Next, Reggie moved us into the mandatory casual gaming segment of the show. At least he amused the crowd with a "my body is ready" reference along the way. I'm sure everyone is shocked to hear that there will be a Wii Fit for the Wii U. It will come with new low-impact activities and a few ways to use the GamePad to exercise even when somebody else is using the TV. Nintendo is also introducing a group-based karaoke game temporarily titled "Sing," which was demoed by a bunch of people who were far too old to be singing Carly Rae Jepsen (and on behalf of my beloved nation of Canada, may I issue my deepest apologies for that song's existence).
When Sing mercifully departed, there was a short segment allotted to the 3DS, which will be receiving its own hour-long conference tomorrow. There was some footage of New Super Mario Brothers 2 for the 3DS, which has a gold coin collecting gimmick. Even the power-ups have been colored gold. We were also able to see more of the long-awaited Paper Mario game, which adds a sticker mechanic to the series' formula and has been officially titled Paper Mario: Sticker Star. Luigi's Mansion 2 was shown in greater detail as well, and revealed to have multiple mansions and mission-based gameplay. All these games are coming soon. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is out on August 19, while Paper Mario: Sticker Star and Luigi's Mansion 2 are bound for the holiday season.
After a quick montage of third-party games headed for the 3DS, which I'm sure we'll hear more about tomorrow, Reggie returned to the stage to introduce LEGO City: Undercover for the Wii U and 3DS. It stars a LEGO private eye solving crimes in an open-world LEGO City, and was quickly dubbed LEGO GTA by onlookers. The oddest thing about the game is that after years of hearing nothing but giggles and grunts from LEGO mini-figs, the characters in LEGO City: Undercover actually speak English. Weird!
Next up was Ubisoft, represented by Yves Guillemot and his adorable French accent. Yves let Reggie play puppetmaster using the tablet with Just Dance 4, choosing which dance moves several on-stage dancers would perform. We also saw some gameplay footage of Zombi U, which allows the player to scan for zombies using the GamePad. It was stated that Zombi U operates on a "one bite and you're dead" mechanic, so it's shaping up to be a fairly brutal game.
Finally, Reggie introduced us to NintendoLand, a virtual theme park full of themed mini-games that make use of the Wii U GamePad. Wii Sports director Katsuya Iguchi is in charge of this project, and came on stage to demonstrate several of the mini-games in painstaking detail. The ninja star tech demo of last year's E3 has been turned into a game. A Luigi's Mansion multiplayer game allows the GamePad player to play a ghost who chases players with Wiimotes. There will be twelve games in total, five of which will be demoed on the show floor. Through most of the presentation, it seemed as though NintendoLand would be a pack-in that came with the Wii U, much like Wii Sports did with the Wii. Reggie's announcement that NintendoLand would release at the same time as the Wii U left that an open question, however. And with that, the conference was over, as Reggie strolled off the stage to a NintendoLand fireworks show.
Although there were some neat games announced and discussed at this year's Nintendo conference, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed, even as a big fan of Nintendo. There was too much focus on things we already knew and games that have already been announced. I think Nintendo is going to face an uphill battle to really get gamers on board with the Wii U. On the other hand, the stuff coming out for the 3DS looks great, and I find myself looking forward to tomorrow's conference and glad that I've got my little 3D portable buddy at my side.
Date: June 5, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*