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Hands on with Nintendo's holiday lineup

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Nintendo was in town yesterday showing off some short product demos for their holiday lineup. We had a chance to sneak into the Nintendo van (which was hidden away in an alley) and get our grimy paws all over Zelda, Mario and everything else they have on tap for the November and December calendar. Here's a little taste. Wii The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (November 20) Only one big Wii release is hitting this year, but it's one that has been critically missing from the Wii's library and it's really the only one that matters. Zelda hasn't made a real appearance on the Wii yet, and if this is its swan-song before the Wii-U, then it's rather fitting.

As with all Legend of Zelda games, you'll take on the role of Link as he travels around Hyrule to conquer and save the princess (okay, we're assuming the last part, but seriously, that's probably what its about). The control is handled using the Wii-MotionPlus, so you'll have near one-to-one control over Link's sword throughout. The little time we had with it proved it's a solid Zelda experience, with complicated puzzles and all. It might be a little tough for the younger ones, but most people should be able to wrap their heads around it.

3DS Tetris Axis (October 2) Hey, it's Tetris, in 3D. Which isn't really that much. However, Axis throws some new tricks into the mix, including two AR versions of Tetris that let you play in real life. Well, sort of. The software projects a Tetris board onto your table, and you have to move around the table while you play. It works great and is surprisingly fun -- if you're a Tetris fan, this is a nice new twist to a classic formula. Shinobi 3DS (November 11, published by SEGA) One of our favorite franchises of all time is getting a 3D update -- and Shinobi 3DS is shaping up to be just as good as the classic games. Run to the right, shoot things, kick stuff and use your swords on everything. It doesn't feel like it's going to toss too many crazy things into the mix, but it will certainly appeal to fans of the original. Super Mario 3D Land (November 13) The 3DS has been struggling to pick up traction, but Nintendo is hoping to pump some life into the handheld with its trademark franchise. Super Mario 3D Land is, well, a 3D version of Mario. The 3D works surprisingly well, and it actually adds to the gameplay, which might be a first for the glasses-free handheld. If you've played Mario, you know exactly what to expect, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. Mario Kart 7 (December 4) Again, like Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7 plays it safe -- it offers you the classic gameplay you're used to with a 3D spin. It looks fantastic in 3D, and the game plays similar to the last Mario Kart on the DS, but with a few added twists. You'll be roaming underwater and through the air, and you'll have full customization of your kart along the way. Full-blown WiFi and local co-op too, so you'll have plenty to keep your kids (or you) busy.

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