SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — Eric Nofsinger is betting that Nintendo's hot family-friendly Wii videogame consoles can win the hearts of "hardcore gamers" that lust for battle in action-packed virtual worlds.
Nofsinger's team at US-based High Voltage Software is painstakingly crafting a "Conduit" first-person shooter game for the Wii that challenges players to repel alien invaders in a make-believe Washington, D.C.
High Voltage was part of a cadre of studios that joined Nintendo in San Francisco on Friday to demonstrate that the Wii's motion-sensing controllers can simulate guns and swords as well as golf clubs and orchestra batons.
"One of our missions from the start was definitely to make a game for the hardcore," Nofsinger told AFP as he provided a glimpse at a version of "Conduit" nearing completion.
"What our game represents, and what we are really pushing for, is to deliver on the promise that Wii made when it first came out -- games for everybody."
Nintendo's Wii has been an unprecedented success since its launch in November of 2006 and is credited with luring legions of "casual gamers" into a videogame world formerly dominated by young men and titles devoted to fighting.
Wii titles have unabashedly been oriented to sports, music, and more communal play that appeals to children, women, senior citizens and others that previously shunned videogames.
"No matter what you hear, we also believe in games that please the core," Nintendo marketing chief Cammie Dunaway said during a two-day event focused on Wii games heading for store shelves in coming months.
She previewed a Wii version of "Call of Duty," a blazingly successful first-person shooter franchise with hordes of devotees that play it on Sony's PlayStation or Microsoft's Xbox 360 consoles.
Wii COD players aim controllers like rifles and squeeze triggers to fire guns or flame throwers on a "World at War" battlefield.
"A lot of gamers aren't teens in the basement anymore," Robert Taylor of Activision said as he demonstrated "COD World at War."
"Those guys have grown up and have children. Dad wants to play something with the kids, and then be able to put on a shooter and have some fun after he puts them to bed."
Wii has been referred to as the "other system" gamers buy as a lightweight option to heavyweight Sony Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.
"It's up to us as publishers to show what is wrong with those stigmas," Jason Allen of CapCom said, noting each of the competing videogame consoles gets unfairly pigeon-holed.
Allen showed off a CapCom game, "Dead Rising: Chop til you Drop," in which Wii controllers are waved to shoot, hack, slice, bash or saw zombies in a virtual shopping mall with chain saws, swords, pistol and other weapons.
"Basically, you can just beat the crap out of zombies," Dunaway quipped.
A "MadWorld" video game puts players in an animated city dominated by a kill-or-be-killed "Death Watch" game show.
"Nintendo loves hardcore gamers; we really do," Nintendo spokesman Charlie Scibetta told AFP.
"'Chop til you Drop' and 'MadWorld' might not be games for kids, but there are a lot of people out there that want a mature game experience. You can get that on the Wii."
The Wii has been snubbed by some makers of major first-person shooter videogames because the console lacks the computing and graphics power designed into Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 machines.
"Nintendo has to overcome that," says Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter, predicting that a beefed up, high-definition Wii console is in on the horizon.
"A Wii HD would really position Nintendo well, which is why I'm absolutely convinced there is a Wii HD coming. Businesswise, they can't have people saying that their machine is a toy for my mom."
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