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E3 2008: Nintendo makes laughable attempt to please “core” gamers

Chi Kong Lui's picture

Animal Crossing City Folk Screenshot 

At E3 2008, Nintendo representative Reggie Fils Amie had this to say about lack of enthusiasm from hardcore gamers regarding Nintendo's upcoming games during a G4 interview:

"How could you feel left out? The Animal Crossing that we've been hearing about that people wanted," he said. "Fully connected to the Internet, go to other people's towns. Plus as I said, Grand Theft Auto on the DS. How do you feel left out with those types of announcements?

"Make no mistake, Mr. Iwata said quite clearly: Mario teams, Zelda teams are working, they're bringing product out for Wii this generation," he added. "We're going to continue to bring all our best franchises to both of our key platforms and continue driving that experience both core as well as brand new consumers."

With all due respect to Mr. Fils Amie, when you trumpet Animal Crossing—a game about collecting furniture to decorate your house and writing letters to other cutesy animals in the town—as your shining example of what "core" gamers are expecting, what we have is a failure to communicate. Here's a small sample of some of the things that appeal to us "core" gamers:

  • Breathtaking visuals that melt our eyes and weep for joy at the same time.
  • Intelligent and kick-ass gameplay that sucks us deeper into the game.
  • Content that pushes boundaries and elevates videogames in pop-culture.
  • Cool new character IPs that excites and gets our gaming juices going.
Reggie Fils Aime

To cite Animal Crossing and dangle perhaps yet another tired Mario or Zelda game, is flat out insulting, but I think Reggie isn't stupid and he's well aware of this. He's just being a good marketing soldier and using smoke and mirrors to create an illusion that the underpowered Wii can even deliver an experience "core" gamers expect and that Nintendo actually cares about anything other than the casual market. Whatever your smokin' Reggie, I'd like some of that.

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It's da bomb

I think that when people start using words like 'hardcore', 'kick-ass' and 'cool' then what we have here is a failure to understand that games are actually about having fun. Nintendo know this and that's why they're selling more consoles worldwide than anyone else.

'Eye-melting' visuals really have very little to do with the experience of gaming. They are attractive in a machismo 'my hardware is better than your hardware and now don't you wish *you* had a HDTV screen too' kind of way, but the truth is you don't really get a great feel for how good a game looks or doesn't look while you're playing it anyway. Only when you watch someone else playing it. Visuals need to be attractive and they need to serve the game and that's pretty much it.

You have a very odd idea of what a 'game fan' is, as opposed to 'technology fan' or someone who just wants to be seen as playing something cool. The Wii demonstrably has as much power as a games console currently needs to be the market leader. Underpowered? I don't think so.

Mario and Zelda tired? Whatever *you're* smoking you can keep.

Having said that I don't think this marketing guy is fully up to speed on his companies' strategy.

re. Paul Duggan

Paul Duggan,

I think to raise some good comment to Chi's blog, even though you are off base attacking Chi, simply because you have not read the incredibly amount of reviews, posts, and blogs he written that show he just doesn't play games to be "cool."

Also, all your comments make sense in theory, as I used them to defend the Wii when it was first announced. My question to you is where are all the great games? I see Mario, Zelda, Metroid and No More Heroes. (I guess you can add in Brawl) everything else is a mix of party games, ports and shovelware.

So in two years, the Wii only has 5 games of real worth. Taking a look at Metacritic, this is a system which has MLB power Pros, Blast Works, and a Pinball game in the 10-20 slots. I think you would be hard pressed to find any long-time gamer who is interested in those games. But my sister, who before the Wii believed videogames were the embodiment of all that's evil, bought Power Pros b/c it let her swing her remote.

No one is denying the the Wii is a incredible success. It has reached many new gamers and brought in people you never thought would be interested. It is increasing the popularity of videogames. The only problem is that few of their games appeal to the "experienced" (since you don't like the term hardcore) gamer.

I'm with Chi. I want to see great graphics, I want to see new IP's, I want to see intelligent content that push the limits on videogames as art, and I want top see new IP's. I don't want to play a bunch of mediocre party games, with 5-6 months between every high quality release.

Are you out of your mind?

Are you out of your mind? Zelda... Mario tired? Arguably the best or near best video game franchises -ever-? Insulting? Please, you have no clue... Mr. Iwata... take your time; we will wait.

Chi's top criteria is

Chi's top criteria is "eye-melting" graphics and really the same old formula, regardless of his other criterias of pop-culture or original IP because the most innovative and original has been coming from only one console. The eye candy and rehash of gameplay are with the other "eye-melting" graphic consoles. As for "core" gamers...that may need to be redefined....core gamers are not the basement dwelling fps players or WOW lost boys anymore. The massive growth of the industry and growing demographics need to be represented and addressed as the core gamers. Any game company that just make games towards the old definition of the "core" gamers will go out of business.

Breathtaking visuals that

Breathtaking visuals that melt our eyes and weep for joy at the same time.
Intelligent and kick-ass gameplay that sucks us deeper into the game.
Content that pushes boundaries and elevates videogames in pop-culture.
Cool new character IPs that excites and gets our gaming juices going. ?????

This sounds nice and all. However, with this description I'm having a hard time thinking of 1 recent game that meets half of this criteria. Visuals seem to be the only constant that progress. One of the most stunning looking games, Crysis for PC, is nothing more than an overhyped tech demo, and there are probably more people playing chess on yahoo games than Crysis.

As for Nintendo, I respect them for taking a different route. Even though I don't own a Wii, and probably never will, at lesat there is an alternative to the same old over hyped eye melting mega title that never lives up to expectations because it's just boring to play.

I'm really just bashing the industry here, rather than this blog. It just seems that almost all developers follow the McDonald's business model, and pump out titles as quickly as possible with the bottom line having priority rather than any of the points mentioned that makes a great game. Maybe this experienced gamer is just growing to old.....

Wich generation has core games?

Saying that the Wii is too underpowered to provide core games is closing your eyes to gaming. The last generation had great core games: GoW 2, GT, GTA, MGS, BG&E, TLoZ:WW, Socom, CoD 2... Hell, even the NES and the Atari had core games (try playing Megaman 2).
The Wii can have core games (like Dead Rising, Conduit, CoD5 and TLoZ, all in development), but third parties and Nintendo must make them (wich they aren't, with few exceptions).

Nintendo is just making money. Lots of money.

I'm all for some new animal

I'm all for some new animal crossing, but this report is spot on. My main beef with the Wii, is that it has endless potential, a giant user base, great technology behind it, and it's utterly wasted. Many predicted before Wii was out that it would be a mini game system. I didn't believe anyone. But that's exactly what it's become. There have been a few standout titles that used the controller effectively, but in the few years the Wii has been out, how come the BEST use of the controller is still the first game (wii sports)? Wii sports is why the Wii is the top selling system - not all of the minigame collections.

My wii has been broken for months, and there has been nothing to make me feel like going through the effort of getting it fixed. There were more good games, and more exciting things to look forward to, at this stage of gamecube, and far more at this stage of n64. Sure, only 2 or 3 good games a year, but they were great. We are getting about 6 decent games for the Wii a year, few of them better than mediocre. And most of these titles aren't coming out of Nintendo's studios.

And yes, mario and zelda rehashes are getting tired. They may be great series, but Nintendo needs to move on. Their creativity has hit it's lowest point in history, which is very odd, as they have the most creative system available.

lol another whiny blog

lol another whiny blog kiddie. Check your diapers and pay attention.

"Breathtaking visuals that melt our eyes and weep for joy at the same time."

- Wrong system. Try either of the other 2.

"Intelligent and kick-ass gameplay that sucks us deeper into the game."

- You have this: mario galaxy, trauma center, metroid, warioware, etc. What about visceral gameplay? Wii fit, Wii sports, zack + wiki...or is your core gamer just a fat lazy slob opposed to new kinds of games?

"Content that pushes boundaries and elevates videogames in pop-culture."

- Wii has done more for this than any other system. Do you even understand what the "pop" part of pop-culture means? I'll give you a hint, it isn't what you do to your zits.

"Cool new character IPs that excites and gets our gaming juices going."

- Lol. From nintendo? They have so many existing character IPs that introducing more would dilute the brands. I'd rather play a new Mario or Zelda, or maybe that new Wario spin-off. And please keep your gaming juices to yourself...it's really gross and you might want to see a doctor about that.

Paul, I'm sorry. You don't

Paul, I'm sorry. You don't know what gaming is. Was NES dumbed down for casuals? How about SNES? Two of the greatest systems ever made and they were created by Nintendo. Back then Nintendo knew what good games were. Mario and Zelda are tired. I've been playing them since I was 6... I am a game fan, have been since I was young. PS3 and 360 offer a gaming experience, the Wii does not. The Wii dissapointed me real bad at e3, but that is to be expected. Nintendo has finally gotten back to the top sales spot and its gone to their heads. Let them enjoy bringing the gaming market to its knees. Sony will just have more work to do.

If hardcore gamers don't

If hardcore gamers don't like Animal Crossing, why the hell have so many of them bought the Game Cube and DS versions?

And Mario and Zelda, tired? Please. These games are consistently great. I don't think for a second you know what a core gamer wants.

"Breathtaking visuals that melt our eyes and weep for joy at the same time."

Graphics whores, not core gamers.

"Intelligent and kick-ass gameplay that sucks us deeper into the game."

And yet you're willing to bash games like Mario and Zelda. Right on.

"Content that pushes boundaries and elevates videogames in pop-culture."

Uh... what do you think is the entire point of the Wii?

"Cool new character IPs that excites and gets our gaming juices going."

Hmmkay. I guess that's why people eat up Grand Theft Auto and Halo and Metal Gear Solid. Because they're to leet for sequels.

Self-described "core" gamers are such pussies these days. Suddenly the entire world doesn't revolve around them and they can't deal with that fact, so they just squeal "TO THE INTERNET!!" and run off to complain whenever a game is announced that isn't a generic FPS.

Whatever you're smoking, dude, keep it

Yes, Nintendo's E3 presser was extremely disappointing, however, you just DON'T get it: Wii want a hard drive!

BJ

"Content that pushes

"Content that pushes boundaries and elevates videogames in pop-culture."

Name any game that has done this at all and is not on the Wii. Wii IS pop-culture. Wii Sports was Time Magazines GOTY! What more do you want? Pop culture doesnt care about frags or headshots or the abuse of women. Only aesthetically shallow juveniles with entitlement issues do.

Games are for fun. Have fun and get off your soapbox. The self righteous angst of the "core gamer" is getting so tiresome.

Calling Mario and Zelda

Calling Mario and Zelda tired, is no the least bit insulting. In fact , I dare say its necessary. How long are people going to be satisfied with running around, collecting bullshit just so you can go into another room, or world and do the same thing again? How many time can you recycle the SAME go in the dungeon grab this item use it to climb this mountain gimmick? You know what the biggest problem Nintendo fans have? You ask nothing of your favorite company, nothing. Does a great game need great graphics? No. Does a great game have to be uber violent? Absolutely not. WhatI would ask of Nintendo is to catch up with the crowd. there are so many things that should be done with this machine, and no-ones bothering, why? Nintendo does not care, and their fans are not forcing them to. For instance, why would you make Pokemon online for the DS first? Hell, why does the Xbox360 and PS3 have some kind of structured online interface, and Nintendo has these inconvenient, lame -assed friend codes that are different for EVERY game. Why is it that a game that basically is inspired by Zelda-(Fable), going online first? An online Zelda would be.........omg the possibilities. But it's not going to happen, because Nintendo fans ask nothing of them. You accept mediocrity, you rarely get brilliance, and even when you get that its missing something that, had it been released by a more AMBITIOUS company, would have made it twice as much so. It's sad really how long did Zelda and Mario really last for you? Did you really play through it more than once? No extra content, no multiplayer. Imagine the possibilities if you bothered to ask or show them that you want them to try. If Zelda had Oblivion's expanded content style, well you'd still be playing it.

Mario and Zelda change a

Mario and Zelda change a great deal with every new game. Can you honestly say Link to the Past was like Link's Adventure? That Majora's Mask was no different than Ocarina of Time? That Twilight Princess is similar in tone and style and gameplay mechanic to Wind Waker? How about Super Mario 64 and Mario Sunshine and Mario Galaxy? Oh, no, you collect stars in all three 3D Mario games. So what? The way you do it is very different. You might as well criticize every game that has a series of small objectives to accomplish a larger one, which is so vague it's ridiculous.

If you want to blast games for being the same thing over and over, go blast Halo or Grand Theft Auto or the EA Sports games that sell a bazillion copies with every new release.

Well the games you just

Well the games you just mentioned expand as far as their online capabilities certainly, that is to say, while you may be doing the same things you have options. As far as the Zelda's, No Link to the Past (My favorite Zelda to this day!) was NOT like Links Adventure. It was like part 1 with better graphics! Links Adventure sucked by most accounts, which is why they didn't make anymore Zeldas like that.....As for Majora's mask cool idea, but why abandon it. Same thing with Windwaker, Why do I have to buy a DS game to get that style of game again? Now he can turn into wolf but they probably throw that idea away to. Notice a trend here? Their games are get less and less ambitious. Mario's 3D affairs have been....lacking since 64. Luigi's Mansion was a much more ambitious title, much as it hurts to say, because they tried something new. Pikmins cool, but they only make it once every 2 to 3 years? As for Halo well...... I dont like shooters with shields, Im more of a COD4 person. I will say this, the map editing has allowed for people to play that game in ways far beyond merely shooting each other, look up Halo Racetracks on youtube for reference. Which leads back to my point. Repetition in video games is nearly unavoidable(there are those who take unique risk), but that goes without saying. My original point is that even given that X-factor, A game like say gta4 where, like mario you go around doing the same shit in (slightly) different ways occurs offers a bonus in replay value because of the Extended content and online play. Where as with your Mario game after you find 150 or 160 whatever the fucks its done. no side missions, unless you count the fact that on average you only need a percentage of said 150/160 to actually finish the game. Again no knock on the franchise but Nintendo doesn't try AT ALL. Not saying they suck, cause they dont, obviously. But when the lone game on your last machine (GC) that used your modem, was made by your once rival (SEGA) you gotta ask yourself, do they really give a shit? C'mon there is so much potential here, down loadable challenge dungeons on Zelda, or suits with new powers for Mario games. Limitless possibilities, and all they have to do, is give a shit. But, as long as they can give you the bare bones minimum, a game where can unlock everything in 2-3 weeks and have to wait YEARS for the sequel and morons buy that shit in droves without saying a SINGLE word, well .....have fun playing Wii Music waiting for the next Zelda.......if it comes out this generation.

Also

I think they should at least have online score/time boards for games that are INSTANTLY up/down loadable. Who wouldn't want to compare time in games like galaxy or twilight? Sadly that's not the case. I'm not trying to start a flame but I'm just saying....call a spade a spade. If Xbox fans need the face the fact that their machine is based around shooters, and Sony fans need to face the fact that it was completely stupid to launch a machine at $600 with NO good exclusive software, and Sega fans have to accept that hey you favorite company had everything right, except they were stupid ass hell, then Nintendo fans need to wake up and admit....you company is Lazy as fuck!

Nintendo is responsible for

Nintendo is responsible for the vast majority of the new innovations this console generation, and you're calling them lazy? The problem with your thinking is that it doesn't make any sense. Like here:

"As for Majora's mask cool idea, but why abandon it. Same thing with Windwaker, Why do I have to buy a DS game to get that style of game again? Now he can turn into wolf but they probably throw that idea away to. Notice a trend here?"

They change things every game to avoid exactly what you're accusing them of. Being the same game every time and going stale. You're accusing them of not changing things enough, and then you complain that they keep changing things.

"Pikmins cool, but they only make it once every 2 to 3 years?"

Again, how can you complain about a lack of doing things differently and then ask for games you've already played?

"Where as with your Mario game after you find 150 or 160 whatever the fucks its done. no side missions, unless you count the fact that on average you only need a percentage of said 150/160 to actually finish the game."

What do you call a "side mission" if not a mission you don't have to do to finish the main storyline? Add minigames?

If the problem with Nintendo's games is that there's not enough fluff, there is no problem. If the problem is that they don't nickel and dime you, again, no problem. Score boards for Zelda? What score? And time boards? Adventure games are horrible if you rush through them.

This is what I'm talking

This is what I'm talking about, what you call fluff others might call replay value. What you call innovation others call a gimmick. Scoreboards in adventure games? Why not? People are always going for speed runs in games, so how is that bad? Look if you are satisfied with the bare minimum, fine. But I'm not gonna pat them on the back for not really putting their necks out there. I'm sorry, but I can't. When I say why abandon an idea, I'm not saying make the same game over again, I'm saying give me that plus whatever else you got up your sleeves. For instance, why was there a whole game based on a water gun? why couldn't it be a suit? Where's my fire flowers? Where's my hammer bros. suit in 3-d? You don't get that, instead you get this gimmick built around a fucking water gun, a flash in the pan. I would go further but its not worth it. The fanboys eyes are blind to the truth. There is no excuse for the total lack of effort put forth by this company. 1 more note, octaves worlds were in the game Prey before SM: galaxy had em. The Marracas for the Dreamcast obviously out date the Wii motion controls. Come to think you could play games with the fishing rod on DC, which was also motion sensitive. The DS is actually a much more original piece of hardware, when you think about it.
Don't confuse innovation with making a good idea a great idea, which I will give them credit for. Pikmins not original (Lemmings), the concept or rather the situation is, but last i checked the sims and traditional rts games existed before that one did. Same goes for animal crossing. I wouldn't have a problem with the way they did things if they at least showed some kind of interest for the gamers who grew up on Nintendo, like myself. I'm not asking to have Mario jack cars in New York, that's just plain stupid. I'm asking where my online multiplayer Starfox is? Where is my Zelda online? Where is my Mario game where instead of the location of some inanimate object my most difficult feat, is defeating the monsters in the world I'm adventuring in. However you look at this your going to ask,what I'm getting at. Well, I'll put it like this, the state of that machine is, For your one Mario Galaxy, there are a GTA4, a Fable 2, a Gears of WAR, and maybe a decent Banjo Kazooie. For your one Zelda theirs a Drake, a Resistance, an MGS4, a Ratchet and Clank. For your one Smash theres a Street fighter 4, a Soul Calibur 4, And a Virtua Fighter 5. If they dont stop letting people put shovel ware bullshit on their consoles, well there is a reason they have great hardware sales and poor software sales. Sad part is the Wii to some extent has the ability to at least run, to varying extents a lot of this stuff. It's just that there is no market for it. My point is merely this, why settle for being good when you can be great, that my friend whether anyone admits it or not is Nintendo's problem.

"But I'm not gonna pat them

"But I'm not gonna pat them on the back for not really putting their necks out there."

You do realize that the Wii is the biggest risk in recent console hardware history, right?

"For instance, why was there a whole game based on a water gun? why couldn't it be a suit? Where's my fire flowers? Where's my hammer bros. suit in 3-d? You don't get that, instead you get this gimmick built around a fucking water gun, a flash in the pan."

WHere's your stuff you already used in like five other games? That wouldn't be fresh and new enough. They tried something new with Mario Sunshine and it didn't work. That's going to happen sometimes when you take risks and new new things.

"The Marracas for the Dreamcast obviously out date the Wii motion controls."

*headdesk*

"Where is my Zelda online?"

It's off making a mockery out of the entire premise of the Zelda series.

"Where is my Mario game where instead of the location of some inanimate object my most difficult feat, is defeating the monsters in the world I'm adventuring in."

You don't quite grasp the concept of a "platformer", do you?

"For your one Mario Galaxy, there are a GTA4, a Fable 2, a Gears of WAR, and maybe a decent Banjo Kazooie."

For my one innovative Mario game so far this generation, there's a rehash of the same game that Rockstar have been putting out since their third installment, more Peter Myneux overpromises and underdeliveries, the most daring and interesting thing Epic has done in like fifteen years and still just ends up being Unreal Tournament in the third person, and a game that has always been nothing but a MArio 64 ripoff in the past and will probably end up being Mario 64 with cars.

"For your one Zelda theirs a Drake, a Resistance, an MGS4, a Ratchet and Clank."

For my one new Zelda there's an overrated Indiana Jones wannabe that nobody would pay attention to if there had been any decent games on the PS3 at the time, the first in a brand new series of generic shooters the market is already saturated in, a movie, and some furries.

"For your one Smash theres a Street fighter 4, a Soul Calibur 4, And a Virtua Fighter 5."

For my one Smash Bros. there are three third party games that are completely different than Smash Bros.. What exactly do third party games have to do with the quality of first party games anyway? There are a lack of them on the Wii, for sure. Do you know why that is? It's not because it's too hard to develop for, Sony. It's not because they expect too big of a cut, Microsoft. It's because it's difficult to compete with great games from a company that's been able to carry two other consoles based almost entirely on their own games.

Jesus, you want risks? Sony's biggest risk was releasing a $600 bluray player and Microsoft's was using inferior parts.

Nintendo's poor showing at E3

I'd love to reply to some of these blind comments, but I'll just go ahead and say what the Wii is missing.

Pilotwings!

Nintendo announced a couple of years ago, that Pilotwings was skipping the GC and was heading to Nintendo's next console. Okay...what happened to this title?

If Nintendo was interested in making a title that appealed to both the casual and long-time fans of Nintendo's games, why have they not made an attempt to resurrect a title that is perfectly suited for the Wii-remote?

It's time for Nintendo to really showcase the unique controller of the Wii. Give the gamers titles that actually create unique experiences with the controller, with titles like Pilotwings. The party games aren't going to keep gamers around for long, no matter how user friendly they are, if the content isn't something that lasts longer than a small get together.

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