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Joystiq live from Nintendo's fall media summit


We're live in San Francisco at Nintendo's press event – sure, they're going to go over last night's Nintendo announcements like the DSi, Play for Wii, and Punch-Out but maybe ... just maybe there's something else in store.

12:14PM: Reggie has taken the podium. He's announced the DSi as a "third trier" platform and is talking about its built-in NVRAM. He's talking about the DSi Shop, the first two titles to be offered are "re-tooled" versions of Brain Age 1 and 2. The DSi features onboard image editing software that can be used to composite photos taken by both cameras in real time. Music player will support AAC format and allow pitch / speed manipulation. Various audio effects can be applied in real time.

12:20PM: Opera browser runs faster than previous DS browser, Wi-Fi is "faster." Reggie just announced that the DSi will not see release until "well into calendar year 2009" citing strong U.S. sales of current DS hardware. He's talking about Wii storage now; confirming that SD card will be used for additional storage, saying that transferring between internal NVRAM and SD card will be dramatically faster.

12:24PM: Reggie says that significantly more Wii systems will be shipped into retail this holiday season versus last year. He can't say how many, and anticipated the question of will it be enough? "Ask me in January." Har. Har. Cammie is at the podium now to talk about software. Take note, folks: She's smiling! Punch-Out!! is on-screen. Cammie calls it a "re-introduction" of the classic title. Video is rolling! Little Mac is showing off in toon-shaded glory. King Hippo and Glass Joe plus a female boxer appeared in the video. Looks like it plays just like the original titles ... but what's that? Cammie says that Punch-Out!! is fully motion-controlled.

: MadWorld is the focus now, pretty much just the basics on the game we've already heard. Same for CoD: WaW, Dead Rising: Cop 'Til You Drop, and now ... The Conduit. High Voltage software rep is at the podium, demoing The Conduit. The level is a cold war bunker. Says the game is still pre-alpha, still on target for a Q1 09 ship. Campign mode in basically complete, and they're focusing on multiplayer development now, "incorporating ideas from fans." We're seeing really impressive character animation and use of normal mapping in The Conduit. More impressive, though: the control looks very solid. We'll find out when we play it.

12:35PM: Looks like The Conduit's struggle with finding a publisher is over – Cammie just called it a "first-party" title. It's Wii Music time! Get this – you can "improvise" while "playing." Nintendo guy is ... waggling the Wiimote and sound is coming out. He's set up a "custom jam," adding a bass and drummer set to automatically play the Mario theme. His movement is controlling the tempo of the entire song. He's switched from a violin to a guitar, showing how you can press buttons to create chords, mute cords, add vibrato, and double pick. Now for something "weird." Bagpipes. Holding the Wiimote up makes them louder. Please, sir, lower it. We need more cowbell! Oh, there's the cowbell. Now there's not enough cowbell. Please see to that ...

: Now another weird one: beatboxing! Sadly, since there's no mic, you "beatbox" simply by shaking the Wiimote maraca-style. Nintendo rep is blaming Wi-Fi in the room for his poor performance (we're thanking Wi-Fi for this liveblog, so to each his own). Now he's joined on stage by a Treehouse staffer to "play" the Mario theme. Violin and Ukulele. Most of the song is playing itself aaaaand ... they've left the stage. Cammie is talking about how Wii Music was demo'd to real musicians at Austin City Limits. She says they liked it.

12:49PM: Now Animal Crossing Wii ... er, City Folk is on-screen. Cammie just made a sour joke about not being able to pay mortgages in the real world. Boo-urn. Cammie just said we all look "really fit!" Wii Fit is on-screen. Evidently Christina Aguilera's trainer is on-site to give us tips (what about our trainer, Cammie?). Rayman Raving Rabids TV Party is being shown as another Balance Board title. Cammy says it "really works your core!" Actually, we think The Conduit is what Nintendo needs to work its core ... wait, what is she talking about?

: Sin & Punishment 2 time. Says the announcement was probably met with excitement and worry, since Sin & Punishment never came to North America formally. Sin & Punishment 2 is coming to the US in 2009 from Nintendo. Says that Virtual Console sales of the original helped in the decision. Gameplay video is rolling. It looks very much like the original in art style and basic concept, only with obvious direct motion-control aiming.

12:54PM: On to the Personal Trainer series for DS. Math and Walking joining the lineup in early 2009. Rhythm Heaven (that's Rhythm Tengoku for you GBA importers out there) is "infectious," says Cammie. She says the Japanese version is averaging around 50,000 units per week. Now she's talking about "hard-edge" titles for DS. Hard-edge = the new "core!" Age of Empire Mythologies for November, Tecmo Bowl Kickoff (also Nov. but we knew that), Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia ("developed exclusively for DS" ... really?), aaaand Chrono Trigger for Thanksgiving week. Last live demo of the day is up. It's Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon. Release is first-half of 2009. First in the series with online play. Julian from the Nintendo Treehouse is playing.

: Gameplay demo is over, and Julian is talking about Shadow Dragon being a remake of the original NES / Famicom game, but that doesn't mean it's not getting extra DS content. There are two new scenarios, six difficulty levels, and 1v1 Wi-Fi play. But that's not all, folks. Fire Emblem features full voice chat when playing online or via local wireless. You can loan out your units to other players via Wi-Fi and when you get them back, they'll retain all of the EXP, etc. gained while your friends have been using them. There's also a Wi-Fi store with a constantly changing inventory. And that's that for Fire Emblem.

1:08PM: Focus now shifts to Pokemon Ranger. Cammie's going over all of the info we've already heard. EA's Henry Hatsworth is on-screen now and everyone in the room suddenly perked up! Mario & Luigi RPG 3 confirmed for 2009 though there's no "working title" visible. We're seeing video of Bowser being controlled as a playable character. He sucks – literally, he has a sucking power.

1:10PM: Uh-oh! Cammie has two more announcements. First is the Wii Speak Channel, which uses the Wii Microphone. Up to four people can chat together. Microphone comes with a coupon to download the channel. And Club Nintendo is coming to the US (YES!)! "We know that there have been lots of people in the US that have been lusting after these products for a long time." Just like in Japan, consumers will be able to collect points by purchasing Nintendo products and then trade them in for goodies. It's coming to the States "by the end of the year."

: And, with that, the briefing is over. But wow, Club Nintendo – finally! We're off to get more info, folks.

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