We're up in San Franciso this morning for the Nintendo Media Summit 2008, Mario's annual gaming celebration where Nintendo reveals their upcoming games and new hardware. While some of the surprises have already hit the web (damn you, time differences!), we're going to pretend we didn't hear any of it previously, because, hey, we're like that.
9:00 -- After a Nintendo breakfast (bagels, not mushrooms) the gaming press filed into a hotel conference room to get the lowdown.
9.12-- Reggie Fils Amie takes the stage to show off the DSi. Reggie says the handheld's flash memory will change handhed gaming. Re-designed versions of the Brain Age games will be the first games available for the system. It comes with those games; no cartridges needed.
9:16-- Reggie says the DSi has two different cameras. One faces forward, the other points back at the user, allowing a "full range of different photo functionality." You can combine pictures, distort faces, add graffiti, and instantly upload and share them with other DSi users.
9:17 -- DSi music player uses the AAC format, so you'll be able to easily transfer songs to the handheld. The DSi comes with the capacity to change pitch and speed of songs, record your voice through the mic and change the pitch and speed of your own voice. Reggie points out something interesting: The DSi's camera and music capabilities are not aimed at being the best camera or best MP3 player ever. The idea seems to be that they're useable and fun. Very Nintendo philosophy!
9:18 -- The screen is slightly bigger than the DS Lite's. It runs Opera for web browsing as well as featuring faster Wi-Fi. the GBA slot is gone... we don't think we'll miss it that much.
The product won't come out in North America into "Well into 2009." Damn! According to Reggie, there is so much demand for the DS Lite in North America that there's basically no reason to sell the DSi yet.
9:22 -- Reggie says they'll ship more DS units into retail than they did last year. And last year they ran out. Reggie says Nintendo also plans to ship more Wii systems into stores. Reggie won't say whether there will be enough Wiis for this holiday season. "Talk to me in January" about whether there will be shortages. In terms of hardware sales, "We are in uncharted territory."
9:24 -- Cammie Dunaway takes the stage to show off games. That's what we're here for, right? "We believe in something for everyone," Dunaway says, "Make no mistake about it, we believe in games that please the core."
9:26 -- We get a chance to take a look at a brief Wii Punch-Out video, and the first shot of a green glove hitting Glass Joe is like visiting a friend you haven't seen in years! Gaming Nostalgia FTW!
9:30 -- We get to see some of the latest build of The Conduit, a Wii FPS that the 'Core is most likely gonna love. For a Wii game it features some impressive tech. Realistic water effects, detailed textures, all kind of lighting effects. 16 player online at once, death match, team death-match, capture the flag, all the online FPS favorite. The game features 15 enemy types, aliens who have invaded Washington DC.
9:37 -- Wii Music, first shown off at this years E3, is explained and demoed. "The challenge of the game is not to get a high score." The game allows for improvisation, and allows you to mix and record different parts of a song. The different instruments are played in different ways, native to each one. So you play a guitar like a guitar, (strums and "fret-playing") where you play a violin by dragging the bow across the strings. We get a demo of the game and testimonials from muscians who say they really enoy playing it.
9: 48 -- Animal Crossing City Folk "blends the best of the DS version and the best of the GameCube versions" of Animal Crossing. According to Dunaway, this will "excite the core Animal Crossing fans."
9:49 -- To show off Wii Fit, a celebrity trainer has been employed to make the gathered gaming journalists less doughy. We'll see how that goes.
9:50 -- Raving Rabbids 2 is shown, and Dunaway says it will "work your core better than Pilates." See? Nintendo does care about the Core!
9:52 -- ooh, the good stuff! Sin and Punishment 2! We get a brief video of gameplay and it looks sweet. It even features a giant chicken, and how could you beat that?
9:55 -- Here's a couple new personal enrichment programs coming to the DS: Personal Trainer Cooking will be available Nov. 24 where Rythym Heaven will drop in the first half of 2009-- it's a simple tapping game that is "selling really well in Japan." Nintendo says it has big potential in the U.S.
9:56 -- Cammie Dunaway reminds us of of four "Hard Edged" titles coming to the DS-- Age of Empires, Tecmo Bowl, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, Chrono Trigger (coming Thanksgiving week) and finally, Fire Emblem!
9:59 -- A demo of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon transports us both backwards and forward in time. Backward to our original fascination with Square Enix's SNES Fire Emblem, and forward to the new version of the game. It's got a face-lift for the DS, but looks to contain a lot of the original's magic. It includes four new chapters, all prologues to the original game. There's also a tutorial, that teaches the basic controls as well as the stylus controls, and difficulty settings to keep things awesome.
The game also features a full suite of wireless options. You can play against others, picking five units each and going head-to-head on wi fi. It also features voice chat, so trash talking is encouraged. You can also "loan units" to friends. So if you need a stronger dude to get past a level, maybe your frined can hook you up. Fire Emblem also allows you to buy weapons and items online with in-game gold. Nice!
10:06-- Here are some kid-oriented games coming from Nintendo: Pokemon Ranger, available Nov. 10th, features 100s of Pokemon and Henry Hatsworth. It's about hats.
Mario and Luigi RPG video is shown off. Looks like just the kind of fun we like from Nintendo!
10:10-- New Wii Channel! Wii Speak channel lets you use the Wii Speak Microphone to let you speak to your friends over Nintendo. Launches Nov. 16.
10:11-- Club Nintendo is finally coming to North America by the end of the year. Allows harcore Nintendo heads to gain points to trade for exclusive content.