E3 2012: Nintendo, Wii U and Pikmin

Yesterday, I was lamenting how bad the presenters at these E3 conferences have been. As if to punctuate that point, Nintendo’s Tuesday morning presentation was both consistently awkward and entirely underwhelming for a console scheduled to launch just a few months from now.

Things started strong, with Shigeru Miyamoto unveiling Pikmin 3, by far the highlight of the presser (at least for me). The actual demo wasn’t that great, with Miyamoto-san dealing with a translator and pretending to interact with virtual Pikmin, but OMG PIKMIN IS BACK, so who cares, right?  The question is, will that be enough to get me to buy a Wii U?

It’s a legitimate question, because there wasn’t much else to get excited about. Here’s Batman: Arkham City with a new gameplay mode. Yawn. LEGO City Undercover looks cute, but won’t be a system seller. There’s predictable stuff, like a new Super Mario, a new Wii U Fit, and a pack-in game called NintendoLand. Ubisoft had one interesting survival horror game called Zombi U, but overall nothing made me think, “man, I’ve got to get one of these.”

Not helping was Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime presiding over the show like a used car salesman. There was a particularly cringeworthy moment where he segued to their 3DS guy, saying “we don’t intend to ENTIRELY ignore the 3DS today,” followed by some VP trying to work the crowd and getting awkward silence in return. That’s pretty much all you need to know about the state of the 3DS today, and was yet another example of publishers killing their E3 message with awkward presenters.

On top of this, Nintendo didn’t announce a price or ship date for the system. I can’t help but think the touchscreen controller is going to drive the price high enough that it won’t be received well ($400 or higher?), so Nintendo just punted that announcement as to not interfere with E3 buzz. At this point, however, until we see a lot more games announced for the system, there won’t be much buzz at all.

Overall Grade: B-