Year after year we see the same flood of headlines post-E3. "NINTENDOOMED?!" "Nintendo Delays Spell Massive Disaster At E3," and "Opinion: F*** You Nintendo, You F****** F****." It used to piss me off and cause me to flame comment pages to no end, but last year's E3 gave me an epiphany going into this year's event.
Despite their disastrous presentations throughout the years, I can't say I've been remarkably displeased with a good number of things Nintendo's done in the long run, and I don't believe you have been either... at least not as much as you think. There have been plenty of times fans and haters have raised the pitchforks somewhat unjustly, and it turns out Nintendo had it right all along.
That being said, Nintendo still has its faults and remarkably awful missteps... but all companies do.
Just off the top of my head, I've pulled some random "disasters" that have caused furor and scorn amongst fans in past E3s and gauged how they actually came out in the long run...
The Nintendo Gamecube
"The Gamecube is awesome."
"I played those games all the time."
"One of the best consoles of all time."
These are comments from the past few years, but rest assured when the Gamecube was announced people were PISSED. In the mind of gamers it was a step below in graphics compared to Xbox and Playstation 2, and it couldn't play DVDs, so who would want it? The fact that the Gamecube undersold the N64 by over 10 million units in its lifetime was a sure sign Nintendo would not live into the next era of gaming.
Yet Gamecubes are still highly sought out by those wanting to relive their childhood and play some games that have become cult hits or top rated games on multiple lists since their release. Just to name a few:
- Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
- Metroid Prime
- Super Mario Sunshine
Rest assured there are a lot and I just got tired of listing, among which is a title that was considered a colossal misstep and surefire disaster when it was revealed at an E3 event...
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Zelda had a lot of hype going into the Gamecube era. It was going to be the follow up to what is now considered the top three titles in any top Zelda list: A Link To The Past, Ocarina of Time, and Majora's Mask. A quick demo was shared at Spaceworld 2000 before the official reveal of the game and the video had fans HYPE...
Of course this was not fans got. What fans got was...
I, along with the collective community, let out a sigh of despair. Nintendo ruined Zelda. Where were the realistic graphics? Why is he a cartoon? Where is Hyrule? It was a culture shock and 99% of the gaming community was not drinking the Koolaid. The impressions ranged from cartoony, low quality cel shading, and "for kids." All for a game that eventually would become a top seller as a remake on current gen, its art style heralded as visionary for the time, and mimicked by independent developers down the road.
I get the same vibe from Wind Waker that I do when I see the trailer for Metroid Prime Federation. It's not the game we wanted, but I'm sure it'll be a hit in the long run. I mean it's basically Metroid Prime: Hunters without Samus...how is that a huge problem?
I think we can all be glad to say Wind Waker was not the disaster we initially thought it would be. Much like...
Super Mario 3D World
This is one you have to remember. Nintendo execs in cat costumes and the rest of the world going...uh, where's our platformer? Super Mario 3D World was not the platformer the experts predicted and fans wanted to hate it solely on that purpose alone... and now it's a Wii U top seller.
So Why Do Fans Get "Disappointed" By Nintendo At Every E3?
They Always Are Changing Things
We live in an age where "more of the same" is not just expected, but the industry standard. Our movies are sequels or remakes, and too much of a change, however slightly cosmetic or different to the experience sends off alarms.
Why are they making a Metroid without Samus? Why are they making an Animal Crossing board game and not a new console Animal Crossing? These are the questions that you can ask about each successful Nintendo franchise year after year because Nintendo has a hard-on for mixing it up. You're never going to accurately pin them on a game idea before they announce it. Sometimes it works out in the best way possible, other times you have a bunch of Nintendo executives and the drummer from No Doubt hitting controllers on a stage playing a terrible song.
The fact is "more of the same" has never been an industry standard for Nintendo, and it has helped and hurt them over the years.
Nintendo Goes With The Money
Why wasn't the new Zelda shown this year? 5 dollars says it's being reworked to have increased Amiibo functionality. A lot of gaming companies make the mistake of listening to the peanut gallery of gamers and not looking at actual consumer reports. Amiibos are making money, hand over fist, and you can bet your ass that's why they were mentioned literally every four minutes in their digital presentation.
Amiibos are a driving factor as to why Nintendo posted its first year out of the red in several years, and they are, once again, a business.
Zelda was announced last year alongside Amiibos, and I'm sure Nintendo had no idea the impact they would have on their business (rest assured, they know now), and now a full game presentation goes from next year to, "Uhhhhh....wait a second."
They put more time into selling you Amiibos this year than spending much more money working on their Zelda game. Yeah that's s***, but it's a Nintendo move.
Hardcore fans wanted a hardcore Nintendo console. Nintendo saw an untapped market of non players and gave us the Wii. They want to make money, and despite our joy that they aren't closing their doors, their success can sometimes mean our disappointment.
They Survive On Innovation
That's not really a boast as much as it sounds. Nintendo constantly changes the game because it has to. Sony and Xbox have their fans, and Nintendo trying to replicate their game would result in the destruction of Nintendo. Nintendo cannot give you the latest and greatest graphics at a profit, nor the hardest of core games from third party developers. Instead, they give you creative ways to play and enough difference that many of you have a Nintendo console in your house alongside whatever other console you have.
They don't strive to be your main console anymore, which sucks for those of us who really want that to happen, but it's true. As long as you have a Wii U collecting dust with a couple games to play when friends come over, they've done their job.
Mind you, these are just my thoughts, not facts, but analysis from a long time fan boy who's had his heart crushed time and time again. I write this not as an excuse, but merely an analysis of past experience and knowledge of Nintendo as a business to hopefully ease your heartache over this year's conference.