Our coverage of the Electronic Entertainment Expo continues, a little late, but continues nonetheless. If you missed the recap, our fearless leader, and Editor in Chief of New Gamer Nation, Joe Marchese has you covered with what was announced at the conference. I will do something a little different and just talk about the conferences Nintendo presented.
Pre E3 Conference
Nintendo started things off on Sunday afternoon, with a half hour presentation, showing off the Wii U hardware, sort of. A vast majority of the presentation was about the capabilities of the controller. Does anyone remember the Wii U announcement trailer from last year’s conference? It was basically an extended trailer of that, hosted by the President of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata. A few things did stand out, however.
One thing was the design change of the Wii U controller, or “Wii U Game Pad”. The analog discs were traded in for traditional analog sticks, NFC reader has been included, and some slight changes to the location of some of the buttons. The 6.2-inch touch-sensitive screen, can also be used as a remote to turn the system on and off. The Wii U will be compatible with the Wii controller, nunchuck, and balance board. However, for the non-motion gamers out there, Nintendo developed a Wii U pro controller, which looks eerily similar to the X Box 360 controller.
Also shown off, in an extended demo type trailer, was a Twitter like social network for gamers that want to talk about the game their playing. The main character was playing a type of zombie game, where he kept dying, and posted an update about the game asking how to beat the monster in that level. He then has a video call via the Game Pad, by a much older gentlemen that tells him how to beat him. It was a pretty cheesy trailer, but something that kind of showed off some of the things the Wii U’s Game Pad does.
After this, Iwata shows off the Wii U home page, which shows off the game you’re playing and other popular games, some which you might not have, and a large group of people gathering around the game icons on the screen. The people are in Mii form and consist of you, the other people on the system, friends, and people from your country. Nothing too much was shown beyond that as we had to wait until the conference.
Overall, it provided a little bit of insight, but not enough about the hardware, or price of the Wii U. I didn’t feel it did enough to convince me to buy a Wii U, but that’s what the main conference was for.
Nintendo E3 Conference
Here’s where I wanted to stray from my usual formula of telling you my thoughts of each of the games announced, and just go into the conference as a whole. Over 25 games were announced at the conference and a handful of those games got a good share of the spotlight. It started with Pikmin 3, and ended with Nintendoland. In between that a few re-releases of titles that have been modified for the Wii U controls, more first party titles, more games targeted toward the “casual” audience, and a brief amount of time given to the 3DS. It was also announced Nintendo would have another conference exclusively for the 3DS.
With 3 conferences, Nintendo set out to get people excited about their product. In my opinion, I don’t believe they accomplished that goal. With the excitement of a new console, Nintendo barely announced any specs of the console itself during the conferences, also Nintendo never mentioned an official launch date or price for their upcoming console.
In fact everything revealed powering Nintendo’s new console was vague. All we officially know is the Wii U is powered by an IBM Power-based multi-core processor and its GPU will be an AMD Radeon-based High Definition GPU. I’m willing to give Nintendo a shot though. Even without specs, launch date, or price, Nintendo had a chance to introduce the gamers to show off the Nintendo Network. Just a brief glimpse into the homepage, and the Twitter like social commentary was given. Nothing about what else would be available, and how it would support upcoming titles.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect for the Wii U launch lineup. Maybe Zombi U and Rayman Legends from Ubisoft, who had a strong showing of their own, but when Zombi U was showcased, I expected to see some genuine gameplay. What was shown was a trailer of gameplay, and I couldn’t help but think “shouldn’t the game teach me how to play the game?”
There were games that just screamed “casual audience”. Song (working title), a karaoke type game, and Just Dance 4 to name a few. One game that kind of did surprise me was Lego City. It looked like a PG version of Grand Theft Auto, except for the fact that you play a cop, and it’s all in Legos. With all due respect to the other Lego titles, I felt a new direction for the people that make Lego games was refreshing.
However at the end of the day, Nintendo still had two chances to impress the audience with the Wii U. Both occasions just fell flat…Twice. I wanted to give Nintendo a chance. I gave them two. Nintendo seems like they’re trying to have their cake and eat it too. With the Wii, they seemingly abandoned the core audience and made money off the casual audience. Now that they’ve lost money, they’re trying to get the core audience back while still catering to the casual audience.
I wanted Nintendo to do great, after all I pretty much grew up on them. The problem is, Nintendo seems to push what feels like gimmicks as their way of separating themselves from the other consoles. Only time can really tell if the same initial success the Wii had will work for the Wii U. Hopefully, by this time next year, we’ll see Nintendo return to the core audience with games we all want to play.