E3 2009: Nintendo

Last year, Nintendo’s press conference was less than stellar. Did they improve things this year?

By canana, Posted 03 Jun 2009

Last year, Nintendo’s press conference was less than stellar. Did they improve things this year?

The short answer to the question above is: No. You would have thought that Nintendo would have learned a few lessons from last year, but their conference this year was very similar. Someone should remind the Big N that doing a Show & Tell requires you to actually show things and not just talk for a majority of the time. You may be pretty proud of what you are achieving, but that doesn’t mean we want to hear about it ad nauseam. If you are really being as innovative as you claim, perhaps it would be a good idea to show us rather than to stand there talking about it.

Nintendo kicked things off with a montage promo video followed by a lot of talk about how gaming is for “everyone”. They then showed off New Super Mario Bros Wii, a scrolling 2D platformer featuring the rotund plumber and his pals. The game is designed to be played with up to four people at once. A multiplayer Mario was a good start, but Nintendo just couldn’t seem to stop talking long enough to show many games, and most of the ones they did show were rather lackluster.

Next up was the reveal of WiiFit Plus, an expansion of Nintendo’s popular fitness software that is coming in the fall this year. After a lot of talk about the importance of interface to gaming, WiiMotionPlus is mentioned, and WiiSports Resort is shown. Some new minigames were revealed including skydiving, archery, and basketball. After a trailer for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers it was time to move on to the Nintendo DS.

Several DS games were mentioned with a small amount of footage to go with them. Notable titles coming for the handheld include Kingdom Hearts, Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, and Golden Sun DS. Non-notable titles that still got quite a bit of attention were James Patterson Women’s Murder Club: Games of Passion, C.O.P.: The Recruit, and Style Savvy.

When Nintendo’s global president, Satoru Iwata, took the stage, I thought something good was in store. Surely he would have something interesting to reveal. Instead he took several minutes to talk about innovation only to show a new Wii peripheral called the Wii Vitality sensor. Basically, you stick your finger in it and it takes your pulse. Someone must have thought it would be a good idea to turn some basic hospital equipment into a video game accessory.

Nintendo went back to talking about games for a while to reveal Super Mario Galaxy 2. The trailer for the game looked a lot like the original Galaxy, with the addition of Yoshi into the mix. I loved Super Mario Galaxy, so a sequel is welcome news, but unfortunately Nintendo said nothing about a release date. After that, Nintendo “wowed” the crowd by talking about three third party games coming this year: The Conduit, Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles, and Dead Space Extraction. I think all three games look interesting, but we have already seen a lot about each before this conference started, especially for The Conduit which comes out in a couple weeks. Where were all the new games that we should be clamoring to play?

The show closed out with a welcome surprise for me. They revealed that Team Ninja (of Ninja Gaiden fame) is collaborating with Nintendo on a new Metroid title that is supposed to be “edgier”. It is called Metroid: Other M, and the trailer for the game looked pretty good, despite the generic title. As a Metroid fan, I’m all for a new Metroid title, and right now it is slated for release in the spring of 2010. As welcome as this news was, it was too little and too late to save Nintendo’s briefing.

Nintendo seemed too focused on talking about how innovative they are and how gaming is for everyone. Instead of showing a lot of titles, all we got were a few short trailers peppered in between lots of lecturing. Red Steel 2 was notably absent from the show, a big mistake in my opinion as it looked great during Ubisoft’s conference Monday night. The demo of that game did a lot to convince me that WiiMotionPlus is actually worthwhile, and it looks to be everything the first Red Steel should have been. Also missing from Nintendo’s show was any mention of a brand new Pikmin sequel, something that has been confirmed that Nintendo is working on (and rumored to be at the show this year). A new WiiMotionPlus Zelda title was a no-show, even though I wasn’t particularly expecting it to show up.

Had Nintendo included more games in their briefing, it would have been a much better outing. As it was, they totally dropped the ball again, in similar fashion to last year. The few interesting announcements were revealed to little fanfare, and they weren’t enough to keep the conference afloat amid all the boring lectures. At this point, Nintendo is so far out in left field that they seemingly don’t know how to create a show that actual gamers are interested in.

Nintendo’s conference was by far the worst of E3 this year. Even taking the talkative James Cameron into account, Ubisoft’s conference Monday night was far more successful at showing off games than Nintendo was able to do Tuesday.

Marco Cecilio, NoobFeed

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  • Aaaaaah Mr.Kawasaki :P :P :P His English accent wanted to make me kill myself :P On a serious gaming note, I'd say Dead Space Extraction was the game that triggered my interest while watching the Nintendo conference.

    Posted Jun 03, 2009
  • A collection of great games coming out; that seems like a pretty good conference to me.


    Also, a new Wii Motion Plus-enabled Zelda was, in fact, confirmed.

    Posted Jun 03, 2009
  • I agree with you canana. Their intention wasn't too many titles. It was rather too many ways to utilize their motion controllers with few different games. Everyone was expecting new games and titles and upgrades. But, they had different plans in mind and I don't think they'll fail, even though the show was a bit dull. 


    WiiFit had my attention. I will buy this piece of hardware. If not for me, then surely for my mom :)


    @ Ilias: Mr. Kawasaki! If it's Satoru Iwata you were taking about, then I must agree. His accent was really funny :P

    Posted Jun 03, 2009
  • avatar RON

    it was an awful display by Nintendo compared to the others, but Wii fans aren’t disappointed at all.
    i repeated the show only for Mr. Kawasaki btw. he was awesome in there :P

    Posted Jun 04, 2009
  • That was a huge pass for me...

    Posted Jun 05, 2009
  • Agreed with Din.

    Posted Jun 07, 2009
  • I was totally diappointed by Nintendo.

    Posted Jun 09, 2009
  • @Tanya: Mr. Kawasaki was born when we both watched last year Nintendo's conference. :P

    Posted Jun 17, 2009

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