Nintendo had a handful of end-of-the-line Wii games that it decided not to push very hard at E3 this year, which explains why I somehow completely missed Fortune Street. Thankfully, I was able to remedy that and check it out today at San Diego Comic-Con -- and I say thankfully because it turns out that Fortune Street is actually a really fun and complex economics-driven board game translated to the Wii. To give some context, Fortune Street is actually the latest iteration of the Itadaki Street franchise, a long-running series of games developed by Square in Japan that is only just now making its way to North America. The concept is simple: You pick a cute avatar and take it around a board by rolling dice. Each square you land on represents a piece of property that you can purchase, thus forcing other players who land on the same square to pay you money. Once one player goes bankrupt, the game ends, and the player who had built up the greatest amount of wealth wins the game. I wouldn't be surprised if this is sounding familiar to some people out there. Yes, Fortune Street is basically a video game version of Monopoly. But there are some interesting elements at play that set it apart from the popular board game. The biggest change from Monopoly is simply that there are multiple boards of varying shapes and sizes. Whereas most Monopoly playthroughs are guaranteed to last many hours, if you choose a smaller board in Fortune Street, you can wrap up a game in 30 or 40 minutes. One of the game's bigger boards could last you a whole night of non-stop playing. In addition to grabbing real estate, players must work their way around the boards to pick up four symbols -- heart, club, spade, and diamond. Once all four have been collected, players can return to the bank (usually found at the center of the board) to level up and pick up some cash. This operates similarly to Monopoly's "pass 'go' and collect $200" system, but on Fortune Street's non-linear boards, players will have to make interesting strategic choices. Do you use that six you rolled to collect the heart so you can go level up? Or do you head in the opposite direction to a piece of unclaimed property to grow your empire? Beyond the continual grind of going around the board over and over, Fortune Street provides many tactical options for savvy businesspeople to screw over the competition. If you land on a spot owned by an opponent, you can purchase it from them against their will if you happen to be carrying five times the regular asking price in your virtual pocket. Owning two or more shops that are in squares next to each other causes their value to go up. Likewise, if you land on a shop that you own, you can invest money into it, increasing its value and the amount that your rivals have to pay when they land in the same area. If that doesn't make it all complex enough, Fortune Street also has a deep stock market system at play on each board. Though this feature was not activated on the build that I got to check out, in the final game it will allow you to purchase stock in any business on the map -- even those you don't own! If one of your opponents gets a juicy location that you had been eying, you can invest in it and still get a piece of any money that players have to pay into it. My greatest concern for Fortune Street is that potential players will confuse it for another Mario Party game. As far as I can tell from my first hands-on time, this title is so much deeper and more interesting than what we've come to expect from board game-style releases featuring Nintendo characters. I didn't see any dumb mini-games, and it seems like players will need to play smart if they want to win -- no last-second, come-from-behind victories because of something random and out of anyone's control. Nintendo is currently aiming for a holiday 2011 release for Fortune Street. I'm glad to see this series finally getting a chance in North America. Let's face it: I'd buy stock in this if it meant avoiding another mini-game collection.[/p] Source It's not "new" news, but I thought it needed to be posted as this is the first version of Itadaki Street ever to be released overseas. It's a pretty big deal.