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Pass Those Magic Mushrooms, Man

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | June 3, 2009 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | June 3, 2009 |

I don’t own a Nintendo Wii, and because I don’t have a child, I don’t really want one. Nintendo was the console leader when I was a kid, but once machines began adding computing power and DVD players, Nintendo branched off and became pretty much exclusively for kids and families. The high-end graphics, sporting franchises, and action titles found success on Sony’s and Microsoft’s consoles, blowing away the box that used to have the market cornered. The Wii is a great console for mulitplayer and party games, but thanks to “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero,” they can’t even claim that exclusively.

Accordingly, Tuesday’s Nintendo press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo offered more of the same. The leading news was the Super Mario title “New Super Mario Bros.” for the Wii, which will be a side-scroller that recalls the original Mario titles. I’m all for nostalgia, but does Nintendo ever intend to create another character or franchise to carry their brand forward? They also announced a new “Metroid” title. Both of those names have been around for 25 years now. I’m glad they’re still in production, but Nintendo could use a shot in the arm.

They also announced an updated Wii Fit, and a “vitality sensor” for the Wii remote that features a strap that wraps around the player’s wrist to determine their pulse and one assumes their approximate embarrassment level at having their pulse taken by a video game console.

Capcom, meanwhile, also showcased upcoming titles, including “Lost Planet 2,” but the original “Lost Planet” was a horribly designed game with clunky interfaces and just bad gameplay. Unless the sequel really ups the ante, I can’t see it being worthwhile.

But oh, the day was not lost. Tuesday also saw the panel from 2K Games, which offered an update on the forthcoming “Bioshock 2.” The new title will feature a sweet multiplayer setup complete with its own leveling system and tiered weapons, as well as the opportunity to play as a Big Daddy. The first “Bioshock” is a great title, and the new one looks like a worthy successor.

Sony also did some stuff for the PSP. Meh. I don’t own the portable gaming device and don’t see myself buying one — when I need to escape with a handheld game, I hide in the office bathroom with Tris on my iPhone — but if this kind of thing excites you, have at it. For me, the best Sony news of the week so far was tied to the Xbox 360 when developer Kojima Productions announced the other day that “Metal Gear,” which has been solely a PlayStation franchise, will release a title for the Microsoft box. Meryl!

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a TV critic for The Hollywood Reporter. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.

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