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Iwata Apologizes for Nintendo’s E3, Gamers Mostly Unforgiving

After E3 last week, a collective swelling of Nintendo-ites—long-time fans who “made Nintendo what it is today”—pulled out their copies of Diary Girl and started blogging. They were mad. Their previous-franchise-fever has not been treated since Mario Kart Wii, back in April, and they’re jonesing for something new based on something old. E3 was supposed to be the expired medicine that would mildly ease their oozing sores, but it wasn’t. Not even close.

Nintendo’s President, Satoru Iwata, felt his gamers’ pain, and has issued an apology this week. Not an, “I’m sorry, it was a terrible…joke!” But a genuine, head-down, doghouse-bound “I’m sorry.”

“If there is any perception that Nintendo is ignoring the core gamers, it’s a misunderstanding and we really want to get rid of that misunderstanding by any means. We are sorry about [the E3] media briefings, specifically for those who were expecting to see Nintendo show something about ‘Super Mario’ or ‘Legend of Zelda.’ However, the fact of the matter is the so-called ‘big titles’ need a long, long development period. … We really didn’t think this year’s E3 media briefing was the time to do so.”-Satoru Iwata

Reactions to Iwata’s apology have, as expected, been mixed: comments flooded the blogosphere, ranging from immediate forgiveness (rare) to further increased rage because of the “tepid apology” (less rare). Long-time Nintendo supporters felt abandoned even before E3, buried beneath the Wii’s constant influx of shovelware which retained no appeal beyond the casual, ‘let’s play this whatchama-flibbertyjibber on the shine-box’ gamer. Those who have spent immeasurable hours of their life collecting pieces of heart or speed-running to warp whistles and beyond demand the opportunity to do so in a more richly detailed environment, with the word “Wii” tacked onto the end of the title. We already beat Super Mario Galaxy! Twilight Princess doesn’t count!

Of course, if Iwata’s apology had included an “…and to make up for it, we are making a new Mario game!” clause, the grumbling responses would still exist, simply in a varied format. Instead of “We’ll forgive you when we get a good game!” it would be “Rehashing yet another franchise? Puh-lease, Iwata.”

Gamers as a collective entity are never satisfied, and we should be impressed Nintendo and Iwata humbly acknowledged the majority snarls that their E3 showing blew big chunks of disappointment straight into our pricked ears. No, the apology doesn’t change what they are or are not working on, and won’t magically replace every future Wii-insert-activity-or-profession-here game with something new and innovative, such as No More Heroes. But it at least indicates an awareness of their audience’s needs and desires, as opposed to the “No, you don’t want rumble” or “Online play is stupid, here’s why you don’t care about it” argument we’re used to hearing. So grab a Q-Tip, play some SSBB, and get over it.

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