Connect with us
Advertisement

Games

Mamma Mia! Nintendo’s Top 10 Most Memorable E3 Moments

Published

on

The Big N has had its fair share of memorable moments at E3 over the past twenty or so years, giving us plenty of laughs, whether for good or not. From the lackluster reveal of the Wii U to Reggie’s iconic ascent to memedom, here’s Nintendo’s Top 10 Moments at E3:

10.) Robot Chicken Segments, E3 2014

Rarely does a company as labyrinthine as Nintendo truly reveal what makes them tick, the driving force behind their oftentimes topsy-turvy reasoning. At E3 2014, Nintendo did just that, allowing the creators of Robot Chicken to create a series of stop-motion videos that, in addition to making those familiar with the Japanese giant chuckle, also revealed a sense of brand awareness they hadn’t ever shown before. With one skit, Nintendo managed to address most of the issues that denizens of the Internet had held against them for years. Too many Mario games? Check. Too little awareness of the demand for a port of Mother 3? Check. Confirmation of Reggie’s status as a meme? Check. Self-deprecating humor doesn’t get much better than this.

9.) Reggie vs. Iwata, E3 2014

Another standout entry from E3 2014 came in the form of an amazingly campy, action-packed brawl between the late Satoru Iwata and Reggie Fils-Aime. As a promotional piece for the release of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U later in the year, the video’s humor was on point, relishing its own ridiculousness. Mr. Iwata’s willingness to “battle” with Reggie showed the passion and indelible joy that he brought to his work at Nintendo, the infectious levity that permeated his days as President of the company. He was a titan in the gaming industry, and yet a man that was never afraid to get directly (pun intended) involved in the promotion of his company’s products, a rarity in an industry driven more often by profits than passion. He was unique among executives, and a man whose tenure as President of Nintendo will fondly be remembered by fans for years to come.

8.) “My Body is Ready,” E3 2008

Things don’t get much better than this, folks. From Reggie’s dead-pan, I-have-no-idea-I’m-going-to-become-a-meme delivery, to Bill Trinen’s awkward chuckle, to Miyamoto simply saying “???, ???????” (“OK, please get on [the balance board]”), this single video reiterates what makes Nintendo’s old E3 press conferences such a nostalgic joy to revisit. It’s so quintessentially Nintendo, chock-full of personality, personalities, and memorable moments that still manage to provide a few laughs when viewed today. Four years later at E3 2012, Reggie referenced the comment in a move which, while not quite as funny as the original, showed an incredible amount of self-awareness from a man whose job it is to stick as close to the corporate PR script as possible. After all, it’s good to laugh at ourselves every now and then.

7.) Metroid Prime: Federation Force, E3 2015

Sometimes companies crush gamers’ hopes and dreams at E3. Other times, they rent a steamroller and turn them into asphalt. Nintendo accomplished the latter when they unveiled Metroid Prime: Federation Force at E3 2015 in what might have been their most hated PR move of the millennium. The reaction to Metroid PrimeFederation Force was beyond bad, reaching levels of complete disdain. After all, Nintendo had taken their most beloved and cherished teen-and-adult-focused franchise, chibi-ized it and turned it into a team-based shooter, flying in the face of nearly thirty years of Metroid series history. Even Reggie commented on the game, stating “The reaction has been negative. There’s no sugar-coating it.” Here’s to hoping that at this year’s E3 gamers will get the Metroid game that they’ve been craving since 2007.

6.) Wii Music On-Stage “Performance,” E3 2008

Shigeru Miyamoto is one of the most recognized video game developers on the planet. As creator of several of the most popular video game characters in existence, it has long been the expectation that, much like a certain king of legend, every game he touches turns to gold, an instant masterpiece. Nintendo’s 2008 press conference showed just how flawed that assumption was. In what was one of Nintendo’s most awkward moments ever at a major press conference, Miyamoto was joined by a full “band” that played a screechy, ear-twinging performance of the Super Mario Bros. theme song on the company’s new game, Wii Music. The move was instantly panned, and when it released a few months later Wii Music was a mess, too simple for hardcore gamers, yet also lacking the simplicity of its brethren, Wii Sports and Wii Fit. It remains one of Nintendo’s most visible missteps in the Wii era.

5.) Super Smash Bros. Melee, E3 2001

Some games generate excitement, but none quite as much as new games in the Super Smash Bros. series. As the follow-up to one of the most beloved games on the Nintendo 64, Super Smash Bros. Melee had a reputation to live up to, and Nintendo delivered at E3 2001. The trailer, an early version of the game’s opening movie, followed by a character reel, more than excited the crowd present at the Los Angeles Convention Center, with deafening cheers showering the trailer. As part of their promotion of the then-new GameCube, Nintendo’s unveiling of Smash did well to generate hype for the game that would become the system’s best-selling game, and remain Nintendo’s most visible e-sport nearly sixteen years later. It remains an example of how, when properly executed, a trailer can create instant demand for a new game, or even a fledgling platform.

4.) A New Face, A New Concept, E3 2004

Flash back to 2004. Smartphones hadn’t yet gained traction, HD was a funny buzzword, and most people’s internet connections topped out at 2 Megabits. Online multiplayer, while developing, was still in it’s nascent stages. The handheld industry had hardly changed in over fifteen years, and Nintendo had been reticent to innovate away from its incredibly popular Game Boy family of systems. With sales of the GameCube lukewarm at best, Nintendo decided that it was the time to innovate. Introduced on stage by the then-new Reggie Fils-Aime, the DS packed in features that were unprecedented in a handheld, possessing a touch-screen, Game Boy Advance backward compatibility, as well as wireless connectivity. That, coupled with an impressively-streamlined design (by 2004 standards) made the DS look like not only the future of gaming, but the future of technology. Nintendo tried something different in 2004, coupling a fresh face with a innovative idea, and it worked spectacularly, crafting the second-best selling video game system of all time in the process.

3.) The Problems With U, E3 2011

The Nintendo Wii U was troubled from its very start. While the initial reaction was far from negative, with the usual “oohs” and “aahs” that accompanied Nintendo’s E3 presentations, the Wii U’s first trailer was an unmitigated disaster. It focused almost exclusively on the GamePad, leaving the console to languish as a simple set piece. Every title showed off looked like a port of something from the Wii, with Nintendo obviously attempting to capitalize on the casual market that had made it so popular. While the technical capability shown in the short Zelda tech demo made it obvious that this wasn’t just a new controller, but a new console, their fervent focus on the controller ultimately cost them, and consumers would flock to Sony and Microsoft in the resulting confusion. Comparing this to the Nintendo Switch reveal trailer from this past October, and it’s stark what a difference five years can make. Nintendo has learned much about effective marketing in the time since, and while the Wii U will always have a unique spot in Nintendo’s history, it’s a shame that it didn’t get off to a better start.

2.) A Nintendo Revolution, E3 2005

2005 was a strange time for video games. Stuck firmly between the era of SD and HD gaming, 2005 served as a fork in the road for major console manufacturers. Should they aim to impress with HD consoles that, while more expensive, pushed the limits of graphical fidelity, or instead opt for less-expensive hardware that, while only outputting in SD, kept costs down for both consumers and themselves? While Microsoft and Sony opted for pushing the envelope of graphical fidelity with their new consoles, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Nintendo placed their focus upon one revolutionary (pun fully intended) feature that made the audience’s cheers reach a deafening pitch: the Virtual Console. Gamers would finally be able to download and play classic Nintendo games on the Revolution’s built-in flash memory, allowing games from the NES, SNES, and Nintendo 64 to be emulated on modern hardware for the first time, a huge step during a time when the only means of playing classic games was on the original hardware, or through ROMs available online.

1.) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, E3 2004

When The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was first shown for the GameCube at Space World 2001, many gamers were dismayed. Just a year earlier at Space World 2000 they had been treated to a tech demo showing off an impressively-rendered battle between Link and Ganondorf, with a visual style that was far removed from the cartoony, cel-shaded, humorous Link present in Wind Waker. For most of the mid-to-late 2000s, Wind Waker was the black sheep of the Zelda series, and fans clamored for a return to a more dark, mature ZeldaNintendo listened, and at E3 2004, they more than delivered on that demand. The first trailer for what was to become The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was greeted with thunderous applause and cheers aplenty, especially at the revelation of a more mature and realistic Link shown near the end of the trailer. Making the event all the more legendary was the appearance of a sword-and-shield-wielding Shigeru Miyamoto, who said a few words regarding the project. Twilight Princess would ultimately release for both GameCube and Wii two years later to instant critical acclaim, as big a hit when it released as the trailer had been two years before.

Although a gamer since before I can remember, there is not a better definition of me than these three words: Christian, moderate, and learner. I am steadfast in my Faith, my Beliefs, and in my Opinions, but I am always willing to hear the other side of the discussion. I love Nintendo, History, and the NBA. Currently a PhD Student at Liberty University.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

Games

PAX South 2020 Hands On: ‘Windjammers 2,’ ‘KUNAI,’ and ‘Young Souls’

Published

on

PAX South

PAX South 2020 attracted tons of exciting publishers to San Antonio, and even with such a crowded lineup, the DotEmu and Arcade Crew booth easily stood out as some of the show’s very best exhibitors. Streets of Rage 4 might have been their standout demo, but the French boutique publisher and developers brought a fantastic selection of games to the show, including their signature retro revivals and some promising original indie games of their own.

PAX South

Windjammers 2

Sequel to the much-beloved arcade classic, Windjammers 2 takes all the hectic frisbee-throwing action of the original and updates it for the modern generation. For those unfamiliar with the art of windjamming, it’s effectively pong, but instead of balls, you toss discs back and forth across the court. It pits two players against each other on opposite sides of the court, tasking you with mercilessly hurling your disc back and forth until it gets into your opponent’s goal.

You can just throw the disc directly at your opponent, but Windjammers 2 gives you many more options besides that. To really excel at the game, you’ll have to make use of the most extravagant moves you can, dashing across the court, leaping into the air, tossing the disc above you before slamming it down into your opponent, to list only a few of the uber-athletic abilities at your disposal. The game can move extremely quickly when both players take advantage of these capabilities, yet things never feel overwhelming. I always felt in control of the action, even when my quickest reflexes were put to the test. It’s fast-paced disc throwing insanity, and I couldn’t get enough of it.

Animated GIF

Just like the rest of DotEmu’s catalogue, Windjammers 2 combines classic gameplay with gorgeous modern aesthetics. It has the same hand-drawn style that makes other DotEmu titles stand out, like Wonderboy: The Dragon’s Trap. The original Windjammers was a time capsule of garish 90s style, and that design is retained for the new release, with characters looking even more colorful and absurd than ever thanks to the revitalized art and animations. Hectic to play and beautiful to behold, Windjammers 2 is already set to be a multiplayer hit.

PAX South

Young Souls

Streets of Rage 4 was certainly the premier beat ‘em up on display at DotEmu’s booth, but it wasn’t the only one. Alongside this retro revival was an all-new take on the genre: Young Souls, an extremely stylish action game that blends fast-paced fighting with deep RPG customization and a charming, emotional narrative.

Beat ‘em ups might not be known for deep storylines, but Young Souls aspires to something more. Along with its satisfying combat mechanics and plentiful flexibility for character builds, it also boasts of having “a profound story with unforgettable characters.” While my demo didn’t give me much of a look at this deep narrative, it’s reasonable to assume that the story will at least be quality, since it’s penned by none other than the author of the Walking Dead games, Matthew Ritter.

Animated GIF

However, I did get a substantial feel for combat. Young Souls features more than 70 monster-filled dungeons, and I got to venture into two of them in my demo. The action feels weighty and solid when going up against enemies, yet precise at the same time. Like any classic beat ‘em up, there’s a mixture of light and heavy attacks, along with blocks and powerful special moves, along with items and spells to exploit during combat as well. In between battles, you’re able to deck your character out in equipment and items, allowing for an element of roleplaying depth that isn’t typically associated with action games like this. In my short time with the game, it was fun to experiment with different character builds, which could determine the speed and abilities of my fighter, promising combat for the final game.

I played the demo both solo and co-op; in single-player, you’re able to switch between the two twins at will, while two players can each take control of a sibling. In both playstyles, the gameplay was just as visceral and satisfying as one would expect from a classic-style beat ‘em up like this, but the addition of a deep story and RPG mechanics put a unique spin on this entry. That’s not to mention that, like every other game at the DotEmu and Arcade Crew booth, it’s visually beautiful, featuring stylish 2D characters in 3D environments that are all rendered in gentle, washed-out colors. Young Souls might not have a release date or even any confirmed platforms as of now, but it’s absolutely worth keeping an eye on in the meantime.

KUNAI

KUNAI takes the typical metroidvania formula and boosts it to hyperspeed. It has all the hidden secrets and massively interconnected world exploration that you’d expect from the genre, and it gives you the ability to speed through that faster and more dynamically than ever. Its main gimmick is right in the name – by giving you two kunai hookshots, you’re able to traverse up and down your environments with speed and freedom, making for a uniquely vertical method to explore.

KUNAI starts out with the end of the world. In a dystopian future where technology has taken over, you control Tabby, a sentient and heroic tablet that’s dead set on liberating the planet. This serious plot is filled with plenty of personality, however, from the silly faces that Tabby makes in action to the charming dialogue and quirky character designs. This personality is rendered in appealing detail thanks to the game’s simple yet effective pixel art.

PAX South

It’s in the gameplay where KUNAI truly shines. With the eponymous kunai, you’re able to latch onto vertical surfaces. Combine this with the additional abilities to dash, bounce off enemies, or wall jump, and it provides for a uniquely dynamic method of exploring the world. Using the kunai feels easy and intuitive, fast enough to gain speed but never too floaty. It’s a balanced approach to speed and movement that never gets out of control, resulting in what it is perhaps the best-feeling movement of any metroidvania I’ve played recently. My demo was brief, and ended very soon after first getting the kunai, but the gameplay felt so smooth and natural that I can’t wait to experience more of it. Thankfully, it’s not long to wait, since KUNAI hits Switch and PC on February 6.

Continue Reading

Games

PAX South Hands-On: ‘Streets of Rage 4’ Balances Legacy and Innovation

Streets of Rage 4 embodies the original series’ elegant, action-packed design and revives it for a new generation.

Published

on

Streets of Rage 4

From the moment I began my demo with Streets of Rage 4 at PAX South, it felt like coming home. It might have been more than two decades since the first three games in the Streets of Rage series perfected the beat ‘em up formula on the Sega Genesis, but courtesy of developers Lizardcube, DotEmu, and Guard Crush, this legendary series is back and in good hands. This brand new entry aims to recapture all the style and balance of the originals, while introducing innovations of its own. If my demo is any indication, the game is set to achieve that.

Streets of Rage 4 uses the same elegant level design that set the original trilogy apart back on the Genesis. The gameplay is simple: keep walking to the right, taking out every enemy in front of you with all the jabs, kicks, jumps, and special moves at your disposal. If anything, the controls feel better than ever before, with an added level of precision and fluidity that simply wasn’t possible on older hardware.

Streets of Rage 4

That’s not to mention the new move sets. Beat ’em ups might not be the most complex genre around, but Streets of Rage 4 adds the perfect level of depth to the combat. It has the same simple jabs and kicks found in the original games, but spiced up with the potential for new combos and even a handful of extravagant new special moves. With new and old fighting mechanics, this new entry features plenty of room to experiment with combat but never loses the simple, arcade-like charm of the originals.

Streets of Rage 4 revives the series’ rage-filled and action-packed style for the twenty-first century

The demo included series staple characters like Axel and Blaze, yet I opted to play as an all-new character: Cherry Hunter, a guitar-wielding fighter whose move set felt very distinct from classic characters. Her movement is speedy, certainly faster than Axel but slower than Blaze, and her guitar provided for some unique melee moves. Like the new mechanics, her addition to the character roster helps shake up the Streets of Rage formula just enough, while maintaining the core beat ’em up simplicity that made the series special in the first place.

Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4 might innovate in a few areas, but one thing that’s clearly remained true to form is the difficulty. It boasts of the same old school difficulty that characterized the original games. The classic and brand new enemies are just as ruthless as ever, mercilessly crowding in around you and can easily overwhelm you if you’re not careful. However, just like the originals, the fighting feels so satisfying that it’s easy to keep coming back for more action.

Amid all these changes and additions, perhaps the most obvious (and controversial) change is the visual style. While the original series used detailed pixel art, Streets of Rage 4 instead boasts of an extremely detailed handcrafted art style, in which every frame of character animation is painstakingly drawn by hand and environments are colorful and painterly. Thousands of frames of animation go into each character, and the effort certainly shows, making every punch, kick, and other acts of violence a breathtaking sight to behold.

Streets of Rage 4 reimagines this classic series for a new generation, reintroducing the best of the beat ’em up genre for players of all backgrounds and experiences.

Some fans have complained that the game loses the series’ spirit without pixel art, but DotEmu marketing director Arnaud De Sousa insisted to me that this simply isn’t the case. Pixel art wasn’t an artistic choice back then – it was a matter of necessity. If the developers could have designed the game to look exactly as they wanted, regardless of technical limitations, then it likely would have looked just like the luscious hand-drawn visuals of the current Streets of Rage 4.

That’s not to mention that, as De Sousa emphasized, the Streets of Rage games are defined by looking different from one another. The third game looks different from the second, which looked different from the first – and now this new entry has twenty years of change to catch up on. Thus, it only makes sense for this new entry to adopt a radically new graphical style after all this time.

Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4 reimagines this classic series for a new generation, reintroducing the best of the beat ’em up genre for players of all backgrounds and experiences. The difference between De Sousa and myself is perfect evidence of that. He grew up playing the games in the 90s, whereas I wasn’t even born when the original trilogy became such a phenomenon and only played them years later in subsequent re-releases. Yet here we were, standing in the middle of a crowded convention and gushing about decades-old games. We might have had extremely different experiences with the series, but that didn’t stop us from appreciating the joys of stylish beat ’em up action.

“A good game is a good game,” De Sousa told me, “no matter how old.” That’s the attitude that Streets of Rage 4 exemplifies. It revives the series’ rage-filled and action-packed design for the twenty-first century. And with a release on all modern platforms, more players than ever will be able to rediscover the simple pleasure of wielding your bare knuckles against thugs of all types. Between the new art style and the solid gameplay, Streets of Rage 4 is looking like an incredibly welcome return for this iconic franchise.

Continue Reading

Games

An In-Depth Analysis of FIFA’s Career Mode

Published

on

Fifa’s Career Mode

It’s a well-known fact that career mode on FIFA has been a long-neglected element of the best selling sports games series of all time. But for soccer fans who want to pretend to be a football manager, but also want to personally play the game, FIFA is currently the main option.

The problem is: for a 60 dollar game, almost nothing about FIFA career mode works properly. 

Two of the most game-breaking bugs in FIFA career mode are so bad that it fundamentally makes the game unplayable for those who want to feel any sort of immersion. 

The first is a bug that makes it so that top teams will sign many more players for a position than they could possibly need. 

For example, Bayern might end up signing 6 or 7 great center backs, and then only play three or four of them, while what they really need to sign might be a winger or a fullback. 

This leads into the second huge issue: even when a team like Bayern HAS 6 or 7 great center-backs, they will STILL often choose to start second or third-string center backs! This often leads to top teams languishing at 12th or 13th in the tables by the end of the season, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Everything about this image is wrong. Everything. The top three teams in this table shouldn’t finish higher than 7th more than once every ten seasons between them, and teams that should finish first and second aren’t even in the top eight. 64 points near the end of the season for first place is also a very low number. 

There’s been plenty of other issues as well. Even on the highest difficulties, AI on both defense and ESPECIALLY offense ranges from poor to horrible, with the AI on offense rarely actually running at the defense (making defending boring and unrewarding), leaving players like Messi or Hazard to not even try to use their incredible dribbling ability and speed and instead pass away the ball as soon as they get it. 

Instead, the most common way the AI scores are by performing a janky, unrealistic and clearly scripted pinball, with impossibly precise passes between 4 or 5 players before the ball ends up in the back of the net. 

Another major problem with the game (though some might call it simply a feature in presenting a more arcade-like, less realistic take on soccer) is your ability (if you’re a big club) to buy multiple huge players and bring them to your club easily in your first season, making the game an absolute cakewalk. 

After years of incompetence and the ignoring of career mode’s many issues, however, EA finally faced serious backlash with the release of FIFA 20–the most broken iteration in the series yet. 

For a while, #fixcareermode was trending on twitter, and reviews blasted FIFA for its litany of issues, like players going on precipitous declines in stats right when they reach the age of 30.

Yet these bugs were treated by some in the media as a first time thing, issues that had only appeared in the latest iteration. They weren’t.

As one Reddit user noted to Eurogamer: “In the last few years, every FIFA game released has had bugs that ruin the immersion. Teams not starting their strongest lineups and unrealistic tables have been an issue not just for FIFA 20 but earlier editions. Our cries for patches and change have fallen on deaf ears. The community has been grossly neglected.”

The linked article by the Independent above wasn’t accurate in other ways, either. It claims that only simulated matches suffered from the bug of teams not playing their best players, and other articles have claimed that this bug only occurs when a big team plays against a small team. 

But neither of these claims is accurate. 

Fifa’s Career Mode

You could play against a top team like Barcelona, and you could also be a top team like Real Madrid, and Barcelona would still consistently field third or fourth-string players over the likes of Messi against your team. 

This wasn’t an occasional thing, either. At least three or four top players were benched for players 20 or more points below them every game. Every. Single. Game. 

I haven’t even mentioned the commentary in FIFA, which is so buggy and so immersion-breaking in its disconnection from reality that it’s more immersive to just turn it off entirely. 

What is so infuriating is that that many of the bugs seem like fairly minor fixes (commentary issues aside), something that seems like it would take no more than a few hours of rooting around in the code to figure out whatever misplaced number value was causing the issue.

The fact that these major issues have existed for at least no less than SIX years (FIFA 14 was the first game I played) indicates definitively how little EA cares about its products, and how little the designers care about actual football or delivering an enjoyable experience out of Ultimate Team. 

Of course, Ultimate Team alone in 2017 accounted for almost a third of all of EA’s revenue from sports titles, so it’s somewhat understandable why Ea focuses most of its attention on that element of FIFA.

FIFA

But with the amount of effort put into the new “futsal” mode in FIFA 2020, or the three campaign-like “Journey” modes from FIFA 17 to FIFA 19, one wonders why the developers couldn’t have spent just a little more effort to fix a mode that was in many ways fundamentally broken.

FIFA have made certain changes to career mode over this period, so it’s not like they’ve ignored it entirely. But the changes made to career mode in the six years I’ve played it have all either made the game much worse, slightly worse or had no great effect. 

The major changes over this period have included: 

A slightly updated youth system, which has suffered from its own serious bugs over the years, such as youth prospects never gaining stats in sprint speed or acceleration so that you end up getting stuck with players with 50 to 70 speed for eternity; a widely disliked training system for players that is utterly broken and unfair, allowing you to train players to abilities well beyond what is even vaguely realistic within a matter of a year or two; a new display screen for your team; the removal of form; the slight modification of morale; adding the ability to talk with your players; and, last but not least, transfer cut scenes which are the most incredibly pointless wastes of time in any sports game, both for the player and for the developers–at least they’re skippable. There is the ability to customize your manager–perhaps the most positive change made in this six-year period. But that’s still stunningly sad given that you will very rarely actually see your manager at all. 

None of these modifications, you may have noticed, go any way towards fixing the fundamental issues with the game, issues which have been pointed out to EA year after year.

It’s fair to say that one of the main reasons that FIFA got away with what it did for so long was not thanks to the players, but the media. 

Year after year, reviews for FIFA received solid scores (hovering around the low to mid 80’s), whereas user reviews were usually much lower. It was only this year that media reviews seriously pointed out issues with the career mode. 

The fact that FIFA received so much better reviews from reviewers as compared to players is easily explained away by the fact that the former usually play the game for comparatively shorter times, and therefore tends to miss a lot of the details. 

In response to the recent outrage which had finally reached a degree of publicity that EA could no longer ignore, EA finally patched some of FIFA’s issues, like the problem of teams not fielding their strongest lineups at least semi-frequently. This was a huge step towards making career mode not fundamentally broken, but whether or not the other most glaring issue of teams like Juventus signing 9 80+rated strikers (yes, that happened in my game once) has been solved remains to be seen. Given that I mostly gave up on the series after FIFA19 continued the same problems of its predecessors, I don’t think it’ll be me that finds out.

  • Evan Lindeman
Continue Reading

Popular