E3 2009: Nintendo Impressions

Nintendo had some tough acts to follow, but they had some cool products to show as well:

  • Metroid: Other M: A more mature, cinematic take on the Metroid universe from Team Ninja! A lot of the original team has departed, and I prefer the more sublime look of the Metroid Prime series developed by Retro Studios, but Nintendo is definitely taking a big and exciting chance with one of its core franchises.
  • Wii Motion Plus: The finicky Wii remote finally gets a needed precision upgrade, which will also be bundled with some games released in the later part of the year. Hopefully current Wii titles will receive patches with Plus functionality.
  • Wii Sports Resort: Casual sports game with Wii Motion Plus, another evolutionary category release which should be hugely profitable for the Big N.
  • Wii Fit Plus and Wii Vitality Sensor: Wii Fit is a huge seller for Nintendo and their strongest play into the casual/family demographic, this will likely be a yearly franchise with new exercises being rolled out. Wii Vitality Sensor will likely tie into that, providing the software with additional body data to measure exercise progress and personal health.

And now, for the Mario portion of this event:

  • New Super Mario Brothers: A Mario version of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords is long overdue, and should be a fun complement for Super Smash Brothers: Brawl at parties everywhere.
  • Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story: I’m a big fan of the turn-based Mario role playing experience, the plots and dialogue are always really funny and full of insider jokes while maintaining the original spirit of the characters.
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2: Some cool new plays on the 3D Mario experience, such as the ability to drill through a small “planet” to pop out on the other side.

The timing is strange, but Nintendo also announced a new Zelda title for 2010 as well. It’s great to have Nintendo reward its core audience with announcements of new titles in many of their core franchises, without losing focus on their stronghold over the casual and family gaming groups. Their presentation is still pretty rough (where’s their sense of style?), but the content is much stronger than their lineup was for 2008.

Now, if only they’d work on restoring the Donkey Kong and Star Fox franchises…

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