Nintendo 3DS Launch: South Africa

Hans and the Nintendo 3DSThe Nintendo 3DS was officially launched last night in South Africa.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend and be one of the first people in the country to play with Nintendo’s latest portable device.

My first hands-on impressions of the Nintendo 3DS and a general overview of the spectacular launch party are right after the jump!


Nintendo 3DS in South Africa: ‘Live Blog’

Nintendo 3DSThis evening I have the opportunity of attending the official launch of the Nintendo 3DS in South Africa. Since it is a private event, which is not open to the public, I have decided to try something different.

For the first time I will attempt to “Live Blog” the event as it happens – from 18:00 (6pm) GMT+2. Please bear in mind that I have never done anything like this before. So it remains to be seen whether or not this will be a “hit or miss” endeavour. Nevertheless, I look forward to your feedback.

If you are interested, the Live Blog is right after the jump.

E3 2009: Nintendo and Sony Press Conferences

It is once again that time of year. The time of year when not only does yours truly become another year older, but also a time when the entire video games industry goes into a frenzy of elusive reveals, shocking announcements and mind blowing revelations. It is a dream of mine to one day attend the Electronic Entertainment Exposition (E3) in Los Angeles. Consequently, that dream may, hopefully, be closer than I realise but more on that later.

This has been the first year that I have managed to stream and successfully watch all three E3 press briefings from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony. Yesterday was Nintendo and Sony’s chance to shine, given how Microsoft blew everyone away. So, how were the other conferences?

Oh my guava! Nintendo never stood a chance! For a company which has always been proud of innovation and catering for children, this was most probably one of the most boring conferences I have ever seen. Not just mind numbing, but also completely lacklustre. What happened to the spark that Nintendo used to always have? The energy and playful youthfulness? Instead there were just ‘suits’, talking in monotonous tones and droning on about sequel after sequel after sequel *yawn*. What happened Nintendo?

The following constitutes the main and most exciting Nintendo announcements:

Facebook photo uploads for the DSi
Wii Remote Plus – adding precision and functions which should have been there from the start
New Wii Titles: Super Mario Wii, Metroid Prime M, Wii Sports Resort (successor to Wii Sports), Super Mario Galaxy 2
New DS titles: Kingdom Hearts, Golden Sun, COP: The Recruit, Mario VS Donkey Kong,
Biggest announcement: Wii Vitality Sensor

Okay, so let us get something straight. The biggest and best announcement for Nintendo’s E3 showing, which will apparently usher in a new era of game play, was… a heart rate monitor?! Are you kidding me? Seriously? Seriously! Nintendo, what the heck? I can just imagine what it will be like:

“Hey, who is up for some Wii? Let’s play. Oh, but wait, before we do, let’s check our ‘vitals’ to see if we’re healthy enough. You can never take your health too seriously you know, what with Ronald McDonald and all”. Alternatively, “I’m sorry little Johnny, but you can’t play Wii anymore. The Wii Vitality sensor says your heart might explode if you do”. Oh yeah, fun times – The Wii Vitality: Every obese child’s worst nightmare!

Granted, if you are a devout Nintendo fan you would most likely have enjoyed the press conference, especially the announcement of the new Metroid and Mario games. Granted some of the announced games do look good, but only less than a handful are exclusive to the Wii. The rest can be found on other more capable consoles. In the end, I stand by my opinion that Nintendo’s conference was the most uninspiring of the three. Better luck next time!

After Nintendo’s dismal showing, anything Sony did would have been great. Thankfully, Sony didn’t disappoint.

Last night, just as the Sony press conference started, we had a power outage. Turns out that one of the ‘phases’ from the municipality blew out. Thankfully we have a three ‘phase’ house, so we switched the main power over to one of the other ‘phases’. As a result, and after an hour of mild *cough* cursing, I finally managed to watch the show.

Sony’s conference was great. From the fantastic club beat, before the show started, to the announcement of over 364 new games, over the three available Sony platforms, I was left feeling pleasantly surprised. In truth, Sony did a good job of making the show as flashy as possible. Even so, it paled in comparison to Microsoft’s E3 press event, which featured celebrities, exclusive announcements and technology that is truly revolutionary.

The following constitutes the main and most exciting Sony announcements:

PSP-Go officially announced: $250, 50% smaller, 40% lighter, Bluetooth, 16GB internal memory, Memory Stick Micro support, slide form factor, no UMD drive
Most notable PSP game announcements: Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Gran Turismo
Most notable PS3 game announcements: God of War 3, Agent (new Rockstar franchise), Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIV Online, Gran Turismo 5, MAG (256 players online), The Last Guardian (New ICO game), Modnation,
Most surprising announcement: Playstation Motion Controller

The big trend this year was ‘motion control’. Ironic, considering how Nintendo introduced and commercialised motion controls with the Wii while, at the time, both Sony and Microsoft shrugged it off as a ‘gimmick’. Two years later and each of the gaming industries titans now have motion controls of some kind. Go figure!

Sony’s new motion controller resembles a Wii-mote with one major difference… a colour changing golf ball like protrusion on the top. Furthermore, the new controller uses the Playstation eye for motion capture, similar to Microsoft’s Project Natal. In essence, Sony’s motion controller is a mild mix of both the Nintendo Wii-motes and Microsoft’s Project Natal (but no where near as sophisticated). However, and in my opinion, I do believe that Microsoft’s Project Natal is the true evolution of game play mechanics and will emerge as the victor in this battle for motion control supremacy. Just think of what Tom Cruise could do in Minority Report, using just his hands, face and voice – that is Project Natal!

The conferences this year were great. Microsoft completely stole the show, allowing Sony to take a respectable second place while poor Nintendo struggles to learn from past, and current, E3 blunders. Since this has all been about E3 and you all know how it is a dream of mine to go, and since my birthday is in a few days, I thought that I may answer the statement that I have been alluding to.

Next year I will be turning 25, which is a quarter of a century and halfway to fifty. Consequently, for my 25th Birthday, my father has agreed to send me to tour the states for a month or two, as well as to attend E3 (I almost screamed when he told me, I am so excited). The best part? I get to take someone with me to enjoy the experience! How cool is that? Well, when it happens, you can be sure that I will blog and Tweet every moment of it!

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!