E3 Impressions: Nintendo Came, They Saw, They Conquered

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

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E3 2014 is over. It was another year of games, another year of surprises, and another year of disappointments. It’s been a lot of fun, but now we have to wait an agonising 12 months to do it all over again. It seems so far away.

Now that the dust has settled, it’s time for the staff members of oprainfall to give their opinions about the show. Or in this case, my single opinion about one company. It may come as no surprise to some that the company I’d like to share my thoughts on is Nintendo. So what did I think of the big N? Could they regain my trust? Was a second year without a stage presentation the right move? Did they tickle my pickle? Well, read on young ones and you shall find out.


Iwata performs a flying head-butt into Reggie’s groin. Win!

Back in 2012, I composed an opinion piece about Nintendo’s E3 presentation. Like Microsoft’s and Sony’s, this was a stage presentation that we had all come to expect. There was a live audience, and Reggie, Miyamoto, and Iwata were on stage (well, maybe not Iwata, although he did appear via video) showing us their latest offerings from Nintendo. It’s fair to say that I wasn’t too favourable with their show. It was the year that the Wii U was to be released, so this was their chance to really show why we should care. They failed miserably. Aside from Pikmin 3, everything else they showcased didn’t excite the audience in the ways they probably hoped it would. Any interest they wanted to bring to the Wii U was diminishing rapidly.

Yet once the stage presentation was over, Nintendo did something quite odd. They started uploading videos to their YouTube channel showing off games that weren’t at their presentation. Games like The Wonderful 101 and Game and Wario. Why wouldn’t they want to show these games during their presentation? The Wonderful 101 was a brand new IP and an exclusive. It looked exciting, over the top, insane, and would’ve certainly added a bit more buzz to the live show. Why would Nintendo relegate it to a quiet upload onto their YouTube channel? Something just didn’t seem right, but it was something Nintendo would continue to do in the following years.

The Wonderful 101 - Nintendo | oprainfall

Was this not good enough for your presentation, Nintendo?

Last year, instead of having the typical stage presentation, the Big N broadcasted an underwhelming Nintendo Direct to show off their line up for the coming year. Even though it did give us the first glimpse of Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, and the new Super Smash Bros., the lack of buzz, audience reaction, and the general stage presentation was sorely missed. Quite simply there was no excitement to be had.

This year, and for the second year running, Nintendo decided, again, to forgo the usual stage presentation and opt for what they were now calling a “Digital Event”. It was to be a 45-minute, pre-recorded video, and from what I was expecting, it was going to be another Nintendo Direct. This wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Another year without being on stage seemed like suicide. It was becoming clear that they didn’t have anything new or exciting to show us, and to just have a “Digital Event” appeared to be the easy way out.

Needless to say that when it was time to sit down and watch their digital showing, I did so with the lowest of expectations. Despite the buzz and excitement spreading around the Internet, I felt I had been burned too many times by Nintendo and their promises of amazing E3 shows.

E3 2014 Nintendo: Robot Chicken - Reggie | oprainfall

Reggie’s looking younger these days.

Once the Digital Event was over I sat back, took a breath, and thought to myself…

“That was quite possibly the best presentation by Nintendo from the last eight years.”

I was impressed, amazed even. Not necessarily by the content of the Digital Event, but by the production of it. It was one of the most slick, well produced, and entertaining presentations I have ever seen from E3. It was funny, engaging, and showed that Nintendo could make fun of themselves. It didn’t take itself seriously, but also focused on what was important, the games.

Yes, we got a lot more details about the next Super Smash Bros. game, but we also saw new games, and games we thought had been forgotten or cancelled. That Yoshi game we saw back in January 2013 is now Yoshi’s Woolly World and looks positively adorable. Monolith Soft’s “X” now has an official title, Xenoblade Chronicles X, and looked astounding. Nintendo introduced a brand new IP in Splatoon, which became an instant day one buy for me. Not to mention Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Hyrule Warriors, Mario Maker, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, and Bayonetta 2 — which comes with the first game as a free download. If all that wasn’t enough, we got a brief glimpse of the new Legend of Zelda, which left my jaw hanging in absolute wonderment.

Xenoblade Chronicles X - Nintendo | oprainfall E3 2014: Nintendo - Yoshi's Woolly World | oprainfall
Zelda Wii U Screen - Nintendo | oprainfall E3 2014: Nintendo - Splatoon | oprainfall

Nintendo had done something with this Digital Event that many fans have wanted them to do for years. They’ve shown that they can deliver a presentation to match, and even better, their rivals, be it live on stage or with a pre-recorded video. What’s more, they didn’t have to worry about any of the faux pas or problems that come with a live stage presentation. No awkward moments on stage, be it your game not working, jokes failing to get a laugh, reveals that invoke the audience into a chorus of boos and jeers. They didn’t put the audience through a tedious play-through of the latest Call of Duty, where one lone, emotionless, guy is on stage playing the game.

What Nintendo did do was take everything I love about the stage presentations and put them into an even more enjoyable form of media. Nintendo did what I didn’t think was possible — they nailed it with their Digital Event. I can honestly say I never want Nintendo to go on stage again. This way of delivering your games, news, and everything in between is the future of E3 presentations.

In addition to Nintendo conquering E3, they also introduced Nintendo Treehouse: Live @ E3 2014. This involved a whole three days of live streaming, which included interviews, live demos of the games, plus a few surprising reveals. It was a genius move and had me hooked throughout. I don’t think I even looked into what Microsoft and Sony were doing after their conferences. Nintendo had a hold of me and they weren’t letting go. It gave me a great insight into each and every game and, at times, it felt like I was at E3 myself. I was simply in awe at this new direction that Nintendo seems to be heading. It seems that they’ve really been listening to the fans. They took what they did last year, which many thought was their way of waving the white flag of defeat, and turned it into one of the best E3’s from any company ever! It was the E3 showing that Nintendo sorely needed, and they were successful in every single way.

Thank you, Nintendo. You’ve made me excited for your company. You’ve made me not regret buying a Wii U. And, more importantly, you’ve made me a fan again.

But next year, can we have an F-Zero announcement please?

Those are my thoughts and impressions, but what about yours? Let me know in the comments below.

About David Rawlings

David Rawlings, or ‘Rawky’ as we like to call him, joined the Operation Rainfall Campaign at the beginning. He’s British and found solace with us as he was able to understand our pain about Nintendo and their localizing faux pas. He’s a big fan of the letter ‘U’ and refuses to remove them from words, even though we constantly ask him to. He also believes it’s about time Princess Daisy got kidnapped.