Holy smoke, it's hard to know where to start. Perhaps the end is the best place. Can anyone remember a more muted round of applause from the normally febrile Nintendo crowd than the one that greeted the big NintendoLand finale? Even last year's confusathon felt like it ended on a more positive note. However, reports are beginning to filter back from our men who've had hands-on time with it that NintendoLand is actually as fun to explore as its makers desperately insisted during the faltering demo. In fact, our correspondent's glum mood from earlier has almost entirely been turned around by a day spent playing the software. And so the seeds of hope are planted. The bigger concern coming out of the conference is much the same as it was last year: what about third party support? If Wii U is intended to lure back core gamers, it wont just need the support of retooled hits like Arkham City. Even Assassin's Creed III won't be enough. What about Bioshock Infinite, or GTA V, or any of EA Sports' big hitters? Those games aren't a bonus to have, they're essential. And even if they do arrive, what happens when the next-gen really does kick off, and the best developers stampede to Sony and Microsoft's new platforms. Unless of course Nintendo have taken a calculated gamble that neither of its rivals are planning to launch new hardware next year at all. Now that would make Wii U a bold move. As it is, we're left with almost as many questions - not least of which are price and date - as we had before Miyamoto's typically lovely intro. And time is very much now ticking.
Hey, what's not to love about any game with a character called Toilet Bowl Man? Precisely nothing, but what's so infuriating, and what lands poor old Platinum in this section, is the fact that Reggie Fils-Aime didn't reveal the brilliant looking Project P-100 at Nintendo's own press conference, where it was desperately needed, but instead chose to save it for Spike TV. Meaning that plenty of people missed it entirely. A shame, but hopefully one Platinum's new baby can recover from, because splicing Pikmin and Little King Story with OTT superpowers against an alien invasion looks all kinds of fun. More like this please, Wii U.
The only thing more conspicuous by its absence from Sony's E3 conference than The Last Guardian, (which *is* still in development, according to president of worldwide studios Shuhei Yoshida), was any mention whatsoever of 3D. Nor have we encountered it on the show floor so far. When we asked SCEE president Jim Ryan why this was, he explained that the technology is now mature so no longer requires explanation. Alternate explanation: former Sony chairman Howard Stringer was effectively betting the farm on people wanting to be part of Sony's connected ecosystem of 3D devices - cameras, TVs and of course PS3. New president, and PlayStation veteran, Kaz Hirai isn't so keen.
We keep seeing him everywhere, and he always looks so sad. So we've taken to telling ourselves that maybe THQ's ex-executive vice president of "Core Games" got paranoid and hired a bunch of doubles as the last days of his tenure approached, and now these actor/waiter/VPs haunt the corridors of the LA Convention Center looking for new work.