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Monday, June 27, 2005

Is Nintendo "Milking Mario" Nintendo Revolution

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"Nintendo firebrand denies that he relies too much on the man with the moustache, talks new franchises and Revolution

Nintendo is not relying too heavily on Mario to sell games and is working hard on new franchises that will appeal to today's gamers, according to Reggie Fils-Aime.

The notoriously enthusiastic VP of sales and marketing for Nintendo of America has discussed the upcoming GameCube line-up for 2005 - which includes four Mario-themed games - but denied that the chubby plumber is Nintendo's only ace in the hole as the Revolution approaches.

Speaking to US mag Electronic Gaming Monthly, Reggie said, "That is something that has been a criticism of the past, you know, 'Folks, are you milking Mario and doing too many Mario-type games?'... We've got Mario in four outstanding games, so it's not an overkill of Mario in terms of putting him in situations that don't make sense."

"Mario Baseball is fantastic," he added, "and the lines have been quite long for Dance Dance Revolution. Mario Strikers is going to be a fantastic game. And of course, Mario Party 7 ... is a game that has a tremendous following."

Reggie then pointed to the games planned for the Revolution as evidence that Nintendo is not putting too much weight on Mario's shoulders. "For Revolution you will see all of our franchises," he said, "plus we've gone on record to say that we are aggressively working on a number of new franchises. We believe that's going to be critical to the launch of Revolution."

He then reiterated Nintendo's desire to create a new Mario-esque character who would appeal to a new breed of gamer. "That is the goal. Now, have I seen it yet? No. Do I know that they're working on it? Yes. But that has certainly been a key driver and a key messaging within NCL is: what is that next generation?"

While Reggie would not enlighten us further on the Revolution's revolution, he did once again emphasise the importance of innovation. "The thing that I always find surprising [about publishers] is when you sit down and share the innovation with them, just how excited they get. I saw it firsthand with DS; we're seeing it now with Revolution.

He then teased about the mysterious Revolution controller and offered another clue as to what its killer feature could be. "The fact that you and your fans haven't seen the controller doesn't mean that no one else has," he said. "We're going to have the ability through wireless internet to download all of your great games from NES, SNES, N64. Think about it: Each of those controllers were different. That captured some of the imagination of what our controller needs to be able to do."

And Reggie finished by reiterating Nintendo's believe that innovation is more important than processing power. "When you get into the meat of that type of innovation with developers their eyes truly light up because they start to imagine what's possible with that type of configuration, which is vastly different than a sheer horsepower type of game."

Come on Nintendo - put us out of our Revolution misery!"

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