We've collected 11 different reasons to be excited for Nintendo's future, all based on what we saw and/or played at E3 and in the days since. Take a look and see if this doesn't change your mind...
Nintendo Land isn't as bad as it seems
Though its a backhanded compliment, Nintendo Land plays much better than you probably assumed at first. Of the five minigames on show , the Animal Crossing, Luigis Mansion, and Zelda themed ones drew us in with a mix of fun competitiveness and teamwork. True, that teamwork only works when everyone is in the same room (its currently unclear how much online play Nintendo Land offers), but if this came packed in with our Wii U, wed hardly complain.
Wii U is likely launching with a Mario game
Is New Super Mario Bros U the Mario game we dreamed would accompany the system at launch? Not from what weve played so far, but the single player aspects of the demo felt like classic Mario to us, with clever new powers, enemies and concepts. It may not be the true successor to Galaxy, but we wont turn away a chance to play a whole new Mario game at launch no matter how many dimensions it has. Of course, this could appear in the dreaded launch window, but Nintendo wouldnt toy with us like that, right?
The Wii U has some great features Nintendo didnt talk about
Nintendo is also estimating a five hour battery life for the GamePad. Not bad, but not huge either. Luckily the system will be able to charge while you play, with an electrical port designed to keep cords out of your way should you need to do so. Its also been said that Nintendo will be introducing some kind of achievement system, and will be overhauling its whole Friend Code system, so no more calling people to ask for a string of letters and numbers.
The Wii U has more third-party support than what was at the press conference
Between Assassin's Creed III, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, an untitled Battlefield game and Skylanders: Giants, some of the biggest franchises in gaming are on the way to the Wii U. Thats not to mention sports titans like Madden NFL 13, FIFA 13 and NBA 2K13, all coming with who-knows-what GamePad features (remember playmaking on Microsofts SmartGlass? Wed bet money that Nintendo gets that too). Then there are the big, new third-party titles like Injustice: Gods Among Us, Project Cars and Aliens: Colonial Marines. Now stop us before we mention third-party Nintendo exclusives like Rayman Legends, Scribblenauts Unlimited and Lego City Undercover (too late)!
Platinum Games is developing a Wii U game
An original property from the makers of Bayonetta, Vanquish and the upcoming Metal Gear Rising, P-100 looks like a winning combination of some of our favorite games. You have the light RTS mechanics of Pikmin as the main hero guides a small army through towns, mixed with the super sentai look of Viewtiful Joe and the transformative power-ups of Bayonetta. Despite being published by Nintendo, this game didnt get the fame it deserved at E3, but we suppose being under the radar is par for the course with Platinum. But now that you know about it, dont forget it!
ZombiU isn't Red Steel
Red Steel impressed many as a demo for the Wii in 2006, but when people actually played the final game, they found they were playing an overhyped mess. ZombiU might share the distinction of being a high profile, exclusive, mature FPS from Ubisoft thats launching on a Nintendo system, but the demo we played was extremely promising. A fully featured shooter with natural controls, interesting uses for the touch screen and the hardcore hook of one life per character, ZombiU seems to prove Ubi has learned from its mistakes.
Pikmin 3 is exactly what Pikmin fans want
When we played it on the show floor, Pikmin 3 kept the GamePpad implementation light, using it only to move the map display to the touch screen, as the main controls were the very functional Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo. The look was like previous Pikmin games but updated with understated HD graphics. True, series star Olimar is notably absent, but other than that, Pikmin 3 is basically everything we wanted it to be for the last eight years.
Despite how little they showed it, 3DS is looking great
But theres more coming to the 3DS than just a challenging, coin happy Mario game. We cant wait for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate 3DS - the 2.5D the vampire slaying game so nice they subtitled it twice. Then theres Luigis Mansion: Dark Moon, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, and Paper Mario: Sticker Star. Theres truly a bumper crop of quality titles headed to the 3DS; 2012 is proving to be a great year for Nintendos handheld.
There are already promising downloadable titles planned
Overall, Nintendo just seems to be taking digital distribution much more seriously with the Wii U. Its confirmed that most in-house titles will be available for purchase online, as well as some third-party offerings. That, and Iwata-San himself has said we have designed the system... to allow developers to freely take advantage of things like free to play and micro transactions. Before you go screaming Zynga invasion!, realize that Nintendo is basically putting itself on par with the competition as far as DLC delivery goes. This is the equivalent of Minecraft coming to Xbox 360, a stiff platform loosening up to make room for a little innovation.
Four Mario games in six months somehow isn't overkill
And you know what? Were perfectly fine with that, because from what weve seen and (more importantly) played, each scratches a different itch for gamers. New Super Mario Bros U is a more casual 2D platformer that can be enjoyed by you and you grandmother, while New Super Mario Bros 2 is a much more hardcore title, pushing players to beat high scores by collecting thousands of coins. Also on 3DS, Paper Mario: Sticker Star is the return of the one of the best written and most inviting RPG series in gaming history, and Luigis Mansion: Dark Moon expands on the cult original in dozens of interesting ways. Maybe were just blinded by our love for Mario titles, but we dont think this line-up of titles is overdoing it at all.
Big things are planned for 2013
This is also why we havent heard much of peep out of Reggie and crew about a new Smash Bros and whatever Retro Studios is working on. Nintendo wants to maintain the ability to surprise people with big game announcements, and doesnt want to go back on a promise either. Its going to do this by concentrating on 2012, and the games Wii U buyers will be playing at launch. However, know that big things are coming. Miyamoto even confirmed Retro Studios is busy working on something. Nintendo obviously has big things planned for 2013, it just isnt ready (or willing) to talk about them yet.
And remember, it could always be worse...
Did this put any of the haters out there in a better mood? Have any other reasons to be hopeful for Nintendo's late 2012 offereings? Let us know in the comments!