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Big N Breakdown @E3 2014 – Part 1: Love Letter

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Hey everyone, welcome back to The Book Of Frog.

It’s been a while and I know that this project is a little late, but here it is anyway. This is only going to be a short project and then there may be another gap in my updates, while I work on and develop the future of my projects and a number of Badly Productions Group Projects.

E3 has just gone by and all throughout I was trying my best to keep up to date with Nintendo’s announcements, despite difficulties with Internet, an intense work schedule and preparation for our Winter Solstice celebration at The Frog House. I stayed on top of the announcements when I could, and otherwise, there was always YouTube. In short, this year Nintendo has really entertained me. The highlights for me this year has been Shigeru Miyamoto
controlling Bill “Box Bot” Trinen with a Wii U Pad, fighting against the Fils-A-Mech, right in the middle of the E3 floor and the Dragon Ball Z style hyperfight between Reggie Fils-aime and Satoru Iwata! Oh yeah and there were games too!

iwata-loveletterThis year, despite all the crap that has gone on, and all the hate that Nintendo has unwarrantably received, I feel that once again I’ve been rewarded for being a fan of this company, their consoles and the franchises there in. Despite initial rumours that Nintendo had nothing to offer and wasn’t going to be holding a press conference, it made no difference what so over! Nintendo came out swinging! No new console announcements, no new peripherals (unless you count Amiibo, but more on that later), just games. Games. Games and more games! New franchises, old franchises, old franchises that are being ported to Nintendo, games that were revealed last year that have now come to fruition, and brand new games that we had no idea were in the pipeline, which a nice release plan that starts this year in the next few months, and stretches out over the coming 2015.

Just quickly some of the things that have driven me crazy this year, have new game play footage from “Hyrule Warriors”, a new trailer for last year’s enigmatic “X”, now revealed to be “Xenoblade Chronicles X” a sequel to the Wii game. “Bayonetta 2” has been revealed to have a beautiful new add-on to the package, but I’ll talk about that later. Smash Brothers, Mario Party 10, announcements of a new Metroid Prime game and a new Starfox game in the works, and of course . To put it simply, I’ve got a Wii U, I have a 3DS, I have pro-pads, there are second circle pad add-ons for the 3DS that rarely get used, we don’t need hardware, we WANT games, and that’s exactly what we got!

I think the cherry on the top of all these great game announcements and Treehouse Gameplay footage, was actually, the Gamecube Pads being relaunched for Wii U, with an adapter, in time for the new Super Smash Brothers. There appears to be a number of versions of the Gamecube pads if the differing reports are to be believed. One which is no different from the old ones, which requires the Gamecube Adapter, this one is absolutely confirmed, one which connects to the Wii-motes, the same way as the Retro pad, and one that connects directly to the Wii U similar to the Wii U Pro-pads. Either or both of these could be true. If there was one thing that I was disappointed about with the Wii U it was the lack of Gamecube pad support. The Gamecube controllers are by a long way my favourite controler that Nintendo released, with the Virtual boy of all things being second. The Wii U Pad has been good but to finally be able to use Gamecube controllers again is a dream come true.

reggie-loveletterI’ve been impressed this year by Nintendo, but you don’t have to take my word for it. I HIGHLY recommend, if you haven’t already, check out the Nintendo Digital Event for these videos, trailers of the games, interviews with the developers of the new games coming out over the next 12 months, and even a series of Robot Chicken shorts!

So if that’s all I have to say on that matter of E3, why an entire article dedicated to this particular topic? Because the reward received for loyalty over the past year has gone beyond the new games that Nintendo have revealed at E3. This is my love letter to Nintendo, I hope that if there are sceptics out there that question my loyalty, that they may understand why I stick by them, and if anyone from Nintendo does get to read this, that they may understand that there are still passionate fans out there, who see the mistakes that they made, but can see past that and know that mistakes are temporary.

When it comes to developing and rewarding their fanbase, Nintendo have done really well in the past decade, not just with their really fun games and original console ideas, bringing in the fringe gamers and the “non-gamer gamers” but also creating a personality for the company and making the games developers and executives house hold names, with fan bases of their own, and using those fanbases to relate and respond to the fans, in a positive and meaningful way. Sure they have also made some mistakes in that time, I’m not denying that, but at the same time, neither is Nintendo. The Wii U is a prime example of this. The Wii U is the first real console flop since the Virtual Boy. Poor planning and advertising, followed by a lacking and slow games release, with huge delays have made this potential cash cow, into well… a cow. Don’t misunderstand me though, I own one, I don’t regret buying one, and I think there are a lot of games that are really good for the Wii U and still a number of games left for me to play on the Wii, but they have been lacking their triple A titles, where is Mario Kart, Smash Brothers, Metroid, and Zelda? All that’s finally on it’s way and with a vengeance! However, before that, what did Nintendo do when in the last financial year the Wii u returned a loss? Blame a poor international market? Blame third party developers for not being on the ball? How about make up their losses by firing thousands of employees?

orangedimonHell no! Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo stepped up and took responsibility for the mistakes, and cut his wages in HALF to cover the loss. Other top end executives did a similar thing, willingly cutting their wages by between 20% and 30%, a level of commitment rarely witnessed in business today. Just to put this into some stark comparison, JP Morgan Chase also returned a loss last year, and President and CEO Jamie Dimon, gave himself a pretty significant pay rise, double in fact! Oh yeah, and then fired 8000 employees to cover the loss.

I see and Orange Ring in his future!

 

While I’ve always loved video games, and ever since my first experience with a Super Mario Brothers arcade machine in a games room of a Tampa Bay hotel, in Florida, I have loved the games that Nintendo have produced. However, not until recently have I really cared to remember the names of the developers (save for Shigeru Miyamoto, but he’s been mental for a long time!). I recognise that the developers deserve their dues for the games that they produce, but you can’t judge a game by it’s development team or director, because we all have off days. The same goes for movies in my opinion, I mean, let’s look at Ang Lee for a moment: “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Brokeback Mountain”, “Life of Pi”, “The Hulk”.

One of these things is not like the others…

However, with this mind set squarely in mind, Nintendo have managed over the past few years to worm their developers and even some of their company executives into the minds and hearts of millions of gaming fans, including myself. Not just for the games that they make, but by making them minor celebrities, and pushing a focus on community and player-developer interaction. Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto, Eiji Aonuma, Masahiro Sakurai, Reggie Fils-Aime, Bill Trinen, Satoru Shibata, all becoming names and faces that the consumer, not just fans of Nintendo, have come to recognise thanks to their on going push to become more relatable to the fanbase, making them less the faceless number crunchers of yester-year, and more recognisable as being just as much fans of Nintendo as the rest of us. Rolling around on the E3 floor with us, playing games side by side with the fans, listening to our stories, our jokes, and taking them on board and simply having fun with it.

To the extent that Reggie Fils-aime, President and COO of Nintendo of America takes on the personality of a Terminator, called the Regginator or in this E3, The Fils-a-mech, and playing out funny skits for the fans.

To the extant that along with Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo, has become the face of Nintendo also, thanks to the Nintendo Direct videos, and has become a fast fan favourite (if you’ll excuse the illiteration).

To the extent that these two high paid, sharp suit wearing executives, come together to duke it out in a Dragon Ball Z style hyper fight, as an advert for Super Smash Brothers. An advert I might add, that put the actual Dragon Ball movie to shame!

To the extent that Bill Trinen, Director and Senior Product Marketing Manager for Nintendo of America, dresses up in cardboard boxes, pretending to be controlled by Shigeru Miyamoto, one of the biggest names in gaming. Period. In a battle against the Fils-a-mech!

For one reason. They enjoy it. Yes it gives them publicity. Yes it’s advertising for the games and the consoles. However, taking the box bot fight into consideration, what’s the point in gaining publicity for a game that might not even be out for another two years? Why do it themselves when they could hire celebrities to do it?

I think Reggie says it best: “At the end of the day, Nintendo creators share one belief: There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun.”

This past year has had Nintendo face some it’s own mistakes and some pretty severe scrutiny from the media as a whole, but like at E3 they keep coming out swinging, by doing the right thing for the company and by others by making the personal sacrifices. Appeasing share holders without risking the welfare of those who rely on them. These acts have proven their quality, but even still there are many who are looking to tear them down because they don’t fit into the increasingly smaller and smaller niche of games that are considered “true games” for the “pro-gamers” affiliated with them, and won’t cower down to accusations and dirty tactics of other companies. They have shown themselves to be just as much fans of the company, as the rest of us and more than that, shown they they are just as much fans of us, as we are of them.

This is why for me, there is no company that can top Nintendo. Sony Playstation can show their tail feathers with their fancy graphics, Microsoft XBone can have it’s glitchy spyware, both companies can keep their realistic and gritty shooters and the “true pro-gamers” that play them. I’m going to boot up my Wii U, throw in Mario Kart 8 and have a little fun. That’s the difference in my eyes, Xbox and Playstation are entertainment centres, they’ve put so much effort into the blu-ray players, the voice activation, the apps, unnecessary peripherals, the statistics, the numbers, the hardware, that it’s not about the games any more, it’s who has the biggest and the best hardware, regardless if it’s properly utilised, or even capable of being utilised. They forget about the most important thing in gaming: games should be about having fun.

miyamoto-loveletterNintendo on the other hand, well, that’s their main priority, and even in the midst of screw up’s setting back their profit margin, they don’t simply abandon the project and waste consumers money, they prop it up, double down on the system, and produce more games, fun games, games that the fans want to see and new things that we never realised that we wanted. Through it all they NEVER fail to provide that one thing: fun.

This article is a bit long and mushy, I know, and this is supposed to be all about Nintendo from E3 so I guess I should get on to that, but not today. I’m going to split up my Nintendo at E3 into five parts. This is the first one, aptly titled “Love Letter”, and the next four will include a close look at Amiibo, my Top Ten games from Nintendo at E3.

So until then this is Andy Frogman signing out!