I'm not going to lie, after the Wii, Nintendo has to prove something to me. I know they don't care, they can package old hardware and mini games and the casual market will buy it tens of millions of times over, making me and the "hardcore" market utterly irrelevant. But in a fantasy land where my $400 actually matters, Nintendo has some making up to do.
This E3 did not give me anything to suggest they're interested in winning me back. A new goofy controller, misguided interests, and more mini games. Nintendo seems to think that video gaming is five adults sitting on a couch having a real life Mario party. And one of us gets to put down jumping platforms for the others! Doesn't that sound like fun? Well, not for me! I have friends, fear not. I'm not lonely. But I don't hand out Wiimotes at the door when my friends come over. Maybe I'm weird. Maybe everyone invites people over to play the latest Luigi's Mansion mini game. I play online, and occasionally with my brother or a friend. But I wouldn't buy a console based on it. I was just beginning to see myself using their tablet controller, and they seemed to make it out to be the secondary control option, with the old Wiimote and Nunchuck combo being the primary on most of their E3 demos.
The mini map and inventory use of the second screen seem perfect. But the gimmicky panoramic functions and the opportunity to play dungeon master for everyone else's fun doesn't seem very enticing to me. But whatever. A console is about games. With good games, I'd overlook any weird notions they have. So lemme see the games. I'm sure they're working on a new Mario, and not a sidescrolling New Super Mario Brothers, a real 3D Mario. Super Mario Galaxy 3, or whatever it's going to be. I'm sure there's a new Zelda in the works. Donkey Kong, Star Fox, Metroid. Even if it's just a teaser trailer for each, just show us something to entice us. Let us know that there are great games coming beyond the launch. Here we go, E3 2012. Oh what's that? No games? NintendoLand you say? Is that like a new Smash Brothers? What? It's an amusement park, but a game. Are you fucking serious? Get out of my office. You're fired.
That was the single worst E3 showing I think I've ever seen. And that's saying something. Sony spent forty minutes telling me about a Harry Potter book you play/read with a Playstation Move. And you know what? I'd buy ten of them before I give two shits about the Miiverse. This was supposed to be the Wii U's coming out party. I don't think it can be stressed enough that this console is being released in JUST A FEW MONTHS. The Durango has a better launch line up, and that console hasn't even been announced. We know everything we know from leaked court hearings.
The 3DS gets a new Paper Mario game and a full Luigi's Mansion game. Those would be AAA launch titles for the Wii U. Get your priorities straight Nintendo. A new next gen console launching is a bigger deal than a years old handheld. And while it's great the 3DS is getting those games, Pikmin 3 won't move units. Pikmin was a great but niche title. And sadly, Pikmin 3 looks just like Pikmin 2 which looked just like Pikmin 3. Newer graphics and a new species of Pikmin isn't innovation.
And I'm gonna need a real online mode. Not that weird code-based thing the Wii had. Or the limited handheld versions of online play. I'm talking full on. It'd be great if it was free, with a feature filled subscription based Pro version for those who want it. But anything is better than nothing. Thankfully, they talked about Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and a bunch of other app based features which suggests some of the online features of the other two consoles, but they followed that up with a few worrying comments. Such as "We are aggressively pursuing the realization of an online system where vulgarity and unpleasantness are not allowed." Their words, not mine. I love the idea of a fantasy land where I don't have to listen to homophobic, racist, moronic kids singing into their microphones everytime I play an online game, but the idea of moderators listening in or a strict no cursing policy does not sound like an improvement. Nintendo is a family company, but we are not all kids. So while you reserve the right to block games like The Binding of Isaac due to unsavory material, I'd reserve the right not to be censored by some old fuddy duddy who seems to live in a childlike state of Willy Wonka euphoria. Sorry Miyamoto, you're great and all, but not all of us live in that world. Your youthful wonder has been the heart and soul of Nintendo, but your company is years behind at this point. And sadly, nothing I've seen yet suggests that will change. Everything shown of the Wii U suggests it is not a next gen console. It is a this gen console, and that the Wii was a last gen console (which is a common criticism). And if the Wii U had launched in 2006, maybe it would have been great. But in two years when the Durango and Orbis launch, will Nintendo once again be a full generation behind? The old adage is "Gameplay, not graphics" or something like that. But the technology race has never been run as fast as it is today. And the Wii burned me. And I'm sure there are a lot of skeptics who have the same burn-scars as me, and are looking at the Wii U like an angry badger with a gold coin in it's mouth. I'm curious and I want to reach out and grab it, but I'm keeping my distance until I know it's safe. Or whatever. I was never good at metaphors.
But, I can probably go fuck myself, and the Wii U will target dads and moms and grandparents, like the DS and Wii did, and they'll sell a hundred million units and they'll swim through a Scrooge McDuck-esque pool of cash. And I can go protest, and no one will hear me or care. But again, if we pretend my $400 means something, they can have it. They just have to show me something.