Opinion// E3 2011 - What Nintendo Got Right

Posted 8 Jun 2011 09:56 by
Nintendo knows how to put on a show when it really wants to. It all kicked off with a Legend of Zelda orchestra piece, featuring a montage of Link on his many past adventures.

With the increased air con as the theme music rolled around, I couldn't help but feel a comforting chill run down my spine. The medley ended with Skyward Sword, and an appearance from Shigeru Miyamoto.

This is the second time the legendary designer has opened a Nintendo conference, and he had a lot of news to share. The 25th Anniversary of the action RPG leads us to a worldwide orchestra tour, two CD soundtrack releases, Four Swords as a free DSi download and Link's Awakening available on the 3DS eShop. Oh, and a gold Wii Remote with Skyward Sword.

I'm being brutally honest
That's a fair number of cool Zelda announcements, if I'm being brutally honest. I just need to find out when that orchestra tour's coming to the UK, because I'm certainly not missing that! As a taster, Miyamoto asked the orchestra in the Nokia Theatre to play a few jingles. For each performance, the designer acted out opening chests and finding items. Nothing but massive grins for me here.

Company president Satoru Iwata walks casually on stage like the cool uncle that's about to hand you that rock CD that you asked for your birthday, but your parents don't approve of.

Porn fest
He deftly avoided turning the eager audience's anticipation for the new home console into a porn fest as he used the words "deeper" and "wider." He was talking about gameplay experiences, notch.

Nintendo America president, Reggie Fils-Aime on thé other hand, looks like the kind of guy you want on your side in a street fight.

"Look, we hear you," he told the audience, almost as if what gamers had been asking for was something rather extraordinary. "You want comforting core experiences, and you want surprise. Is it fair to ask for something for everyone?" Probably.

But this is something that the Japanese company aims to fulfil with at least the 3DS, re-iterating its commitment to releasing a new version of Mario Kart and Star Fox 64. Cue video piece that receives plenty of cheers from the audience, popular Nintendo characters darting around the screen and waving to the crowd.

Hopes Double Dashed
I struggled to maintain interest in Mario Kart after having been disappointed in Double Dash and Wii, but perhaps customisation and glider/propellor modifications will do something to revitalise the experience. You still can't beat Mario Kart 64 in my opinion.

The big surprise for me was Luigi's Mansion. I'm so happy about the announcement of a sequel for the 3DS - the original was a criminally underrated launch title for the Gamecube and deserves more love than it received. You'll be hunting for 3D ghosts across a number of new mansions this time around, with creepy music and nervous Luigi-isms aplenty.

Of course, any new Mario game commands my full attention, and the new 3DS game is no doubt going to do just that. His new rolling moves seem to add a new element of play, while Nintendo looks like it's going to abuse the shit out of the 3D capabilities by way of dynamic moving cameras. It's looking awesome.
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tyrion 8 Jun 2011 12:20
I don't think Nintendo "won" at all, at least not emphatically.

Microsoft, no doubt, "lost" - they concentrated too much on Kinect and trying to win the casuals from Nintendo and they run the risk of pissing off their core fanbase by doing so. They seemingly have nothing new to offer their core gamers, showing only remakes and sequels with at least the number 3 after them.

Sony did their usual "throw everything at you" type of keynote, but we got new games, actual 3rd party support and a look at what Vita can do. We also got (another) apology for the PSN debacle and a couple of actually funny jokes.

Nintendo gave us fan service and the promise of a new way to play games. They have to deliver on that promise and take 3rd parties along with them at the same time for this E3 keynote to actually mean anything.

Except, is Wii U (or WiiU ?) such a new way to play? What about PSP/PS3 system link games? What about GBA/GameCube linkup games? Hell, what about Dreamcast VU games?

There's nothing, apart from the screen size, about Wii U that can't be done by Sony using Vita and PS3, and Vita will be out at least 6 months before Wii U.

Also, nowhere did we see more than one "new controller" in any of the gameplay suggestions, I'm not sure that Wii U can support more than one remote screen. That limits the "wider and deeper" gameplay options in my opinion.

To my mind, Sony and Nintendo "joint won" E3, but if I had to pick just one of them, I'd take Sony due to Vita coming out earlier and actual, provable 3rd party support, not just more promises.

Of course, it remains to be see and I was wrong about Wii when it launched, but I just can't see Wii U being as big a change as Wii was.
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