Thursday, June 29, 2006

hmv promotes Wii

I went into my HMV today to find that the Gamecube software had been condensed into 2 rows, in place of the games on the other rows there was high quality leaflets with info on the Wii, so of course I picked one up and have scanned it for you. Does this mean that the Wii is close, as they are promoting it, perhaps Wii will get a surprise launch???


Clicking on the thumbnails will now take your straight to the hi-res versions

DS Lite Review

Well I said it was coming sometime and it finally here. Welcome to the DS Lite review.


The pictures that I've posted and that others have posted don't no it justice. Its simple looking design is very apple like with very few lines and see through plastic to make it very shiny. The plastic covers all of the outside of the body apart from the hinge and the area below that. However this does have the draw back of lots of finger prints especially on the bottom where you'll be holding it.


Button and mic layout

First of all the 4 main buttons on the DS Lite and totally different from the ones on the original DS. They and a lot more soft and are more raised then the old ones which I think makes for a better playing experience. The D-pad has been made smaller and is now the size of the one on the original GBA, it takes a bit of getting used to but I'm now back to my old hunter kicking best. Just for all those left handed people out there the buttons have been moved up slighty and are no longer level with the D-pad, I don't not if this affects people using it as a D-pad so I'll just throw it out there. The start and select buttons have been moved below the main buttons and are now like the ones of the original GBA (little round circles).The microphone now sits between the two screens but u can still easily use it at least in Mario Kart where you can blow at the touch screen and it will work. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the power button is now a slider bar and sits on the right hand side.



Not much to say really longer and thicker then the original and now lives in the side of the console. Trust me it helps a lot.

Big one helps a lot

The Screens

When you pick up a Lite go through all your games on max brightness as it makes a world of difference and you'll see things you never knew where there before. I especially recommend doing this if you have Animal Crossing as it makes the game appear so beautiful.

Both on max Brightness

Wi-fi and battery life

It could just be a fluke but in my house at least the Lite has better range then the original DS! Also the battery is rated up to 19 hours on the lowest brightness although I have mine on 3 as it makes the games look great and I still get about 10-12 hours out of the battery.


Overall a fantastic upgrade to the system and the device finally matches the quality of the games. Sleek, small, sexy and ass kicking battery life the Lite has everything going for it and with some brilliant games like the New Super Mario Bros and Phantom Hourglass it just keeps getting better and better.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Intresting Wii press event

Dodgy translation of a site with pics of a press event to show off the wii, DS titles. link

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

asda sells DSlites for £89.97 in the UK

Today I went into Asda and looked at the gaming department only to find for this week only the DSlite will be priced at £10 less than RRP. I will be getting my Lite later today as a package from HMV with trauma center and brain age along with a accessary pack on a buy now pay later deal, so I can pay for it when I do get paid.

Pink DS lite for japan *update*

acording to many japanese retailers a pink DS lite is on the way around july 20th. This makes so much sense with the popularity of the pink DSphat and the popularity of the DSlite it seems a match made in heaven. has now been confirmed by nintendo.

Stormbreaker to use DS's

In the up coming stormbreaker film, which is set to be released this summer, Alex Rider the kid spy will be using a red DS Phat for his gadget, in the book it was a gameboy, but it is great to know that they are keeping up with the times press release;

27 June 2006 - Experience espionage at its most thrilling as Nintendo announces a partnership with new teen spy movie, Stormbreaker.

Set to be the must-see summer blockbuster, Stormbreaker uses a Nintendo DS at the heart of the storyline, turning it into a gadget any super spy would be proud of.

Stormbreaker, taken from the first book in the best-selling adventure series by novelist Anthony Horowitz, features Alex Rider, a normal 14 year old teenager who lives with his uncle, a nondescript bank manager, or so it seems.
However when Uncle Ian Rider dies in mysterious circumstances, Alex discovers his uncle was in fact a spy who has been murdered by one of the most dangerous assassins in the world. Alex finds himself recruited by the Special Operations Division of MI6, and realises that by encouraging his hobbies his uncle has thoroughly prepared him for a career in espionage.

Linguist, scuba diver, mountaineer, crack shot and martial arts expert, Alex has all the attributes to make the perfect teenage spy. Armed with these skills and his own set of special gadgets, including a modified red Nintendo DS, Alex embarks on his first mission.

Featuring the cream of Hollywood and British talent, the Nintendo DS takes a starring role alongside big names including Robbie Coltrane, Damian Lewis, Ewan McGregor, Sophie Okonedo, Alex Pettyfer debuting as Alex Rider, Andy Serkis, Alicia Silverstone, and Micky Rourke.

Stormbreaker also stars Stephen Fry (“The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy”, “Wilde”), filling the role of top gadgeteer ‘Smithers’ who converts the already innovative Nintendo DS into an all encompassing tool to aid Alex in fulfilling his assignments.

See a whole new side to the Nintendo DS and hold on tight as Stormbreaker comes to a cinema near you across Europe in the summer of 2006.

Monday, June 26, 2006

DS Lite Pictures

I will post a review Wednesday night or Thursday morning but for now enjoy some nice pictures...

Both on max Brightness

Both Screens set to max and the Lite kicks arse.

Both on min brightness

Both on min. Notice there's no way to turn off the backlight completely on the Lite but with 19 hours of battery life I'm not complaining.


Now don't point and laugh and the fatty it's not his fault.

Big one helps a lot

Trust me it might not look that bigger but it's a big difference.

That all for now folks I'll be posting more pics and a review soon.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Red steel under the microscope

After all the Pre-E3 hype for Ubisofts Debut title for the wii, Red steel turned out to be quite a disapointment for those who tried it. Well im sure you will all be happy to know they are reworking it especialy the sword play. details here

"One of the memory mediums"

From Game Informer

GI: What is the little door on the front of the unit?

Fils-Aime: That is where an SD card goes. That’s storable media. And on
top, are the attachments for the GameCube controllers.

GI: So will SD cards be the primary storage medium?

Fils-Aime: It will be one of the memory mediums, and it’s the only one
that we’ve announced.

Personaly I'm still hoping it has some kind of hard drive as I don't think it would cost a lot to put 2GB or even 4GB of flash in there.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Wii mock up next 2 lots of things *click me*

Not DS lite day :-(

Well sure ltb0ngo may have his DSlite but for me it is a much sadder tale. What I had Planned to do was to go down to the HMV next to the place I work, go to an ATM, extract £120 and get a lite and a copy of brain training. Before leaving my house I checked on the Internet to see what my bank balance was... and it was £0.18. This confused me as I expected to see my earnings from the last 3 weeks in there, but they werent. So I decided to go down there anyway to ask at the place I work to see what was going on, after my 30 minutes bike ride I arrived only to be told that because I was not with the company at the start of the month I wont get paid till next month!!! Just to rub salt into the wound aswell, HMV had an offer on so that you get a lite and brain training for £110.

to quote Robert Burns;
"The best-laid schemes o' Mice an' Men
Gang aft a-gley,"
Which to the unscotish of you means that no matter how much you plan ahead things are still likly to go wrong.

DS Opera

Seems like the preview of the Opera browser is going down well:

Just yesterday I had the chance to try out the prototype version of Opera for Nintendo DS. I wanted to take this opportunity to express my first thoughts as well as give a review of how it worked and how I felt about it overall. Before I get to far into this I would also like to say that the Release Date in Japan is slated for the 24th of July and should retail for around $33 USD.

Now, my initial impression when I heard that the Opera browser was going to be available on the DS blew me away due to the fact that a 129.99 device will have full access to the internet. With that said, when I got my hands on a Nintendo DS Lite with the prototype cartridge I knew I was going to once again be blown away. My anticipation was right on track.

Getting online with the Opera software was just as easy as it is with any Nintendo DS game. I simply turned the device on, touched the Opera software picture on the screen to start up the browser and before I knew it I was connected via the DS' built in Wifi. Upon booting up the browser you are presented with a simple easy to follow guide if you choose, but it's so simple to use I doubt most people will need it. The navigation is very simple in the browser, along the bottom of the screen you are presented with all the tools you need to perform searches, change the screen layout etc.

Graphically the browser is very eye pleasing. The look is very minimal to give you as much space to view web pages as possible. The little things that could not be without on the browser like the navigation buttons, the scroll bars and other necessities all fit in very well and enhance the overall experience.

When I started it up I was browsing in dual screen mode. Basically the page was fit to the width of the screen and the height spanned both screens. With an easy touch of the stylus you can switch into a "zoom" mode where you are presented with a picture of the web page on the top screen and on the bottom screen you can drag a box around to see in actual size what you need to view. You can also simply swap the screens so that you can type in text as needed where fields or check boxes etc. are presented.

Typing on the DS is a breeze. Basically when you need to go to an address, or you need to enter text in a field you simply tap where you are to enter text and you are presented with a keyboard on the touch screen where you can tap away whatever it may be that you need to spell out. The keyboard is large enough to give you plenty of space so you aren't tripping over the other letters and mistyping. On the other hand the keyboard isn't too large so as to block out all of your decadent online pleasures.

Opera Software's strong focus on web standards really shines on the DS. I surfed through a handful of web sites while I was using the browser and didn't come upon one that didn't work flawlessly with pint sized browser. It appears that security doesn't cause any problems as I browsed in and out of my e-mail accounts with ease. The switching of views proved extra handy when you wanted to get a nice shot of that picture on your friends blog(or any other picture). The screens on the DS Lite proved to be a great match for the browser and provided me with beautiful images every time. What I found to be extremely nice was the fact that Opera on DS stayed true to the speed of the desktop Opera browser and I felt as comfortable browsing on the DS as I did on my desktop at home.

Nintendo seemed to have knocked on the right door when they decided to work with Opera. Opera seems to be right at home on the DS and you would think that the software was designed at the same time the DS was. It's not often when you get a chance to play with beta products that work perfect right off the bat but it seems that piles of time have been poured into making this piece of software perfect. I don't want to speculate too much but it would be suprising if Nintendo didn't seek to create more applications to continue to broaden the use of the DS. All in all it would be safe to say that Nintendo and Opera have really hit it home with this combination of Hardware and Software innovation by providing the DS with an inexpensive, easy to use and beautiful product that anyone can afford.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Opera screenshots, box art and release date for Japan

Seems like the people over at Opera have been busy releasing this statement

Opera Software today announced that the Opera Web browser for Nintendo DS will be released in Japan on July 24. The DS browser will initially be sold online only at a price of 3,800 yen, and come with an additional memory expansion pack. Nintendo has not yet announced product release dates for the U.S. and Europe. More details about the Opera browser for Nintendo DS will be unveiled on July 24.

Following on from that we also have pictures of the the memory expansion as well as the box art for the DS and Lite versions.

DS Lite and expansion

DS Opera Box Art

DS Lite Opera Box Art

Watch the Nintendo briefing

This is the Nintendo Co., Ltd. Corporate Management Policy Briefing from the 7th June. It is in English so don't worry but it is long at 1 hour 30 minutes so take some time to watch it. The main focus is on how well the DS has done and the touch generation games.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Our forum has died, Long live the reviews...

With only 5 members on the forum (4 of which are site moderators) and no new posts in months the forum has shut down. On a seperate note I have set up a freewebs site to host Reviews (yay), I am gonnna wait until I have done a GC, DS and GBA game review before I put in the Link on the side. If any readers would like to subit there own reviews, feel free to E-mail us with them.

2:5 ratio of white to black DS's at a store near me!!!

Being poor :( I have no money to pre-order a DSlite, however I do get my first ever paycheck on the 23rd which is the european Lite release date (I think it is fate). So Yesterday I went into the HMV right next door to the JJB that I work at, to ask what my chance was of getting a Lite without a Pre-order. The guy then informed me that they were to get 32 whites and 80 blacks and hadn't filled out many preorders (It is situated in the Fort shopping park which is full of clothes shops with no rural area within walking distance so this is to be expected). I was shocked that there were to be more Blacks than Whites (not being racist) let alone at that ratio. Anyway, I dont think I will be in work on Friday, but I will probly make my way over to the HMV to spend my earnings for the last three weeks work.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Possible Wii messenger name

Seems like Nintendo has registered 3 new names: WiiPointer, WiiCulture and !!M. Rumours are that !!M is going to be the name of the instant messenger in the Wii. But the question still remains will it be text based, VOIP or both personaly I hope for both.

Monday, June 19, 2006


I was on my way to work today and...

as I nosily looked over to see what the man who I was sitting next to on the bus was reading in the free METRO newspaper which you pick up on your way onto the bus, I saw he was reading a article in the health section about Brain Training. So on my way off the bus Picked one up and have scanned it for you. I think this is a national paper here in the UK so I hope it reached and interested alot of people.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Super Smash Bros Brawl speculation

I came across this nice little article which speculates what the new characters in the game moves might be, it is well worth a read link

Friday, June 16, 2006

Gamefaq poll show Wii expected to lead.

Now that you've had time to digest E3, who do you think will win the next-gen console war?

Microsoft - The 360's head start is enough10.78%8568
Nintendo - The Wii will amaze everybody44.96%35738
Sony - The PlayStation 3 will be unstoppable22.75%18085
It'll be too close to all; all three will do well18.13%14414
All three will fail miserably; it's time for a crash3.37%2677

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Black DS Lites stolen from Hong Kong

Looks like there could be shortages of black DS Lites as a shipment that could contain up to 18,000 black Lites and a load of games has been stolen. Hopefully Nintendo can produce enough in the 8 days they have before the European launch.

DS Lite sells 136,000 in first two days

Well it looks like the Lite did well in America selling 136,000 units, doubling the number of copies of Super Mario Bros and tripling the number of Brain Age sold. However the launch hasn't been without its problems with reports of dead pixels and unsecured touch screens.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

pokemon are real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

a suitcase of goodies

I saw this in EDGE magazine today and although I had no money to buy it, luckly someone else obviously did and scanned it so here it is.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

the Lite to record DVDs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (not really)

It has been a slow couple of weeks on news, but i saw this on one of the UKs shopping channels. Is it me or does another company use that spelling of lite, i think they do games???

Friday, June 09, 2006

Apple buying Nintendo

Cnet have got a story up at the moment which talks about the idea of Apple buying Nintendo. It would be interesting if they did as im sure both companies have ideas that could help out the other. Read the article to find out more.

Please don't let it be true

Seems have Wii games listed as coming out 25-12-06 which is just a holder put the preorder price is £50. I hope this goes down to £40 before launch and as they have no reason to justify £50.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Wii-DS link up revieled

SSBB new charecters are fake!!!

It turns out the post i made a few days ago was fake information but we can still hope that it comes true.

Nintendo PR send out DS lites in America

Seems Nintendo likes to go the extra mile, just look at what happend when the guys from penny-arcade opened the DS Lite box.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I have finished the prime 3 analasis so click me to see it

Wii messaging service patent arises???

The patent tha was filed 6 years ago has just been granted and has some intersting points;

Title: Messaging service for video game systems with buddy list that displays game being played

Description: A messaging system includes a web server computer and at least two video game systems. Each game system is configured to connect to the web server computer via the Internet and to communicate status data indicative of an activity engaged in by a user thereof. The web server computer generates a session file indicative of user status and the status of each of two or persons on a buddy list of the user.

comentry by CR as i dont have a clue what it is going on about;
The messaging service client provides the user with an opportunity to create a user profile that is stored in the memory of network server…The user profile may contain any desired user-specific information including, but not limited to, an alias, first name, last name, gender, age, city, state, favorite game, favorite food, favorite sport, hobbies, recommended URL and notes…If desired, users may also be given an opportunity to indicate high scores and other accomplishments achieved on the game network or on stand-alone games. Users may also be provided with the capability of including in their profiles customized faces (images) made up of various user-selected features (e.g., a particular nose, mouth, mustache, etc.) in order to enhance the “persona” of the user. These customized faces may be included with messages. Users may even be provided with the capability of including in their profiles digital images of their own faces generated, for example, using a digital camera…

The messaging service client allows the user to create a list (”buddy list”) of other users (”buddies”) with whom he/she wishes to remain in contact…The connecting user and his/her buddies can then communicate with each other on an individual basis and private chat sessions can be set up. These chat sessions are typically text-based, but it also possible to set up voice over Internet sessions between two users…

Each of the game systems includes an input device(s) that is usable by a user to create messages. In the case of a game console, an on-screen keyboard may be used and the game controls are usable to select characters from the on-screen keyboard to create messages. In another implementation, a separate keyboard (not shown) may be connected to the game console. In still another implementation, the input device may be a microphone to enable voice over IP communications. Voice over IP may be implemented within the messaging service.

According to the patent the system will have a View Associate List, Block List, User Preferences, Profile, Access, Status, Rules list, Alerts and Autostart Alerts. It also speaks about the possibility of a portable game console to use this (DS + Wii? sounds mindblowing).

Although Nintendo has always had this planned it seems with the Wii this is now possible. Keep in mind a motion-sensing controller was always planned for the Gamecube long ago. But with these revelations of a possible keyboard, a headset, a ability to most likely use SD Cards to upload pictures and an amazing instant messenger system, it seems highly likely this will end up on the Wii. The Wii just gets better.

A summary of nintendo plans from a press conference today *update*


Nintendo plans to supply 2 million DS units per month worldwide

Nintendo expects to sell through 16 million DS units by the end of the fiscal year, March 2007

Stats (for Japan):
32% of DS owners bought Animal Crossing
23% Mario Kart
14% Tetris
20% New Super Mario Bros
10 titles have shipped a million units

Opera will be delayed a month… coming out in July now.

The Oneseg TV tuner will go on sale in Autumn and will cost “approximately half the price of the DS hardware” = ~8400 yen.

Nintendo aims to continue the Touch Generations series, with the balance between “non-games” and games being very important to them.

Pokemon will have wi-fi worldwide voicechat and be released around autumn.


“Although I will not call a certain sales goal for the Wii console, I can promise that we will reach sales clearly over those of the Gamecube.” Nintendo President Satoru Iwata (loose translation)

Mr. Iwata also stated that even if the Wii meets Nintendo’s sales projections, it will have little impact on Nintendo’s profit…as far as short term is concerned. (Meaning it will be sold at a loss)

The Wii’s official price and launch date will be announced by September

Shipping 4 million by the end of the calendar year (worldwide) and 6 million by the end of the finacle year which is april 1st 07

Pokemon Battle Revolution will be out a few months after Pearl/Diamond (around winter) and will link with the DS game.

New games (not just the emulated stuff) on Virtual Console could also be 500-1000 yen ($4.40-$8.80 or £2.37-£4.74 or 3.44 to 6.88 euros).

Main DS-Wii connectivity will be:
- touch-screen controller
- Wii = DS station, like the shop kiosks
- DS games can be expanded via Wii

Pokemon Wii:

dodgy google translation reveiling new SSBB details including new characters and lost ones (is fake)

no title - source : thumb.png
The news abounds in connection with the next bomb of Nintendo.

This time they are new names, in the absence of new faces, which are revealed to us through an interview granted by Masashiro Sakurai to the radio transmission of Tokyo “The Gaming Show”.

It confirmed that the following characters will appear in new the opus of Bros Smash:

Bowser Junior

Ridley, the famous enemy of Samus

Link version Wind Waker

Then certain characters will disappear:

Ice Climbers

Mr. Game & Watch

Link version child

Link version child will not really disappear since it will be simply replaced by the Cell-shading version and its name will be always the same one.

The fans of Falco will be with the angels, since it as confirmed as the characters who do not test formerly that “clones” will remain but will be worked over again to offer a true panel of blows to them.

In his opinion, the lack of interest of the fans for Game & Watch and Ice Climbers were obvious and it has to decide to replace them by Pit of Kid Icarus.

Pit should be the only one representing of the “old school” and the traditional ones.

It finally affirmed that the total number characters should approach forty, leaving place for about fifteen new like one or two characters of third editors.

In addition here a point on the already introduced characters:


Name: Meta Knight

First Appearance: Kirby

New Character

Known capacity: Multiple jumps


Name: Pit

First Appearance: Kid Icarus

New Character

Known capacity: Multiple jumps


Name: Zero Samus Follows

First Appearance: Metroid Zero Mission


Known capacity: transformation of the Gun into Whip


Name: Wario

First Appearance: WarioWorld

New Character

Known capacity: Flatulence, “Wario Waft”


Name: Snake

First Appearance: Metal GEAR

New Character

Known capacity: Explosives

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Metroid Prime 3 video analysis

On our flikr I have done a scene by scene analysis of the video found below looking at all the little details click the link to see the first part, I will have the rest done tomorrow.

ATi Physics platform

This might not seem to have much to do with Nintendo but ATi are making the graphics card (codename Hollywood) for the Wii which is also rumoured to have a physics engine in it. Could ATi have used some of there experince from the Wii card for this or vise verser? I sure hope so.

Nintendo getting shiny

Looks like Nintendo are really starting to make there products shiny as this new picture of a black Wii shows. But will they scratch like the iPods?

Shiny Wii

Shiny DS

super smash bros brawl overhaul

Monday, June 05, 2006


I dont know how I missed this but from E3 we have what looks like a trailer that ran while Metroid Prime 3 was waiting to start. This is awsome showing parts of the game that we have only heard about.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

How far the DS has come

It is worth note in just how much better the lite does look especially over the E3 2004 DS.

Original DS


ds lite

DS Lite

I finally gave in and preordered my DS Lite today so expect pics and a review whens it comes out on the 23rd June.

Gamestation Nintendo goodies

Seems Gamestation has got some Nintendo goodies in the shape of T-Shirts and Radio controlled Mario Karts so go check them out.

Opera for Wii details

Cubed3 has sat down and interviewed Scott Hedrick the Executive Vice President of Opera devices. Here are the major bits click on the title for the full interview.

Cubed3: Will the Opera browser be embedded from launch on the 512MB internal Flash or included with the system via a memory card?

Scott Hedrick: The Opera browser is saved to the Flash ROM on the Wii console, and does not require a separate memory card as Opera for DS does. The browser can be launched in only a few seconds, immediately delivering a great user experience.

C3: Are there any plans to include advertising via the Opera browser on Wii?

SH: No, there are no plans to include advertisements within the Opera browser user interface for Wii, but the same ads you see on Web pages on your desktop will show up when browsing using Opera on Wii. Nintendo hasn’t confirmed if Opera could be used to deliver Web-based advertisements into games, for example.

C3: Will the browser be issued with all Wii consoles or will you purchase it separately?

SH: As mentioned before, Opera will not be sold separately on a game cartridge for Wii. We would like all Wii users to be able to use Opera to surf the Internet. The details of how exactly Opera will be available for browsing within Wii have not yet been announced by Nintendo.

C3: What kind of functionality can we expect from the browser (e.g. Macromedia flash support, Javascript, etc)?

SH: Opera for Wii will support all the same Web standards that are included in Opera 9 for PCs and Macs. This desktop beta version is available now at this link. This version does include Javascript. Whether plug-ins such as Flash will be supported in Opera on Wii has not yet been announced. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 02, 2006

link as child, adolesent and adult in twilight princess

In an MTV interview with a nintendo rep the following info was revieled(click one of the links)

Watch the video here if you are in the US

Audio excerpt

Japanese sales (WOW)

With the DSlite out selling the PSP by over 10-1 the DS is dominating everything along with the new super mario bros tallying at almost 900,000 copies in its first week. Nintendo rules all.

Top hardware

1. Nintendo DS Lite - 285.025
2. Sony PSP - 27.227
3. PlayStation 2 - 19.798
4. Game Boy Advance SP - 6.652
5. Nintendo DS - 4.126
6. Game Boy Micro - 2.013
7. Xbox 360 - 1.242
8. GameCube - 1.116
9. Game Boy Advance - 44
10. Xbox - 8

Top software

1. New Super Mario Bros. - NDS - 899.518 - (899.518)
2. More DS Brain Training - NDS - 86.451 - (2.367.429)
3. Prof. Kawashima's Brain Training : How old is your brain ? - NDS - 62.616 - (2.282.759)
4. Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy in Itadaki Street Portable - PSP - 48.342 - (48.342)
5. Tetris DS - NDS - 46.809 - (545.666)
6. Kimikiss - PS2 - 42.127 - (42.127)
7. Winning Eleven 10 - PS2 - 38.419 - (694.927)
8. English Training DS - NDS - 37.222 - (1.092.496)
9. Animal Crossing : Wild World - NDS - 36.610 - (2.746.097)
10. Jikkyou Powerful Major League - PS2 - 32.742 - (155.557)

Iwata interview by tech-on

Nintendo has revealed its new gaming console, the "Wii", currently scheduled for release within 2006. Nintendo has redesigned its traditional game controller, introducing a new user interface that allows players to control characters by moving the controller up/down or left/right and activating an acceleration sensor. Satoru Iwata, CEO of Nintendo, shared his thoughts with us on his ambitions for the "Wii"; revolutionizing gaming console user interfaces in the wake of the highly successful "Nintendo DS".(Interviewers: Naoki Asami, ITpro Publisher, and Hiroki Yomogita, Silicon Valley)

Q: What led you to place emphasis on the user interface?

Iwata: Nintendo has spent several years tackling the question of how to increase the number of users who will enjoy playing games. Being a techie myself, I have no intention to discredit the importance of technology. Yet I was concerned that improving the graphical quality any further would not lead to more people playing games. This led us to focus on the user interface.

Q: Wasn't changing a 20-year-old controller design a bold decision for you?

Iwata: The current design for game controllers was determined by Nintendo, so some of our staff disagreed with changing it. Yet after some hands-on time with the prototypes, we knew we had a working formula. That is why I declared at last year's E3 that revolutionary interfaces will bring change to future games.

Multitude of Prototypes

Q: Was the going rough or smooth while deciding on the current design?

Iwata: We initiated research on the elemental technology around 3 years ago, and had formed a task force team 2 years ago. Our software and hardware teams held joint discussions each week to explore possibilities. Interface tweaking is different from optimizing performance, for the former is largely subjective, and calls for actual testing. We created a multitude of prototypes.

Q: Why does your controller have a speaker?

Iwata: This feature was absent from the prototype a year ago – we introduced it fairly recently. We discussed what type of feedback the games should provide the user with. Households sporting 5.1 channel speakers will certainly be able to enjoy realistic sound, yet not all homes have such audio equipment. Adding a speaker to the controller will enable us, for example, to have it emit sound effects when hitting the ball in ping-pong, tennis or golf games.

Q: I have had hands-on time with the prototype myself, and find it difficult to express the enjoyment I feel with it – or should I call it immersion – with words.

Iwata: One of the issues we are faced with is how to convey its appeal to the users. For conventional games, showing innovative visuals on a TV screen would be sufficient advertisement. Interfaces cannot be represented numerically, and need to be actually used to be appreciated. Sony and Microsoft must be having their share of problems, as even though game consoles are sporting better graphical capabilities, most households only have SDTV sets, making them unable to enjoy the HDTV quality offered by the game console itself.

Though I'm aware this may be misunderstood, Nintendo is not working on a next-generation console. "Next-generation" implies that the console is an extension of previous installments. We believe that extending our current line will not lead to larger markets, and could possibly even lead to smaller markets. We need to introduce innovative appeal if we want to increase the number of people enjoying games. Recent games have complex control schemes and a steep learning curve for the inexperienced. Those with little gaming experience prefer watching someone else playing to playing the games themselves. Such is the status quo today. That is why we hoped to create an interface that would appeal to anyone.

Building on the success of the DS

Q: Wasn't there concern from developers with the innovative controller design?

Iwata: Deviating from tradition is a bold move for anyone. When Nintendo opted for the dual screens for the DS, more people were shaking their heads and wondering what we were thinking, than commending us for the decision. Yet the market turned out favorable to the DS. We had successfully proven that it was possible to expand the market by changing the user interface. I feel that this had led to more people looking upon our new controller favorably.

Q: Did Nintendo's disadvantage in the console market help in making this bold decision?

Iwata: Nintendo once was the champion in the console market, yet is now the challenger. Challengers have a hard time getting the market to listen to them. Our intent was to revolutionize the user interface in the portable games market, where Nintendo is the reigning champion, and follow that up with the Wii's success in the console market. We have earned support for our user interface innovation much faster than I had expected, and this should help propel the Wii forward.

Q: Is the "Virtual Console" concept proposed by Nintendo another step in the pursuit of simplicity?

Iwata: When creating a packaged game to be priced at 5,000 yen, developers tend to feel the need to create a rich game. Yet it is possible to create a reasonably entertaining game in 2 months with a team of three. Offering such games for 500 yen over a network could lead to a reasonable number of people purchasing it. By offering an environment that allows this, we hope to encourage more developers to pursue basic yet enjoyable gameplay. Of course, content-rich games have their own merit, and I have no intention of discrediting them. Such games are important in their own right, and will continue to be in demand. Still – think about it – eating French cuisine or a full dinner each day would quickly lead to boredom, wouldn't it? You’ll want a simple bowl of rice and soup every now and then. Our intention with the "Wii" is to propose an alternate approach to gaming business, as the gaming industry is currently far too single-minded.

Q: What will the Wii offer when connected to the Internet?

Iwata: I'll give you a specific example we are planning for. Let's say your Wii is connected to the Internet in a mode that allows activation on a 24-hour basis. This would allow Nintendo to send monthly promotional demos for the DS, during the night, to the Wii consoles in each household. Users would wake up each morning, find the LED lamp on their Wii flashing, and know that Nintendo has sent them something. They would then be able to download the promotional demo from their Wii's to their Nintendo DS's. This will, of course, be possible in gaming stores too, but I think users will enjoy being able to do this within their homes. The key merit here is having promotional material delivered to your home, instead of having to go collect it yourself.

Q: So you hope users will use their gaming consoles every day?

Iwata: More and more users have concentrated periods of gaming following major releases, and stop playing for months once that is over. I hope the Wii, like the Nintendo DS, will have its power turned on every day. To lead users to do that, we need to offer something new each day. That is why we thought of a system that would allow us to change our offerings during the night. I feel that allowing the system to stay connected to the Net throughout the night is a valid application of semiconductor technology.

We have nothing against advanced technology. Though many seem to feel that Nintendo is anti-technological, this is totally untrue. There are multiple ways in which you can apply new technology. Some design Formula 1 cars, others design hybrid cars. We have merely spent a lot of time discussing which approach would help us increase our customer base.

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Wii won the battle but can Wii win the war

At last months E3 games conference Wii was deffinatly star of the show boasting 6 hour queues, it has since then been awarded best in show by 37 outlets(link). With wall street screaming out at people to sell their stocks in sony(link) due to the falling prices because of the PS3 price plan. Aswell as this with Nintendo`s stock prices rising to the highest they have been in four years can we expect the Wii to go down a storm with people, latest poll`s seem to hint to;

Do you plan to buy a Wii?

Yes, but I'm a big Nintendo fan39.2%29443
Yes, the E3 demos sold me on it18.82%14135
Maybe, I have to try one first23.4%17579
Probably not, I'm not a believer5.33%4004
No, I'd rather play my 360/PS3/PC13.25%9951

compared to;

Do you plan to buy a PlayStation 3?

Yes, the full $600 version22.69%16643
Yes, the limited $500 version4.19%3077
Maybe, if I see some good games15.05%11043
Probably not, it's just too expensive24.92%18286
No, I'd rather play a Wii/PC/36033.14%24316

with final results being;

Poll of the Day

Which of the three next-gen consoles do you think you'll own by this time next year?

All three6.62%6257
PS3 and Wii16.69%15774
PS3 and 3605.28%4986
Wii and 36013.18%12455
Just a 3605.31%5022
Just a PS317.03%16093
Just a Wii27.57%26052
None of them8.32%7865