Sunday, June 12, 2011

E3 2011 - Impressions on Nintendo's Keynote Address

(If you missed our coverage of the Microsoft Presentation you can find it HERE.)

Hey everyone! Round two of The 8-Bit Variety Show's E3 impressions involves a pointy-eared boy, a round plumber in a raccoon suit, an angel, and a talkative fox with a needlessly angry falcon as a best friend! (Wow... This is starting to sound like a either a really bad fever dream, or a really good one!)

That's right, we're going to tackle Nintendo's press conference, and you can see what we liked, what we didn't like, and what we think of the Wii successor's name (SPOILER: It's unwieldy. More on that later), and you get all of that in semi-chronological order!
Next up: Nintendo
Guster's song, Satellite to listen to while you wait for their conference to start? Well-played Nintendo... Well played.

Zelda 25th Anniversary Stuff:
  • Custom Zelda-themed Wiimote for Skyward Sword's release: Cool design, and I wouldn't mind owning one. The problem is that I ALREADY have 4 Wiimotes, and 4 WiiMotion+ addons, so that means that they only ways that I will be buying this are (in order of probability): I break a Wiimote between now and launch; I am such a huge fan of Zelda that I will buy ANYTHING that is Zelda branded, even when I already have something that already fulfills that item's function; It comes packed-in with Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
  • Free Legend of Zelda: Four Swords for DSi owners this fall: I like it, but I do have a very important question... How, pray-tell, does multiplayer work, Nintendo?
  • Concerts and CD's: Depending on cost, I could possible see myself going to a Legend of Zelda orchestral concert. I like the tunes, and mingled with some FANTASTIC visuals on a projector screen, as well as some cool LoZ celebrities being in attendance (please, Nintendo?), the concerts could be a lot of fun.
    The CD, on the other hand, is almost a guaranteed sell for me. I am a big fan of video game music, and having a CD of the official arrangements of all the Legend of Zelda songs would be right up my alley.

The Presentation Itself:
  • Having an Orchestra play between each segment was pretty different, and classy. I know that there were some who felt like it dragged things out, but I felt like they were attempting to add value. It didn't turn out perfectly, but I liked it all the same.
  • Nintendo's screen system for their presentation (above) was PHENOMENAL. I really felt like they captured the dynamic nature of the games they were trying to show by allowing the different parts of the backdrop to become projectable spaces for race-tracks, shoot-outs, etc.
3DS Sizzle Reel:
  • Luigi's Mansion 3DS?! NO FREAKING WAY. It's not Nintendo's most top-tier franchise, but it seems, based on the original game's origin as a 3D tech demo, it seems like it could be a great fit for the 3DS. Color me interested...
  • Mario Kart 3D: I'm on the fence about Mario Kart 3D. On the one hand, I like Mario Kart. It's fun, and it's a party, and it presents some great racing action set in the Nintendo universe. On the other hand, for me the franchise has never leapt past being a set of games that I only play socially. They are enjoyable, but I feel like they are significantly more enjoyable when I am playing them with other people, and I can't be sure that Mario Kart 3D is a game I like enough to seek out my friends for. The customization options they showed look like a lot of fun (although I do wonder how much of a difference the different parts make in your Kart's performance), and I'm digging the hang-glider and submarine Kart modes. Here's to seeing whether it's enough.
  • Starfox 64 3D: I loved this game on the N64, so you can understand my enthusiasm for an upgraded port of it on the 3DS. Using the inner camera to take images of players so you can see who you're destroying is a fun feature, but I hope it doesn't affect wi-fi latency.
  • Super Mario: Aside from the fact that this is a game we should have seen at launch, Super Mario undoubtedly looks like fun. Seeing the return of the Tanooki suit, the music-note blocks, and knowing that it was all being presented with a 3D element, I have to say that this game could be the first true proof-of-concept for the 3DS. What better place to prove that 3D is not only fun, but can actually contribute to the game experience than in a PLATFORMER. I want to see if it makes a difference in my platforming skills to have depth perception, and this game will finally allow me to do that.
    On another note, because of its tendency to borrow aesthetics from earlier games as a tribute, Super Mario kind of felt like Mario Bros. 3 on an acid trip:
    Luigi: Ummm... Mario? Are you-a OK?"
    Mario: "Luigi! I ate one of those-a mushrooms with the-a skull on them, and now I swear I can move in 3 dimensions... I'm-a FREAKING out!"
Via Geekologie
"Can you get some Fire Flower?"
  • Kid Icarus - Uprising: Competitive multiplayer looks like it could be a lot of fun, but just like Starfox 64 3DSora's part to make an already attractive package seem even more attractive. This will add some much-needed replay value to what is essentially a slightly more controllable on-rails shooter.

  • Upcoming 3rd party games trailer: I think that the only thing we didn't know about was Tekken 3D... Am I right? I was kind of expecting some NEW stuff to be announced for the 3DS in this one... Between Tekken, and Luigi's Mansion 2, there wasn't a whole lot about Nintendo's upcoming lineup.

And Nintendo's New Console is called, The Wii U:
    I think that this player has bigger problems than inventory management right now.
  • Wait... What? WHAT? That name is unwieldy, unsettling, and it doesn't differentiate enough between the original Wii, and the new system. If for some reason you don't think that's important, I would stress that this same phenomenon is one of the reasons (price, being another) that the 3DS has not been selling quite as many units as Nintendo would like. A name like Wii U makes differentiation MORE DIFFICULT.
  • Video calling is a really great idea, and it's a way to keep the casual crowd that Nintendo has attracted on the hook, so to speak.
  • Play across the new controller using two screens at the same time - Throwing Ninja Stars across two screens was a great idea, but I think that the thing that always elicits excited squeals from people I've talked to was the golf ball demonstration. Although it was simple, using the screen to show the golf ball you are supposed to be hitting with your Wiimote all this time was just a really creative use of new technology.
  • Also, I don't think this NEEDS to be said, but I'll say it anyway: HOLY SWEET CRAP that Zelda game looked FANTASTIC! I know that it was essentially a real-time tech demo, but YOU KNOW that Nintendo has to have something like this in process already.
  • With all the features packed into the new tablet-style remote (Lots of buttons, rumble, touch screen, microphone, speakers, accelerometers, gyroscopic control, cameras, IR pointers, etc.), pricing for the new console will be an area of great interest to me... That said, total backwards compatibility with all known Wii peripherals was a VERY smart move. I must admit, I was not looking forward to buying an entirely new set of controls for my new Nintendo system, and all the wasted peripherals? Don't even get me started on those. I still would have bought all that new stuff, of course, because Nintendo told me to, and I am a weak, weak man. I just wouldn't have been happy about it.
Well, that's pretty much it for the Nintendo Conference at E3 2011! With a few days to think about it under your belts, what was your reaction to Nintendo's biggest announcement, the Wii U? Talk, share, and converse in the comments!



  1. Good morning.

    I thought the same thing when I saw the gold wii-mote. I was just like: I have 4. I'm good.

    I didn't mind the orchestra, and I'm a fan of the zelda music, but I was a bit disappointed there wasn't some sort of a zelda game remix/update offering I guess.

    My son was super excited about the free dsi game though.

    I don't have a 3ds, so the 3ds presentation did not impact me much directly, but there were some cool looking games and a few that made me -want- a 3ds, which was no doubt the purpose, at least in part. :P

    I am not a fan of the Wii U name either. I think most of the tech they showed seemed promising. The HD zelda scene was sweet, most of the demos looked effective,but I agree that pricing is a big question mark.

    Last year the 3ds pricing dragged on and on and on - and annoyed a lot of people, myself included. Part of the reason I enjoyed Sony's Vita announcement is I already know what price I'm looking at. Though I concur - the backwards compatibility is very nice for the Wii U and cuts down on the 'costs' a bit since you can use those already purchased Wii motes.

  2. @Chalgyr

    Good morning to you, too! Glad to see you, man!

    I must agree with you on the "Zelda Remix" game idea... I really feel like that was a missed opportunity. The music stuff is cool, for sure, but it is a game, so having a remixed game as part of that celebration would have been nice. Still, free LoZ: Four Swords will be nice for people with a DSi... I wonder if it will work on the 3DS, too...

    Speaking of the 3DS, if you do decide to get one, I'll be your first friend on there! There are a few games coming up this year that definitely have my attention, and I'm really excited to finally be able to test how well online works.

    Pricing on the 3DS just took SO LONG to establish (as did launch titles), and I get this feeling that Nintendo is planning to do that again with the Wii U. If they're smart, though, they will not let the price creep of $300.00, even if they have to take a hit. I feel that once you've crossed the demilitarized zone that is the $300.00 mark, you lose a significant amount of the "I was at the game store and just thought I'd pick one up!" appeal. Even though there's only $50.00 difference, $249.99 FEELS more manageable than 299.99, and that how people feel about your product makes a larger difference than the product itself in many ways. Look at Apple as an example: Yes the Ipod is a great mp3 player, but going just on its features, it's not $400 great. Yet, people continue to pay that money even though they know it will be outdated in 6 months, and it's because it's an Apple product, and it therefore has a certain allure.

    I was personally blown away by the Vita's price point. I can't imagine Sony is making a whole lot on each unit sold at that price, because that thing has a lot of tech in it. It will be an interesting next few years...

    Thanks for the comment, Chalgyr! That was quick!


  3. No problem - it was a good article. :)

    I agree - I get the feeling Sony is probably not making much on the unit, but feel like they need to cut in on Nintendo's hold of the portable market. I am really hoping it forces the 3DS to come down in price.

    Out of the 3DS titles announced, Luigi's Mansion 2 got me most excited. Our who family loved the original.

    I agree, $300 is a price point I don't think they should exceed. Then again, I didn't think that the 3DS should go past $200, but there's a bit more competition on the console side. I was just reading an article on IGN today that said a new chip for the 360 may bring the price down on the system going forward.

    Great thoughts, as always.

  4. Once(if ever) I watch Microsoft's conference, I'll piece together some overall impressions.
    I mentioned(just now) on Chalgyr's blog that neither Sony's nor Nintendo's conference blew me out of the water.

    As for some reactions, I think the placement of the analog sticks on the Wii U controller are really odd(above the buttons), and I've heard from a guy that demoed the Ghost Recon game that the analog sticks are pretty poor, and he couldn't adjust to them in his play-time with the game...which has me concerned for FPS games in general that use it.

    Seeing how little they talked about the Wii, didn't give me much hope for the system, and makes me wonder how/why they would only talk about one game at the conference for it.

    It really does seem like Nintendo has issues with presentation, outside of simple demo videos...why not do some live onstage demos like Sony and Microsoft to show off the new controller? Why not get more than just ONE third party onstage to talk about stuff at the MAIN show. I understand they had other roundtable events, but those weren't broadcast and were "chat" only...

    I can't say I'm really excited for Nintendo's next system at this point, but I am interested in it.
    Also, the more I hear about the 3DS, the more I'm glad I waited on a purchase right now...Nintendo just can't seem to get stuff up and going quickly, and stuff that is useful. Why is there no proper way to communicate STILL on the 3DS with other 3DS owners? It really doesn't make sense to me.


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