What better way to get into the nostalgia trip than to be enthralled by a decade old record, like The Offspring’s “Americana” record? Hearing the first few notes brings me back to the days where I was a pimpled youngster, unlike the pimpled adult I am now. Nintendo knows exactly what I’m talking about and they have cracked the code to immediately capture any soul into a game; by using simple, recognizable sounds. It’s with a huge orchestra and some Zelda sounds we all know and love that this conference starts off and what a great move that is; touché, Nintendo.
It’s also amazing that out of all the many developers out there presenting us their newest crap, that it’s Mr. Miyamoto that is the most genuinely excited, like a small child unwrapping a Nintendo 64. That for a veteran with 25 years of experience, you would expect quite the opposite, but there the man is jumping and cheering at noises he’s heard a brazilian times. All this jazz was all to promote the 25 years anniversary of Zelda, with a ton of updates coming for the series. Of course, Skyward Sword is still coming, but Ocarina of Time 3D is also on its way. With an adjusted framerate and the added Master Quest, also available in the Gamecube collection, Miyamoto promised this to be the best playable option to date. At least, that’s what I thought he said, because the simultaneous Japanese and English explanation were annoying as fire truck. Also, Link’s Awakening is coming to 3DS in a retro download; I suggest you owners get it right now. Stop reading and go download it.
This would be a good send off to start banging on about the 3DS, since I just sent that audience away. Well, there wasn’t a bunch of new things announced I didn’t know about already, but what was new was also amazing. Of course there’s a ton of stuff coming to 3DS, such as the eShop finally getting there and that means a ton of old games. As an incentive, people will be able to download a 3D version of Excitebike, but I bet my NES copy is going to be better. A few more details around Starfox 3D were finally released and it’s looking like it’s going to be great. Apart from the tilt stuff and classic Starfox gameplay, what struck me as the most endearing was the real-time camera view from the other players’ cockpits. No more annoying bunnies telling you to do barrel rolls; now your friends can be those dicks.
Kid Icarus: Uprising, also one of my most anticipated games of last year, got a brand new trailer and kicked me in the nuts. Unfortunately, not in a good way, because there is no good way to get kicked in the goods, believe me, I tried. The new gameplay looked exciting and all, even with the weird Japanorama going on and strange character introduction, but there was one major flaw. All the action looked like it was going a bit too fast, rendering the screen into one swaying mess, whizzing in all directions at once. People are already complaining of headaches, but I fear this one will bring us back to the epic days of Virtual Boy. Still, there was also a multi-player portion of the game that looked like a Final Fantasy Dissidia battle royale; maybe that will sooth the pain. Oh, it will also feature its own Augmented Reality cards; so get your Magic: The Gathering on!
What might sooth the pain even more though, is the exciting new content that greets fans with a warm welcome. How about a Mario game that’s built from scratch for the 3DS? Usually, I’m pretty skeptical when people utter this, especially Nintendo’s biggest recycling product, but the extensive trailer won me and won me hard. It was like watching the crazy and intricate world of Super Mario Galaxy come to life on a 3DS. If that’s not enough to convince people, then they’ll never be seduced by the plumber mustache. Mario Kart 3DS made a similar expression. Sure, the graphics didn’t look all that impressive compared to the DS version, but it looks like they tried implementing any idea they could come up with, with customizable cars, new levels and underwater racing! Still, I found the DS version to be sorely disappointing, so I’m still on the boat when it comes to buying into this one. Get it? Boat? Water? Ah, never mind; you guys will love the next one.
Fans better hold on to their hats, because out of nowhere a ghost popped up, to be sucked away in a vacuum cleaner. Oh yes, after years of absence, Luigi’s Mansion is making a fan return for 3DS. No matter how this turns out, this cult title is going to sell hardware and lots of it. Another hat tip goes to you, Nintendo, you fiendish opportunist.
Sadly, these are all first part titles and when it came to third party software, Nintendo quickly blasted a trailer reel that I swear was identical in every way to last year, minus Metal Gear even. What gives, Nintendo? It’s a good thing the good people at Capcom and such assault my mailbox with frequent updates of their titles like Resident Evil: The Mercenaries, so I know people are working. I don’t need E3 to know this. It wouldn’t kill Nintendo to back up some developers, to thank them for saving the game giant from being a one trick pony. Still, if you caught Ninja Gaiden 3DS that was announced, you could see that the technology is workable for other parties.
Oh yeah, Nintendo also had another little announcement: a new console! Project Café was a pretty stupid name; any self-respecting company would reference a dolphin or a revolution, but Nintendo would have none of it. By now, you’ve all heard the name but it bears restating in anticipation of something shocking. Are you ready? The name of the new console is: Wii U.
Jesus Horseteeth Christ, Nintendo; are you for real? Not only did you not learn your lesson from years of ridicule, but now you’re just running with it with another completely stupid name? Mere seconds after the name was announced, the dozens of puns came thundering down on Twitter and I can’t blame ‘em. That is a ridiculous name. Sure, Monsieur Fils-Aime had a solid explanation how it stood for family and unification and all that tripe, but no one caught up, as they were still baffled by the name. Also, throughout the conference, Regis wasn’t his usual strong, confident self. He was constantly stuttering and blocking his speech, as if he didn’t believe in it himself. That’s not what we’re used to from one of the slickest representatives in the game industry.
But now, what do we know about this new console? Well, for one it will come with a touchscreen controller, like the rumors noted. But what not everyone was expecting is that this controller is basically a glorified iPad, with a huge screen, controls and everything built in so you can play games from the TV directly on the controller, if you please. Not only that, but it will also be able to play some own games, though Nintendo stressed that actual games developed for the Wii U console would require the Wii U itself to operate. But playing checkers or something is a possibility. I loved how this is an obvious, yet subtle middle finger-u towards Apple and the rivalry between the two. I think Mr. Satoru Iwata never looked as smug as now; so good show.
But what really sold me was their approach towards getting yet again a leg up into offering a unique gaming experience. Of course, they’re jacking as much crap in there as an iPad can hold, plus a camera, Apple! Unfortunately, they’re sticking to motion controls and as such Wiimotes are still there, but the screen from the controller offered new perspectives. For instance, you could operate a ninja star on the touchscreen and then fling it at your TV or set the controller on the floor and play golf from that perspective. You could also aim with the controller and capture a part of the screen on the touchscreen. They showed a few tech demos more and all of them showed they have a clear idea of what to do here. That impressed me more than the, admittedly impressive, HD graphics from games like Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Oh yes, they were also working on games of course, but apart from a few mini-games and non-descriptive demos only a new take on New super Mario Bros was shown. With New Super Mario Mii, players understandably will be able to play the game with their Mii’s. Oh, and Lego is making a Wii U game, but who cares about that, right? The open world vibe of a Lego universe was appealing though, but it might as well been any other game and offer an open world.
Luckily, the third parties stepped in and saved the day for the Wii U, with none other than EA’s Riccitello taking the stage to support the platform. Nothing speaks confidence in a console like one of the biggest companies backing you up on-stage. And did they hint at some Battlefield and more shooters in the background? Methinks that they did, good sir. Metro: Last Light, Darksiders Ii and many more multiplatform games were teased to make an appearance on the Wii U and that is a stroke of confidence if I ever saw one. Still, the Wii also had multiplatform games, but they had to be down-tuned so much, they were usually the least appealing pick, due to space rather than graphics. We’ll have to wait and see, but here’s hoping for the best.
In the end and as you can see from this text barrage of nearly 2000 words, I believe Nintendo succeeded in a solid presentation again this year. While some 3DS support was disappointing and lots of people weren’t content of the ridiculously named console’s exploits, I think Ninty did well. They did exactly what I expected: They announced a ton of new stuff; they tried keeping old fans and ventured out into new grounds to hail in new customers; which is something Regis quite literally mentioned. People always feel they’re entitled to more and more and more, but Nintendo showed you their new machine and showed you what the plan for it was, so shut up and wait for the machine to get built before you start whining. Also, it’s so commendable that they still took the time to promote 4 platforms at once. When has any company ever done that? Just, please Nintendo; please really try to support non-Nintendo games for once, ok?