Wednesday, 6 June 2012

E3: Nintendo Land

It is amazing to me how the gaming community has been throwing a tantrum over Nintendo's Wii U presentation in general and the announcement of Nintendo Land in particular. They are so caught up in how casual it looks that barely anyone has caught on to what might have been the true intend of this new game. So allow me to spell out how I see it.

Thanks to the Wii Series and the Touch! Generations for both Wii and DS, Nintendo has managed to capture a previously untapped audience, namely the Facebook generation of gamers. Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort and Wii Fit were the 'safe' games for them to buy. However, when the Wii U was unveiled, Nintendo has made it their mission statement to build a bridge between the casual and the core audience. What better way to do it than with a game that looks and feels like a Wii Series game but utilizes and extends into beloved Nintendo franchises? In this sense, Nintendo Land IS the bridge between casual and hardcore. After all, don't you think someone who liked the Zelda: Battle Quest minigame would also be interested to try out an actual Zelda title?

Furthermore, what is the implication of mini-games based on F-Zero, Metroid, Donkey Kong and Animal Crossing appearing in this title? It seems to me Nintendo used Nintendo Land for the purpose of hinting at games that are in production or they intend to produce at a later date. Luigi's Mansion 2 (which is also represented in Nintendo Land) is already on its way to 3DS. Even if this is not the case (it seems rather unlikely we are going to see a return of Nazo no Murasame Jō the same way we saw Kid Icarus return), I do not understand how Nintendo fans can look at a game called 'Nintendo Land', which is bound to be filled with fanservice, and not be in the least excited.

It might be too early to make a judgement on this as Nintendo themselves have not given a definite answer when asked about it, but it seems quite likely that Nintendo Land will be the pack-in title for the new Wii U. Nintendo Land might just be the right combination of a game for both the casual gamer and the Nintendo fan, while also being a clever commercial and a peek into things to come. 

In this sense, I feel that while Nintendo Land may have felt like a disappointment at first, it might actually be the bomb we were expecting it to be, albeit in disguise. Personally I'm very hopeful and I can't wait to try it out for myself.

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