Nintendo’s Lo-Fi Presentation

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When Nintendo announced they’d be doing a Nintendo Direct at E3 this year instead of a full press conference, it was already apparent they were going sort of low-key compared to Sony and Microsoft. I just didn’t realize how low-key, and it doesn’t change the fact that I want to play their games more than most others I’ve seen at E3.

Everything Nintendo-related at E3 this year is basically games that I intellectually know will be excellent, but don’t produce the same up-front hype as all the games coming out on the new consoles with pretty graphics. As Nintendo goes more and more their own way the differences in presentation become more apparent, almost to a surprising degree.

Maybe it’s kind of my fault for actually expecting something huge from Nintendo EAD Tokyo and Retro Studios. When they basically confirmed that a 3D Mario game was going to show up at E3, and we all correctly guessed whatever Retro was working on would show up too, I expected grandiose games that would finally show off the Wii U’s capabilities. What I got were well… just games.

I don’t know if I was expecting Mario Galaxy 3 or some new kind of 3D Mario franchise that would prove to be the next evolutionary step for the series to coincide with new hardware. I wasn’t expecting a sequel to a 3DS game. When I look at that game I know it’s going to be one of the best-designed and most fun games of the year, but there’s not really a sense of hype behind the presentation. The same goes for Mario Kart 8, and I also wasn’t expecting Retro to simply be doing another Donkey Kong Country for Wii U.

Maybe this is better. All the shooters from the other conferences have absolutely amazing graphics, but I’m not extremely interested in actually playing any of them (the pretty-graphics games I do want to play are all in other genres). It’s at least admirable that Nintendo is focusing on fun games perhaps more purely than anyone else at E3. I just hope they can get people to buy those games.

Between that and the mere handful of Wii U exclusives coming out this year, it’s easy to forget about the 3DS though, which hasn’t gotten as much attention at E3 (perhaps because we already saw all the best 3DS content in a previous Nintendo Direct). It’s easy to forget that the 3DS is probably gonna wreck shop later this year just on Pokémon X and Y alone. Even if that’s not your thing there’s still Zelda A Link Between Worlds.

To be honest though, I’ve had almost no time for retail 3DS games at all this year. I haven’t bought a single 2013 retail 3DS game, and it’s because all my time with the system has been taken up by cheap digital games.

Last year a lot of that time was spent on Pushmo and Crashmo along with Mighty Switch Force. I’ve already even started to develop a 3DS eShop backlog made up of games like Harmo Knight and The Starship Damrey. Oh, and Mighty Switch Force 2 is coming out. I’m also preoccupied with 3DS Virtual Console games that I’ve never played like Zelda Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons. Between games that feel oldschool and actual oldschool games I’m playing for the first time, the 3DS has kind of become an oldschool games platform for me.

I guess that’s the perfect companion to how the Wii U is shaping up right now in the face these new consoles and their flashy new gun and car games. On that end, Nintendo’s starting to follow the trajectory of a lot of Japanese developers of the last console generation: struggling to get console games out on time but still outputting lots of wonderful handheld content.

BULLETS:

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