Nintendorks Roundtable: E3 2008 Edition

by Adam Robinson on

Just like the good old times, huh? We (Brandon, Travis, Kevin, Kevyn, Chris, Cory, Ryan, and myself) all got together and talked ourselves off of the ledge that was the Nintendo press conference, were cautiously optimistic about Pikmin 3, were doubly so for Castlevania: Judgment, and got boners for Battlestar: Galactica. Do you like magic? Then come with us on a whimsical journey of words. Or don’t, really. We’ll survive.

Adam: The Press Conference: Thoughts, feelings? Did Nintendo hit the mark or stumble with their pants around their ankles?

Travis: Neither! Stumble implies it’s a horrible mistake. They didn’t win me over, nor any other fan of their work it seems, but it was no accident.

Brandon: It was probably the worst Nintendo E3 press conference I’ve ever seen, and I’m including the one with Pac-Man Vs.

Travis: The one with Pac-Man Vs. at least had bravado.

Brandon: The only thing that could have made it better was if it was that Nintendojo guy in the headband playing the fake drums.

Kevyn: I thought it was godawful. The only game I thought was interesting at all was Shaun White Snowboarding. And even that probably wouldn’t make me shell out for a balance board.

Ryan: I had to watch at work with the sound off, so I didn’t get to hear all the clapping and cheering when those huge game announcements were made. I’ll bet all that unbridled enthusiasm would have helped me enjoy it more.

Adam: It just pains me that Nintendo, a company I’m a big fan of, is now out in front, and giving the middle finger to hardcore gamers who stuck with them the entire time.

Travis: To be fair, that middle finger would be heavily censored. It’s why there’s no camera on the Wii.

Chris: I guess it depends what you mean by hardcore gamers. If you mean hardcore Nintendo fans, then we’re used to the low points. If by hardcore gamers you mean people that only play Halo and GTA, then they were probably never big Nintendo fans to begin with.

Cory: This just shows how completely irrelevant the whole E3 song and dance is if you don’t have to rely on “hardcore” gamers to give you money. Nintendo is merely parading things out for the mainstream press – look at how they rented out the Kodak Theatre so they get mentioned in the same sentence as the Oscars. They had lots of nice quote material for print journalists, such as that godawful woman’s godawful snowboarding story. It makes for a great filler paragraph near the bottom of your story, or a lead if that’s your angle.

Adam: None of the announcements had any weight to them, unlike the competition. Microsoft’s press conference was fairly impressive; Nintendo knew it was doing great, and just half-assed the presser.

Kevyn: I see why casual gamers are important to the bottom line, I just don’t see why it has to be a one or the other thing. Microsoft did great by playing both sides, showing a bunch of fruity music games but also some killer hardcore games.

Kevin: I thought that Microsoft’s press conference was terrible when I first saw it, but looking back, even Urine: The Movies looks fun…when compared to Ravi Drums’ wild gesticulations.

Travis: What I don’t understand is that they apparently did have SOME things to show. Kirby Super Star Ultra was only unveiled after the conference, for example. I’m concerned that they brushed aside the games they did have.

Brandon: I’m just telling myself they presented that way to get people like Time, Newsweek, and USA Today all excited.

Travis: I can certainly imagine an old USA Today editor being intrigued by the conference while sipping his morning coffee. “So you can blow into the wiimote. Fascinating.” Meanwhile, zany new control methods don’t wow me unless there’s a game to utilize them. Maybe there is more game to Wii Music than it appears, but they sure didn’t show it.

Ryan: When the announced the Wiimote extension (for her pleasure), I expected something to make me go “wow”. The sword fighting in Wii Sports 2 was pretty neat, but I think a tech demo could have been more exciting.

Chris: Nintendo’s gimmicks always seem to fail. The Wiimote isn’t a gimmick, it’s a remarkable new way to play games. Blowing into the wiimote? Unless we finally get that blowjob game I’ve been clamoring for, it’s just a stupid gimmick.

Brandon: Dead Rising is coming to Wii, correct? That would have been HUGE during the press conference. They just chose to show shit to make mainstream media excited…which I guess is “smart,” but all it did was make me glad I own a 360.

Travis: It’s subtitled ZOMBIE SACRIFICE. I also don’t know why it was overlooked.

Adam: Even so, a sequel to Wii Sports is a good idea, and it should be bundled with the WiiMotionPlus, and retail for 49.99. But let’s not forget two game announcements that actually made sense: Animal Crossing and GTA. Well, Animal Crossing makes sense.

Travis: I’m still torn over Animal Crossing. GTA… I’m not going to care about it at all unless it’s 3D. I wonder if the DS will be able to give me the experience I want.

Ryan: Hot Coffee with Fleshlight attachment for GBA slot?

Kevyn: Animal Crossing looks like the exact same game they’ve released three times already.

Brandon: Kevyn, that’s because it is.

Travis: Right. New players will be attracted to it, but why it doesn’t seem to offer anything a veteran AC player would appreciate is beyond me.

Kevyn: It just makes me sad that Animal Crossing is what people point to when they say “see Nintendo still makes games for hardcore players!”

Kevin: As for third party games for the hardcore, no mention was made of The Conduit, which actually looks kind of interesting, and there is gameplay footage, unlike the GTADS cocktease. Also, now that I think about it, a lot of games I’m kind of interested in were glossed over. Did we hear any word about that schmorp Geometry Wars? For the DS or the Wii?

Brandon: I think we’re all in agreement that Nintendo’s press conference sucked nuts. If you mix Penny-Arcade’s take along with Miz’s(?) Riker gif, and that’s it.

Adam: Next topic: Pikmin Wii.

Travis: I like Pikmin. I want more Pikmin.

Ryan: I have both Pikmin. I try really hard to like them. I haven’t beaten either one. They always just fall by the wayside for me.

Brandon: Obviously I like Pikmin…I’ve had the same MB avatar for the past 20 years. How “official” is it other than some dude at GAF?

Adam: The GAF dude asked the question, and Miyamoto answered they are working on it.

Brandon: That’s not good enough for me.

Travis: I’m glad to know Pikmin is in the works. I’m not glad that it seems the information was choked out of Miyamoto as if he thought it was of no consequence.

Kevyn: The wiimote is perfect for Pikmin. So hooray.

Ryan: DS touchscreen is just as perfect…maybe even more so.

**Cory:**The Wiimote would be excellent for turning the camera and tossing Pikmin more accurately, but I don’t think any major motion controls will be necessary or beneficial.

Chris: I can’t wait to throw Pikmin around using the Wiimote. I mean, you can pretty much hurl them anywhere. You can hurl them at the sun. Take that, sun! Mock me, will you?!

Adam: What more can be added to the Pikmin formula?

Kevyn: Guns.

Kevin: Light cycles.

Travis: Pikmin is a young enough franchise compared to Mario and Zelda that they can get away with another simple sequel. Add in some online multiplayer and awesome RTS style cursor controls and they’re all set.

Kevin: Like, from Tron.

Travis: They could patch that in if they weren’t so afraid of a hard drive.

Kevyn: An online multiplayer version of Pikmin would be so awesome that I’m certain they won’t include it.

Cory: Hey Kevyn, you want my Pikmin friend code? Maybe after we enter 16 digit codes, we can chat through Xbox Live’s new party system while playing online.

Brandon: I don’t even care about multiplayer Pikmin online…people will think it’s cool, but it won’t be, because no one will play it. Just make an awesomely big single-player Pikmin game, please

Brandon: The Wii controls are perfectly suited for Pikmin 3, so I just hope it’s an assload of OUTDOOR levels, where you command an assload of pikmin….Adam asked what could be added to the formula, and I can’t think of anything other than different colored pikmin to help with puzzles and enemies and stuff

Travis: Yes. I demand the caves be dropped from Pikmin 3.

Brandon: In a way this is a year I wish I could be AT E3 so I could make sure things aren’t all THAT BAD. But I’m going to guess cool stuff like Pikmin 3 wouldn’t be on the floor, and then I’d just go find Alex Navarro and ask if I could get drunk with him

Travis: I would just annoy Nintendo by asking them about Pennant Chase Baseball. Because you know what? Some of us learned about the wiimote and dreamed of wielding it in real games. Not simplified tech demos.

Adam: He also mentioned that the Mario and Zelda teams are hard at work on Wii titles.

Kevyn: I don’t think anyone is surprised that we’re going to get new Mario and Zelda titles. What I want to know is where’s this supposed Kid Icarus game?

Travis: Reggie claims they never said it was coming. So honestly I’m confused if we should expect it at all at this point.

Kevin: Well, no durr they’re working on it. If they weren’t then I’d be a lot more worried what the hell they were up to at all. I just hope that someone (all I ask for is more than zero people) is possibly thinking of new franchises. Maybe.

Adam: Scanning over some of the other big announcements that were made at E3, things like the Wii Speak, a strong focus on the DS, and prioritizing casual gamers begs the question: As hardcore Nintendo fans, is the company headed in the right direction?

Travis: No. I don’t like the Wii Speak. I hope that I’m wrong, but I cannot fathom it working in any situation beyond the obvious happy family that Nintendo assumes we all have. I’m not going to be playing Animal Crossing with my father and I don’t want him to hear what Nintendorks are telling me. I need to see a demonstration, though. How close to you have to be to the TV? How much background noise does it pick up? Do I have to yell at the thing? It could be neat in theory, but it would’ve been much better for Nintendo to just give us a freaking headset.

Adam: I agree with Brandon, in a way: I view the Wii as a primarily single player experience, barring the occasional party game. It’s about bringing people to you, not playing against them online. The Wii Speak seems unnecessary.

Kevin: Yeah, playing Mario Kart or Smash Bros. online is worthless for me, and the problem has never been “because I can’t hear people breathing.” Even in the demo I didn’t care what they were saying to each other in AC as they fished. I think that the problem with Nintendo online is their constant fear of kidrape.

Chris: I don’t even want to r ape them, I just want to comb their hair.

Kevin: I know it’s so soft

Brandon: I think Nintendo is headed in the right direction, but the problem is their definition of “hardcore” is vastly different from the hardcore’s definition of “hardcore.” Actually, I don’t even think “hardcore” is in Nintendo’s vocabulary

Chris: They only watch softcore porn, for example. Mostly solo nude shots, maybe some lesbian kissing, but not even close-ups of vagina.

Travis: When I say they’re not headed in the right direction I mean that based on these recent developments. Nintendo does eventually always get there… at a glacier’s pace.

Kevyn: Depends on what criteria you’re using. They’re making money hand over fist so they must be doing something right. But that’s a shitty way of looking at things. I do know they’re annoying a lot of their core audience which is probably going to bite them in the ass in the end. I can’t imagine the Wii Sports grandmas are going to be gobbling up games like the hardcore do.

Travis: They’re always a generation behind the hardcore aspects we want.

Adam: I disagree that they’re a generation behind the hardcore things we want, especially when you consider the DS.

Travis: Their handheld success feels like a different entity at this point.

Adam: It is the Nintendo platform of choice if you want an engaging, “hardcore” game experience. I think expectations of what the Wii was and will be are distorted.

Kevyn: Handhelds don’t count, there’s nothing else successful to compare it to.

Travis: They were a generation behind on optical discs, a generation behind for online, and a generation behind on a cohesive friend/voice system.

Adam: Yet according to today’s NPDs, they have the largest install base for home consoles. I can’t believe I’m saying this after the Gamecube/GBA thing, but I want more Wii/DS connectivity.

Kevin: Here here! There has always been a treasure trove of interesing ideas for connecting the two systems. The ideas were kind of toyed with in Crystal Chronicles (meh) and Four Swords Adventures, which was really an amazing usage of the GBA. The DS and Wii should get cozier.

Brandon: Seriously, I thought that was the whole point of the two of them being Wi-Fi.

Adam: Maybe Animal Crossing will kick off what should have been there in the first place.

Brandon: I “bashed” Pac-Man Vs. earlier, but damn if that wasn’t a fun ass game that we played over and over.

Adam: Pac-Man Vs. should never be a center point of a marketing strategy, but it was a damn good game.

Brandon: Take what you just said and exchange “Pac-Man Vs.” with “Animal Crossing” and that is the dilemma.

Kevyn: Or Wii Music.

Adam: I see what you guys did there.

Chris: Nintendo can be very innovative (see DS, Wii, other non-gimmicky things so as not to contradict myself), but once they get that innovation out there, it seems they have no idea what to do with it. “Hey, this wiimote is awesome. Let’s not realize its full potential!”

Cory: It’s worth noting that both Microsoft and Sony essentially said, “Here is a BUNCH of games. Surely some of them will appeal to you,” and they still had plenty of third party stuff present elsewhere that looks engaging. Nintendo showed what, three games? And mentioned a couple more? Where was the montage of upcoming games? Where are all the third party Wii games? Where are any games I immediately think, “I must buy that.” The closest is Animal Crossing, and it’s merely a, “Yeah, I’ll probably buy that.”

Brandon: There is no way I’m buying Wii Music. Plain and simple

Adam: That’s not even a game. It is a tech demo. It’s awful.

Kevyn: Wii Music was not only a tech demo, it was the same damn tech demo they showed two years ago.

Brandon: It’s just so obviously for old/uncoordinated people that can’t play Rock Band and Guitar Hero, but want to feel that same cool vibe…so once again, god-damn Nintendo for being too smart, because people will eat Wii Music UP.

Travis: Even if an actual skill based game isn’t revealed to be a part of Wii Music I could see it being of interest if it works almost like a sandbox music game. With the conductor mini game we saw two years ago at E3 you just moved along in harmony with the beat quite simply, but you could also hold notes longer if you wanted and so on. I think you could even make the orchestra play slower or faster if you wanted. If Wii Music added that kind of functionality to the normal instruments it would have at least some potential of appealing to me. I think it’d be cool to essentially make your own music and play well known songs with more freedom than a game like Rock Band allows. Though, of course, there’s no reason to assume that functionality is there.

Kevin: The game doesn’t even allow for skill based rhythm gameplay. As shown, it was a waggle game in line with what they did as part of the mini-games from Wario Ware: Twisted. I love Shigeru Miyamoto, but damn if my love wasn’t tested as he played that virtual saxaphone on stage.

Adam: As far as other games, I personally want to talk about Castlevania: Judgement. This is the exact type of game I’ve always wanted.

Kevyn: I know nothing of Castlevania Judgement. Expound.

Brandon: Judgement is the fighting game, right?

Adam: 3D Castlevania fighter for the Wii, correct.

Brandon: Yeah, that sounds sweet.

Adam: It has time travel, which is undeniably cool.

Kevyn: Oh right. Wait, THAT’S the kind of game you’ve always wanted? You’re a funny dude.

Brandon: Haha!

Adam: I’ll agree that it’s an odd direction to take the series, but if it’s crazy enough, it will work. I hope, anyway.

Travis: I think it looks retarded. I can’t get over the horrible redesign for Simon Belmont. It’s hard for me to try and pay attention to the gameplay when he is dressed like a bondage queen.

Kevyn: I wish more series would go the Castlevania route. I want a bloody M-rated Super Monkey Ball fighter with horrible fatalities.

Brandon: Careful, you’re treading on Vibe territory

Kevyn: Or to bring it all around, a Wii Music fighter. Ravi Drums is top tier.

Kevin: Who is the person who decides that a beloved series needs to be a fighting game? It has worked once in the history of video games: Super Smash Bros. SSB stands among the ruins of games like Ehrgeiz, and Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi, and Street Fighter: The Movie: The Arcade Game: The Bad Idea All Around.

Adam: Okay, before we wrap things up on the first reinvigorated roundtable, were any other E3 announcements made that actually made you happy?

Adam: For me, it was a No-Fail mode in Rock Band 2 and Final Fantasy on the 360

Chris: Oh, I thought you said “No-Fat” mode. Fat people need to pretend to play music, too.

Travis: I’m modestly happy with the progress Silent Hill: Homecoming seems to be making. Fable 2 is starting to sound like it won’t be a bunch of broken promises, too.

Brandon: Nintendo-wise? Other than Pikmin 3, no.

Ryan: Was the Wii Dead Rising announcement made at E3? If so, that. Also, Mad World is looking good. I don’t know if you’d call me “happy”, though…more like “interested”.

Adam: Man, I’m done with Nintendo right now. I’ll pay attention for Warioland: Shake!

Kevin: Yes! That game looks rad.

Cory: Speaking of Wario, where is Wario Ware: Balance Board Edition That Also Includes All The Missing Multiplayer Modes From The Gamecube Version, Including The Awesome Doctor One?

Brandon: Non-Nintendo-wise I think Fallout 3 looks freaking awesome…did either of you see the video of him shooting teddy bears through a rocket launcher to kill a dude?

Adam: That video made me a man.

Kevyn: Portal: Still Alive. I just played Portal for the first time a few days ago and beat it quite easily. It was one of the best gameplay experiences I can remember in a long time, but far too short. I want MORE.

Adam: More portal is ALWAYS a good thing

Brandon: Yeah Portal on 360 is ginormous. What’s the shit I heard about it being top-down?

Adam: Top-down Portal? How… How would that work?

Kevyn: Wha? That’s weird. Why would they do that?

Brandon: I don’t know!

Kevyn: I trust Valve though, so we’ll see.

Brandon: I’m going to pretend I never heard it, or heard it wrong, and Portal: Still Alive will be a true sequel.

Travis: It’s not a sequel… more of a remake from what I can tell. It’ll be longer and have more puzzles, but it’s the same story and such.

Kevin: I enjoyed the gameplay videos for Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, even though it’s the same game I’ve played a billion times before. With boobs.

Adam: And if this roundtable does anything, I hope we get more DRCs asking us to release info on the games we have in development. Because we are Nintendo.

Kevyn: Also, that Little Big Planet game for PS3 looks pretty cool except for being on the PS3.

Kevin: Also, I again want to point out The Conduit, because I keep reading that it controls well, which is what made Metroid Prime 3 so fun.

Brandon: On a personal note, Microsoft’s deal with NBC/Universal was MASSIVE because that means my wife and I can (and have) start downloading HD episodes of Battlestar Galactica season 4. My sister and her boyfriend (PS3 owner) are so jealous they’re considering buying a 360.

Kevyn: OH. Don’t forget Netflix!

Adam: Holy shit, yeah, and the Netflix thing! That’s huge

Brandon: Yeah, that’s also cool, and I’m a member of both (XBL and Netflix), but I’m still more excited about the Battlestar Galactica season 4 thing….seriously, if you haven’t watched the new Battlestar Galactica, kill yourself.


Travis: It’s a great feature. I just wish we didn’t have to wait until the Fall for it. Plus being able to watch movies with friends online through the system.

Adam: And have you not been watching season 4? It’s been so amazing

Brandon: Only because we weren’t caught up with Season 3 when 4 started!

Kevyn: I’ll have to sit this portion out, you huge nerds.

Adam: Huge nerds watching the best show on television.

Chris: The best show on television is Mad Men. New season starts July 27th!

Brandon: And that is how the roundtable should end

Kevyn: Can my parting words be, “I’m glad that woman broke her wrist.”

Brandon: Hahaha!

Adam: Haha, done and done.