Nintendo waves its magic wand

Big in 2006: Nintendo RevolutionDue: July£TBA, £60 rumouredWhile Sony and Microsoft’s super-powered consoles battle like a pair of oiled-up 115kg sumo

Big in 2006: Nintendo Revolution

Due: July

£TBA, £60 rumoured

While Sony and Microsoft’s super-powered consoles battle like a pair of oiled-up 115kg sumos, Nintendo’s been plotting something completely different.

Code-named Revolution, the next-gen play machine is ditching the gigahertz race in favour of ground-breaking games and a zany wand-like control system. If the Xbox 360’s franchise-heavy and fairly formulaic games are anything to go by – spectacular, high-def and seamlessly online though they are – Mario’s creator could be on to something.

We’re yet to try the wand control – strictly speaking, it looks more like a nicely designed remote than a Disney magic stick – but one demo shows it being used as a fishing rod. In other words, it’s a bit like EyeToy but uses a tool instead.

For old school gamers with memories of the original Mario Kart and Star Fox, the most enticing snare is an online arcade of every old Nintendo game from the N64, SNES and NES. Yup, a nostalgia orgy with a fair bit in common with the 360’s Gauntlet-boasting Xbox Live Arcade. GameCube games will be compatible too.

Throw in rumours of DS link-up, fabulously slim dimensions akin to today’s PS2 and a rumoured £60 price tag and suddenly the Revolution’s so-so specs don’t seem that important at all.