The South by Southwest Gaming Expo was full of surprises for a couple reasons. First, Nintendo has trotted out around a dozen games never before seen by the general public.
"We've got about 15 games here total and more than 10 of them have not yet been shown before so it's the first time for people to get their hands on them," says Kit Ellis of Nintendo. "We've got games like 'Luigi's Mansion,' 'Dark Moon' for Nintendo 3DS and 'Lego City Undercover' for Wii U."
SXSW also combines the unexpected and the unexpected, such as a pool table that is part video game. Created by Lab Production Inc. out of Japan, the table uses an Xbox Kinect sensor to track the pool balls and then a projector gives digital life to the pool balls as they move.
Another old-school idea gone new school is a pinball machine from Multimorphic with an LCD screen in the middle.
"It's actually an interactive LCD, so we can change the graphics and have the physical pinball interacting with things going on on the screen," says Gerry Stellenberg of Multimorphic.
Perhaps one of the most unexpected finds on a video game show floor is NASA. Our nation's space agency and gaming have more in common than you might think.
Jeff Norris of the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab says, "Part of the lab that I lead at JPL is responsible for building new and intuitive controllers for new robots. So we've been repurposing things like game controllers and even gaming consoles themselves to use in the task of controlling robots, and we see them as highly usable systems that could help us to fly the spacecraft and robots of the future."
The other link between NASA and video games is that the space agency has recently been creating video games, like one on the Xbox 360 for the Mars Rover landing, as a way to reach the public, especially children, to educate them on space, technology and some of NASA's current projects.