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Nintendo's Wiivolution

Nintendo's Wiivolution

Wii's the half-word at E3, and Nintendo's going all-out with its wireless, motion-sensing, nostalgia-inducing system. The console formerly known as the Revolution will be front and center at Nintendo's Tuesday press conference and the main attraction at its booth. While Sony's going for graphics-crunching power with the PlayStation 3, Nintendo is hoping to grab the market with its unique controller and off-the-shelf hardware.

The famous nunchuck-wand Wiimote is the main pull of the Wii. Its mysterious motion-detecting powers have loads of potential for developers willing to work with a new control system. A modular, wireless controller could mean that the next generation of gamers will be slashing, punching, shooting, petting, cooking, and knitting with their whole bodies, not just their thumbs. We'll have to see how developers run with the Wiimote, and if it will be akin to the NES's D-pad or the N64's analog stick or if it will crash and burn like the Virtual Boy's... well, like the Virtual Boy.

The Nintendo Virtual Console is the second-biggest draw of the Wii. Nintendo has confirmed that the Wii will be able to download and play games from the NES, the SNES, the Nintendo 64, the Sega Genesis, and even the Turbografix 16. Nostalgiatrons who grew up on those platforms are already drooling at the thought of playing their old favorites once again. Nintendo's been extremely quiet about the pricing or distribution methods of Virtual Console games so far, but E3 is as good a time as any for the company to tell us how much our favorite games are going to cost.

Zelda will be big with the Wii, and Mario and Metroid might make surprise appearences, but Nintendo won't be the only developers for its system. Ubisoft will be showing off Red Steel, its ambitious Wiimote-equipped swords-and-guns shooter. SNK has confirmed Metal Slug Anthology for the Wii, though we're not sure if it will use the Wiimote. EA has confirmed that it's porting Madden '07 to the Wii, and Activision is rumored to be developing a Wii-specific, wandchuck-centric version of Spiderman 3. We haven't heard much from the other big names in games, but Capcom, Konami, and even Square Enix might be developing for the system.

We should be finding out everything we need to know about the Wii at Nintendo's Tuesday press conference, then later on the show floor itself. Keep an eye here for more news about the Wii.