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An Expected, but Unwelcome Turn

by James Jones - July 15, 2008, 9:52 pm PDT
Total comments: 18

Nintendo had to recognize that the "mass appeal" of the Wii got them a lot of coverage way back in 2006, and that it contributed to the mass media frenzy. So, I had expected yesterday's show to cater to "journalists" from venues like The Today Show (it isn't a news show, I don't care what NBC says, any show with Kathy Lee Gifford is not a news show) rather than those from "gaming" outlets. That doesn't mean I didn't hold out hope for something "core gamer"-centric.

I held out hope that the Kid Icarus rumor was true; IGN had staked their reputations on it by repeatedly hinting that Factor 5 is developing the title and hinting later that it would be at E3. I figured that Reggie had to mean something when he said that "core gamers would be pleased."

I still don't know what he meant. When the Wii MotionPlus was shown the day prior to the press conference I figured that it must not be their "big" announcement, and they want to get the device out of the way so they can show the game that will feature it. I figured it would be a "casual" title, but I also figured there was going to be a less casual counter-part shown (my guess was Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels or Red Steel 2).

I knew there would be a glut of "casual" titles. That didn't bother me. I know that they've been good to Nintendo, and just because they’re "casual" it doesn't mean they're bad. Wii Sports is a lot of fun. The new Wii Sports could be too. At the same time, I knew that the Wii Music demo shown way back in 2006 was out of date in the world of Guitar Hero. I know they're not the same "type" of music game, but people now have expectations, justified or not. I'm still not sure what to make of what I saw yesterday. I saw a game that, in order to fully experience, I need to procure a Balance Board (which is still next to impossible to find) and the new MotionPlus remote add-on.

To be honest, the two things that stand out most from yesterday's event seem as if they were custom-designed to annoy me.

First, of all third parties Nintendo could have picked to start things off with, they picked Ubisoft. Now, my distaste for Ubisoft as of late has become something of a running joke, and while I often exaggerate, I do feel like Ubisoft has proven to be a lazy publisher. Their most recent efforts indicate that they only want to make a quick buck at the expense of Nintendo. Their lackluster titles are not "casual," they're cheap.

If the DS and Wii are really "expanding the market", does Nintendo want the first games these new gamers play to be at best sub-par? Of course not. To "expand" the market they need to hook new consumers. Ubisoft has not put out a solid effort on Wii since launch; as such Nintendo should have left them to their own press conference. Think of the other publishers Nintendo could have picked. Yes, I understand they wanted to show the balance board, but there has to be a better game to do it with. If I wanted to see Shaun White "shred it" I would watch snowboarding competitions. That entire segment was painful. He seemed disinterested and inexperienced with the very game that bares his name.

Secondly, I've always bemoaned Nintendo's self-congratulatory segments. I know they mix them in very heavily every year, but this year it just seemed so much more omnipresent. Every game discussion was wrapped with "marketplace perspective." We get it; the DS has sold a lot of units. Five minutes to say that is beyond browbeating. To make it worse, this bragging provided me the second memorable moment of this press conference: the "key franchise" Pokemon. The fact that Pokemon Mystery Dungeon 2 sold 600,000 copies in six weeks is sad, because it is not a game of which Nintendo should be proud. It is not a good game.

So, what did I get from this press conference? Not much. Yes, Nintendo is going to offer voice chat in games, but I've had that on the PC for almost a decade. Yes, the MotionPlus could be cool, but the advantages didn't seem to be fully explained. I need to see how more games than simply WiiSports use it. Why do I need this versus just a standard WiiRemote? Who else (aside from Nintendo) is using it?

I just hope things get better on the floor for "core gamers." I guess I just have to wait and see, but right now I'm not holding out a lot of hope.

Talkback

KDR_11kJuly 16, 2008

Heh, I bet everyone thought of you when the Pokemon games were mentioned.

D_AverageJuly 16, 2008

Quote from: KDR_11k

Heh, I bet everyone thought of you when the Pokemon games were mentioned.

Haha...I know I did.  Then I went back to slamming shots of scotch to numb the pain of "we're all about smiles now".

OzPrimeJuly 16, 2008

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought the E3 Presentation was practically a blowing off of the hardcore gamers. 

I was thinking about how things have progressed since the Wii launch and something very disturbing hit me.  Does anybody else get the distinct feeling that we (the non-casual gamers) were merely the instrument to get the Wii snowball rolling.

It explains why Nintendo made a point of getting all their big franchises out so soon in the console's lifespan (VERY uncharacteristic of Nintendo) instead of staggering them out.  All of the dedicated Nintendo fanatics buy up all the initial Wiis because of the Marios, Zeldas, Smash Bros, and so forth.  Then we "spead the gospel" of the Wii to our friends and families and so forth until the casual gamers become the dominant force in the console's lifespan.  We then are pushed aside and thrown the occasional bone to placate us ("Look, here's Grand Theft Auto... on the DS!  We're watching out for you crazy otakus out there!").

Maybe I'm overreacting but that's the feeling I got after N's E3 presentation.  I almost feel used in a strange way (uh, to clarify... not "used in a strange way"  I'll leave that for the Sonic fans/Sega relationship).

Oh, and the WiiMotion Plus?  Uh, wasn't that what we were SUPPOSED to get when we bought the damn consoles in the first place?!  Great.  They've learned how to adapt their handheld strategy- i.e. release a handheld with a glaring omission only to add it later on.

Ironic note: Nintendo made a huge point of stating that the Wii was no bigger than 3 DVD cases in size to keep it small and unobtrusive.  Yet they release so many damn add-ons ("Now with WiiSpeak and WiiMotion plus!"), that the overall size of everything probably is more than a 360 or PS3 by this point!

RFN 106 was fantastic, by the way, guys.  Whatever it is you do, keep doing it.

Ian SaneJuly 16, 2008

Quote:

Does anybody else get the distinct feeling that we (the non-casual gamers) were merely the instrument to get the Wii snowball rolling.

I always thought of us more as a safety net in case the non-gamers didn't bite.  At least then Nintendo would probably sell be able to hold on until next gen.  Throwing away the old userbase completely would have been too big of a risk.

But I've thought since day one that they take us for granted now and just assume we will support them devotedly.  Due to the franchise-heavy core gamer lineup (I don't think there is a first party Wii game designed for core gamers that isn't a franchise game) I always saw their core gamer offering as token scraps to give the impression they care.  But the creativity is saved for non-games.  That is where their real passion is, thus they don't direct that creativity towards an original core based game.

vuduJuly 16, 2008

Quote from: Crimm

I saw a game that to fully experience I need to procure a Balance Board (which is still next to impossible to find) and the new MotionPlus remote add-on.

Minor correction:  Wii Music doesn't utilize the MotionPlus peripheral.  Wii Music comes out this holiday season, while Wii Sports Resort (which comes packages with the MotionPlus) isn't scheduled for release until Spring 2009.

They didn't even throw hardcore gamers a bone.  Say it after me: THERE WAS NO BONE.

NO BONE.

No f*cking bone. I'm pissed. We got shit yesterday.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusJuly 16, 2008

Quote from: Silks

They didn't even throw hardcore gamers a bone.  Say it after me: THERE WAS NO BONE.

NO BONE.

Oh they gave us a bone alright.

Quote from: Ian

Oh they gave us the bone alright. ;)

Nice, I managed to make the same joke as Ian 3 hours later. I honestly didn't see that response until right now.

NinGurl69 *hugglesJuly 16, 2008

1:1 erection capability

Ian SaneJuly 16, 2008

Quote:

Nice, I managed to make the same joke as Ian 3 hours later. I honestly didn't see that response until right now.

He put the set up line in two different threads so I'd say you're in the clear. :)

ShyGuyJuly 16, 2008

Guys, guys, ignore the Nintendo E3 presser. The hardcore news is coming out of Japan this week. Fatal Frame 4 trailer and Dead Rising announced.

DjunknownJuly 16, 2008

Bravo Mr.Jones. You summed my thoughts exactly.

This is what should have been announced either by Nintendo or Capcom during their conferences. That is something that gets the core gamers jumping.

But nooo, Capcom wanted to have a Lost Planet: The movie orgy party...

Welcome to the boards OzPrime. I get a feeling you'll fit in just fine.  8)

Quote:

t I've thought since day one that they take us for granted now and just assume we will support them devotedly.

Sad but true. As much as I'd like to point out that Animal Crossing looks like its stuck in the 'Cube era, I'm still going to pick it up  :- Now the question is whether Wii Speak will be included with AC or not...


shammackJuly 16, 2008

It won't.

OzPrimeJuly 16, 2008

I think this weeks's Penny Arcade sums it up NICELY. 

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/7/16/

Quote from: Djunknown

Welcome to the boards OzPrime. I get a feeling you'll fit in just fine.  8)

Thanks.  I'll do my best to maintain the high level of insanity here, although Mr. Jones makes it a hard act to follow in that regard (and YES, I DID immediately think of you and your "experiences" with Pokemon when Reggie mentioned it... and your probable groan of WTF-ness)

*Goes off to find the Matrix of Basketweaving until Nintendo remembers us again...*



Shift KeyJuly 16, 2008

Quote from: Crimm

IGN had staked their reputations on it by repeatedly hinting that Factor 5 is developing the title and hinting later that it would be at E3. 

What have we learned from this? Treat anything from IGN like it requires quarantining before consumption.

Quote from: Crimm

First, of all third parties Nintendo could have picked to start things off with, they picked Ubisoft.

I was quite surprised to see them too, especially after the BG&E shitstorm that occurred a while ago.

Quote from: Crimm

Secondly, I've always bemoaned Nintendo's self-congratulatory segments.

It could have been much - they could have used piecharts. Perhaps they did (I haven't watched the conference, and pretty much steered clear of any E3 news - most have said that its been lackluster), but I still get a laugh out of Sony's habit of using a lot of piecharts in their conferences, rather than awkward celebrities or trendy geeks.

There were many self-congratulatory charts.

Shift KeyJuly 17, 2008

Quote from: Crimm

There were many self-congratulatory charts.

I guess I chose right when I decided to stay in bed at 2am rather than tune in to your bizarro-time conference.

OzPrimeJuly 17, 2008

Quote from: Crimm

There were many self-congratulatory charts.

Well, we DID want Nintendo to come back to prominence after the 'Cube performance.  What's the phrase: " Be careful what you wish for"?

Quote from: Shift

I guess I chose right when I decided to stay in bed at 2am rather than tune in to your bizarro-time conference.

Ironically enough, this was my first time watching Nintendo's presentation live.  Yawn. 
At least they announced a new Gradius for the VC.  That has me excited, and I imagine it's going to take a few days to pry Greg Leahy from the ceiling after he read that bit of news.

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