Monday, June 4, 2012

Nintendo Direct- Nintendo has grown up

Create something unique. It's the words Nintendo lives by, and it's why I like them so much. They don't concern themselves with what will sell as much as other companies do. They don't find something that works and stick to it. They're always searching for a way to bring a unique experience to gamers. Of course, it doesn't always work out, but when they do something wrong I feel like they genuinely thought it would be beneficial to us. Out of the Big 3, they're the company that looks out for gamers and tries to make them happy, rather than look out for themselves. They've even looking through people's reactions to the conference to see what the consensus is. And before E3 has even started, their Nintendo Direct conference has shown us just how much they've grown.

In the past, Nintendo's idea of an online service that benefitted everyone was a service that was safe, and kept people away from the dangers of the Internet. As well all know, this wasn't the way to approach it. Now they've changed their approach, and realise that it's our interactions with other people that make for some of the most enjoyable gaming experiences. The online features of the Wii U are basically a huge gathering point, where people can connect with one another through a mutual enjoyment of gaming. You can send a message out to random people online, or to your friends on there phone in a level of interactivity between different platforms that is truly something else. Even while playing a singleplayer game you'll feel like you're playing with others, in a form of quasi-co-op format. While messages popping up would be a nuisance in some games, such as survival horror games, where immersion is key to enjoyment, I'd imagine there's a way to turn it off. Nintendo has given us a level of freedom online that they've never allowed before, showing just how far they've come in a few years. Though I'm sure people are going to abuse this freedom, with griefing attempts like drawing pictures of phalluses and spoiling plot points, but supposedly this will be prevented somehow, though I'm not sure how exactly it will work. This is also true of being able to move what you're viewing on the web browser (WHICH APPEARS TO SUPPORT FLASH :D) from the controller to the screen. I'm tempted to grab a second GamePad while my sister is playing games and drag up scenes from horror movies. Though that may just be me. One thing I did think was actually a great marketing tactic in disguise is how you can see messages from people playing games you don't own, obviously to encourage you to buy it or look into it some more. I'm really interested to see what becomes of this attempt to make gaming a much bigger social medium.

The way they showed this system in action was really well done I thought. They've realised that game promo videos like this one are often cheesy and unbelievable, so they took that to the extreme and made a melodramatic video that even seemed self aware at points, which obviously didn't take itself too seriously. And it worked. I was actually laughing at points, and Non-Specific Action Figure is kind of becoming a meme, albeit a forced one.

Um, not sure where to go to from here, but there's two more things to discuss.
First, the Wii U Pro Controller.
Now, people are quick to jump to say it's an 'obvious' rip off of the 360 controller, but let's look at things differently.

Now, the shape is most certainly similar but really, it's not a unique shape, all controllers are similarly shaped. And... that's basically where the similarities end. I mean, the buttons are of a totally different make (thank god it doesn't have a D-pad like the 360, it was awful), and the layout is mostly different. I mean, function buttons like start and select are always in the middle of the controller, the triggers are always at the top back of the controller, the layout of the right side of the controller is different- what, are you going to say they copied the "ABXY" buttons? Google a SNES, you might be too young to remember it. But the D-Pad and left analogue stick are in the same positions? You mean, like this controller as well?

Pretty sure this controller has that layout too:

So, um... you were saying? It's not a unique layout, and it's not one Nintendo hasn't done before. It's not like the 360 controller had a unique shape like the N64 or Gamecube controllers. If it had, and Nintendo copied that, well then you'd have a case, but... it's just a normal controller. The anti-Nintendo brigade seem to oh so easily forget the times Microsoft and Sony have copied Nintendo. Move/Kinnect, trying to replicate the Wii U controller with a PS3 + Vita (on that note, watch the embedded video from 10:06-10:20 for what I saw as a subtle dig at/rebuttal of this), or in Microsoft's case coming out with a tablet/phone to stream games to. Nothing suss! Not to mention the fact it means you essentially have to buy to consoles to achieve this functionality, while with the Wii U you only need the console and a controller (though to be fair we don't know how much either of these will cost yet).

And the final thing I wanted to bring up was the potential hints at new games and features brought up in the trailer.
Now, you'll see that when the Miiverse is shown, there are icons that represent games. Here is what they most likely represent. Most of them are pretty obvious.
Wii Fit silhouette- Wii Fit (duh)
DK- New Donkey Kong Country?
Gun- Zombie game from the video (You can see it when the guy is looking for answers online)
Hylian Shield- The Zelda game we keep seeing in Wii U
Mario w/ steering wheel- Mario Kart
Mario's face- Mario platformer
Samus- A Metroid game, potentially the Metroid Prime with online multiplayer that is rumoured. Also, one of the players messaging about the game in the video says something along the lines of "Back. He's baaaaaack." It's most probably referring to Ridley, although maybe referring to Metroid Prime/Dark Samus, as I believe it is a 'he'.
Boo- At first I thought it might have been Luigi's Mansion 2, but it's given the name Chase in the video, and one of the Miis playing it says up to 5 people can play. Assuming he's referring to the game and not the Wii U in general, I'd say this is pre-installed software that's some sort of party game. The players also mention 'hats' and scaring their parents, so maybe some lite-horror a la Luigi's Mansion? No idea what the hats is referring to, maybe dressing up Boos or something.
Yoshi- New Yoshi's Story/Island?
Star- Something Mario related. I'd say a new Galaxy game, but the main starts look a bit different in that IIRC, and they'd probably choose something more iconic to represent it, like a Luma.

So yeah, that's what we got out of Nintendo's conference before E3 has even started, so I'm eager to see just what they hold in store for us.

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