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E3 Recap Triangle

Our esteemed colleagues: Evan Dubisky, Josh Bookhalter, and Mackenzie Tims sat down after this year’s E3 to discuss the big three’s press conference.

I should warn you that this has language a bit stronger than what you might be used to if you are a LITHCast regular.

Take a listen:

Three Things I Expect From Each Console Company at E3


Demo for 3DS
Details on the new Zelda game
Lame Wii Add-On

Natal release date
Hardware refresh
Paid subscriptions to something

Improved online service
3D BluRay support, Google TV support
More hopes and dreams

Pikmin 3 - Lessons Learned


Pikmin, those Skittle colored creatures, are likely making a comeback for the Wii. I welcome the return; Pikmin was my favorite single player Gamecube game. However, if the trend between Pikmin 1 and 2 continues, Pikmin 3 will not have as good of a storyline as the first did.

Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Pikmin, Mario, and The Legend of Zelda, agreed with Nintendo Power that Pikmin is “not too short, not too long.” I feel that this description of the first Pikmin is accurate, yet Pikmin 2 seemed to forget this foundational idea and stretched out the game. The lack of a day limit caused me to feel too relaxed with the game, as I didn't have to economize my time. This removal also took the hurried atmosphere away from the game.


The first Pikmin also had an atmosphere of isolation that the second lacked. Obviously, the introduction of a partner is partly responsible, but the daily letters and even the environments of the levels helped with the feeling of isolation of Pikmin. To elaborate, the levels in Pikmin altogether seemed darker and contained more fog. Only the caves brought a similar atmosphere into Pikmin 2, yet you always knew that you could return to the surface and build another army to bring down later. This isolation (and the previous hurried atmosphere) kept me playing; I wanted to see Olimar rescued.

Olimar, in Pikmin, was an “everyman”. In Pikmin 2, he is transformed into a preternatural scientist with Louie as the comedic foil. This allows players to distance themselves from these characters, unless someone feels themselves as experimental a cook Louie seems to be, or as methodical about their explanations as Olimar is changed into.

Yet, I must say that the gameplay did improve from Pikmin to Pikmin 2. The introduction of electricity and more extensive use of poison does add to the atmosphere. The changed system of items to collect makes the game more interesting as well as more challenging, yet they removed most of that challenge with the removal of a time limit. Also, I like the items themselves, and the fact that they virtually guarantee the hypothesis that the Planet of the Pikmin is Earth.


Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Muramasa: The Demon Blade. Perhaps my favorite thing of this E3, if not, at least the biggest shock. Once again, I’ll talk more on the podcast, but I really did love this game. It comes out in September from Ignition Software:

By the way: Yes, I know I screwed up the subtitle text. I’m not fixing it -- too lazy...

Iwata's GDC Keynote


Alright, before I begin I would like to say two things:

1. This is complete speculation. While I am basing it on announced details, I am completely speculating. I can't say that I have any inside information on this.

2. I was not super pressed to write this. I often write speculation that I feel is just staring me in the face; this is not one of those times. I just randomly felt like writing this.

Alright, now that we have that out of the way, let's begin!

So, recently it has been announced that Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, will be speaking at this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco on March 25th (Press Release). The title of his Keynote will be, "Discovering New Development Opportunities."

Here is the little blurb from the GDC site.:

From this blurb, we see that Mr. Iwata has not been a keynote speaker at GDC since 2006. While I don't really think that GDC is the defining conference for gaming, it is interesting that we will be seeing Mr. Iwata there now.

Recently, Nintendo's stock had its largest single-day drop in 18 years. This is basically due to Nintendo cutting shipment estimates significantly, which is causing people to believe that the growth for the Wii is over. Now, even if this was true, I think that we would be kidding ourselves if we were really disappointed. That is, can we really expect a product to be popular after 2 years of being on the market? I'm also sure that many of you have the feeling that the Wii may have a lot of undeserved success; this would be because of the lack of attention many of you guys seem to be feeling.

Perhaps Nintendo, who provided no official explanation for the bearish forecast, is simply trying to lower expectations for what we may see at GDC or E3. Now, if you're of the belief that we are long overdue for a Zelda title, then you might think that we will soon see an announcement of a new Zelda from Iwata at GDC.

Now here is where the speculation comes in. The natural question to ask would be: Why would Nintendo reveal a Zelda title at GDC when Nintendo already said that we wouldn't see it at E3?

Well, if you look back to the interview with Miyamoto, that said that we wouldn't likely see Zelda at E3, then you might think it unlikely, but if you actually read and picked apart what Miyamoto said, we might be able to say that a GDC announcement is possible.

Miyamoto said, "I'm really not sure when we'll be able to make a public announcement on that. I can't even say if the next E3 will be the right opportunity to do so. But rest assured, our teams are working on new projects right now."

I said that E3 might not be the right opportunity to announce the next Zelda, but that doesn't mean that we can't hear about it sooner, does it? I mean, E3 is becoming increasingly irrelevant, despite the ESA's effort to keep it afloat. GDC, on the other hand, seems to be doing quite well. So, why would I believe that we will see something at GDC in particular? Simple.

I believe that it isn't such a stretch to believe that Nintendo will be talking about Wii Motion Plus at this year's GDC -- it just makes sense. I doubt I will need to convince you about that, but just to be clear: GDC is about the developers and Wii Motion Plus provides much in the way of development opportunities -- the very title of Mr. Iwata's keynote.

Now, many of you have expressed the idea that perhaps the next Zelda would use Wii Motion Plus. We already have heard from Miyamoto that the next Zelda was made from the ground up for the Wii. So, what better tech demo to show at GDC for Wii Motion Plus than a Zelda?

We know Nintendo is interested in attracting developers to the Wii Motion Plus (as evidenced by the video I took below at the media briefing), and serious about 3rd parties. In fact, when Nintendo had that huge stock price drop, Mr. Iwata was quick to say that third parties are benefiting greatly from Wii and DS.

The point it, it seems that Nintendo wants to appeal to the third parties and perhaps wants to encourage them to develop for the Wii Motion Plus. I think Nintendo will show off the next Zelda at GDC so as to send the message that says, "Hey, if we can take one of our most core titles, The Legend of Zelda, and use Wii Motion Plus, then you have no excuses...use it!"

I am almost sure we'll see Wii Motion Plus at GDC, but whether or not we see Zelda is up in the air. We have heard almost nothing about the Wii Motion Plus (or Wii Pay and Play, by the way) since the announcement. And just because Miyamoto said that E3 wasn't the right opportunity, doesn't mean that this is due to it being too early. Maybe they just don't view E3 as the place to announce this sort of thing.

Maybe we will be seeing Zelda at GDC. Mark your calendars: March 25th. What say you?


Shigeru Miyamoto Intrview Translation

So, I was reading over at that Club Nintendo Magazine had done interviews with Shigeru Miyamoto and Reggie Fils-Aime. Sadly, both of these interviews were published in Spanish. Rawmeat Cowboy appealed to his readers to translate it. One of his readers did get the high points, but personally, I wanted a full translation.

Conveniently enough, I happen to know Spanish relatively well. It’s practically a requirement for living in Southern California...

I actually have only translated the Miyamoto interview and was planning to translate Reggie’s but since I have translated it, someone over at GoNintendo had translated both in the comments.

here is the original scan of the magazine from GoNintendo.

Here is my translation. Please know that I am not Hispanic and Spanish is just a second language for me:

Club Nintendo: How are you? It’s been two years since you brought us an Epona figurine of yours. Do you remember?

Shigeru Miyamoto: Of course, thanks for having me.

CN: The fans want you to develop a title like The Legend of Zelda with all the functionality of the Wii, like the Wii Motion Plus. We know we have a Zelda on Wii already, but it was a title made really as a Gamecube project.

SM: Yes, we have The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for Wii and Gamecube, but right now our Zelda team is working on a Zelda specifically for Wii; we were simply not ready to show it

CN: Is that why Eiji Aonuma wasn’t here during E3?

SM: Yes, that’s correct.

MarioKart Wii Trailer

Something makes me think I must be missing where this is, but I didn't see it up elsewhere so here you are:


MarioKart Event Video

It's always nice when a gaming event takes place in your city. It's also nice when the event was short notice because it is always very easy to play the games.

I headed over to Belmont Park today to check out and play MarioKart Wii a little early.

Here is a video of what I saw:


Wii Shortage Blamed on Dollar...I don't think so.

As many of you know, there are Wii "shortages" around the country. It is simply not the case right now that you can just walk right into a store and buy one despite the fact that it has been over a year since the Wii's launch.

I made a posting about the value of a Rupee in The Legend of Zelda series on, the other site I run, when reader garsh mentioned that some people believe that a reason for why the Wiis are in short supply here in the US was because of a weak Dollar. Therefore, Nintendo would rather sell the Wii in Europe where the exchange rate is more favorable. I had known about this opinion as stated by While this is a possibility, I am not so sure that it is necessarily the right one.

For those who listen to the podcast, you know that I love economic stuff and so I thought that I would just give you my reasoning as to why I do not think a weak Dollar is doing it. I think the economic reasons make sense, but I think a greater understanding of how Nintendo works would have been better for the guy who was making the comments. And just to get this point out of the way, I am not worried about the state of the Dollar.

So, first off, in case you haven't read the article from, I will just summarize what they are saying.

The argument itself is a pretty good one. The way it works, is that when a country, like the Unites States, imports more than it exports, the currency becomes "weaker". What that means is that say we are importing more from Japan than we export to them. What happens then, is that our currency, as compared to the Yen, becomes weaker. When a currency weakens, it is not as favorable to denominate goods in the weaker currency since the exchange rates are tipped in favor of the Yen. What that means is that now it takes fewer Yen to equal a Dollar and so Nintendo loses money in the exchange of currencies.

Here is a graph of the Dollar compared to the Yen (more details):


As you can see, the Dollar has gone down and the thinking is that in order to make more money, Nintendo has shifted their stock of Wiis to areas like Europe where the currency is stronger.

This is essentially what the article says.

Sure, denominating consoles in Dollars and exporting to the USA is something that becomes less favorable to Nintendo, but here is my reasoning.

1. All console makers sell their consoles at a loss except Nintendo, who, depending on which report you believe, is either making money on console sales or losing about $12 per console. Because of this, there really shouldn't be any reason why Nintendo needs to worry about the profits any more than Sony especially because they have a lot of hit first party titles that Sony doesn't have and therefore can rely on the games if the problem was really the Dollar.

2. The DS is still being made and sold in greater numbers than the Wii and I am pretty sure both are being imported. The shortage we see with eh Wii simply isn't happening with the DS.

3. Lastly, it is important to realize that a weak Dollar, when compared to the Yen is a two-way street. The Dollar has dropped about 12% since the Wii launch. Whether you think that is really enough to slow sales in one of their hottest markets, you tell me. But here is the thing. A weak Dollar isn't really as bad as most might say it is. As I said, it is a two-way street. What I mean is that while it may be unfavorable for companies that are overseas like Nintendo to export to us, it does become favorable for them to import from us. American companies that make the components for the Wii like IBM making the "Broadway" CPU and AMD making the "Hollywood" GPU, look a lot more attractive to Nintendo because they are American components and so can be bought on the cheap. My point being that whatever Nintendo loses from Dollar prices, (If they even lose anything at at), the difference could look the same on the balance sheet if you think about the lower prices for American-made components.

The most important point really is the last one. Thanks to super-awesome capitalism, currencies are a two-way street. A strong currency is favorable for imports and a weak currency is favorable for exports. The US is in a good position to export goods like Wii components to Nintendo. A weak currency on our part means that Nintendo can save on the components that are American made and thus saves money.

Look, I am not saying that the possibility of a weak Dollar being the problem is impossible, but I think there are these considerations to keep in mind when trying to pin something like a Wii shortage.

I realize that some of this economy stuff is a little weird and so I'd be happy to explain anything if you leave questions in the comments. Winking

Super Smash Bros.: Brawl Review


By Dustin Chapas

Title: Super Smash Brothers Brawl
ESRB Rating: T
Players: 1-4
Developer: Sora/Nintendo
Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection: Yes

Trauma Center: New Blood Review

By Leslie Kivett

Game: Trauma Center: New Blood.
System: Wii
Developer: Atlus games.
ESRB: T for Teen
Nintendo Wifi Connection: Yes.

traumacenter_newblood

No More Heroes Review

By Leslie Kivett

Game: No more Heroes.
Console: Wii
Developer: Suda 51/Ubisoft
ESRB: M for Mature

no_more_heroes_logo

Soul Calibur Legends Review

By Leslie Kevitt

Game: Soul Caliber Legends.
Console: Wii
ESRB: T for Teen
Developer: Bandai/Namco

soulcalibur-legends

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games

By Dustin Chapas

Title: Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games
Consoles: Nintendo Wii
Players: 1-4
ESRB Rating: E
Developer: Sega in cooperation with Nintendo
Online: Sort of.

mario-sonic-012561

Super Mario Galaxy Review

By Leslie Kivett

Game: Super Mario Galaxy
Console: Wii
Nintendo Wifi Connection: No
Developer: Nintendo of Japan/Nintendo of America
ESRB: E for Everyone

object-1

Guitar Hero 3 Review

By Leslie Kivett

Game: Guitar Hero 3
Console: Wii
Nintendo Wifi Connection: Yes
Developers: Neversoft/Red Octane/ Activision

guitar_hero_3