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Hindsight: Nintendo’s E3 2014 Nintendo Direct

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We cap off our Hindsight series by seeing what Nintendo had to announce in their Nintendo Direct at E3 2014 last year.

With the move to doing Nintendo Directs at E3 a few years ago, Nintendo was able to create something that was pretty cool in terms of production values while avoiding some of the awkward stuff we see in the live shows that precede Nintendo’s events. The one downside is that they are much shorter than your typical press conference and this show in particular focuses exclusively on Nintendo’s games with everything else being spread out to other shows and livestreams throughout the rest of E3. It’s better for them to sprinkle news over the following three days as they show off the games on the Treehouse streams, but the instant gratification and news overload of the other shows isn’t usually there for Nintendo. With that, let’s move on to what Nintendo had to show.

The Games

Bayonetta 2
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Hyrule Warriors
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
The Legend of Zelda
Mario Maker
Pokemon Omega Ruby
Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
Splatoon
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Yoshi’s Wooly World

The Promises

No new Mario game today – False. We could argue about whether Mario Maker is a new Mario game or not because of the skins included, but it is a new Mario game about making Mario levels. It’s not Mario Galaxy 3 or anything that grandiose, but it still counts for me.

The Numbers

Games Shown: 13
Released on Time: 9
Delayed: 1
Wii U Games: 10
3DS Games: 3
Weirdest Game Mention: Mother 3

The Good

Short and to the Point. It’s no surprise that a Nintendo-focused press conference with no fluff ends up being about 45 minutes long, which is even that long because many of the games are shown off as more of a developer diary trailer where you hear about a game’s origins while footage is shown. They immediately had a show afterwards with a lot of indie montages for the 3DS and Wii U, so there were still some ways to get the other news you might be wanting to see.
Solid Lineup. It may be a short list, but there doesn’t seem to be a stinker on the list. Some of those games may not be your cup of tea, but they’re still good games for those that like them.

The Bad

Developer Diaries? If there was an issue with the lineup, it’s that so much of what was shown were just developer diaries where the devs talk about why they made the game the way it is and all that. I’d prefer more demos where they can play a bit of the game or something that isn’t just about why they went with the Yarn aesthetic for Yoshi’s Wooly World as they’re sitting in front of a large shelf of various colored skeins of yarn.

The Legend of Zelda. Don’t get me wrong. What they showed of The Legend of Zelda here and at The Game Awards last December looked great, but we were already looking at a long gap to its late 2015 release and now we could be waiting an equally long time if this is a late 2016 release when Nintendo is sure to be talking about the NX.

The Ugly

Amiibo. These sure were optimistic times, weren’t they? Any cool Amiibo instantly sell out and are incredibly hard to find for MSRP, which has killed a lot of the buzz and good will we had for them in this naive debut.

Nintendo had a very good show here with a lot of varied games that were spread out among their various events throughout E3 week. It’s just the E3 curmudgeon in me that would like to have all of the info right here and not have it doled out over three or four days. I believe Codename Steam was announced late in the show and got a decent amount of buzz, which is a sign that companies can wait and get a bit more attention for their news than the glut of info that typically fills up each press conference. We’re looking for Nintendo’s shows this year to be similar, though I hope to see some more surprises and new IPs with the way that Splatoon took off over the past month.

That concludes our Hindsight features looking back at E3 2014, so stay tuned for our official E3 previews of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo’s press conferences along with some third party stuff for everyone else.

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