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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
 Written by Kyle Williams  on May 18, 2005

Event Special: Learn all about the Nintendo Press Conference from Kyle, who gives you the info on Revolution, GB micro, Zelda: Twilight Princess and more.

Nintendo is about making games. That thought was iterated time and time again at this morning's E3 media briefing. As Nintendo commented on both the expected (Revolution) and the unexpected (Game Boy Micro), they emphasized that their new hardware is merely a tool with which to make great games. All of their announcements were huge but the press was left with a lot of questions about the upcoming Nintendo console, Revolution. It's always good to leave a little bit of mystery but a lot of people expressed disappointment over the lack of mind-blowing facts. Does it mean that the briefing was a failure? Not in the least.

As their competitors are talking about the numbers that their new consoles will boast, Nintendo is opting to talk about the ideas behind their role in videogames instead. Often promised was that the Nintendo DS' and Revolution's Wi-Fi connection will change how videogames are played and that innovation in technology will lead to innovation in games.

One of Nintendo's examples of this innovation breeding innovation ideology is their up and coming Electroplankton for the Nintendo DS. Touted as creating its own genre, Electroplankton is more creative tool than game, as illustrated through a demonstration from international DJ, David Hollands. Hollands commented that, when he was asked to work with Electroplankton and the DS, he thought that he was going to incorporate the sounds of the title into his next song. However, after he played with the software and became familiar with what it could do he found that he could create the song using the game. The end result, which he ?performed? live for the crowd, was a rich blending of electronic sounds, deep bass, and killer beats which showed just what the title will be able to do in the hands of a pro.

Another example of Nintendo's innovation initiative comes in the form of Nintendogs, a quirky DS title that will take advantage of the portable system's Local Area Network. demonstrated at the show by G4TV's Tina Wood, Nintendogs is a puppy simulator that also makes use of the system's touchscreen, for petting and washing your dog, and microphone, for issuing commands to your pup. The demonstration was unique and definitely showed how unique the title is but revealed that, much like a real dog, your Nintendog won't always respond to your command right away. As a game that has pushed Japanese DS sales to a rate of three times that of the PSP, Nintendo is counting on Nintendogs' successful formula to translate well for the United States, pleasing hardcore, casual, and new gamers alike.

For those interested in a more traditional game experience, the DS is also going to be sporting an exclusive Tony Hawk title by the end of the year. This title will utilize the touchscreen for trick execution that was described as an intuitive extension of both the hardware and the software.

Of course, what is an E3 without a new Game Boy? Nintendo unveiled a new iteration of their wildly successful Game Boy Advance hardware, the Game Boy Micro. According to Nintendo, the new GBM will feature the best and brightest screen that they have ever put into a handheld system. When the Game Boy Micro is released this fall it will play every GBA title out there on a system that is just larger than an iPod Mini. Might this be a stab at the PSP's industrial design? Maybe; The Micro sports a very similar layout to the competing system.

To round out Nintendo's talk of portable gaming, they promised that both Animal Crossing DS and Mario Kart DS will feature Wi-Fi connectivity via Nintendo's new GameSpy powered wireless network, Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. This new system will enable players to use their home wireless network or any wireless hotspot to access the network at no additional charge from Nintendo or GameSpy. In fact, Nintendo stated that there would never be a charge from them to play their first-party titles online. It is important to note that 25 third-party publishers are working on titles that make use of the wireless network though the online pricing strategy was not discussed at the conference and may vary from Nintendo's own. This is the same network that Nintendo's Revolution will utilize when it releases next year.

Speaking of the Revolution, Nintendo finally unveiled a few technical tidbits about their next-generation console. To get the hard facts out of the way?Nintendo's Revolution will sport:
- 512 megabytes of internal flash memory
- an SD memory card bay to expand the internal flash memory
- wireless controllers are standard
- two USB ports
- built in Wi-Fi access
- Revolution games will be on 12? optical discs
- both Revolution and GameCube discs will use the same media bay

Also announced at the media briefing was the fact that the Revolution will redefine the phrase backwards-compatible. The console will take advantage of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to download games from across the 20-year history of Nintendo home videogames. NES, SNES, and N64 titles will all be available though the scope of which titles, how much they will cost, and how exactly they will be stored is still up in the air.

Nintendo is also pushing for their Revolution titles to take full advantage of the Wi-Fi connection, mentioning that they hope for a few launch titles to utilize the system. With Masunori Iwata pushing his team to have Super Smash Bros. ready when the console hits sometime next year.

The Revolution itself made a very short-lived appearance at the briefing, albeit in prototypical form. The prototype was a black box that is about the size of a hard-back book while the final console has been described as being the size of three DVD cases stacked on each other. Nintendo sported a slide showing four different console colors, though the color selection is not yet finalized.

Another point that Nintendo was careful to make regarding Revolution revolved around the system's architecture. While the Revolution will have the chops to run the big-budget game ?masterpieces? that every system will inevitably have, Nintendo is convinced that game creation will be simpler and faster than any of the other next-generation consoles. The end result (hopefully) being that the Revolution will allow a big idea to compete without having a big budget. If the system is as easy to develop for as Nintendo is saying, it will provide a huge boost for their third party support.

As Nintendo is fond of saying, the game experience comes from the software. With that in mind, it is good to know that Mario and Zelda titles are already in development for the Revolution. Samus Aran will also play a big role with the Revolution and a stage video indicated that Metroid Prime 3 is on its way. Also announced for the Revolution is a Wi-Fi capable version of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles.

With all of the next-generation talk it is good to see that 60 GameCube titles are on the slate for this year. Nintendo's George Harrison took a few minutes at the end of the briefing to talk about a few of the upcoming games including Batallion Wars (we saw it as Advance Wars: Under Fire last year), a third-person action title with real-time-strategy elements, Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness, an RPG take on the Poke-craze, and four Mario titles, Mario Baseball, Mario Party 7, Super Mario Strikers, and Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix. Capcom is helping out the mix with the high-profile Killer 7 which, after seeing it in motion today, is looking more like the ?work of post-modern art? that it is supposed to be.

There are more titles all over the Nintendo spread, too. Many of which were just hinted at among the various montages that ran throughout the briefing. The GBA will be seeing Donkey Kong Country 3, Dynasty Warriors Advance, a new Fire Emblem, and Mega Man Battle Network 5. The DS will have Metroid Prime Hunters, Advance Wars Dual Strike, Viewtiful Joe DS, Golden Eye: Rogue Agent, Mario & Luigi 2 and a new Super Mario game.

Now, just as Nintendo did in their media briefing, we've saved the best for last. Nintendo really upped the ante and the energy with their new footage of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Reconfirming the epic proportions that previous trailers have shown, the new footage also showed us a new aspect of the title; Link transforming into a wolf. The game continues to be the brightest gem in the GameCube's future and will keep fans faithful until the end.

Be sure to keep your eyes on Gaming Target as we provide you hands-on impressions of these Game Boy Advance, Dual Screen, and GameCube titles, straight from the E3 floor.

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