The last few years have not been good ones for Nintendo and taking even a cursory looks at their sales numbers tells you all that you need to know. However, Nintendo has been working diligently to turn their situations around. One of the things they’ve started to do are called “Nintendo Directs” which are produced on an almost monthly basis and feature the likes of Satoru Iwata (the Global President of Nintendo) and Reggie Fils-Aime (the President for Nintendo of America) talking about the latest and greatest coming from the company.
I really like the idea of these presentations. They tend to look slick and go a long way towards building and sustaining hype for the die-hard Nintendo fans, while also serving as a great way to show off future content and products to those who might be on the fence. I have to say though, with the exception of Iwata, everyone ALWAYS looks so uncomfortable in front of the camera. When you’re watching gameplay footage and just hearing a voiceover it’s not so bad, but everything about Reggie and Bill Trinen’s (the Director of Product Marketing) body language screams, “I don’t want to be here!” every time I see it. I’m sure that there are plenty of Nintendo employees who are excited about the latest products and aren’t camera shy, give them the spotlight!
Sorry about that, just had to get it off my chest. Let’s take a look at what Nintendo actually had to say in their latest direct video released today: Games, games games. A good chunk of the 46 minutes were devoted to many of the upcoming titles. I’m not going to list every single one but focus on the standouts:
A New Fire Emblem!
One of the first games previewed was a brand new Fire Emblem game! If you still haven’t played a Fire Emblem game, what’re you waiting for? These games always look great, have a decent story, and have a very tense battle system considering that it’s turn based. Trust me when I tell you right now, whenever the game comes out, DON’T play it on HARD. Just don’t do it, you’ll enjoy it way way more. There was many more games and trailers revealed during the presentation, check it out yourself for all the details!
Mario Party and MORE Amiibos?
Mario Party 10 (yes, we’re up to 10!) is coming out and one of the biggest touted feature is the ability to play on special boards using your Amiibos. Yay! Except the video is very clear, if you use your Amiibo to play Marty Party 10 then you will LOSE all the progress you’ve made on the only other AAA title to support this gimmicky toy, Smash Brothers. But don’t worry! Nintendo already has a solution planned for you, MORE AMIIBOS. Now you can pay even more money for another slightly different looking Amiibo of Mario and pals made to mimic their appearance in Mario Party 10. For better or worse, the Amiibos based off the Smash Series have sold out virtually everywhere. This means that Nintendo has a new cash cow and you better believe that it’s going to be milking it for every drop. I would not be surprised if by the end of year, there weren’t hundreds of these useless stupid toys being released for every Nintendo Franchise imaginable.
Did Nintendo Really Say “Cross-buy”?
Cross-buy is a thing! Let’s be honest, Nintendo is a bit stingy. They have become the kings of reselling you old content over and over again. However, that content is usually so good that we fork over our money anyway. As such, it was really surprising to see that Nintendo would only require you to purchase Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars ONCE. Purchasing it on Wii U will give you a download code for your 3DS and vice versa. This is a great value and one which I hope that Nintendo will continue for many many more titles. I’m sure that Nintendo chose this title because of it’s focus on crafting and sharing levels but I still wish that they had chosen a stronger title to start the feature with but as a colleague of mine had mentioned, even “baby steps” are big for Nintendo.
The Rest of The World Finally Gets the “New” 3DS
Nintendo has announced a new iteration of the 3DS! This new iteration is called “The New 3DS XL” and while the name isn’t terribly creative and has the potential to be quite confusing to new customers, it is a vast improvement over the current iteration of the system. Firstly, it has a faster processor which allows current games to be loaded faster. The new processor will also allow nicer looking games to be created for the system and one of the first announced is Xenoblade Chronicles 3D which is a port of the Wii title by the same name. It will only be playable on the new 3DS XL system.
Another tremendous enhancement is the addition of a 2nd thumbstick. There are certain games (I’m looking at you Kid Icarus) where you had to clumsily use the stylus to move around the camera while still playing and holding the system in one hand which inevitably lead to pain and cramping. With this new improvement, those days are long gone and games which rely on an independant camera can flourish on the system. But that’s not all! Nintendo also added face tracking software to the system. This means that people can now enjoy the 3D effect of the games from a variety of positions and angles. I can’t praise this enough. Like most players, I often ended up switching the 3D on the system off because on a crowded train or bus it was hard to get the angle right for the 3d to work, with this I’ll be able to enjoy the feature from just about anywhere! Probably the only downside is the switch of memory format from sd cards to micro sd cards which will force people to purchase new memory cards but the one time purchase is inexpensive enough to be a very minor hurdle to overcome.
As of the writing of this article, a special edition of the new 3DS featuring Majora’s Mask has already sold out online so it’s clear that they are doing something very right. It’s obvious that Nintendo wanted to start off the year with a bang and they’ve done just that. I can only hope that they continue with their momentum and give us a great year of gaming!