E3 2011: Everything you need to know about the Nintendo Press Conference

Nintendo kept us in suspense by going last at E3. But we wouldn't have it any other way. The prospect of a brand new console and a potentially mind-blowing 3DS (and purchase-justifying) software line-up has kept our excitement glands on overdrive. But now the conference is over and the mythical next-gen Nintendo beans have been spilled. Hopefully you watched it on our live video stream, but as a recap for everyone, here's everything you need to know about Nintendo's E3 Press Conference 2011. And it was a corker...

Here's the whole thing again if you want to watch it yourself:


The conference began with a recap of last year and a reminder that the eShop was launched last night.

  • A video ran showing clips of Zelda games past and present to get us in the mood for an awesome celebration of Link's 25th birthday. A live orchestra played the title theme from Skyward Sword. Cundy cried.
  • The video ended with scenes from Skyward Sword. Looks great - and the audience applauded with cheers.
  • Shigeru Miyamoto came out wearing a suit and tie, before bowing deeply to the audience. 'It sure does bring back memories' he said, gesturing towards the videoscreen. He pointed out that last year was Super Mario's 25th year, and this year is Zelda's. Miyamoto suggested the orchestra played music and sound stings from Zelda games. Solving a puzzle, getting an item, the theme from a fairy's fountain... the audience lapped it up. 'Aitemu getto!' said Miyamoto, the Japanese pronunciation of 'item get'.

Above: The orchestra did a great job playing classic Zelda tunes and incidental music stings

  • He promised a Zelda game for each Nintendo system. Starting today, Link's Awakening is available as the first title in the Game Boy Color's Virtual Console line-up, available worldwide by the end of the day.
  • Next weekend, The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time will launch around the world. Improved frame-rate, graphics and a new sense of realism when you're riding your horse through the sweeping scenery of Hyrule. Hint movies will be included. Also mirrored Master Quest mode.
  • Four Swords will be available as a free download to 3DS players.
  • Skyward Sword will have a gold Wii Remote as a special promotion when the game is out this holiday season.
  • Miyamoto said he feels like he's getting stronger from playing the game every day with the Wii Motion Plus (and gestures a strong man arm gesture).
  • Symphony concerts playing Zelda music will be held in each region around the world this fall to celebrate the game's 25th anniversary. Also 2 music CDs. OoT official soundtrack to the first to register the game at Club Nintendo. The second CD will be based on the concerts and will be released to co-incide with the release of Skyward Sword. More events are planned so you can look forward to more announcements later this year.
  • Miyamoto then invited on-stage Zelda colleagues Takashi Tezuka, Yoshiaki Koizumi and Eiji Aonuma to thank them for their hard work. He then thanked us for playing and left with another deep bow.

Above: It's a bold idea and shows that Nintendo isn't ready to give up its new audience just yet

  • Satoru Iwata then took to the stage. He explained how Nintendo has changed who plays, how they played and where they played. Boundaries are "starting to be erased", but mental boundaries still exist in terms of hardware. He's looking to create a system that's equally satisfying for casual and core gamers. He suggest two words: Deeper and Wider.
  • He teased us by saying he'd save the details until a little later in the morning. Cruel, cruel man.
  • But then he confirmed a 2012 release for the new machine. Woot!
  • This year for 3DS. Cue trailer showing Mario Kart, Starwing (complete with a fan-pleasing 'do a barrel roll!' soundbite), a 3D Mario platformer with Tanooki Suit Mario, Kid Icarus and Luigi's Mansion (which was always meant to be 3D anyway).
  • Reggie Fils-Aime took to the stage. "We hear you". He says. "You want things to look like they always have, but you want the buzz of the new. You want comfortable and you want surprise. Contradictions? No problem - they come with the territory. Is it possible to provide something for everyone?" We're guessing the answer is yes.
  • 5 'Q1s' to show you this week. You'll see them on the show floor in 3D. Now he's showing us a 'tricked out version' of Mario Kart. It looks really solid. There are hang-glider accessories for the karts! And underwater driving with propellers that come out the back of the cars. Nice. Looks a little blockier than we expected, but rock solid.
  • Mario Kart 3DS will be out this Christmas.

Above: Mario Kart 3D looked strong, with karts that could race in the sky, on land or even underwater

  • Next up was Star Fox, with a choice between button control or tilt control. As Hooters said in the UK office - "Buttons." 3DS cameras record every reaction in multiplayer! Arrives in US stores in September (no news of European release date).
  • "No franchise has sold more systems than Mario". This is the first 3D Mario adventure created from scratch for a portable system. A video played featuring 2D Goomba cut-outs, Raccoon action and airship action. It looks absolutely superb and still features the flag pole at the end. This is good. You'll get to play it before the year is over.
  • Next up was Kid Icarus: Uprising. Pitt talked throughout the trailer, made up of in-game footage. Then there's an AR card battle between Pitt and Medusa - potential StreetPass gameplay? Possibly, but we were then promised 3on3 multiplayer action. Uprising hits retail later this year. 
  • New game announcement - Luigi's Mansion 2 - a proper numbered sequel with all-new content. Several ghosts on-screen at once, detailed environments, superb lighting and demon doors await us. Yippee! Lots of applause for this - the audience was lapping it up.
About the Author
Justin Towell

The longest-serving GR+ staffer, I was here when all this was just fields. I'm currently in charge of reviews but still find time to make daft Photoshop stories and try to explain why there need to be more arcade racing games.