Tony’s Time: Reaction To Nintendo’s 2015 E3 Digital Event

It’s been around 24 hours now since the Nintendo Digital Event. I’ve had time to process all the information they released in that 50ish minute video. I’ve watched some additional demos of many of the games that they had on display and I wanted to get my thoughts about what was shown (and maybe not shown) during the first day of E3 for Nintendo. Nintendo was focusing on transformation during the event. It did feel like things were changing for the company, but I wasn’t sure all the changes that they were making were going to be positive. I’m going to be focusing specifically on the stuff shown off during the Digital Event. There is still plenty more for Nintendo outside of that to talk about, though.

My initial reaction to the event overall was disappointment. It didn’t feel like there was really anything new that was going to wow us. With the loss of Zelda at the event and the game not coming out until next year at the earliest I felt, personally, that Nintendo needed to pull something out of their belt to get people excited. My first thought for that was a new Metroid game. We got one, but not one that fans were expecting. Metroid Prime Federation Force is a four player co-op multiplayer arena shooter. You and three friends can play together locally, or online, in what appear to be simple objective based scenarios. Then when you’ve finished all those missions you can play 3v3 Blast Ball, a futuristic version of soccer.

This feels to me like a slap in the face to Metroid fans. I’m not a Metroid guy, but I do like the series. I was one of the few people that thought Metroid: Other M was a really good Metroid game that actually made the character of Samus more believable and closer to how she is portrayed in the official Metroid manga series. She is flawed and vulnerable at times, but ultimately ready to take on whatever the galaxy has to throw at her. I was hoping that we’d get a new, proper Metroid game, but instead we’re getting something that feels like it would be a mini-game or a small part of an overall bigger game.

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The Original Zelda’s Incredible Game Design

Zelda Title ScreenI’ve played every game released in the Zelda franchise with the exception of the CD-I games. I’m a huge fan of the series. I love the exploration aspects. The feeling of being a hero. The story. The depth of the world. It’s always had all the recipes of a game franchise that if you’ve played it you’re probably going to remember it for a long time. There are, of course, people that don’t particularly care for the series, but every game has those. My favorite game in the franchise has always been The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The Super Nintendo era was one of the best that we’ve ever seen in gaming and that game stands tall, at least in my mind, above everything else during that time. It was then that the franchise really took off for me.

I remember playing the original Legend of Zelda on the NES after my 10th birthday. March of 1990 was when I got my original NES and I got a copy of the game sometime around the next January. I vividly remember being allowed to stay home from my parent’s weekly bowling night and I spent the entire time playing the game. It’s also memorable in that I skipped watching the Super Bowl that night because I was playing the game and I never missed a Super Bowl. It was the first of the Buffalo Bills four consecutive Super Bowl losses, but I didn’t care. I was in Hyrule.

The original Legend of Zelda game, more than any other game in the series encourages exploration above just about everything else. Mr. Miyamoto has talked about being inspired by walks in the woods near his house. The game drops you into the world and just lets you do whatever you want. You’re the explorer. You make the decisions. Yes, there is an overall progression to the game. Yes, there are some things you can’t do before reaching a certain point. Most of the game is just left up to you to figure out. There are secrets everywhere. It rewards people who think outside of the box. You don’t even know how to get to the first dungeon in the game. You have to figure that out by exploring.

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Tony’s Time: amiibo Doesn’t Seem That Appealing To Me

amiibo Title

I’m a sucker for the “toys come to life” genre that was essentially started when the first Skylanders game was released. Having kids in the house doesn’t make that any better because they’re also really into playing that game, or at least playing with the figures. I’ve played all four entries in that series and have a huge tub full of figures for it. We also have both of the Disney Infinity releases and a separate bucket full of those figures. It only made sense that Nintendo was eventually going to get into that market. With their huge lineup of characters it only seemed natural that they, more than any other developer or publisher could capitalize in a big way in that area of the games industry. You know we’re all dreading the day when the Pokemon Company gets the greenlight to release those figures, pokeballs and some way to make them interact directly with a game. Nintendo announced their entry into that market with amiibo and it seemed like everyone’s wallets all cried out in agony at once. Nintendo was finally doing it. They were going to be leveraging 30+ years of nostalgia in a way no one else could.

Up to this point I haven’t actually dropped a penny on a single amiibo figure. The temptation has certainly been there. There are definitely some of those figures I’d like to have, but as we’re getting closer to the launch of amiibo and the first game they’ll be compatible with I’m starting to be more and more glad that I held off. amiibo might not be as great as we’re hoping.

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Tony’s Time: Wii U and the 3DS Player

Tonys Time Purple

The Wii U is a year old and while I’m having a great time with my system, and have since I got it, the reaction has been pretty mixed.  Sales aren’t hitting the levels that Nintendo had hoped and third parties aren’t exactly showing the biggest support for the system.  That’s not what I’m here to talk about though.  Those thoughts are best left for another day.  There are a couple of things I’ve been thinking about a lot and it’s something that I think could really benefit the Wii U and that’s the 3DS and the GameCube.  Let me try to explain my thoughts.

The 3DS is on a roll.  It’s been hugely successful in the last year or two, and that’s after a floundering start that is very similar to what the Wii U is going through right now.  The internet was full of posts about how the 3DS was dead and that mobile phones were going to be the death of Nintendo.  We’re still waiting for that to happen and in the meantime the 3DS has exploded in popularity.  The library has grown to include some of the best games of this generation and it only seems to be gathering momentum, despite the constant death threats from Apple and other mobile devices.  They’re threatening, but Nintendo doesn’t seem to be scared.

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Tony’s Time: The Tyranny of Misleading Headlines

Tyranny of King Washington

We’re not here to talk about video game violence, whether it’s good, or whether it’s bad. That’s irrelevant to the bigger conversation I want to have which is that of the mainstream press drumming up controversial headlines in order to vilify a video game. It’s been reported on numerous times, and the biggest offender is Fox News.

It goes back to subjects like the news channel calling the Xbox the “SE”Xbox when referring to a love scene in Mass Effect. Of course, we all know about the Hot Coffee scandal. Every time a gun is shown on TV the first conclusion that any of the “experts” jump to is that a video game made the person do it. Do I think video games make people violent? In general, no I don’t. Do I think they might have some effect on susceptible people? Sure. Any form of media can do that.

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Tony’s Time: A Buying Problem

Hi. My name is Tony and I have a problem. If you’re a regular listener to the podcast then you know everyone on the staff has a tendency to buy a lot of stuff, sometimes expensive stuff. I’m probably the least guilty simply because I don’t have a lot of expendable cash (you know having a large brood and all). However, there is one thing I just can’t stop buying.

The item that I can’t stop buying is something that I know I’m going to end up having a lot of over the next five to six years. Some of these things I’ll buy. Some will be given to me and some will probably be traded for. What could that one thing possibly be? Read on and find out. Continue reading “Tony’s Time: A Buying Problem”

Tony’s Time: Should We Worry About Wii U Online?

Wii U launches in exactly a month.  We’ve heard a lot about what’s going on with the system, but there’s one thing that’s been glaringly absent from discussions; what’s going on with the Wii U and online?  Most of the talk you hear is that those options are still being explored and there are no firm announcements by any developer out there.  Nintendo themselves aren’t talking about what’s going to happen with Wii U when it comes to online infrastructure.

We have a few things that we know for sure.  The Wii U will allow streaming video from a number of different services.  All of it will be concentrated in one service called TVii.  We know you’re going to have some sort of online communication system that will allow you to post messages about different games on the Miiverse service.  Some games have made announcements when it comes to what you’ll be able to do online with your friends.  Ubisoft has shown off some messaging systems inside ZombiU that will let you post messages, giving your friends hints about things in the game.  These are neat ideas but they’re small details about a system that is shrouded in mystery.

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Tony’s Time: Wii U and the Controller Potential

So, we’re a week away from E3 and everyone’s getting ready for Nintendo’s big show. Last year was a trial run for what we’re going to see this year. It was basically Nintendo’s chance to let everyone see their early thoughts and designs on what their next home console can do. The controller was fairly well received with many of the people that got hands-on time with it praising the comfort and the possibility of the design. As we inch ever closer to this year’s event more and more details are surfacing about the system. Some of them are true and some of them are more or less speculation. We know the system is going to be HD capable and it’s going to be on par, slightly less powerful or slightly more powerful than the current HD consoles. My thought is it’s going to be slightly higher spec, but that’s just me thinking out loud. I want to focus more on the controller and I can’t help but toss my thoughts out about what I see in the controller. Continue reading “Tony’s Time: Wii U and the Controller Potential”

Tony’s Time: There’s Something Magical About Minish Cap

Let me just start by saying, “I’m a huge Legend of Zelda fan.” Not to the point where I get into philosophical debates about where each game falls in the “timeline” or anything like that, but I love playing these games. I have fond memories of skipping another Super Bowl featuring the Buffalo Bills to play the first game in the series; and staying up way past when I should have. The sense of adventure from these games is unlike anything else I’ve ever played.

The worlds always seemed so huge and vast. You could spend hours and hours, or weeks of your life exploring every nook and cranny only to realize you’d barely scratched the surface. It’s always about finding that next hidden secret and using some newly acquired item in ways you didn’t think were possible to discover all the things Miyamoto and the development team had tucked away in some far corner of the world.

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Tony’s Time: Chronicling the Blade

Xenoblade Chronicles is more than I ever could have expected. When the game was first announced I knew going in that it was going to be a grand RPG experience. I knew there might be a chance the game wouldn’t come to North America, but in reality it was the game highlighted by Operation Rainfall that I was least interested in. I don’t really know what it was that failed to draw me in, but I wanted the other two games (Pandora’s Tower and The Last Story) more. One reminded me of a God of War style action game and the other was from the creator of Final Fantasy, both things that appealed to me more than this seemingly unknown game with a weird title. When the game was announced for North America I took a look at some coverage from Japan and Europe and had my mind changed. I was unprepared for what I was going to experience. As of the time of writing this I’m about 17 hours into the game and I have been blown away by everything I’ve experienced.

From the very beginning of the game you’re told it’s going to be something very different. Most Japanese-role-playing games tend to start out very slowly with a long introduction sequence that is unplayable. Many of these moments are unforgettable gaming moments, but they’re just something you watch. I can remember the first time I booted up Final Fantasy IV and watched those airships fly over the rotating ocean below then get attacked as the characters ran around to defend themselves. It was a truly epic beginning to one of my favorite games of all time. It’s nothing, though, compared to what I experienced with Xenoblade Chronicles. From the second the game opens up you are thrust into the thick of fighting. You get a quick introduction to the characters through their battle planning, but within just a couple of minutes you’re in control of the action. It was absolutely a great way to learn the basics of the game. You’re given all of the information you need to survive; how to attack, and how to use arts. Once the opening battle is over you get a moment to collect yourself and relax while the story truly begins and you meet the characters you’ll be playing with in a more relaxed setting. Continue reading “Tony’s Time: Chronicling the Blade”