Pre-E3 Nintendo news is typically a barren affair. Not much is released a week prior to the show, what with all the important announcements coming in only a matter of days. That’s not to say there haven’t been a few interesting stories emanating from the big N. First up is the detailing of Nintendo’s eShop for 3DS. An update will be released on June 6th that will give everyone lucky enough to own Nintendo’s new portable access to its eShop. One of the main changes to this online retail space will be the elimination of a “points” system. Yep, all content will use real currency with content starting at $1.99 and increasing by the dollar, depending on what you buy.
Games available at launch will be the Game Boy classic, Super Mario Land ($3.99), with two other GB titles (Alley Way and Radar Mission) coming in at $2.99 each. For all Pokémon fans out there, be sure to look out for the free Pokédex 3D app as well. Expect full 3D models of your favorite Pokémon, popping out of the screen before your eyes. Extensive Pokédex entries will be available, as will the option to snap them in front of a pre-rendered backdrop, or a picture you have taken yourself. Only monsters from Pokemon Black and White will be available at launch, although you can expect this to be expanded upon in the future.
Another free treat the eShop will be offering at launch is the NES classic, Excitebike. Expect to see the game given full 3D treatment as well as an expanded track editor. Be quick, though, as the free download of the title is only good for 30 days, after which it will be at its normal price of $5.99. All this along with information, screenshots and movies of games you are about to buy, indicates that Nintendo is shaking off its tag as a non-starter in the internet shop functionality, which can only be a good thing going forward into the next generation.
Next up is news on Project Café’s much touted touch screen controller. Japanese Newspaper Nikkei (apparently the Japanese equivalent of the Wall Street Journal) has seemingly confirmed the inclusion of a six inch touchscreen as part of the controller for the company’s latest console. Not only will it act as a tablet device, akin to the iPad etc, but will actually be used as a portable console, when utilized away from Café. A camera on the controller has also been confirmed, according to Nikkei, that will allow users to create Mii type avatars for use in games. It is hoped that the controller itself will cater for the casual market, with the console taking care of the more hardcore gamer. This kind of functionality has been rumored for a while now, with official confirmation on the controller now almost inevitable at E3.
We end with the news that DS Lite will be getting a price drop. The first refresh of Nintendo’s iconic handheld will now be available for $99.99, down from its RRP of $129.99. This final push for DS Lite will likely add significant numbers to the 48.9 million units already sold in USA alone. Alongside the price drop comes news that six Mario titles will be repackaged in red to make them stand out more on store shelves and help “identify select fan-favorite Mario games.” The titles include New Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart DS, Super Mario 64 DS, Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!, and Mario Party DS.
With the staff here at Nintendojo literally counting down the hours until E3, you can be sure that news for next week will be published as it happens, instead of our usual Weekly News Roundup slot. Be sure to check Nintendojo regularly for all information and reaction to what’s happening on the show floor!