8:33AM PDT - It looks like we got here pretty early. After getting our tickets, grabbing some coffee, and mingling with industry buddies (like Joystiq columnist Dennis McCauley) we find ourselves waiting just outide the entrance to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium's main, uh ... auditorium feverishly checking the time. Thirty minutes to go.
8:42AM PDT - Entering the auditorium, we're greeted (assaulted?) by the family-friendly sounds of The Monkees' "I'm a Believer."
8:49AM PDT - Giant screens flanking the main stage share a dozen plus shots of various demographics all enjoying the pick up and play experience offered by the Wii and DS ... or something. No one up there looks like us ... they're all well groomed and a significant percentage of them enjoy senior citizen mass transit discounts.
8:59AM PDT - They've just announced that the show will begin in two minutes (that's 120 seconds for those of you counting down at home). We're being good little bloggers and turning off our cellphones like the nice man asked.
9:03AM PDT - A strange YouTube video of a talking DS talking about being left on a shelf as they release new editions. A video montage of media coverage follows. South Park, Stephen Colbert, QVC, newspapers, YouTube videos are all shown. Turns out the mainstream press has been covering the Wii a lot lately. Fast Money guys agree, the Wii is a hit!
9:04AM PDT - Reggie takes the stage flanked by his title and his adorable Mii. "My name is Reggie and I am.... happy."
9:05AM PDT- "For us today is more than a press conference, more than a business meeting," says Reggie. "We see today as a celebration. And by that I don't mean a celebration for Nintendo, but for all of us. We think this E3 marks an exclusive ... for all of us." He goes on to call this E3 as a "coming out party" for the entire industry. here in 2007 may well be seen as a coming out party for an entire industry. The industry is growing, he says. "Here in America, the worlds' largest and most competitive market, the video game business is up nearly 50% over the same period in 2006." In the UK, it's up by 42%.
9:07AM PDT - Reggie notes that this growth is only possible by expanding the market. The DS is leading the way, with 69% of game industry growth coming from the sale of Nintendo products. Rapid-fire statistics bombard the crowd: With regards to female players, there's a 20/80 breakdown for everyone but Nintendo. With Nintendo it's 33/67. More than 1 in 10 woman play regularly, a statistic that "is certainly a first in the video game industry."
9:14AM PDT - Reggie notes that instead of core users pushing out to the mass market, Nintendo is pushing into core gamers from "satellites" like Brain Age and Nintendogs. "Now I don't live in a cave, but I know what some people are saying," he says. "Sure, thats what's happening now, but it's just a fad. If I were in their shoes, I would be saying the same thing." He goes on to remind us that the Wii has been sold out for 33 weeks and is poised to be the number one worldwide in this generation very soon.
9:20AM PDT -The Wii Zapper is unveiled! You'll be able to "test zap" soon with Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, says Reggie. It makes Resident Evil both "evolutionary and revolutionary". He then says Sega is bringing the full light gun arcade action of Ghost Squad to Wii -- "A good healthy ZAPPING." Medal of Honor will also take advantage of the peripheral, with up to 32 soldiers being able to play in multiplayer mode. The Zapper will be packaged with games, and launch at a price of $19.99.
9:27AM PDT - Super Smash Bros. Brawl releases on Dec. 3rd!
9:28AM PDT - Mike and Bill Trinen from Nintendo's Treehouse group walk on stage. They're going to play Phantom Hourglass. "I'm sure many of you think an all touch interface for Zelda won't work," says Bill. They invite a Zelda fanboy on stage to prove to us that the new Zelda game is good -- sure enough, he's controlling the whole thing with the stylus and we're really struggling to contain our impulse to rush the stage and see if it'll work with a D-pad.
9:32AM PDT - As Bill points out, the Japanese audience and Famitsu both love it, wacky control scheme and all. Jackie, another Nintendo fanperson they selected, is here to try Metroid Prime 3. "With the Wii remote it could not be easier to aim and fire at the enemies." That would explain the lock-on targeting then. It seems you can aim wherever you want while you're locked onto your enemies. But where's the zapper? Wasn't it going to revolutionize first-person shooters?
9:35AM PDT - A bunch of statistics regarding Nintendo's online service (yes, it exists!) -- 230 million game play connections over DS. Over 5 million players, without spending a dolar to connect wirelessly. The Virtual Console feature has already delivered more than 5.6 million game downloads. Wii Ware is officially beginning next year. A new channel is also on the way, "Check Mii Out." You submit your Miis to be voted on and engage in contests and promotions.
9:38AM PDT - "I can sense what you're thinking,"says Reggie. "Sure, but will Nintendo ever get serious about real online gaming?" He notes that Pokémon Battle Revolution is online, and connects with DS. Players in American will also soon be competing online with Mario Strikers Charged. EA Sports Madden NFL 08 and FIFA 08 both online this fall. (welcome to 2004, Nintendo!) From Square: Dragon Quest Monsters Joker Online. Guitar Hero III is also shown, sporting an exclusive wireless Les Paul controller.
9:40AM PDT - Mario Kart on Wii burns rubber online, the first quarter of 2008. " More racers means more fun. How many more? Stay tuned." A custom Wii wheel makes its debut with Mario Kart Wii! "Like the Wii zapper, this steering wheel has the ability to level the playing field for new gamers." It'll come packaged with Mario Kart Wii.
9:45AM PDT - Satoru Iwata, , president Nintendo Co. walks onto the stage. He's looking sharp! "I played my first video game 30 years ago. In those days there were not many gamers. So, from the start, I thought it would be wonderful if some day everyone could find the same enjoyment I was having. But to do this, we would need to respond with new proposals. So far, we are seeing some positive results. Petting puppies, training your brains, and with Wii, when people start to sweat playing tennis right in their own living rooms, well ... this kind of thing attracts many who have not played before." Oh, and he just went and used the phrase, "paradigm shift." "Your enthusiasm is the most valuable prize in video game."
9:50AM PDT - He talks about the Wii Zapper and how it's broken a barrier that non-gamers have been unable to overcome. A video of two people in Texas enjoying Wii Sports is shown -- this is major news! Two people like Wii Sports: CONFIRMED. They play Super Mario Galaxy next, a game which we recall still isn't out yet. We feel bitter all of a sudden -- who did these guys kill to play that game? ""This is the first worthy successor to Super Mario 64." Oh snap, take that Sunshine!
9:51AM PDT - Brain Age 2 is also shown -- it's out in the US on August 20th.
9:52AM PDT - When is Super Mario Galaxy coming out? "November 12th, this year."
9:57AM PDT - More Wii games are listed. MySims by EA, for DS and Wii. There's High School Musical for Wii and DS, Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 and Flash Focus, Nintendo's "vision training game." Ubisoft is providing My Word Coach, a "game where your mom may end up schooling you," and My Life Coach. A video showing more Wii news coverage is shown. In all these videos, we've spotted Wii Fanboy, but no Joystiq. We're totally going to take this personally and stuff.
10:00AM PDT - We're doing...aerobics? "The last game we're featuring today takes our big leap in audience expansion and laps the field." It's Wii Fit which comes with a strange floor mat. You stand on it, and perform actions like balancing , kicking your legs, balancing while kicking your legs... things we'd completely suck at. This ain't no DDR though...think line dancing. You can chart progress, compete against your family. "See Sally, you're still fatter than me!" Hey, Miyamoto!
10:04AM PDT - Three fitness trainers arrive on stage. These people could easily hurt us, we think. The red dot that's supposed to stay in the yellow area is all over the place, like a housefly in a peanut butter factory. John in the middle does an aerobics exercise called step aerobics. The little Miis look nothing like John, who's really quite large. He must work out ... wait, where are the donuts they gave us earlier? The last person swings their arms from side to side, and isn't moving as smoothly as they'd like either. There's over 40 activities in the game, it's noted. The trainers leave the stage, and the audience applauds. "The device that they were using is this. We're calling it the Wii balance board. It's very thin. So by standing on this board, it can measure your weight. And it also measures how your balance shifts while you're standing on the balance board. So we can also use this an interface for games that allows you to use your full body as input. ..and of course it's wireless. "
9:12AM PDT - Reggie gets on the pad, which shows his center of gravity and calculates his Body Mass Index. It lists him as being "overweight." He reminds us that it's all muscle and not fat, to which Miyamoto replies, "Nice excuse." You can lean left to right on the pad as well, resulting in your on-screen character moving around -- they're both playing and headbutting soccer balls. Wow, Reggie just destroyed Miyamoto! Seriously, we just lost a ton of money on a bet.
9:17AM PDT - "We're happy, but we're not close to being satisfied. Nintendo is waiting for the time that "video games are accepted as the preeminent form of leisure entertainment . Then Nintendo will be "satisfied."
9:18AM PDT - That's it! We're filing out now to the sounds of "So Happy Together" by The Turtles. Must have been a zoological two pack at the record store.