Author Topic: The Ascension of Nintendo at E3 2006  (Read 705 times)

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Offline NWR_Neal

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The Ascension of Nintendo at E3 2006
« on: May 07, 2015, 03:54:52 AM »

The Wii was the focal point of E3 2006 as Nintendo proved it was on the cusp of dominating all of gaming.

The state of Nintendo before E3 2006 was that of a company on the rise. By this point, the DS was an unabashed success, crushing the PSP and dominating the world with Brain Age and Nintendogs. Their next home console (Wii), known as the Revolution up until a few weeks before their E3 show, was due out at the end of 2006. Things were looking good and the ensuing E3 presentation reflected that.

With the shock of the name Wii out in the open already, Nintendo’s E3 presentation focused primarily on games and how the Wii offered a whole new way to play them. To start, Shigeru Miyamoto took the stage, Wii Remote in hand, and showed off an early demo for Wii Music as he conducted a virtual orchestra with the new controller. Miyamoto is clearly truly jovial in this moment, and it seems like he lets go moments later when he dances to demos for Excite Truck and Red Steel shown behind him. It’s a surreal moment.

“Playing is no longer just about the looks; it’s about the feel,” Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime, not in his current role as Nintendo of America President yet, bellowed to the crowd moments later. “Not about we see. Because what you see is not always what you get.” Fils-Aime continued his powerful marketing speak that, in all honesty, wasn’t even that hyperbolic at this point. The underpowered Wii was making fools of high-powered graphics back in 2006 as, like Fils-Aime (and countless others at Nintendo) said, “playing is believing.” And they were right.

The way Nintendo showed games on Wii was drastically different from how anyone else did so in the past. Lifestyle videos were a focus, as more attention was paid to the people playing the games than the games themselves. Why show the gangly Mii avatars when you can show a father playfully golfing with his kids using a Wii Remote? Why show Metroid Prime 3 when you can show some asshole jumping around his spacious apartment like he’s in an action movie? So maybe that last one didn’t totally work, but Nintendo made their focus clear: it didn’t matter what these games looked like. They are fun as hell no matter what, and it is evident in the wide grins of every man, woman, and child holding a Wii Remote and playing tennis.

That focus on fun even extended to the way Fils-Aime carried the entire presentation. Everyone involved with Nintendo’s E3 2006 presentation appears to be having a ball. The sense of playfulness extended throughout the whole show in a similar way to how everyone at Sony seemed to have a permanent smirk on their face during their Microsoft-slaughtering E3 2013 presentation. This was, like E3 2004 and 2005, Fils-Aime’s show to carry, and he was once again up to the task. He explained the name Wii, and even managed to get a killer joke in by saying “First off, we want to thank those of you who wrote good things about it the day you heard it. Both of you.”

His head was in the right place as well, as he continually harped that “The name of the game is still games.” That was clearly shown in the litany of future Wii games on display, ranging from Metroid Prime 3, Fire Emblem, and Final Fantasy to Tony Hawk, Madden, and Sonic. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was their ace in the hole, and in retrospect, it truly seems evident that Twilight Princess was pushed back to shore up the Wii’s launch. This was Nintendo’s marquee launch game for gamers and the Wii version was a major focal point of their show, complete with a gameplay demo from the Treehouse’s Bill Trinen and Nate Bihldorf.

That wasn’t all, though, as Nintendo highlighted Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Super Mario Galaxy, and an interesting trio of new games in Excite Truck, Project H.A.M.M.E.R., and Disaster: Day of Crisis. Excite Truck would be only one of those games to make it to America, with H.A.M.M.E.R. getting cancelled and Disaster limited to Europe and Japan.

While the Wii was the focus, the DS got its time in the sun as well. The DS Lite and New Super Mario Bros. were on the horizon, along with new entries in the Yoshi’s Island, Legend of Zelda, and Star Fox series. Of course, the secret best DS game in the entire E3 2006 show was Elite Beat Agents, which took the Planet GameCube staff by storm back in the day.

The whole presentation came back to the Wii, though, as Satoru Iwata closed the show by explaining specifics about the system. He talked about the built-in flash memory that was there so everything would load quickly and feel cohesive. He talked about how the Virtual Console would bring back lapsed gamers. He mused that maybe something like Tetris could happen again on Wii. Iwata harped on the fact that the DS was something most people didn’t get right away. Since then, the major Nintendo products following DS were all aimed at being disruptive in the same way as the DS. The Wii succeeded, and shortly after, Wii Fit succeeded. The 3DS stumbled, and the Wii U failed. Iwata might have struck out a few times recently, but back in 2006, he was nearly at the top of the mountain, on the verge of hitting his second grand slam in just a few short years.

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Offline Ian Sane

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Re: The Ascension of Nintendo at E3 2006
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2015, 12:15:55 PM »
Ugh the "focus on fun".  I hated that sort of talk during the Wii era because if you bitched about the Wii you got back responses like "well I guess you don't like fun".  Like apparently PS3 and Xbox 360 owners don't have FUN when they play their games.  Nintendo turned "fun" into some meaningless buzzword.

Having both the DS and Wii be so successful shows that they were the right product at the right time.  The 3DS and Wii U follow the same basic template but NOW is not the right time so they struggle.  How did Nintendo with the same leadership go from being so in touch with the market to being so out-of-touch almost overnight?

Offline alegoicoe

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Re: The Ascension of Nintendo at E3 2006
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2015, 01:44:26 PM »
And also created a bubble that led to the abysmal failure called WiiU
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Offline ShyGuy

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Re: The Ascension of Nintendo at E3 2006
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2015, 09:39:50 AM »
I remember Perrin lying on the show floor with Matt Cassamassina talking about Wii