Special: The Zapper is back with flower power.
My name is Matt and I am impressed.
Reggie Fils-Aime opened with similar words at Nintendo's E3 2007 Press Conference to bluntly tell the crowd that he was happy with the success of the Wii and DS. He doesn't see the company's turnaround as a fad like some are predicting. Instead, he envisions that Nintendo will continue to expand the gaming audience and even dominate both the console and handheld markets with a number of new software and hardware product announcements.
The Wii Zapper was the first of three accessories unveiled at the show. This gun holder for the Wii remote and nunchuk will retail for $19.99 this fall along with yet to be named software. I pressed half-a-dozen Nintendo reps to see if it was Duck Hunt (a franchise Nintendo hasn't touched for years, but a potential pack-in that would be a lot like Wii Sports with skeet-shooting as well as duck hunting modes), but they didn't seem to know either. I do know that the Wii Zapper will work with three upcoming games: Capcom's Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, Sega's Ghost Squad and EA's Medal of Honor.
Shigeru Miyamoto made a grand entrance at E3 2005 brandishing a sword, but at the new E3 he took the stage holding only a board. Sounds silly, but then again, so did Nintendogs before it sold millions.
The Wii Balance Board was the second hardware announcement along with Wii Fit, the software for this bathroom-scale sized accessory. It'll be 2008 before gamers get their feet on the board, but Nintendo did show off a number of ways to use the pressure sensitive WiFi device. From simple Yoga exercises to head-butting oncoming soccer balls to squat-based ski jumping, the 40+ mini-games/health functions should keep you fit and keep you entertained at the same time.
Both Super Mario Galaxy and Super Smash Bros. Brawl were dated at the conference. Mario's planet-wide platform game will come to the states on November 12 while the third Smash Bros. title barely makes the holiday release season on December 3. Let's hope there's no 2008 spillover to delay these two highly-anticipated Wii games.
If all goes according to plan, Mario will have his Galaxy adventure and Brawl fights in his rear-view mirror within the first three months of 2008 when Mario Kart Wii is supposed to release. It'll use the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection for online play and come with the tentatively named Wii Wheel to house your remote inside a plastic steering wheel.
Sony and Microsoft lacked impressive hardware announcements (the updated PSP and Scene It! controllers didn't exactly wow audiences in terms of innovation), which made their mostly software E3 unveilings seem less exciting than past expos where console launches dominated. The Wii Wheel, along with the Wii Zapper and the Wii Balance Board, brought a trio of welcomed surprises to the Nintendo Media Briefing, where the company continues to think outside of the box and expand its market reach outside of the hardcore norm.