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Wei Man takes a look at what Nintendo's first- & second-parties have to offer

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// DS Lite
// King Kong
// Electroplankton
// Kirby: Canvas Curse
// WarioWare: Touched!

// 1st/2nd Parties
// E3 Surprises
// DS to Wii
// Wii Reaction
// The Difference
DS to Wii
The DS: A Taste of Nintendo's Next Generation?
Page 2

They haven't forgotten!

Nintendo's philosophy is to target new audiences, but Nintendo's old, reliable development teams show no signs of backing away from their core fans. Aside from the aforementioned games, EAD has also delivered Mario Kart DS, the latest entry into the series, an entry that has more features than any of its predecessors. Meanwhile, Nintendo's other dev teams have been hard at work in tossing a little bit of DS feature alongside their usual works. HAL Laboratories offered up a unique Kirby game with Kirby: Canvas Curse, combining unique path-drawing touch screen features alongside the usual levels and powerups of the series. Meanwhile NST delivers their first FPS with Metroid Prime Hunters, taking advantage of the touch screen to allow for quick and precise aiming. Intelligent Systems and Alpha Dream also make clever use of the two screens with Advance Wars: Dual Strike and Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time respectively. These games are signs of how Nintendo's developers are not only sticking with their tried-and-true style and catering to their hardcore fans, but they're also taking advantage of the DS hardware to offer up some new tricks to their old dogs.

Core gamer games
Veteran Nintendo fans, these are for you

For the final nail in the coffin, I quote Satoru Iwata from GDC 2006, "I hope that Metroid Prime Hunters shows that we are not turning our backs on the kind of games that current core players already love." But Metroid Prime Hunters isn't the only game there to show that Nintendo is still devoted to current gamers. "For those of you who have been waiting for the next great Mario game, this is for you." Finally he ends his GDC presentation by revealing The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, which is not only a sequel to a long-lasting and beloved franchise, but also one that shows a new evolution of the series with new elements only possible through the DS. Iwata may have showed off Brain Age, but he still hasn't forgotten what Nintendo fans love.

On-Stage Brains
This wasn't the only title presented by Iwata at GDC 2006

The Third Parties

But enough with Nintendo, let's take a look at third parties. It seems Nintendo isn't pushing them to abandon hardcore gamers anytime soon. In fact, let's skip the DS and head straight into the system in question: Wii.

For that I'll simply refer to one of the few announced games for Wii so far, Red Steel. The article in Game Informer reveals that Ubisoft originally showed their new First-Person Shooter to Nintendo, more specifically Miyamoto and Iwata. In that same article Nintendo's Senior Vice President of Marketing George Harrison also confirmed that Nintendo is in talks with Rockstar Games, the holder of the Grand Theft Auto card. Nintendo certainly doesn't seem shy in catering to the current gamer demographic. On the contrary: they are more than willing to grab some games to draw over some of the Playstation and Xbox fans, too.

GTA: San Andreas
Nintendo's trying to bring the guys who made this over to the Wii

These titles don't just help to bring in new gamers though, as said before. They bring in new ideas as well. They bring in innovation, unique games that may otherwise not see the light of day. Gamers who are happy with the usual fair may not care, but for gamers looking for something new, these types of games may bring about even greater variety and innovation to the industry.

What Will and Will Not Change

What does this all mean in the end? It means that Nintendo's first-party developers will continue what they have always been doing. They are not going to make adjustments to suddenly fit with Nintendo's new philosophy. The designers will still continue to do what they know best. That has not changed.

What has changed is that Nintendo is now seeking people outside the industry to design games, people who aren't your usual game designers, to design games for those who aren't your usual gamers. What has changed is that Nintendo will now market videogames beyond just your usual scope.

Something else that has changed: the Wii will bring a brand new interface, and as Iwata showed with The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, new ways to play our old favorites. Plus the new games designed for "non-gamers" will further instill a greater amount of variety within their line-up, offering even more unique experiences. "We will serve all tastes," said Satoru Iwata at GDC 2006. So take heart, gamers... Nintendo hasn't forgotten about us in favor of anything.



Written by: Wei Man Tang

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