E3: How Nintendo didn’t screw up a sure thing

Almost a week ago, in my pre-E3 ramblings, I wrote an entry for Nintendo called How Nintendo could screw up a sure thing. The premise was that with the most mysterious new hardware, it was almost guaranteed to win the most mindshare at E3. So I outlined the various ways it could go wrong.

Luckily, that didn’t happen. They made a strong showing for first-party on 3DS, reminded us of some third-party 3DS software, and then went straight into Project Cafe. To keep myself honest, here’s what I said last week about what could go wrong:

Nintendo needs to show off Project Cafe in several ways: what makes it unique, how it can be used for cross-platform ports, why you’d want to play said ports on the system, and what first-party software is coming down the pike. That means the presentation is going to be a juggling act, and it’s going to be hard to give every aspect of the system its due.

Today I was happy to see that they pulled it off with the Wii U. Unique? Check. Cross-platform ports? Check. Good reason to go for their version? Check. First-party software? Well, semi-check. Smash Bros is always a good tease, and they hinted at Zelda and Pikmin, but I think they’ll wait until this fall to show off specific software plans.

Of course, Reggie still came off as a cheesy marketer, but they were wise enough to keep his involvement to a minimum and mostly let the videos speak for themselves. Can’t win them all. I give Nintendo a solid A-.

I still have my reservations. I’m not sure if their online connectivity features will be up to their competitors’ standards, and the inclusion of some kind of Achievement/Trophy system is a must for this generation. And the name is truly, honestly, just terrible in every way. But they kicked this off right with a device that seems able to port the heavy-hitter franchises with added functionality, and inspire creativity. So far the hands-on are positive, so that’s a good sign.

Also, I watched that teaser video for Paper Mario 3DS, and that may be tied with Super Mario 3DS for my most anticipated game on the platform. I love both of those sub-series.

  • I got the eShop update last night, and sprung on a few pieces of DSiWare I had been thinking about for a long time. Specifically, I got March of the Minis, Dragon Quest Wars, and Mario Land on VC. That easter egg is a cute trick, and the game holds up pretty well. Not perfectly, but well enough. I only regretted that I couldn’t get Link’s Awakening, one of my favorite Game Boy games of all time.
  • Well, what do you know? Link’s Awakening! I downloaded it immediately, and even watching the “cinematic” intro took me back to a comfortable retro place. Just a wonderful game all around. I’ve already sped through the first dungeon. I must’ve played this a dozen times when I was a kid.
  • Hang gliders and underwater segments? Alright Nintendo. You’re the boss. If you can recapture Mario 64, I’ll gladly buy another installment. The 3DS video (available through the eShop, so you can see it in 3D) does a nice job of showing this off.
  • Speaking of impressive videos: hells yes.
  • I honestly just can’t care about Kid Icarus.
  • Here’s the big announcement, along with some specs, franchise support, and third-party exclusives. Not that Ubisoft launch exclusives are surprising or exciting. They sort of jump on everything. At any rate, I liked Ken Levine’s comment during the developer talks video, where he mentioned taking a hardcore console game to bed with you through the device. That’s exactly what I was thinking. Married men represent!
  • And I did the wrap-up.
  • As a fan of Infamous and Insomniac and Capcom: what a weird crossover.
  • Really scraping the bottom of the barrel on war-based licenses, huh? I wonder if they’ll use voice recognition for a Congressional inquiry bonus stage.
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