Monthly Archives: June 2012

Nintendo Stays One Step Behind, Everyone Cheers.

Nintendo showed off it’s HD console, the Wii, U on the second day of E3. Highlights included a New Super Mario Bros. U, Batman: Arkham City, Mass Effect 3, ZombiU, Trine 2: Director’s Cut, and Nintendo Land. So, in other words, another Mario game, a bunch of games that came out last year, another zombie game, and…Nintendo Land.

Why do people love Mario again? Oh yeah, it’s because their products raised a generation of latchkey kids who remember the glory days with rose-tinted glasses, and exposed their children to Nintendo products. Nintendo doesn’t innovate anymore. That controller is a gimmick that, like the Wii, will be utilized best by Nintendo only, and people will still probably clamor for a regular controller. Wisely, Nintendo revealed the Xbox 360-looking Gamepad controller.

Nintendo stays a step behind, yet everyone flips their shit. Journalists and fans alike cheer at Mario in High Definition. When a mature game arrives on a Nintendo system, it’s news because Nintendo doesn’t cater to adults. They never have. They make games for kids that adults can, and do, enjoy. They make another Mario, another Zelda, or another Metroid, this time with better graphics, again, and everyone cheers.

Is it low standards? Is it an ache for Nintendo to come back to glory? I don’t know. What I do know, is that Nintendo makes games primarily for kids.

Nostalgia’s a bitch.

E3 2012: Brutality

That seems to be the theme for this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, as “Tomb Raider,” “The Last of Us,” “Far Cry 3,” and “Assasin’s Creed III” set the tone with blisteringly violent gameplay trailers. Lara Croft gets pulverized by her environment and shoots arrows through men’s throats in a surprisingly graphic demo that makes me wonder if Crystal Dynamics actually wants an “M” rating. “Assassin’s Creed III”, itself part of a franchise based around stabbing people in the throat, showed off newer ways to kill. Of course “God of War: Ascension” looked like a God of War game; Kratos ripped a monster’s skull in half. The aforementioned “The Last of Us”, however, arguably stole the show.

Naughty Dog is finally breaking into “adults-only” territory with “The Last of Us.” It’s violent, gory, vulgar, and unflinchingly realistic. This game will probably win many “game of show” awards, and stand out as a reminder of the brutal violence this year’s games showed. It’s not that games haven’t been this violent before, it’s that there hasn’t been this concentration of realistic violence combined with mature storytelling attempts. Mental illness, survival, rage, and fear were the storytelling themes shown to be in service of brutal gameplay on the first day of E3 2012. Some “Mature” games that are actually mature.

Or at least, I hope they’ll be.