E3 2013: How well did Nintendo do?

This was always going to be an understated E3 for Nintendo, they said as much themselves. With 2 new consoles being raved about this year Nintendo chose to be quite and not put on a big show. They warned is not to expect much and they were right, but it wasn’t that bad.

The biggest problem that remains is that the Wii U line up for 2013 is still rather slim. There’s solid first party titles like, Zelda, DK and Mario, and half a dozen decent 2nd/3rd party games, and it’s and it’s fair to say Nintendo did end up coming to E3 with the most exclusive titles, but it is still looking to be a rather barren 2013 filled mostly with games we expected already.

The bright side is that none of the games on display are all good. They’re all exclusive must-own titles worth waiting for: X, Bayonetta, 101 were all very reassuring and Nintendo’s games while lacking in surprise were very promising: Mario Kart Pikmin, DK and Pokemon look to be great evolutions on their past.

Mario 3D world is a different story. A new 3D Mario is always a big deal, and this latest title clearly does not live up to the legacy it is supposed to be following. It’s a glorified version of the 3DS Mario Land game and as such is visually uninteresting and not novel in the slightest. The one bit of good news is the return of Peach . I loved SMB2 (US) and I’m happy to see that idea of the 4 characters return. It’s also not a bad thing that a 3D multiplayer mario is being attempted, and with that in mind the recycling of Mario 3D land is clearly a perfect fit. Multiplayer in a proper ambitious 3D Mario game seems impossible.

Mario 3D will surely be good, there’s not such thing as a bad Mario game, but there’s no escaping the fact it was the most disappointing game on the E3 roster.

What we saw of Zelda was an interesting issue. Windwakers feature was rather lackluster, there are no returning dungeons because we’ve learned they’ve already been used in other Zelda games and ‘A link between Worlds’ wasn’t included in the main presentation at all. It was also a shame it was too early to show us anything on on the new Zelda game for Wii U, but fair enough. Still with 2 Zelda games coming out soon, link was rather neglected.

In fact the 3DS felt rather neglected all around. Quite a few games got left out of the main presentation such as Mario & Luigi Dream Team and Yoshis New Island while some Wii U games like Pikmin 3 and Sonic Lost World weren’t shown in the presentation either: With the competitive nature of E3, at least among fan boys, you can’t help but think that  missing out these titles made Nintendo position look even weaker. As mentioned Nintendo turned up with the most exclusive content, but it’s not easy to notice, and obviously by missing out all those exclusive titles from the key presentation it is easy to see why people may not have noticed. When people don’t think you’re doing much at all missing much, surely it was a stupid move, Bad Nintendo! Bad!

The one thing they did get right was introducing Mega Man to Smash Bros, arguably the best fanboy moment of the whole of E3. The styling of him is perfect in every way. And what about Smash Bros, which I have left out the conversation so far? Well clearly this was a teaser, nothing overly elaborate, not loads of detail,  but it certainly was assuring. Smash Bros is looking great but put it to the back of your mind folks! It’s going to be ages yet, but be very optimistic, Sakurai A.K.A mini-Miyamoto, is on the case!

So…..

Nintendo did get rather lost in the crowd this year, which Nintendo anticipated because it was going to happen with 2 new console announcements. But Nintendo could have put on a better presentation at virtually no extra cost, they aren’t very good at selling themselves on any kind of budget.

Still, what shone through more than anything was that Nintendo is an Island unto its-self. They aren’t going to be bullied by the waves in the market and media opinions, afterall it’s also clear they are no corporate monster. Stood next to the competition they make Sony and Microsoft look like bulldozing, money grabbing soul-less machines who have totally forgotten about gaming. Everyone at Nintendo seems to being doing what they want and what they love, almost just for the sake of it, and that’s what I love, creative people with a free rein hardly phased by market trends and cynical ploys to monetize things further. It’s Willy Wonka’s gaming factory! And people want Kraft to buy them out?! Nintendo absolutely proved why their attitude and ambitions is right and worth maintaining. Go 3rd party? You philistine!

So to wrap things up, Nintendo could have put on a better show we could have done with a few more surprises but they pulled it off better than they have done in a long time. The future does look brighter, every game appears to be a clear winner, and they have also done more to restore the brand than could have been anticipated. Nintendo should be cautiously optimistic.

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