Sunday, 24 June 2012

Feature: My Impressions of Nintendo's E3 Conference [Part 1/2] [2012 Edition]

Well, here we are again, folks. If you watched Nintendo's E3 2012 Conference and have been reading the pieces of writing found on this site for a while, you'll know what to expect here; My own personal opinionated run-down of everything that happened at the show. If you're not familiar with E3 yet, check out some of my previous pieces of writing regarding the topic, because I ain't wasting any time discussing it here. I must admit that, while it was undeniably disappointing, I thoroughly enjoyed watching this year's Nintendo conference, much more so than the bland-fest that was 2011. More than any conference before it, this year packed a fair few memorable moments in the form of interesting new games and utterly hilarious moments, and these factors made for a much more enjoyable watch than the Queen's Diamond Jubilee that took place on the same day. I'm proud to be a British citizen not celebrating such an apparently momentous occasion, instead opting for keeping my eyes glued to a screen showing the events of the Nokia Theatre. And I've got to say, I'm glad I did.

Before I begin, I'll have to inform you that this year things are going to work a tad differently for my E3 Impressions. Let's face it, in some ways like the conference itself this year, my last two E3 Impressions posts didn't go down too well. I couldn't even finish the 2011 edition due to accidental erasure and a lack of motivation, and the 2010 one, while completed, is another example of how poor I was at writing around the time I started out. Because of this, I don't want to mess this one up, and I'm sure you readers don't want me to either. So, I've decided to basically go through my highlights of Nintendo's conference, skipping out anything pointless, or giving anything that deserves no more than a brief mention... a brief mention. Yes, I'm talking about the likes of SiNG, Freestyle games' disgusting alternative to what would've been DJ Hero 3 if Activision didn't idiotically can the franchise, as well as Wii Fit U, which definitely doesn't look bad but just doesn't interest me in the slightest. I will, however, be discussing what we saw at the anti-climactic end of the conference, what I consider to be the main gripe everyone seemed to have with this year's show (again, I still quite enjoyed the event as a whole). Well, without further ado, let's explore my opinions of 2012's Nintendo E3 Conference. I'll try my hardest not to drag this on for too long, much like the climax of the show itself...

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Update: E3 Related Posts and my Contributions to Stream

Some of you may have noticed a surprising lack of posts about subjects and games in regards to E3, the biggest gaming event of the year, the 2012 convention of which had taken place just under two weeks ago. On an annual basis, I post a review of Nintendo's yearly conference that takes place at the event. Before I announce anything else, I can confirm that the 2012 edition of this post is still in the works and it will be bigger than ever before from a quality of writing standpoint. The 2010 edition of the piece was shockingly completed, and it was fairly lengthy at that (although, I most definitely had a lot more free time back then). The problem with my first E3 Impressions post was that the quality of writing, well... sucked. Regardless, skip forward a year from then and my, oh my, you'll see that the second edition of the post wasn't even completed. After a large chunk of it was deleted through some kind of glitch when I attempted to save it (always back your stuff up, kids) I lost most of the post and in turn lost all motivation aimed towards finishing it, so I simply left it as it was and moved on to other things. Hopefully, we won't have any problems like that this year.

I'm sure what you, as an eager reader of this site, want to hear is that the 2012 edition of my Nintendo E3 Conference Impressions is well underway. Well, sort of. I've barely had any free time to even work on said post, alongside a number of other projects I've got planned (more on those in the next paragraph). The reason for this lack of writing over the past two weeks comes in the form of a culprit who doesn't like to hide himself away; exams, and revision for aforementioned exams. Exams are important. Writing about your opinions on a medium isn't quite so. It's a ridiculous world we live in, am I right? The point is that I'm hoping you understand I've had three science exams, two english exams and a single unit worth of maths papers to work through over the past few weeks. I reckon I've done well in the majority of aforementioned exams, so my motivation towards finishing quite possibly the most important post of the year has returned. You'll absolutely, definitely, undeniably (etc.), see the post published here on the blog before the month that is June reaches its climax for another year. Put simply, watch this space.

Staying on the subject of E3, I've got several posts planned that involve speculating and analysing a number of individual games. The first of these you'll see is my views on Platinum Games' upcoming spin-off of one of my favourite series, the game in question being Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Ignoring the ridiculous subtitle of this title, it looks brilliant, but the post I've got ready to go through the writing process is very much an opinionated rant. Before you get sceptical, read the post when it's published. Beyond that, more ranting, and not regarding a game I'm particularly positive towards. If you guessed New Super Mario Bros. 2, you guessed right. While I'm extremely excited about the upcoming Wii U rendition of the NSMB series due to its many innovations and originalities shown in the first 1-minute trailer, my views on the upcoming 3DS release are the absolute opposite. Expanding on my preview following the detail-lacking initial reveal of the title, you'll soon see my views on the upcoming handheld Mario platformer as a whole, and I must say in advance that said views ain't pretty, not to say that the game itself looks bad. Moving onwards to more positive things...

...We now reach the second main topic partially explored through the title of this post: Stream. Allow me to expand on this. Stream is an upcoming, free .pdf based magazine that features posts ranging through most entertainment mediums. Run by my good friend Conorr who has had the guts to grow a tree of staff members (crappy analogy, I know, my brain isn't exactly 100% today) willing to contribute to what's shaping up to be a fantastical word-based explosion of the visage-embedded receptacles. In case you hadn't guessed already, I'll be contributing to the Stream alongside a team of other particularly talented writers. While gaming has always been the core subject matter of my publications here on the blog, I've actually reviewed a film for the first issue of the magazine. While a flashier edition of my recent Super Mario 3D Land review will be featured in the magazine, you'll also spot my thoughts on Sacha Baron Cohen's latest, The Dictator. How does it hold out against the comedy classics that are Ali G Indahouse and Borat? You'll have to read the first issue of Stream to find out. My contributions won't end at this, either. You can expect more magazine-based prints of my game reviews from here on the blog, as well as some other stuff in the future. I'm still on the ropes on whether to post my non-gaming reviews here on the blog, so let me know if you want to see that by commenting below.

Finally, in order to allow this post to reach its wholesome climax of news and other such lumps of text, I'll quickly reveal what you lot will most probably see in the coming weeks. Following on from the impending E3 onslaught that will start with my Nintendo Conference Impressions in a matter of days, I'm planning on reviewing Mario Kart 7 after being distracted from writing about the game since my 3D Land Review was published. Also incoming fairly soon are the other reviews I mentioned in the last update; Metal Gear Solid 3 is one such game set to be reviewed by yours truly, but I'll also be composing a slightly shorter synopsis on the 3DS re-release, detailing how it holds up against the original and whatnot. I'm also writing notes for a game I've already reviewed but am still thoroughly disappointed in myself for messing up said review to this day. I'm talking about No More Heroes 2, Suda51's utter classic of a title that I, being the twonk that I was, analysed in the medium of poor-quality writing. NMH2 is a confusing, deep, detailed game despite its short length, and I want to get the review right this time. Moving onwards, I'd like to end this post by announcing that the blog, as you can see on the counter to the right of this post, has reached 15,000 views. I never quite thought I'd reach these heights, so thanks a lot for reading and all of the support. There's a lot to look forward to; E3, Stream, more game reviews as well as everything beyond that. We're well and truly having it large. Keep reading, and look to the future 'cause more posts are on the horizon!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

My Personal Reaction to that Wii U Concept Video [E3 2012]

Non-specific Action Figure approves of this post. God knows why.
So, lasses and gents, today happens to be the big day. After a rather poor conference from Microsoft and a wholly underwhelming one from Sony, we've reached the big one: Nintendo's E3 2012 presentation. Well, almost. Anyway, this post is something of a heads-up for the conference, which takes place here in the UK at 5:30PM, so buckle up, maybe grab some snacks and get ready. Before that, though, I'm here to discuss something from a few days back. Many fans, myself included, were surprised to hear that the big N would be airing a pre-E3 presentation based around some concepts for the Wii U, and it helped tie-up many loose ends regarding what we should expect from the conference today. Nintendo President Satoru Iwata opened the pre-recorded show by informing us that his company's E3 presentation will consist almost entirely of new games for the Wii U, explaining why he happened to be holding a presentation on the console before most people expected. In this half an hour showing, Iwata revealed the new latest model of the Wii U controller, now known as the Game Pad (in a direct reference to the NES pad's nickname) as well as the Wii U Pro controller, a new, not unusual but very sleek traditional method of play. The main bulk of the presentation, however, involved Miiverse, Nintendo's response to those who wish that the company would get involved in the networking side of gaming. It looks brilliant, to say the least.

However, you shouldn't misinterpret the topic of this post. Yes, it's based on Nintendo Direct presentation that took place on Sunday evening, but to be more specific, this post involves my personal reaction to a certain film shown during 30-minute video. If you watched the show, then yes, it's that film. To show off the concept of Miiverse before Iwata even chose to discuss it himself, Nintendo created a short film that will go down in the company's history books. With this 'concept film', the big N chose not to go for a realistic, tame demonstration, but something utterly ridiculous and completely degrading. And it was brilliant. Americanised and packed with hilarity, bad acting and various jokes that will most definitely be looked back on for years to come, I can't see myself forgetting this film, which I must stress is no bad thing. Why? Because the video gets the point across, despite the undignified face of the film itself. I now fully understand Miiverse from the get-go, and it's all thanks to the ridiculous Wii U adventures of Todd and his mates. And it's this film that has spawned quite possibly the most pointless piece of writing I have ever produced. Still, try to enjoy this in-depth analysis...

Friday, 1 June 2012

Feature: My Predictions of Nintendo's E3 Conference [2012 Edition]

It's that time of year once again - E3. On June 5th of this year, only a few weeks away, many of us will be witness to Nintendo's press conference both online and, for those who are particularly lucky, in the seats of the Los-Angeles Convention Centre. Whether a gamer is only mere metres away from the likes of Reggie Fils-Aime, Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata among others, or on the other side of the world, E3 is always a fantastical experience. Last year's conference was something of a disappointment. Following the mesmerising spectacle that was the announcement of the 3DS, alongside a massive line-up of brilliant looking Wii games back in 2010, the reveal of the Wii U, Nintendo's new home console, wasn't handled well at all. The entire conference was something of a shambles, with practically no new announcements (with the exception of Luigi's Mansion 2 and the full-on reveal of Super Mario 3D Land) and only new gameplay footage of titles we were already aware of. 2010 was so brilliant because of how utterly surprising it was. While many rumours surfaced before the show, nobody expected a new Kid Icarus, a brilliantly revolutionised Zelda game and a GoldenEye reboot among other brand-new, fantastic-looking titles. E3 2012 was very much the opposite.

Thankfully, similarly to the build-up to Nintendo's E3 2010 conference, we barely know what we're going to get this year. A number of rumours have found their way onto the 'net in the past few weeks (some more ridiculous than others, but more on that later) and we do know to expect what Nintendo are referring to as the 'true' reveal of their latest hardware, but other than these two factors we aren't enlightened of what is going to be revealed on the 5th day of next month. I, for one, am wholly excited about this. As aforementioned, it very much feels like it's going to be a repeat of the conference two years ago that was oh-so brilliant, and that's blatantly no bad thing. Yes, there is the chance that this year could be another disappointment, but let's not get all doom and gloom, especially on the run-up to the biggest gaming event of the year. In case you didn't deduce from the title of this post, the following paragraphs will make up the third edition of my E3 predictions, specifically regarding the Nintendo conference I've been banging on about up until now. In case you didn't catch the last two posts on this topic, you'll find them in the post archive to the right, but if you're looking to the future then read on. In the space of several paragraphs, I'll be discussing my thoughts on what has been predicted for Nintendo's conference this year, as well as my own silly predictions. Sit tight and start reading, and after that, share this post and drop me a comment regarding your own predictions! Now, let's start with the obvious, shall we?

The True Announcement of the Wii U
I don't want to keep going on about this, but the Wii U reveal of last year was ridiculously underwhelming and didn't get me too excited about the hardware. It's a clever idea, and visually the console seems like it's going to be a stunner (according to rumours, three times as powerful as a PS3) but I couldn't help but feel a little cheated, especially after the brilliant 3DS reveal one year prior. At their 2012 E3 conference, Nintendo are undoubtedly going to be showing off the hardware and its software properly, and the one way that they could have me develop excitement for it is to show some brand-new, first party games. The following suggestions might seem a bit ambitious, because they are, but regardless these titles would practically make my E3. First off, some of you may know that I've been playing F-Zero GX on GameCube recently, after abandoning it for a fair while. For a game on its platform, it looks obscenely good graphically, and while I don't consider visuals to be the number one aspect of game design as many others do, a new arcade racer starring the tight-suited Captain Falcon and his chums would be brilliant on Nintendo's new system. I reckon it would show off the visuals of apparently technically amazing Wii U, and prove to be a much-anticipated release if they do end up revealing it. Similarly, Mario Kart is perhaps the big N's most popular racing franchise, and a new iteration of that would be superb too. While I'm swerving in the direction of so-called 'casual games', a new edition of Wii Sports (or in this case, Wii U Sports) would also be great, as long as they don't waste too much time showing it off. Not everything should be about what are widely viewed as harcore titles, you know.