Cherub-faced Ninty president Iwata promises that over one hundred WiiWare titles are in development - quite a feat when you note that in the two years Xbox Live Arcade has been running only 113 titles have been released.
Okay, so we're not expecting all these to arrive in one interweb-choking bundle, but the three-a-week Virtual Console offerings certainly prove Nintendo had the trousers to go with that big-talk, so don't be to hasty to laugh off their WiiWare claims.
And so we present for your viewing pleasure every known WiiWare title in all their glory.
Three schoolmates longed to make games and finally got the chance thanks to WiiWare. "It wasn't until the Wii and the rumour of original downloadable content that we moved toward becoming a development house," explains Medaverse CEO Jesse Lowther. And their first game? Gravitronix.
Lowther explains the game as "twisting the remote or nunchuk to move your 'gravity platform' within your territory, and using a limited but constantly recharging energy beam to stop projectiles launched at your territory while trying to launch projectiles at the territories of your opponents."
The neatness of the set-up is clearly the multiplayer action. "Gravitronix will be a multiplayer game at heart, with eight-player support on one console," Lowther says. "Four players holding remotes and four holding nunchuks."
You'll be able to try it yourself for a mere 500 points. Why the low price? "We're a completely unknown developer," says Lowther. "No one has any clue about what to expect from our games. As such, we decided that anyone willing to patronise us should only need to do so at 500 Wii points." What a nice man.
Bruiser and Scratch
Typical. You're minding your own business in the woods and before you know it, you've fallen into a strange portal. Happens to the best of us. What lies through the gateway? According to Steel Penny Games' founder, president and 'technical guy' Jason Hughes: "a puzzle game. Not a huge drawn-out adventure, just something fun to play for a few minutes or for a few hours, depending on your determination."
Though the game is single-player, Hughes says that, "From what I've observed, anyone in the room at the time can't help but become involved, so in a sense it's a viral local multiplayer game, yet only requires a single controller."
Of most interest, however, is Hughes' desire to create a WiiWare franchise. He notes that, "Making the game good comes first, having a story to tell comes a close second," but explains how Steel Penny "hope to produce a game that has enough story to give life to the characters [dog Bruiser and cat Scratch] outside the confines of a puzzle game, so players would look forward to seeing them in another type of game." Could Bruiser and Scratch be the faces of WiiWare? Paws for thought.
Defend your castle
Believe it or not, but there's a whole genre of internet flash games dedicated to the protection of castles. No, not the fleshy Matthew kind, but the stony kind. Placing turrets, aiming your archers, micromanaging the peasants to scrape off body parts seared to the ramparts by hot tar - the genre is as varied as any other and it all started with XGen's Defend Your Castle.
Wait a second. Are you, NGamer, meaning to tell us that we're being fobbed off with WiiWare we can get online for free? No, not at all, disembodied voice representing the readership.
Where the original Defend Your Castle was clearly drawn in Microsoft paint and revolved around scooping up hordes with your mouse and bloodily splattering them against the ground, this is far more shaped and structured.
As a God-like force, you have to protect the blue button-headed citizens of your castle from a hoard of vicious white buttons. With a pointer you can drop impressive firework-esque bombs, grab the whites and convert them into blues, or use an eraser to wipe away their pencil-drawn bodies.
This handcrafted style is particularly nice - enemies come at you with broken ice-lolly sticks and the castle is paper thin. Charming stuff, for a sweet 500 points.
Plattchen Twist 'n' Paint
A puzzle-shooter," is how Bplus art director Bernd Geiblinger describes the first third-party game ever announced for WiiWare. "In a shooter, fast aiming and pinpoint shooting are required; in a puzzle game you have to put on the thinking cap and make up some good tactics. Combining both of them, Plättchen is a completely new and unseen challenge."
A panel-based puzzler, the game offers you "the freedom and the ability to change the colour of every Plättchen [panel] on the field," and as such "you can live out your creativity while mastering the levels by shooting everything bad."
Creative freedom is also key to the 12 (count 'em)-person multiplayer. "The cool thing is that not everyone has to do the same things in the game. You can use four Remotes plus four nunchuks plus four DK Bongos for the ultimate party fun."
DK Bongos? The ones Paon couldn't be bothered to implement in the full-price DK Jet Race? Bernd explains: "If you own one or up to four Nintendo GameCube DK Bongos, you can control the evil black shadow Plättchen against your friends. If they lose all their lives, the dark side wins the war. There are also special features if you use the Zapper."
The 1,500 price tag - same as Crystal Chronicles - is not an exercise in money-grabbing but a sign of Bplus' faith in Plättchen as a WiiWare title "offering a little more in terms of depth and complexity." Hear hear.
A Final Fantasy and SimCity mish-mash, Square Enix's stab at WiiWare replaces takey-turny scrapping with gety-buildingy-permissiony-fromy-the-localy-councily town-planning. Not as dull as it sounds, mind. You magically sprout buildings and hire warriors for quests. Looks great, too.
The idea of Mario rooting around with his filthy plumber hands in doctorly procedures is quite stomach churning, but the arrival of his NHS persona on WiiWare is anything but. Connecting vitamins and bacteria in a pill-swivelling variant on Tetris, this will also feature the Germ Blast minigame seen in More Brain Training.
Lunchtime Bomberman tends to end with Kittsy as cruel victor and Kim storming off in a huff. Luckily, Hudson's Wi-Fi-enabled Bomberman arrives to open up the competition to you lot. Now you'll have the pleasure of watching Matthew bomb himself into a corner in the opening second of the game. Pity him.
Okiraku Ping Pong
Not even the gaming whizzes at Nintendo and Rockstar could ace the plick-plocking sensation that is ping pong; will Arc System Works do better? With all swing types mapped onto remote gestures, five training minigames and the doubles play denied by all previous ping pong games, we'd hazard a great big grinning yes.
Imagine EA's Rock Band. Now swap out the trio of guitar, drum and vocals with circles, squares and lines and smear the whole lot liberally with Japano-babble. A Ninty-developed puzzler for three players, we have absolutely no idea how this is going to work. And we're the ultimate Nintendo magazine. God help the lesser ones.
Minna De Puzzloop
How's this for a tangled family tree? Minna De Puzzloop is son of DS's Actionloop, son of PC title Zuma, son of Japanese arcade machine Puzz Loop. Which was begat by the developers of Actionloop. MIND BANKS MELTING. Inbreeding aside, this sees you detonating a deadly wave of marbles and promises Wi-Fi play.
Not so interesting fact: Moji Pittan is Namco Bandai's hiragana-flavoured take on Scrabble. More interesting fact: Moji Pittan creator Hiroyuki Goto once held the record for memorising pi. He could recall the number to 42,195 decimal places. Funnily enough, Team NGamer can eat 42,195 pies in one sitting. Coincidence?
Considering how furred our musical pipes are with toneless limescale, it's with moistened brow that we eye Hudson's karaoke WiiWare offering. Complementing a USB microphone - sold separately with its own disc of songs - this downloadable version should be seen more as an expansion warble than a full-fat sing-a-long concert.
Originally designed for XBLA, this then moved to Wii, before becoming WiiWare. Presented in a beautiful hand-crafted style - all papery cut-outs and rich colour - Luc Bernard's fairytale-inspired platformer sees you guiding axe-wielding orphan Angel in a quest to hunt down his family. And all for a generous 500 points! Bargain.
Pokémon Ranch Channel
Typical Poké-fan response to Diamond/Pearl: "Awww gawd, me old peepers can't take the circa 1996 sprite work any longer". Never fear, say we, Pokémon Ranch Channel plucks out those crudely rendered 'Mon, 3D-erises them (technical term) and lets you hang out with the polygonal results, snapping some pics for mementos.
Star Soldier R
The original Star Soldier has been kicking around on VC for so long that it actually plays with a layer of digital dust on the screen. We'd opt instead for this faster, shinier version, though retro heads can rest easy - the traditional five minute caravan hi-score challenge returns, as does a ten-second version that asks for the longest shot combo.
A bubble-bursting time-attack extravaganza from first-time developers Nnooo. While not the meatiest of experiences - it's as light and frothy as the oily spheres themselves - there are lots of nice touches (leaderboards, Electroplankton-esque tunes, giganto bubble nukes) and more bubbles than you could shake a Mr Matey at.
What is a word snake? Not an adder, that's for sure. He'd be a maths snake. Geddit? (sound of single gunshot to the head) Like time-sensitive Scrabble, the aim is to constantly add letter tiles to grow the vocab serpent in new wordy directions. Formerly a mobile phone title, it's also heading DS-way. Can't wait.
Straight from the horse's (Engine Software) mouth: "Project: Bang! is a casual game that can be played alone or with a friend. When you play with a friend, you play in a battle mode, so that means versus each other as opposed to co-operative. The game itself is not really about a battle. We don't encourage hitting your friends with the Wii remote. Seriously."
Like XGen Studios, RealArcade are spreading from their core flash game business into the world of WiiWare. Unlike XGen they act more as a hub for smaller developers - they've published 28 mah-jong titles alone! - so it's hard to tell exactly what they have in store. They do have the Scrabble licence - is Word Snake under fire?