E3 day one: crap what I wrote

E3 is considerably less miserable now that things are actually happening! Hanging out in a hotel in Santa Monica for a few days is lame, but doing, you know, work? That is fine. Honestly, I feel like my trip here was more or less justified by my 20-minute hands-on with Super Mario Galaxy. That game is crazy good. So far the only person who doesn’t seem completely enamored with it is Shane Bettenhausen, but that’s because his professional goal is to satirize Sony fanboyism… and sometimes I worry he’s been in deep cover so long he’s gone to the other side.

Anyway! Here are links, because of course the only thing that matters at E3 is the set articles that I write.

News: Super Mario Galaxy has a release date in America. That is hawtsome. Less hawtsome is this idle speculation that Smash Bros. Brawl may not be online… not that I care or anything. Unfortunately, our man was rushed out of his Miyamoto interview before he had a chance to ask about it. A mystery for another day. The Wii Zapper looks decent, although I was sad to learn that the bundled software is not Duck Hunt; and Wii Fit… is actually pretty fun and is going to sell insanely well — it’s basically the logical next step from Wii Sports and the DIY fitness routines people were creating with bowling and baseball.

Wii Fit seems to be the focus of a lot of negativity, and frankly Nintendo seriously boned their press conference by spending 15 minutes talking about an aerobics video game. Poor Miyamoto seemed so reserved, trapped up there like a washed-up celebrity on QVC. (“Wow, Reggie, that’s a breathtaking cubic zirconium necklace! But I probably can’t afford it on my salary.” “Not at all, Shigeru! You can buy it today for only three monthly installments of $29.99!”) But despite the awful impression that Wii Fit left at the press conference, the game itself is really enjoyable. And apparently will have 40 minigames.

Previews: I think I harped a little too much about how much Lost Odyssey looks like a Final Fantasy game, but seriously, that’s all I can remember about what I saw. If you hate the direction the FF series has taken in recent years, you could totally get away with calling this Final Fantasy XI, seriously. Pretend the element spells Earth, Wind, Water and Fire are Fire, Thunder and Ice and you’re good to go. Most of the characters are direct analogues to FF characters, particularly the Palom and Porom-like kids and cantankerous old dude with the airship who looks exactly like Amano’s rendition of Galuf (and whose name is suspiciously similar to Cid). But at least that has a legitimate reason for looking like Final Fantasy, since it’s by the same guy. Namco Bandai has no excuse for how much Flash Focus rips off Brain Age. Honestly, it’s shameless.

Meanwhile, I’m really not sold on Metroid Prime 3 — which isn’t to say I’ve decided it’s going to suck or anything. I’m just worried that Retro took the wrong approach in addressing criticisms about the previous games. Rather than dropping the stupid end-game relic quests, they appear to have made the game a straightforward shooter with puzzle elements. A slightly more complex Metroid Prime Hunters. Which could be good, no doubt — but is it Metroid? Does it even matter? Eh, probably not.

In any case, Super Mario Galaxy is phenomenal. I loved it last year, but this time around it’s even more refined. And being able to go hands-on with more than one stage was the best thing I did all day. I’ve gushed enough in the preview and in the 1UP Show segment that should be going up tonight, so I’ll shut up. It’s good. It’s really good. That is all you need to know, right?

26 thoughts on “E3 day one: crap what I wrote

  1. After watching the videos of Metroid I was all kinds of excited for it, but now after reading your comments I’ve got a bit of trepidation in my heart. If they’ve really made the whole game just a straightforward FPS I will die a little inside.

  2. >>>
    Pretend the element spells Earth, Wind, Water and Fire are Fire, Thunder and Ice and you’re good to go.

    Does that mean Earth = Fire, Wind = Thunder, and Water = Ice? I mean, I know the Japanese read from right to left but that’s inexcusably backward.

  3. I can’t wait for Mario Galaxy. When I saw Mario in a bee costume… holy crap too awesome omg etc.

  4. As you said, I can only hope the Bee Suit represents a return of Mario’s animal-based powers.

    …now, where’s the Tanooki Suit?

  5. I assumed some of the negativity over Wii Fit comes from attendees who are conditioned to be entertained by some kind of “bomb” announcement at the end of Nintendo’s press conferences. Obviously, the game won’t impress much of the hardcore audience, and the conference overall did seem like a dud. But I’m impressed with Wii Fit. It’s pretty meaty with 40 minigames, and the BMI chart is clever. My wife works for the American Heart Association, and she said Wii Fit was the big buzz around her office yesterday.

    It’s pretty sad seeing the mainstream press more accepting of outside-the-box ideas than the established “boys club” gaming press. A perfect example of this is Patrick Klepek’s liveblog, where he wants to vomit after seeing Wii Fit and then, as if on cue, goes apeshit in all caps over another ridiculously bloated Metal Gear trailer. I recognize that you have to write to your audience, but there’s a whole new audience finally paying attention to video games. Why not tap into that audience instead of scaring them away?

  6. Reading your comments about Metroid just makes me hope for a new 2-D installment for the DS. Hopefully in the next 2 years or so.

    But I’m curious about this Infamous game that Sony trotted out. It looks like it could be like Crackdown just much darker and possibly more stylized. Has anyone had a hands-on with it? I haven’t read anywhere whether it was playable or not. A new IP that isn’t a generic space marine FPS just might get me to purchase a PS3 earlier than I thought. I can’t be the only one that got a case of the yawns when seeing trailers for Haze and Killzone.

  7. “Unfortunately, our man was rushed out of his Miyamoto interview before he had a chance to ask about it.”

    Was this a clever nod to Harvey Pekar, or did somebody else get to interview Miyamoto instead of you??

  8. I’m just glad Professor Layton and the Curious Village is crossing the ocean, and with a presumably stellar localization to boot. It’s like The 7th Guest with all the suck taken out. And that’s a lot of suck.

  9. Your whole preview of Flash Focus is based around it being a Namco game, when it is actually a Nintendo game. Whats up with that?

  10. OMG I never want to hear about WiiFit ever again, moratorium plzthx.

    Why would Nintendo give you Duck Hunt or Gumshoe or Wild Gunman with the zapper, when they could make you pay for them on VC?
    Also: I just read your Metroid preview and got the impression that you really liked it, and started getting psyched. Now I come here, and I don’t know what to think. Stop playing with my head, man.

  11. “We’ll be chatting with Smash Bros. producer Shigeru Miyamoto shortly, and this question’s at the top of our list.”

    “Unfortunately, our man was rushed out of his Miyamoto interview before he had a chance to ask about it.”

    …does this mean the interview never happened?

    –LBD “Nytetrayn”

  12. Thank you, Jeremy, for being a smooth, calm voice in the midst of everyone talking garbage about Nintendo and hating on WiiFit, etc.

  13. “I can only hope the Bee Suit represents a return of Mario’s animal-based powers.
    …now, where’s the Tanooki Suit?” I don’t care about the furry outfits. What I want to know is where’s Kuribo’s shoe?

  14. I’m really not surprised that the Prime subseries has suffered so much drift. Even from the first one, it was obvious that the 3D games weren’t running with the same philosophy of the 2D games. That doesn’t mean that they were bad, or that they weren’t non-linear shooters; it’s much like how Castlevania is its own series and not Bram Stoker’s Metroid.

    Here’s my theory: the thing that people remember the most about the Metroid games is how claustrophobic it feels. It’s not like Metroid’s the only game with tunnels in it, and no-one says that the cave levels in Mario feel claustrophobic. So it might be something else that the Metroid games do. I figure, and while this is a feature of all of them it’s particularly noticeable in Super, that it’s the nasty tricks; the surprise boss fights, the missing floors, the doors closing behind you, sending you briefly into other areas just to pick up a powerup. At the same time, it’s carefully balanced so that it doesn’t feel cheap, and you feel like every challenge is surmountable.

    The Prime games don’t do that, which is understandable; modern game design tends to avoid cheapness, and I don’t think Retro noticed just how careful the early games in the series were to avoid being too cheap while still playing tricks on the player.

    Also, glad to hear Super Mario Galaxy is living up to its promise.

  15. Flash Focus may indeed be that eye training game. And it may be Nintendo-published here, but it’s Namco Bandai-developed.

  16. Hey, Jeremy, is that you on the front page of Kotaku I see, sitting next to Miyamoto? What a svelt young man.

  17. It was Nintendo-published in Japan, too. Did they contract development of it out to Namco?

  18. (It’s probably too late, but) Parish, it’s up to you to ask Miyamoto if there are any plans to use the Wii Fit balance board for MonkeyBall-type games or as the strafing mechanism for FPSes. Think about using it in FPS: that would be insanely awesome. Lean forward for forward, back for back, like on a Segway. Meanwhile you can aim with you Wii remote. It would be so awesome that you have convince him to get someone to do it.

  19. Man, I’m not sure Prime 3 is my get-Wii title anymore. It sounds nice (and I didn’t mind that much the Library level), but is it Metroid?

  20. No, I had a front-row center seat to Miyamoto’s chat but the guy on Kotaku is Bill Trinen, Miyamoto translator and Treehouse Mangod Extraordinaire.

  21. OK. I’m an ass, sorry. It just looked like your pinchable cheeks smiling at Mr. Miyamoto.

  22. I’m still getting me ‘ead round this should be, but the Galaxy trailer has been the most persuasive argument yet for my buying a Wii of my very own instead of just savouring chapter-sized chunks of Twilight Princess whenever I visit the family homestead.

    Jeremy, I’ll call you svelte, just so you can own the compliment independent of people confusing you with Trinen and/or spelling it wrong. You’re one svelte-ass mofo.

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