After a Gray Day, Nintendo Brings the Color

Nintendo's lineup was a breath of fresh air after yesterday's slew of grim shooters and serious racing games.

At yesterday's press conferences, Microsoft and Sony trotted out game after game with the intention of getting us excited about the next generation of consoles, and the new worlds and new experiences those consoles will make possible. But for all the talk of how the power of the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 will enable developers to create games unlike those we've experienced before, the range of ideas on display was exceptionally narrow.

To its credit, Sony gave a nod to true creativity by giving the zany Octodad: Dadliest Catch an instant in the spotlight, and by featuring an assortment of other colorful and creative games in fleeting moments throughout its conference. Microsoft also had one or two moments that broke through the monotony; Project Spark, for instance, looked like it could be a creation suite that allows for all kinds of imaginative worlds and gameplay styles. But despite these vibrant moments, the conferences were positively dominated by two types of games: racing games and shooters.

No doubt some of these games will be great entries in their genres, and even exhibit some innovative features; games like The Crew and Destiny appear to be doing some interesting things with multiplayer, for instance. But still, given the tremendous potential the new consoles ostensibly offer, it was disheartening to see so many games drawing from the same few wells: games in which you play as grim men who often shoot (or stab) other men (or aliens or monsters or robots), or games in which you customize and race realistic-looking cars in realistic-looking worlds. Surely, the games of the future have much more than these few types of experiences to offer.

Coming as it did after such an onslaught of monotony, the lineup of games Nintendo showed on its Nintendo Direct stream this morning, despite being rooted in tradition, felt positively refreshing. The bright color palettes of games like Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World were the antithesis to the muted hues of grim games like The Division and Titanfall. The silliness of speeding along walls, free from the constraints of gravity, is a welcome alternative to the rubber-on-asphalt racing we saw at each and every one of yesterday's conferences. Meanwhile, the bright and speedy group-based combat of The Wonderful 101 looks distinctly different from anything else, which isn't something you can say about any game in which you're constantly looking down the barrel of a gun.

It's ironic that the companies pushing the two more powerful consoles, the consoles you might expect would be leading the charge into a more diverse, more creative realm of gaming experiences, are putting an awful lot of emphasis on a collection of games that all look pretty similar. Of course, it's not surprising that Nintendo wound up displaying the most colorful collection of games here at E3 2013. But because Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft, and EA spent so much time showcasing games with similar concepts and similarly serious tones rather than trying to demonstrate how their new, more powerful consoles actually can lead to more varied, more innovative games, Nintendo's lineup felt diverse and creative in comparison. Let's hope that by the time E3 2014 rolls around, Sony and Microsoft have more fully embraced the potential their new consoles contain, and that they come prepared to show us more games that break out of the molds that dominate what's on display this year.

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Discussion

171 comments
chyng85
chyng85

It doesn't matter~ 

dumendlovu
dumendlovu

Here's an interestion question are AAA developers over rated?

sevencowsmoo
sevencowsmoo

"Oh she's saying Nintendo are excellent she must be bashing Sony/Microsoft oh why is she attacking me personally I better say something bad about Nintendo..."

Woah, chill out.

The point isn't that the Nintendo games that were announced and shown are breaking all kinds of territories. The point isn't that the racers and shooters that were shown for Sony and Microsoft's systems aren't going to be fresh or innovative or masterpieces.

The point is that there are other things you can do with the incredibly powerful hardware than create a serious realistic shooter or racer. It seems like each publisher is going to try their hand at one of each for these two systems and do basically nothing else. Even if they are all incredible games in their own right, we're going to be stuck with similar gameplay experiences for the next 12-18 months.

Nintendo are keeping it fresh by showing that AAA games don't have to be realistic racers or shooters. Their showcase of games contained games of a variety of tones and genres, and even if they are each just another entry in their respective franchises, the gameplay experiences over the next 12-18 months won't lack variety.

And finally, to anyone saying Mariokart 8 is just another racer, you are a fool. While there is racing involved, that's about where the similarities end between Mariokart and something like Forza or Gran Turismo. Stop being silly please.

kreegan64
kreegan64

 Well, I guess they did show more creative things when compared to today's mainstream, but they played it ridiculously safe by releasing sequels or games similar to ones we got not too long ago for the most part. MK7 in 2011, DKCR 3D in 2012, SM3DL in 2011, PB&W2 in 2011, and others I can't remember right now. Also, the dates are from memory so it's likely they have a mistake somewhere.

Nothing is wrong with these games, it's just a surprise would've been nice. The only real surprise was Animal villager was to be a playable character in the new smash, and that wasn't even much of a surprise.

3rd parties didn't do much better, the games either were previously revealed or nothing too big.

I'm not that disappointed since I had relatively modest expectations compared to some people expecting a Metroid Prime 4 announcement or something else like that, but this has to be the first time Nintendo has delivered less than what I expected (I try to have basic expectations) so as a Ninty fan it was a little surprising how unsurprised I was.

I hope they do something soon.

With that, I know I won't regret my purchase of a Wii U anytime soon. And if I do it'll likely be my fault.

Sora278
Sora278

I knew I was not alone on this.  Sure PS4 won the console war but Nintendo has the exclusives.  How many shooters can people want?

MalakTawus
MalakTawus

Bayonetta 2 will probably be a great game and the new MonolithSoft project has the potential to be a masterpiece, but beside those two titles i wouldn't touch anything else that Nintendo has shown.

Not saying that the others will be crappy games, just not for me.

10000000002
10000000002

Yeah. I agree that Nintendo are and always have been the more creative of the gaming consoles. I feel its good to see that companies are still willing to make their consoles more interesting other than just imitations with stronger number crushing capabilities. Im going to pick up a wii U and already own three 3ds's. Japanese version, xl and a original. Nintendo in my opinion have the most repayable games out there. Im still a fan of my xbox 360 and Ill def get a PS4. Not getting a X-bone tho-

interrasteral7
interrasteral7

Good presentation Nintendo, but where is the Wii Vitality Sensor you revealed, since E3 2009?

hochstreck
hochstreck

Finally someone points this pretty obvious thing clearly out!

locknuts84
locknuts84

I was thinking the exact same thing. Still disappointed that there is no Metroid coming, but the lack of colour from both Sony and Microsoft was depressing. Nintendo games really did feel like a breath of fresh air.

Hopefully we see some real innovation soon though. I don't really care which camp it comes from I'm just ready for the next revolution and I haven't seen it yet.

OllieBrown
OllieBrown

Agreed!  Thanks Carolyn for putting this out there.

I'd like to think that the video game world is ready to start offering us something beyond the safe, AAA, male power fantasy games that have come to dominate the market.  The answer seems to be indy games!  Sony is coming out strong in their favor and they should have spent more time championing those games and their potential on a platform like PS4.  That would have been something truly refreshing!

kenh7
kenh7

Nintendo games are just plain FUN and have replay value, something most of the other systems games don't have. I've owned and traded in a lot of games and systems over the years and the only ones I keep are the Nintendo ones.

douglasdlrs
douglasdlrs

Nintendo is for all the people, is the best company.

Madtownbadger
Madtownbadger

Nintendo is nintendo. They aren't sony, or microsoft, or whatever. Personally, what made me buy my wii u was because of how different it is compared to everything else. Now I don't have to feel like Im buying literally the same console just with different exclusives  when I pick up a PS4 too. 

trollkind
trollkind

Nothing creative about Nintendo's lineup at all. There are a few breakout titles like "The Wonderfull 101" but the rest is just sequel after sequel or HD remakes of earlier hits. Mario and Co., Zelda, Donkey Kong, they are all still fun games and well executed but it's just new levels and slightly updated graphics in games that were never about graphics. The Wii-U tablet style controller isn't that innovative either, all big consoles push technology like that now and actually, like with a lot of features, Sony had the idea a long time ago with the PSP+PS3 integration, just never capitalised on it or marketed it right to neither their customers or developers.

The Wonderfull 101 was already a little hightlight for me at last year's E3 but it's not a system seller, just something I hopefully can try out at a friend's house or in a store.

Daavpuke
Daavpuke

Well, this is a...weird stance. Nintendo did the exact same; trotting out the upgraded versions of their 3DS games on Wii U and bringing the exact same games from the previous generation over to the new stuff. They just did it in color, yes, I'll give you that.

I think Sony offered a lot of color on stage though. Almost all their indie titles were vibrant, action-oriented silliness. Galak-Z, Ray's The Dead, Oddworld, Transistor; hell, even Don't Starve is reeeaally dreary. It just fits the Tim Burton quirkiness. Looks like there's a lot on that plate, but they're indie games, so they're less important? I don't know why the oversight is. Then there's Puppeteer, Knack, Tearaway.....

And to the Xbone's credit, I look forward to Sunset Overdrive as well, as long as they don't pull an Overstrike on us.

And yay for a mention of The Wonderful 101, probably Nintendo's most intriguing title right now.

nonfanboygamer1
nonfanboygamer1

She wants to talk about games drawing from the same well like Mariokart?, Smash Bros?, Zelda?, Donkey Kong? You see my point?

robn311
robn311

Excellent article. And I wish more people would think this way, rather than just bashing Nintendo for not creating what they call "mature" games (by which, of course, they mean shooters, military action games, and so on). I think this article explains the reason why, every generation, I always buy the Nintendo system and then one of the other two. I will look to Sony or Microsoft for my sports games, realistic action games and shooters, and what not. But sometimes, I just want to get lost in a fun, colorful game like Mario Kart or Pikmin.

Rennik_Repotsir
Rennik_Repotsir

Well said...

On Sony's defense; the "Tales of" series are usually colorful games...

jonzilla_basic
jonzilla_basic

Ok This Dude is messed "Nintendo's lineup was a breath of fresh air after yesterday's slew of grim shooters and serious racing games." Nintendo announced Sequels after Sequels and remakes...... Fresh Ideas from Nintendo have gone to the way side. 

For me its a sad day for Nintendo....

AzatiS
AzatiS

@Sora278  

You talking how many shooters can people want when all you want are games like MArio u , luigi u , super mario u , smash bro u , mario kart , donkey kong u etc ?? ... I mean you playing the same games over 15 years now , dont talk about others...

 

JoonKimDMD
JoonKimDMD

@Sora278 it's true that titanfall, halo5, killzone, battlefield, COD (did I miss any?) are all FPS and I don't know which one of these is the best one that I want to buy. However, I also don't think that nintendo had that many good exclusives. They had bunch of OK~ mario titles but none of these were triple A titles. Mario game looked just like 3ds version without much improvement, mario kart still looked like mario kart from 10 yrs ago without any major upgrade in game mechanics or items, donkey kong looks inferior to NES version...etc.

JoonKimDMD
JoonKimDMD

@MalakTawus I agree with you. Nintendo games are losing creativity. They are just the same nintendo games with higher resolution. They need to come up with new ideas.

JoonKimDMD
JoonKimDMD

@10000000002 I think nintendo stopped being creative. All the games that they showed were same as wii without any changes but resolution.

rentin215
rentin215

@trollkind  Actually Nintendo has been doing that since the gamecube hence the gba and gamecube connection. Also i guess you didnt see monolith softs x either. 

bigdawg3683
bigdawg3683

@trollkind Yeah, because the PSP+PS3 integration pre-dated the GBA+Gamecube.

Pull your head out of your ass.

superjuggen
superjuggen

@jonzilla_basic Did Microsoft or Sony release anything that wasn't a shooter, typically with a dark, grey/brownish feel? This article has a point. Typically why I've decided to buy a Nintendo console is by this exact reason: fun, colorful games. Now stop trolling.

Rennik_Repotsir
Rennik_Repotsir

@jonzilla_basic It's Nintendo making Nintendo games. The point was different companies were making the same type of game.

I would take another sequel every x years instead of five versions of the same genre within a month...

Elnath10
Elnath10

@jonzilla_basic You said what I was going to say... Nintendo is the same freaking game but new version, for example, mario kart 8?? 8!!?? wtf?... and so on... it is boring as hell

ohh and a...mario kart is a racing game too Carolyn

trollkind
trollkind

@bigdawg3683 Or Neo Geo and it's memory card, yeah trollkind, get your facts straight you asshole.

jonzilla_basic
jonzilla_basic

@Rennik_Repotsir Either way ZERO Creativity! No matter if its a sequel or 5 games of the same Genere. Nintendo is out of touch and its shame because they are incredible. Gamers have evolved and moved on where Nintendo is trying to bridge a gap of the past to now. Problem is Everyone has already crossed that bridge and very few are looking to walk back. 

robn311
robn311

@Elnath10 @jonzilla_basic You guys very clearly did not read her article too closely. She is saying how it's ironic that Nintendo (much maligned for pushing their franchises) feels like a breath of fresh air because of the TONE of the games that the other consoles pushed during their press conferences. In other words, because many of the new games are very serious shooter/action games with very serious tones (CoD, Battlefield, The Division, Destiny, Titanfall, etc.) or serious racing sim games (Forza, Gran Turismo, etc.), the bright, colorful (non-realistic) worlds that Nintendo pushes in its games feel refreshing to those who are sick of the gritty realism. 

And I don't mean that to bash those other systems. I plan on getting one of them. But here's another way to think about it. We know, definitively, that PS4 and XB One can produce graphics that look very lifelike and realistic. So that's no surprise. But the power of those systems should allow for some amazingly creative video game worlds, and the author (and I and many others) hope developers use that power to do so.

AzatiS
AzatiS

@Sora278 @AzatiS  

So Gran turismo and Forza are not selling that good so are bad so kart is better racing ? So Wii was better console than PS3/X360 with your logic  right? 

Sora278
Sora278

@AzatiS @Sora278 The best racing series ever that sells millions?  Brilliant statement you made.

Sora278
Sora278

@AzatiS My bad, shooters and bad racing games nobody wants.

AzatiS
AzatiS

@AzatiS 

 Tell me where  you saw only shooters as exclusives 

bigdawg3683
bigdawg3683

@trollkind @bigdawg3683 Part of the appeal of Nintendo for me is that it's a console that's uniquely them (be it the design, the OS, the controllers, etc.) and more often than not quite different from the alternatives.  It would be sad for me if they ever had to leave the hardware business.

I can understand some of your sentiment; I personally wish the Wii U's pro controller had analog triggers even if they were only well utilized by the racing genre.

trollkind
trollkind

@bigdawg3683 I'm aware Monster Hunter is not a Nintendo first party game before someone wastes a post on that.

trollkind
trollkind

@bigdawg3683 SNES was actually the last stationary Nintendo console I had. :p
Sure, Nintendo should keep being Nintendo, they are great at their first party games and right to not mess with their game formulas. I hope they never go away but it would be nice if they went from hardware to being a pure software publisher. I'd love to play Monster Hunter on a platform with proper controls, my 3ds with CirclePad just feels clunky now. Would mean proper community features and multiplayer too and both other big consoles should have no problem running their games.

bigdawg3683
bigdawg3683

@trollkind @bigdawg3683 I really don't understand what people are expecting from Nintendo.  Whether they chose to make a game in an existing genre and franchise has little to do with the creativity said game is capable of.  Part of what makes Nintendo good at what they do is they don't mess up the gameplay formula, but are still able to add in new elements and change the perspective without ruining the experience (see Sega, Capcom, et al. who have failed).

And I think it's good that they continue to utilize these properties, because the world doesn't revolve around you or me.  I would love for my kids to get to experience a new Mario that's every bit as good as the ones I grew up with.  I'm also hoping Sega can get back to the experiences I enjoyed back when I first enjoyed Sonic 2 (never did own an SNES).

trollkind
trollkind

@bigdawg3683 @trollkind I think I got the article and the point I agreed with, I didn't comment on, I'm just tired to see creativity and Nintendo in the same sentence.
Anyway, I like being called on my bullshit when I learn something new and I wasn't aware of the scope of GBA/Gamecube linking and I actually don't care being insulted by people I don't know and never will.

bigdawg3683
bigdawg3683

@trollkind @bigdawg3683 The intelligence of this thread is severely lacking.  Did I attempt to attribute the origination of the idea?  No, but you did.  I was simply stating a fact that is in direct opposition to what you based a significant portion on your redundant rant on.  

You've added nothing that hasn't been said by countless others who've posted before you unable to understand the point of the article and incapable of doing more than scratching the surface when it comes to assessing what makes a game unique.

So please, take the latter advise I expressed in my original reply.

gamer_thumb
gamer_thumb

You are "everyone" into your own experiences.  You and possibly your friend have "matured" however, believe it or not, kids still play video games.  You say you remember growing up playing great nintendo games, what about the next generation?

jonzilla_basic
jonzilla_basic

@bigdawg3683  So anotherwards keep creating the same game over and over and over from generation to generation but have some tweaks. Your Brilliant Dumbass and your Mother has Gold Nipples!

bigdawg3683
bigdawg3683

@jonzilla_basic @Rennik_Repotsir You don't know what creativity is then if you can't get past it being veiled in their existing franchises.  Nintendo is constantly tweaking their gameplay mechanics with fresh and varied ideas.  It's your own loss if you're either too insecure or stupid to notice.

robn311
robn311

@jonzilla_basic @robn311 @Elnath10 I'm not saying they don't sell. They do, and publishers would be wise to keep making them. In fact, I hope they do, because I love those games as well. But again, the point of her article is that it's nice to see both the gritty, realistic games and the bright, colorful, not-so-serious games. And those sell too. Heck, Mario Kart on the Wii sold more than 33 million copies, more than basically any other game in the last generation.