Gaming thoughts... 6/7/11 ... Nintendo E3

Leading in with the Zelda 25th anniversary was a great start. I was excited, and I know the crowd was as well. However, my confidence did suffer just a bit shortly after - I love music from The Legend of Zelda, but the orchestra was keeping me from hearing about new things. And then, there was talk about the various Zelda re-releases.

The free Four Swords available for download in September for the DSi was cool.

And then talk of a promotional gold Wii Remote when Skyward Sword comes out.

And then more about music. Apparently, the symphonic orchestra will visit many regions. And there will be CD's. And then they moved on. I have a small issue with this if only because with the Metroid Prime collection and the Mario 25th anniversary collection, a lot of people were expecting some sort of a Zelda collection. Something remastered to some degree for the Wii. It's not going to happen unfortunately.

Nintendo then went into their 3DS section and they teased 5 titles right off of the bat:

Mario Kart, Star Fox, Mario, Kid Icarus, Luigi's Mansion (Luigi's Mansion?!) - great 3ds teasers before introducing Reggie Fils-Aime

- Mario Kart: Love this series - this is good stuff. Gliders for longer jumps? Underwater? Yes please.

- Star Fox: This looks and feels like a natural fit. The titling system and cameras is good use of tech.

- Mario: This game was a given, and will no doubt get top-shelf treatment, but no surprises on display

- Kid Icarus: Looks fun and flashy, and mulitplayer is a nice addition. The augmented reality cards were interesting. Pit's voice bugged me.

- Luigi's Mansion: This was a big, very welcome surprise. Loved the original, as did my kids. This was the most exciting title for me - maybe just due to the unexpected factor - of the five.

None of these are happening until later in the year - at the earliest. That keeps the 3ds launch a bit underwhelming - a bummer for early adopters no doubt.

Upcoming titles: Resident Evil, Mario & Sonic Olympics, Ace Combat 3D, Tetris, Cave Story 3d, Resident Evil: Revelations, Driver Renegade, Pac-Man & Galagy dimensions, Tekken 3d, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D - quickly teased, and only a few of which really caught my eye.

Nintendo announced a free 3D version of Excitebike that will be downloadable (that game is 27 years old!? Good lord...)

Pokemon. This is another free offering, and the idea is interesting but felt a bit light and gimmicky. Basically it's a visual Pokedex.

Now, for what everyone is curious about:

Image 1

The new console is going by Wii U. The controllers look different than rumored - really they look like small tablets. I didn't see a listing of the actual dimensions, though they touted a 6.2" touchscreen in the center. The Wii U will be backwards compatible - both for the Wii games and the various controllers. The controller has 2 analog sticks, 2 trigger/shoulder buttons, a direction pad, face buttons, rumble support, touch screen/stylus interaction, microphone, speakers, gyroscope and camera. They also claim the tablet will stream video games to the controller without any latency. Big claim, but as someone who does get into games to turn over the TV to my wife or kids, it's a neat feature.

Some of the other demoed features like screen over screen overlay, the implications on multiplayer games and more... well, there is a ton of potential here. The quick demonstration of Link playing in high definition looked amazingly good. I don't know if the specs surpass the PS3 by as much as was rumored, but it's a step in the right direction.

A lot of developers seem to be backing the console - and that is huuuuuuge. Nintendo has always been the best at making games for its own console, and that may not change. It would be nice however, to see the gap between what Nintendo makes and what 3rd party development teams produce narrow. Lego City Stories, Batman, Tekken, Assassin's Creed, Ghost Recon, Darksiders 2 were all announcd.

A Super Smash Brothers brought to the 3DS and Wii U was mentioned.

On top of that, Nintendo closed with a quick talk from EA about their future partnership with the Wii U and teasers from:

Darksiders 2, Dirt, Aliens Colonial Marches, Ghost Recon Online, Metro Last Light, Tekken, Ninja Gaiden

The presentation got off to a disappointing start to me. Some of the 3DS games looked cool but... we knew about most of them already. Like Sony and Microsoft, I didn't see a lot of newly announced games. I think Nintendo and Sony fared better because they had new hardware to show off. I think the potential if Wii U could be huge. I will gather my final thoughts and weigh out how I think the big 3 did when compared to one another tomorrow, but one thing really nagged at me when I reviewed this post just now...

Was Skyward sword the ONLY Wii game they announced at all? There may have been more, but... I'm not seeing it. Are they basically abandoning the Wii with this new console still potentially a good ways off? I'm not sure, but that did irk me a bit.
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5 comments :

  1. Skyward Sword was the only one I remember seeing...but they have shown others at their E3 page:
    http://e3.nintendo.com/games/#/wii/

    Kirby Wii looks like great co-op gaming fun from a trailer they released for it.

    Also, one thing I'm really interested in is the, "...2 analog sticks...".

    They actually appear to be circle pads, like the 3DS has, and I don't know how those will be compared to regular analog sticks...I'm hoping some feedback will clear that up.

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  2. Hey, nice re-cap there.

    I was disappointed in the lack of a solid Zelda 25th package. Being I don't need a new wiimote (:cough: 4 is too many as-is) and don't have a DSi, it's not applicable.

    What I really wanted to see was BS Zelda in some form or another, which perhaps puts me in the minority. I didn't care if they just released them on VC without translation or the original streaming audio. I just wanted to play them without messing around with an unofficial hacked ROM on a PC emulator.

    3DS: Some cool stuff, but like you said not exactly surprising.

    Wii U: 2012 can not come soon enough! Actually putting a level head back on, it seems like it introduces some unique opportunities and at the very least doesn't put Nintendo way behind in graphics and competitive 3rd party support. It should be interesting to see exactly how it compares with the PS3/360 and their next consoles.

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  3. Good review of the presentation.

    I'm deeply concerned with Nintendo. The technology it showed off was really impressive, but there was a complete lack of attention paid to its online gaming and digital download services.

    And it upsets me that they're not making a greater effort to offer a console that can do more than gaming. C'mon Nintendo, at some point you are going to have to wake up and realise you are competing for the same dollars that are being spent on PlayStations, Xboxes and iPads. Especially with this new console of yours - it's stepping into very dangerous territory.

    Also, that controller is going to be expensive.

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  4. Awesome - thanks for the comments guys!

    @coffee - I did see a few of the other titles talked about in other areas, but the almost completely disregard of the Wii sort of irked me - but I agree Kirby looks promising.

    And I am really curious about the controller - not just the sticks, but just how it feels in hands. For example my youngest has trouble with my wife's ipad and this looks similar in shape and design. Is it a drop risk? how sturdy is it?

    @Robert - yeah, the Zelda thing really disappointed me. The intro had me all excited and I kept waiting for the *big* 25th anniversary announcement... so to find out it was concerts and CD's was a bummer for me.

    @Games - I agree that it would have been very nice to see a bit of their online concept. Given Nintendo's missteps in that regard so far, I'd like to see what they have in mind. Some of the titles they touted make me think they plan to have a good online presence - especially games with online multiplayer like Tekkn - but it would still be nice to see a bit more.

    Overall, I thought it was a good presentation, but I was a bit let down. I don't have a 3DS. Their new console is still a ways off so while I was impressed with the tech, I was feeling a bit disappointed in how 'abandoned' I felt by them currently.

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  5. I forgot about the CD's and concerts. Neat idea, but really? I would just like to have a CD of music containing the original and new orchestral versions if it came as part of a special game bundle.

    Some of Reggie's follow-up interviews touched on online, but he was pretty tight-lipped stating there will be more on it later in the week.

    I didn't like the approach he took referring to some of the tech improvements as mere bullet points or checkmarks as they want to focus on the experience. That's nice, but those are some pretty significant items that need clarification and not just a brush over with an assumption that they're on-par with the other consoles.

    Given N's online track record and how WiiConnect24 didn't live up to the hype, they're going to need to prove some of this.

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