Well, it's happening, a 'Preview Trailer' of the Nintendo NX is just hours away at the time of writing. It's the latest step in Nintendo's unconventional approach with the system, in which it's remained silent and elusive for longer than expected.

All that's truly known so far is that Nintendo's Japanese Twitter account has described it as a three minute video. We'll be writing about what we hope to see, but first we thought it'd be fun to remind ourselves of how Nintendo revealed past-gen systems. Mostly through live E3 press conferences, with a Nintendo Direct trailer thrown in, we've seen a variety of approaches over the years.

We've gone back as far as viewable videos allow, so let's get to it.


This one is going a long way back, to the demonstration of the GameCube at E3 2001. It's funny to see how scruffy E3 was back then, a far cry from the enormous theatres and giant screens of today. Satoru Iwata left Shigeru Miyamoto to take the lead, and a very young Bill Trinen came on stage with a haircut that was classic '90s, never mind 2001. Super Smash Bros. Melee made a good start, though introducing Luigi's Mansion as the 'new Mario' was perhaps a mistake...


Part of the E3 2004 press conference perhaps best known for the feverish reaction to the reveal of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, a prototype of the DS which wasn't too far from it's final form factor was plucked from Reggie Fils-Aime's jacket pocket and shown to the world. It's easy to forget now, but at the time it was an innovative, fascinating device, as few would have anticipated a clamshell design and a touch screen. In a reflection of the times Wi-Fi support was a big deal, and Nintendo knew how to get fans excited by showing what would ultimately be Metroid Prime: Hunters.

This video isn't perfect (with some bizarre edits), but gives a flavour of the reveal.


Nintendo went very early with the reveal of the Wii, initially unveiling it simply as the 'Revolution' at E3 2005. It was a bold move, though the prototype shown by Satoru Iwata was pretty much what came to stores. The idea was innovative, with motion controls naturally at the heart of the message; Satoru Iwata also made a big play with the Virtual Console and backward compatibility, with the former being a revolutionary (geddit?) approach at the time.

Across both videos below you can see the concept trailer and part of Satoru Iwata's speech.


E3 2010 saw Nintendo, once again, go for a large-scale live conference at E3, and that year was arguably one of the company's best. The 3DS was shown to the world (having been partially revealed in a dull investor's note) over the course of about 20 minutes. Reggie Fils-Aime set the scene for 3D to be a key focus, and then Satoru Iwata arrived on stage to talk in detail about the devices capabilities. A quirky trailer featured, along with talking heads praising the system, and at the end there was the odd spectacle of dozens of women emerging and walking into the audience with 3DS demo units tied to them.

It was a bombastic reveal, in terms of its tone, that reflected Nintendo's long run of success in the Wii / DS generation. It starts at the 49 minute mark below, though the video should autoplay at the right point.

Wii U

At E3 2011, this perhaps qualifies as one of Nintendo's poorer efforts. Similar in approach to the 3DS unveiling, it began with Reggie Fils-Aime finding as many words starting with U as possible, before unveiling a concept trailer. The reveal went into plenty of detail and showed some game projects, but is perhaps best-known for the infamous EA 'unprecedented partnership' section, and then for the fact that the presentation left some confused. The branding and messaging made some believe it was an iteration on Wii rather than an all-new system, prompting plenty of bafflement in conversations online.

It starts at around the 40 minute mark tomorrow.

New Nintendo 3DS

The New Nintendo 3DS reveal trailer is perhaps closest to what we'll get with NX. Originally dropped out of the blue into a Japan-only Nintendo Direct, below you can see the localised version that came to the West. Perhaps to be expected for a mid-generation iteration, it nevertheless focused on slick 360 views, showcasing features and succinctly demonstrating what the system's all about. With the expected three minute runtime for the NX Preview Trailer, something similar (but likely with a more formal introduction) seems possible.

Nintendo's days of scripted live press events have been gone for some time, so plenty of these reveals represent a bygone age. It'll be interesting to see the approach of the NX preview trailer, and how successfully it conveys the system's concept.