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July 2008

E3 2008: Dr. Wily Wants Your Money In Mega Man 9

Dr. Wily Most of the major Capcom goodies are kept behind closed doors this year at E3, but the company does have a small presence in the Showcase Pavilion.  One of the games on display is Mega Man 9 for WiiWare and beyond, and while only two levels are playable, the demo does contain the opening cinema scenes that establish the plot.  First I'll paraphrase the plot, then fill you in on the gameplay itself.

The trouble begins when eight new Robot Masters begin attacking the world.  Everyone naturally assumes that Dr.Wily is behind the madness, but instead the gray-haired scientist appears on worldwide television with an explanation.  He claims that it's Dr.Light that has sent the robots.  Moreover, Wily has the video to back it up.  He shows the world a clip in which Dr. Light offers Wily the chance to team-up and take over the world.  Wily refuses, explaining how he's turned against his evil ways.  Light declares his intention to go it alone, but Wily promises he will find a way to save the day.  Wily explains to the world that he has designed new Robot Masters that can destroy Light's maverick creations, but he lacks the funds to actually build them.  Wily promises that if people will just donate to his special Swiss back account, he'll use the money to build these robots and save the world.  Light claims innocence and, naturally, Mega Man doesn't believe that Light is guilty, so he departs to clear his creator's name as the citizens of the world begin slamming the good doctor's phone with complaints.  Poor Roll is left to take lots of angry phone messages.

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E3 2008: Wario Land: Shake It!! Hands-On Preview At Kombo

WarioGreed is good and greed is back!  Wario Land: Shake It!! for the Nintendo Wii looks like it could be everything I hoped for and more.  I had the opportunity to spend a little time with the game today when I met with Nintendo representatives, and aside from actually getting to play the game, I was eager to spread the 2D platformer love.  If you've been following PTB for a while then you probably know that 2D platformers are my favorite gaming genre, and unfortunately it's a genre that has been in decline for a while.  Playing the training level in the demo today showed me that it's still possible for developers to "get" 2D gaming.  I've posted my thoughts on the experience over at Kombo, so be sure to take a look.  If you loved Wario Land 4, then you will adore this latest adventure.  From what I saw, Shake It!! is all greed without the gross factor.

E3 2008: Wii Music Hands-On Preview At Kombo

Wii Music The Nintendo Wii train rolls on, this time with a look at the new Wii Music, the nongame that allows players to make music without any actual musical or rhythmic knowledge or talent whatsoever.  I played the demo twice, once performing the melody with a trumpet and then taking on the chords with a guitar (both represented by the Wii remote and nunchuk, of course) to perform the classic overworld theme from Super Mario Bros.  The casuals will love it, but I question the long-term playability value for the rest of us.  Nevertheless, it'll make a fun rental if nothing else.  Don't miss my hands-on preview over at Kombo.

E3 2008: Wii Sports Resort Hands-On Preview At Kombo

Wii Sports Resort Nintendo revealed the upcoming Wii Sports Resort this morning at the 2008 media briefing, and while the briefing spent time with the dog Frisbee fetch game and a good round of fencing, the E3 show floor (now known as the Showcase Exhibition) has the jetski game on display.  I spent a few minutes steering a jetski through a series of arches and have just published my thoughts on the demo over at Kombo.

E3 2008: Nintendo Announces New Wii Peripheral

Wii™ MotionPlus What better way for Nintendo to steal Microsoft's imminent motion controller thunder than to announce a new Wii add-on the morning of the competition's big E3 media briefing?  Nintendo has unveiled a new peripheral that plugs into the Wii remote that enhances the Wii's motion control abilities.

Nintendo's upcoming Wii™ MotionPlus accessory for the revolutionary Wii Remote™ controller again redefines game control, by more quickly and accurately reflecting motions in a 3-D space. The Wii MotionPlus accessory attaches to the end of the Wii Remote and, combined with the accelerometer and the sensor bar, allows for more comprehensive tracking of a player's arm position and orientation, providing players with an unmatched level of precision and immersion. Every slight movement players make with their wrist or arm is rendered identically in real time on the screen, providing a true 1:1 response in their game play. The Wii MotionPlus accessory reconfirms Nintendo's commitment to making games intuitive and accessible for everyone. Nintendo will reveal more details about the Wii MotionPlus accessory and other topics Tuesday morning at its E3 media briefing.

1:1 response could change a lot of things.  In addition to trumping any competition eager to duplicate the Wii remote experience, now Nintendo has a new toy to dangle in front of developers and eager fans.  We'll start to see games that require additional finesse and control.  Personally, I think that this Wii MotionPlus gizmo has something to do with the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Unleashed lightsaber combat title, although I wouldn't put it beyond Nintendo to show off a new Legend of Zelda title soon that makes use of accurate sword maneuvers. 

Weekly Poll: Observer Effect

Weekly Poll 7-07-2008Nintendo is the favored company this year for E3, it seems.  I bet they have some great stuff to show, but I'm hoping for more core audience games and less Wii Fit.  It's time to jump around and swing swords, darn it!

Speaking of E3, some folks say that it doesn't have the impact that it once did.  Others say that the new stripped-down format is the best thing ever.  How closely are you following E3 news this week?  Is it still as relevant to you as in recent years?  Let's hear your thoughts while you refresh gaming news sites madly.

"Why We're Excited for E3" Roundtable At Kombo

E3 Media and Business SummitThe 2008 E3 Media and Business Summit is just days away at this point and the excitement is certainly building among the Kombo staff.  In this installment of our recurring roundtable discussion feature, some of the staff outline their hopes, dreams, and wishes for this year's show.  My comments are up first (and are actually repurposed from my previous thoughts on the matter), but stick around for the other folks and their thoughts.  Here's a bit of what our Editor-in-Chief, Phillip Levin, has to say:

Right now, I'm really hoping Nintendo announces something that core gamers can look forward to for Wii, which I think is probably going to happen. I'm nearly certain that we'll see the return of the Kid Icarus series, which, as I've written about in the past on Kombo, has grown up since we last saw the series. Oh, and rumors of Animal Crossing and Pikmin 3 have me stoked. I shouldn't really say "rumors" of Animal Crossing, though, as I think that's pretty much a given at this point. What I'd like to see most from Nintendo, though, is a new high-caliber IP for hardcore games. Please, Nintendo. Make it happen. Outside of Nintendo, I'm also excited to see anything new for Xbox 360 and PS3. I'm anticipating a lot of already-announced games, but I'm more excited about the surprises. That's what E3's all about.

I'll be providing commentary, video clips, and hands-on impressions of new games from the show once again this year as well as my traditional annual E3 photo album.   It all kicks off on Monday.  See you on the coast!

What's Next For Halo?

Halo 3Rumor has it that developer Bungie Studios is going to announce a new Halo-related project next week at the big Microsoft E3 press conference.  We've known about Halo Wars and Halo: Chronicles for a while now, so while they may have something to do with the announcement, some fans are hoping and wishing for something closer to Halo 4.  There are plenty of other options, of course.  Now that Halo has cemented its proper trilogy and place in the world of video games, the time has come for Master Chief and friends to branch out into all kinds of traditional gaming spin-offs in the grand practice of "growing the brand".   

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Mega Man 9 Trailer Teases New Robot Masters

Are you frothing over the idea of new Robot Masters appearing in the upcoming Mega Man 9?  Capcom has released a new trailer for the game that doesn't show the new bosses, but does tease a little by revealing their silhouettes.  It's a hint of things to come, basically (and, from the look of things, Splash Woman appears to be a mermaid robot).

I know there's still a lot about this game that Capcom isn't sharing yet, but I really like the way it's shaping up.  That chiptune music is pure 1990 bliss. Mega Man 9 is on the list of playable Capcom games at E3 next week, so I'm hoping that the demo will give a proper look at one of the new Robot Masters.  I don't need to see them all right now though.  We have to save some surprises for the final product, after all.