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Nintendo Wii

Sure, you’ve seen shots of the Nintendo Wii before, but here are some fresh from E3.  Note the sensor bar for the Wii Controller, and the Zapper concept which takes a standard controller and gives it an easier to use form-factor for shooting games.  Also of note is the Classic style which will come in handy for Virtual Console games.  If you’re not familiar with Virtual Console, think of it as all of your old Nintendo favorites reincarnated for the Wii and available for download.

The unofficial word in the Nintendo booth is that most, if not all, of the Wii units available for play are merely mock-ups.  A Nintendo representative did tell us that there were “a few working Wii systems”, but declined to mention if any of them were present at the E3 booth.

Wii Sensor Bar

Click to continue reading Wii Hardware Pics, Empty Shells And More

Gallery: Wii Hardware Pics, Empty Shells And More


Classic Controller
One of the forum members on Maxconsole.net found some images of the Wii controller and the actions it supports, as well as the new Wii Classic Controller.

The site shows some of the Wii controller stuff that is already known, including the pointer, shake, rumble, and sound functions, but also shows off the Classic Controller.

The new Classic Controller has a d-pad, and two analog sticks, but the arrangement of the buttons is more like a PS2 controller, while the shape is the ovoid shape of the classic Super Nintendo joypad. The controller has a wire, unfortunately, but there are enough buttons to handle standard NES, Super Nintendo, and Nintendo 64 games. The button layout may be a little weird for Gamecube games, but standard Gamecube controllers can be connected to the Wii, so this shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

[The Classic controller actually plugs into the nunchuk port on the Wii’s standard controller. And the second analog stick acts as the C-button control set for N64 games. We had a chance to play with it, and it actually works stunningly well.—Chris Cardinal]

Read More | Nintendo.co.jp via Maxconsole.net

Gallery: Nintendo of Japan Shows Classic Controller


We got our hands on Wii and it’s absolutely amazing. The controller is comfortable and intuitive and moves as you’d expect. The force feedback is meaningful and not just superfluous, indicating gently that you’ve hit the tennis ball or fired your gun. I had a chance to play Wii Sports: Tennis and Wii Sports: Baseball. Baseball was a bit of a challenge, because I actually had to hold the controller like a bat.

The Nintendo booth guy kept reminding me to keep my back elbow straight (advice I hadn’t heard for years) and to not forget about the follow through. I was absolutely amazed by how fluid the bat moved in response to my actual motions. Move the bat around in a circle on your shoulder and the bat rotates on your character’s shoulder in time. Take a swing, and the trajectory is mapped to the game for either a successful home run or one of many foul tips.

Tennis was a lot of fun, and I found it surprising at first that both games relied very little on the controller’s buttons. We have a lot of video coming up of Wii, since Nintendo’s massive-yet-still-crammed booth is where we spent the first four hours of today, but I wanted to get this preliminary post out to let you all know we’re working on covering everything we can. Wii seems to be the most popular attraction so far, but that’s just at a cursory glance, and apparently there are at least a few people trying to get into the PS3 demo.

Gallery: Live From E3: Wii Kicks Ass, Takes Names, Hella Fun

Logitech G25

If you’re a fan of racing games for the PC, you may have watched in envy as Logitech released their Driving Force Pro for the PS2.  The Driving Force Pro featured 900-degree wheel rotation with force feedback, a sequential stick shifter and gas/brake pedals.  To alleviate your jealousy, Logitech is introducing their G25 Racing Wheel that will work not only for the PC, but for the PS2 as well.

Like the Driving Force Pro, the G25 also features 900-degree wheel rotation which equates into 2-1/2 turns lock-to-lock for a true to life experience.  A gated 6-speed shifter with clutch pedal, pneumatic brake pedal, 11-inch leather-wrapped steering wheel, and stainless steel paddle shifters round out the package.  For games that don’t support the 6-speed shifter, a selection knob will easily allow you to switch it into sequential mode.

The G25 Racing Wheel will be available in October with a list price of $299 USD.

Gallery: Logitech G25 Racing Wheel

Master ChiefMicrosoft has posted the official Halo 3 teaser trailer online, available both on Xbox.com and via the Xbox Live Marketplace. The trailer doesn’t show any real gameplay shots, but more or less sets the stage for the sequel. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of plot to go on in the trailer either, other then the fact that a lot of crazy stuff is going to go down, so those people looking for at least a little closure after the very unresolved ending of Halo 2 are still going to have to wait until 2007 to find out what really happens. Perhaps Bungie will actually have a real ending this time, and answer more questions than they raise.

Read More | Xbox.com

Gallery: Halo 3 Trailer Online

The Xbox Media Briefing started with an amazing 3D array of the Gamertags of everyone that is here in the audience. It was absolutely stunning the way that they did this.

At the beginning of the briefing, we got a Gear of War trailer, followed by a demonstration of one of the levels. We must say - this game is drop-dead gorgeous.

Peter Moore hits the stage.

Xbox 360 has sold 5 million units faster than any console in history, as well as the iPod. Xbox Live will hit 6 million members within 12 months. As of last week, there is a 57% attach rate to Xbox Live.

We are given a look at upcoming Xbox Live Arcade games, including:

Dig Dug
Ms. Pac Man
Track and Field
Ultimate MK 3
Street Fighter II
Paper Boy

This is gonna be good stuff. All games will be updated in high definition, online multiplayer, and obviously achievements. Arcade is also creating a space for indie developers to get their new ideas across to today’s gamers.

Just announced: Lumines is hitting the Xbox 360 as an Arcade title, “Lumines Live.” The game will have licensed music from the likes of Madonna and others. Totally awesome.

We are watching a trailer of upcoming Xbox 360 titles. I am telling you, there is no difference as of now between these graphics and those of the PS3. Believe that. Smackdown vs. RAW 2007, Ninety-Nine Nights, and Gears of War look fabulous.

By holiday 2006, there will be more than 160 games available for the Xbox 360. When football season starts, Xbox 360 will be the only place to hit up Madden 2007 in next-gen format.

There is still development dedicated to the original Xbox.

Newly Announced: We are watching a trailer for what looks to be a sequel to Fable. In fact, it is! Fable 2 has just been announced, and this game looks incredible. Of course, this is a CG trailer…but the storyline looks tight.

Forza Motorsport 2: Another racing game, but these cars are fully customizable…from the engine, to the wheels, to the paint. Over 300 cars, racing up to 11 people on Xbox Live, and it will have a wireless steering wheel controller.

Other accessories include a wireless headset, and the Xbox Live Vision Camera that we leaked a few weeks ago. All three accessories will be available in Fall 2006.

Focusing on Japan, games like Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, and DOA Xtreme Volleyball 2 are hopefully going to make the Japanese appreciate the Xbox 360. Um, no they won’t.

Now viewing a trailer for Splinter Cell: Double Agent. I like the new gameplay elements, and the graphics are (again) top-notch. Even the gameplay footage. Launching in September.

Moving on to Viva Pinata. This is like a mix between Cubivore, The Sims, and a few other “do it yourself” games. In order to mate, there is a mating dance. Pretty creative. Launching in Holiday 2006.

Now we are moving on to entertainment, starting with Xbox Live Marketplace. There are over 18 million downloads since the launch, and as of tonight, there are over 1000 pieces of content. Every Xbox 360 developer has a piece of content on the Marketplace.

Xbox Live Marketplace changes the way people buy games. When Fight Night was demoed, pre-orders increased by 5x. Marketplace also provies true episodic content and opens a world of true digital entertainment. Tonight, you can download high definition show content, Gears of War Race to E3. It starts on Xbox Live, and ends next week with an MTV special.

Xbox 360 HD DVD player will be available this holiday. No price yet? What’s the deal?

I think it’s time for Halo 3…Moore is teasing us, and I think he has another tatoo. “Some guys do rubber ducks. Some guys do tatoos.” I was wrong, it’s time for Grand Theft Auto IV, which hits Xbox 360 on October 16th, 2006. He said nothing about exclusivity, but it is available on the platform on day one. Rockstar will also be providing exclusive episodic content on Xbox Live.

Moving on to Vista. The most game-friendly OS in history. Games for Windows is the new unified brand. Now showing trailer for PC game Crysis. Gameplay looked great, and it was running on Windows XP. We now change it up and take a look at DirectX 10 gaming on Windows Vista…and everyone is absolutely floored. Flight Simulator X and Crysis look photorealistic. One word here, folks: Wow. Vista is built to run games, and will be the single biggest launch in Microsoft’s history.

On to Oblivion, it sold 1.7 million copies in 3 weeks. Joint release for Xbox 360 and PC. Today they are announcing two more joint release games that will be released on both platforms, offering gamers a choice. The first is Shadowrun, which looks to provide a high-level depth of gaming. Launches with Vista in January. The other game is called Alan Wake, and it looks like a high-level survival-horror/thriller. A psychological action thriller.

Bill Gates hits the stage, and talks about Xbox 360’s global presence. By the end of June, between 5-5.5 million consoles will have been shipped.

Before others enter the marketplace, Xbox 360 will have a 10 million unit head start.

Just announced: Live Anywhere. Built-in to Vista, but will also be on cell phones, Xbox 360, etc. Have your Live account on all your devices, giving you one Gamertag that you can use across multiple platforms. Sounds like you can play games on Windows Mobile, and use your Gamertag and possibly even earn achievements. “Start a game on Xbox, continue it on the phone. Maybe schedule your Xbox to download something from your phone while you are away.” Moving from Live, to Live Anywhere.

We are given a demo of how this all might work. This stuff is going to be a big deal - we will have a video up later this evening. For now, know that Xbox Live’s experience will be fully realized on mobile phones, Windows Vista, and the Xbox 360.

I think it’s now Halo time. The crowd is going nuts. Halo 3 looks insane. The storyline will rock…but everyone wants to see multiplayer. It’s coming in 2007.

Gallery: Live from Microsoft Xbox E3 Media Briefing

9:38am:  Miyamoto kicks things off by conducting a digital orchestra to provide the background music, using a Wii controller to control the ebb and flow of the musical tempo. This is going to kick ass.

9:40am: An extended version of the demo video they launched a few months ago, which only showed the players interacting with the controller now show us some real gameplay shots of the new Mario, Zelda and Metroid franchises, along with a bunch of other gameplay concepts.

9:42am: Reggie tells us now, “As for price and release date, we believe it’s in our best interest to keep that information to ourselves just a while longer. But let’s just say that we’ll provide more fun for cheaper and that’ll be available in the fourth quarter of 2005.” Thanks, Reggie.

9:55am: After another demo video, Reggie discusses Zelda as the “best Zelda game Nintendo has ever made, as well as the most beautiful game Nintendo has ever made.” It will be available at Wii’s launch.

9:56am: They’re now demoing the control scheme for Twilight Princess on the Wii. The remote acts as a pointer and aiming utility, guided by crosshairs or a fairy. “Built into the Wii remote is a speaker.” Sound will “travel” from the remote to the TV based on your actions and add some great depth of sound and interaction. There’s also still the built-in rumble.

10:02am: Confirmed title for the Wii Mario game: Super Mario Galaxy. Jumping from planet to planet, Mario is apparently able to survive in a vacuum.

Reggie is going over all the first- and third-party games that will be available, including Madden ‘07, Tony Hawk, and a ton more, all reinvented to take advantage of the Wii’s crazy “freehand controller” system.

10:07am: “And while we’re not going to specify a launch number right now, you will be playing 27 games tomorrow on the show floor.” That bodes very well for the launch number, I’m thinking.

10:11am: The French developer of Red Steel is demoing the control system and physics engine, along with the graphics of Redsteel. It’s looking pretty impressive, but above all, the controls are where it’s at. The motion-sensitive nunchuck adds an entirely separately range of motion and interaction to these games.

10:13am: Oh, and Reggie let slip that there are still a few secrets left surrounding the controller, even after the news of the internal speaker has broke. But they’re not going to tell us quite yet.

10:16am: George Harrison talks about the DS and DS Lite’s new offerings, including VOIP over their Wifi Connection, a new Zelda title (The Phantom Hourglass) and Final Fantasy III. There will be over 100 new games for the Nintendo DS between now and the end of the year. Star Fox and Yoshi DS games are also in the works. Excitement abounds.

10:23am: Saturo Iwata tells us the goal since he’s become president of Nintendo has been to expand the total number of people playing games. He wants to include those who used to play but have lost interest, and those who have never played before.

10:24am: Iwata is talking about the success of Brain Age and Nintendogs. Oh, and I’m absolutely starving. (In the hyperbolic sense more than the third-world country sense, natch.)

10:25am: Iwata is now talking about the fond memories gamers have of the older games we used to play. Now he’s mentioning how unaccetpable even a 30 or 40 second load time is… We designed Wii to provide owners a variety of services even when it appears off. “WiiConnect24” runs even when the Wii is “off,” using just the power of a small lightbulb. “This means developers can push a new weapon or vehicle to you, even while you sleep.” “In Animal Crossing, anytime the console is in standby, that a friend has visited their village and left a message or gift.” “Networking software is included in the hardware.”

10:31am: WiiSports: A combination that will include tennis, baseball and golf in one package and available on launch day. This controller is going to completely reinvent the sports video game genre. Seeing the beads of sweat dripping off a player is only so nice; controlling them in a way that’s absolutely immersive and fun strikes me truly as the next big thing. But I’m a Nintendo fanboy, so there’s that.

10:33am: Now, Miyamoto is announcing their online contest winner, who will get to come on stage and play, for the first time.

10:36am: The winner is now playing doubles with Reggie, Miyamoto and Iwata. The idea is to showcase exactly how intuitive a system like this is, in that the winner has never played the Wii before and is still able to get right into it and go, with no real explanations.

10:40am: Reggie closes things up with a bit of a marketing spiel and the tagline “playing is believing.” We’ll get to believe tomorrow, I suppose.

Gallery: Live From E3: Nintendo Press Conference

PS3 Controller

Since the last time gamers saw the PS3 controller, there have been some changes. First, of course, is the return of the familiar Dualshock form-factor. The triggers have been tweaked to give them more play, and the sensitivity of the analog pads and buttons has been increased to 10-bit from its original 8-bit resolution. Bluetooth wireless is now standard, and the controller offers a USB port for a wired connection and battery charging. Gone is the rumble feature, and the reason this has been removed is due to a new feature for the controller, a feature that seems awfully similar to one we’ve already seen: the new controller offers on board gyroscopic sensors to direct 3D directional movement. Apparently the rumble feature interferes with the directional sensors, so gamers lose vibrational feedback. While the directional sensors seem a lot like Nintendo’s offering, it isn’t quite the same. Sony’s version of the tilt sensor might seem a bit familiar to gamers that played Motocross Madness on the PC with Microsoft’s Sidewinder Freestyle Pro.

Read More | Playstation.com

Gallery: PS3 Controller Gains Sensors, Loses Rumble

PS3According to a press release hosted by Sony, the differences between the two price points extends beyond the size of the hard disk drive. In addition to losing that 40 GB of disk space, the base console loses the HDMI port, support for Memory Stick, CompactFlash, SD media, and loses the built in wireless networking. The loss of memory stick and wireless networking support is kind of a bummer, but the big loss for people looking for an inexpensive Blu-Ray player has got to be the HDMI port. At this time, it is unknown whether there will be expansion options for those who choose to purchase the less expensive version, like the optional hard drive for Xbox 360 Core and Premium packs, so it looks like potential PS3 owners will have to make some choices when the system ships on November 17. Of course, if system availability is anything like what faced holiday Xbox 360 purchasers, people may have to take what they can get.

Read More | Playstation Press Center

Gallery: PS3: $499 Version Lacks HDMI, Memory Stick

E3 Gear Live

The Gear Live crew is here in hazy LA and ready to bring you all the best coverage we can offer. Comprised of Jesse Ferguson, Nate True, John Goulden, Chris Cardinal and Andru Edwards, we plan on having all sorts of video coverage peppered with occasionally decent writing and rapier wit. Or your money back.

We’ll be all over the map and trying to cover as much as possible, but if you think we’ve let something slide, or there’s something you’re dying to see that no one has covered, let us know. We live to serve.

Gallery: E3: Yes, we’re really here.