"We constantly have to revisit 'Why would Donkey Kong do this?' or 'Why would this environment be like this?' And then we start thinking: 'We're making a game about a gorilla wearing a tie.'"
-Michael Kelbaugh of Retro Studios on Donkey Kong Country Returns
"I have to say it's kinda scary how much you know about this game."
-Nicolau Chaud creator of Marvel Brothel
Note: I apologize for the slightly confused way in which this was written. I tried multiple times to write it some other more technical way, but it was an experience in madness that had to come out through a first person telling.
What the Japanese console manufacturers lost leading up to this E3 is gamer faith. Sony pissed off some hackers and in turn they crippled the company for a month. Nintendo lost representation with an entire demographic.
That might seem a bit melodramatic, but at the end of the day they are in the business to entertain as many people as possible. They had come up short with what would be coined as the hardcore demographic. I define that demographic as the people that buy 2 or more games a month. That gamer slowly felt Nintendo push away and never truly come back.
For the person that may buy 15 games in a year, the Wii could not supply his unquenchable hunger.
That's a tall order to overcome. Something that would be hard for even Nintendo.
The best place to start rebuilding a franchise is easily with the most hardcore of Nintendo titles. The Legend of Zelda is prepping for its 25th anniversary this year and for it we'll get a concert series that will hit select regions of the world. For those of you in South Dakota, it probably won't be coming to you. You'll just have to buy the CD like the majority of us.
Miyamoto was on stage looking like the happy go lucky guy that he is and it was fun and light hearted. He brought his boys out and they all bowed to us for sticking with them for 25 years. It was innocent and kinda silly at times, but ultimately we aren't getting much other than the fact that the stuff we've known about for years. They did have a super special surprise to announce however.
All of you will be able to access the 3DS store because it went up conveniently right before the press conference. With it comes the first ever 3DS Virtual Console title, The Legend of Zelda Link's Awakening. Great game, at a moderately decent price. Six bucks is fine for Zelda, but we'll see how far they can go with some of the older titles from the console.
If you thought that was all, you were mistaken, everybody gets Four Swords for free! Well as long as you don't have the cheaper models of the DS. You guys get absolutely nothing. We also get free Excitebike, but it's only for a limited time. Even more limited when compared to the Japanese store.
Oh and a Gold Wiimote Plus for those of us that love a little bling with our waggle. Yeah, it's going to be a year full of party favors for Zelda. No really big 25th Anniversary package is kind of disappointing.
Iwata-san then came out and sold everybody on what this presentation was going to be about. It's all about being deeper and wider. Okay.
Can somebody please escort Mr. Iwata off the stage so we can get to what we all care about?
Then it happened. The craziest most ridiculous thing I'd seen in any of the shows. The stage turned in to a 3d presentation of all the great franchises we know and love. For a few short seconds, I saw something in my stream that played to some inner Nintendo fanboy heart string.
I saw a 3d Mario drive a kart around stage. Sure there were other things, but I couldn't really care about that. Mario was driving what would look to be a real kart across the stage! It all looked almost real! Okay so it was only marginally realistic, but it was a pretty cool 3D effect that didn't appear at any point during the Sony stream. And those Sony guys wouldn't shut up about 3D.
This ended with a man coming on stage.
Reggie. My nemesis. Maybe I dog on Reggie too much because I want Nintendo to cater to me and I just don't think he ever would or even could. He's the guy I see the most of when I get promises from Nintendo and it's not really all his fault. He's just a go between for Nintendo of Japan. He's just the marketer. He just happens to be the one I see when Nintendo annoys me.
Sigh. Let's see what the Regginator has to say.
It's the 3DS. Don't be nervous Reggie, what about the 3DS do you have to tell us? It's going to have 5 titles on it before year end? None of which are really new or surprising? There you go. That's my Nintendo!
Yes by years end, we'll have 5 unique new titles from 4 of our favorite classic franchises. Star Fox has evolved from a demo to a game, and it looks a little like that demo everyone was telling us about last year. I really can't see the "see behind and around you" feature from the trailer but hey at least face monitoring appears to be weirdly unique. Thank god we have friend codes though, otherwise I'd be a bit too cautious around multiplayer. I've seen Chat Roulette. No need to relive that on a 3D handheld.
Hey a new Mario Kart! Next.
Okay okay, the trick out your car feature seems kinda cool yet there really isn't any mention whether this does anything. Driving under water and flying in the air will work really well in 3d. I'm however really jaded to this game. I've just seen Mario Kart on every system you've made except for the original. I'm a bit worn out. How about something new.
Kid Icarus is new, and old in terms of conferences. The trailer looks fantastic though. I want to play this in 3D. Really I do. This is replacing Pilotwings in my do want from my first 3DS list. This right here is what should sell us all on the portable when it comes out. Though why in the world is there multiplayer? Duking it out 3 on 3 with other players around the globe will be something. Not sure if I see Icarus and multiplayer in my head, but as long as it doesn't cut in to the final product who am I to complain?
Hey there is a new Mario. Correction, Super Mario. He's back and in 3D baby! With what looks to be a Tanooki suit! Sweet, we get 3D flying with this new Super Mario. Why is he jumping in the air like Yoshi? Tanooki Mario doesn't fly anymore does he? Does he turn to stone? Nope doesn't look like it.
But at least it's iconic looking. That should sell to the retro enthusiasts who haven't bought their kid a handheld yet. Well at least as long as the kid is over the age of 6, because we don't want to screw their eyes up. The game should work well to emulate the motions Mario 64 set up. Though I'm not sure how the nub will hold up in comparison to a real stick. So here's another 4 million or more copies sold of a Mario game for Nintendo.
I guess that leaves Luigi's Mansion 2 to round out the handheld part of the show. That's some big britches for the forgotten brother. Though, I was kinda hoping for the Wii version of that so I could act like a Ghostbuster. You know, cause bustin makes me feel good. Well, this looks like it'd be a sorta fun game to play on a system I'm not really sold on. Oh well, the 3DS is new and only has a million adopters so far. No reason we should put it on the Wii with it's 70 million consoles out there. No reason what so ever. I'm not bitter.
Time for some Wii Games!
Wait why are we still on the 3DS. I thought you were done Reggie.
Oh it's an update on all the 3rd party 3DS titles we've heard about. Pretty cool. The Resident Evil and MGS games seems to stand way ahead of the pack. Okay, the 3DS shop is up and it works. Demos you say? Outstanding!
Pokemon thingy. Next.
Why are we still on the Pokemon thingy. AR Cards are really cool, but they are totally selling themselves at this point. Next.
Okay, a traveling pokedex sounds really cool and I'm sure it will be interesting in application, it just looks completely useless to me. I'm not going to pose with my pokemon. I'm not going to play with this when I could be playing the actual game. It's a fun little distraction, but seriously...NEXT.
Iwata comes up and it's time for some big business. Finally we stop seeing red and we can talk about my Wii that's sitting in the corner looking sad. What do you have to say to him Iwata? What does my Wii need to know?
He's going to get a new accessory. It's a sexy one too. Looks like somebody stuck some buttons on an iPad. What do you call this sexy abomination?
Okay...explain that to me. Stop saying bigger and deeper. So, the Wii came to be pronounced as "We." It was good of you to use the Internet Explorer "e" font on that one by the way. So by that logic, "the Wii U is tailor made for you." Can you explain it to me again, because I didn't get it.
You know what, call it whatever you want. As long as it plugs in to my Wii, I'll just consider it to be Wii Ultimate. You know why? I can play my games while my kid watches Wall-E. That technology is exactly what's fueled handhelds for years! It's not a portable? Why not? It looks like an iPad and I can take those anywhere. You know what, I'll assume it works off my Wii's sensor bar. I'm not going to think about it too much because you are trying to work with me here. I'm getting this.
So guys, wow me. Reggie is coming back on stage? Sigh. Okay Reggie, you wow me.
So, it works like a traditional iPad. Not too shocking. Wait, I can use it as a conduit between my games? There you go Nintendo. That's more like it. Okay so throwing shuriken from the pad to the screen and teeing off of the pad are a bit silly in practice but the idea is solid. You've just turned my Wii in to a Super DS. Brilliant!
Wait a sec, can somebody controlling this stream zoom in to that Zelda screen shot! That looks pretty epic. Oh, we're done with that. On to Smash Bros news! It's coming and it'll work with this new fangled remote! You just know that'll be delayed. But hey, it's kinda like the Pikmin side story of E3 a few years back. Just knowing it exists means we'll be getting something big later on.
Actually, these concepts seem pretty uninspired. I'm pretty sure that there are some good drawing apps on an iPad so that drawing of Link is doing nothing new for me. New Super Mario Bros Mii is exactly what it sounds like and Chase Mii isn't fleshed out. I at least get to use this in conjunction with my Wiimotes. No need to rely on one specific interface. This is a step forward.
Now why would anybody choose now to put a Lego trailer in the middle of this. I like Lego games, but I have no reason to think about them at this moment. I'm glad you have an exclusive deal for all platforms, but lets focus on the hardware. I guess this is the third party support segment, but you should probably have done this after you showcased the big name developers talking about ideas with the project.
Hey it's Ken Levine! Boy Ken, you sure get around. Though this is prerecorded so I guess it doesn't really matter. Wait, does this have anything to do with the PSV title you are developing. That would go great along with this new Wii U device. You can work some of the budget between the two projects to maximize your profits.
Trailer time! Hey it's Tekken, that's not quite as good looking as the big boys. It's a Wii title though. What do you expect? It looks really good for a Wii title.
Wait a second. How the hell are you going to put Darksiders 2 and Batman Arkham City on the Wii. These look like 360 games. This isn't for the Wii is it. Ninja Gaiden 3 can't possibly appear on this. Battlefield 3? You're messing with me now.
Where are you going? Is this over? What the hell? HEY! What about my Wii?
This conference was disjointed and completely confusing. The fact that they show absolutely nothing on the new hardware while constantly talking about a controller with a name that's 3/4 the same as the old console is simply insane. Coming out of the conference, we all got to see the little update that is the new Wii U. Not during. From my stream, all shots of the system looked exactly like the Wii.
I was genuinely excited by this project because the idea of integrating an iPad with my TV is pretty genius. However, I'm not buying a whole new console for it. Nintendo had to come in and prove to me as a consumer that I was acting silly in disregarding their software for so long. The price cuts on Wii games helped to push this idea forward that they were working to get people buying in to the Wii again.
Turning cafe in to a Wii peripheral could have boosted the Wii's identity much in the same way that Microsoft did with the Kinect. None of the Nintendo trailers or screenshots really showed anything that couldn't be handled by the current Wii. That tech demo of the bird looked especially unimpressive on my little laptop screen. There was absolutely no reason for me not to think this was for the Wii. Well, until they said Arkham City was coming to it.
That stopped me pretty quick in my tracks.
So here I am coming out of Nintendo's press conference with literally nothing to take from it. Skyward Sword looks ok, but I'm pretty unimpressed with the overall design of it. This is coming from somebody that is a HUGE proponent of cel-shading. I don't really want a 3DS at this point. Especially since I have a kid to young to even look at it.
Likewise it looks like Wii Motion Plus is a dud. It had maybe 3 games that really utilized it and I'm not really running out to buy one with this incoming lineup from Nintendo.
This is from somebody who is begging for more games to adopt this style. I'm at a loss. I've been actively trying to give my Wii a second wind. I've been playing more Little King's Story. Using the Wii backwards compatibility to catch up on Gamecube games I've missed. All to really breathe something in to this system. I want my Wii to do something. I do.
If this was Nintendo's last conference for the Wii, consider it dead on the market. They can promise me lot's of things with the Wii U, but I can't see how Sony saw this presentation and didn't say that they could do the exact same thing with the PSV and PS3.
It's already got the cloud transfer system in place. You essentially have the same setup Sony. Except yours is portable.
Why is it that I'm left wondering if Sony is going to rip off the Wii U at the end of this conference instead of thinking anything really positive about the show? I hate dogging on Nintendo because they have the means and the abilities to cater to me as a consumer. They choose to confuse me and keep me wondering if I'll be satisfied. I have no reason to buy a Wii U after this conference. I was impressed with the idea, but I'm dumbfounded by the idea makers.
This seriously had to be the worst hardware reveal I've ever seen.