E3 2004: Nintendo

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Nintendo at E3. For many years the show was seen as dominated by Nintendo, but since mid-Nintendo64 cycle, Nintendo’s showing’s seem to have become more and more lack lustre, especially that of 2003 in the fans’ eyes. Although connectivity, in my opinion, is a fantastic idea (which Sony now seem to be interested in stealing), it wasn’t what the fans were screaming for, and multi-player GameCube renditions of Pac-Man and The Legend Of Zelda: The Four Swords just weren’t enough to keep them warm during the summer drought of European GameCube releases.

So, this year Nintendo have obviously realised the problem, and really pulled out all the stops to give the fans want they’d missed last year. With new playable hardware, software for both the GameCube and Game Boy Advance and a slight mention of the next generation of home systems, Nintendo really showed what they were capable of. At their Pre-E3 Press Conference, Nintendo turned heads and made most decide who the star of the show was before it had even begun.

The press conference began with George Harrison, Nintendo of America, taking centre stage to show a video-reel of some of the upcoming GameCube releases, including Geist, Mario Tennis, Advance Wars: Under Fire, Fire Emblem: Souen No Kiseki, Resident Evil 4 and Metroid Prime: Echoes. The showcase lasted some time and, although everything shown here had already been announced at least, it was nice to see both family friendly and more mature related material on display, once again showing Nintendo’s further commitment to giving the fans what they want and slowly backing down on their “all games for all” policy, if not yet with in-house software.

Then came the first appearance of Nintendo’s new weapon. Already loved by most of the faithful, Reggie Fils-Aime, Executive Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, Nintendo Of America, accompanied by a video of around ten executives from high-profile companies stating why the were so excited about developing for the NintendoDS, pulled a complete unit from his pocket and held it high above his head to cheers from the crowd. Fils-Aime then continued to disclose a few of the official specifications for the NintendoDS, and the crowd began to realise exactly what the “revolutionary” handheld was capable of, and how Nintendo really were prepared for Sony this time.

Next, Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo Corporation Ltd., began a presentation in English (which he has improved at considerably since last year) discussing Nintendo’s involvement in the industry, their commitments and achievements, before going on to steady a few beating hearts worried about the seemingly never ending rumours of Nintendo pulling out of the home console race. “Today’s consoles already offer fairly photo-realistic expressions… I want you to know that Nintendo is already working on its’ next system, and that system will create a gaming revolution. When the impact of the new home machines comes, our “revolution” will be there. Work on revolution is well underway; when you see it you will be excited because you will experience a gaming revolution.” I’m now very concerned that Nintendo intend to call their next home system Revolution, God help us all.

Not content with throwing everything they had at us in one go; Nintendo decided that they’d see if they could push us any more… I’m sure at this point the heart-attack emergency team were on standby. Shigeru Miyamoto finally appeared, carrying a Hyrulian shield and the Master Sword from The Legend of Zelda. “We are now taking you to a world where Link has grown up. In order to grow, Link must not standstill, and neither will I.” The lights dimmed, the crowd cheered and the most beautiful looking game at E3 rolled on screen…

Did Nintendo have the best showing of E3? No-one received with more attention or praise from their audience, and nothing seemed to please anyone more than the brief video of the new The Legend of Zelda.

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