Nintendo’s E3 Direct: First Impressions
NOTE: I started writing these thoughts days ago. Finally got time to finish them. Sorry for the delay.
I’ve always enjoyed E3. Even as my fanaticism about gaming has waned to make room for other important things in life, I’ve always still enjoyed E3 as a few days to relive all those times I used to get ridiculously excited about games and hardware that were coming out. Hearing about amazing new hardware, mind blowing Zelda games, and the huge adventures that I would… someday… get to experience. This year though, I was left with the feeling of, “That’s it?”
Maybe it’s just the way it was presented that made the games seem less exciting this year, or maybe, the games were less exciting. Listening to Iwata speak English at length is strenuous. I appreciate the fact that the president of the company wants to be there to represent Nintendo to fans and the media, and it’s not just some paid spokesperson, but for something like E3, where I’m used to things being sorta bigger than real life, I was a bit underwhelmed. Reggie is still the man for this job, I say. I usually enjoy Iwata in other Nintendo Directs, so maybe what I’m getting at here is that Nintendo Direct might not have been my preferred platform for Nintendo at E3. If I could have the old press conference back, I’d take it.
So what about the games? Well, let me say right away, I’m probably going to buy about half of them. Haha. And I suppose from Nintendo’s perspective, then these announcements were a success. Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, and Donkey Kong Country are all probably eventually going to find their way into my library. But nothing was jaw dropping.
Probably my biggest disappointment was Mario Kart 8. This coming off of Mario Kart 7 which I have been thoroughly impressed with on the 3DS. Mario Kart 8 seems like just 7 on the Wii U… with antigravity. Really? I never really thought a game that revolved around tossing banana peels and firing heat seeking turtle shells could “jump the shark” but it may just be possible. Part of the problem is that Mario Kart is a 20 year old idea that may already be fully evolved. No longer can you rely on improved graphics to re-pack and sell essentially the same game, and keep it feeling fresh. Visual upgrades are now so incremental, that it was easy for me to look at Mario Kart 8 was 95% the same game as Mario Kart 7, a handheld game! All that said… I’ll still buy it because it is Mario Kart. Nintendo wins.
I felt almost exactly the same with Super Mario 3D World. I was really expecting something more along the Galaxy line. And I was HOPING more for a more traditional type sequel to Super Mario 64. But instead a game was announced that I felt like I had already played. I am 100% certain that this game will be amazing, solid, and successful. But the announcement itself was disappointing. Will I buy this one? Yup. Nintendo wins again.
One of the titles I’m most excited for, Wii Fit U, was announced… to be delayed until December. So another aww shucks.
All in all, Nintendo’s software lineup for 2013 looks solid, safe, and predictable. I don’t think they’ll have any trouble selling games. All I’m saying is I feel like E3 could have delivered me a bit more this year.