E3 2011: Sony vs. Nintendo, and a Fan’s Ethical Dilemma
I don’t know what’s what anymore. Everything I know is wrong. Black is white, up is down, short is long. I just don’t… Alright, I’m descending into depression here. Let me just tell you what’s going on inside my sad little mind.
Let’s Tarantino this shit – start at the end at work our way backwards. Yesterday, I got to play the Wii U on the show floor. It’s incredible in every way so far; the graphics are amazingly sharp and clear, the screen has no lag and is also clear as crystal, the accuracy of the controller regarding know where it’s being moved is spot-on. But there’s nothing else we know about it. Very few games have been confirmed, and those only by Ubisoft.
Rewind time back a little more. Surveying the 3DS section of Nintendo’s booth, I was expecting to see all the 3rd party games that were not talked about at the Nintendo press conference… and they were there, sure. All 2 of them. Sure, we have some fantastic games like Super Mario, Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart, and Star Fox 64 hitting before the end of the year, but these are all first-party Nintendo titles. 3rd party support for the 3DS seems to have evaporated overnight.
Remember folks, I’m a huge Nintendo fan, and my impression, at this point, is that the 3DS is coasting on its 3D features. You know what we call that, folks? A gimmick.
More on my pain after the jump.
Rewind time back just a little bit more. I put my hands on Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and was impressed in some ways… but pissed off at the same time. I could tell that this was an epic Zelda game, with a great story, beautiful art, and interesting characters, but the controls are awkward at best. The bird-flying requires a very precision touch, using very slight movements to steer, and the 1-to-1 sword control is stilted and inconsistent. The Wii controller, even with the MotionPlus, just cannot keep up with the kind of accuracy needed to be a something anyone can pick up and play. The controls for this epic game are ruined simply because Nintendo is trying to coast on the impossible-to-cleanly-implement movement controls, rather than making it something anyone can pick up, play and enjoy. Nintendo has been saying since day 1 that they would not let the motion control become a gimmick, and they’ve been very good about that… until now.
All this happened at the end of the day, so let’s rewind to the beginning of the day, where I sampled the new Playstation Vita.
Keep in mind, people, that I am not Sony’s biggest fan to say the least, and that I declared a boycott against the Vita in April in response to Jack Tretton’s insensitive comments regarding the DS product line and its consumers.
The system is surprisingly light, possibly lighter than the Wii U controller, but it feels solid. The screen is a thing of beauty, and the built-in camera is MUCH higher quality than the one in the 3DS. Though it pains me to say it, it feels as if Nintendo, in this case, has sacrificed quality in favor of the gimmick.
The back-touch screen is awkward at times, picking up contact with other parts of the hand inaccurately if you hold it in the traditional fashion. On the plus side, Sony encourages players to hold the machine by placing their fingertips in the divots near the edges, and this is quite comfortable for someone with legume-like fingers like me.
Now, then there’s the games. The Uncharted demo was unimpressive, and the demo of Little Deviants required a lot of movement of the system, making it something that would be impossible to play while sitting down. LittleBigPlanet is what it is, and exactly what you’d expect it to be, but the addition of touch controls do make it a richer experience. Sony’s second-party titles are more or less unimpressive, but their promises of third-party support are desperately needed in the vacuum created by Nintendo’s lack.
Bottom line, I’m in the middle of an identity crisis here. Sony has created a superior system with 3rd-party support, but Nintendo continues to create games using the franchises I love. Beyond that, though… we’ve got nothing. Nothing until the Wii U is released, and that’s going to be at least a year off, for certain. In the meantime, I’m in this goddamn holding pattern, eyeballing Sony’s $499 3D TV package, which would be great for my mancave, and wondering why I have a Wii and a 3DS which are difficult for me to play. Let us not even get into Microsoft’s lag-heavy Kinect strategy and how difficult that is to play.
What’s a Nintendo fan to do? More importantly, what’s a Sony hater to do?!