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TANGENT What makes Nintendo's next console so cool? Is the PlayStation Portable cutting into Nintendo DS sales? And when will we see the next Super Mario game? Nintendo's Thom Leonard tells all.

Q. Many people say the next console battle will be between Sony and Microsoft, and are marginalizing Nintendo. What are your thoughts on this?

A. That's easy to say because they're really the only two that have been talking. Only recently did we start revealing details. I think it's going to be extremely exciting when E3 rolls around.

Q. Can you give us a clue as to what makes your next console, the Revolution, so revolutionary?

A. Look to E3 for more details, but a couple of the things we have revealed is that it's backwards compatible, so it will play GameCube games. We also said that it's going to be Wi-Fi compatible right out of the box -- nothing else you have to buy, nothing extra you have to install.

Q. Microsoft recently said it's committed to the Xbox into 2007. How long is Nintendo committed to the Cube?

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A. We've always said we'll continue the GameCube as long as possible. I mean, for tech support, we still do repairs and such for the Nintendo 64. Only recently did we have to stop tech support for the Super NES -- and the only reason we had to stop was we ran out of parts.

Q. I know the PlayStation Portable had a pretty strong launch. Did that affect the Nintendo DS?

A. The Nintendo DS is doing just fine. The PSP release hasn't affected the Nintendo DS at all. We're still leading the market in both Japan and the U.S. So we're sitting pretty as far as we're concerned. They have a lot of catching up to do.

Q. What's the status of the "Super Smash Bros." franchise? Could we see another "Super Smash Bros." game on GameCube?

A. "Super Smash Bros. Melee" is the No. 1 selling game on the GameCube. So we'll have to see where it goes from here. As far as seeing another one on GameCube: Anything's possible, but I haven't heard any details.

Q. Is there any chance the quirky Nintendo DS game "Electroplankton," which just came out in Japan, will see an American release?

A. That's definitely a really different one. It's really not even a game -- and we readily admit that. It's a very different type of electronic music creation simulation experience. So we'll have to wait and see. I hope so. It's fascinating.

Q. And the obligatory "Super Mario 128" question: When are we going to see it?

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A. Hopefully at E3.

-- Joshua Lynsen

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