Nintendo at Edinburgh Interactive 2011 – Report

Edinburgh Interactive 2011 Report

Edinburgh Interactive 2011 ReportEdinburgh Interactive has been part of the festival for eight years now, and gives visitors a chance to engage with issues relevant to the gaming industry, and encourages young hopefuls to get themselves involved in making games. Held from Thursday 11th to Friday 12th August at the Radisson Blu Hotel on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, this year’s conference included both private and public sessions chaired by big names from games developers like Eidos and Nintendo, as well as other figures from the expanding field that is interactive media. The public sessions included tips on how to get into the gaming industry, with a focus on how individuals can make it on their own without the need to be part of a company. The private sessions for industry types looked at Gamification – the application of game-like features to things other than games – and the future of Interactive TV.

Edinburgh Interactive 2011 ReportBringing in the games were Nintendo Unleashed, who were in attendance to show off the Nintendo 3DS, including two hotly-anticipated Mario titles – Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land. The stands weren’t busy most of the time – possibly due to a lack of signage, but also because of the atrocious weather Edinburgh has seen this week. However, the Nintendo Unleashed staff headed out onto the streets and managed to wrangle members of the public in to experience the 3DS for themselves. I, of course, needed no such wrangling, and spent a decent amount of time with both games. Here are my (very) early impressions:

Mario Kart 7

The demo offered a choice of karts and tyres, though there was little indication at to what difference these choices would make. I found the controls to be more akin to the DS Mario Kart than to the Wii or Gamecube versions, both of which I found a little lacking in responsiveness. The courses on offer showed both a hang gliding section and an underwater one. I find the additions interesting, though I hope they are not over-used, as the sense of action and control is diminished somewhat when you’re floating slowly back towards the ground, with little steering to do.

Super Mario 3D Land

I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about this game so far, and was interested to get to grips with it myself. My main question was whether this game was more a successor to traditional 2D Mario, or current-gen “Galaxy” Mario. Within a few minutes I realised it was the former. The stages are more like those of the old 2D Marios, with an emphasis on nimble jumping and beating the clock. Although some stages have larger 3D environments to run about in, there’s no wide open spaces to explore like there are in Mario 64 and Galaxy. That doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of innovation, however, as the four demo stages proved. If the idea of old-school Mario with a twist appeals to you, you’re in for a treat.

(For StealthBuda’s impressions on these titles from Hyper Japan, check out his article here.)

Edinburgh Interactive 2011 ReportThe last event on the public programme at Edinburgh Interactive was a presentation for hotly-anticipated Zelda game Skyward Sword. Rob Lowe of Nintendo UK (not of West Wing and Brat Pack fame) gave a brief introduction to the Zelda series before his lovely assistant gave a demonstration of the three E3 demo sections – the Birdrider’s Ceremony, the Sky Temple and the Ghirahim boss battle. There wasn’t enough time at the end for everyone to try out the game, but a chance to play was offered as a reward for answering Mr Lowe’s toughest quiz question – What is the name of the owl in Ocarina of Time? It was through sheer geekdom, then, that I was able to get hands-on with the Birdrider’s Ceremony demo. I sucked majorly at it (or maybe it’s just that hard), always finding the statue-holding bird that is your target to be be just out of reach, even after using the three speed boosts you’re limited to. I did win in the end, however, to my great relief – I didn’t want to be publicly humiliated.

As if giving us the chance to demo upcoming games wasn’t enough, the lovely Nintendo folks were also giving away Zelda keyrings and Ocarinas of Time. Suffice to say I grabbed the Ocarina out of the box with both hands, playing the famous “Item – Get!” chest-opening music in my head as I did so. The Ocarina alone is enough to make the whole event worthwhile in my mind.

Here’s hoping Nintendo put on a similar showing next year.

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