Nintendo Comes Up Short

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Every year around this time the E3 Media and Business Summit, formerly known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo and widely just called E3, is held and the biggest video game companies are the center of attention as they announce their big plans for the coming year. This is the time when news usually is announced for a new system or a huge game franchise newest addition.

As a Nintendo fan for a long time I have come to not expect much out of the big N, as they traditionally make their biggest news first at a similar expo in Japan at a later time. However, due to a freak accident at work causing a flooding and electrical failure thus my having an unexpected day off, I watched Nintendo's press conference live on G4 Tuesday afternoon. I am in the midst of digging into games like Mario Kart Wii and Super Smash Brothers on the Wii and Legend of Zelda - Phantom Hourglass on DS so I am not exactly starving for a great new game release (I also plan on going back to finish Super Mario Galaxy with Luigi at some point as well - apparently there is a better ending). But I would be lying if I said I don't read some blogs out there with their hopes and expectations from Nintendo. Hopes of a new Zelda, Mario or Metroid were reaches (considering the last Zelda and Metroid games aren't that old). Perhaps a new Star Fox game would be announced, or maybe even the return of Pit in a new Kid Icarus game.

Instead Nintendo announced a new snow boarding game branded with Sean White's name which makes use of the Wii balance board. Meh.

A new Animal Crossing game for Wii? Better. Not a slam dunk. Although the features of the new WiiSpeak microphone have future possibilities for online play.

Also demonstrated for the public was the new Wiimote attachment that creates more realistic motion simulation and allows for more realistic game play. The game was demonstrated with the sequel to the Wii's pack in game, Wii Sports. That's right folks, watch for Wii Sports Resort! Games include sword fighting, log chopping and dog frisbee. Sword fighting looks cool, but for how long? The game will come with the MotionPlus Wiimote attachment so you can be sure that Wii Sports Resort will sell well, right?

The Nintendo DS will continue to be a major focus for the company as it continues to dominate the video game market, expanding more and more to female gamers who make up nearly 50% of the DS' market now. The addition of an exclusive Grand Theft Auto game though may help male gamers pick up steam in the DS world.

There were some other small announcements, such as Spores: Creatures, and another announcement about the latest Pokemon games. The DS is being researched for everyday functions, including receiving updated boxscores at a baseball game and maybe even ordering food at the ballpark and having it delivered! But as bland as all of this sounds, it gets worse...

No new Zelda game.

No new Metroid game.

No new Mario game.

Not even a Star Fox, Kid Icarus, or Kirby.

Instead, this...

This is a live demonstration for WiiMusic, the latest game developed by Shigeru Miyamoto. To me it seems like a dumbed down version of Rock Band. It seems as though this should be a WiiWare download. To save this demo for last in your biggest North American press conference of the year is absurd. Embarrassing. Sure, I'd like to try it out but this is a let down.

On the other hand though I am sure it will do well as we should remember the Wii's target audience; the young and the untraditional gamer. Plus if no big announcements were made here for the real key franchises in Nintendo's army, then next year should be a great one!

NOTE: For all kinds of videos and reviews and more from the 2008 E3 (including the Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony press conferences), go here.

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