Why Nintendo Won E3

No one panders quite like Nintendo.

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Within seconds of Nintendo's E3 conference starting, I was already smiling with unabashed glee at the sheer whimsy emanating from the stage. Famed designer Shigeru Miyamoto, in his dressing room, with Pikmin frolicking hither and fro--pandering has a bad connotation, but when you have a wealth of beloved franchises in your impressive history, you can rely on playing with people’s nostalgic leanings to win over the hearts of everyone who grew up loving these games.

But it's not just fond memories of my past that makes it clear that Nintendo won the trophy; it's the future that makes me incredibly excited.

The Wii U controller--the blandly named GamePad--should be able to capitalize on the potential of the GBA-to-GameCube connectivity that died before it could ever take flight. One of its major benefits, asymmetric multiplayer, isn't just a marketing buzzword; it's a way to rekindle local multiplayer. The beauty is that the player with the GamePad has different goals from those using the Wii Remote, and that completely changes how games are played.

Do you take joy in causing misery in other people? Well, I certainly do, so I'm squirming with delight at the prospect of griefing friends with Wii U games. Remember when Reggie Fils-Aime explained that you could add blocks in New Super Mario Bros. U to help players struggling to cross pits? That's all well and good, but you can also use it to bar their path unexpectedly. Maybe build a makeshift wall in an unexpected place or construct a jail for your more unruly friends. In a sense, you get to play the role of an ill-tempered digital god, which is going to lead to chaotic laughs of equal parts happiness and anger once people start pushing the boundaries.

I'm excited for more conventional games as well, even though what we saw at the conference was far from the revolution you would expect with a new console. Admittedly, I would usually be disappointed to see the same old ideas recycled once more, but there's a reason why I'm left with a feeling of optimism rather than jaded cynicism. The most interesting sequels--Pikmin 3, Luigi's Mansion 2, and Paper Mario: Sticker Star--are the latest entries in smaller franchises that haven't been milked to death with untold rehashes. A significant amount of time has passed since I've last played any of these series, so I can't wait to have another go. And it just so happens that everything we saw, from the feeble cries of Pikmin to Luigi's rainbow flashlight and Mario's windmill sticker, make me antsy for these games to hit shelves.

But the biggest surprise is that a third-party entry might be the best thing in the Wii U's initial library. Lego City Undercover started with the prospect of having a bit more freedom than a typical Lego adventure, but gradually transformed into something truly impressive. The trailer made it seem as if the blocky city would be akin to Grand Theft Auto, encompassing the craziness that makes that franchise great without all the violence and profanity that I've begun to sour on. I desperately want to see more of this game because it seems as though it could be something really special. We've already seen how beautiful the city looks, the freedom it offers, and even some clever building sequences (warp pipe!), so I'm confident it's moving in the right direction.

Nintendo didn't set the world on fire today. There was nothing that rivaled the Wii Sports demonstration from E3 2006, and I am disappointed at the lack of new IPs. But I can't deny that it had the strongest group of games I want to play right now. And that's the most important thing that Nintendo, above all other companies, seems to understand. All the superfluous social features are well and good, but to make a real impression, you need actual games, and that's where Nintendo delivered in spades.

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471 comments
Albaficas
Albaficas

nintendo didnt win and the MAJORITY agree

 

company-sony

video/publisher company-ubisoft

theonerm2
theonerm2

In my opinion Ubisoft had the best press conference. Nintendo did have a few good games to show but Ubisoft was the one that really surprised me.

ad0234
ad0234

Wow, someone for once who finds Nintendo's E3 conference of this year to be very good, or at least to be the best of all the conferences this year. Nice one, Tom.

Assarmoth
Assarmoth

Sorry Tom, but we will always remember your zelda's score.

nonfanboygamer1
nonfanboygamer1

It's kinda funny, if you go on other game websites they say Nintendo bombed

tdawgg30
tdawgg30

@Nintendo is a DEFINITE WINNER at E3.  Although I had to throw a red card to The Regginator for not mentioning third party titles for hardcore gamers, I forgive the company once I saw highlights of #WiiU titles from Nintendo and third party publishers and developers on the show floor... including Assassin's Creed III, Project P-100 (prototype title), New SMB U, Zombi U, Rayman Legends... and Nintendo's best kept secret--  Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge.

Hermiro
Hermiro

well written Tom; I'm so excited about the U and all Nintendo got in storage this days.... it's gonna be a tough Holiday for my wallet that's for sure

juboner
juboner

they need the wii u to be like at least n64 had pretty good third party and awesome first party like mario64 and the zeldas. it was different from ps1 and different experience but in good way which made u want both systems.

firstclassgamer
firstclassgamer

WHEN THE FREAK DOES THIS DANG CONSOLE COME OUT AND HOW ARE THE MOTHER FRICKN GRAFFICS ON THIS DAGUM THING I WANT WIIU AND I WANT IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

thats all I could care less if I have mario 99 I jus want WiiU becuase it looks like some fun a** game are going to be on it Look at Project - 100 I miss fun games like that Suck it Sony and Xbox

DoodaPooda
DoodaPooda

I was pretty impressed by ZOMBI-U! Looks more intense and engaging than most other zombie games.

codykickass
codykickass

I think people should look on the bright side NINTENDO IS FINALLY HD!!! :).. lol.. soo looking forward to getting back into nintendo, always, always loved the franchise, I am a huge nintendo fanboy, true, I also love my xbox360 (main console) and have a ps3 and all my other home theater stuff is Sony. But truth is the Wii sucked arse after Super Smash Bros and Metroid prime 3.. Graphic let the console down along with the same old crap nintendo always pumps out. Nintendo lost its way with the Wii... It did, come on people, but there a hope here that even if falls  behind the next gen consoles, which it will lets not kid ourselves its nintendo, its still a GIANT leap for nintendo lol, maybe not what we want, who knows yet, but its nintendo FINALLY, anew, in HD, new titles ( Good ones hopefully ) and if the 3rd partys get behind them it will be an enjoyable console.... HOPEFULLY!! 

 

P.S the new Super Mario Bros. U ports it a lazy useless ripoff SHAME nintendo... GO PIKMIN!!!!!!!! 

johnthegamegeek
johnthegamegeek

I'm more of a Nintendo guy since i was born the same year the Nintendo 64 came out :)

games5522
games5522

While Nintendo's conference wasn't all that exciting, the other conferences were so awful that this dull showing might've won E3 by default, if it weren't for Ubisoft, who stole the show and showed off a ton of games. Microsoft was just Halo and sports feeds and all I saw of Sony was a few games and a weird book thing. I give this year's E3 a C.

Master_Vexov
Master_Vexov

The Wii should have been the Wii-u, and the Wii-u will likely not have the power to play the future grea titles coming to Ps4 and Xbox720(w/e they be); This is an assumption of the power of the Wii-u. I like the Wii-u, I think that control holds much potential gameplay on the system, but i doub't many dev's will make any great use of it.

Araknie
Araknie

Add the 3DS press conference, because was in the E3 and had a lot of press inside and was named after E3 All-Access, and add this fact: Nintendo is the only one to have said two release dates in the next 2 two months, nobody else did that even for the major games.

You can't count Dawnguard because it's not an exclusive it's only timed.

Now who won?

davedrastic
davedrastic

This may appear a little harsh, but I think those people within the game industry that still hold a candle for Nintendo ought to get out of the industry.

 

What I saw from the Nintendo press conference was confirmation that Nintendo are doomed. The Wii U is as bad as many of us thought it would be. The games are as derived as they always have been. There was a clip of one game, a Mickey game, which appeared to me to be a Sega Genesis game. It looked incredibly poor quality.

 

The Wii U games look like Wii games. The 3DS games look like DS games.Even the third party Wii U games look like current gen (360/PS3) games.

 

Their games are so thoroughly underwhelming.

 

Personally I think releasing another 2D Mario game is a joke. I'm not a platformer fan, i'm not a Mario fan, and I've only been a Nintendo fan briefly following the purchase of the Wii, but can't we already see that 2D platformers are so incredibly archaic and the Mario versions have been trumped by the LBP franchise and the newly revived Rayman franchisee.

 

Why would people want to buy a 2D Mario game again. Fools and diehards surely.

 

Nintendo are no longer at the cutting edge of gaming technology. The 3DS is already old tech. So is the Wii U.

 

Nintendo got lucky with the Wii and hit the nail on the head with the DS (lite), but they've simply not moved on.

 

Also, for me, a non Nintendo fan, their IP, their character line up seems old. It seems like its had its day. Mario having a brother seems like a cute idea 20 years ago, but now? Do we care?

 

I can see Nintendo catering for die hard Nintendo fans, a smallish percentage of casual gamers, and a miniscule percentage of experienced gamers that aren't diehard Nintendo fans.

 

 

Albaficas
Albaficas

infact they had the worst show and it was boring to death

ad0234
ad0234

 @Assarmoth For Skyward Sword? That score was justified, in my opinion.

chaosbrigade
chaosbrigade

 @tdawgg30  Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the truth is this guy from Gamespot is literally the only person in the entire mainstream gaming media that has any positive things to say about the Nintendo show this E3. Virtually everyone from IGN, Game Informer, Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro, Destructoid, Euro Gamer, etc, all heavily criticized Nintendo for its complete lack of any great must-have first party launch titles for the Wii U, price still not announced for Wii U when it's coming out in less than 6 months, the handheld controllers will be a giant hit or miss, Nintendo hasn't had any new franchises or IP since Elvis died, no new Zelda or Pokemon, and all the third party games are old titles that are already existing on the current gen. 

 

The only way Nintendo won E3 this year is if Microsoft and Sony didn't show up. 

Gazz64
Gazz64

 @games5522You mean this isn't a repeat of last yeas E3! I havn't seen much that is new :(

 

Chico86_basic
Chico86_basic

 @Master_Vexov I would be surprised to see the next Xbox or PS4 before 2014. By then the WiiU will possibly have a new Mario Galaxy, Smash Bros, Metroid, F-Zero, Mario Kart or even Zelda! That's without mentioning 3rd party content like a Red Steel 3 from Ubisoft for instance. Microsoft and Sony on the other hand will probably have some uber photo-realistic shooters.

Mystic_Gohan-
Mystic_Gohan-

 @Master_Vexov

 Ubisoft has dedicated many many games for this they seem to have great faith in the system I see them stealing the great games that make appearances to this system.

viciouskiller
viciouskiller

 @davedrastic

 All i got from that is you dont really have a life considering your taking time out of your day to read a article you clearly dont care for about a company u dont care for then write almost an essay on why you dont like it.

Gazz64
Gazz64

 @davedrastic

 All new consoles are old tech when they are released, do your home work! the Wii-U has been in development for about 4 years and Sony and MS are currently working on theirs. The hardware used is usually 3yr old tech that has been slightly modded. The devlopers are very excited about the platform which means we as consumes could possibly be as well. When Sony and MS finally reach market with their new systems the only diffence will be experience as the hardware now available is so very similar in specs. Sony will pounce with Vita interaction similar to Nintendos new Game Pad, not too sure yet what MS has up its sleave but it will follow suit. Historically this is how it has always happend.

lordjustify
lordjustify

 @davedrastic It's so sad to see that the quality of a game nowadays is only judged upon its graphical presentations. Back in the day only one thing was important: gameplay and how much fun you had with a game. And by the way: I like Nintendo (and I also like my Xbox and Ps3) but I'm also not looking forward to the new Mario game. Why? Well, because we had so many of them in recent time. Usually, every 4 or 5 years a true Mario game would be released. Now it's 2 every year! But actually: it makes no difference to me. There's SOOOO MANY shooters getting produced these days which are basically all the same game (COD, MOH, BF, FarCry, Crysis, Killzone, Syndicate, ...). Sure, one puts its emphasis on strategic clan battle, the other on quick matches, the other on ... For me there's no difference whether I'm jumping a gap with Mario for the onehundredmillion time or blasting an enemies head off for the onehundremillion time. If I were an alien coming to earth and taking a glimpse at video games I would surely say: "So, there's basically shooters, sportsgames, and kids games." Man, graphics is not everything.

ShortwoodBE
ShortwoodBE

 @Albaficas Nintendo wasn't awesome as always but the king-of-bore this E3 was Microsoft, without a doubt.

tdawgg30
tdawgg30

 @Albaficas

 You need to practice harder on your spelling grammer.  How old are you... 8?  Nintendo is the king of video games, the leader of innovating video games, and they have the best high quality video games on all consoles.  If it weren't for Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft's systems would never come into realization.  Accept it!

shinta125
shinta125

 @chaosbrigade you can't add pokemon or zelda to this, skyward sword was released about 7-8 months ago and pokemon already has a new game coming to the DS at the end of this year.

 

"Nintendo hasn't had any new franchises or IP since Elvis died"

pikmin, gamecube, 2001. apparently pikmin doesn't count anymore despite the loud outcry for a new game in the series =/.

tdawgg30
tdawgg30

 @chaosbrigade  What you've missed out is that Nintendo have brought a returning franchise onto their new console.  Remember Pikmin?

 

davedrastic
davedrastic

 @viciouskiller OK, ur the one that's insulting others for no good reason, and I'm the one with no life? Pot black calling the.

 

Now if you have something to contribute to the discussion please don't let me stop you. If all you want to do is throw around petty insults could you not find somewhere else to waste your time. Thanks in advance.

davedrastic
davedrastic

 @Gazz64 

 

OK, all i'm able to do, Gazz64, is express my opinion. Yes, PC technology is generally regarded as being at the forefront, but then most home users don't go out to buy cutting edge PC machinery.

 

Now can you remind me, when the PS3 was released, was having 8 core CPU technology 3 year old tech? I'm pretty sure that was cutting edge. And it certainly was when we were being fed spec details a year or two before release.

 

My point was, that from my estimations given what I saw of the Nintendo Press Conference, the graphics of the Wii U are at the same level as the graphics of the 360/PS3. There was no signs of a grapghical leap that we were hoping for.

 

This confirms to me that the Wii U is a very late comer to the current gen. Sure it's wearing the prettiest dress and has a fine pair of heels, but we're all on the late bus home. The Wii U can hang around playing with itself all it likes but those in the know, core gamers with an ounce of sense, will be satisfied with what they have ( a 360/PS3 and likely a wealth of games and accessories) and will decide to wait for the release of a next gen console (or gaming service) before spending $500 to play a 2D Mario game.

davedrastic
davedrastic

 @lordjustify 

 

As others have said, graphics have always been a big part of gaming. I'll elaborate further although this will just be an expression of my opinion so I don't know how prevalent this will be.

 

For me, a gamer of some 30 or more years, games have always been held in wonderment. I amaze at the genius of games. Sometimes I am stunned. I am hypnotised by the graphics, not simply and perhaps not even primariy, because of their beauty, but because I amaze at how far us humans have come. We now can represent 40 V8 cars on a Bathurst track virtually identical to the real thing. It stops me in my tracks.

 

But this has always been the case. The first game, that tennis game on the oscilloscope, had the most basic graphics possible, but there was still this sense of amazement. I would say that we're amazed by what we see - the whole thing - but the tip of the iceberg, the thing always staring you square in the face, is the graphics.

 

And yes the 8 bit era, and the eras prior to that were also dominated by graphics. Every game was made as pretty as it could be. Every computer and console boasted about how good the graphics looked. 

 

And I don't think that i've said at any stage that graphics is everything. I don't consider myself a graphics horse (I won't say what I mean, no need to offend, couldn't think of an alternative term) but I am amazed or disapointed by what I see, as we all are.

 

My main point is that the 3DS games aren't only poor looking in regards to say, the Vita, but they are average looking in regards to a DS game - which is a last generation handheld. This should not be the case. We should not be going out there to buy recently released hardware for it to give us games akin to the last generations.

 

And so it is with the Wii U.

 

For me, the Wiis graphics were fine, good, pleasent, colourful - I'm talking the Wii Sports, Mario games etc - but as soon as I got a 42" plasma that was it, I couldn't play the thing. Especially those crappy shovelware games that didn't have the Nintendo production values - on a big screen they looked horrendous and actually angerered me. I felt ripped off. Why have I bought a console and all of the accessories and it looks this bad. Why are they selling me games which look uglier than games I can get on my 10 year old mobile phone.

 

Sure, I got duped, so did a lot of core gamers. The casual gamers perhaps don't even realise the problems, but us core gamers have been burned and we can see the same thing happening.

 

If the Wii U games look no better than the current gen games, then it makes no difference what super technology powers the console, it simply will be a waste of money for those that already own a 360/PS3. And for those that don't own a 360/PS3 they'll do well to pick one up before the Wii U.

 

As I said, who should buy the Wii U? At this stage the only answer is those that do want to play whatever Nintendo first party games will be released, and by the look of it they'll be exactly the same as games they releases several times before.

 

Also, I get your point about FPS games being the same. It's not entirely true but certainly the gameplay is generally consistent, same with racing games and perhaps even open world games. But for me, I like FPSs. I like the journey they take me on. Through a new world, a new story. I like the challenge of being bombarded with 30 enemies and somehow taking them all down. I love the sound of a good, heavy machine gun. I love getting headshots. So for me that's the type of game that I want to play, and not the kiddy and casual fest that Nintendo present time and time again.

DrMatta
DrMatta

 @lordjustify Graphics have always mattered. It's an important part of the experience. Everyone saying it's never been like this is delusional.

tdawgg30
tdawgg30

 @Albaficas

 Except the fact is Little D*ck Planet isn't very original.  Pikmin has more originality and overall fun factor.

Albaficas
Albaficas

 @tdawgg30 i have little big planet wich is in every single way better than pikmin 

juboner
juboner

 @davedrastic I dont have to write  my opinions u already do it for me. This is exactly how i feel about wii u if others cant c it there either in denial or just wishing nintendo might be able to get better games in future

davedrastic
davedrastic

 @lordjustify The standard of graphics can't go backwards, consumers won't allow it, and of course technology will improve so graphics will only improve. But yeah how much more detailed can developers get? For sure pixel rates will improve, everything will improve, but still there must be a limit on the amount of time (which is equal to money) that developers will pour into a game.

 

With Warhammer as an example, I think it's reasonable for some to be unimpressed by the graphics but for me you could see what the developers have created - truly intricate buildings - for me I was impressed. OK Unreal 4 and other engines will make it quicker and easier to create such artifacts, and they'll look better too, but the developers can still only poor a certain amount of money into a game.

 

I think what you're saying is largely right. With FPSs for example, if a non AAA game such as Red Faction Armageddon can have graphics superior to a AAA game such as Resistance 2, then graphically the playing field is fairly balanced. I think improvements will have to come from other areas, such as new styles of gameplay, non linear maps etc.I think the PS3 can and will have better games released for it still but graphically we're basically at the limit. As impressed by Warhammer as I am it's inferior graphically to Heavenly Sword which was released ages ago.

 

Also, nowadays the developers can tap into the consumers to create a lot of the content for the game ala LBP, Far Cry 2, Infamous 2, Modnation Racers - I suspect that that trend will continue and improve. I suppose it's the same as mods for PC games fundamentally.

lordjustify
lordjustify

 @davedrastic Yeah, I'm also looking forward to FarCry 3. It looks extremely promising - especially the villain. If the story proivdes some unique experience, too, the game will be killer.

 

Your thought that developers may not go beyong a certain graphical standard sounds very interesting to me. In fact, one developer of the Epic team (I can't remember his name) said that graphical improvement will soon come to a stop as the maximum will be reached (whatever that maximum will be). Maybe then games will be released that focus more on other aspects of gaming than just graphical improvement. Maybe, in  the future, we will look upon the Xbox360/PS3 era and say: "O yeah, that was that intense shooter-generation where graphics played a huge part."

davedrastic
davedrastic

 @lordjustify 

If the Wii U is any indication then it appears that the next generation of consoles won't improve massively in terms of graphics. The way I think about it, which I'm sure will be wrong, is how can they?

 

We've seen mega realistic and impressive facial graphics with Heavy Rain and L.A. Noire, and it'll be improved upon time and again.

 

I've just finished playing Red Faction Armageddon and Warhammer Space Marines, and both of these games tanked financially, as far as I'm aware - I base that on the bargain prices you can buy them for mere months after release, yet both of these games had good to very good graphics.

 

My point is that both of these games would have taken a lot of time and money to create the standard of graphics that they have, but at the end of the day both games were received by the public in a ho hum manner. They lost money. So how can the developers / publishers have confidence in spending more money and time to create games with a significantly higher level of graphics? My theory is that there would be a (huge) reluctance to do so, and you'll see the continuing trend of publishers such as THQ and Ubisoft concentrate their production on a handful of AAA titles, and pray that they pay off.

 

I could be entirely wrong, and we've seen time and again that graphics do continue to improve, and I think a lot of it has to do with the tools that the developers have - i.e. Unreal 4 will allow developers to create better looking games in less time. But it appears to me that we're perhaps reaching a point that developers don't particularly want to go beyond.

 

I think those free world FPS games that you hope for probably do exist, afterall there are so many of them out there. I'd be thinking Far Cry 3 might well be a good example.

lordjustify
lordjustify

 @davedrastic Thank you for your nice reply. Of course graphics matter, they always did and always will. But for me it's not everything. I can live with the fact that a game doesn't look top-notch, if it provides solid gameplay. What I wanted to say is that I get the impression that most of today's games emphasize TOO much on graphics. So, where does this trend will eventually lead us? I guess Beyond Two Souls is a fine example of how video games may look in the future: almost realistic. And that's the point for me: someday, video games will look so realistic that I might lose the impression that I'm diving into a non-realistic world.

 

And as for the FPS: Sure, I also appreciate those games (some are so impressive that I could never imagine myself playing old shooters again). But what really bothers me is the linear style those games provide. Next generation consoles are so powerful that developers could create awesome games with multiple ways to play them - and I don't think of simple either-you-rush-trough-them-like-mad or try-a-more-stealthier-method-to-play. I'm talking about games that provide solid action and opportunities to solve, let's say a mission, in a more creative way. Most FPSs take you too much by the hand: Find a weapon, open the door, find the enemy's hideout ... I'd love to see more FPS were you can solve missions on your own way. Imagine a next-generation FPS (amazing graphics, authentic sound effects, ... ) with a more traditional way to gameplay (non-linear levels, huge worlds to explore, mission targets that are tough to master). Well, maybe PS4 and Xbox 720 (or whatever the thing might be called) provide us with this approach to FPS as the advanced technology enables a more sophisticated AI.

ShortwoodBE
ShortwoodBE

 @Gazz64  @DrMatta  @lordjustify graphics < art direction. Graphics matter, but that has nothing to do with polygon count, shaders or other tech stuff. Realism is NOT, read NOT, a must to have great graphics. I do think Nintendo need more new IP's. No doubt about that. But you can't go wrong with their old ones.

DoodaPooda
DoodaPooda

 @DrMattaGraphics are a part of the art of story telling. Games like Okami (water color) and Jet Grind Radio (Grafiti art) wouldn't have been as good if they were photorealistic like L.A. NOIR. The problem comes when developers can't tell the story they want because of graphics limitations. Most games don't need killer graphics. But when the awesome games that do start to add up (Bioshock, Batman, Crysis, Halo, Killzone, Crysis, COD, Resistance, etc...) poor graphics start cutting you off from half of the AAA games.

 

lordjustify
lordjustify

 @DrMatta Sure, graphics can provide a good experience but they are not essential. There are so many other things that are important, too. Just imagine playing a game with the best graphics the world has ever seen, but with a terrible storyline, bad gameplay, terrible soundeffects, no background music, ... The thing is: consoles nowadays offer so much power that developers could create really amazing games. But instead they give us the same game over and over again and mainly focus on prettier light-effects and textures.

DrMatta
DrMatta

 @Gazz64 I reckon you don't remember everyone going crazy on Last Ninja 3 because its graphics were insanely good?

Gazz64
Gazz64

 @DrMatta  @lordjustifyReally? back in the 8bit days C64 ZX spectrum, the graphics wern,t very advanced and only functionl at best most of the time (till the end of the hardwares life cycle) so gameplay was worked on furiously.