Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Impressions of Iwata's GDC '09 Keynote

Iwata’s keynote at GDC today made many a Nintendo fan happy. When it was announced a while ago that Satoru Iwata, President and CEO of Nintendo, would be speaking at GDC 2009, it was interesting but not hype worthy due to this being a “Game Developers Conference” rather than something along the lines of E3 where the big announcements are expected. But then a couple of days ago, we got word of Iwata’s keynote being rather “big,” which in turn began the hype train. I too boarded this train of hyperbole, but I expected it to be derailed once the actual keynote came around. But it sure wasn’t. Iwata’s keynote didn’t disappoint, so here’s my impressions of it... Enjoy!

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Speaking of trains, probably the biggest game news announced was a new Legend of Zelda. This came as a complete surprise to me. For one, if any big name Nintendo franchise game was to be announced, I wouldn't have expected it to be a Zelda game. An announcement of Kirby or Pikmin 3 would’ve made more sense to me. And secondly, I would’ve expected Nintendo’s next Zelda game to be a console one, seeing as they’re last was a portable version.

Nevertheless, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks was announced. It’s a sequel to 2007's The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, in which Link now travels around on a locomotive. Strange as it sounds, it looks very cool. The train parts look to be a lot like traveling around on you ship in Phantom Hourglass, there’s even a cannon to shoot enemies with. After seeing the trailer, I can say the game looks very awesome and like a worthy sequel to LoZ: PH, as it retains the cool bosses, inventive stylus puzzles, and beautiful cel-shaded graphics.

Wii System Menu 4.0

Another unexpected announcement was today’s Wii System Update. It’s available now so go and download it. The storage issues have finally been fixed; you can now download and play WiiWare, Virtual Console games, and Wii channels directly from an SD card. I downloaded it, tried it out, and left very satisfied. The system update adds a SD card icon to the Wii menu. Playing games directly from the SD card was very nice. There’s always going to be a brief load time before playing, but after that everything works great. The load time is super fast though. Testing it out, I found smaller games, like NES titles, to only take a second or two, while bigger WiiWare games like World of Goo, took around fifteen seconds. It’s great to finally be able to have all my WiiWare and VC games accessible.

Final Fantasy news

There was a surprisingly large amount of Final Fantasy news from the keynote as well. A sequel to the WiiWare launch titled, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King was announced, titled My Life as a Dark Lord. I never played the original My Life as a King, but I heard it was great. I may have to check it out sooner or later. (Plus, now I don’t have to worry about deleting and redownloading WiiWare/VC games! Thanks Nintendo!)

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years was also confirmed to be due out sometime this year. The After Years is a sequel to Final Fantasy IV, but what if you haven’t played Final Fantasy IV? Well, Square Enix has you covered. From the keynote we also learn we’ll be getting six Final Fantasy games over VC. The only two we know about are the original Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy IV. Overall, some great news for Final Fantasy and RPG fans alike.

DSiWare/Virtual Console announcements

Both Moving Memo Pad and the WarioWare DSi game were reconfirmed for North America. Moving Memo Pad is going to have YouTube-like uploading server, and WarioWare is to be titled WarioWare Snapped! Both games look great, and I can’t wait for them to come stateside.

On the Virtual Console side of things, there was a big announcement too. Virtual Console Arcade will now be available, offering games from the arcades like Mappy, Space Harrier, Ishtar, Space Invaders and more. Much like the Wii System Menu 4.0, Virtual Console Arcade games are available to download today. So if you’re a fan of any classic arcade games, be sure to check out the Wii Shop Channel.

That just about rounds it up. The keynote, the Wii Menu 4.0 and the next Zelda game in particular, left me very happy.

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1 comment:

  1. I don't know if I like the name of the new Zelda game. In fact, I know I don't. Spirit Tracks. I don't know, maybe it's just me.