Why doesn’t this work in Vegas?

Generally speaking, I’m bad with predictions. Except this time I wasn’t.

See, back in April when I did “Game OverThinker” episode 34, “Waggle War,” I made a mostly-kidding joke about how funny it’d be if – because the “OMG-it’s-a-sidescroller!” trailer for the new Metroid had just come out – when the E3 show came around Sony and Microsoft’s big motion-control unveilings got undercut by a bunch of 2D retro Nintendo games. At the time, it was the most unlikely prospect I could think of. Here’s the episode, the revelant bit come in at 7:40…


So… fast-forward to this year’s E3 show, and what happened? Well, Sony and MS hacked everyone off with shows mostly devoted to their new motion controllers and pimping ESPN partnerships (Microsoft) and 3D TVs (Sony.) Nintendo’s show, on the other hand? Well… 2D sidescroller revamps for Metroid, Kirby and Donkey Kong Country; plus the next Zelda going with an ultra-colorful retro art scheme and along with what look to be ports of EVERY noteworthy franchise they’ve got (and then some) for the talk-of-show 3DS… it’s “flagship” game is the return of KID ICARUS. So, basically, E3 2010 was “won” by a game lineup from about 1998.

Why can’t I ever do this when there’s money on the line?

26 thoughts on “Why doesn’t this work in Vegas?

  1. Andy says:

    Apparently there's going to be a remake or port of Ocarina of Time for the 3DS in the future. I went back and played through that game again recently, and was really taken aback by all the nostalgia and good memories. Considering that I'm probably not the only one who will be throwing my money at Nintendo the moment that thing comes out, I'd say that nostalgia is pretty big business, and Nintendo's E3 show proves it.

    In other news, Portal 2. Holy crap!


  2. Anonymous says:

    hahahahahahaha…ohmygodohmygod… wait, wait wait….. baahahahahahahahahaha.

    As cool as M$ partnership with ESPN will be for the frat boys and Maddens alike… Kinect (which CEO failed english class btw unless it's a joke I'm missing?) is rehashing everything Nintendo already has… “Your Shape” is “Wii Fit”, “Kinect Sports” is “Wii Sports”, “Kinectimals” is… well I kinda thought that was cool. And, what happened to Milo?? Remember him. (or her?) They actually thought telling us about games we already new were coming was going to be satisfactory? GoW3, Halo Reach, & MGS Rising. That's it? Really!? Very disappointed indeed. Oh, at least they finally finished building the 360.

    And $ony. They were certainly better than M$ but that's like saying, “Well, this fart doesn't smell as bad as the last one.”

    Nintendo, you effin rock! But, I'm still on the fence with the whole 3DS thingy.


  3. Red Priest Rezo says:

    That's awesome and all, but PS3 and Xbox will also have plenty of awesome 2D games. Scott Pilgrim, Trine 2, Rayman, etc.


  4. Anonymous says:

    ummmm… Im fairly certain nintendo only won E3 if you are a fan of what the wii has already been doing with its previous games. Except for Goldeneye there is nothing here imo that is going to be anything that the wii doesnt basically already have. Before you castrate me this is what I mean. Yeah all of the games they are talking about redoing were great but to me for the most part they just look like they are rehashing the same family friendly fun with friends spirit EVERY SINGLE remotely decent wii game already has.

    That only is a win if that is all you care about… and since that is all the WII and nintendo seem to be capable of anymore I am going to say for all of us NOT dazzled by that type of game the battle was really just between Sony and Microsoft who both sucked because they were obsessed with all the motion shit, like the wii…

    So you want my conclusion? Nobody one because they all sucked except for Nintendo which gave us nothing new at all which doesnt count as a win in my book…


  5. Keith says:


    Short time reader, first time commenter. Though I don't necessarily agree with all your opinions (read: I agree with most of your opinions), I have to say that you are intelligent and thorough with your responses, so I figured I would pose a couple E3 questions to you.

    Firstly, why is it that gamers have been having such a strong reaction to the Kevin Butler character? Gamers seem to be falling all over themselves to give Sony money after the commercials started and I just can’t see the difference in my mind between Sony then and Sony now. They are still fairly arrogant; they just have some really funny commercials. I’ve seen Sony get a pass more and more recently (like playstation plus). Are we really that gullible? I figure you could give me precedence for this or at the very least perspective.


  6. Gray says:

    Honestly, I'm a little disappointed by the massive amount of sidescrollers Nintendo announced.

    Not that I have anything against sidescrollers, but it feels like they're trying to get away the with less risks and less effort.

    I don't mean to say that Epic Yard and DK Country Returns look bad, but if you compare them to the Kirby and DK titles that we had on the N64 I can't help but feeling a little underwhelmed. I mean, “less is more” in all honor, but they can't possibly expect to get away with that concept for all their flagship titles?

    Surely the Wii is capable of a lot more than that! DK Country and cute graphic Kirby games are DS titles! I'm intrigued, but I'm definitely not impressed.


  7. Bob says:


    I don't think Kevin Butler's appeal is any more complicated than that it's a REALLY funny comic-performance that so far has translated into some really funny ads. It's basically a rebooting of “Joe Isuzu,” a run of Isuzu car ads from the 80s on the same premise i.e. a fictional “corporate pitchman” who made hyperbolic and hucksterish claims about the product for comic effect.

    Gamers are pretty-much forced to get most of our early looks at stuff from trailers and commercial spots, which means we're forced to watch A LOT of shitty marketing – it's only natural that people would be REALLY thrilled with corporate PR thats actually fun to see.


  8. Axle says:

    I might never play any of those games since I don't have a Wii, but I'd have to agree that Nintendo won the press conference battle. And I really like the look of the new Zelda, colorful like most others but also kept the adult looking Link from TP. I felt a little bad the Miyamoto's demon didn't go smoothly.

    I didn't watch the Microsoft but besides the big focus on the Move and the big middle finger to everyone watching over the internet during the 3D part, (and the total lack of Last Guardian mention) I think Sony's was still pretty solid at least.


  9. Keith says:

    Thank you sir and good call on the Joe Isuzu reference. I guess I just underestimate the power of good PR and marketing. I mean I consider myself intellegent, but even I wanted Sky Balls. Though to be fair, they never did hit the ground.


  10. Lance says:

    Hey Bob,
    As someone who knows a lot more about game history/culture than I do, I would love your opinion on this.
    One thing that really struck me when watching Nintendo announce all their new games was how much they are relying on characters that had their genesis a decade and a half ago. All these gaming icons hail from the NES and early SNES eras; while more modern consoles can’t claim to have given birth to as many new characters and storylines. Maybe this is just Nintendo, but it seems like the introduction of new character icons in gaming culture has slowed dramatically in recent years. We still have new characters being introduced, like GLaDOS from Portal (best game villain ever imho), but the diversity doesn’t appear to be there. Why is that? Are new characters just not receiving enough attention because the older established franchises hog the limelight? Have we established some sort of game character aristocracy that suppresses creativity in character design? Or am I’m looking at this through too narrow of a focus?


  11. Robert says:

    Nintendo… I love you. Zelda looks so wonderful it kinda looks like Wind Waker grew up. I loved wind Waker (except Tingle!). Also Epic Yarn?! I'm not sure wheither to laugh or to be stunned by the awesomeness! It's about time Kirby have a platformer on a console again. DK looks pretty neat I liked the orginal 3 DK countries. I'll rent it first though
    3DS didn't quuuuite catch my interst.


  12. Anonymous says:

    Hey, I was psyched by the E3 line-up. I especially liked the press release of Epic Mickey. BTW, were you talking like this like it was good or bad?


  13. BFG says:

    It's bizarre when gamers bitch about one console doing what another's doing; who bitches at car companies or any other competitive market when one thing is emulated by others? It's only hilarious because both Sony and Microsoft tried to laugh off Nintendo for beating them to it, and being better at it.

    I haven't even picked up Super Mario Galaxy 2 yet, and already I'm going to have to budget for about 7 of the games Nintendo announced. All money well spent. 😀


  14. Bob says:


    Primarily it's a function of the market, I think. Character-centered or “mascot” games were partially a result of the era in which they were created (re: 80s to late-90s) when there was no internet and gaming didn't have much mass-media presence.

    Today, most “big” games are first “sold” by a trailer on the web a year before it comes out. Back then, 90% of games would be seen for the first time by prospective buyers on the shelf at the toy store RIGHT BEFORE they bought them – if the game was REALLY lucky, maybe they'd seen an add in a magazine before that. MAYBE. Having a “name” character was huge, because that's more recognition.

    Today, most games are “franchised” by a theme or style of gameplay. There's been less need/emphasis to create enduring characters because they're seen as less necessary – “Call of Duty” sells just fine on “the same gameplay you liked before, but with new maps and guns.” Nintendo is simply the only console-maker left who has their roots in that earlier era, so thats where they can draw from.


  15. Captain Scrambles says:

    I love sidescrollers as much as the next guy, (Unless he's Bob, the bastard) but dammit, this isn't my childhood. Some of us were born afterwords & would like some attention too! Some of us were “HAAAARDCOOOORRRRE!!!!!!111oneone” enough to ENJOY Metroid Prime! Some of us…hey, is that new Wayward Swords footage? I'll be right back…


  16. Robert says:

    Hope you don't mind me double posting. I think Kirby's game should chage it's name to something like… “Kirby in yarn land”, “Kirby's spectacular yarn adventure.” , or “The mysterious Kirby yarn adventure.”

    I have a near allergic reaction to the word epic.


  17. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous who liked Epic Mickey again. I just wanna ask, Bob. Did you even pay attention to the WHOLE of the E3 line-up?

    Zelda: Skyward Sword utilized the Wii's motion controls to great lengths by letting you wield the Wiimote & Nunchuck like a sword & shield respectively.

    Epic Mickey was a 3D platformer that let you use the Wiimote like a piantbrush. The 2D platforming makes up like a 3rd of the overall game. The rest is all true 3D.

    Wii Party is a good old casual Wii gamer's game, utilizing the Wiimote's motion controls like usual.

    Basically, I'd say Nintendo still realizes the importance of its own motion control, & is still using it.


  18. Nafees says:

    i'm going to say something positive about sony and microsoft and something negative aobut nintendo (flame shield up)

    now i loved nintedo and can't wait for 70% of what was announced.But the other tow did make some very good moves.
    Kinect isn't going to to help with regular gaming, but will help with social connectivity and maybe casual gaming. Remember you can connect with people and watch movies together etc, and frat boys will be watching 'the game' in between flame wars on xbox live.
    As for Sony, i brushed thme off as having no hope at all, until i say the 3DS approx release date, it's in 2011. By that time, 3D tv's would've dropped in price, and combine high end graphics with the current 3D craze, it looks to do okay

    now that all being said, it's not like sony and microsoft are going to overtake nintendo (snickers), just that they will do well by appealing to demographics with their tech.
    the only other thing to hurt nintendo is the boss announcing not to let kids under 7 play it as the 3D is bad for their not fully developed eyes.
    Still, NEW DK NEW ZELDA NEW KIRBY, and crazy games scheduled for 3DS!


  19. GEL says:

    Gotta admit I find it both awesome and depressing.

    Awesome because I love Nintendo and I love 2D sidescrollers so I'm glad to see them back!

    Depressing because…Motion Control is a GREAT fucking idea and Nintendo took a GIGANTIC FUCKING SHIT ALL OVER IT with the Wiimote, which barely functioned and it's arguable if it's even CAPABLE of actual Motion Control without the MotionPlus! So now everyone has been soured on Motion Control thinking of it as just a “gimmick” meant to appeal to “casuals” (which it doesn't, honestly).

    For the record, I think Motion Controls COULD have been the control equivalent of the move to 3D polygonal graphics: It would birth entirely new genres and reinvent existing ones! BUT! We should never repeat the mistakes of the past and call classic controls “outdated” as while certain things are ONLY capable with motion control, others are only capable with standard control.

    …and if you think Motion Control is just replacing button presses with gestures, then you've been fooled by the Wiimote. That's WAGGLE control, NOT Motion Control. There's a difference. The purpose of Motion Control ISN'T to be more “intuitive” or “immersive”, that's bullshit. It's to give you MORE control, DEEPER control, to do things NOT POSSIBLE with a standard controller! Think about all the elements of a sword swing: The angle of the blade, speed of the slice, position of the cut, straightness of the line, ALL OF THESE THINGS could POTENTIALLY be factored in with ACTUAL Motion Control and COULDN'T be done with a standard controller!

    So it depresses me to see Microsoft SQUANDER it's technology on blatant knock-offs of stuff everyone already owns on Wii. Yes MS desperately needs more casual games on their system, but at this point IT'S TOO LATE! The Wii has already outclassed it too much! Do they HONESTLY think Casuals are going to spend $450 to buy shit they already OWN on Wii?! Sony has the right idea (their controller LITERALLY being what the Wiimote SHOULD have been), but people's tastes have been too soured by their bad experiences with the Wiimote, a controller even Nintendo essentially abandoned.

    That said, both Kinect and Move are gonna bomb. Why? Because they have to be bought separately, meaning not everyone will have one, so when someone makes a Kinect/Move game they are greatly limiting their audience. And that's BEFORE getting into the $100+ pricetags on each!

    *AHEM!* Aside from being disappointed that what COULD have been a revolution has instead become a fad thanks to Nintendo, I AM incredibly excited about all these delicious new 2D sidescrollers! ^_^


  20. Nathan says:

    Don't forget about the wii exclusive Epic Mickey which is all about nostalgia. Its like Nintendo went back in time to when I was ten years old and asked me what I would like see. All of the games that Nintendo presented where a blast from the past with a graphical update. Though The only games that really impressed me out of all of the games at E3 were Epic Mickey and Kirby: Epic Yarn. Coincidentally they are also the same games that when I first heard about them I thought they were gonna be lame, but after seeing the gameplay and concepts I was blow away.


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