EXCLUSIVE: My Nintendo E3 2012 Overview and Opinions- Nintendo Direct

Hello FanDa-Bears! I’m the one, the only Super TNNtendo and “I’m about kickin’ Bowser butt and takin’ all his troops’ names!” I thank Nintendo of America President: Reggie Fils Aime aka “The Regginator” for my tweaking of one of his most famous quotes! (I also later realized that Super TNNtendo World is a parody of Nintendo’s own Nintendo World store in New York City!) Anyway, I’ve been a passionate Nintendo fan for over twenty years now!

(I’ll be thirty in August so somebody please buy me the upcoming New Super Mario Bros. 2 for Nintendo 3DS as a b-day present! Pretty please with Super Mushrooms and Fire Flowers growing on top of a big pile of Italian cheese smothered spaghetti and lasagna!)

As I was saying, I’ve been playing a lot of classic Nintendo titles since the late ‘80s and that will be an article written for another day! The Wii unfortunately has been dying for the last couple of years as Nintendo has now focused their attention on the hit 3DS. More importantly, the “Big N” has also been focused on the upcoming touch screen controlled Wii U! Going into this year’s E3, the “Makers of the Mushroom Kingdom” had a lot to prove as Sony and Microsoft also had new consoles in the works that would presumably blow Nintendo back to the arcade! Would the Big N score big or crush us all with a giant Wii Remote of Disappointment?!

1. The Wii U

To the great surprise of many consumers, Nintendo announced a surprise Nintendo Direct online presentation for Sunday evening, June 3rd. This event was coming before their big press conference at E3, which was only two days away. The Global President of Nintendo: Satoru Iwata was standing in one of the main offices in Japan, ready to deliver the exciting news about the Wii U! The anticipation was very high as I very anxiously sat in my computer chair in front of my laptop to observe this seemingly very impressive upcoming console!

As for the console itself, it is not much bigger than the Wii and looks very similar in design. I’m very pleased that the Mushroom People kept it small so I will have plenty of space to fit it on top of my entertainment center. We already know that the Wii U will be much more graphically powerful than the Wii so there’s another big plus. That means that we will finally be able to get the kind of games that the other consoles offer.

(The company had later stated that the system will only be available in white at launch but a black Wii U was shown during Nintendo Direct. I and many others are really hoping that they will decide to release both colors when the system launches this holiday season!)

Last, I’d like to discuss the most interesting feature of the system. The Wii U Game Pad is the most amazing controller I’ve yet to see for a Nintendo system! It has two analog sticks, all of the basic Nintendo buttons we’ve come to expect on a controller, a headphone jack, and microphone, but there’s one more feature that sets it apart from any current generation controller. That is the 6.2 inch Touch Screen that is placed in the center of the device.

Mr. Iwata described the use of the Touch Screen and television screen together as “Asymmetrical Gameplay”. This meant that what was being shown on the TV screen along with what actions were being performed on it, were different than what was being displayed on the Touch Screen. This ultimately led to one player using the Game Pad to see something entirely different on their screen on the controller, while up to four other players were viewing the action on the TV. The Game Pad user can also cover the TV screen with a virtual curtain and with a press of the button on the Game Pad, the curtain will be removed from the TV. Then everybody in the room can be surprised by the newly discovered content that the Game Pad user was hiding from everyone in the room.

I see a lot of potential fun with the Game Pad user’s ability to help or hinder the progress of the other four players by using the Touch Screen. This could really spice up the current state of multiplayer in gaming and make the Wii U the next must have system for casual and hardcore gamers.

2. Miiverse

The biggest feature of Mr. Iwata’s presentation was their biggest feature yet. After years of complaints about the Wii’s lack of online communication, the Big N created Miiverse which is short for Mii Universe. With this creation Miis (a Mii is a user created simplistic character for other Miis to communicate with since the launch of the Wii in 2006)) all over the world can communicate with each other through message boards, online multiplayer, and video chat. I would assume though, that initially video chat and online multiplayer would only work in your own country of residence, but I could be wrong.

A video was shown where a goofy acting, glasses wearing guy in his early twenties named Todd was playing a zombie First Person Shooter, using a black Wii U. He was having a lot of difficulty defeating a “zombie boss” so he decided to pause the game. He did so by pressing the Home Button on the Game Pad where he brought up a list of messages from other players all over what I’m assuming was just North America. Using the Touch Screen of the Game Pad, he typed in a request for help in how to defeat the zombie boss.

Amazingly, the screen on his friend Warren’s Smart Phone was displaying the Message Board of the Wii U! He saw Todd’s cry for help as Todd called him in hopes that he would know how to complete the level. As he was talking to Warren though, he discovered that someone else on the message board already had the answer and decided to contact them instead. This time the form of communication would be the most amazing yet!

Todd placed the Game Pad under his TV and sat back down on the couch. Suddenly his friend appeared on the TV in a large box with Todd in a smaller box on the bottom right and on the screen of the Game Pad! This allowed them to video chat with each other so Todd could receive the help he needed with the game. By the way, his helper humorously turned out to be his grandpa! Todd defeated the zombie boss and celebrated with his “Non-specific Action Figure” which would then become the biggest new star of the Nintendo Direct and throughout the discussions of Nintendo’s following E3 presentations.

Though everything they had shown with Miiverse was cool, I was disappointed by the same basic look of the Miis. This may change when the Wii U is released during the last quarter of this year, but I had hoped that Nintendo would have altered the look of them since they were being displayed on a new console. I did like the ability though to draw on the touch screen along with type messages to other players’ Miis. I was impressed with most of Miiverse, but hope that further customization of the Miis will be available when the system launches!

3. New Super Mario Bros. Mii

During the last small part of Miiverse, something excited me more than anything else that had been shown! Mario was seen running through the most detailed, and the most depth in a 2D course I had ever seen in a 2D Mario platformer! The jagged, blocky mountains that were famous for appearing in a flatter display as backgrounds for some of the levels in the classic Super Mario World, were a part of this course’s background. This wasn’t all though as there weren’t just a couple bright green hills in the background but more than that as they rolled into the distance along with each one being spotted with colorful flowers. There were also clouds that drifted along over the mountains and the hills and Princess Peach’s Castle gleamed past the farthest hills and trees!

The graphics in the foreground were also more detailed, crisp, and brighter than ever before in the New Super Mario Bros. series! Even the grass that lined the ground cast shadows as Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and Piranha Plants tried to get in the way of Mario’s progress! I won’t go on and on about the graphics and the course shown because that is being reserved as part of its own special article!

This wasn’t just any New Super Mario Bros. game but the one announced last year which had been named New Super Mario Bros. Mii. It had been called this due to the fact that other than Mario and Luigi, two different Miis could join the four player local multiplayer experience. When Mario ran into an enemy and died all of a sudden something unexpected appeared on the dark TV screen. It was comments from different Miis in rectangular bubbles that were commenting on how they had died in that course. When the darkness vanished, the most interesting thing yet, suddenly appeared!

The map screen popped up which seemed to be part of an interconnected World Map similar to Dinosaur Land in Super Mario World (released in 1991 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System)! It even had the blocky mountains pictured from the Super Nintendo classic! The course types on the map (represented by blue and red dots) were also more clearly defined than any other New Super Mario Bros. game. This meant that there were flowers and pipes that surrounded the first two levels shown on the map!

(It was later confirmed in a future interview with Takashi Tezuka (who worked on Super Mario World) that the map would be the big, connected World Map that hadn’t been seen since “World”!)

There was still something else that was populating the World Map. There were a bunch of comments that appeared above the course markers with a small picture of a Mii’s face along with their name. One bubble was also more of a golden color that showed that the person had completed a fortress (I think it was?) course in less than 100 seconds! This seemed to indicate that there were going to be Achievements in the game to complete and maybe figurines to unlock (like trophies in the Super Smash Bros. series). Though nothing has been made official on either idea, but I’m hoping for both!

The last thing worth mentioning was two comments made by two different Miis. Over the course marker of the first course was a comment about “being a flying squirrel”. Then the other involved in a later course stated: “Baby Yoshi that balloons up to carry you through the level”. The Baby Yoshi made the game sound even more like Super Mario World because they hadn’t been seen in that form in a game since that one! As for the “Flying Squirrel” it was a power up that had never been used in a Mario game! Were these just comments made as possible ideas or did they really exist in the game?

After the Nintendo Direct presentation I was even more excited for Nintendo’s E3 Press Conference! I had really hoped to hear more about online and achievements though during the Nintendo Direct. In just a couple of days more of the Wii U would be shown but would it live up to all of the hype placed on it (as few things ever do!)?