E3 2014 Quick-Hit Impressions

Newcomer Matt weighs in with some thoughts on Nintendo’s E3 showing.

By Matt Neumeister. Posted 07/03/2014 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Let’s just be honest here: getting older can be rough. Where did all these responsibilities come from?! I didn’t ask for these!

But on the flip side, our childhoods never abandon us, do they? We all have certain institutions we can count on, and for me, as long as I can count on E3 putting up shop in Los Angeles every summer, gaming’s biggest yearly convention will always get me just as excited as it did back when I was nine years old. You know, back when Nintendo Power was easily our best source of E3 rumors and predictions. Back when the Internet was so unstable that watching the press conference live streams almost inevitably crashed our computers. Remember those days?

With that said, I think Nintendo did us proud this year, yeah? Without further delay, here are my quick-hit thoughts on E3 2014.

  • Toad is getting his own game! I’m excited for the little guy, I want to throw him a party or something. Toad’s levels in Super Mario 3D World are a blast, so I’m glad that Nintendo took the opportunity to expand them into a full-fledged game. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is going to be tons of fun. There’s a zero percent chance that this game disappoints, and I can’t wait to see how Nintendo builds upon the isometric structure of the levels that were so much fun in 3D World.
  • Also, I love Toad’s adorable voice. It kind of sounds like Gilbert Gottfried after sucking a balloon full of helium, and it’s totally infectious. Here’s hoping that Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is full of cutscenes, because that voice totally deserves a well-developed character behind it.
  • Splatoon looks really interesting, but it absolutely, desperately needs a new logo. Nintendo might have the start of its next great franchise here, but it’s not doing its marketing team any favors with a logo that belongs on a ’90s Nickelodeon show starring Marc Summers.

Splatoon Starring Marc Summers
’90s kids are feeling pangs of nostalgia right now.

  • You just knew that if Nintendo decided to try its hand at the ever-popular shooter genre, we weren’t going to get some cookie-cutter, Tom Clancy-esque, Call of Honor 17 kind of game. Splatoon is just oozing with creativity (and ink), and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Still, if this is going to be Nintendo’s next big multiplayer franchise, the company’s going to need to expand the base idea and add some variety into the mix. It looks really cool and all, but I’m worried that spraying ink around a bunch of similar-looking blank environments could get old quickly. There’s still plenty of time before Splatoon releases, though, so I can’t wait to see how the game progresses over the next few months.
  • Shigeru Miyamoto famously said that the idea for Pikmin came to him while he was tending to his garden, and it now appears that the mastermind behind Nintendo’s most iconic characters has been spending lots of time in an arts and crafts store, in search of a new hobby. We already had Kirby’s Epic Yarn, but as of this year’s E3 we also have Yoshi’s Woolly World and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, the latter of which features a claymation art style. It seems that Nintendo is finding news ways to put a spin on the tried-and-true platforming genre, and we’re the ones who will benefit from it.
  • There are so many platformers on the way to Wii U, and it makes me wonder if that will become the console’s signature genre, sort of like how PlayStation 2 had Japanese RPGs, and PS3 and Xbox 360 had first- and third-person shooters. No complaints here– if anyone knows how to create fun platforming games with fresh and exciting ideas, it’s Nintendo.
  • Good lord, I cannot wait to learn more about Xenoblade Chronicles X. I just recently got my hands on the first Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii and I can’t wait to give it a try, and the first Xenosaga for PlayStation 2 is one of the most memorable RPGs I’ve ever played (in spite of what is, in my opinion, a terrible combat system), so I have no doubt that this new RPG will be something to keep an eye on. Basically, if it’s got “Xeno” somewhere in the title, it’s probably worth playing.
  • How cool was that Super Smash Bros. tournament? I mean, I can only watch people play Smash for so long, but the way the crowd was getting into it made the whole thing kind of infectious. And I really appreciated how Nintendo made sure to find a couple of announcers who actually knew what they were talking about. Every time a Smash Ball came into play, they went absolutely nuts. Good stuff.
  • One rumor that really caught my eye in the run up to E3 had to do with a Wii U HD remake for Super Mario Sunshine. It’s a game that has become somewhat forgotten because it was sandwiched between two inarguable classics in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy, but I actually really enjoyed it and I’m disappointed that we won’t be able to experience it again in lovely high-definition. The whole FLUDD mechanic was really cool, and there’s something about tropical settings in a video game that just makes my feet tingle, so hopefully Nintendo is at least considering a re-release in the near future. Or, if I may be so bold, how about a sequel? Dare to dream.
  • Mario Maker doesn’t interest me at all. Cool idea, but I’ve never felt any desire to build my own 2D Mario levels. That’s just me, though.
  • Another disappointing no-show at the convention was Animal Crossing. Y’all have no idea how many hours I can put into designing bedspreads and wallpapers for my house, and I’m being totally serious. I’d say it’s a matter of time before this series find it’s way to Wii U, so I guess I’m just being impatient.
  • Not sure how I feel about this whole Digital Presentation thing Nintendo has been doing for the last two years. It pretty much eliminates any chance of us getting to witness the gaffes and screw-ups that are pretty much a hallmark of E3 presentations, and to be totally honest, I look forward to those.
  • On a positive note, I can’t friggin wait for Wii U’s first real Zelda title. I’m talking about that open-world game that Aonuma briefly teased, not Hyrule Warriors. I’m still not sure what to make of Hyrule Warriors, really. It’s a cool idea, I guess, but it totally came out of left field. The Zelda franchise is mostly about exploration and puzzle solving, so I’m not sure that a Dynasty Warriors mashup is exactly what Nintendo fans have been clamoring for. Still, I’ll stay open-minded until I get my hands on it. But an open-world entry in the core Legend of Zelda franchise? Uh, yes please.

So those are the major impressions I came away with from Nintendo’s strong showing at E3 2014. I’d love to hear everyone else’s thoughts as well, so make sure to leave your opinions in the comments section. Cheers, everyone!

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