Video Games

The Nintendo Experience Mobile Tour

By Jonathan McNamara

The games of the Nintendo Experience Mobile Tour. See more shots in our Nintendo Experience Mobile Tour slide show.

I want to be one of the converted.

I want to be the kind of Nintendo fan that happily shrieks at the chance to play mini games. I wish that I didn’t mind waiting three months between releases for another game worth playing. I’d like to embrace casual gaming as a new video game direction, but after visiting the Nintendo Experience Mobile Tour I know that I can not.

As I pulled into a large parking lot North of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, I saw it gleaming in the distance: a thiry-foot trailer on its annual journey across to United States to share the joys of video gaming with the masses. The Nintendo Experience Mobile Tour seemed like a godsend to an over-worked journalist on a Friday afternoon.

Yet inside the gleaming vehicle I found only disappointment.

Nintendo had two new games on display inside the “experience," and as of publishing this review they are both available in stores so they hardly count. Jjust for grins, here’s what you need to know about Wii Music: it’s horrible.

If the one thing you find lacking from Guitar Hero and Rock Band is ability to make songs sound like they’re being played by a beginning band student having a seizure, congratulations, Nintendo has a game for you. Rather than matching color patterns in addicting game play that rewards you by hearing an awesome song, Wii Music allows you to fiddle with rhythms…and that’s pretty much it. Nintendo calls this “jamming” but I find that an awkward descriptor for inserting off-beat rhythms without the ability to actually change the notes being played.

Even Kirby knows these new games blow.

Next up was Animal Crossing: City Folk, the latest in a series of life simulator games that allows players to chat with virtual neighbors, spruce up their pads, and pay a mortgage to a talking Racoon. What’s new about City Folk? Nothing. It’s Animal Crossingagain.

The only thing that could be considered new in this iteration is the "Wii Speak" attachment which was not available to try out on the Nintendo trailer (because why would they want us to write about anything new and exciting) but basically allows players with internet access to talk to each other provided they have swapped friend codes, signed waivers and pinky-promised not to swear on the mic.

I hate to be the one to break the news to the Big N, but its competitors have offered in-game voice chat since the original Xbox and PlayStation 2. Thanks be to Nintendo for finally getting around to making a peripheral the other guys have had since day one.

I suppose I can’t fault Nintendo for fixing things even if they’re a few years late to the party. We finally have voice chat, and upcoming Wii-motion plus peripheral may finally fix the slight lag between gamer movement and on-screen action. I’d like to believe that maybe a little waiting is all we need to do for the Nintendo Wii to finally live up to its hype. While I continue to wait, I’m going to go play some PlayStation 3.

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Jonathan McNamara