E3 – Day Two – Nintendo

The second day of E3 is started off by Nintendo. Of any of the Big 3, I’d say Nintendo has the biggest history of revealing announcements out of no where, coupled with how tightly they keep secrets and keep leaks from happening, make it a hotly anticipated event. This year we saw what was possibly the closest thing to a chink in the armor of Nintendo’s vault of dreams, when the 3DS was announced out of nowhere with little to no information in an attempt to circumvent a media outlet from spilling the beans. Whether or not it was how they wanted to announce the device, it made for one of the most anxious waits for E3 to see what this mystery platform would be like.


Nintendo’s event started off with a bang showing off not just images but full live game play from the man himself Shigeru Miyamoto on The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. This is the first Zelda title to be designed from the ground up, specifically for the Wii. Miyamoto said that when he first saw the capabilities of WiiMotion Plus he knew how he wanted to make the next Zelda game. From the looks of it, it plays as you would expect and seeming fairly intuitively, swing the WiiMote in a specific direction to execute a slash in that direction and raising the nunchuku raises the shield to block. It looks like a nice game, but the thing that really stood out for me was the art style. I don’t play that many Zelda games or own much Nintendo stuff these days, but I have interacted with many of the big one and I do love the presentation and style of Wind Waker. While I can understand Twilight Princess’s draw, I still find Wind Waker to be the bolder game and the one I will remember between the two. That said, art style of Skyward Sword looks like a fusion of Twilight Princess and Wind Waker, the lines of Twilight Princess with the bolder coloring of Wind Waker. Now will it work out for Nintendo? I don’t know, my emotions of it was lukewarm at best. I really applaud when a company like Nintendo does something bold and while the latest Zelda offering will satiate the fan boy and Nintendo-phile, I’m sorry than what seems like the general hating on Wind Waker may have completely negated the possibility of seeing another like it on consoles. Then again, it seems like more and more pro-Wind Wakers are coming out of the woodwork, so we might yet see another stylized dream scape like odyssey in the future – besides, I think it would be a prefect fit for the Wii. Before I digress into what could be a while post, the next game was Mario Sports Mix. This sounds like what it is, Mario and friends doing the Wii sports thing more or less. Probably will be a nice casual or party game, but that combined with Wii Party makes me wonder if they are over saturating that market for themselves. Wii Party really looks like Mario Party presumably minus the gaming board. Just Dance was shown with just a trailer, but again, more of the same from what I could tell. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn came next, and it looks good. I’ve only played Golden Sun once, on my GBA, loaned from my brother, but I did really enjoy it and this looks cool. Some game-play was mixed into the trailer but nothing to ground breaking. Then was a new GoldenEye featuring Daniel Craig but seemingly holding all that we loved of the original intact plus some hand to hand stuff to show off Craig’s more personal and violent 007. I hope it holds true to the original and it looks like it should, almost down to the graphics, but no word on the golden gun. Epic Mickey followed but I couldn’t get a read on it from what was shown. I’ve been looking forward to this game, but the tone doesn’t look as dark as I expected though that might come across later on. There wasn’t much of the paint and thinner mechanic shown which is one of the key things about the game that’s cool. The other, though, is that it’s a Warren Spector game, and it’s the progression of character and story that are so great about his games, so something like that can’t be shown on in a quick trailer or demo; I still hold hope that it will live up to the hype. The next game; however, was the big stand out for me: Kirby’s Epic Yarn. The art style and presentation is absolutely adorable, with everything looking like patches of felt or lengths of yarn to an amazing degree (later I learned that the team actually scanned in the pieces of yarn to wrap around the polygons). The game-play looks like it will play nicely into the art style with Kirby using a whip-like piece of yarn to pull zippers, buttons, and enemies. Kirby also morphs during particular actions, like into a parachute when falling, a sub under water, a little car when running, etc etc. There’s coop and the whole thing is played with a horizontal WiiMote  (my favorite) . I fell in love with Kirby with Super Smash Bros but never played a Kirby game but this has about sold me on buying a damn Wii immediately – it’s just great, adorable platforming. Next we got another glimpse of Metroid: Other M, and while it’s nothing new game-play wise, the music struck me this time as being very, very creepy, which is awesome. Another big fanboy surprise was the return of Donkey Kong with the aptly named Donkey Kong Country Returns. My friend has been wanting another DK game for a while and it’s really pulling at the fanboys’ heart. My cynical remark to this though was I felt like I was now seeing the same game nearly 4 times with just different images. This, Rayman, etc., though I liked Rayman better since it looks like it will have coop. Now this is when they revealed the 3DS in all its Nintendoy, 3D, juicy glory promising stereoscopic glasses-free 3D and apparently it does it quite well. The first game we get for it is Kid Icarus Uprising and even without 3D it looks great; I shutter to think about it with all the brightly colored laser shots flying out at you. The show ended with a list of titles that will be available on the 3DS and there’s a surprising number of more hardcore, mature titles, like MGS and Resident Evil 5, along with developers’ reactions to the 3D effect. After the closing, the 3DS was paraded out into the crowd so everyone in attendance could get a first look for themselves, as well as Skyward Sword being up front on stage. While it wasn’t them giving the thing out, I’m sure everyone were happy as clams.

If there was one word to sum up the Nintendo press event, I would say it was “Fans.” Everything released was aimed at those Nintendo fans that have been growing up with the company for the past 15 years with nearly every game being a new iteration in a classic franchise. If you’re a Nintendo fan at all, this press event won the event hands down, but if not, there wasn’t that much that was “new” or super innovative. It was very throwbacky with all the classics coming back and nothing really super fresh. Epic Mickey looks like something new and different, but Nintendo knows their fan base and they know that they have been calling out for more hard core classics, and by God, Nintendo delivered in full force. The big announcement of the 3DS was met with all the enthusiasm you would expect, though I’m still curious to see if it will revolutionize hand held gaming the same way the original Game Boy, or DS did. But considering it still has the DS moniker, I doubt that they were intending to. The 3DS is more like what they thing customers want, similar to Sony and the PSPGo, but as Nintendo has shown us in the past, nearly anything they put their name on will be welcomed with open arms.


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