Only one major press conference to go - and it's arguably the most important one. Nintendo has promised to reveal Project Cafe at its presentation tonight, which takes place at 2am AET. I'll be live blogging the event for those who feel like staying up - but in the mean time I roped Nintendo expert Daniel 'Vooks' Vuckovic into discussing our predictions for tonight's event. What is Project Cafe? What games can we expect to see? Will Reggie finally do the moonwalk? The questions go on and on...
MARK: Alright, so Nintendo has pretty much already confirmed the whole tablet controller thing for Project Cafe - so that's one mystery out of the way. We think. What else are you expecting to see at Nintendo's E3 conference?
VOOKS: Whatever the tablet thing turns out to be called, we're going to see a whole slew of games for it - they're going to give us the big sell on that. But I expect them to show off a console with a much better interface and menu system like the 3DS, better integrated online and great graphics in HD.
The Nintendo 3DS is also going to have a great showing with games but I think we'll get a demo of some new hardware features like video recording. Nintendo's going to have to impress us though, they have to really step things up.
Oh and Zelda, that'll be there too. One last demo.
MARK: What really interests me, and everyone out there I suspect, is Project Cafe. I think there are aspects of the console we can take for granted – HD, for example. Processing power on par/slightly above that of the PS3/360. We can even take the tablet controller for granted to an extent.
But now that we know that Project Cafe features a tablet controller I think the next mystery is how Nintendo makes it work as a controller – how will it work? What are the logistics of it.
I suspect, and secretly hope, that there’s more to it than simply 'the tablet is the controller' - ala the iPad. It sounds archaic but I don’t think Nintendo will be so quick to abandon buttons and more traditional, accurate means of control.
I’ll say one more thing, before I rabbit on too much. I fully expect to see some form of killer app that absolutely utilises whatever control mechanism Nintendo is using to the fullest. I expect to see the equivalent of an Wii Sports, or a Mario 64, or a Nintendogs.
A new Mario game is the dream, but I suspect said ‘killer app’ will be something more mainstream...
VOOKS: Nintendo will need to have a game that needs it, not one that just uses it for laughs. Your Wii Sports killer app is a great example, though obviously touch screen sports wouldn't be as fun! Mario is the perfect vessel for Nintendo to show off the new system and what it can do, but Nintendo also has another property which can do that. The Miis. Yeah I know, Mario is huge but the Mii's are vanilla and friendly for everyone. They also don't have the video game stereotype attached to it that Mario has.
Nintendo has to make sure it doesn't do what it did with the Nintendo 3DS to Cafe and leave it high and dry - show off fewer games and make sure they're coming soon.
If Nintendo is keen on getting back the hardcore and keeping its new found blue ocean, it's going to have to have something for everyone. I don't know if a tablet controller does this.
MARK: I still expect to be surprised by the controller. I think there’s a twist that we’re missing. Something extra. I think it’s because, somewhere in my black, spluttering heart, I like to see companies like Nintendo – companies who properly understand fun and innovation – to succeed.
But regardless – being more specific - here are a couple of things I expect to see tonight, and a couple that I hope to see.
Firstly, I want to see a Nintendo demo that completely blows me away. I haven’t seen anything yet to suggest the new Zelda will come close to, say, Mario Galaxy. I want a game that has me gobsmacked. I want to see a reinvented Zelda.
I want and expect to see a new IP that utilises Project Cafe’s new controller. A game that makes everything make sense.
I’d like to see, but don’t expect to see, a new, next generation Mario Game. One that will be ready for launch.
A console Nintendogs – if the new controller is some form of touch screen tablet, Nintendogs will be perfect.
I want new games on the 3DS. Top notch games designed to focus on the strengths of the handheld. I want to see Mario 3DS in action. I want to see a Zelda game that doesn’t let me down ala the DS Zelda games. Possibly Pikmin.
Honestly – let’s throw the boat out there Nintendo – how about a new IP that has nothing to do with established franchises? Surprise me for God’s sake. Do anything you like – but please don’t bore me.
VOOKS: Yeah I think Nintendo always throws us a screwball out there, it might be something to do with a game or could be the hardware. It also needs to take it to the next step with technology, I think we'll see something fancy.
The only Zelda I think we'll see here at this E3 is Skyward Sword which will be coming to the Wii and Wii only - they need it for the Wii. Not next year for the Cafe. I think we're going to see a 'secondary' franchise ready for day one that will blow us away, and I also think you're right when you say it won't be Mario. They'll keep that ace up there sleeve, but I think it's time we saw another WarioWare game - and what better than a new interface to bring it back? WarioWare games always show and inspire people for ideas on how a new system can work. We saw it with the touch screen and then again with the Wii.
I definitely want to be surprised, I don't want Nintendo to just do the bare minimum. Make the effort - show us something awesome and make it a talking point.
MARK: Just as long as they don’t announce Wii Music 2, or bring out the vitality sensor. [Shudder]
What are you guys hoping to see? What do you expect to see? Let us know in the comments below.