video games fans who never would have thought about picking up a controller," said Fakesch, before going on to describe traditional game controllers as "technical inhibitions" that many people are fearful of picking up for the first time.

The first game to get any attention during the presentation was a Brain Age-style offering titled "Learning English With Fun." (The game is already a big hit in Japan, where it was released in January under the title "Eigo ga Nigate na Otona no DS Training: Eigo Duke"; the German-language version is pictured.) The portion of the game that was demoed onstage tasked the player with listening to a short sentence in English and then using the touch screen to write it within a time limit.

After successfully repeating such memorable phrases as "I love music," "She can speak English," and "I like this blue dress," the player was told that his performance was "OK," which appeared to be the lowest grade available--the others being "gut" (German for "good") and "super." Next up were confirmations that both Actionloop (titled Magnetica in the US) and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney are headed to Germany, as well as the announcement that a new pink DS Lite will be released across Europe on October 27.

Dancers pretending to fence and swat flies using Wii controllers preceded the next portion of the presentation, which kicked off with a demonstration of Wii Sports: Tennis. The demo was supposed to show just how intuitive and easy to pick up the Wii's controller is. What followed was quite the opposite, as the cast of a grandmother, a young man, and a 7-year-old girl that Nintendo had assembled failed to complete a rally of more than two or three shots in as many games. Memorable quotes from the players that were translated into English included: "I don't know who I am," "I only played for the first time this morning," and "Did I win?" Fakesch hastily brought the demonstration to an end after a few minutes, stating, "That was almost as good as Wimbledon!"

The Mario Strikers Charged and Battalion Wars 2 announcements that followed were undoubtedly the highlight of the conference, and GameSpot will have more information on both games soon.

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