Five Things I Want From “Project Cafe”

If Nintendo had a middle name, it would be “Crazy as a Fox.” The only thing you can count on from these clowns in the past decade is that you can’t count on anything. They relish making hard lefts away from industry trends, desperate for what they call “blue ocean” ideas that no one is trying (as opposed to “red ocean,” which is hotly contested territory). Now we have the next in their line of hair-brained genius schemes: Project Cafe.

We won’t know for sure until E3, but with the hard push for HD graphics, improved processing power, and maybe (is it too much to hope?) Blu Ray support, it sounds like Nintendo wants the hardcore audience back. Speaking for the hardcore audience, I’m not immune to being wooed. But there are some things I want, damn it. Hit the jump to learn what they are.

This Offends Me

1. FPS. It’s almost unimaginable now, but in all truth Nintendo invented the console shooter with “Goldeneye” and “Perfect Dark.” Since then, they’ve hung back while Microsoft blazed forward with Xbox Live and “Halo.” Now it’s time for Mario to get back in the ring. I want the next big FPS franchise on the Nintendo, damn it. And I want it to finally be the franchise that blows past those snobby PC players on all fronts. It’s time to innovate again.

2. Live. I’ve had it absolutely up to here with your sorry excuse for a competitor to PSN and XBL. I don’t ever want to hear the words “Friend Code” again. I want state-of-the-art chat and friending functionality, hell you better throw video chat (without buying additional hardware) in there just to be safe. You guys are behind on this one, it’s time to catch up. If you really want to blaze ahead, you could even integrate some Google-style phone functionality, and bring the quality up to TeamSpeak standards. Why don’t you just hire TeamSpeak? Problem solved.

3. Day and Date. Why in the hell shouldn’t Nintendo be on the front lines of every major cross-platform release? These Wii renditions of “Call of Duty,” with blocky graphics and compromised features, are not cutting it. “Dead Space,” “Grand Theft Auto,” “Battlefield,” “Baby Maker Extreme,” these are the franchises you need back on the Mario box. Especially that last one.


4. Unreal Zelda. You pretty much hit the ball out of the park with the “Super Mario Galaxy” franchise, handing Donkey Kong to Retro was awesome, and while “Other M” was not everything it should have been (I told you so), it was a worthwhile gamble (and we had the “Prime” series). But I still have an axe to grind with Zelda. “Wind Waker” and “Twilight Princess” are very good games, but something is missing. I want my “Ocarina of Time”-killer. Why not build a Zelda game with the brand-new Unreal engine, and deliver the most stunningly beautiful first party game ever? Hell, make it the most gorgeous game, period. Smack “Uncharted” and “Crysis” around and show them how it’s done.

5. Save Final Fantasy. Once, long ago, FF and Nintendo were inseparable. The two have gone their separate ways and done great things, but now the time has come to reunite. Frankly, I think FF is spinning its wheels, so a classic-style reboot would be a great call for them. And talk about a great way to show the hardcore crowd you’re back in business: give us a real JRPG with the “Final Fantasy” name on the box. Frankly, I don’t care what era you pull from: you can do a “Tactics” thing, or go “FFVII,” or ape the more recent stuff. Whatever. But bring your wayward child home, Nintendo, and that will be the ultimate signal that you want the entire gaming world, not just the weekend warriors.


i’m a private eye. it says so on my door.