Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Nintendo at E3

Now I'm an avid gamer. I always have been, and Nintendo has long been my console manufacturer of choice. (That is not to say that I dislike others, Neety and I own 15 in total, ranging from an XBOX 360 right back to an original Game Boy and the SNES. I even own a Sega Saturn, oh yes I do.) Therefore, instead of just catching up on the write up of their E3 conference, as I did with Microsoft and Sony, I thought that I'd watch Nintendo's live.

And before you ask, hell yes it was worth it.

Starting a few minutes late, we were taken on a ride through Nintendo's plans for the next year and beyond by the head honchos, most notably Miyamoto, Iwata-San and Reggie.

They began by addressing the fact that it is the 25th anniversary of the Zelda series. Which doesn't excite me massively. I own a few of them, and I appreciate they are good games, but they've never really been my cup of tea. Still, the announcement of releases for Skyward Sword on Wii and Links Awakening and 4 Swords on the eShop is good news.

And then.... we are teased with a little discussion of the new console, before we are left hanging on with that information, and Reggie comes to discuss the 3DS with us.

Just before we go any further, I would like to throw my hat into the endless mobius strip of discussion that the internet has been providing with regards to the 3DS. There seems to be a lot of discussion about whether it has had "healthy" launch sales, or if it is a disaster. Some people are defending it saying that in the launch window it has sold more than the original DS has - which sounds about right, but I can't be bothered to go and check those facts. My reaction to it is as follows: I love the 3DS and can't wait to get one, even if the games out so far are not must-have's just yet.

And speaking of the must-have's, Reggie ran us through five games in that category which will be released this year:

STARFOX 64 3D - There's not much I can say about this. I owned Starwing on SNES (sadly I don't own it any more, due to an incident with a bottle of Coke and my bedroom floor when I was 13 years old. No I'm not bitter about it, I just DON'T WISH TO DISCUSS IT ANY FURTHER!) which I loved, and have never played the N64 version, of which this is a port. Looks fun though.

KID ICARUS: UPRISING - This has been shown around since E3 last year, and consequentially, while it does look like a lot of fun (even if it seems to suffer from massively over-acting voice actors), I've seen a lot of screenshots and videos, and this didn't offer much new.

MARIOKART 3DS - After watching this trailer? My response was "HELL YEAH." It's Mariokart. In 3D. With underwater courses and customisable Karts. Oh, and hang gliders. I'm in!

SUPER MARIO 3D - A seeming cross between Super Mario 64, Mario Galaxy and New Super Mario Bros? I'm all over that shit. Plus, the raccoon suit returns! (Sorry, the Tanooki suit). Very, very hyped about this.

And the big surprise? Luigi's Mansion 2. On 3DS. At the point this was mentioned, my ever wonderful Neety (who, as I type this, is writing her own E3 blog for femme gamer) squealed in excitement as she is a huge fan of the original. I enjoyed the original a lot too, so this is good news for all concerned.

And then a trailer montage of forthcoming 3DS games - Resident Evil: Mercenaries 3D (YAYY!), Mario & Sonic at the 2012 Olympics (No interest for me whatsoever. Seriously, why have they not made the Mario V Sonic platformer we all want to see?), Ace Combat 3D (Planes. Flying. Looks pretty dull), Tetris (Brilliant but predictable), Cave Story 3D (Ah, Cave Story, allegedly an absolutely brilliant platformer. I found it incredibly dull) Resident Evil: Revelations (More Resi-action!), Driver: Renegade (Who keeps buying these games?), Pac-Man and Galaga (Looks colourful - no other insights on that one), Tekken 3D (Looks fun, but isn't the 3DS getting over-run with beat-em-ups? Street Fighter IV, DOA, Blazblue and now this?) and Metal Gear Solid 3. (No excitement here. Move along)

And then the moment we've been waiting for. The NEW CONSOLE!!! And it's called.....


Er... OK. I get why they wanted to keep the Wii branding, it is the most successful console in years... but still? That's the best they've got? I'd have preferred Wii2 to that! Never mind... I guess it means Sony's Playstation Vita will now not be the stupidest named console at this years E3!

Besides, it's not the name that matters is it? It's what it does. And apparently, the WiiU does... well... everything. It has a controller that looks like an iPad with buttons. Go ahead, click here and find out. I'll wait. (I would have embedded the picture in this blog, but Blogger made it too big and wouldn't let me amend the size and I can't be bothered to fight it right now.)

And then we were shown a video of how this allows a huge number of possibilities. Using it as an inventory screen for a game (as the pic above demonstrates), playing the game on the controllers screen while the TV is in use for something else, using the touchscreen as a controller in itself, utilising motion controls also, video chat, surf the net ... it seems to do everything.

And then, we get some talk from developers saying how much they love it and how great it'll be (of course they say that, it's a Nintendo video at the Nintendo conference!) and then a montage of games to show that WiiU is for everyone. And by everyone, what Nintendo means is "It's for everyone, but all the games we're showing are designed to win over the hardcore gamer, as they're the ones who have abandoned us and they're the only people who watch E3 things anyway."

So in short, it seems great, and I'm sure I shall buy one, and I think it has the smell of success around it. Why do I think that? Well I was texting my friend MiniNomi and I pointed out - "E3. New Nintendo Console. Wierd controller. Rubbish Name. It's like it's 2005 all over again...."

Who knows, if it worked for the Wii, then I'm sure it'll work for the WiiU. (Although the name is still rubbish.)