Nintendo's Game & Wario is - and this won't be a surprise to gamers familiar with the WarioWare series - a collection of minigames, each designed to show off some aspect of the Wii U's considerable range of input options. The name, if you didn't pick up on the reference, is an homage to Nintendo's range of LCD handhelds known collectively as Game & Watch. The games were Nintendo's first successful foray into videogames, with 60 titles in total releasing between 1980 and 1991.
The minigames in Game & Wario are a bit different to those found in the WarioWare series, as they have instructions (!) and tend to last a lot longer than five seconds (!!). The first of the four minigames I got to spend time with was one in which, by way of the gamepad, I had to guide a skier by the name of Jimmy (the Disco guy from previous Wario titles) down a slope in as fast a time as possible. To do so, I had to hold the Gamepad vertically and simply tilt it left and right to guide Jimmy through the tight curves of the course while he got faster and faster.
It was pretty simple, but still quite compelling; I played through it a couple of times, perfecting my technique on the second time through to the point that I managed to earn a gold medal (one of just three journos in all of E3, apparently...). A stand-alone game this would not make, but it was certainly fun enough to work well in a collection such as this.
The next title I spent serious time in was a much more complicated photography-based game. In it, I needed to use the Gamepad as a camera, hunting a rather involved scene for the five hidden criminals within it. To this end, the TV screen showed the entire scene, while the Gamepad acted much as you'd expect a digital camera to; holding it up to the telly resulted in a zoomed in version of that portion of the TV appearing on the Gamepad. To succeed, then, I had to find the various criminal types and then take photos of them, with my snaps scored based on how well I managed to take each photo.
The photography game was a great demonstration of the sorts of new gameplay that are possible with Nintendo's new console. If you've ever played an arcade game called Silent Scope, you'll have a pretty good idea of how awesome two interacting screens can be, and the implications for the likes of Call of Duty and Trauma Center are both obvious and awesome to think about.
Another title, Arrow, also demonstrated the link between the two screens - albeit in a different way. Basically, there's a bunch of enemies charging at you from the distance. You need to fend them off by firing arrows at them. It's simple enough to start with, but eventually they'll begin to overrun you; if they get too close, they move from the TV to your Gamepad, and you need to fend them off by squishing them with your finger - just don't forget about the seemingly endless numbers you still need to fend off on your telly.
It's way too early to draw any conclusions about Game & Wario, of course, but what we've seen already looks like more than just another way to demonstrate the Wii U's feature set; it actually looks like it's going to be fun, too.
The Good: Game & Watch deserves more time in the spotlight
The Bad: So few games to try out
The Ugly: It's hard to get too excited about minigames