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During Nintendo’s Press Conference at E3 2012, they introduced many new features the Wii U has to offer as well as some of the new games that will be released for the Wii U and the 3DS. Out of the list of games they announced, Nintendo Land seemed to get a lot of air time during the conference.
Taking up the mantle on discussing Nintendo Land was game designer and Manager at Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development (EAD) Katsuya Eguchi (Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, Animal Crossing, Wii Sports). The main thing that Katsuya wanted to get across about Nintendo Land was that like Wii Sports, its main purpose is a fun training tool to help its gamers with how the new Game Pad controller functions. Like Wii Tennis, once the gamer picks up the controller for the first time, they are able to jump right into the game with ease.
Nintendo Land is set up like a theme park, like Universal Studios Theme Park Adventure, in which there is a theme park hub and a series of character-theme based mini games. Nintendo Land is one of the few Nintendo games that creates a shared universe for their characters. With a total of twelve mini games in Nintendo Land, five of them were announced at Nintendo’s E3 Press Conference.
The first game Nintendo announced was Takamaru’s Ninja Castle. This game is a single-player shooting gallery game based on the characters from the Japanese game Nazo no Murasame-jō. The objective of the game is simple. The player uses the Game Pad to shoot shurikens at attacking ninjas. When using the Game Pad to shoot shurikens, if the player tilts or rotates the Pad to adjust the angle of the throw, and the faster the player swipes the shuriken, the further it launches. This is a simple game that shows the user the motion functionality of the Game Pad.
Nintendo then introduced Luigi’s Ghost Mansion. This is a five player survival maze set in the Luigi Mansion universe. The ability to hold up to five players on one console makes this game unique. Four people can play using a Wiimote and one person can use the Game Pad. The objective of the game is to hunt the ghost with flashlights before the time limit runs out or before the ghost takes them out. The four Wiimote players are the humans, and the ghost is controlled by the player using the Game Pad.
The Wiimote users play the game on the T.V. while they hunt for the ghost that they can’t see (the Wiimote vibrates when the player is near the ghost), while the Game Pad user plays the game on the Pad’s screen. This player can see where everyone is and hunt them down one by one. This type of gameplay is what Nintendo advertises as Asymmetric Gameplay, in which the same game is played differently depending on if the players are using the Wiimote or the Game Pad. Luigi’s Ghost Mansion is a very interesting mini game from Nintendo Land because of this Assymetric Gameplay.
Animal Crossing: Sweet Day is a simple collecting game that also involves 5 players. Four Wiimote users run around trying to gather the most candy while the Game Pad user plays as Chasers trying to stop the other players. Other than the Chaser, this game is as simple as it gets, but still entertaining for a basic mini game.
Donkey Kong Crash Course is a single-player cart driving game in which the player tilts the Game Pad to move the cart back and forth as they navigate through a maze resembling levels from Mario vs. Donkey Kong. The objective is fairly basic, collect as many bananas as you can without dying.
The last game that was announced at E3 was The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest. Battle Quest is a three player rail shooter game in which two players using the Wiimotes play as swordsmen while the Game Pad user plays an archer. The game relies heavily on cooperation, the swordsmen take on close range enemies while the archer takes on enemies at a distance, as well as hitting switches that come along the way. The players also share a health bar, so once the five hearts are used up, it’s game over for everyone.
Nintendo Land looks to be a very promising introduction to how the Wii U functions, and with any luck Nintendo Land will come with the Wii U based Wii Sports on the Wii. With seven more games that have yet to be unveiled, Nintendo keeps us waiting for what surprises they have in store for us with Nintendo Land.
Image Courtesey of GDC