Ding ding ding!  The curtains have now gone done on all three major console developer conferences.  Did you get your fill of motion controllers?  This article is rife with links to videos of games, so if you’re catching up, hopefully this’ll make it a little easier, too!

First up: Nintendo

Nintendo was ready to go, showing off new games from the get-go and keeping the sales talk low.  The first out was New Super Mario Bros. Wii with Little Big Planet-style 4-player coop, not revolutionary but it certainly looked like a lot of fun.  There was talk of number of already acknowledged but nonetheless cool games, including WarioWare DIY (as in Do It Yourself), Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (effectively Mario & Luigi RPG 3), and Kingdom Hearts 358/3 Days.  It’s also apparent that they’ve put more time in Wii Sports Resort, and it really shows.  While the game did look fun last year, this year’s showing really dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s, with a polished intro sequence and what seemed like a more approachable and fun game overall.  There was also an appreciable little remark from the presenter during the archery demo about the skill and challenge behind the activity.  You’ve got to appreciate the guy trying to tell traditionally core gamers “Hey, you can enjoy this too!”

Of course, the bigger announcements from the conference were Super Mario Galaxy 2, which might not be a wholly new game but certainly looks like more of what we already love, and the big shocker: a Team Ninja/Nintendo co-developed handling of a big Nintendo IP in the form of Metroid: Other M.  You ask me?  The trailer looks fantastic, aside from the slightly frightening doll-people in the cutscenes (What’s with Japanese developers and these creepy mannequin people!?).  The action seems frenetic, and there’s something truly fan-servicey about seeing Samus doing bitchin’ ninja moves one after another.

All in all it was a pretty good conference, and Nintendo fans should be jazzed.  It wasn’t the fireworks laden show we might’ve hoped for, (New Zelda!  New Star Fox!  New Pikmin! Earthbound Compilation!  And the kitchen sink to boot!) but it got across the message that Nintendo is headed in a good direction and they don’t show any signs of slowing down.  Gamers also need to understand that it’s getting harder and harder for companies to have big, multi-title E3 showings like that.  Modern games, even Wii ones, still take a lot more time and manpower to develop than they used to.

Also, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata came on stage  briefly, made some good statements, and then showed a picture of a pulse monitor attachment for the Wii-mote.  A lot like the kind you see attached to “Love Rating” machines in grocery stores.  No demonstration or relevant gameplay information therein.  Then he walked off-stage.  Awwwwkward~.

All in all, there was enough news to love, even though the presentation and speakers were a bit lackluster.

A bit later in the day we got Sony:

Now Sony came out swinging.  High energy, professional montages were the name of the game.  Within minutes they treated gamers to a gorgeous Uncharted 2 demo.  After that they moved right along to an in-depth demo and explanation of the hotly anticipated 256-player MAG.  (Admittedly this part was actually pretty dry presentation-wise, and the presenter was hardly high-energy, but it was certainly a show of good faith.)

It was pretty much hit after hit for Sony.  Even though the volume of newly announced titles was low, there was still enough information about anticipated titles to keep things fresh.  They “officially” announced the adorable PSP Go! for a questionable $249.  They showed off some hot Assassin’s Creed 2 footage.  There was the delicious, and hilarious bombshell that was Metal Gear: Peace Walker for the PSP, the first English dubbed trailer for Final Fantasy XIII, and the surprise reveal of Final Fantasy XIV Online (which there’s already an official website up for at http://na.finalfantasyxiv.com).  Sony seems to have a good grasp on what the people want: games.

The most interesting part of the conference, though, was invariably Sony’s answer to the motion control equation.  Their dry speakers may have made us cringe, but the device arguably proved itself well.

Essentially both a motion wand and camera, the demo showed off a surprisingly high level of fidelity.  It was also paired with a decent physics engine for all the examples, which made seeing the possibilities much easier.  They moved from smacking small objects around a room (there was even a bit of altered reality play in there, with a video of the player overlaid with a tennis racket,) to an FPS style gun demonstration with the players movements tracking the direction of the gun, and then onto sword and shield demonstrations with the avatar’s sword faithfully following the players arm as he poked and slashed a ragdoll skeleton.  While the presentation was fairly unpolished, the device itself looking more like a cheap drugstore vibrating massager than a game controller, the end result was awesome, and really shows that Sony’s motion control already has many strong gameplay possibilities.

Oh!  Also last but far (far!) from least was the announcement of the PS3 title Mod Nation Racers, which I think is best summed up via my at-the-moment reactions and just watching the linked video.

Sony announces: A decent looking cart racing game.  I’m curious.

Featuring online play and highly flexible character editing inspired by the mod-toy scene vinyl figures that independent artists love to paint and decorate.  That’s pretty freakin’ cool.  The characters even look like those little figures you may have seen at comic stores.

Including the ability to edit cars as well.  Gettin’ warmer.

Then to top it off they demo’d an incredibly easy-to-use track editor that also looked fairly powerful and will allow you to share your tracks with friends.  Boiling lava hot. We’re talking Hot Pocket hot here, folks.

So all in all, Sony did an awesome job of jazzing everyone up, and Nintendo announced some things to be happy about.  A “winner”?  The idea of “winning” is a bit silly, but I’d make the case that Sony had both the strongest new tech and the most big game announcements.

In any case, here’s to more good announcements in the days to come!

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