Iwata’s GDC 2009 Keynote

Well, Sunday’s earlier than last week’s, haha.

New Games

Deus Ex: The Conspiracy (PS2)
Deus Ex: Invisible War (XBOX)
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time (Wii)
Lunar Silver Star Story Complete (PSX)
Lunar 2: Eternal Blue (PSX)
Mega Man 9 (WW)
Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen (VC)
Space Invaders Get Even (WW)
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (VC)
Time Splitters (PSX)
True Crime: New York City (GCN)
World of Goo (WW)

New games returns with a vengeance this week. Partially thanks to Nintendo’s GDC announcements. All the Virtual COnsole and WiiWare games were purchased with points I had on my account so I didn’t have to spend any on-hand money for those. Nintendo’s GDC basically made it feel like I got all my VC and WiiWare games back since I have access to all of them now instead of having to move stuff around to fit what I want onto the console itself.

Since my baseball hours are over for now, I’m going to have to go easy on the spending these next few weeks plus redouble my job hunting efforts. To that end, the only upcoming game I’m planning on buying is Samurai Shodown Anthology for the Wii at $30. It really sucks since I’m looking forward to a lot this year. Oh well.

Iwata’s GDC Keynote

First off, I’d like to say that I thought Iwata’s Keynote at this past GDC was more exciting and eventful than the whole of last year’s E3.

The keynote boils down to three announcements for me: 1) The Wii’s 4.0 update, 2) new Zelda, 3) Final Fantasy on Wii and as a close runner-up, the Virtual Console now supporting arcade games.

Wii 4.0 Update

Honestly, I consider this some of the Wii’s biggest news in a long time. This is tantamount to Microsoft making Xbox Live free, or Sony saying that no PS3 game will ever require an install without sacrificing laod times. While I love Nintendo to death, I always think that they have this compulsion to either not do what people want them to do, or do it an a way people didn’t want (Wii Speak, for instance).

I was expecting the update to basically download a game to your system then move it to an SD card automatically, basically just making it a shortcut. I really wasn’t expecting them to allow you to run games off your cards, nor was I expecting them to add more channels to support it, nor was I expecting them to add support for high capacity SD cards.

After the announcement I still heard people complaining that the Wii still didn’t support a hard drive and I couldn’t help but laugh. With a 32 gig SD card you will have more memory available than most 360s and some PS3s (with 20 gig hard drives). Also, I don’t understand how you’d possibly need so much more memory with the Wii. Virtual Console, WiiWare, and Channels don’t require a ton of memory, nor do Wii games need to be installed on a hard drive to improve loading time, and you’re not going to be downloading movies onto your Wii. Even at only 2 gigs currently in my Wii, I think I’ll be set.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Following 2008 as the dreaded Year without a Zelda we get the announcement of SPirit Tracks for the DS. There really isn’t too much to say about the game since all we really have is a short trailer to look at and speculate from, but the fact that the game closely resembles Phantom Hourglass in terms of gameplay has me looking forward to it very much.

I hear a lot of complaints about the fact that a new Wii Zelda game wasn’t announced, but I just don’t understand the complaint. Did people really expect Nintendo to announce their next big Zelda at the Game Developers Conference? Really? If so, then people really need to get their expectations in check. Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, and Wind Waker were all first announced and shown at Nintendo’s own Space World show and Twilight Princess was revealed at E3. Nintendo always waits for a big opportunity to reveal their Zelda games and Game Developer’s Conference just isn’t it and I can’t imagine anyone logically thinking it would be.

If a console Zelda reveal is coming, then its going to come at E3. Man, anyone else remember that it was five years between Link’s Awakening and Ocarina of Time? Now we cry doom and gloom if we go one year without a Zelda release.

Final Fantasy on Wii

This is actually an umbrella for 3 announcements. The first two are Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Dark Lord and Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. My Life as a Dark Lord is a follow-up to the WiiWare launch title, My Life as a King, and a further entry in the Crystal Chronicles series, of which I am a great fan of. Although the title is similar, gameplay is not. While My Life as a King is something of a town-building sim, My Life as a Dark Lord is something of a tower defense game where you have to repel adventurers from your tower. While Square and the gameplay public don’t really consider the Crystal Chronicles games to be very high profile, I do think that they are well made without the burden of having to impress the public like the main series Final Fantasy games.

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years is the sequel to the classic FFIV that was released as an episodic series for Japanese cell phones over a year ago and retains gameplay similar to FFIV and graphics comparable to Final Fantasy VI.

The last Final Fantasy announcement was that Square is now planning on re-releasing classic games in the series on Nintendo’s Virtual Console, starting with the first Final Fantasy in the near future. Granted, Square has released , rereleased, and remade these games so many times I doubt there isn’t anyone left without a copy, but still, considering Square has been so hesitant with digital distribution, its nice to see that yet another classic franchise is hitting the virtual console.

Virtual Console Arcade

I listed this as a runner up because I believe it has great potential which will probably never come to fruitition as I see it. The virtual console will probably only ever see classic arcade games (which is what’s online right now) from the 80s or so, which are great games to be sure (and at 500 points, cheaper to play than at the arcade 😛 ), but not exactly what we all dream of. I personally hope we see some more recent games, maybe the Simpsons arcade brawler (licensing will be a problem, but I’m willing to pay more for it), or maybe the Marvel vs Capcom games (Including X-Men, and Marvel Super Heroes, in addition to the Vs Street Fighter and Vs Capcom games), again, I’d pay extra for the licensing.

Licensing games would be difficult, I know, but there are plenty of other games I hope can make it to the virtual console like Sega’s Virtua Cop, and Daytona USA games, Namco’s Time Crisis, or Konami’s Haunted Castle (precurser to the classic Castlevania games). Hell, Nintendo could release the original arcade Punch-Out and Super Punch Out or an arcade perfect Donkey Kong with the level cut out of the NES version.

We’ll just have to see where it goes, but I don’t expect Nintendo to surprise me anymore, although I commend them that they did with the Wii update. The types of games I suggested would definitely make a uniform pricing system difficult, but I’d be fine with paying more for some of the larger titles.

Anyway, this’ll be a short one this week. I had a review in progress but I accidentally erased it. Basically, I liked My Life as a King. Reviews and LE Reviews will be back next week. Until then, I’ll probably be playing Echoes of Time and World of Goo.