Game Whispering:Nintendo’s E3 press conference

____ So by this point you’ve probably already read just about every game journalist on the webs E3 press conference impressions, so I’m probably a little late on this but I like to take my time on these things. Nintendo had an interesting showing at E3 this year to say the least — underwhelming may be a better term. Despite announcing two new peripherals which will ultimately give hardcore Wii gamers some of the solutions they have wanted since the systems launch, Nintendo still seemed to show a complete lack of an awareness to their hardcore crowd. Read on to see how I break it down.

____ Lets start with “WiiSpeak”, Nintendo’s new voice chat solution. Voice chat is something that hardcore Wii gamers have been clamouring for for nearly two years now and Nintendo is finally bringing it, albeit in a bit of an unconventional way. WiiSpeak as you’ve probably already seen is actually a microphone peripheral that you place on top of your television… Nintendo is apparently banking on the fact that you won’t mind crowding your TV set with more stuff sticking off the top. So we have a major hardcore solution, something gamers like me have wanted for a long time…. so why do I feel so underwhelmed. The answer is simple, it was in the way it was presented to us. The new Peripheral was shown in action with the newly announced “Animal Crossing: City Folk”, Nintendo’s so called “hardcore” game of the show. Lets get one thing straight, Animal Crossing is a casual title whether Nintendo wants to admit it or not. And second off, it is essentially the same game we have been playing on our DS and GameCube’s for years. So as a flagship title for their new peripheral I think it was a very bad choice, they should have shown it in the way we want to see it in action, in an online multiplayer centric game like Mario Kart or an FPS title.

____ So what about their other hardcore solution, Wii MotionPlus as they are calling it. Well as you know by now it is a peripheral that finally gives the Wii the 1:1 motion sensing technology we thought it was going to have when it launched. All together a really cool peripheral which is probably going to work really well but yet it still had a very weak showing at the conference. Primarily due to the same reason that WiiSpeak underwhelmed, it was only shown with casual application. They demoed their new device with the sequel to Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort. Nintendo had a real opportunity to wow hardcore gamers with Wii MotionPlus since the typical hardcore Wii gamer has been thinking of applications of 1:1 motion technology since the Wii Remote was announced at TGS so many years ago. They could have shown us a new Zelda title with 1:1 sword motions, or even a tech demo just to wet the appetite of Wii gamers but instead they stuck to their casual fare, which honestly felt a bit insulting.

____ It’s almost as if Nintendo was showing us the things we’ve been saying they needed for months now and acting like it was alll their idea as a new way of “expanding the market”, the whole thing was rather frustrating… not to mention Reggie calling himself the Reginator felt a bit akward. Nintendo seems to think the fleeting mention of a DS GTA game and a new AC game was enough to satisfy the hungry hardcore Wii gamer but they were wrong. One person at Nintendo who seemed to realize the tension, Shigeru Miyamoto. Nintendo’s star game designer was throwing a bag full of bones at the hardcore audience in his many post E3 interviews. In these interviews he confirmed a new Wii Zelda, Pikmin 3, and even mentioned that the Mario Galaxy team is hard at work again. His Pikmin 3 announcement was even done without the rest of the companies prior knowledge — it seems we the hardcore Wii gamers have a friend at Nintendo after all.

____ So  what is Nintendo’s position on what many feel was a very weak E3 showing? Well they seem to think that E3 is no longer the vehicle for which to bring the hardcore gamer it’s news anymore. A notion that makes a lot of sense since we all know that so many casual gamers are watching live feeds of industry press conferences, and yes that was sarcasm. Honestly though, E3 downsizing should not be their only reason for an incredibly weak showing not only in their press conference but also an incredibly weak showing at their booth in terms of what games they were playing. Maybe we’ll get lucky and all the games we were hoping to see like Kid Icarus and Disaster will all be shown at a private press event like Nintendo has done in the past.

____If anything surprised me about E3 it was how strong the 3rd party Wii showings were, This is possibly the only time in my history of buying Nintendo games that I am more excited about 3rd party efforts than Nintendo titles. For instance, though it wasn’t playable on the show floor, High Voltage Software’s “The Conduit” was turning the collective heads of the gaming press all week. The game is boasting outstanding visuals with effects typically only seen on the 360 and PS3 as well as supposedly stellar and completely customizable Wii centric controls. Even more, HVS has confirmed that it is working to include WiiSpeak support for it’s 16 player online multiplayer mode… maybe Nintendo should have asked HVS to demo this at their press conference as it is the hardcore fare that people were looking for. Even companies like THQ who typically are know for quick licensed products are really representing on Wii with games like De Blob and The Rainbow Studios developed Deadly Creatures, they are definitely on my good side now.

____ So what is the disenfranchised hardcore Wii gamer to do, well honestly you cant do much for now. Look forward to the 3rd party gems coming in the next year and hope that Nintendo decides to give us something in the form of a private press event of maybe even something at Leipzig or E for All. For the time being you can always just check out my list of Wii gems that you may have missed, a shameless plug I know.

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