Let me walk you through my experience at E3. And, as you can see by the title, you probably have some idea where this is going.
E3 this year really held little interest to me. Too often, I've been let down by game developers making promises that they don't keep, whether it be in the way the game looks, or whether the game is actually released at all (I still want The Last Guardian
, Sony!). Too many disappointments have made me into a cynical bastard, to the point where I rarely look at game previews at all. Instead, I just wait for the review. Since E3 is essentially all previews, I wasn't looking forward to it and had all but forgotten it was happening.
That, and I work a full-time job. I couldn't exactly watch the press conferences and work at the same time.
But I could listen. I started by listening to Microsoft's press conference, and, credit where credit is due, it was all about video games. Game after game was shown, all in various stages of development. However, I cannot remember anything shown that wasn't Halo 5
or Sunset Overdrive
. Neither game has much interest for me. I don't care for first-person shooters or online multiplayer, so while the Master Chief collection sounds cool, it's not for me. And Sunset Overdrive
seemed to scream “Look how cool we are!” in that 90s-not-really-cool-at-all way. I was unimpressed.
I missed EA but found out that I didn't miss much. I caught a bit of Ubisoft's where they showed games like Assassin's Creed Unity
(I don't like AC on a good day—I much prefer Prince of Persia
) and Far Cry 4
(see above for FPS comment). So, nothing too exciting there.
Then, I saw Sony's press conference. I was home from work then, and while I had to go to bed midway through, I managed to see a bit of it, and caught up on what I missed the following day. As I said in my previous blog
, the trend of gameplay experiences really doesn't do much for it. Combine that with a number of trailers (Such as Uncharted 4: They Might Actually Die This Time for Realz
) that had no gameplay, and I was left jaded.
I went to bed that night feeling that video gaming had left me behind. As if the kinds of games I liked no longer mattered. Everything felt somewhat gritty, with gunplay, and very little gameplay. A few things were interesting, like No Man's Sky
, but as a whole, I just felt like I had no place in today's world of gaming. I talk to coworkers who loved Heavy Rain
(HA!) and who thought Uncharted 3
had a good story (DOUBLE HAH) and just wondered where my place in this world was. Was it time for me to just go to a used games store, buy all the old consoles, and just keep playing old games? Was there anything to be excited about?
Was this as good as it got?
Then, Nintendo happened.
Once again, I was at work, so I could only listen. But holy crap. Smash Bros.
(a new IP) gameplay. New Zelda footage in an in-game engine. New Kirby! Bayonetta! Captain Toad! (!) Hyrule Warriors! Xenoblade! Gameplay, gameplay, gameplay!
These were games I could get behind. They weren't all gritty. They weren't glorified cutscenes. They had gameplay, honest-to-goodness gameplay. Where other developers tried to make their games into movies and hide the gameplay as much as possible, Nintendo showed games that weren't afraid to be games. Why is Kirby in Claymation style and into a round ball? Who cares! It's fun! Why are we turning into squids and shooting paint? Who cares! It's fun! Why is Bayonetta fighting a Lumen Sage and going to Hell? Who cares! It's fun!
And so on and so on.
Jim Sterling said it best.
Because of my fangirling all day at work, I was called by more than a few Nintendo's Bitch. I found that to be a funny comment, because it's just not true. I love Nintendo games, but it's not because they are Nintendo games that I love them. Nintendo makes game that love to play. Games that I can get behind and love. If Sony or Microsoft did that, then I'd be behind them as well. I don't have brand loyalty to Nintendo in the sense that I will support them no matter what. I support them because they make what I want. They gave Captain Toad his own game for crying out loud! You'd never see Microsoft do that.
If Sony or Microsoft started making games that appeal to me, I'd be far more supportive. As it stands, the games they produce just don't interest me. Does that make me Nintendo's Bitch? I don't think so. It just makes me a fan. A loyal fan, because I plan to throw money at Nintendo for these puppies.
I'm not going to say the WiiU is a great idea. Hell, it's a pretty crappy idea that seems to be biting them in the ass. But I own one, proudly. And even if it's library of games is smaller than a PS4, almost all of them appeal to me.
Nintendo, don't ever change.