E3 2014: So What About Nintendo?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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E3 2014: So What About Nintendo?

Over the last two days, we've had a look at Microsoft's press conference, and we've done likewise for Sony, and the end result seems to be a bit on the inconclusive side. But despite some of the commentary out in the market, this is still a three-horse race, at least it is for now, so it's worth taking a moment to take a look at what Nintendo had to offer at its big digital E3 event. Perhaps surprisingly, it had plenty to show.

It became clear, for the most part, that Nintendo is pulling out all the stops to get its most familiar IP in absolutely everything. Mario and crew will be showing up in a variety of places, and this, frankly, was to be expected. “Mario Kart 8” is going great guns, so to hear about “Mario Party 10” isn't much of a surprise. The idea of “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker” and “Yoshi's Woolly World”, meanwhile, were quite a bit more of a surprise. Seeing “The Legend of Zelda” take on an open world track, meanwhile, was likewise a surprise, one sufficient to catch even my interest and I haven't played a Zelda title in probably a measure best represented in decades and fractions thereof.

But perhaps the high water mark as surprises went was the appearance of Amiibo, the near-field communications (NFC) based effort involving Nintendo character figurines that allow for a connection to the game, in much the same way that “Skylanders” and “Disney Infinity” are doing. However, Amiibo took things up a notch by reportedly noting that the platform would work with several different games, starting with “Mario Kart 8” and “Mario Party 10,” but carrying on from there into both “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker” and “Yoshi's Woolly World”, and potentially even beyond.

The biggest problem that Nintendo has had--pretty much since the release of the Wii U almost two years ago—is a sheer lack of games. Nintendo has been wanting for games, and that's left the gamers discomfited, not without reason. But we're starting to see here what may well be the start of a change, and that's a good sign for Nintendo. Naturally, a lot of these games likely won't hit until 2015—which seems to be the ultimate magic year for gaming right now—but this is likely going to get some people to hang onto their Wii U systems.

Nintendo needed games, and indeed, Nintendo brought games, and plenty of them, to E3. Of course, the big issue here is whether or not this is a question of too little, too late, a question of plain old too late, or a question of just enough in the nick of time. That's going to take some time to properly filter down through the larger market, and see just how much Nintendo has alienated its base with constant delays and precious little in the way of new games. Still, with this lineup on tap, Nintendo may well have succeeded where some had thought it had failed: it may have won back some lost support...or at the very least, bought itself some time.