New Mario and Zelda this year?

Nintendo will release new Mario and Zelda games this year for Gamecube - at least, if current industry rumours are to be believed.

The widely talked about Mario 128 has been an on/off project ever since it was first unveiled as little more than a tech demo at the Spaceworld games show in 2000. It was originally mooted as the follow-up to Mario 64, although sequel honours eventually went to Mario Sunshine.

At the end of 2002, Nintendo guru Shigeru Miyamoto stated that he was again hard at work on Mario 128 and the game was expected to make an appearance at May's E3 trade show. Instead, punters just got news of multiplayer Pac-Man. But that's another story.

Meanwhile, also rumoured to be released this year is the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, which is apparently expected to retain the cel-shaded look of its predecessor.

Of course, Miyamoto himself said back in February last year that he expected Mario 128 to be released in Japan by the end of 2003 - so, until we see confirmed release dates for either game from Nintendo, this sort of rumour-mongering is best taken with a generous pinch of salt.