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.

Chi Kong Lui

Chi Kong Lui

In the 1980s, Chi grew up in small town on the outskirts of New York City called Jackson Heights. Latino actor, John Leguizamo referred to the town as the "melting pot of the world," and while living there, Chi was exposed to many diverse cultures, as well as a bevy of arcade classics such as Pac-Man, Space Ace, Space Harrier and Double Dragon. Chi's love of videogames only seemed to grow as his parents finally caved and bought him an 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (after being the only kid in the block without one). In the 1990s, Chi finagled his way into the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.

Somewhere between all the gaming, Chi some how managed to finish high school and get into the New York Institute of Technology. At the same time, Chi also interned at Virtual Frontiers, an Internet software consultancy where he learned the ways of HTML. Soon after acquiring his BFA, Chi went on to become the lead Web designer of the Anti-Defamation League. During his tenure there, Chi was instrumental in redesigning and relaunching the non-profit organization's Web site.

Today, Chi is the webmaster of the American Red Cross in Greater New York and somehow managed to work through the tragic events of September 11th without losing his sanity. Chi considers GameCritics.com his life's work and continues to be amazed that the web site is still standing after the recent dotcom fallout. It is his dream that GameCritics.com will accomplish two things: 1) Redefine the grammar of videogames much the same way French film critic Andre Bazin did for the art of cinema and 2) bring game criticism to the forefront of mainstream culture much the same way Siskel & Ebert did for film criticism.
Chi Kong Lui
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gamevet
gamevet
12 years ago

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… Read more »

Roto13
Roto13
12 years ago

“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… Read more »

Will H.
Will H.
12 years ago

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… Read more »

Will H.
Will H.
12 years ago

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… Read more »

Will H.
Will H.
12 years ago

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… Read more »

Roto13
Roto13
12 years ago

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… Read more »

Will H.
Will H.
12 years ago

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… Read more »

couldnt disagree more
couldnt disagree more
12 years ago

“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.

Anonymous
12 years ago

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

BJ

Roto13
Roto13
12 years ago

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… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

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… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

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… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

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… Read more »

Razien
Razien
12 years ago

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.

Roto13
Roto13
12 years ago

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… Read more »

Experienced Gamer
Experienced Gamer
12 years ago

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… Read more »

bob
bob
12 years ago

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… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

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.

legendarypegasu
legendarypegasu
12 years ago

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… Read more »

Paul Duggan
Paul Duggan
12 years ago

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… Read more »