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eisley avatar 5:26 PM on 05.24.2011  (server time)
Nintendo: A Confusing Relationship

As we approach E3 again my mind wanders to the E3 of last year and how each companies' promises or previews panned out. Microsoft and Sony seemed to be on about their respective motion control systems, neither of which I was interested in. Nothing interested me at Microsoft's conference actually, since I seem to only remember a lot of Kinect showcasing and maybe some Halo: Reach? As for Sony, the creator of my most used current gen system, there was more to be interested in but not much. Uncharted 3 was a given, but they didn't have much to show for it and spent the most time discussing Move or PSN services. Portal 2 was the best announcement for me (and as soon as I picked it up PSN went down). Then there was Nintendo. I have to admit, they put on a great show and got me hyped up for almost everything they showed, aside from Wii Party (which didn't even look that bad for a "Wii" game). I got Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Epic Mickey, Metroid: Other M, and a 3DS and yet for some reason I feel like Nintendo didn't deliver the quality promised in their conference.

I'll start with the games. After some franchises didn't quite make a successful jump to 3D on the N64 it seems Nintendo was giving them another shot on the Wii with the recently popular updated 2D genre. These two franchises being Donkey Kong and Kirby, of course. I liked New Super Mario Bros. Wii so I was excited for these two titles. Actually, Donkey Kong Country Returns was my favorite game out of this lineup. I was a fan of developers Retro Games already and thought it was a great game, it was really challenging and was also long enough to not feel like I had wasted $50. And yet something still felt missing. As for Kirby's Epic Yarn, it felt like even more was missing. I had fun with it and it was adorable but it took me very little time to beat it and there wasn't much incentive to keep playing. At first I loved this revival of the 2D platformer but I'm not so sure anymore. It works great for indie games but for a main console game they just seem smaller than the games I play in 3D. I would prefer to play Super Mario Galaxy over New Super Mario Bros.. That doesn't mean I don't love the old 2D platformers, in fact I would rather play them than the newer ones as well. I understand that argument that the Wii has graphical limitations and so these 2D games are a way to make up for them, but to me it feels like their withholding creativity. The N64 and Gamecube both had many games that seemed to be pushing the boundaries and at least moving forward. Those consoles were at the time compared with consoles that had pretty much the same graphics, whereas the Wii stands next to the Xbox 360 and PS3. This might be hindering its process for people, like me, who want more weird games like Luigi's Mansion and not a nostalgic rerun of updated old classics.

Metroid: Other M was the most fun to play of that lineup, but the hardest for me to watch. I admit, I never got into the older Metroid titles but I loved the Metroid Prime series and was looking forward to Team Ninja's installment. It looked fun. It was fun. But then there was the dialogue and the voice acting that ruined it for me. One January evening after I beat it my friends were over, and as a form of entertainment I showed them the worst parts of the game and we laughed and laughed. But on reflection, it really wasn't that funny, it was really sad. All I can really hope for is that they don't give Team Ninja the reins for the series again.

Then there's Epic Mickey, which initially reminded me a lot of the 3D platformers of the Playstation/N64 (even PS2) era when it was first shown. Sadly, it didn't quite impress me. It was fun, it was fairly unique, but it had a lot of problems (namely that darned camera) that prevented it from becoming something special. This may be yet another of so many examples of the failure of 3rd party developers to achieve real success on a Nintendo console.

Lastly, there's the 3DS. I picked it up with my boyfriend the night of its release and we had decided to hold off on the games until June when the big titles we were actually interested in were scheduled to come out. The system itself is a nice little system, I love the look and feel of it and mostly the promise of actual functioning online gaming. But then there's the all too apparent lack of games and the 3D gimmick. Until I really play a game with the 3D I won't be able to say how I feel about it, but initially it hurt my eyes quite a bit. There's still the updated graphics and the lovely analog stick, but what do I have to look forward to playing with it. The lineup full of familiar titles, Mario Kart, Star Fox 64, Paper Mario, Ocarina of Time, and while some are actual new games they are nonetheless familiar. Even my favorite game of all time, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is getting it's own redo on the system even. I won't lie, I'm extremely excited for almost all the games, even the ones I've played before but I can't help shake the feeling that Nintendo isn't moving forward maybe the way I'd like them to be.

I realize this whole post is basically just me spilling out my uneasy feelings about Nintendo, a company I truly want to believe in, but I'm sure some of these feelings do not pertain to me only. Titles like Kid Icarus: Uprising give me hope though, and I'm excited to see what they have to say at E3 in a few weeks. Project Cafe definitely looks....well, different. I don't know what to think yet but I'm looking forward to seeing what they have in store for us.

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