Shigeru Miyamoto kicked off Nintendo’s press conference with a cute assist from the lovable Pikmin. From there, the father of modern video games wasted no time getting to the business at hand: showing off the Wii U.
Miyamoto stated that the purpose of the Wii U GamePad is creating a gaming experience independent of the television. The device, powered by an IBM Power-based multi-core processor with an AMD Radeon-based GPU, allows for quick access to games along with unique dual-screen capabilities. According to Reggie Fils-Aime, President and COO of Nintendo of America, Wii U is designed to change three things: the way you game, the way you interact and the way you watch television.
Nintendo also touted that Wii U will feature Hulu Plus, Netflix and YouTube, but skipped over the hardware specs, directing the audience to Nintendo’s E3 website for further information. Fils-Aime then announced that consoles will support two gamepads, bunking speculation that the console could only operate with one gamepad. Social interaction will occur in Miiverse, a browser-exclusive social network that allows gamers to send text messages and screenshots of games that are currently being played in large speech buttons.
“Pikmin 3″ was unveiled as the first game to have Wii U-compatibility. Ten years after the original, “Pikmin 3″ introduces Rock Pikmin, a new species that enables more strategic attacks along with a heavy coat of high definition resolution. Other new additions are the ability to build bridges and control up to four leaders simultaneously, checking in on their progress using the Wii U display.
It wouldn’t be a Nintendo launch without a Mario title. “New Super Mario Bros. U” debuted, complete with beautiful, rich graphics. As the name suggests, there will be heavy Wii U-integration including social networking and Boost Mode that allows Wii U users to assist other players by placing helpful blocks throughout the game.
A new version of “Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition,” a unique Batman experience for the Wii U, is also here. Throughout the demo, we saw the Wii U being utilized to scan crime scenes and select and use Batman’s gadgets, including the remote batarang and the explosive gel. There’s also B.A.T. mode, a power boost that is activated after the Dark Knight engages in combat.
After building enough energy,”Scribblenauts Unlimited” was also announced. The popular game features a new multiplayer mode and a share function to share your many creations. Other games coming to Wii U include “Darksiders 2,” Mass Effect 3,” Aliens Colonial Marines” and “Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge.”
The music and fitness genres will also get some Wii U love. Wii Fit U works in conjunction with the Wii Board, adding a sense of depth to jumping exercises and controlling frisbees all while recording the amount of calories burned. A new music title, tentatively called “Sing,” enabled players to use the Wii U as a prompter during the karaoke session while other players danced along to the track.
Nintendo 3DS users were also given something to cheer about. “New Super Mario Bros. 2″ debuted, featuring a golden Mario chasing down gold coins. “Paper Mario: Sticker Star” was also demoed, showing off the new sticker functionality which enabled the hero to pull innocuous stickers from the scene to use as battle commands. Not to be overlooked, “Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon” features new ghosts with the 3D treatment. Third-party titles such as “Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance” and “Epic Mickey:Power of Illusion” were also demoed.
“Lego City Undercover,” available for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, places players in the shoe of a Lego police officer with some cool moves including using the Wii U to scan the environment for criminals. Ubisoft also added to Wii U’s rapidly growing stable including “Just Dance 4,” which lets Wii U users input dance moves for dancers to play. In “ZombieU,” the Wii U is used to scan the environment, zoom in with a sniper rifle and shake free of zombie attacks. There’s also a zombie creation mode which allowed Fils-Aime to transform into a zombie by snapping his photo with the front-facing camera.
Nintendo closed out the show with a trip to “NintendoLand,” a virtual amusement park of sorts comprised of 12 iconic Nintendo characters, each with their own mini-games.
Overall, Nintendo debuted more than 23 games for Wii U and Nintendo 3Ds. However, by placing emphasis on the peripheral and not the console, gamers will continue to wonder whether Nintendo’s machine will be powerful enough to have true staying power.