Monday, 11 June 2012

E3 Reflections Part 1 - Nintendo

What kind of message is the big N trying to send?

Now, this one extends to a little before E3, but it won't be much of a shocker to those reading that this is going to be focused on the Wii U, given that that's mostly what Nintendo itself focused on. Strangely I think the most interesting news regarding the system was the tidbit before E3 where Nintendo showed off a new controller, one with a very notable absence.

The Wii U Pro controller very closely resembles the traditional controller with a closer lean towards the current Xbox 360 controller than anything else, this includes the lack of the much touted touchscreen that the normal Wii U controller is slated to have. Now, Nintendo itself states that:

“For those who are mainly interested in multiplatform games, with more traditional means of control, we will also offer the Wii U Pro Controller as a separate [play style], which is lighter and maybe more attractive for longer, more intense forms of gaming,"

Now, from what I've seen I can't really say that I'm interested very much in what the Wii U has to offer, but at the same time I can certainly appreciate a controller that is closer to the definition of normalcy that I hold as standard. The experiences I had with the Wii itself were a lot more enjoyable without the motion controls, using a Gamecube or none motion control scheme. However, this move I believe impels the question: doesn't having a traditional controller sort of defeat the entire point of the Wii U?

I thought that the controller of the Wii U was supposed to be a large part of the point; something that allowed for some new plateaus to be reached and old playstyles to give way to grander ideas (not so much my words as theirs, really). Even if I don't find myself agreeing with that principle, I certainly can't fault Nintendo for trying, but I think after all the word coming down the pipe that the Wii turned off "hardcore" gamers that Nintendo might be afraid of doing the same. Appealing to absolutely every demographic is perhaps a noble goal, but not one I believe can actually be represented, at least in terms of hardware.

In perhaps the most scathing take on Nintendo's showing, The Gameological Society article Lost In Explanation would seem to indicate that Nintendo is trying too hard to explain why we should be considering the Wii U, rather then just showing us reasons why we should and letting us ponder them ourselves. I'm not really in a position to state as to whether any of the company's games have taken this road, as well as the article claims they have. At the same time though some of the talk of features like Fi from Skyward Sword sort of has me believing that it could be the case.

The impression that I'm left with more so than any other would be that Nintendo might be trying too hard to put all the apples in its basket. I don't know how much risk that this approach will leave them with none will be, but it's not a direction that I believe the company really wants to be heading in for the foreseeable future.

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