This year is definitely going to be about the hardware. They'll try to show some big games as well, but they set the bar pretty high for themselves last year in terms of big surprises on that front.
9:05: They just started the pre-show video
9:07: Okay, now they're doing a Zelda montage with an actual orchestra, presumably in honor of the 25th anniversary of Zelda this year.
9:10: And starting right out of the gates with Miyamoto on stage.
9:12: Sound volume on the official Nintendo feed kinda sucks, and they're not balancing Miyamoto's speech with that of the translator very well.
9:13: They're doing a retrospective of memorable Zelda sound clips, as performed by the orchestra. Opening a door, getting an item, etc.
9:15: Announcing a Zelda for "each of our hardware systems." One of the GBA Color zelda games available on the 3DS eshop? Link's Awakening it seems.
9:16: Talking about Ocarina of Time 3DS now.
9:17: In September Legend of Zelda 4 Swords will be a free download for the DSi. Guess they want to continue pushing the DSi a little as well?
9:18: Talking about a promotional gold Wii remote, big whoop.
9:19: They're doing a worldwide Zelda concert tour. Not clear how many stops it will have, except that it will hit "every region."
9:20: Zelda soundtracks. Think they mentioned Skyward sword, tossing out a lot of stuff.
9:21: Bringing out more big old school Nintendo names so Miyamoto can introduce them and thank them for working with him.
9:22: Looks like they're done with Zelda.
9:23: Now Iwata is coming out. Talking about how Wii expanded/eliminated the boundaries of gaming, yatta yatta.
9:24: New console will have "deeper experiences and wider appeal." Ie they want both the hardcore and the casual gamers like i was saying earlier?
9:25: But we'll talk about the new console later, you all really want to hear about the 3DS now right? =P
9:26: Mario Kart! :) Starfox. "Do a barrel roll" =P New Mario game
9:27: Kid Icarus, but we already knew that. *snerk* New Luigi's Mansion :) Someone was actually joking about that in one of the live blogs.
9:28: Regiie Fils-Aime comes out (huh, i had no idea of how to pronounce his last name until now.)
9:28: You want things you always wanted, but you want new things too.
9:29: This year's theme is "something for everyone."
9:29: Mario Kart 3DS. "Now it's a tricked out version you haven't driven before." So far looks like the same old Mario Kart to me, not that that's a bad thing.
9:30: Ahh, now there are hang gliders that pop out of the karts. And propellers on the back when they go underwater. Ahhh, customization of the karts, hence the "tricked out" comment. Mario ridding a big wheel kart.
9:32: Starfox 3D, with either regular controls or motion controls.
9:33: Mario 3DS. "I think you'll agree that it incoproates quite a tale." Tanooki suit anyone? :)
9:34: Yup! Looks like they crossed regular 2D Mario levels with segments of 3D Galaxy type gameplay.
9:35: Kid Icarus.
9:36: ... Kid Icarus is going to have Vs Multiplayer?
9:37: 3 on 3 multiplayer action, with AR cards. Will be out "later this year."
9:38: Luigi's Mansion 2.
9:39: I think that may have gotten more applause than Kid Icarus. Strange.
9:40: 3rd party mashup trailer. Resident Evil. Mario & Sonic Olympics. Ace Combat 3D. Tetris. Cave Story 3D. More Resident Evil. Driver Renegade. Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions. Tekken 3D. MGS Snake Eater 3D. Nothing that surprising i don't think?
9:41: Talking about the 3DS eshop update this week. Virtual console.
9:42: For a limited time you get a free copy of "3D Classics Exceitebike" "It doesn't get much more retro than that."
9:43: Pokemon. Two or three people cheer :) Pokedex 3D. Need to collect pokemon from Spotpass, trading with people, or scanning special AR cards.
9:44: You can use the Pokemon you've collected to paste AR versions of them in pictures you've taken. Yay? =P
9:45: "One more order of business left for us today." Finally!
9:46: "You may remember how the Wii name started to make perfect sense once you started to hear it as 'we'" No, sorry, i missed that part =P
9:46: ...They're going to name it the Nintendo Mii? =P No, they're going to name it the Wii U...
9:47: Wow.. the new controller doesn't look anything like what anyone was predicting. It actually _is_ a tablet with game controls pasted on.
9:48: Trailer showing how you can be playing a game on the TV, then switch the the console. Someone doing art on it with a stylus. Using it as a touchscreen boardgame for two people (playing Othello on it.) Catching a baseball with it. Huh, Wii golf using a Wiimote as the club and the new controller lying on the floor showing you were the ball is. Showing someone using it with Wii Fit.
9:50: Using two controllers to video chat. Internet browsing. Also the obvious, full screen Zelda while using the controller to control your inventory.
9:51: Iwata talking about how it works with all the old peripherals.
9:52: Two analog sticks, d-pad, four face buttons, four shoulder buttons. Touchscreen, speakers, microphone, accelerometer and gyroscope, front facing camera. 6.2 inch screen.
9:55: Blah blah marketing speak. So what i'm thinking is, this may be a decent push if they want to compete with the iPad. I'm not sure if it competes with the PS3 and 360 at all well. I'm not convinced of the ergonomics of this thing as a regular controller. Especially with the right analog controller above the four face buttons.
9:58: Smash Bros for both Wii U and the 3DS. Now _that_ got some cheers :)
9:59: Reggie back on stage to talk about the software they've got on demo. So are they not going to show us the actual console at all?
9:59: Graphics tech demo reel. Hard to do an exact comparison watching over a live steam, but it certainly looks pretty. A bird, trees, water, fish.
10:01: Reggie's gonna tell us how the new controller will change things.
10:01: "New Super Mario Bros Mii" You can play Mario Bros as one of your Miis. Do not want.
10:02: Did he just say "Shield Ho"? Showing a picture of "chase me," shows one person holding the Wii U controller and four people holding the Wiimote controller. Does that mean you're only intended to have one Wii U controller per household? Talking about some galactic shooter, again, a picture with one person holding a Wii U and two holding a Wiimote/nunchuck combo.
10:03: He's only going to announce one game. Lego City Stories. The hell? Exclusive to WiiU and 3DS.
10:04 Video of various developers, EA Sports, THQ, Ubisoft, WB, 5th Cell, Namco Bandai, Irrational, Disney Interactive, EA.
10:05: Darksiders 2, Tekken, Batman Arkham City (cheers) Assassin's Creed, Tom Clancy Ghost Recon Online
10:06: Demo reel, Darksiders 2, Dirt, Aliens Colonial Marines, Ghost Recon Online, Metro Last Light, Tekken (with the ability to draw on the characters =) Ninja Gainden 3: Razor's Edge (more cheers)
10:09: Okay, that was a lot more impressive than Nintendo's own reels.
10:10: "Wii U will satisfy all tastes."
10:10: John Riccitiello (EA) coming onstage. I've never onstage with people at E3 a lot, but never with Nintendo, this represents a new breakthrough in our relationship.
10:11: He wants to do lots of sports and shooter games. It's going to be very innovative.
10:12: Isn't this unprecedented relationship between EA and Nintendo the same kind of support they promised for the Wii?
10:13: Reggie back. We should consider DS, 3DS, Wii and WiiU. What do they all have in common? Innovation apparently.
10:15: The end.
So in summary, the only somewhat surprising first party game announcements (as far as i knew anyways) were Mario Kart, Starfox and Luigi's Mansion 2 for 3DS, and Smash Bros for both 3DS and Wii U.
The big news of course was about the new console, the "Wii U", with Nintendo continuing its new tradition of bizarre names. The New controller does _not_ look like all the mock-ups that were going around of a GameCube controller with a touchscreen wedged in. Instead it looks like someone took a tablet and pasted on some game controls. As stated above it may do a good job of competing with the tablet market, but i'm rather dubious about it's use as a controller for "hardcore" games, though that didn't stop Nintendo from convincing a lot of third parties to make "hard core" games for it. The most popular probably being Tekken, Batman Arkham City, Assassin's Creed, Darksiders 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3. I guess we'll have to wait and see what the people at E3 who can actually pick up the controller and try it out think. Aside from the name, the controller and some of the third-party games there were no real surprises. No big first party games except for Smash Bros so far and it's still coming next year at an unspecified time for an unspecified price.
The biggest non-news of the conference is that we still have no idea what the console itself looks like. Obviously Nintendo thinks the new controller is what's important, but i'd really like to see the console as well.