While I think that Nintendo’s E3 conference had some good things in it, there was more ambiguity to the whole event than I would have liked.

The eShop finally went live last night after a two-week “delay” (well, more like two weeks and over 3 1/2 hours, since they didn’t release the update until 9:40 P.M. PST instead of 6:00 P.M.). I’m still convinced that this was for a “surprise reveal” at E3, not to mention a way to tie Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening into the whole Zelda 25th anniversary event.

The shop itself is nice and easy to navigate. It seems that Nintendo is going to have several shops within the shop to find more specific types of games. Excitebike 3D was an appreciated free item, and while the 3D isn’t mind-blowing, it is a very neat and noticeable effect. The Pokedex 3D is also a free item, and is fun enough to play around with, though I’m sure Pokemon fans will get much more out of it than I will.

As for the conference, it was broken down into three areas: 3DS, the new console, and… I guess the Wii. I think Nintendo has written that system off completely now.

I was hyped last year for the 3DS, and this year’s eventual showings give me the feeling that this is going to be the Nintendo system I devote most of my time into. Before I get into anything, download and watch game videos from the system. Online videos are alright, but the 3DS shows the full 3D in motion. It’s a much more thrilling experience.

Kid Icarus still has no release date, when it was set for a launch title. I’m not really amazed by the multi-player aspect, and wish it was a little less of a shooter, but it looks good. It looks really good, and I’m still quite excited for it.

Super Mario looks very nice, like a mini Galaxy game. Luigi’s Mansion 2 is a nice surprise. Starfox 64 still looks good, Metal Gear Solid looks really interesting, as does Resident Evil Revelations. Even Mario Kart looks nice, and I think the flight/diving aspects fit the playful theme very well. I just hope they don’t have the same type of broken “Winners get punished and will lose” AI of the Wii version. However, Retro is said to be working on this version, and if so, that’s good news. There was even mention of a Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS, though nothing was shown for it. That seemed to be prevalent for a lot of games at this conference. All talk and no show.

As for the new system…. I was always underwhelmed about the Wii’s name, but I grew to accept it. “Wii U” sounds like some sort of prestigious college that either is a massive amount of fun, set in the backwoods somewhere, or makes a lot of jokes about one’s nethers. I’m not a fan of the name, but I guess they had to keep brand familiarity. Unfortunately, so ends my hope of seeing an end to the “Wii Whatever” series. Now it’s just going to be mini game compilations set to sell all new controller peripherals… but now in HD.

Outside of a look at the controller, all the software was “all talk, no show”, save for some conceptual stuff, and a hint at a Mii-themed New Super Mario Bros. (do people really want this from a main entry Mario game?), Zelda, and the promise of Smash Bros. 4.

While the system itself sounds like it’s going to address a lot of the Wii’s issues (online, decent third-party support, etc.), I had one hope in mind that doesn’t look to be addressed:

It’s still that front disc loading aspect from the original Wii. Those who have been long time readers of my blog know of the hardware malfunctions that befell me last year with my Wii system “eating” games, and that front loading system clawing my discs up. As a result, I stopped using discs at all in my Wii, because it became too similar to the Kite-Eating Tree from Charlie Brown.

How I see my current Wii.

Considering that I’m not the only one who has dealt with a wonky Wii, I hope that they will build the next system a little sturdier, and less… hungry.

And the Wii…. Ever since 2006, there have always been those naysayers who heralded “The Wii is dead!”. I think this year… this year, they may be right.

The best gamers have to look forward to is a new Zelda and Kirby game. Last Story and Xenoblade were nowhere to be found, which really disheartened me, and I think Pikmin 3 and the Vitality Sensor are two of Nintendo’s longest and more unfunny running gags. The Gamecube’s end wasn’t exactly graceful. Nintendo has just yanked life support on the Wii before seeing if the pulse is still there. Wii U is still a prototype at this stage, and at least a year away. NoA is clearly not a fan of the Wii, and the lack of interest is saddening.

At the end of all the videos, trailers, screenshots, verbal promises, and prototypes, I am finding that the 3DS is the one most able to speak to me in terms of the experiences that I’m wanting. The 3D isn’t a gimmick, the build-up momentum has been slow, but the rewards seem to be worth it, and I just want classic gaming experiences.

From Nintendo’s show, I did find some things to definitely look forward to, but this was not the clear and polished showcase that was their conference last year.

I’m looking forward to the discussion on this one….

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