E3 2005: Lizard Dude
TMK at E3 2005

Day 2

Mario Kart DS

Today they were having continual rounds of 8-player Mario Kart DS. The 1st place driver of each round won one of those RC Mario Kart karts. Unfortunately, none of the TMK crew came through. We each tried once or twice. Bumping and jostling other players is massively ramped up for sure. Even the slightest smack from another player can send you sliding. I was launched into the grass on the side of the track many a time during these races.

We observed that a bunch of new courses were in the Nitro Cup and old courses (we specifically saw Double Dash's Luigi Raceway) were in the Retro Cup. It looks like many classic tracks will be included in Mario Kart DS, like the other portable Mario Kart: Super Circuit. Blue shells still fly with wings. We still haven't seen any new items. Ah yes, the mini jump with R is also restored. It was absent in Double Dash. L and X both are Use Item.

Super Mario Strikers

MEGAߥTE and his friend played Strikers and say it's the best Mario sports game they've ever played. The friend even said he'd buy a GameCube just for the game. We'll try for a 4-player TMK match tomorrow.

New Super Mario Bros.

They are billing New Super Mario Bros. as the first new traditional Mario game since Super Mario World.

Mario 128

MEGAߥTE and I used our press badges to get into a Nintendo backroom and asked a representative there whether they had anything on Mario 128 and the Revolution. The answer to both was no. He said that Nintendo was working on so many high profile titles already, especially with working on expanding the DS lineup, that work on Mario 128 would stretch teams thin and make everything worse overall. It sounded like a fair excuse to me, but makes me wonder whether Mario 128 will make it to GameCube or be delayed to Revolution... We also tried to get a rare Zelda trailer DS card but they guy only could give us his business card to flash around to other Nintendo staff. We're hitting the backstage Zelda section first thing tomorrow after the media breakfast.

Miyamoto, Reggie, Aonuma

While pestering a Nintendo desk for a media-only press kit, I happened to spy Miyamoto behind some barriers being interviewed. We asked for an interview but we couldn't get an appointment. We most likely need to schedule before the show even starts, so next year we'll make sure to try for it. We stared at Miyamoto in awe, then eventually wandered off.

Watoad and Chupperson saw Reggie and Aonuma giving an interview on the show floor to G4 so they filmed it. We have a massive video camera that makes us look very official when filming. They heard Reggie apologize to someone for not having Mario 128 at the show. Videos of this event and many others will be making their way to TMK in the near future.

The other notable event at Nintendo was two staff members getting engaged on the showroom floor. A giant crew of cameras, guards, and sound booms rushed in and recorded the whole ordeal. I think I saw Reggie watching, too. She said yes! \:D/

Pokemon XD / Nintendogs

The whole crew got three Pokemon plushies each for trying Pokemon XD: Shades of Darkness and MEGAߥTE and I got cute little Nintendog beanies for trying Nintendogs. I asked what the XD stood for and they said that it didn't stand for anything right now. Or else Nintendo didn't tell them. My theory is that they just like emoticons in their names. Chup was surprised that one, he had fun with a Pokemon game and two, he liked his Pokemon dolls. Will wonders never cease? Nintendogs looks really cool, but all I did while trying it is rub a dog all over his body and throw a frisbee at him. It wasn't that fun, but it's not the kind of game to just play for two minutes.

Video Game Pianist

We all watched a live show by the famous Blindfolded Pianist himself and filmed the entire thing. We talked to him afterwards, he thought it was cool to see TMKers, and he said we could use the video on our site as a fan film if we wanted. MEGAߥTE kept concocting evil schemes to get me to play with the guy and he actually agreed to "play something with me" but I didn't want to. It wouldn't have worked out between us.

Day 1

Because of a power outage to the part of the convention center where we were to get our passes, we waited in a horrendously long line for many hours, but finally all got press passes. IGN was very helpful this year. We passed the time by playing Pictochat and multiplayer DS games with some German dudes and a Scottish dude in line near us. Over the course of the whole day, I saw literally hundreds of DSes, most playing with each other, but only two or three PSPs.

Most of the staff randomly wandered around, but your faithful "Sighting Editor" (as my badge says) dedicated himself to the Nintendo booth and tried to beat every game they had (sadly, the task was too much, but at least I got some good impressions.)

Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix

After seeing the songlist to Donkey Konga 2 (and 1, to some extent), I was a bit nervous about what Nintendo was doing with DDR: Mario Mix. Upon entering Nintendo's domain, the first thing that caught my eye was several setups of the game. I quickly rushed up to try the pad and check out the game while WTMK guru David Dayton carefully listened to the song quality. Much to our outstanding delight, 90% of the songs on the list were directly from Mario games and all new, well-done remixes. They have some really great selections, too, including stuff like Wrecking Crew and Double Dash!!. I heard a Dr. Mario remix that will blow your mind. The rest of the songs I saw were classical remixes, a DDR staple throughout the years. This game is going to be the greatest thing to happen to classic Nintendo music since the SSBM soundtrack. The current DDR announcer is back, not Mario announcing as I sort of suspected. Maybe this will change before the real release, but I like the real DDR announcer in the game fine. I only played the normal dancing mode, but other modes appeared to involve a story mode where you use the pad to walk along paths and fly through the clouds, collecting coins and whatnot. This may also be the first game with "plot" that uses Waluigi!

The standard soft pads that were set up seemed to be a bit thinner than the standard PS2 DDR pads, but they worked just fine, if not better. No worries in this department. What does worry me however, is appeal to highly advanced DDR players. With DDR new to the GameCube, many people probably don't have much experience, but the game follows the Donkey Konga method of having to unlock the higher difficulty levels and even when I tried some songs on ULTRA HARD (Mario Mix has 5 difficulties, as opposed to the usual DDR 4 difficulties), the highest difficulty, they didn't seem particularly hard to me, an admitted seasoned DDR veteran. I haven't tried even close to every song, however, so there may be some super-hard surprises out there. Again, difficulty shouldn't be a concern for all but the hardcore. I'm impressed that they're going to the effort of making 5 different step patterns for each song.

Animal Crossing DS

Didn't play this one myself, but I watched MEGAߥTE play the demo wi-fi... with Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario! It was hilarious because MEGAߥTE started whacking him with his bug catching net while Martinet retaliated with a fishing pole. Martinet was being broadcast over video camera and he explained to the booth girl that this was "what boys do". It appears to be about what you'd expect from Animal Crossing. It was kind of neat that the demo they were running had many references to the convention in conversations.

Mario Kart DS

Next I threw down in some wi-fi Mario Kart DS. Sadly I took 3rd, but I blame it on the fact that I was trying out all the handling and item controls in order to report back to TMK. The graphics are definitely nice for DS, but the track I played on was a bit sparse of decoration or something. It may have been a simple track or they may still be adding stuff like that. The power slide is similar to Double Dash!!'s, but with only one level of sparks. In other words, once you go into a slide with R, only one back and forth of the D-Pad will get you yellow sparks and you can't go any higher than that (or at least I couldn't figure out how). Letting go of R at this point gives you the mini-boost.

The X button used items, but I couldn't get the roulette to stop sooner with it. Perhaps you won't be able to do that anymore. I didn't see any new or interesting items. I think I got a Mushroom, a Banana, and a Green Shell.

Finally, character weight seemed to matter a bit more when jostling around. I was forced to be Toad and when a Luigi bumped me a few times, I was affected more than I felt that I should have been from previous Mario Kart games. Could have been my imagination... This title should be a blast when it comes out, especially since you'll be able to play anyone anywhere with wireless internet access.

Super Mario Strikers

David and I waited behind some dudes for about 20 minutes trying to get to play Strikers, but they never left. I heard some other people say it was fun. It seemed weird how the characters were wearing uniforms of their team color, but then again, I'm not used to a Mario large-team sports game. I also saw a Kremlin playing goalie. The DK and Mario universes seem to be completely merged again. Tomorrow we resolve to have a 4-player TMK match.

Mario Baseball

So far I've only seen movies, but the character graphics look very similar to Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour. I could swear that it was the exact same Daisy model, pot-belly and all.

NEW Super Mario Bros.

This game is what we've all been dreaming of for so many years now. A 2D Mario adventure with simultaneous Mario and Luigi play, collecting coins, breaking bricks, and gathering Super Mushrooms and Fire Flowers. I only got to play what seemed to be a multiplayer 1 on 1 race through a level to beat a boss. Placed throughout the level were blocks that, when hit, warped the other plumber to your location. David stupidly warped me right to the end when he got there, thus allowing me to secure victory by defeating a giant Goomba while he wandered around. Interesting moves include wall jump and ground pound. Most of the action was on the top screen, but when I went into a pipe, I came out underground in the bottom screen. You hold Y to run and press B to jump (think Super Mario World), but the overall "feel" of the control is kind of like Super Smash Bros. Melee. It might have to do with the 3D-looking Mario you control.

I heard a Nintendo guy talking about Super Super Mario, the really huge Mario you can become in the game, but I never found out how to do it. In the level I played you could shock the other person with lightning, making them teeny.

I'm not sure what single-player is like and I'm not sure if you can play coop in multiplayer. This game looks to be the 2D answer to Mario fans' pleas.

Mario Party 7

Haven't played a demo yet, but nothing has jumped out at me to suggest anything other than the usual Party style. It looked like they actually improved the character models because Peach's arms looked really delicate and nice. I have no idea why this caught my eye.

Mario & Luigi 2

This announcement has been my biggest surprise of the show so far. I sat down and played it for a good, long while but couldn't glean any insight into why the old Mario Bros. and Baby Mario Bros. are in the same game. Remember in the original Mario & Luigi how you could split up the bros. and use them as individual teams to solve problems? Well in this one you can't split up the bros., but you control the set of the old ones and young ones at the same time, switching between the two. Even more interesting, Mario is still controlled with A and Luigi with B, but Baby Mario uses X and Baby Luigi uses Y. I couldn't figure out how to switch the marching order of the brothers and the control explanation didn't say anything about it. My older brothers had the whirlwind spinning move from the original in the field, but didn't seem to have hammers. The babies had hammers. Both teams could hold their own in battle; the babies didn't seem particularly weaker or anything.

The battle system is very similar, and yes, the babies still dance like their older battlin' selves in the original Mario & Luigi. I didn't have much to work with, but items seemed way more powerful. I could use a Red Shell, which I kicked back and forth between the brothers, bouncing off an enemy each time. It got progressively faster, but it was easy enough for me to usually wipe out the entire enemy party with one Red Shell (or Spiked Shell, which did basically the same thing) and even catch it at the end of battle for future use (I think).

I really liked the dual screen use in this game. When I jumped up via a spring, I flew up to a cloud in the top screen and walked over to a different hole and fell down elsewhere on the ground. While on the ground, the top screen was a nice map of the overall area, showing the locations of the babies and the adults. In battle, the action took place on the lower screen and the top screen explained the action controls for whatever move you had highlighted. The version I was playing didn't seem to let me access a menu. I couldn't discern any use for touching the screen, either.

I tried a lot of other stuff, too, like Metroid Prime Pinball, Sonic Gem Collection, Viewtiful Joe DS, and stations were available to download various things to your DS, like the Zelda trailer and various DS game demos.

Tomorrow our plan is to first get inside the place where you can actually play Zelda: Twilight Princess, check out the Nintendo stuff I didn't today, and visit everywhere else I can.

The Mushroom Kingdom \ TMK at E3 2005 \ Lizard Dude