DERRIK J. LANG, AP Entertainment Writer
Nintendo is relying on Mario, zombies and a virtual theme park to build buzz for the Wii U.
The Japanese gaming giant unleashed 23 games for its upcoming console featuring a touchscreen controller during a press conference Tuesday at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the gaming industry's annual trade show.
Among the titles announced were the cooperative platform game "New Super Mario Bros. U" and the amusement park-themed mini-game collection "NintendoLand." Nintendo also demonstrated the fantastical strategy sequel "Pikmin 3" and first-person undead-fighting game "ZombiU" from Ubisoft Entertainment.
The titles employed what the company is calling "asymmetric gameplay," which gives players using the 6.2-inch touchscreen controller called the Wii U GamePad a different experience than those armed with traditional Wii controllers.
"The GamePad doesn't just introduce a new type of gameplay, it redefines an entire dynamic," said Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America. "Multiple experiences are possible in the same game at the same time."
Nintendo illustrated that "New Super Mario Bros. U" could be played either on a TV or on the touchscreen controller, and that the latest installment in the brick-smashing, coin-collecting franchise would allow up to four players simultaneously, while a fifth could join in on the touchscreen controller to jab enemies and build platforms from afar.
"With the Wii U GamePad, we have the first dedicated personal screen in the long history of game machines," said "Super Marios Bros." and "Legend of Zelda" creator Shigeru Miyamoto.
Other games announced for the successor to the popular Wii console included the fitness title "Wii Fit U," a sing-and-dance-along game called "Sing" and the word-filled puzzler "Scribblenauts Unlimited" from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
Nintendo Co. jumped ahead of rivals Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp. to build hype at E3 by streaming an online video last Sunday revealing that the touchscreen controller would be called the Wii U GamePad. The company also recently announced they would release a traditional controller outfitted with two analog sticks called the Wii Pro Controller and that the Wii U's interface would be an online virtual hub called Miiverse.
Micrsoft and Sony showed off similar second-screen features at their press conferences Monday. Microsoft unveiled an app called Xbox SmartGlass that would allow users to stream and share content across their TVs, tablets and smartphones using the Xbox 360, while Sony continued to hype what it calls "cross-play" between its PlayStation 3 console and PlayStation Vita handheld device.
No price or release date was announced for the Wii U system, which was unveiled last year at E3. The tablet-liked Wii U GamePad features an infrared transceiver, gyroscope and accelerometer. It's equipped with a camera, stylus, two analog sticks and multiple buttons.
Nintendo said that the console would work with two Wii U GamePads.
Nintendo also previewed a trio of games for its 3DS handheld device starring its famous plumbers: "New Super Mario Bros. 2" introducing a golden Mario, "Paper Mario: Sticker Star" presenting a 2-D version of the protagonist in 3-D and "Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon" focusing on Mario's brother capturing ghosts.