LOS ANGELES — Instead of blowing up aliens or zombies at the E3 game show, Nintendo is blowing up the traditional conference format.
Instead of staging a big press event in a theater like the other major game companies, Nintendo is holding minishowcases of its software this Wednesday and Saturday in Best Buy stores around the country.
Upcoming games were announced in a video the company posted online this morning. The swarm of journalists at E3 are being invited into the company’s booth to try them out later this morning.
It makes sense since the company has no major hardware to announce and risked being overshadowed by the console announcements from Microsoft and Sony. Nintendo’s Wii U has had a slow start since its arrival last fall and now the company faces new competition from the more advanced Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
But it’s all about the software, and Nintendo has plenty of great games coming this year, according to Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Redmond-based Nintendo of America.
“There’s one fundamental truth in the video game industry: Software sells hardware. That was true with Wii and Nintendo DS; it’s starting to happen with Nintendo 3DS and will be on display this summer and holiday season with Wii U,” Fils-Aime said in a release this morning. “When gamers are making their purchasing decisions this year, they’re going to find that the games and experiences they want are either unique or entirely exclusive to a Nintendo platform.”
That may depend on the gamer, but Nintendo will find plenty of buyers for the new versions of its beloved franchises that were announced this morning.
Especially the new “Mario” Wii U game with kitty mode, in which characters don cat suits, climb walls and swat away mice with their paws.
New Wii U titles include “Pikmin 3” coming on Aug. 4; “Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze” coming in November; “The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD,” coming in October; and “Wii Fit U,” which was supposed to arrive in spring, but is now coming in December. The “Wii Fit” includes a new fitness sensor that can be worn like a pedometer, then sync’d with players’ fitness charts in the game.
Coming in 2014 are “Mario Kart 8” and “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U,” which has the cat mode. The big advance in “Mario Kart 8” is a gravity-free mode in the racing game. The course loops around and sideways, prompting the karts to switch to jet-power.
Nintendo also is talking up “Pokemon X” and “Pokemon Y,” which are coming to the 3DS on Oct. 12, and “Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS” that’s coming next year.
Here are a few screenshots: