E3 Week – NintenRants Special: The Nintendo “World” Championships
It has probably escaped no one’s notice but E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo) is coming and we already know what Nintendo’s plans are; they are, in fact, replicating the incredible set-up they had last year with the Digital Presentation and Treehouse Live from E3. So if this is anything like last year, we are really in for a treat again in 2015.
But that does not necessarily mean that everything that Nintendo have intended to have at E3 is a golden decision, so for this E3 Week special NintenRant, I am setting my sights on one of the worst ideas I have heard from the Big N in a while; the Nintendo World Championships 2015. Although I have to admit I do use the word “world” there, as I did in the title, very loosely as only Americans can really enter it (more on this a little later).
Believe it or not, my issue with the wording is not my primary problem with the World Championships, although I do have to say that the USA is NOT the only country in the world Nintendo (just saying in case it needs to be reaffirmed), but I will forgive you based on the fact that America hilariously has the World Series of baseball. My main issue is actually in the execution of this event. I must admit that when I watched the announcement, I was excited by the prospect, having grown up with the great amount of good things that was said about the Championships in 1990, but not having been old enough to watch it at the time. However, hearing how this one will play out has left me feeling disappointed and with several negatives to point out, and I don’t even have the nostalgia that others might have for the last one.
Firstly, and I hate that I can actually honestly say this, Nintendo are not the powerhouse of the industry that they were in 1990; they have had a somewhat fall from grace from being the most popular (arguably) and prolific developer to being a (albeit respected and consistent) slightly outdated developer in the present, of which they need to accept and deal with. This means that, whereas the original iteration was capitalising on incredible success, a celebration even, this new one is coming with a limping husk of the former glory.
Secondly, one store franchise, in eight cities, of one country, is nowhere near the scope that bringing back this iconic event deserves. This is especially insulting as, since the original in 1990, we have something that could have made this one of the biggest events in E3’s history; the internet. The fact that this is even happening would mean that Nintendo would have at least planned it to some degree in advance, so what has stopped them using the internet to make it a truly world wide experience? The creation of a simple online build of a game would have allowed anyone anywhere to enter, or even given the ability to stage something similar to the Pokemon Championships with national heats, resulting in a world up of sorts. The whole thing just seems like a rushed mess, they could have put in effort and created something great, but they didn’t.
Thirdly, the move to introduce invited “celebrity gamers” and add Splatoon to the mix of the Championships. Don’t get me wrong here, the addition of Splatoon (thereby capitalising on its incredible success and drive more sales for it) is a clever marketing ploy but, as I said above, once again feels rushed. It could very well be that Splatoon was always intended to be added to the Championships, but I am not convinced based on the rushed (and late) announcement of it. As for the “invitees”, this also feels like borrowing the popularity of others to boost their own. This coupled with the fact that I personally barely know them (probably because barely any of them are well known outside America), just adds to my disappointment with the event overall.
It just all comes back to the fact that Nintendo could have honestly had one of the best E3 moments on their hands with this, but instead their use of nostalgia has come back to bite them. There are positives with it, such as an event tomorrow evening that I will probably still watch, if only to watch Splatoon competitively. However the weight of what it was and what it could have been ultimately damage what, after 25 years, could have been a triumphant return to form for Nintendo and one of the best E3 moments in years from any developer.