The Revolution may yet be televised

Thursday, 10 March 2005 — 12:44pm | Video games

Today was Nintendo’s big day at the Game Developers Conference. Satoru Iwata spoke of the GameCube’s successor, tentatively named the Nintendo Revolution, as being Wi-Fi enabled and compatible with GameCube discs. As could be expected from a keynote speech at a conference more for developers than consumers, most of the details revealed were of a technical nature. Then there’s the confirmation that the Nintendo DS will indeed have its own online network for wireless multiplayer, with Animal Crossing DS as the flagship title for global connectivity.

Some questions: If the Revolution is backward-compatible with the GameCube, what of the controller? Does it just feature additional GameCube controller ports, or perhaps a WaveBird receiver? What, if any, is the fee structure for playing the DS online? Nintendo has traditionally shared my reluctance to ascribe to the monthly fee model of Xbox Live and desktop MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, but I do wonder how they plan to move away from it. Also – and this has been a burning question for a long time now – if DS wireless connectivity is done via hotspots, is there support for routers secured by encryption mechanisms like WEP keys? I do not plan to compromise my network security every time I want to connect my DS to the rest of the world.

On the other hand, a month ago it was brought to my attention that Steeps is wireless-enabled. Problem solved, sort of.

From a consumer-geek standpoint, Nintendo’s other big unveiling was a minute-long teaser for the new Zelda game. Between this and the Revenge of the Sith teaser that is to be released tonight, there is plenty to keep your video player very, very busy as you rewind and repeat, rewind and repeat. (A direct, albeit slow MOV download lieth hither; a smaller, faster download in WMV format lieth thither.)

Allow me to confirm what you are seeing. Yes, Link rides a boar and with it, tramples an assortment of vermin underfoot. Yes, he shields himself against a mighty boxing Goron. Yes, he shoots down various flying creatures with a bow and arrow whilst on horseback. Yes, he is chased by a one-eyed arachnid that may or may not be an iteration of Gohma (who was more of a crustacean, to be honest). Yes, enemies burst into a cloud of purple haze upon destruction.

Yes, this is, holistically speaking, awesome.

I’ll close with a link to the Gateway story du jour. Linguistics and video games? As Fred Astaire famously sang in Top Hat (“Cheek to Cheek”), I’m in heaven.

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