Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nintendo E3 Conference 2010 Live Impressions

It's E3 once again and seeing as I kind of enjoyed doing it last year, I pulled up Notepad and jotted down some impressions as Nintendo's conference unfolded. If you want to follow along at home, you can watch again here or here. So, without further ado let's witness some megatons being dropped. Or not.
  • 08:48 Just tapped into the GameSpot live feed a few minutes ago. I'm rocking a cup of Twinings green tea with pineapple and grapefruit and I just got some hastily-ordered Microsoft points in the post to take advantage of the XBLA sales this week. Nothing you do can bring me down now, Cammie.
  • 08:52 People are still trickling in, taking their seats. It looks like they're cycling through trivia questions on the three big screens in front of the audience.
  • 08:55 That looks like a Mario Kart 64 question. Definitely Nintendo trivia then.
  • 08:57 Yay for generic indie music!
  • 08:59 Nintendo logos on the screens. Shit's about to get real!
  • 09:01 Countdown!
  • 09:01 Reggie!
  • 09:03 Zelda!! Cel-shaded adult link. Otherwise, it looks a lot like Twilight Princess in terms of style.
  • 09:06 Miyamoto sporting the old master sword and shield combo. The game's sounding worryingly on-rails at the moment.
  • 09:07 Miyamoto bursts out of the backstage like a boss.
  • 09:08 Sword control doesn't exactly seem 1:1, Shiggy.
  • 09:10 Shiggy's not doing too well with those octoroks.
  • 09:11 Okay, so it looks like he's moving Link with the analogue stick. Phew!
  • 09:12 Item selection looks pointer-based, less fumbling through menus is always welcomed.
  • 09:13 No pointer controls for the bow and arrow. Too bad, I thought they worked really well in TP. Plus, Miyamoto's making some really weird noises.
  • 09:14 He seems like he's really having fun though. Nice to see.
  • 09:15 The Motion Plus based aiming looks kind of janky here. Shiggy and Bill Trinen are claiming wireless interference.
  • 09:16 Shiggy's flying a beetle. Hopefully it's easier to control than that damn pointer-controlled bird section in TP.
  • 09:17 A whip! Eat that Igarashi! Looks cool.
  • 09:18 Looks like Bill and Shiggy are abandoning the demo.
  • 09:19 Next year for Zelda. Boo.
  • 09:20 A pretty cool gameplay trailer. Is that some skydiving I see? Transporting a bomb with the beetle item brings back memories of PD's CamSpy. I approve.
  • 09:21 Reggie's going on about sports games.
  • 09:22 A new Mario sports game. Looks like volleyball.
  • 09:22 Nope. Basketball and hockey too.
  • 09:23 Mario sports mix. Looks neat. A multi sports Mario game just seems more appealing than a single one to me for some reason.
  • 09:24 Sales talk. Using that Wii lifestyle shot to refer to casual Wii players makes me laugh for some reason.
  • 09:25 Oh, those lifestyle shots are are as hilariously lame as ever.
  • 09:25 A new "bridge" title. Hmm.
  • 09:26 So much fun! So this is Wii Party I guess.
  • 09:27 Yep. How is this in any way a "bridge" game, Reggie?
  • 09:27 Another Just Dance? I'd rather not.
  • 09:28 Dance crew face-offs! Finally.
  • 09:28 That guy wooing needs a slap.
More live blogging and a little analysis after the jump.

  • 09:29 Golden Sun Dark Dawn incoming, and I still haven't checked this series out. Definitely looks like a DS RPG.
  • 09:31 GoldenEye for Wii. It's the trailer that leaked yesterday.
  • 09:31 That cheer is still hilarious. "Oh my God! Yes!" I love how the focus group are loosing their shit in anticipation, before the guy even announces the new game.
  • 09:32 It's hard to tell if this is a genuine remake or if they're trying to con us by focusing on areas that are modelled on the movie's sets and also appeared in the N64 game.
  • 09:33 Epic Mickey incoming. Never got into Disney in a big way, not really too hyped up for this.
  • 09:34 "Disney Epic Disney" Yo dawg, I heard you like...
  • 09:35 Gameplay footage. Graphical style looks kind of Kingdom Hearts-ish.
  • 09:38 Restore or erase the world with paint or thinner. Play-style matters (TM).
  • 09:39 A Steamboat Willie side scrolling stage. Sweet!
  • 09:41 Sakurai? Could Kirby finally see the light of day.
  • 09:41 He's on screen. Kirby's worked his way into Reggie's hardened gamer heart. Aww!
  • 09:42 Kirby Knitting confirmed.
  • 09:42 No. It's Kirby's Epic Yarn. A new 2D platformer, love the art style.
  • 09:43 This looks awesome. The fabric-based world and Kirby's interaction with it remind me of Paper Mario. Oh, Paper Mario sequel, where are you?
  • 09:45 Dragon Quest talk
  • 09:46 Other M trailer. Looks cool with some great music. I hope they show off some more gameplay on stage. Still not entirely convinced by this.
  • 09:48 The box art. XD Yo dawg, I heard you like Samus...
  • 09:49 Donkey Kong!!! By Retro. It's true.
  • 09:49 Looks a lot like Jungle Best. I approve of the classic music though.
  • 09:50 Is that a pirate ship? Mine carts! Barrel cannons! Yes.
  • 09:51 Donkey Kong Country Returns. Not sure about the name for what looks more like a Jungle Beat / DKC cross-over.
  • 09:51 3DS incoming.
  • 09:52 Oh, man. These photos. Fuck 3D glasses, man!
  • 09:53 Somebody order a pretentious 3DS trailer?
  • 09:54 "This is Nintendo 3DS." Looks like a DS.
  • 09:56 Looks like there's an analogue nub.
  • 09:57 A touch screen. I guess it's backwards compatible then.
  • 09:57 Graphics. Or not - not even a single screen shot. XD
  • 09:59 It takes 3D pictures, interesting.
  • 09:59 3D movies coming to 3DS. No deals to announce yet. Super smart move. They're all the rage with the kids nowadays, I hear.
  • 10:00 Project Sora! It's a 3DS game.
  • 10:01 Holy crap, Casamassina redeemed, It's Kid Icarus.
  • 10:02 Charcters based on their SSBB designs by the looks of things. Looks like there's going to be some on-rails bits. They're giving me a Space Harrier vibe.
  • 10:03 I already wish Pit would shut up.
  • 10:05 Sounds like Wii Connect 24 lives on with the 3DS. Let's see how it works out there.
  • 10:07 Nintendogs...with cats! Skittles! Skittles? Were are you, Skittles?
  • 10:08 Resident Evil on 3DS. Yes, please.
  • 10:09 Ooh burn, MGS. Take that PSP. :)
  • 10:09 Developers responses to 3DS. Inafune says it's powerful. Lots of these seem super-scripted.
  • 10:11 I like to think Reggie was holding their families hostage. Read the lines, bitch!
  • 10:12 Reggie's back.
  • 10:13 Holy shit! An Iwata and Miyamoto comedy skit.
  • 10:14 An Arwing! Believe!
  • 10:15 Reggie laughs at the imminent death of his corporate overlords. He must pay.
  • 10:15 Reggie's shirt is burned to a crisp. So corny. So awesome.
  • 10:16 Whoa, is Reggie going to pull another Oprah?
  • 10:16 No free 3DSs, but everyone gets a free lady. Take that Microsoft.
  • 10:18 That's it! Time to check out those XBLA deals.
A pretty enjoyable show, I think. Kirby looks fantastic and both that and the Donkey Kong game were nice surprises. I wish they'd stuck closer to the look of Rare's DKC games with DKC Retruns, but I'm sure it'll be a solid game with Retro behind it. Hopefully they can get David Wise on board for soundtrack, a critical part of what made those first two games great as far as I'm concerned.

I really liked the art direction they're gone for with Zelda and I'm not really concerned with the controls being as problematic as they were on stage, however I'm a bit disappointed with how safe the whole thing seems. From everything they showed, it looks like another adult Link Ocarina of Time esque adventure with an as-yet-unrevealed new mechanic thrown in to spice things up (what the skydiving bit was hinting at, I think). With the way TP catered to every fanboy demand so thoroughly, I was ready for some batshit-crazy Majora's Mask type madness this time. In the end though, the point of the Zelda games is the dungeon design and I'm sure that'll be as ingenious as ever. Hell, maybe I'm totally off with branding this as conservative. All we really saw was about ten minutes of gameplay footage; I'm just going on the vibe I got from that.

What else? The 3DS looks very promising, as does Kid Icarus: Uprising. Epic Mickey, I'm not convinced about yet. I'm not really into Disney stuff I guess and I don't know enough about Warren Spector's previous stuff to know if he can make good on his claims about the game's characters being influenced by your interaction with the world. (Though there is an unplayed copy of Deus Ex around here somewhere.) And they still haven't shown anything resembling that stunning concept art from a few years ago. If it's a fun platformer, I'll give it a try, but from what's been shown so far, the massive hype remains unjustified for me.

As for
the conference itself, I thought it was professional, well-paced and struck a nice balance between core and casual core stuff. They delivered an almost non-stop stream of new game announcements, including a few genuine surprises without ever resorting to the scripted, cringe-worthy exchanges and feigned enjoyment of Microsoft's event last night. Bravo, Nintendo.

It's also nice to see Nintendo's laser focus on their three or four big, core franchises being shifted significantly this year with new Kirby, Donkey Kong and Kid Icarus outings. It gives me hope of one day seeing that awesome Star Fox revival that has the same care and attention lavished on it as Metroid Prime did. - the one that only exists in my mind. Okay, now I'm really going to check out XBLA. Right after I have another sob about Star Fox.

EDIT: Damn it! I completely forgot about The Last Story and
Xenoblade. Not a peep about them at E3. Hopefully they won't follow the likes of Captain Rainbow, Fatal Frame 4 and Zangeki no Reginleiv in becoming Japan-only titles. As nice as it is to see the likes of Kirby and DK return, I'd love to see Nintendo putting more risky core games out over here. They may well flop, but then again, who would have thought that the likes of Advance Wars would have caught on in the west?

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