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Monday, June 17, 2013

The Best Buy Experience (With Videos!)

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Just like E3, without the booth babes.

Saturday I spent my day having a wonderful time at the closest Best Buy to my location (not telling you where) for Nintendo's E3 Experience! We saw and played Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Super Mario 3D World, and Mario Kart 8.

And they gave out free stuff. Like a (Styrofoam) Luigi hat, a Mario Kart flag, and a Wii U lanyard. Apparently I stole the hat. They only gave hats out to people after they played, and I played, but I took the very last hat and the Nintendo rep said that the hat was reserved for someone else. ...I took it anyway. I think I'll put it to better use.

Here's the hat on my Kirby plushie.

There were quite a few people and quite a few Streetpasses to be had. A lot of people were playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf and a couple were downloading it while in the store. When you came in at 1 PM (Eastern, which I'll stick to that time since that's the timezone Nintendo advertised) there was this sign-up sheet. Each person was supposed to choose one game to play, put down their name, and any people playing with them if it was multiplayer. These were distributed in 7-minute slots. To get an idea of how many people signed up, I signed up at 1 PM and my time-slot was 4:46 PM or so. Luckily people left between 1 PM and then so people left so I could play earlier. So here are my thoughts (and mob consensus) on each game:

Mario Kart 8: You had to play on 50 CC (slow, easy mode) and chose one of 12 characters. 12-character races. Two-player multiplayer was supported. GamePad player had to tilt it to steer, and players reported that the controls were much better than Mario Kart Wii's Wii Wheel. Everyone was impressed with the game because it looked beautiful. The anti-gravity features were basically driving sideways against the wall. Happily enough the camera was responsive enough that you could see everything.

Super Mario 3D World: Everyone seemed disappointed that this is the big 3D Mario for the Wii U. Good opinions, then, because I agree. No one else seemed to agree with me that having a time limit in a 3D Mario game is a problem, although no one actually said anything to DEFEND said time limit besides "past Mario sidescrollers have time limits". Why does Nintendo insist on these time limits on stages? The best platforming games DON'T have time limits! Anyway, the people who played it (also four player multiplayer supported) seemed to like it, especially the results screen with the scores. The boss fight in the demo sucked because they give out cat suits so you can't die. Apparently there is a hidden time limit when climbing the flag pole with the cat suit where if you take too long to get to the top, it finishes the level and you have to live with not getting the 1UP. People think the cat suit has cool powers but recognize the scary fan-art opportunities. Also, Peach can't keep up with Toad during the levels. She moves too slow and he moves too fast.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD: I got videos of the two playable, uh, sections: Outset Island from speaking to Aryll, getting the Telescope, and watching Tetra get kidnapped to concluding with obtaining the sword after training with Orca. You can also interact with the King of Red Lions who has some demo-exclusive dialogue. The purpose of that is to check out the Fast Sail. The second section you could've played with is starting with the cutscene where you see the Helmaroc King on top of the Forsaken Fortress. You must run up to the roof or whatever while the water floods, and then you must beat it in a boss fight. The demo ends right before the cutscene with Ganondorf occurs. Everyone was raving about how beautiful the game is.


Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze: This had four playable stages. You could play single-player as Donkey Kong, or multiplayer with one player as Donkey Kong and the other as Diddy Kong (no Dixie in the demo!). Retro didn't implement GamePad-only support into the demo, or Wiimote-on-its-side support. So you had to play with the Wiimote+Nunchuk, something I wasn't used to playing the first Donkey Kong Country Returns. It pretty much plays just like that. The volume on the demo wasn't high enough that I could actually hear the music over the crowd, unfortunately. Poor David Wise. Anyway, everyone besides me was disappointed that Retro Studios was working on this game as their secret project. They wanted another Metroid or Star Fox (no one wanted StarTropics or even discussed that as a possibility so I don't know what Rawk was talking about). They all agreed it'd be amazing but... still, disappointment. One guy wanted a Star Fox ala Star Fox Assault with online multiplayer. I told him that it'd be a waste due to how short Star Fox games are, but he didn't care. ...Also people thought that Star Fox Adventures was a "canceled Microsoft game".

Naturally, we didn't just talk about the demo games at the event. Many people wondered why Pikmin 3 wasn't there. A lot of people talked about Super Smash Bros. 4, and perhaps how the 3DS version is a waste of resources. A lot of people don't like Wii Fit Trainer for some reason (I like her!). Oh, and basically everyone knows about Project M. No one is excited for Bayonetta 2 and absolutely no one besides me even cares about Yoshi's New Island (and I only care because Arzest is a menace to society). People really thought X was amazing despite no one playing Xenoblade. Monolith Soft may be taking Retro's place if the backlash on Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is that high.

It's sort of amazing that Nintendo presented demos that WERE AT E3 to us common non-industry folks, but... well, it wasn't actually truly extraordinary. It was an awesome day to be sure, but look at the games. Expected sequel that doesn't really innovate (Mario Kart 8), unexpected and uncared for sequel to a 3DS game (Super Mario 3D World), a beautiful GameCube remake (The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD), and tragically unappreciated Wii game sequel (Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze). When you think about it, there weren't any innovative new experiences available — just rehashed experiences in HIGH-DEFINITION! People DID observe that the number one thing Nintendo should be doing to promote the Wii U is to demonstrate how the GamePad brings new gameplay experiences. ...None of the demos do such a thing. 

Perhaps that's why people are disappointed in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Retro could've made a new IP that shows off the Wii U GamePad and its capabilities (and bring a new Smash 4 candidate! ...Sadly, I feel like Dixie is Assist Trophy at best) that would be a system seller and everyone would just think WOW. Retro was the one point of innovation and salvation within Nintendo and they just "wasted" their potential on "just another 2D platformer" amidst so many other platformers on the console.

Ludwig gave his NNID (PrinceOfKoopas) to someone who was at the event, but they have yet to send him a friend request. Don't be like that guy! Friend or Follow Ludwig on Miiverse!

If you want to read about Ludwig's adventures in real life with the Luigi hat, click here!
If you think that Kirby picture is adorable and want to see more of it, click here!
Nintendo would do the same thing with a different game in 2014. Read all about it here!

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