E3: Nintendo in a Wii bit of overdrive

New games for the record-selling Wii video game system continue to set new industry standards for fun and adventure, even as they draw new players into the ever-expanding world of Wii. Nintendo announced these new offerings for Wii during its media briefing at the E3 Media & Business Summit in Santa Monica. In addition to announcing a slew of new games and features, the company also announced third-party support for games.

Counting downloadable Virtual Console titles, Wii already boasts more than 150 games. Here is what Wii has to offer:

Wii Fit: The active-play phenomenon started by Wii Sports now spreads to your whole body thanks to the pressure-sensitive Wii Balance Board (name not final), which comes packed with Wii Fit. The board is used for an extensive array of fun and dynamic activities, including aerobics, yoga, muscle stretches and games. Many of these activities provide a “core” workout, a popular exercise method that emphasizes slower, controlled motions. Family members will have fun staying active and talking about and comparing their results and progress on a new channel on the Wii Menu.

Mario Kart Wii (name not final): The new version of Mario Kart, due in early 2008, features new vehicles and lets players near and far compete using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, Nintendo’s wireless gaming service. Mario Kart launches with the Wii Wheel (name not final), a steering wheel housing for the Wii Remote that brings new controls and challenges for veteran gamers, while making getting into a race easy and intuitive for newcomers.

Super Mario Galaxy: The latest masterpiece by legendary video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto puts a smile on the face of everyone who plays it. Until now, no game has matched the sheer fun and sense of delightful awe produced by the groundbreaking Super Mario(R) 64. Using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, players navigate iconic hero Mario through a series of planets, each with its own gravity, chaotic challenges and power-ups. The game bursts through the screen in vivid artistic detail, and a second player can even provide some assistance along the way. It blasts off Nov. 12.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl: Nintendo’s all-out smash-or-be-smashed franchise remains one of the most highly anticipated games of the year. Its predecessor became the No. 1 selling game of all time on Nintendo’s previous console. Super Smash Bros. Brawl ups the ante with new characters, new moves and new arenas. The game smashes into North American stores Dec. 3.

Wii Zapper (name not final): This new accessory combines the accuracy of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in a single housing for a new experience for first-person shooters and targeting games. Players can hear the sounds of battle through the Wii Remote speaker when it is incorporated into the Wii Zapper. It arrives on store shelves later this year, packaged with Nintendo-developed software that shows off its versatility. The Wii Zapper also will be used with a host of third-party games, including Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles from Capcom, Ghost Squad from Sega and Medal of Honor from Electronic Arts.

Check Mii Out Channel (name not final): Launching in 2007, this free new channel builds on the huge phenomenon of Wii owners creating fun caricatures of themselves, their friends and celebrities. The two main components of the free channel include an area where users can post Miis they have created to let others vote on their artistic abilities, and a competition element that lets users test their skills to create the most accurate likeness of individuals or other themes suggested by Nintendo. The Check Mii Out Channel joins the lineup of cool channels on the Wii Menu, which includes the Internet Channel, the Everybody Votes Channel and the Forecast Channel, among others.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: This final chapter of the Metroid Prime trilogy introduces unmatched first-person controls by letting players use the Wii Remote as an arm cannon for a feeling of complete immersion. Heroine Samus travels between planets to stop her nemesis, Dark Samus, from corrupting them. All the while Samus fights the spreading Phazon that is taking over her body while giving her incredible powers. It launches Aug. 27.

More to Come: Other Nintendo titles launching this year for Wii include Mario Strikers(TM) Charged (July 30), Donkey Kong(R) Barrel Blast (Oct. 8), Battalion Wars(TM) 2 (Oct. 29), Endless Ocean(TM) (Oct. 29) and Fire Emblem(TM) (Nov. 5).

Third-Party Support: Third-party publishers are racing to see who can put the most resources behind Wii. By the end of the year, about 100 new Wii games will hit stores. EA brings Boogie and EA Playground, as well as online action for its Madden NFL and FIFA Soccer franchises; Mario and Sonic team up for the first time ever in Sega’s Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games; Sega shows off dreamy aerial acrobatics with NiGHTS Journey of Dreams; Activision jams with Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock; Namco Bandai puts the battle blade into players’ hands with SoulCalibur Legends; Disney Interactive belts out High School Musical: Sing It!; Square Enix brings Dragon Quest Swords in early 2008 — and that’s just a taste of what’s to come.

Tags: E3, Nintendo, Mario, Wii, Gaming, Console, Games

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