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E3 2005: How NOT To Make A Press Conference, Nintendo

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You only get one chance a year, and Nintendo blew it. Their pre-E3 press conference was nothing short of a debacle, as the company seems stubborn to reveal any concrete details on what exactly it is they have planned. Whereas Sony is showcasing some of the most graphically impressive demos we’ve ever seen, Nintendo lets us know that on their new hardware, we can play the 20-year old Super Mario Bros.

The idea of being able to play Nintendo’s entire library is intriguing… until you start to think. Obviously, ROM’s of these games are available free right now all across the internet. No word has been set on cost for these downloads, but even still, why would you pay, at minimum, $150 for a new system to play classic games when you can do that on the very computer you’re reading this from? Licensing issues will prevent countless games from being available, including numerous movie based games and other assorted licensed titles. In fact, just about any third party game could be excluded.

They claim this idea will draw in casual, hardcore, and new people into the industry. The casual people are looking for a brief experience, and will head for Madden or the latest entry from Rockstar. In other words, the titles they know. The hardcore gamer has likely played every game they’ll offer, or even own them. New people won’t grasp the concept of buying a new piece of expensive hardware to play old games. Actually, nobody will. Even kids who have grown up in the Playstation era will take one look at Excitebike and move onto to something that looks cool for their friends.

The system they showed was a prototype, and as of this very moment, all the world knows is that is can play classic games. They skirted over announcements of a new Super Smash Bros., then faded away when the controller and new Miyamoto game was mentioned. Less than 24 hours previous, Sony blew the gaming world away, demonstrating exactly what gamers want in a next gen system with Killzone. Nintendo is selling you a NES game. It’s great that your new system can do this, just don’t waste the press conference to get people talking about your past.

On the portable side, their new Game Boy Advance is just that: a Game Boy Advance. The Mini is a decent looking piece of hardware. Unfortunately, it plays the same games that the GBA, GBA SP, and DS all play right now, just with a smaller screen. If this is their plan to conquer Sony (as indicated by Reggie Fils-Aimes snide comment towards the competition), they have already failed.

The simple fact is Nintendo blew their chance. They showed me, as a die hard gamer, absolutely nothing as to what they’re going to provide me with in this generation other than 20-year old games I already own. Even though Microsoft’s press conference was a disappointment as well, at least they offered a glimpse as to their strategy and games. Nintendo desperately needs direction after the Gamecube fell off the radar, and it still seems like they’re unsure of what to do next.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • Keaton

    How old are you who posted this?

    There’s not enough room under the tv for all of the consoles.

    You play games to have fun, if Nintendo give players the bonus of downloading old games to play in between a bout of ssb online then we can actually have the most fun possible.

    How is that? you may ask. Well if you were old enough to have played any games when you were younger, at that stage you didn’t care about the games having any resemblance to real life, you had fun.

    I had fun, and still do, and having the freedom to suddenly play a bomberman game from the snes is a brilliant idea that will entice gamers the world over. Nothing beats playing these with a wireless controller sitting on the couch.

    Stop looking into the future, because one day you will die.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    There’s always room under the TV. I have 16 systems hooked up right now. I have every console Nintendo has ever released in the US. I know more about video games, their history, and their games than most people ever will. I’d rather play Contra than half the stuff out there now.

    The Revolution IS the future. Saying its not is fanboyish. That’s where the other companies decided to venture in this E3. Nintendo, in their infinite wisdom, did not. The only big announcement was that their future system will play their old games. That’s not good.

    If I want to play Contra, I’ll pop in the cart OR if I didn’t have it, download the ROM if I had to. Get a wiresless PC controller and NESticle if you want the same experience. Or, head to eBay and spend $40. Either way, why should anyone spend $300 on their NEW console to play the old games? That’s not what a new console generation is so, and it seems that’s exactly what Nintendo thinks.

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Nintendo, the company, and the gaming developers are easy pickings for one of the other two. BillG commented last year “If Hiroshi Yamauchi calls, he’ll get me on the line right away,”

    From an investment standpoint, ivestors have been wary of console transitions in the past because during such times, costs tend to go up and sales go down.

  • Kyle

    What a crock, Paprocki! All three companies have chosen to invest their future in technogies and capabilities in a joint effort with IBM who makes the G-5 processors for Apple. All three will be more powerful than your current top of the line Apple flavored puter. To believe that any of them are telling us the whole truth on their plans is absurd.

    Microsoft revealed the most and will be the first to market with theirs. Sony will follow up with a solid entry, and somewhere down the line Nintendo will pull their rabbit out of the hat. It is bound to be more than just a box to play old games by it’s shear length of developement and investment. If it wasn’t a company such as Nintendo would bow out now, knowing that to compete it would have to be as good or better.

    I find your narrow minded observation of how these companies are running their businesses ludicrous at best. From what you write I find it very hard to believe your any kind of hard core gamer let alone a good one. I have yet to read anything even closely resemblying a positive review by you. Do you ever have anything to say that isn’t derogatory or inflammatory in some way?

    After all is said and done you will be eating your words. NO! On second thought your not man enough to do that. And to think you probably make money for this. Now that is funny, real funny. Hope your studying for a new job when you lose this one.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    Did you read the article or just see “Nintendo” and “failed” and write up a comment?

    They blew their press conference, period. They showed nothing. That’s not even debateable. They would have been better off revealing nothing about the Revolution. Of course it’s going to play more than their long line of classics. Unfortunately, we have no idea what, and E3 was when they’re supposed to do that.

    They seem perfectly content to be the number 3 company, sticking with their fan base and ignoring a market that has matured. Could they pull something off that ends up blowing everyone away? Of course. Did they do that at E3? Nope.

    From what you write I find it very hard to believe your any kind of hard core gamer let alone a good one.

    You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Really. If you want to debate this, that’s fine. Trust me when I say, you’ll lose.

  • Kyle

    OK Paprocki you win! You Have more old Game Decks than I would ever dream of keeping, collecting dust and cobbwebs. That proves nothing except your alittle jaded about your knowledge and believe it to be a badge for “The Ultimate Hard Core Gamer”. You! I admit I have lost count of games I’ve played and when I’ve lost interest in a deck or game I’ve given them away for someone else to play. But it is pathetic to think you are qualified to criticize any company at E3 for what they said or didn’t say about their “In Developement Product”.

    The truth is your throwing tomatoes before any of them have even got out of the gate for the race. I am not saying any of them will be the best or worst system when they do come out. E3 is a show not a war zone and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But anyone who attends it, knows that the real info is gotten from behind the scenes asking questions and collecting samples, etc.

    I’ll admit that the E-3 girls showed me more up front than most of the companies put out for the media. But most of the media are blood suckers like you, hungry for a taste of defeat or a sensational blood letting event. You didn’t get any, so your trying to create your own. Sorry but you failed miserably in your attempt to portray Nintendo as the “Ultimate Loser” or you as the “Ultimate Hard Core Gamer”. Debate over, you lose!

    As EA says “It’s in the Game” where you’ll find evidence of a hard core gamer. In “UT2004″, I’ve been rated in the top 10 players. In “Halflife2 and Counter Strike” a Knifing Freak. Lately I have been playing “Battlefield2″ for a minimum average of 4 to 8 hours a day and if you play, I’ve probably been your Commander or woopin on you big time from the other side. You want a challenge? Play me on line in a currently popular game. You choose and give me a week and I’ll kick your butt off the map. “Hard Core Gamer”? “Got Milk” or “Got Skillz”? Picture this, me with a blood mustache standing over you crawling on the ground like the worm you are.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    . But it is pathetic to think you are qualified to criticize any company at E3 for what they said or didn’t say about their “In Developement Product”.

    I never said I was “qualified.” It’s an editorial. I made my thoughts known. You brought up the subject, I made my case known.

    The truth is your throwing tomatoes before any of them have even got out of the gate for the race. I am not saying any of them will be the best or worst system when they do come out. E3 is a show not a war zone and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Partly true, yes. It is a war zone. It’s a place where PR departments go into overdrive, creating things (real or not) to make sure their covered when the press finally gets around to writing their stories. That’s what’s supposed to happen. Smoke and mirrors? Of course. That’s the point.

    You didn’t get any, so your trying to create your own. Sorry but you failed miserably in your attempt to portray Nintendo as the “Ultimate Loser” or you as the “Ultimate Hard Core Gamer”. Debate over, you lose!

    Um, how did Nintendo not “lose” their press conference and what did I create exactly? They created more questions then answers. They failed at telling people why we need their latest piece of technology. That’s what they were supposed to do, yet the only thing they did was tell us N64 games (and below) will be playable, and they’re relasing another iteration of the GBA.

    Sony got people talking about Killzone, even though it was fake. Microsoft boasted and gloated, and introduced some new concepts. It’s not stuff I neccesarily like, but they’re trying.

    As EA says “It’s in the Game” where you’ll find evidence of a hard core gamer. In “UT2004″, I’ve been rated in the top 10 players. In “Halflife2 and Counter Strike” a Knifing Freak. Lately I have been playing “Battlefield2″ for a minimum average of 4 to 8 hours a day and if you play, I’ve probably been your Commander or woopin on you big time from the other side.

    That means nothing to me. That’s great you play online FPSs all day. Do what your love. I personally don’t care. I’m not a huge online fan. There’s little point in debating what a “hardcore” gamer is.

  • Kyle

    There’s little point in debating what a “hardcore” gamer is.
    My Point exactly! I only play those kind of hours when I first get a game. Usually I try to beat it on first sitting. Occasionally I do, but if I do then I usually judge the game to be bad and not worthy of the money spent. I do have a life but I live it more than I sleep, and gaming is my physical relaxation time.

    Much of what you say is true, but the majority of statements are negative and off the mark. Like a disgruntled old man complaining about his neigbors to everybody, but never moves away, just so he can continue to complain. I would feel better about what I read from you, if I found at least one raving review or critique. But those are not to be found. It is like you don’t get fun out of doing anything, whether watching a movie or playing a game, without some negative aspect taking away any good feelings. I hope you do enjoy more than the negative banter you put out, but it would be nice to read about that good stuff without the last word being a negative. Like in this statement:

    Sony got people talking about Killzone, even though it was fake. Microsoft boasted and gloated, and introduced some new concepts. It’s not stuff I neccesarily like, but they’re trying.

    Every statement you make is qualified with a negative. Most writers I read know how to turn that around so people walk away on the upbeat even if the overall message is a negative one. That keeps me returning to read more stuff and usually liking the writer.

    So it’s your style I find anoying, like the kid in class who continually interrupts with impertinant statements and fiddling with his pencil. If your going to do this writing stuff, get yourself a good upbeat hook to end with. Maybe we’ll all start liking you and what we read from you more.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    I haven’t played video games in years (my last system was the Sega Genesis, if that gives you an idea), but a hardcore gamer is when your thumbs are rubbed raw and your wrists start to hurt the next day.

    That is all.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki


    Much of what you say is true, but the majority of statements are negative and off the mark

    What was off the mark? I’m not going to say that it wasn’t negative, because it was. That was the point. I don’t pretend to cover things up with the whole “good comment then bad comment.” If something sucks, it sucks. If I don’t agree with it, I don’t agree with it.

    I would feel better about what I read from you, if I found at least one raving review or critique.

    I can link you to countless glowing reviews of games and movies.

    Here’s one.

    And another.

    And another.

    Those are just three on the first two pages of my posts. If something is wrong about a game/movie in my eyes, it needs to be known. I’m not going to cover it and make excuses.

    Most writers I read know how to turn that around so people walk away on the upbeat even if the overall message is a negative one.

    So you would want to drop $50 on a crappy game because you “came away happy” from a review?

    I love games. They’re what I do. However, I’m not afraid to rip them apart if:

    A: They offer me little entertainment value
    B: I see no reason to purchase it.

    As a critic here, that’s what I’m supposed to do, tell you, the reader, if something is worth your money. That’s not something you can coat with a thick layer sugar. If my review is negative, that’s what you should come away thinking about the product. If not, I don’t feel I’ve done my job. If a game is truly great, I hope that’s what you leave with.

    I’m sorry it’s annoying to you, but saying my comments are “off base” because you don’t agree with them isn’t exactly right either. I love a good debate, and I’d love nothing more than to go back and forth about the current state of Nintendo with you. If that’s what you want, lets go. I’ll be here. =;)

    If my writing sytle isn’t what you’re looking for, then don’t read it. That’s all I can tell you, I’m sorry. It’s just that simple. I’m not going to change after doing this for nearly 10 years. I’m not trying to sway anyones opinion on the topic. I’m just expressing how I felt after watching the press conference.

  • http://www.dorksandlosers.com Tan The Man

    Microsoft blew it to. They just had a hands-on conference with a bunch of people to show off the Xbox 360, and did nothing but show its multimedia capabilities. REPEAT – NO GAMEPLAY. Who would buy the Xbox 360 for its multimedia capabilities? The truth is the next generation console war is going to be big, and maybe will have closer competition than most people think. Everyone is ready for it – no one knows how to handle it.

  • Kyle

    I’m through talking to the hole in the wall Paproski, who hears only his self speaking. But I am sure he ultimately influences many other people (besides me) to buy games he deems worthless (which is almost every one of them) because we don’t trust his opinion.

    He ducked my challenge for a match and I doubt he’s all the gamer he thinks he is and is probably all thumbs when it comes to gamepads or keyboard controls. He will never be any good on a game playing it for 15 min. for a review and because he can’t beat in that time rates it badly. I’ve went to his links and it didn’t change my mind about him or his writing.

    Hey “Tan The Man”! Ever think about the logistics involved in a companies release of product information or the reason they might be doling it out that way? My guess on this one is maybe the game makers are still working on their end of the deal. Or maybe it is to keep people like Paproski from cutting and chopping their products before they’re even out. Also this was a demonstration of a game box being capable of so much more than just gaming.

    What are you going to cry about (along with Paproski) when they do have a hands on gaming session and your thoroughly impressed? Oh that’s right you might be of the same mind as he is and never be thoroughly impressed. I for one have been waiting years to witness the giant leap game boxes are about to take. We are about to see game boxes more capable than your computer at playing games and most of the other things you use your puter for right now. I’m excited and I think we’ll see the first results of those years in developement in November!

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    I’m through talking to the hole in the wall Paproski, who hears only his self speaking.

    I’m not exactly sure what you want me to do. I showed you multiple articles, both sides, and you’re still not admitting I gave you what you wanted. So, what do you want?

    He ducked my challenge for a match

    I didn’t decline it. I said I don’t play online, and if I do, it’s brief. If you ever wanted a match when you’re in my area in Street Fighter Alpha 3, Capcom vs. SNK 2, or any other of its cousins, bring it. I don’t have time to memorize multi-player maps in a FPS, only to deal with 12 years old who aren’t funny, exploitable glitches, cheaters, dropped games, lag, and pro players who do nothing but play these titles. It’s not worth it to me. I play with friends who are psyically present, which is the true way to do multi-player gaming.

    Microsoft blew it to. They just had a hands-on conference with a bunch of people to show off the Xbox 360, and did nothing but show its multimedia capabilities. REPEAT – NO GAMEPLAY

    Their press conference did spend way too much time on the new Xbox Live “experience.” They showed a few games, including Gears of War which looks to be their big launch release, that or Full Auto which looks almost finished. Given how early they likely were, frame rate issues in Gears were temporary. I think a lot of people went in expecting Halo 3, and walked out dissapointed because it wasn’t there. I didn’t think it would be anywhere near ready, and thankfully, they held back unlike Perfect Dark which now has people suspicious.

    when they do have a hands on gaming session and your thoroughly impressed?

    I’ll have one on launch day and I’ll most likley love it. That has nothing to do with me saying their press conference at E3 was lackluster. Planted people to cheer, the frame rate issues, not enough time on games, etc. I’m ready for the 360. It’s probably going to be a great machine.

  • Kyle

    Thank you Matt!

    You hit it right on the mark! I just wanted to see if you had some humanity left in you from the last 10 years of computer dominance over the gaming consoles on their own turf. I see now a little sense of emotion and love of what you do in the links you posted. After 10 years of dealing with the very things you’ve said here, is it any wonder I saw something missing in your review. But I see now you are aware of the quiet revolutionary war in the bowels of not just “Game Boxes”, but computer and processor wars as well and you really do love being in the game. That’s the part that counts to me, and I see you haven’t given up on Ninendo like your review seemed to indicate.

    I have read other reviews of the same event and one gave me what I was looking for and didn’t send me packing back home with a dismal outlook to the future and a promised failure for Ninendo. It left me seeing the battles raging behind the scenes knowing it is not over still it’s over. The writer voiced the same disapointment about Ninendo’s press conference as literally everyone else, but with one difference he expressed a hope and sense of excitement in the real posibility that this maybe the closest matchup we’ve seen yet. This writer exposed his sense of the real battle unfolding and leaves us in suspense, with the chance to make up our own minds as to the outcome. This is going to be a street fight from all sides and best part is we get to watch and reap the benefits. I think the winner on the gaming front will be decided by a narrow margin by who puts out the best games. It is obvious from the start (the way the cards are stacked) that the gaming industry will once again be dominated by consoles and once again, we will be playing our best gaming from our sofas not a foot away from a screen at our desk. Computers were not meant for entertainment and monitors burning our eyes out. This time around, not who has the best equipment (because on that front they will all be on similar ground), but whoever puts out the best games will be the ultimate winner. That’s exactly how it should be!

    In order to understand what we are about to see, we also have to throw in the Game Developer battles, Corporate Alliances, company allegiance swapping that is going on behind the scenes, and in major trading of places shaking this whole industry to it’s foundation. We are about to witness a battle for our money and attention of biblical proportions. All the ingredients are there. Revenge, rivalries, treason, hatred, mis-placed and forgotten loyalties, and adulterous part swapping of chipsets!

    We’ve been warming up for this event for the past five years and this will not be just a one on one matchup. It’s a whole series of clashes and main events taking place around the globe on different fronts. The computer industry is swinging for a knockout of the “Game Boxes” they took down in the first round. They think they got them beat like the first time. The gaming console community is hoping to take back their once dominant role in our gaming entertainment dollars. The computer giants in this matchup are trying to hang on to that dollar gained by providing the ability to play those games better and faster at your desk. Who wants to continue that? Glued to a stiff chair, eyes glaring at a screen mean for print. My take on this is they are set to fail on that front. Too much money and power are in the pot for the winner, not the whinner. I’m no writer by any standards, but I can’t help but be thrilled about the show unfolding and the punishing revenge wreaked on those that have it coming in some way or another. Egos are bound to be stripped, money lost, fame and reputions are bound to be injured. But by the same token, the positives will be reaped by us and who is more worthy of those rewards?

    These same game console manufacturers were gathering at the gates of past fallen giant (IBM) just some years ago and world dominator Intel, with a request to help them climb back on the throne of gaming dominance and take it back to the sofa. Intel answered with an all powerful no, and that entertainment will always come second to computerland needs no matter what for them! All they were looking for was a perforance edge in the field they once dominated. Meanwhile IBM sitting in it’s stewpot of simmering anger and resentment came looking for revenge on their old oppressor, Steven Jobs and Apple! Apple (and the government) had kept them under their thumb for more than 10 yrs., denied them the clone market sales, demanded one sided loyalty that kept them making processors only for Apple personal computers, who under utilized their personal computer market processor to just 3%. IBM closed the deal with the “Big Three Console Makers” by assuring them (Unlike their revenge plotting refusal to help Apple with quicker processor releases) that they would give them the edge over Intels “Computer” processor market with a faster, better one, even at the expense of Apple. This is all about payback time!

    Good ole Steven Jobs (Apple) stomped his foot and cried foul, said game consoles were just computers by a different name, and they couldn’t do that (Entertainment Appliances as Microsoft calls them). IBM was to give these game console guys everything Jobs wanted faster and better. Meanwhile back at the ranch in Cali, Jobs vowed to get back at IBM and took his fight to the big bully on the block, Intel. Intel (not so big n fierce as they seem, just in market share) said, ” Why sure little boy, we’ll make processors for you”! All the time savoring what sweet revenge they could have on Microsoft for doing what IBM had just done to Apple. Intel gleefully accepted their new alliance offer to pay back Microsoft for stalling on the release of Longhorn and other wrongful deeds.

    So now we have some very unlikely partners working together to try to keep the sleeping giant IBM down on the farm. Will it work? Or will IBM be able to put the gaming console industry moguls back on top of their throne like promised. Will the totally new and untested cell processor run for Sony, Toshiba and others like promised? Will Microsoft succeed in changing and developing an OS to run these “Entertainment Appliances”? Will the switch to Nvidia from ATI’s once unbeatable performance pay off for everyone involved in that battle? Can ATI up their bet on having a better graphics chip than Nvidia who now has one available but has promised to give Microsoft the power to compete better than their computer retailers? Can the Game Developers make the architecture switch and deliver what they’ve promised? We are about to see bloodshed, and whole corporations and reputations turned upside down. Apple faces the greatest gamble in their history in attempting to soothe poor Stevie’s ego (which is imposible) by converting all their products, OS, technologies to an unfamiliar processor architecture. Not because they need to, but because Stevie says so. Meanwhile Microsoft is faced with the same challenge of coming up with an OS to run these new gaming consoles using the competitor’s (Apple discarded) processor technology. What does this do to Intels foiled need for Longhorn to come out sooner not later? Will it ever come out for the Intel chipsets now? Jobs and billions of dollars lay in the balance and some say the heart and soul of America is on the line. Can IBM rise from the dust to narrow the processor numbers market gap and produce the quanities of processors sufficient to fill the gaming industries needs? This against some overwhelming odds and competition from Intel. I don’t know, but they have some corporate giants themselves as partners in Microsoft, Sony, Ninendo, Nvidia, ATI and the list goes on and on.

    We’re all climbing on board a carnval ride here hopefully bound for a glorious ride with a few bloody noses as it gains acceleration, but mostly “FUN”! Hopefully this time without such a predictable outcome and laughable defeat of our original gaming hero, Mario. Old rivalries, revenge, paybacks, hey we have the makings of World War III ready to blowup in our face with a fireworks finale of mega proportions. It goes without saying that everyone is and should be fired up about this. I know I am!

    The last time these combatants entered the gaming market arena, Ninendo really did not show up! This despite their long and illustrious past as our gaming forefathers. Game Cube was a joke! Microsoft made their first nervous foray onto unchartered waters and managed to make a mark and begin making a reputation for itself but never realized their goals fully. Can they, will they, this time? They did however succeed in producing a solid peice of machinery and some new concepts which will ultimately payoff. They’re opening doors to the broader use of our game boxes and opening the ability of playing each other around the globe when our friends can’t be there with us. That’s what online gaming has done for me. It has given me and everyone a chance to make new friends in other lands. And taught us that we’re not so different after all. Last but not least we have Sony who continued it’s surprising global domination it had aquired after it’s first launch. Who will win, your guess is as good as mine. But ultimately we will! Fire us Matt, you got the pen power to do just that.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    My, that was a quick turn around in opinion.

    I just wanted to see if you had some humanity left in you from the last 10 years of computer dominance over the gaming consoles on their own turf

    I don’t see how computers had gaming consoles dominated. It’s hard to say which has an edge, considering how hard it is to compare sales, given the difference in games and the usage of formats.

    Beyond that though, one hell of a post. Hope you can use that somewhere else so it’s not just wasting away in a comments section here. That could use some exposure.

  • sexydaniboy

    You fail Paprocki. You lifeless nerd. Saying only what you think about this system and backward compatibility doesn’t make it a fact. Nintendo didn’t blew it. They were just hiding the info that Sony stole from them a few months later…