Nintendo goes retro at E3 with new Mario and Donkey Kong Wii U titles

Nintendo showcases new Super Mario World and MarioKart games for Wii U alongside Donkey Kong and others at E3 in LA

12 Jun 2013


So far E3 may have been all about the future with its shiny new next-gen consoles but Nintendo captured our attention with modern refreshes of some retro gaming favourites.

Yep, the gaming giant eschewed the typical bells and whistles E3 press conference to instead invite a select group of media to its booth on the E3 floor in LA to check out new Wii U games starring some proper old school classics.


(Credit: AP)

The Wii U launched last November. It features motion-control gaming and an innovative tablet-like controller which lets you play via your TV or independently through the pad. The gamepad also enhances the gaming experience, housing weapons lists and other ephemera.

At launch, Nintendo called the GamePad an "extraordinary new controller that redefines the dynamic of playing games together."

Old school heroes to star in new Wii U games

Now at E3, Nintendo announced refreshes of all-time dons such as Donkey Kong and Mario for the Wii U.  

The five games showcased during the brief show at Nintendo's booth were anti-gravity racer Mario Kart 8; 2D platformer Donkey Kong Country Returns: Tropical Freeze; 3D platformer Super Mario 3D World; action sequel Bayonetta 2; and a speedier rendition of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

"Today is different," Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told those gathered inside the booth.

"It's the reason you're gathered here inside of our booth - standing instead of sitting - because it was our decision to minimise the time from when we said 'good morning' and you getting to play the game."

Here's a look at a few of the new games featuring Nintendo characters we all know and love.

Mario just got even more super - Super Mario 3D World

Gamers of a certain age come over all wistful at the merest mention of his name. Now Mario is back on our screens again, to give those who grew up gaming in the Nineties a serious rush of nostalgia.

Mario has been ever present at Nintendo from the NES right through to the Wii U, but look beyond his familiar red overalls and dodgy 'tache and you'll notice our hero is looking swisher than ever in glorious 3D in his latest outing.

Wii U_Super Mario _scrn 02_E3

(Credit: Nintendo)

Super Mario 3D World is played across a number of worlds (naturally), and also brings back other Nintendo heroes such as Luigi, Toad and Peach - who are available as playable characters. Depending on who you choose, you'll enjoy a distinct exclusive feature for each character such as faster running or a floating dress.  

The worlds span everything from Mario-typical lush green landscapes to climbable walls and pipes which move players through a maze of tunnels.

The new title follows on from Super Mario Land 3D, with Mario - or whichever character you choose - featuring a number of power-ups - including one which turns him into a cat capable of scaling walls and running on all fours.

The game also features a four-player option. It is set to launch in December.

MarioKart 8 goes antigravity

MarioKart makes its first appearance in HD in MarioKart 8 for the Wii U, and although the game's subject is decidedly retro it features some funky futuristic features.

Take the antigravity feature, which dismisses the rules of gravity to let players race upside down as the track spins off across random directions and increasingly challenging terrains - and they don't come much more challenging than underwater.

Wii U_Mario Kart 8_scrn 01_E3

(Credit: Nintendo)

There will also be a new hover kart, as well as the return of motorbikes.

If you were always getting ribbed by your mates at school for 'steering' with the joypad you'll love MarioKart's option for motion control.

Wii U has always loved playing to a crowd and the new MarioKart is no different, with options for four-player local competition when you have the lads round - and 12-player online racing when you're kicking back at home on a boring week night.

And if you want to engage in a bit of posturing about your latest score you can share your clip with friends on the MiiVerse social network.

The game is expected in spring 2014.

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

Donkey Kong is another ever-present at Nintendo. Gamers feel as though they've grown up with the title, there's been a version for most Nintendo consoles after all - from the NES and SNES to the N64 and Wii.

Now our hero is back again, following after the 3DS' Donkey Kong Country Returns.

Wii U_DKCountry _scrn 01_E3

(Credit: Nintendo)

This time our heroes and the lush landscapes they roam are resplendent in glorious HD.

Gamers can play the new Donkey Kong title - developed by Retro Studios - with the GamePad or Wii remote, as Donkey Kong battles penguin Vikings.

Among the enemies are walruses and owls, while penguins fire frozen fish at players' characters with their crossbows - sounds pretty surreal.

The game is scheduled for November.

All about the games

For Nintendo, E3 2013 was all about the games, something reaffirmed by Fils-Aime once the new titles had been unveiled.

He said: "We're a video game company. We make great games. That's what we focus on."