Round Table: Conference Thoughts

As the dust settles on Nintendo’s E3 press conference, the staff collect their thoughts.

By Katharine Byrne. Posted 06/06/2012 09:00 4 Comments     ShareThis

The Huh!?:

Lewis Hampson

There was a point towards the very end of Nintendo’s presser, the stage adorned with Nintendo Land props, when I thought “hmm, I wonder if they are going to take those props down whilst showing a video for the next game?” Then I realized, to my amazement, that the showcase for Wii U was over. The grand unveiling of Nintendo’s next console was at an end and I was none the wiser for it.

They offered very little, if anything entirely new here. I don’t just means in terms of games either. There was no word about what medium the game disks will be, no news about internal/external storage, and nothing about trophy or gamertag type features and how Nintendo will implement them.

Reggie said at the beginning that more news concerning the actual hardware will be doled out over the coming months, saving the time Nintendo had just for the games. However there was nothing on display that we either didn’t already know about or expected prior to the conference this morning. There seemed like an urgency to get back to the Wii U and its games when we veered off down 3DS alley, but an urgency to show what exactly? Nintendo Land?, seriously? The premise of the game as Wii U’s answer to Wii Sports is all well and understood, and the games actually look like they could be fun. But leaving the conference on this note was a mistake in my opinion.

The Wii U GamePad is a cool piece of technology which will enhance certain games and bring great functionality to core and casual titles alike. But we have had two screens on the DS for a very long time now. The idea is not that difficult for even casual gamers to get their head around anymore. So presenting a game based on showing the possibilities of such a control scheme, and the asymmetric game play possibilities, as your main game of the conference was a big let down and a little needless in my view.

Coming away from the conference today, I feel a little confused. Confused as to what Nintendo can offer me in terms of new experiences. Am I going to spend £50 on a game I can get second hand now for under 20 on my PS3. The answer is obviously no. But its not just the lack of exclusive games that bothers me most. The complete blackout of information on Wii U itself in terms of specs and mediums was a real surprise for me. I’m not to sure what it was Nintendo targeted with their presser today. The games we already knew about were there and they played in exactly the way many of us would imagine.

More worryingly the Wii remotes were heavily featured throughout the first party demo’s, and it’s painfully evident that Pikmin 3 is just an up-scaled Wii game making it’s way onto Wii U. It’s not like I went into today expecting to be blown away by the depth of gaming experience or talent of third party developers Nintendo had acquired. However what I did expect was a proper introduction to Wii U and most of what it is capable of and what it means for me individually as a gamer. After all, isn’t that the main part of the “U” in the title?

Unfortunately Nintendo failed to deliver, and again I am left waiting for concrete information on this next generation machine, yet we are only months from its launch. I will be avidly watching to see how this all pans out.

Katharine Byrne

Oh, Nintendo, it was all going so well! You had a great introduction with Pikmin 3 and New Super Mario Bros. U, and then… I don’t know what happened. You had so much promise, so much potential! This E3 could have been really, really great, and you blew it. You really did. This E3 should have been all about showing Sony and Microsoft what Wii U could do. It was about giving “hardcore” gamers a reason to sit up and take notice. And what do you give them? What’s the ace up your sleeve that you’re just dying to unleash on the world? Nintendo Land. Really, Nintendo? Really!?

To be honest, it seemed poorly organised this year– it lacked all of last year’s smooth, slick delivery, and there wasn’t any kind of build-up or suspense that ended up paying off. Games were appearing all over the place, 3DS was poking its nose in where it wasn’t wanted, and it seems like most of their important information about Wii U has been leaking out of their E3 All-Access hub online instead of being in the main presentation.

Then again, I think part of the problem was that Ubisoft’s conference took the wind out of Nintendo’s sails a bit. With a much shorter show than either Sony or Microsoft (by a good twenty minutes), Nintendo definitely had a lot to pack into their press conference, but all the interesting stuff had already been revealed by Ubisoft the day before, leaving Nintendo to try and keep wowing the crowds with their predictably kid-friendly line-up of Mario, Scibblenauts and Lego City Undercover.

Had Ubisoft shown that amazing Rayman Legends trailer at Nintendo’s conference (trust me– watching that live was absolutely thrilling), had we seen ZombiU and Assassin’s Creed III running on Wii U, showing off just how Nintendo’s new console was going to make all these games better than what we’ve seen before, then I think it would have been a lot more memorable. To be fair, Sony had a bit of repetition with Far Cry 3 but they used that time to show off something new and exciting; Nintendo just ran the exact same trailer reel and wasted precious minutes they could have used to talk about something else. Don’t get me wrong, seeing Batman Arkham City‘s new features in action was pretty intriguing, but it felt a little incongruous on its own, and one game that came out several months ago (even with all its added extras) isn’t enough to make the wider audience go, “Hey, wow! That’s really amazing! Get me a pre-order!”

I mean, when you actually look at Nintendo’s E3 line-up trailer, Wii U has so much more going for it than Nintendo let on. There’s Darksiders II, Mass Effect 3, Aliens Colonial Marines, Trine 2… Show us these, Nintendo! Show us you mean business and that you’re not just going to repeat what happened on Wii, because that’s the impression you gave me this year. You might talk the talk about recapturing the core audience, but you’re not showing everyone you’re walking the walk too! By all means ply us with Pikmin 3 and Nintendo Land, but that’s not enough anymore– not according to your presentation last year, anyway. Of course we’ve still got their 3DS press conference to come, so there’s still hope that they might redeem themselves, but as for their main Wii U offering… very, very disappointing indeed.

Adam Sorice

It wasn’t that Nintendo’s conference was a failure; it was that it was disappointing. Which, in many ways, is perhaps even worse. The company really couldn’t have stacked the cards more in their favour; a headstart on the competition for the next generation of consoles and overly bland pressers from both Microsoft and Sony regardless offered them an open goal to once again dominate this E3 with a strong, punchy, passionate unveiling of their new console: Wii U. What did we get instead? Flatness. So flat that I think the company played down 3DS to limit allusions to how flat Wii U came across. Nintendo can do little to remedy their poor showing but I hope they understand where they went wrong this week.

First of all: the Nintendo Direct pre-E3 conference. While I love a solid 30 minutes of Iwata tripping over English as much as the next guy, the content shown here was strong; the Pro controller, Miiverse and social integration are all great. However, when it was all replicated in the main conference, things began to hit a reef. I understand the importance of stating all the clear info in the keynote conference (remember last year when the mainstream press thought Wii U was a tablet add-on to Wii?) but by already letting the cat out the bag, this just felt like a lecture from a teacher who is wildly inferior to their class. We get it already, move on. This was a similar issue with the games shown by Nintendo; if you compare last year’s sizzle reel for Wii U and this year’s conference you’ll notice that they are near-identical. The only problem? This year not so much sizzle as a dull thud of disinterest.

This is exactly the problem, these are good games but were we surprised that Arkham City is *still* coming to Wii U? Of course not. Did we need to see 5+ minutes on tacked-on tablet controls? Hell to the no. Even Pikmin, one of the strong surprises from the show was announced months in advance. So no surprise there. Elsewhere; a frankly unimpressive 2D Mario, last year’s 3rd party offerings and then super casual affairs such as Wii Fit U and SiNG? It was either a non-event or one we didn’t want invited to. (And FYI, Nintendo already did the pedometer with both Pokémon HeartGold *and* a specific walking-centric game called Walk With Me! It was fun but it was 3+ years ago. Move on.)

And then we got to the climax: Nintendo Land. As Dustin mentioned above me, when Reggie uttered, “But before we go I think we should have one quick look…” I leaned forward, waiting for the shock and awe this conference had sorely lacked, “…at Nintendo Land again!” I repeat, oh hell to the no. I understand the importance of this centrepiece game, I really do, but we overmilked it. Way too hard. Reconstituted tech demos from last year do not make a killer-app and we don’t even know if it will be packed in or not. We don’t know when it’ll be coming out. We don’t even know when the system will be coming out or how much it’s going to cost.

Nintendo needed to either bring a conference with a stack of solid information and factual and technical precision or it needed to go overboard with showmanship, flash and tease. Instead we got neither and were left with a conference that disappointed in some areas and atrociously handled other areas in which it could have so easily shined. If Nintendo had axed the pre-E3 video presser, not given massive chunks of time to games such as Just Dance 4 or Arkham City, put Pikmin at the end of the presser rather than the beginning, featured more games that we later found out were coming such as the spectacular looking Project P-100 and just teased the likes of the next Zelda or the next Star Fox or whatever the hell Retro Studios are doing, it would have been a completely different show for only the tiniest of changes. And that’s the most disappointing part of all.

So that’s four good, two meh, and three staff members utterly confused. Never has an E3 conference been so divided! Well, except 2008’s Carrie Dunaway debacle, but that’s another story. But now that we’ve voiced our opinions, what were your thoughts on Nintendo’s offering this year? Were you disappointed? Happy? Jubilant? Did you make an angry vow to never look at another Nintendo game again? Tell us in the comments below!

Pages: 1 2 3

4 Responses to “Round Table: Conference Thoughts”

  • 156 points
    Linkrevenge says...

    Yeah, it could so be better with Retro Studios chiming in with a new game. I heard a bit about ZombiU on spike e3 coverage and is more interesting then you think it is.

    • 576 points
      MegabusterLegends3 says...

      Well, at least we can look at it this way. If this E3 didn’t have Retro, you can be sure that they WILL be at the next E3. And by next E3, we can be sure to see the next 3D Mario game, at least, if not new entries in some other franchises. By then we will probably see a bit more support from third parties as well. Hopefully, once the Wii U has had its launch Window, the next E3 will be Nintendo’s true hard-core first party showcase. Still, I can’t help but feel like Nintendo still hasn’t quite dipped their toes into the HD era quite yet. Pikmin looks, beautiful, as does Nintendo Land, but at the same time, these games lack the scope and cinematic quality we were hoping to see in Retro’s new game. Pikmin and Nintendo land, in terms of processing power, probably could have been done on the Wii, and the same goes for NSMB U and Wii U Fit. (I understand that the controller makes a difference, but I’m taking that out of the equation). We were hoping for a Mario, or a Zelda, or a Star Fox, that would have the scope of Uncharted or Skyrim and give something for Sony and Microsoft Elitists to chew on. I was hoping this conference would prove the other fanboys wrong. Really, all Nintendo seemed to deliver First Party-wise outside of Pikmin 3(a known quantity) for the Wii U (and 3DS as well) was Mario (NSMB U and 2, Paper Mario, Luigi’s Mansion) and Minigame collections (Wii Fit U, Game and Wario, NintendoLand). ZombiU has promise, but an ancient Amiga game from Ubisoft’s primitive past doesn’t have the same pull at a Conference like E3 as Lara Croft or Naughty Dog. And the demo wasn’t quite as impressive as Watch Dogs or Splinter Cell, either. ZombiU should have been a highlight, but maybe not a main attraction.

  • 201 points
    NintendoDad says...

    Truthfully, content wise they have plenty of games coming out. They just delivered the info horribly. If they had just ran through the order of games shown backwards, it would have made a big difference. Start with Nintendo Land (and geez, cut out about 10 minutes of the explanation…it’s a bunch of fun mini-games, we get it), go to your games you feel you have to talk about (Sing, Wii FitU), go to your third parties, and then finish with Mario and Pikmin 3. Nintendo Land just left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. They tried to force it way too much. If they would have announced it as a pack in, maybe we wouldn’t have been too skeptical.

    But anyway, after the disappointment of the conference, I went about making a list of games releasing between now and launch window for the WiiU for the Wii (I’m still looking forward to Epic Mickey 2 and The Last Story), 3DS, and WiiU. I have a list of 12 games I’m very interested in and that’s more than enough.

  • 393 points
    James Stank says...

    It’s been a while, but as per usual Lewis, I agree with you. Boy do I love a “next gen” (though Wii U is current gen) console launching with current gen games. I love how Nintendo showed off so many games coming to Wii U that are already out, and showed no killer app. They are so desperate that they are playing it safe and developing two 2D Mario games at the same time that still look just like the original “New” super mario bros. on DS. What’s so new about these anymore? It’s more of the same or stale now. No game made me say, “I have to buy a Wii U.” Then all the 3DS games at the 3DS show today we already knew about! How cool is that!? No surprises or announcements. I can’t just blame Nintendo as every show was pretty sad, but I think Nintendo has the most to lose. With the next-gen Square-Enix engine revealed, and Sony’s “We aren’t always first to the market, but we’re always the best” comment, it shows that Nintendo’s competition isn’t scared, and from what we’ve seen, why should they be? While it’s true we still don’t have specs, it seems doubtful that Wii U can run SE’s engine in full, though maybe a weaker version, and with games like Star Wars 1313 supposedly being developed for “next generation consoles” it seems like we are in for Wii all over again, and that is not a good thing.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In 0 points Log in or register to grow your Ninja Score while interacting with our site.
Nintendojo's RSS Feeds

All Updates Podcast
News Comments
Like and follow usFacebookTwitter Friend Code Exchange + Game with Us Join the Team!