E3: Nintendo's Press Conference and a Touch of Yesterday

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Overall, I haven't been too excited about E3. This probably has to do with the type of games I play. Besides World of Warcraft, I'm mostly interested in smaller, indie titles than large games from large publishers. I don't care about Call of Duty (n+1). I have touched the Halo, Fallout, Mass Effect, or Assassin's Creed series. It's not that I'm not going to play some of the things from E3; it's just that I don't really need to see it. I'm going to buy a Wii U. I want to play the new first party Mario titles. I don't need to see what they are. No, I won't throw away my money, but I've been happy with every previous game. Until I'm let down, I'll continue to play Nintendo's products.

First, a bit about non-Nintendo announcements. A new Last of Us video was released. It looks good, but it doesn't look revolutionary. I'll play it, and I'm sure I'll enjoy it very much, but it sure looks like Uncharted with a new scenario. Microsoft Smart Glass looks like an interesting gimmick. It's not a selling point for me, but sure, why not. A new Gears of War was announced, and I'm not surprised. Gears of War is a fantastic series, and I'm sure the next one will be good. Again, this follows the safe path of sequels. The safe path might not always be sequels, but they're not risky. They're not experimental. It's hard for me to get excited over most titles that aren't trying anything new. (Like I said, besides WoW. I'm sorry!)

So, Nintendo's press conference.

The Wii U looks pretty cool. I saw the gamepad used well and used oddly already. In some games, the gamepad is held up to the screen and used as an overlay. That's fine, but why use it at all? Couldn't the overlay just be applied to the screen? This looks like hardware driving gameplay rather than the other way around. In Wii U's Batman: Arkham City, one thing you can do is control the batarang using the gamepad's motion controls and watching on its screen. That's pretty cool, but it could have been done by watching the TV and using a regular Wii remote. In addition, they shouldn't be showing off ports of games that have already been released. Mass Effect 3 will be coming? Thanks, because I'm sure Mass Effect fans haven't played that one yet!

Super Mario Wii U doesn't seem to put the gamepad to great use, but it does look to be a fun, new Mario game. What I don't really care for is the messages littering the overworld (and the Wii U's out-of-game interface) from other gamers. I really don't care what my friends are playing while I'm playing. No one's going to be using that. "Oooh, I just beat level 3-2." Why do I need to know this? New Super Mario Bros. 2 on the 3DS looks similar. Of course, this looks fun as well. Mario always looks good.

Nintendo also showed a new Wii Fit, Wii Fit U. It uses the gamepad in some gimmicky ways, but it also allows you to continue exercising with the balance board and gamepad even if the TV is switched to a different input. That's kind of cool. They showed it as allowing someone else to use the TV, but I think I'd rather use it myself to watch TV while playing. In addition, you can sync the gamepad with a pedometer, which is a very cool feature.

NintendoLand is supposed to be an amusement park of Nintendo franchises. It will contain a variety of minigames, combining the broad appeal of Wii Sports with the more specific Nintendo games already loved. I think it looks pretty fun. Nintendo mentioned that the Wii U is the first time gamers could play asynchronously in which one player has a different role (and screen). First, it's not. Any online game can do that. But this is the best way to do it for couch multiplayer, and I think it's a great solution. One NintendoLand game for example pits up to three players as ghost hunters against one ghost, played using the gamepad.

There were some cool third-party titles as well. Lego City looks to be a family-friendly title that reminds me of Grand Theft Auto in many ways. Run around the city, catch bad guys (instead of being the bad guy), and play with Legos? Yes, please. Alien: Colonial Marines, in development for approximately 872 years, is going to be released on Wii U. I've been looking forward to this for a long time, so hopefully it lives up to my expectations. It looks to be a decent shooter.

I really like the looks of Zombi U. Ubisoft's new survival-horror looks similar to many other zombie games as first glance. However, I love the way it uses the gamepad. When you go into your inventory, the game doesn't pause. This works well in zombie games because you have to be fast to avoid a zombie attacking while you're not ready. However, in Zombi U inventory management is done on the gamepad. When you open your inventory, the TV displays your character setting his bag down and rummaging through it. On the gamepad, you can look through your inventory. Why couldn't that be done on the TV? Because you can still glance up at the TV to check your surroundings while looking down at the gamepad to check your items. This is a fantastic change! I imagine frantically glancing back and forth just like I might if I was really trying to find something in my bag while looking for danger.

We'll see what else is announced soon!


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