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Deep Nintendo Press Conference Details
05.17.2005

HEATH HINDMAN
STAFF COLUMNIST
ANDREW LONG
E3 CORRESPONDENT


Big N

As RPGamer reported earlier, Nintendo unveiled its Revolution console earlier today at a press conference, showcasing the new system, along with a number of other current and upcoming releases. The first half of the event featured speeches from Satoru Iwata and Nintendo of America's Director of Merchandising, Reggie Fils-Ame. Iwata conveyed Nintendo's continuing devotion to making products that challenge the traditional definition of gaming.

To that end, a DJ was brought in to demonstrate the capabilities of Electroplankton, a musical simulation title the company is touting highly, and Shigeru Miyamoto appeared briefly to show off his Nintendog, a puppy wearing a Mario hat that immediately got busy with the virtual pet of the other Nintendogs presenter, G4 host Angela Lashaway. The focus in this portion of the presentation, however, was Nintendo's continued dominance of the handheld market. Shrugging off PSP sales as a drop in the bucket, Fils-Ame claimed that Nintendo continued to dominate to the tune of a 94% market share, a figure arrived at by combining all GBA sales and NDS sales.

Following the business end of his speech, Fils-Ame presented a video detailing upcoming NDS titles. Included in this group are the following RPGs: Mario & Luigi 2, Mega Man Battle Network 5, and a Fire Emblem title. It also showed footage from Pokemon Emerald, which is currently available on the Game Boy Advance. Most pleasing to Nintendo enthusiasts, however, will be the news that a brand-new Mario title is under development for the handheld.

Once the NDS had been suitably hyped into the dirt, Fils-Ame had a final portable shocker for the audience, though it took him some time to fish it out of his pocket. The new Game Boy Micro, a pint-sized version of the GBA SP, is compact and comes with a customizable faceplate and Nintendo's brightest screen yet for a portable. A price point for this handheld was not disclosed.

At this point, Iwata finally came to the moment everyone was waiting for: the unveiling of the Nintendo Revolution. The Revolution (or at least, its prototype) was revealed to be a thin, boxlike shape, which lived up to its promise of being three DVD cases thick. It is the smallest Nintendo console has ever released, and will come with and SD memory card slot, wireless controllers, two USB ports, and most importantly, Wi-Fi access. This was a highlighted area of the system's capabilities, as Nintendo has obviously finally recognized the importance of the online market.

It will also be entering this market with a bang. The company has promised no extra fees for online connection, and moreover, first-party titles will not be subject to a monthly charge. It was also revealed that a number of Nintendo's crowd-pleasing signature franchises are having Wi-Fi versions developed.

As Nintendo fans will no doubt be happy to hear, the company is planning to unleash a wide variety of colors; however, in a twist, the company hinted that it may survey gamers to determine which ones are released. Nintendo also served notice that it will be declaring war on piracy, and in a big way: the Nintendo Revolution will be backwards compatible with every Nintendo console ever released through downloadable game content. It was not revealed whether there will be regional restrictions on this practice, nor how much such downloads would cost; however, this should go a long way towards curbing the profusion of ROM sites on the internet. It wasn't all good news on the Revolution, however; Fils-Ame revealed that though the system would play DVDs, it would require an additional add-on device to do so.

The final feature of the conference was a video montage of upcoming GameCube titles for release by the end of 2005. Along with oddball titles like Mario Strikers, a multiplayer soccer game, and DDR: Mario Mix, an entry in the venerable dancing series with Mario theming and music, a pair of RPGs were also promised by year's end: Pokemon DX, a traditional RPG that Nintendo has lauded as a "dark new entry into the Pokemon series" and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, which apparently sounds better than Trail of Blue Flames, its previous working title.

Nintendo had one last surprise up its sleeve, however: once the GC titles had been displayed, it ran a two-minute video of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which drew thunderous applause and excited reactions throughout the theatre. Based upon that video, it would appear Nintendo is revisiting the Light World / Dark World theme of previous entries in the series, so gamers will have much to look forward to from the Big N.

RPGamer will continue to follow Nintendo's title at E3 and bring you all the latest news as it breaks.

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