I feel that as I’ve grown older and the gaming industry has evolved (and will continue to do so) I’ve become more….well, I guess “cranky” is the correct description. I know I’m not alone in this. I see – on an almost weekly basis – other gamers complain about newly released titles not meeting their expectations (in a self-entitled manner); gaming sites and publications nit-picking every tiny detail of a title, inevitably making what might be an enjoyable game into something to avoid until much later; and I, myself, losing sight of just purely enjoying games.
The past few months I’ve spent time simply playing games, to remind myself why I enjoy this industry and to build momentum for my lackluster motivation; and I’ve come to realize that the magic and enjoyment of video games (as art, as different interactive experiences, as purely entertainment) can easily be lost in the digital day and age of connectivity. No, I’m not saying Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media outlet are terrible. No, I’m also not focusing my discussion on this aspect. In fact, due to this realization – coupled with the recent Direct by Nintendo – I really understand something I thought I always knew: Nintendo Directs have the power to bring back some of that magic.
Now, let’s get something out of the way. Cynical Mike still hangs around, keeping my hopes in check, but with each Nintendo Direct, I enjoy the fact that hope even shows up. Hope for that surprise announcement that will catch everyone off-balance. Hope that games we’ve been looking forward to will get solid release dates to anticipate (looking at you, Aonuma). Though there have been plenty of Directs that didn’t quite meet the expectations of Nintendo fans, I would say most of them are entertaining and exciting. A couple of examples of this are when The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D was announced, and the most recent Direct which had plenty to be happy about (especially Cloud joining the battle in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U).
The cynical side does have a presence, but it can never hold its ground whenever a Direct is announced. It reminds me of my younger days; getting a game and sifting through the manual before even touching the game itself. Reading the short blurb at the beginning of the manual (usually revolving around whatever story there might be in the actual game), studying the pictures, exploring the controls and how I might use them. That sense of wonder and unknown is what continuously draws me back to each and every Nintendo Direct, regardless of how the previous one had been. That is what I’ve been missing these past months: simply being amazed at the technological achievements, story-telling, unique gameplay, and whatever else the plethora of titles to choose from may offer. I may be 30 years old, but I don’t want to lose a sense of wonder.
Games offer a chance for the player to experience unique and memorable locales, stories, characters, and interactive entertainment. Interactivity is another Direct aspect that seems to capture my attention most of the time; not only do I look forward to the [usually] comical hi-jinx the presenters have in store for the viewers, I also enjoy seeing the many Nintendo fans displaying their creativity and imagination in what they would love to see in each Direct. Whenever I think my imagination and expectations are outlandish, many others reveal that my excitement is more on the tame side.
It had been quite a long time since a Direct had taken place, and rightfully so; the passing of Mr. Satoru Iwata was extremely saddening, and though he wasn’t the sole leader for Directs, he played a large role in them. It was odd having a Direct without him, but it appears that the folks at Nintendo will continue to do these Directs justice. Not only was the hype leading up to the video a reminder of why I enjoy Directs, but they delivered in creating excitement – much needed with an almost absent holiday season in regards to software for the company. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD and an amiibo? THREE new Fire Emblem titles incoming? A new release date for Star Fox Zero, and the re-confirmation that Zelda Wii U will be coming in 2016? Cloud in Smash Bros. for Wii U? Yes, please.
Disappointment, excitement, speculation, wonder: it seems that I may never grow too old for Nintendo Directs as long as these aspects are upheld (especially when they deliver on that excitement). That said, it’s time to take a back seat, Cynical Mike; Nintendo Directs are back with force!