While Microsoft and Sony both held press conferences during the Leipzig Games Convention, Nintendo decided to take a more personal approach and conducted three booth tours during the official 'Business Day'. After all, telling an entire audience that they've been dumped should be done face to face, right? The booth tour served as a way to let us know that, no, we're no longer needed and, yes, we've been traded in for a different audience. An older, more mainstream demographic.
The tour started off inside the press-only section of the Nintendo booth. Hidden behind the white curtains and giant Wii disc slots were a number of stands showing off some of the big titles that will be out for Wii and DS this year, namely Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Pokemon Battle Revolution, Zack and Wiki, Flash Focus and English Training. Within fifteen minutes, and after a short video showcasing these titles, we were led outside into the public area. "We are now leaving the old world of video games," said the translation device in my ear, "and entering the new world of video games." My heart sank. Given the choice, I'd much rather stay in the "old" world of video games.
We stepped into the public area of the Nintendo booth, three times the size of the private area, and filled with DSs loaded with Brain Age and Flash Focus, a make-your-own Mii station and a gang of Wii Sports and Wii Fit stands. Here we remained for the next 45 minutes, listening to various lectures. The first felt very much like a "it's not you, it's us" speech detailing, basically, how much more successful the Wii and DS are compared to anything else on the video game market. "But look how much money we're making. How can we not abandon hardcore gamers?" was all I heard.
Brain Training (called Brain Jogging in Germany) is apparently incredibly successful here, along with Nintendogs. 1 Million copies of the latter were sold in Germany alone, with Brain Jogging remaining in the top ten for 60 weeks. At this point, we started getting bored and decided to play with the translator device. A wireless radio receiver which allowed someone, somewhere, to translate what the German Nintendo representative was saying on the fly. Seemingly bored himself, and hilariously British, the translator sounded like he'd missed his calling as a voice for public service announcements. "Now little Timmy knows the reason behind friend codes: Pedophiles -- gaming's hidden danger."
The speech finally ended with a random sidenote about how companies are using Wiis during their lunch breaks. Companies like Bosch. (Hmm, the translator device is made by Bosch ...) We were then invited to try out Flash Focus, an eye training game. Clearly, Nintendo won't be satisfied until every part of our face has been sufficiently trained. I can't wait for the peripheral that comes out with Nose Training.
We moved on towards the next part of the booth: a Mii creation station. We started to wonder if anyone even makes Miis anymore. We were told that everyone has a different idea of what Nintendo means to them. "What's your Nintendo," we were asked. "My Nintendo is gaming anywhere with my DS!" said one person.
Up next was a collection of Big Brain Academy stands. We were shown an advert for Brain Jogging which included a potentially very famous, and apparently clever, German. He only scored a brain age of 25, though, so he's not that clever -- there's still another five years for him to shave off! When the advert ended we were introduced to Memory Girl. At this point we got bored again and took to inspecting the translation-radio thing, so we missed her actual name. Apparently she won some memory competition when she was young.
She demonstrated how to memorize a list of seemingly unrelated words that were given to her by the audience and, once that was over, proceeded to beat someone at multiplayer Big Brain Academy. We applauded and moved on to the final section of the tour: the Wii Fit stands.
Here we had another special guest. A personal trainer stepped up and started discussing how important and fun exercise can be. She then proceeded to train someone on Wii Fit. At this point, an hour into the booth tour without having sat down, dehydration took the better of us and we gave up. Wii Fit has potential to be an interesting application for Wii, but a personal training session just wasn't enough to keep our attention. Thankfully, the booth tour soon ended, and we were free to go.