With most announcements having run their course, it is still Nintendo dominating E3 news with the Wii U looking like an increasingly dubious proposition. Perhaps it was a cunning stratagem on the part of Microsoft and Sony to stage pedestrianly textbook conferences in order to provide Nintendo with enough media rope to hang themselves with, as no amount of one-upmanship or dickish PR manoeuvring could inflict even a portion of the damage that Nintendo seems able to inflict upon themselves just by speaking.
Readers who were able to stomach watching Nintendo’s pre-E3 Wii U hipster video will be aware that one of the key functions portrayed was the ability to delve into the Miiverse (a Wii U exclusive chat forums cum social network) at any time in order to gain immediate reciprocal help from their fellow Wii U gamers. Nintendo’s video clearly depicts messaging on their social network as being instantaneous, yet today Satoru Iwata as good as confirmed that the video was a deception. Not only will every message be filtered by software in order to remove any salty language, but each and every message will also have to be screened by a human employee in order to ensure that the content is appropriate for an all-ages audience before it is approved to go live. When asked how long of a lag-time users can expect before their messages go live, Iwata responded that he felt that a thirty minute wait would be appropriate, proving once again that Nintendo does not know how to internet. One cannot even begin to imagine attempting to hold a conversation when the most immediate thirty minutes of comments remain invisible to all parties – why would anyone even bother to jump through Nintendo’s ridiculous hoops when they can just hop online with their smartphone or tablet?
Further adding to Nintendo’s woes is the distinct possibility that the Wii U’s launch line-up might be even weaker than it appeared to be at Nintendo’s E3 conference. The software presented consisted entirely of titles that will be available during the system’s launch-window, yet Reggie Fils-Aime today clarified that the Wii U launch-window would stretch over some four months, meaning that Wii U software is likely to arrive at a drip rather than a trickle. Further, it was today revealed that the exclusive Wii U title Zombie U may in fact just be a timed exclusive, with Ubisoft’s senior Vice President of marketing, Tony Key, stating that: “I’m not saying that it can’t be done, but not in the next six months, you know?”, so look forward to playing Zombinect real soon.
Finally, some slightly more upbeat news came out of E3 today with the confirmation that gold coins will be playing a different role in the upcoming New Super Mario Bros. 2. Traditionally gold coins have been used to earn a 1up for Mario, yet New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a game that does away with the concept of lives altogether. Rather than the abolition of the lives system seeing the end of the placement and accrual of gold coins, New Super Mario Bros. 2 instead sees the return of gold coins in even more profligate quantities. This time around the coin counter has been expanded to four digits, allowing players to amass a much greater fortune. Players will now be able to collect coins from roulette blocks, which must be timed for greater payouts. Collecting eight red coins will net players a golden mushroom, which will grant them a large cash payout. Jumping on the flag pole at the end of the level will bestow upon players a coin multiplier which varies depending on how high up players manage to land. Golden enemies will leave behind a trail of gold coins, and burst into a golden shower of coins once defeated. Finally, finding a golden Fire Flower will allow players to throw golden fireballs which turn blocks into coins. But what does this all mean? One sincerely hopes that the increased focus on coin collection will see them used in a meaningful way, such as being used to unlock levels or rewards – yet Caspius suggests that this might just be a glorified score-tally.
And with that E3 is over for another year, and one may collapse into a tidy heap until next week. It was a journey that was strange and surreal by turns, but one that was worth taking nonetheless. Until next year – this was E3 2012.