This piece is wishful thinking. Space World 2011 is not really happening. (But we can dream.)
The last big Shoshinkai – er, sorry, Space World – was in the golden year of 2001, when Nintendo unveiled the GameCube and Game Boy Advance, as well as snippets of “concept footage” featuring Wave Race, Pokémon, and, of course, an extremely realistic-looking The Legend of Zelda. Luigi’s Mansion, Metroid Prime, and Star Wars: Rogue Leader were all introduced to a rabid gaming press for the very first time, and the future couldn’t have looked brighter, even with the PlayStation 2 and the newly announced X-Box looming on the horizon.
Of course, this is back at a time when Hiroshi Yamauchi was president, Nintendo had a large and diverse roster of second-party developers, and the company used bombastic pyrotechnic shows, replete with multiple Matrix-clad booth babes (and dudes!), to reveal new systems. In memory of all that we as Nintendo fanboys have lost since then, and in celebration of all that we have gained (not quite the most balanced of equations, is it?), I’ve decided to throw my own little Space World, 11 years to the day – well, almost – after the Last Big Show. It’ll be in my basement, with my cats dressed as the booth babes and puppets as the audience, but I’ll be without constraint, free to chart the course of Nintendo as I see fit, salvaging the 3DS (for this year) and successfully building up to the Wii U next year.
Here are the news stories that have already started to trickle out. I’ll need help reporting on all the other big announcements and game demos, so please be sure to attach them below.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising has been given a release date of October 13th, cementing the 3DS’s first-party roster for the remainder of the year.
- It is announced that Paper Mario 3DS has received a proper title and a firm release date of December 1st, unexpectedly expanding the 3DS’s roster for the remainder of the year.
- All prices on the eShop have been halved across the board, the first step to reinstating some sort of sanity in console manufacturers’ runaway online prices.
- The collecting of coins has been attached to player’s Miis, providing a persistent online persona for all users – Nintendo’s equivalent of Gamerscore or trophies. Better yet, the big N has managed to combine both of its competitors’ systems and even introduce a bit of strategy into the mix: players can either sit on their coins and brag about how many accomplishments they’ve accumulated, or they can spend them at Club Nintendo to buy a whole slew of goodies – real, honest-to-God trophies that can still be shown off online.
- To ward off the PlayStation Vita’s upcoming release (most likely in March), the quadruple roster of Luigi’s Mansion 2, Excitebike 3DS, Shadow Complex 2, and Assassin’s Creed 3DS is announced to launch once a week throughout March.
- Pikmin 3 and Link’s Crossbow Training 2 have been revealed to be launch titles for the Wii U. Both use the controller’s touch screen in ingenious ways, adding to the controls in the former and the sense of immersion in the latter. Speaking of which…
- The Wii U will release on August 23, 2012, for a price of $350. Mercifully, there is only one version of the system. Pack-ins include Wii Sports 2 (Wii Sports Resort 2 is hinted at in preview videos) and Pac-Man Versus, which can be downloaded for free off the system’s eShop.
- In the ultimate form of inter-system connectivity, 3DS users’ Miis and coin counts carry over seamlessly to the Wii U. There is no differentiation between the two at all, which leads to some interesting applications of shared software, game saves, and the like. EA Sports in particular embraces this concept wholeheartedly.
- Oh, one last thing before we go: Animal Crossing is coming to the Wii U for holiday ‘12, and it has been almost completely redesigned from the ground up, including some decidedly MMORPG-like features. Everyone is surprised at the buzz from the show floor of it possibly being game of the year for 2012.
Yes, sir. The future is brighter and shinier than it ever was before.
Marc N. Kleinhenz has covered gaming for a dozen publications, including Gamasutra and TotalPlayStation, where he was features editor. He also likes mittens.