Well console gamers it’s that time of the year again. E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo. The holy land of the game industry. Every year everyone from industry giants like Nintendo, to independent game developers come together to show off the next thing in new shiny videogame technology. After last year, E3 was rumored to have died. No official plans were made for another E3 conference. This year, E3 was a bit smaller, was STRICTLY invite only, and had a more “Industry Showcase” feel as opposed to the normal “gamer fantasyland” that it once was. Regardless of the differences, E3 is still a hotspot for the latest info in the games industry, and this year being the second year of the new generation of gaming consoles, the puberty of their life if you will, had a very strong showing of some new and innovative ideas all of which are sure to wet your gaming whistle. Lets take a look at some of them now shall we.
The majority of the support from the Nintendo Wii at E3 came from Nintendo itself, which held a gigantic press conference to show off the Wii’s new titles, peripherals, and capabilities. At the top of the show was Wii Fit, an exercise game taking advantage of anew touch mat peripheral. Wii Fit is the next step in Nintendo’s campaign to having the Wii be “relevant to everyone in the home.” The game itself focuses on fitness and exercise, and tries, through a series of minigames and guided exercises in strength training, aerobics, balance, and yoga/flexibility training to provide a full body workout for the participant. The mat peripheral itself is essentially a gigantic guided pressure sensor. It can tell how much pressure is being placed on it and where at any given time.
Using these pressure sensors, the mat or the “Wii Balance Board” can detect the way that your body is moving. It reads the fluctuating pressure caused by your feet (or hands or other body parts in the case of pushups and yoga) to figure out your total body movement. It figures out where the center of balance of the player is as well making sure the movements are being executed in the correct way. The game itself tracks your fitness scores, and can provide body and wellness checks for you, recording things such as your body mass index, to allow you to alter your workout in a way that fits you. Some of the workouts featured include pushups, an aerobic step exercise, balance games, and guided stretches. All in all there are supposedly over 40 activities to do with Wii Fit and the “Wii Balance Board”.
Outside of Wii Fit, Nintendo has a line of games that eager gamers were just waiting to pick up, one of which was Mario Kart for the Wii. Not many details were revealed, however it was boasted that for the first time ever new racers can go toe to toe kart veterans. Reported to have complete online multiplayer race and battle modes, it was stated that “more racers equal better racing”, and that an entire online community will be built around the online game play. Mario Kart for the Wii will also feature several control options, most likely involving the Wiimote alone, the Wiimote and Nunchuck, the Classic controller, the Gamecube controller, and one of Nintendo’s new Peripherals, the Wii Wheel. The Wii Wheel itself is a steering wheel with a depression for the Wiimote to be inserted into the center. The back of the wheel has triggers which can be used for gameplay functions. It is rumored that Mario Kart for the Wii will be sold in a Combo Pack that includes at least one Wii Wheel.
Speaking of Peripherals, a new two handed gun peripheral was also revealed for the Wii. Dubbed the Wii Zapper, the casing involves placing the Wiimote and the Nunchuck in an almost Assault Rifle design, with the Nunchuck being the back handle and the Wiimote being the barrel. This casing (and attached trigger) is reported to allow for increased sensitivity in shooting games. One of the first games that will take advantage of it was also revealed, “Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles.” A first person “half on rails” shooter, players will combat the familiar RE zombies in House of the Dead style. Other reported games to take advantage of the Wii Zapper include Sega’s Ghost Squad, and EA’s Medal of Honor.
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