Nintendo's running its own race, and we should let it
12th Jun 2013 | 13:29
It's far from game over
Now that the big E3 presentations are over, "Who won the show?" is the inevitable question on people's lips. Most will (quite rightly) argue that PS4 came out in pole position, but those claiming that Nintendo is going home in last place might be missing the bigger picture.
Before E3, I said that Nintendo not holding a press conference was a mistake. I (mostly) still stand by this, but its decision to go low-key has helped clarify the real message that the Mario creator is making: The Wii U isn't going up against the Xbox One and PS4. And that's fine.
Why? Because it doesn't have to. Nintendo has its own game to play. It's a game the company has been playing since the early days, and it's a mistake to think that it's game over for the Wii U before it's really had time to kick into gear.
As expected, this year's E3 was one of the most exciting in memory. But in all honesty, I soon found a large number of the gloomy shooters and photo-real racers shown off on Monday blending into one.
That's not to say that there weren't some interesting stand-outs (Sunset Overdrive, anyone?), but at too many points it felt like the emphasis on next-gen power was being pushed at the expense of creativity. The word "revolutionary" was used so many times over the course of Mega Monday that the word no longer holds any meaning for me.
But revolutionary won't always cut it – and this is where Nintendo stepped in and offered something a bit different in its Direct webcast. Seeing Donkey Kong, Mario and Zelda back on the screen was like meeting up with old friends - familiar, but a sure bet.
If it's between racing anti-gravity go karts while lobbing bananas at my friends on Mario Kart 8 and drooling over lifelike vehicles on Drive Club, then I know which mushroom-jumping side I'm on. Horsepower be damned.
And my point is that this still holds true for plenty of other people too. Nintendo is putting the game experience above the console as the industry makes big leaps forward in technology, and I think that's admirable.
After all, "Nintendo has lost this generation already" is a phrase we've heard too often before, yet the big N keeps coming back for more. Just one look at the Wii will tell you how specs aren't everything - and perhaps even more importantly how Nintendo can offer a console that's an "also" rather than an "instead of".
Perhaps Nintendo's biggest problem right now is just that it underestimates its fans. There are plenty out there still waiting for a new Metroid Prime, a new F-Zero, the return of StarFox. We need to see those things happen as soon as possible. A price cut might do wonders too.
Who knows how the new generation of consoles will pan out? And if it all falls apart for Nintendo then at least it can say it took some of its dignity down with it. Just ask Microsoft right now – when the cracks start to show, it's up to the exclusives to save the day. And that's where Nintendo continues to come out on top.