There are two things that I genuinely got excited for today from the video announcement.

The fact that I now have 8-bit Legend of Zelda stationery to use, and the fact that The Last Story is finally coming to Wii.

The video itself was very dry. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t exactly get a person hyped up and crazy, either. It did, however, bring up a lot of good things in the mere fact that underneath that dry tone, I got the feeling that Nintendo is finally starting to “get it” in terms of content, online, and direction, with the 3DS leading the charge with what I hope continues on the Wii U (or whatever they decide to call it).

Operation Rainfall has finally seemed to make a dent in NoA’s puzzling and unyielding stance on releasing the RPG titles. I can actually see both sides of it. On one hand, Nintendo is reasonable to be hesitant about releasing RPGs on a system not known for them, no matter how well-received they’ve been. I tend to see the Wii as an experiment as to what might work, and what wouldn’t. Nintendo tested the waters with online, but never really dove in with both content and a multiplayer community. Their biggest hits were Wii Sports, Wii Fit, and an extremely watered down Mario Kart. Outside of the Just Dance series and perhaps Carnival Games, those titles pretty much carried the Wii through its entire lifetime. It’s fair to say that type of crowd isn’t going to care for RPG fare like the NES and SNES was known for.

On the other hand, Nintendo needed these types of games from the start. Sure, they revived Punch-Out!!, Donkey Kong Country, and Sin & Punishment after decade plus hiatuses, but they needed to be more diverse instead of letting the well run dry midway through 2008, 2009, and 2011. They focused way too much on motion control and mini-games, which limited their options. Sure, there are other titles like Marios, and Metroids, and Zeldas, but all were very “safe” updates, not deviating much (if at all) from previously established formulas in their respective series. They needed new characters and IPs. The best the Wii got was the Mii, but again, that’s “you”, and your personal connection to that character was limited to yours alone.

The 3DS in comparison has been out less than a year, and has already introduced Pushmo, Freakyforms, and Dillon’s Rolling Western, three all new characters and franchises. Xenoblade and Last Story could be the same for the Wii, but Nintendo is even more “safe” with these titles. Xenoblade is a limited Gamestop exclusive. NoA handed over the publishing rights to XSeed for Last Story. It’s pretty clear that they have little to no faith in either title, but enough people raised a ruckuss, and Nintendo is trying to win back the rabid fanbase they pushed aside for the casual crowd, so they’ll concede in the “safest” way they can. It’s unfortunate that American gamers had to jump through a billion hoops to get these titles and beg for them, when Nintendo in other regions is just simply releasing them. A true case of “Shut up and take my money”, indeed, and whether or not you personally agree with Operation Rainfall, their tactics have likely helped to garner results. At least Nintendo provided another option despite their refusal to publish Last Story themselves.

But at least we’re getting them at all, and really, Nintendo has no one to blame but themselves for not building and maintaining both sides of their audiences in a more balanced manner. I’m hoping Wii U can fix this, putting the next fan favorite like, say, F-Zero on the same playing field as another Wii Sports.

So what did we get? A ton of Kid Icarus related info., a look at Mario Tennis and with it the company’s renewed commitment to online, a long awaited RPG to finish out the Wii’s life cycle, a newly released IP and character, a hint at a potential new Zelda for 3DS (complete with digital goodie), a flash of hope that Game Gear games may eventually hit the 3DS, a hint at a new Fatal Frame Wii game (good luck on that one. I’m not holding my breath), a look at the spin-off Spirit Camera (which surprisingly, we are getting), hints of a new Brain Age (casual gamers need love too), and me sitting back and thinking to myself: “By golly, maybe Nintendo has finally figured it all out this time with those missing pieces.” With all the talk of Nintendo wanting to put smiles on people’s faces, it seemed like in the process they had forgotten how to have fun with what they do.

The current direction of the 3DS, and the Nintendo Direct chat have put a lot of my old concerns at ease. I think they’re in a good place right now, and currently have the means to only get better.

But we’ll see how E3 goes. I’m thinking it will be alright.

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