Nintendo’s E3 conference this year was a big let down for most people. Gamers are even calling it the worst E3 presentation ever and discussing how to best dispose of their Wiis. What could Nintendo have done to have drawn this kind of ire?
Having a mom lead off the presentation didn’t exactly start things off with a bang (insert clever mom sex joke here). She has some fancy position like administrative vice principle of managerial accounting executive advertising president of marketing but that she was a mom was important.
Yes, for the first time ever Nintendo announced their goal of branching out to new kinds of gamers at this year’s E3. And how. Olympic Snowboarding Gold Medalist Carrot Top presented the first fun-for-everyone Wii title. Unfortunately Snowboarderz is being developed by Ubisoft so it will face fierce competition from Baby Party 08.
Next Nintendo showed some crappy third party games we already knew about that were somehow supposed to illustrate something, perhaps that the Wii has shitty third party support. Grand Theft Auto for the DS was the highlight of third party support for Nintendo systems yet nothing was shown beyond the logo.
The new Nintendo games were mostly expected. Animal Crossing Wii looks to be an enhanced port of Animal Crossing DS, which was an enhanced port of Animal Crossing GC, which was an enhanced port of Animal Forest on the Japanese N64. Back off innovation, Nintendo has clearly taken the Mario Kart route for this one.
WiiSpeak, a sort of conference call device will be apparently sold separately but be compatible with Animal Crossing. It is sort of a goofy idea but it does fit Nintendo’s focus on local multiplayer – entire rooms of people can speak to other rooms through the unit.
The big shock of the show was that Nintendo chose to “do the easy” by announcing Wii Sports: Resort, a seemingly random assortment of crap. Three games were shown and the first was by far the lamest: Disc Dog, also known as throwing a frisbee to a dog. The other sports were jet ski racing and fencing.
These games are mostly lacking the appeal of the original Wii Sports. Golf, baseball, boxing, bowling and tennis are all well liked and clearly multiplayer. Furthermore, none of those games felt like mini games. Some were shallow but they were far from Raving Rabbid nonsense. One of the three new games, dog frisbee, seems to be both single player focused and a minigame. Fencing looks the most promising of the games but who fences on beaches? The Japanese apparently.
It’s debatable that Nintendo didn’t take the easiest way out with this Wii Sports sequel because it will make use of the new remote attachment that improves accuracy. I was disappointed to hear only one dongle will come with Wii Sports 2 and more will just be sold separately. If developers are going to actually use this thing, Nintendo needs to get them into as many hands as possible, possibly by giving a free one to anyone with a Wii serial number and packing one or two in new Wii console boxes.
The last game shown was Wii Music and I am conflicted. One part of me says: How can anything that Shigeru Miyamoto himself works on intimately be bad? The other part of me (the one that makes more use of my visual and auditory processing) says: How can this game be good?
It is a music game that you cannot lose. You can’t just not lose, you cannot do anything wrong. The music always plays correctly, all you can do is change the tempo and some other little things but you will not receive any sort of score for your performances. Please games, rate me. Evaluate me. I’m ever so smart, judge me! Even Brain Training and Wii Fit pass judgment, and word on the street is they aren’t games.
Overall I am very unimpressed by the show. To rub salt in our wounds, when asked by G4 TV where the core titles were, Reggie said that he gave them to us with Animal Crossing and GTA DS. That is alarming. It’s hard to believe a company as shrewd as Nintendo doesn’t realize Animal Crossing is not particularly hardcore. And despite the dead bodies, GTA is absolutely casual and has legions of mouth breathing college boy fans to prove it.
Beyond my disappointment, it is likely Nintendo showed three of the best selling games in the next year. Animal Crossing, Wii Sports 2 and Wii Music will all sell millions of copies worldwide, so disappointed or not, gamers should acknowledge that what they may see as mediocre titles will drive the market (insert “yeah, into the ground” joke here).
Finally there is the vindicated hardcore gamer saying, “See, I told you Nintendo completely abandoned you.” This guy is an idiot. If you are him, shut up. Keep reading though, I need the hits.
Nintendo has a huge development team composed of many separate arms (or teams, if you prefer, but I already used that word in this sentence so I wanted to go with some sort of near synonym. You’d understand if you were a journalist like I am.) Intelligent Systems, Monolith, EAD, EAD Tokyo, Software Planning and Development, Retro, HAL and so forth are likely making Wii titles.
Disaster, Fatal Frame 4 and Wario Land Shake are coming soon and Kid Icarus, Punch Out and Pikmin 3 have been confirmed by so many sources that Nintendo admitting they exist seems almost unnecessary. This is probably not enough for a lot of gamers and it may not be enough for me, but Nintendo does have a healthy number of regular games coming for the Wii.
Perhaps most importantly, Iwata confirmed that the Mario team and Zelda team are both hard at work. Sequels to Mario and Zelda. Who expected that?