Nintendo throws twist into console war

The next generation of Sony Playstation and Microsoft xBox technically debuted back in May, and then again at the E3 electronics show in early June. However, as numerous blog and tech sites have pointed out, neither debut was honest: The Cell, a special processor created for the PS3, was not ready for release just yet, so Sony cobbled together a presentation using other processors to give people an approximate idea how the games will look; Microsoft reportedly ran its xBox demo using a pair of Apple G5s hidden behind the kiosk.

Nintendo Revolution was probably the furthest back in console production of the big three companies at the beginning of the summer and couldn’t even fake a convincing demo – even if Revolution stuck to the Nintendo formula of zombies, Mario, and more zombies, the future didn’t look good.

How quickly things can change.

All three consoles had a heavy presence at the Tokyo Game Show, this time using actual consoles, but it was Nintendo that drew the most attention.

The Nintendo Revolution will not have the computing or graphics power of either the PS3 or Xbox, and it won’t come with a next generation high definition DVD player or a built-in hard drive.

While some worry about the Revolution’s graphics and playability, keep in mind that the underpowered Nintendo GameCube did a more than adequate job running and rendering the same games as the PS2 and Xbox.

Besides, Nintendo Revolution appears to be focusing on its strengths – solid, playable games; a library of simple but great games designed for kids and teens; and a solid multiplayer experience.

The exact hardware specifications are still a secret at this point, but after the controllers were unveiled in Japan I don’t think anybody will really care.

The new controllers look like remote controls, with a trigger on the bottom, a D-pad and ‘A’ button on top. There’s no joystick – you control the movement by moving the controller in different directions. In first person shooter games, movements direct your crosshairs around the screen. In a fishing game, you flick the control to cast and toggle your lure, as well as to hook fish when your controller starts to nibble. In baseball games, you can swing the controller like a bat. In a Zelda game, you’ll slash the controller back and forth like a sword.

You can also turn the controller sideways and use it like a normal controller, and another piece snaps on with more buttons and an analog controller that will make it easier to play certain types of games.

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