Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Nintendo - Getting Better..But...

Nintendo had quite a falling out after last year's E3. It seemed that the runaway mainstream success of the Wii made them lose touch with their core audience, the gamers who supported them through thick and INCREDIBLY thin. The console as a whole has been very divisive for quite some time, causing a rift between all the new adopters, and the hardcore fans who want actual games. It's almost as if Nintendo was trying to deliver at first, but once they realized people were content to screw around with Wii Sports for hours on end, they stopped trying.


Now, the system is caught in a pattern of streaming garbage, with very few actual gems worth sticking your hands in the muck for. Sega's been trying hard since this year began to bring gamers back to the fold with excellent gems like MadWorld and it seems as if Nintendo's taken notice. Sure the new people are great, but what about those of us who've been around since '86?

This must be the first wave of appealing to us. Not half bad, guys..

If there's anything Nintendo can do that no other company can, it's extend a franchise...to death. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other company whose strategy revolves around reinventing the SAME dozen characters ad nauseam, but somehow...it's usually fresh. And as much as I complain, I want to play a new Mario. A 4-player reimagining of the DS hit New Super Mario Bros. doesn't sound bad to me..

Nor does a sequel to The Best Looking Wii Game(tm); Mario Galaxy 2. Is that YOSHI?!

If anyone'd ever told me Team Ninja was making a Wii game, I would've laughed harder than the judge at Vanilla Ice's infringement trial. I mean, it's a Wii! TN is renowned for being graphical snobs. The house that Itagaki built is set on proving everyone wrong though with this new title, and even more unbelievable, it's...a Metroid game?

(I wonder if there'll be boob physics...you know you're wondering too. C'mon. It's Team Ninja we're talking about here.)

Third parties are getting in on things too, and I'll be damned if EA Redwood (now named Visceral Games) isn't trying to one-up Nintendo for Best Looking Wii game with their new game Dead Space: Extraction, a rail shooter/exploration game in the vein of RE: Umbrella Chronicles..

An excellent looking 2D brawler/platformer in the form of Muramasa: The Demon Blade

...and a reinvention of the first Silent Hill in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. I'm honestly on the fence about this one, what with there being news about the removal of combat, and tinkering with some story elements, but it looks like it's coming along nicely.

Interested in the DS titles incoming? Links:

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 days

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story

Golden Sun DS

Other than these great announcements (which admittedly, took some time to get rolling), the majority of the show had me scratching my head. Yes, Wii Fit was a hit, but do we really need another one? Yes Nintendo, I'm glad you want to bring the family together, but Mario alone is enough. With all the accessories, add-ons, minigame compilations on the way in the form of another Wii Sports, exercise games, and THIS inexplicable thing:

(Are you serious?)

I'm really beginning to wonder whether or not Nintendo's tired of making real games, and just wants to settle into the low-risk, low-effort route of fad programming. I rarely touch my Wii as it is, and can barely look at it as a gaming platform the way I do my 360 and PS3. I wonder if this is what Nintendo really wants for us, or if they've simply become blind with success. It's no wonder the President of the company came out and said high definition wasn't a priority unless deemed necessary. If the system is going to do little other than calculate your health and distract you with fluff, why does it need to be in a higher resolution?

Also, with Microsoft and Sony busting out with their own takes on motion-based gameplay, how will they continue to compete? They're no longer the lowest price point, and their number one gimmick is about to broaden it's horizons. Nintendo's complacency is going to need a boot in the ass by 2010, and they'll have to push things in the right direction.

This year was a bit hopeful, but still reeks of the same kind of negligence. I have a feeling after this little spark, we'll be in for another drought on this console.

I'll keep my fingers crossed.

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