Objection: Has Nintendo Done Enough At E3?

Last night it seemed as though Nintendo's conference disappointed many. I count myself among them. So I spoke to Daniel 'Vooks' Vuckovic, founder of Nintendo site Vooks, to discuss what Nintendo could have done better.

MARK: So Mr Vooks, time for our annual E3 Nintendo chat. We always discuss Nintendo's E3 conference, and sometimes we even agree! Just a second ago you mentioned to me, over email, that you had finally figured out how you felt about the conference — what did you mean by that? And how do you feel about the conference?!

VOOKS: Well my immediate reaction post conference was, 'well that was that'. I was feeling just a tiny bit angry with what was shown. Well, to be more precise, with what wasn't shown. But now, after sleeping on it, I'm not angry. There's no real reason to be and there are some great things to take away from the conference. Still, I'm disappointed. Nintendo did the absolute bare minimum yesterday and gave people plenty of reasons not to but the console. I'm still going to buy one, but they did no favours in winning people over. That's what disappointed me.

MARK: At the start of the conference it felt as though this was a chance for Nintendo to blow people out of the water – to just show a barrage of games. Quality games, franchise games, maybe even new IPs. It should also have been a chance to truly show that Wii U had 3rd party support.

I saw very little of that. ZombieU is great, but Ubisoft has always been massive supporters of new tech. That’s nothing new. And time spent discussing a game like Batman: Arkham City – a game that's been out on other platforms for over six months — that’s not ideal. A massive, lumped together trailer made up of poor, uninteresting third party titles that'll be available on other consoles and most likely look and play exactly the same? At that point I started to worry a little.

VOOKS: Nintendo started off like it was going to do focus on games. It got straight into Pikmin 3 (which looks really nice), then Reggie came out and said they only have an hour so it will be all about the games. The next 10 minutes at least were then retreading what we learnt from the Nintendo Direct event. Then as you say, the old games got rolled out. Sigh.

The problem with Batman, Darksiders II, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Mass Effect 3 is that by the time the Wii U comes out at least one of those games will be over 12 months old. Ports and re-releases happen all the time, but to fill a new console that's going win the hearts and minds of core gamers with games they've already played? It's a bit worrying, even I've finished Batman: Arkham City and I don't finish anything. Oh, and are Nintendo fans really going to buy Mass Effect 3? No.

It wasn't all ports though as you say, ZombiU sounds like a great idea and should have been showed off more, let's hope it doesn't go 'Red Steel' on us though.

The worst thing though, about the conference, was the lack of things to look forward to after launch. At E3 2010 when they showed off the 3DS for the first time they showed off games like Paper Mario and Animal Crossing for the 3DS — those games still haven't been released yet. So far all we've seen from the Wii U is a handful of new titles (Pikmin, Nintendo Land, Scribblenauts) and ports. There's no 2013 games to get excited about.

MARK: The thing that really surprised me was the fact that Nintendo finished its presentation with NintendoLand – a concept I barely understood during the conference (probably because I was too busy liveblogging). Is this a product that's supposed to define the Wii U? To convince us of its worthiness? It started off as a diversion to me. I thought, 'this is filler before some big reveal'.

Turned out that was the big reveal. Such a bad way to end the conference...

VOOKS: The thing was, once they wheeled out the game, it took all of five seconds to figure out what it was (after I stopped live blogging too). It's the Wii Sports of the Wii U. And I mean that in the sense that it's the game everyone will buy with their Wii U, get to grips with, then buy something else. Nintendo somehow felt it had to spend 20 minutes discussing it.

You're right though Mark, this game won't define the Wii U. And a lot of the other games Nintendo showed don't really use the Wii U GamePad in interesting ways, we also didn't see too many compelling arguments for asymmetric gameplay. This morning we're hearing about more games and more ways this will come to fruition, but last night it was all a little bit underwhelming. The next few months are going to be interesting — we'll hear about the good and bad parts of the Wii U. Last night it was the 3-5 hour battery life, a negative. This morning we learnt you can transfer your WiiWare and Virtual Console games over, that's a positive.

Nintendo's going to have to do some serious courting over the 6 months to get us to open our wallets.


    I think Nintendos largest problem is their lack of new IP. Just look at Watch Dogs, Max Payne 3, GTA 5, The Last of Us, Farcry 3! All taking advance leaps in storytelling. Gameplay may all be similar, but the hook is that you feel part of that world. Nintendo need to do a serious sit down meeting and get their heads out of their arses. It's time for a big change. They are living 15 years in the past. We need new IP, Zelda needs a massive overhaul with storytelling, and Mario is in desperate need of a vacation - at least 5 years.

      I haven't felt less like I care about, or am involved in, the game world than I have during Max Payne 3. The story is just presented in cutscenes and to be honest, I am still trying to figure out why MP went along with and did everything he did in that game. At least in 1 and 2 he had personal motivation, in 3 it seems to exist only to show off a slo-mo gore-porn mechanic. (having said that I still enjoy the slo-mo kills though. ;)
      And none of those others you mentioned are out yet, so how can you tell if they do anything you claim?

      BTW, I am just being argumentative, really. :)

        Fair point. My opinion of those games are based purely on observation. While not out, I believe i can safely say the Last of Us, GTA5 and Farcry 3 are taking more leaps in gameplay and storytelling, than that of Pikmin 3, Mario bros WiiU and... oh god... Nintendo Land...
        Retire Miyamoto. Just retire...

          I love how Kinect put you in the game with deep stories?? Xbox is going to be sooo casual it won't be funny. The problem with 'core' gamers is that they are game snobs, I play all games, PS3 Nintendo, I just want to play good games.

          Think about it like watching adult action movies, but still loving Pixar.

          You hate Mario? Well too bad for you, as your the one missing out.

          The worst games I have played this gen all come compliments of Kinect.

      You're comparing games that are aimed at adults, with games that are aimed at all ages.
      Mario can't be drinking whiskey, throwing money at hookers, and suppressing memories of Peach being murdered 3 years ago, you know. Nor can Link be caught in a complex and violent war between 8 empires and 30 factions each with hundreds of tomes of backstory.

      Nintendos franchises are popular, critically acclaimed, and they make money. Unless they start becoming unpopular, and start losing profitability, they aren't going anywhere.

        If they took the right approach (i.e. not Other M), they could do that whole "dark past" cliche in storytelling with Metroid.

    I'd give them a 6/10 for that presentation.

    They showed enough that I know I want to get a WiiU (the only thing that will stop me now would be a ridiculous price) because for a while I'll be happy with Mario Bros U, Nintendoland and maybe ZombiU before slipping into the inevitible Nintendo drought, but then I have my other games anyway.

    They really needed to show something for the future though, I was waiting for a 3D Mario, or the whispers of a new Zelda game. I know these things are in development but probably not finished enough to show but it's a shame they didn't even give us mockups or even just a name.

      Pretty much, I can't say I'm sold on Wii U, but I honestly feel if following the Nintendoland they'd concluded the conference of a big reveal of HD Zelda, looking as good as it did in last year's tech demo, people would consider the conference a success and it would have instantly won best console press conference (not that that's a tough one, and whether or not that's objectively true I can't say) but I think it would have been enough, it would have excited journalists enough. New Pikmin, some cool things the Wii U can do and yeah we have some 3rd party support, but that's not why you buy a Nintendo product now is it, look nintendoland for families and HD Zelda for the core. BAM.
      Better yet, drop in New Starfox and F-Zero as a welcome back to the franchises that missed the Wii right before the Zelda drop.

    No Starfox, Metroid, or F-Zero hurts deeply.
    But ill still be pre-ordering a Wii U this week. New Super Mario U looks fun, Lego City Undercover looks awesome, Rayman Legends is a no brainer, ditto Aliens: CM with the Upad, & Zombi U looks freaking amazing.

      Oh & Pikmin 3 of course! (and maybe AC3)

    I hope they have a few more games up there sleeve for launch. Maybe drip feed new games and IP to build anticipation pre launch. I would love to see some HD remakes of classics for launch too.

    This was the worst out of the 3. nothing new was shown. mario is so average now. Half the games out are already out. Wiiland thing how boring that better be a bundled game like wii sports if not truly shameful on Nintys part

    They definately could have done alot more. However considering there really wasnt much to beat (neither sonys or microsofts were spectacular either) i guess they didnt feel the need to go all out. But its no excuse. Besides what do people expect? the Wii U is LAUNCHING, dont expect too much for a launch, there are always a limited amount of games available at launch due to the availability of the console so early in its lifecycle.

    Why dismiss the ports? Nintendo Wii owners didnt get those ports before so the fact that we are getting it now is great news. Wii U owners wont miss out this time. It just means that sequels for these games are more then likely to make it to the Wii U. So mass effect 4 for example should have no real problem. Secondly is timing. It would have been nice to coincide the WiiU's launch with certain titles like batman AC etc but world wide launches are not something that can simply be slapped together on a whim. Besides launching at Christmas ensures maximum exposure which helped the Wii alot when it was launched. Much better then a mid year launch.

    3-5 hour battery life is a bummer was expecting more hopefully user batteries can be installed but i think it might not be possible

    I still need to see the games utilize the tablet screen properly and intelligently in games. I love how people thought the tablet controller was a gimmick blah blah, and next thing you know 360 has its own version (smartglass) and its the best thing since sliced bread (to them) lol.

    Weak conference but stronger third party support is the key for the Wii U

      Exactly the attitude of the gaming press over Batman or Mass Effect ports is ridiculous - not everyone buys every system. For one I'm seriously considering the Wii U because I never bought a Wii and so never played Mario Galaxy or No More Heroes or Metroid Prime Corruption.

      It's perfectly logical that there are people who had a Wii this gen and no HD console they might want to try out those games, hell there'd be a whole generation of kids who are now teens and want to step up to the more mature games, it's entirely reasonable to put a 12 month game on the system if it's good enough (PC players seem to wait that long sometimes, and remember Half Life 2 came out on 360/PS3 some 3 years after it's PC debut

    Frankly I dont know what people are complaining about. I watched all 3 conferences and while im biased towards nintendo, The Last of Us was the only interesting thing between both microsoft and sony.Where is the Last Guardian? More Halo and Gears seriously?God of War? People accuse nintendo of milking franchises while MS and Sony are going activision on old cash cows. Sony is broke, PS4? xbox720? least nintendo are bringing new hardware, What about that Bayonetta dev game ? looks epic, Zombiu? ill buy that. I own all 3 consoles, so i Buy games when I like them for each system. Nintendo shit is more fun most of the time. Black wii u on launch thanks. cheers

    Still going to be a great system, am just a bit stunned about there being no news at all on an ZeldaHD and the new 3D Mario game (which is supposed to be a fusion of 64/Sunshine & Galaxy), let alone Metroid, Starfox and Super Smash Bros. Not to pick on Nintendo, as Microsoft and Sonys' conference were average at best also, and all of the conferences felt so commercialised and are not aimed at gamers at all! Extremely "normalised" presentations aimed at shareholders - sux.

    Nintendo's biggest flaw this year is that they focussed way too much on the WiiU. It makes it sound like the Wii is dead, and they had to move the 3DS to it's own presentation after E3 which makes it sound like the red headed step child it doesn't want to talk about.

      I think it's pretty safe to say that the Wii is dead. Heck they pretty much killed it last year by announcing the Wii U.

    Like I said last night during the live blog, they needed to show Wii U is next gen and not playing catch up with the 360 and PS3 in terms of hardware performance. Pikmin looks really nice, but then again, that was the only damn title worth talking about other than ZombiU which I'll have to search for some game play footage of in a minute. Year old multiplatform titles like Arkham City and ME3 while both being great games, are exactly that, year old titles that do no favours for a launching console. I can't believe they're using those two titles as some sort of 3rd party poster boys or whatever the term is.

    The Metroid/Starfox collab would have been a perfect title to show off the processing power of the system. Space environments are always a nice way to show off pretty pixels, physics and other hardware benchmarks. Not to mention, there's an uncertainty atm in whether there will be a drastic performance dip when streaming to two GamePads+ TV all because Nintendo decided to beat around the bush last night.

    In essence, yes they could have done MUCH more. More third party titles that are actually new and set new standards in system prowess. Titles that show that there are devs out there who are genuinely committed to utilising the GamePad in unique ways.

    To answer the question...NO, Nintendo has done nothing to make we want to buy their console. They needed a lot more. I don't care that the controller has a screen, or they are finally looking into the online component. This entire idea of having more engine power - I assumed, was suppose to mean they were going to give us GAMES! Not ones we already own, that will be old by the time this thing releases. Oh well.

    I dont know why but Nintendo Land could be fun I picture something like the net in SummerWars

    The lack of any minion of international video services like our own iView was a bit disappointing-looks Nintendo wanted to highlight US ones. Nintendolabd coud nd up being quite fun.

    I want to see what Ganbarion comes up with, as they're possibly the most promising second party dev Nintendo has right now. If you played the late Wii release Pandora's Tower (aka the force-feed meat to your vegetarian tentacle waifu game) you'd realise they're trying to build up an original IP with it that potentially allows for a vast fantasy world with factions, dark themes, in-depth story etc. There's a lot of hints in the game that the writers were kinda testing the waters, pushing the limits of in-house censorship and guaging how far they could be allowed to go in future.

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