Wednesday, 24 February 2010 15:01

Nintendo: New Wii colour, DSi XL, Monster Hunter Tri

Nintendo started its world-wide press announcement day in Melbourne Australia.  The event gave us some hands on time with the new look Wii, coloured Wii remotes, DSi XL and some previews of Monster Hunter Tri, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver and a pre-announcement of  some big named software being shown tonight.

Today began the first of a world-wide Nintendo roll-out of announcements, with the first being held in Melbourne Australia.

There was muttering amongst the journalists in the assembled audience that when these sorts of events include retail based invitees there are not going to be any great revelations.  And for the most part this was true; there was nothing here for those wondering if we would see a Wii HD or Wii 2 announced, let alone any software for the Nintendo Vitality Sensor.

Instead, Nintendo Australia boss Rose Lappin introduced marketing director Greg Arthurton to the podium to recap 2009 and give some tasters for 2010 from Nintendo.

The recap included the fact that the Wii dominated the Australian / New Zealand marketplace, garnering a best-ever 58 percent market share during 2009, even when up against some hugely competitive marketing campaigns from rivals, Microsoft and Sony.  The Wii has now entered some 1.7 million Australian homes.

The Nintendo handheld DS commands a slowing, but still increasing market-share over the Sony PlayStation Portable of 81 percent.

On the software front, Arthurton waded through numerous slides depicting sales dominated by Nintendo first party titles.  Statistics such as New Super Mario Bros.Wii topping the charts reaching 200,000 Aussie sales in just seven weeks, as well as Wii Resort sitting at 300,000 titles shifted.  Arthurton noted that 52 percent of Australian Wii owners now have a Balance Board and Wii Fit or Wii Fit Plus sitting in their living rooms.

The retail based onlookers were rewarded with impressive revenue bar graphs showing just how profitable Nintendo SKU's are based on rival gaming platforms.

Continued on PAGE 2

{loadposition mike08)The newest member of the handheld DS range was shown off.  Coming in black and burgundy the Nintendo DSi XL will hit the market from 15th of April.  The device sports a 4.2' screen, 93 percent larger than the DSi as well as a larger pen-like stylus.

The DSi XL features all the other DSi options (including dual cameras) and comes pre-loaded with some software:

Clubhouse Games - Express Card Classics - Play classic card games on your Nintendo DSi XL.

A Little Bit of... Dr Kawashima's Brain Training: Arts Edition - features various challenges based on words, pictures and music that you can use regularly to keep your brain sharp in just a few minutes a day.

Photo Clock - Photo Clock turns your Nintendo DSi XL into a photo frame with added clock and alarm functions.

Flipnote Studio - Flipnote Studio is an application that can be used as a notepad along with the stylus. Users can also replay a number of pages of the memo pad to create animated sequences.

The device is lighter than it looks, measures in at small paper note-book size, and whilst has a very nice screen size, does seem to waste space that could have been used for slightly larger buttons or control pad.

Welcome to the darkside was the motto for introducing the Black Wii.  Arriving on March 11th, the black Wii will be packaged as per the original, and with accompanying black remote and nunchuck controllers.   

From February 25th the black Wii Remote and Nunchuck along with new blue and pink versions will be on sale separately.

There was some software shown off - more on Page 3

The crowd was disappointed to learn that the U.S. and European media events will showcase the upcoming Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid: Other M  titles (with mid-year release dates), but we did get some hands on time with Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver as well as Monster Hunter Tri.

On the DS both the new Pokémon titles are remakes of Game Boy titles from yesteryear, and while the graphics are simple, the game-play of battles and collecting seem engaging enough for Pokémon fans. 

These releases will also include the PokeWalker pedometer.  Wirelessly transmit your collected pocket monsters from your DS into the PokeWalker and train them whilst strutting around town.  The monsters will collect happiness and experience the more miles you do.  The PokeWalker device can be used to catch, train, battle and trade Pokémon's with other likewise equipped players.

Monster Hunter Tri has already racked up impressive sales figures in Japan ( 520,000 in 2 days), and now it makes its way to western Wii's.

The game will be out in May in two forms, standard and in a bundle packed with the new Classic Controller Pro (black). 

According to Nintendo: Monster Hunter Tri offers one of the best visual Wii experiences to date and depicts a living, breathing ecosystem where humans co-exist with majestic monsters that roam both dry land and brand new sub-aqua environments - a first for the series. Offering the player varied control configurations to suit their style of play, players can choose between the Classic Controller Pro, Wii Remote and Nunchuk, or Classic Controller to slay the monsters that inhabit the world.

The Classic Controller Pro's more traditional control configuration will give gamers the ultimate monster hunting experience. The Classic Controller Pro includes a second row of shoulder buttons and ergonomically friendly grips. The Classic Controller Pro plugs directly into the Wii Remote controller, and until now, has been available only in the Japanese market.

Monster Hunter Tri is online play supported, so you can take your monster hunt online with up to three of your friends and talk to them via Wii Speak. Or hunt together with a friend on one Wii in split-screen mode.

Nintendo is pitching this game to fans of the Zelda series, and there is certainly an element of the Zelda style to MHT.  Big armour, bigger swords and even bigger monsters is the order of the day, and while it doesn't quite cut it against rival platform games of a similar ilk, it is a game that looks lovely on the Wii. 

Distant horizons and vistas await the players roaming the world of Monster Hunter and plenty of tactical based battles that include trap laying and seeking out of the weak spots in the gigantic foes that must be faced.

Monster Hunter Tri, could easily be a must have for Wii owners when it hits store shelves in May.


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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.



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