Nintendo may not have had an actual press conference, but they still came to E3 in force with new game announcements and exciting trailers. You can review all of their biggest announcements in our Nintendo Direct live blog, but here's what stood out to the GameSpot editors.
Making a Hit -- Tom Mc Shea
Mario Maker is going to be a phenomenon. This is such a brilliant concept, and I can only imagine how much of an impact it's going to have. By nurturing creativity within a fun world, Nintendo might be able to capitalize on what Minecraft has started, only in a more familiar place that isn't so intimidating for the creation-impaired. I am giddy at the prospect of what this release will herald. This could be the most important Nintendo move since their family-friendly franchises on the Wii, and it should set them on a great path going forward.
But there was more than just Mario Maker. Kirby: and the Rainbow Curse was one that was particularly close to my heart. I adore Canvas Curse, so the prospect of playing a new version in high definition is almost too much to bear. And that clay aesthetic? Lovely. Finally, of zll the shooter shown during the press conferences, Splatoon was the most interesting. The way it makes movement so important, throwing in layers of strategy as you move quicker through your own paint than your enemy's, is a simple yet smart choice that should make for crazy competition. Kudos to Nintendo for a great show.
Amoeba Bros. - Justin Haywald
Sony and Microsoft had longer shows full of amazing games, but I feel like Nintendo held their own this year. The possibilities of the Amiibo figurine program (strange name notwithstanding) are potentially limitless. I look forward to games where the figurines represent characters I directly control, but even having them as support characters in Smash Bros. is enough to get me to try it out.
And the new Zelda trailer was unbelievable. If the game even looks half that detailed and lush, I'd still be excited, and I feel sorry for any game launching in same month much less the same year. An open-world Zelda game that channels the original game is the kind of system seller that the Wii U needs.
Joy - Kevin VanOrd
I'm not normal, I admit it. When other people were playing Nintendo consoles, I was focused on my Commodore Vic-20 and Commodore 64. When people were playing Zelda games, I was playing Zork and Ultima. My gaming habits were different, so I never developed the adoration others have for Mario and company. I love Nintendo games, but I don't have the same nostalgia that seems to power the passions of so many others. The sight of a new Smash Bros. doesn't fuel my motor. I don't explode with excitement when someone says "Hyrule" out loud.
But even I couldn't contain my joy at seeing Nintendo's digital event. I'm usually the first to accuse Nintendo of relying on the same characters and ideas year after year, but I melted at the sight of a yarned-up Yoshi in Yoshi's Wooly World. The possibility of an open-world Zelda has given me chills--and this is after being very vocal about how much I disliked Skyward Sword. Even Toad's game charmed my pants off, and I have absolutely no emotional investment in Toad! There was so much joy, so much love for the playful side of video games. I was enchanted.
But hey--I'm still me. And it was the glimpse of the not-so-playful Xenoblade Chronicles X that really wound me up. Xenoblade Chronicles is my favorite Japanese role-playing game of the outgoing generation. If the upcoming X can capture the same sense of adventure, it might be the best JRPG of the new generation. I pre-ordered a Wii U, so I've owned it since its launch day. But suddenly, I'm glad I have one all over again.
Don't Let Me Down - Carolyn Petit
Nintendo, I love ya for the really strong assortment of colorful, fun-looking games that you showed off, and I love ya for setting such a different tone from the likes of Sony and Microsoft. A sense of fun imbued Nintendo's goofy E3 presentation from the very beginning, and the games on display exhibited the kind of imagination that made me fall in love with Nintendo in the first place, all those years ago.
For me, the new information about the Wii U Legend of Zelda game was the most exciting part of a consistently entertaining presentation. I'm so glad that Nintendo realizes that the series has fallen into a rut, and is looking to the open-world structure of the original game for inspiration. The glimpse Nintendo offered of the new Hyrule was limited, but tantalizing.
But there was so much more to the show. Empowering people to create their own Mario levels in Mario Maker is an idea that seems both obvious and inspired. Yoshi's Woolly World looks so cozy, I just want to curl up with a hot cup of tea and watch it for a while. And while I thought I'd had my fill of shooters after yesterday's barrage, Splatoon demonstrated that a colorful aesthetic and some creative mechanics can make all the difference. In fact, that sums up my reaction to Nintendo's entire presentation. It brought the color and the creativity, and in doing so, it totally won me over.
You've read our thoughts, but what were your impressions? Let us know what you thought of Nintendo's presentation in the comments below!