Sunday, July 27, 2024

E3 08: Nintendo Press Conference

By Tyler Barber

Zzzzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzzzz. No, seriously: Zzzzzzzzzzz. I slept through Nintendo's press conference. Or as I like to say: "Min-tendo," because all they make now are minigames. I know that there's already a ton of backlash from Nintendo's showing at E3, and for that I almost feel like I should be the contrary voice. Even after the conference, when the show-floor opened up, I walked into Nintendo's booth to give them a chance, and walked right back out. There was nothing there for me. Of everything they announced -- known quantities like Animal Crossing City Folk, Shaun White's Snowboarding (using the Wii Fit balance board), and the actually good looking first-person-shooter The Conduit -- nothing spoke to me. It's clear that Nintendo is abandoning the "hardcore" gamer for the more lucrative alpha-mom and "casual gamer."

I don't intend to sound like a whining gaming nerd, but when their biggest announcement, Wii Music, was shown I almost puked and swallowed in my mouth. That game looks re-fucking-dick-ulous. It's basically a pantomime music game (DO NOT think: Guitar Hero, Rock Band) that emits horrible atonal music while the player flails around with imaginary instruments. They did say that this game was a hit in the office for four- to six-year-olds, but seriously, if you want to get that audience don't waste my time at 8:30 a.m. I spent the previous night hanging out with grown-up gamers playing grown-up games. Wii Music easily wins the most embarrassing moment of E3 '08.

Echoing the success of Wii Play (the collection of minigames bundled with a Wiimote), Nintendo announced its new controller cash-in with their new one-to-one Motion Plus controller add-on. The Motion Plus allows developers to make games that track the full 3D movement of the Wiimote, instead of what we have now which is up/down, side-to-side (including diagonals) and acceleration inputs. This is great for that Lightsaber game we all want, but it comes at the cost of splitting the market with those who have the add-on and those who don't. The Motion Plus controller will ship with Wii Sports Resort, which will use the add-on in minigames like Fencing and Jet-Skiing.

All I can say is Nintendo is the ubiquitous game maker. It's just a shame they're not making games for those who made them so.


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