What happened last week? Who “won” E3? How many #dankmeme pre-orders did each press conference get? Find out on this week’s Error! Report!
When I first saw the trailer for Hyrule Warriors in a Nintendo Direct, I had no idea what to make of it. It was The Legend of Zelda, my favorite series, mixed with Dynasty Warriors of all things. Not that I have a problem with Dynasty Warriors – the combination just seemed so… random. But I figured, hey, it might be a fun, fanservice-filled waste of time to whet fans’ appetites for the actual Wii U Zelda game. Thankfully, I was a little off on that assumption. It wasn’t just some cash-grabbing combination of two unrelated franchises, but a labor of love that expertly blends the two styles into one fantastic experience
On the morning of my fifth day with Tomodachi Life I booted up my 3DS and started the game. During the initial load a light caught my 3DS at just the right angle and I saw myself through the glare. Eyes drooping, mouth frowning, I looked into the mirror of my soul and wondered why. Why was I so desperate to see what my Miis were up to? Why won’t Chie and my look-alike start dating? Why does Evan like sports? Why is Michael upset? Why am I so set on checking my Island every 30 minutes for something new to do?
The Wii U has been a real bummer of a console, that’s no secret. Fans keep saying not to write it off just yet — there’s another game coming just around the corner that will be so great, just you wait. They said that game was Super Mario 3D World, a pretty cool Mario game that sometimes felt like a retread of old ideas. The same with Pikmin 3, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze… (Is that actually it? That can’t be all of them.) New Super Luigi U? NES Remix? — Seriously, what else was there? Oh, The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker HD, right, yes, of course. That’s a killer lineup worthy of any console. The point is the Wii U is stagnating. It doesn’t know what it wants to be or what that GamePad is for besides maps and other trinkets that unclutter the TV screen.
Hey, have you heard about Tomodachi Life? Maybe you have. It’s a quirky life simulator from Nintendo, headed to the 3DS later this year. Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with more user creation tools and agency. Yesterday, after some protestations, Nintendo explained that you wouldn’t be able to have a homosexual relationship in the game.
This is a problem.
The reasons that its a problem are, to me, obvious. The decision is needless and alienating. The statement in Nintendo’s press release is also one of the slimiest things I’ve ever seen emerge from a video game company. Thousands, if not millions of Nintendo fans will be poorly represented.
Here are five arguments I’ve seen in favor of Nintendo, and I’d like to address just why they’re all bullshit, one by one. Good? Good.
The title of Nintendo’s newest Zelda game describes much of its charm and ingenuity. This entry stands as a link between two design philosophies: the old, much beloved Zelda formula perfected by A Link to the Past, and the new, more freeing, exploratory format that gives players what they want as soon as they want it. A Link Between Worlds stands at the crossroads of these two different game types, melding them seamlessly. It shows Nintendo isn’t afraid to adapt and try new things in an effort to spice up the Zelda formula before it runs out of steam.
I think I’ve figured out the problem I’ve had with the Mario games since Super Mario 3D Land back in 2011: it’s all about the design. Super Mario 3D Land was varied, with the developers tossing out new mechanics left and right that never feel overused, and level designs that were colorful and unique. But then there were those other pesky New Super Mario Bros. games. Those were the ones that felt stale; they lacked creativity and that spark of something special that made games like 3D Land so much fun. Super Mario 3D World continues the philosophy of 3D Land, as well as the philosophy of most modern Nintendo games: it’s varied and quite enjoyable most of the time, but also has the tendency to get stale quickly.
Pikmin hails from a time when Nintendo was, and I don’t mean to sound like I’m the first person to make this argument, more willing to take a risk. The GameCube was out, with its weirdly designed but still marginally industry-standard controller, and they took some gambles on new properties, like Luigi’s Mansion, Animal Crossing, and, yes, Pikmin. People who said Nintendo hadn’t been interesting since they defined 3D games on the N64 just weren’t looking hard enough. Pikmin has always impressed me, from its weirdness to its relative mechanical complexity and sharp visual style.
It deserves better.