News Article

Talking Point: Nintendo Rewrote the E3 Rulebook With a Focus on Children

Posted by Andy Robertson

Sharing the experience

With their online press conferences and fan events Nintendo has been doing E3 differently for a couple of years now. This year, though, it broke one of the golden rules of show business — never work with children.

A Kid’s Corner initiative brought some hand-picked children into E3 to try out the new games and experience the thrills of the big video-game show. With parents and guardians in tow, the lucky youngsters toured the Nintendo booth getting hands on with games like Fossil Fighters: Frontier, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse and Yoshi’s Wooly World.

Getting the biggest reaction, though, was the new multiplayer first person tactical paintballing game Splatoon. The ability to instantly see who was winning by the colour of the map, along with its playful take on shooting, appealed to both children and parents alike.

Beyond the excitement and exuberance though, one moment stood out in my mind. Up above the show floor in a special Kid’s Corner space — which you can see here — the children got to meet their hero creators of classic Nintendo games. Mr Miyamoto spent time with the group introducing his new Mario Maker title, and then working with the kids to create their own levels. Then Mr Ishihara, CEO of The Pokemon Company, introduced Pokemon Art Academy and showed off his Pikachu drawing skills.

During the course of the hour long session the whole feel of the event really changed. What started off as some lucky kids getting in on the E3 excitement turned into something more creative and family focused.

Maybe it was partly because I was missing my own family back in the UK, but seeing Mr Miyamoto laughing and gesticulating as he worked on designing a new Mario level with some of the children felt more like any normal Sunday afternoon in a family living room than a marketing exercise. There was a sense of joyful understanding from these famous creators that the young players were at the heart of what Nintendo does best, and for the kids there was a sense of genuine appreciation of what these creative individuals had brought into their lives.

After the event Reggie Fils-Aimé, President of Nintendo of America, explained the thinking behind this Kid’s Corner initiative at E3 this year. “It was a fabulous opportunity for kids to experience the magic that is Nintendo. Kids are so important to Nintendo, they make up such a large piece of our user base. But typically an event like E3 doesn’t talk to kids.”

Focusing on this, rather than the press conference arms race of Xbox and PlayStation, means that this year at E3 Nintendo extended its strong connection to young players and young at heart gamers who remember growing up with Nintendo consoles and want their kids to do the same.

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User Comments (41)

MrGawain

#1

MrGawain said:

It does astonish me how little Microsoft and Sony have put in to kids games. Knack was 12 and over and there's still 4 months for LBP3 to come out, whereas Microsoft are relying entirely on 3rd party to entice families (maybe project spark counts?). And say what you like about Nintendo's 3rd party offerings, but they still have Lego, Skylanders and Infinity to enhance their already strong 1st party line.

At least Nintendo are still keeping with what they know- kids games that also appeal to 30 year olds pretending 'it's all just for the kids' ;)

ekreig

#2

ekreig said:

Wow. That was really cool of them, taking the time to play the new games with kids like that. I love it! This is what video games are all about; none of that "zomg but who won e3333" nonsense.

Pokefanmum82

#3

Pokefanmum82 said:

My kids are just excited as I am about all the upcoming Nintendo games. Both of my oldest have a 2DS (my son) & 3DS XL (my daughter). My son plays my Wii U more than I do and he is better at platformers too.

RedBeanPorridge

#4

RedBeanPorridge said:

"really fun for the DS and the Wii, and it's really cool"
I literally flinched when she said this and not "3DS" and "WiiU" I was like "gurl, did you just say what ah think you just said?" This was a fear I had from the very beginning of both the 3DS and wiiU launch where I was afraid that consumers and children alike wouldn't be able to fully comprehend the BIG difference between the systems, and that they would just believe that it's the same system.

On topic; It really warmed my heart to see miyamoto and ishihara interacting with these kids and showing off these games. It seems like everyone genuinely had a lot of fun. just goes to show how much nintendo care about us, the consumers. You go Ninty! :)

Geonjaha

#5

Geonjaha said:

While that's great, it's never been Nintendo's problem. People started playing Nintendo games ~30 years ago. Their downfall has been their inability to grow with their fans; always focusing on children. Nintendo needs to venture more into adult games than they are already. No, that doesn't necessarily mean shooting and blood - but it means more serious story telling and more complex game mechanics. There's a reason a lot of people don't look to Nintendo anymore - they've outgrown them, and this shouldn't be a problem, because Nintendo could easily make games for all ages.

I will say that it was good to see Nintendo open up E3 for kids regardless though - and a lot of that stuff really is heart warming.

outburst

#6

outburst said:

Good to know. I've never heard of the kid's corner until now although I saw a pic of Miyamoto with 2 kids on one article last June.

Video games were meant for kids/teens in the first place as far as I remember. Now most game publishers/developers are catering on teens/adults. I'm glad Nintendo is still doing their thing.

Mooj738

#7

Mooj738 said:

I think sometimes people assume they have outgrown Nintendo due to how the market has perceived Nintendo, simple fact is Nintendo makes games for everyone.

I think its common that people believe this because they are older they need complicated mechanics and stories and graphics to make them feel like they are older. For example I can happily sit and play Mario Kart and not be embarrassed, whereas the normal older generation of today think it labels them as a child or childish for that matter. Its a game for gods sake

drewb0203

#8

drewb0203 said:

That would make my life complete, I actually talked to Miyamoto. :OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

drewb0203

#9

drewb0203 said:

First of all, when you start up the Wii U it says WII U. It says Wii U and 3ds everywhere, I wonder if she even noticed that AT ALL.

PinkSpider

#10

PinkSpider said:

That's why nintendo are the best game developers in the world, you will never get this with sony and Microsoft

StoicDeviant

#11

StoicDeviant said:

This is EXACTLY why I enjoy Nintendo. Currently, being 25, I would like games catering to my own age, but who am I kidding... I still play PoKeMoN and Zelda is always in my heart, as well as Luigi and the other guys!

Right now, I'm teaching my 3 year old niece how to play Mario Kart 8. She struggles and says "Do it for me!" which is HIGHLY nostalgic! I remember when I played Super Mario Bros on NES and would struggle with the first level, me being 5 at the time, and so I would ask my Pops (NOT AT ALL A GAMER) to help me and he WOULD. Regardless of not playing games religiously, he still took time to help me, but we had fun, even though he never did get me passed the first level (IKR!) due to his poor gaming motor skills! lol

Nintendo has been, and should always cater to the kids. It's what they do best. Family moments are worth every dollar I give to Nintendo!

sinalefa

#12

sinalefa said:

If you "outgrew" Nintendo, you let your inner child die. The day that happens to me is the day I quit gaming altogether.

Alucard83

#13

Alucard83 said:

@MrGawain That's because it's Nintendo's job. MS and Sony is aimed for older players and thank god. Family should only get Nintendo. Teenage/Mature should be all playing on other consoles. Nuff said.

You can see clearly the gameslibrary that WII U is and will not ever be for hardcore gamers not even later on. Voila and stop complaining and join playing on your WII with your kids.

Sean_Aaron

#14

Sean_Aaron said:

@sinalefa I quite agree. There are different games for different people, but ultimately it is about play and I can't see why Nintendo needs to change what they do when they grew on the back of a userbase of pre-teens - surely the key to long term success is to keep that focus rather than walk away from it?

And if they do have a long view, that continued pursuit of young players might well have a larger impact on the platform choices Nintendo makes than anything else. I cannot see Nintendo throwing in the towel on game development for younger gamers just because they cannot sell them a successor to 3DS - that would be a foolish decision.

@Alucard83 I don't think MrGawain was complaining as much as making an observation that MS and Sony seem to be putting all their effort into a niche marketplace. If that works for them, great, but they're not going to be getting the attention of people who might otherwise be buying their machines fifteen to twenty years from now, so from a medium to long-term view it doesn't make a lot of sense. Ultimately that's the problem with the large publishers right now: they only make games for a short term return - there is no indication these companies look beyond their next quarterly results. For the publishers this isn't necessarily the end of the world if they can absorb some flops because if Xbox or PS4 fails they can publish other things elsewhere, but being dependent upon these publishers for continues sales doesn't indicate a business that can survive in the long term if trends change.

Zodiak13

#15

Zodiak13 said:

@sinalefa How can anyone outgrow "fun"? I went away from Nintendo cause I though I was to cool/old for them. That was almost a whole year, but the joy of gaming left me playing just the 360 (Sony hater). Went back to the Big N and the joy came back.

Folkloner

#16

Folkloner said:

She got to try out new DS and Wii games! Holy poopoodoodoocacapoopiedoopiedoodles #MEGATON!

MJKOP

#17

MJKOP said:

I'm 33 and currently playing MK8 with my 3yr old son & 5year old daughter, we all love NSMBU & NSLU, & we had an absolute blast playing 3D World, which they are still dipping in to. I also have Tropical Freeze & Pikmin 3, my son enjoys DK, (he loves Dixie!), but it's a bit hard for him really. Nintendo is for everyone, I will never grow out of it, & I'm delighted my children are getting pleasure from their games now too. Bravo Nintendo!

HAL9000

#18

HAL9000 said:

I love Nintendo for their focus on family friendly fun and cooperative multiplayer. I play with my wife at home and we love the cooperative nature of Mario 3d world, mario kart, donkey kong and other nintendo franchises. I am a teacher and run an afterschool video game/lego robotics club, and Nintendo makes games that are fun and appropriate for children/teens (Hyrule Warriors, Splatoon, Yoshi Wooly World, Mario Maker, Smash Bros, Capt Toad, Star Fox). The XBOX conferences had no games that I remember that I could show in a classroom and keep my job due to excessive violence, and PS conference was a bit better (props to Little Big Planet), but they had a lot of focus on shooters as well.

geozeldadude

#21

geozeldadude said:

i'd only vaguely heard about this, but this is actually really cool that nintendo went out of their way to do this. i can't imagine the MS/Sony trying to appeal to kids like this, as if it would ruin their image or something.

Caryslan

#22

Caryslan said:

@sinalefa No kidding. As much as I loved Duke Nukem Forever, I can still get a huge smile across my face when I play a new Kirby game. I love games of all types, regardless of the content as long as they were fun.

DNF and Kirby Triple Deluxe are two different games in terms of their content, but for me they were fun in their own ways. I loved blasting Pig Cops and hearing Duke's one-liners as I played through the game. Kirby Triple Deluxe made my smile because it was Kirby, and that game has some of the creative ideas I have ever seen in a 2D platform.

There are people out there who are convinced that you can't enjoy Nintendo or "kiddie" games if you're an adult. That at some point, you were supposed to outgrow those games.

But here's the thing, how many adults enjoy Pixar and Dreamworks movies? How many of them love those movies, despite them being marketed towards kids? How many people can watch a blood-soaked action movie and then turn around and enjoy Pixar's films?

That's the thing with Nintendo games, there is no age limits. Fun is fun, and I think that often gets lost in our desire to make games be more like movies. Is DNF the deepest FPS game out there? No, but I enjoyed freezing Pig Cops and then shattering them. Is Kirby the deepest game series out there? No, but the copy powers, creative boss fights, and cool levels make them fun games to play through.

I won't outgrow Nintendo, because there is no outgrowing Nintendo. I play to enjoy myself and have fun. It's no different from adults playing with Legos.

If its something someone enjoys, then why bash them for it? Nintendo knows who their audience is, and they also know that adults will still sit down and play their games. If they had any doubts, then why do they market clothing with Mario on it to both adults and children?

BossBattles

#23

BossBattles said:

Nintendo doesn't make "kid" games. They make games. Anyone can enjoy, and if you really examine their gameplay, often offer more complexity and challenge than many so-called mature games with brain dead gameplay wrapped in a gritty world that makes the truly immature think they are being an adult.

So sad.

Nintenjoe64

#24

Nintenjoe64 said:

Nintendo still make the best games and it's a shame that they lose such a big demographic who don't like cartoony graphics and want full voice acting with swearing. They might appear to lack games in a few popular genres but they invented or reinvented most of those genres and either moved on or just haven't had time to revisit them. There are parts of gaming they haven't fully embraced, I know they're far from perfect, but their gameplay is unrivalled in both quality and variety.

I like the odd violent or cinematic game but most, if not all, of my all-time favourites were Nintendo exclusive at one point:
Eternal Darkness
RE4
Goldeneye
Perfect Dark
Zelda (any)
Lylat Wars

WanderingPB

#25

WanderingPB said:

Being able to share my love for video games with my son has been one of the best experiences of my life every multi-player we get excited about and watching our co-op skills improve is amazing too! We easily get Platinum in Pikmin 3 and W101…the fact that an 8 year old can pull off multiple unite morph combos better most adults should put to shame anyone questioning W101 controls

@sinalefa This is the realest statement ive ever read…awesome! If you "outgrew" Nintendo, you let your inner child die. The day that happens to me is the day I quit gaming altogether.

Captain_Toad

#26

Captain_Toad said:

OH NOES. nintendo has a kiddie corner. Nintendo are for kids. sigh. Can't people just accept that games are for everyone already, whether you're 3 or 123.

c1pher_c0mplet

#27

c1pher_c0mplet said:

@Geonjaha "Nintendo needs to venture more into adult games... There's a reason a lot of people don't look to Nintendo anymore - they've outgrown them, and this shouldn't be a problem, because Nintendo could easily make games for all ages."

Correct me if I'm wrong but from what I've observed since I started getting into gaming, Nintendo has NEVER made mature games, and I don't see them ever deviating from that because they make games that appeal to everyone.

What I think you might be getting at (and if so, I wholeheartedly agree with you) is that Nintendo has virtually no mature games because they're third-party support SUCKS. It's really up to non-Nintendo studios to bring in the mature games and beyond many of them feeling there's not enough Wii U's in the wild for a mature game to be profitable (yet?), third-party studios have traditionally complained about wrapping their heads around Nintendo's internal hardware designs. And then tack on the competition offering systems that are simpler to code for and you can see the third-party hegira from Nintendo to other platforms.

Next time around, I'd like to see Nintendo go with an internal design more closely resembling a PC architecture, not to copy competition but in 2014 and beyond, I don't see any real reason not to: systems are computers anyway. And doing so would definitely open up to third-parties. But no, Nintendo is never going to themselves make mature games. (And I don't want them to because that's not who they are. :) They just need to make it easier for non-Nintendo studios.)

World

#29

World said:

I...want that room.

Also I like hearing all the parents commenting here. I've heard people say that playing games with your kids is the REAL "mature experience." I'm not a parent, but I was "raised on games." You guys are awesome.

And I think the people who look down on Nintendo for brilliant moments like this just don't play games for the same reason a Nintendo fan might.

Not necessarily better or worse, but I think people who don't expect their games to be their sole source of entertainment aren't so hard on games in general.

Want deep, mature experiences? Classic literature, maybe HBO if you prefer TV, look I don't even know.

Want unmitigated fun? Well there you go. That's Nintendo.

(Really though, I get that even watching this video. Tezuka especially looks pleased that, yes, this IS what he chose to do with his life).

DJSmith99

#30

DJSmith99 said:

@c1pher_c0mplet Ok yes there 3rd party support is terrible, everyone can agree on that. But Nintendo is getting games that aren't exactly geared towards kids. Super Smash Bros.(Sort of),Hyrule Warriors, Metroid,Zelda, Bayonetta 2, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Bayonetta 1 and 2, and Star Fox(kind've) are all games that aren't exactly geared towards kids. You might question Star Fox and Smash Bros. but most people who play these games are teens and adults who grew up with those series.But yes Nintendo needs 3rd party support and I also think they should buy Capcom so they own games like Monster Hunter, Mega Man, Street Fighter, and Resident Evil.

unrandomsam

#31

unrandomsam said:

@Mooj738 They don't make games for everybody. They are too easy even for children. After you have played one game ever in a series then any sequel will be too easy.

For example NSMB was a good challenge for an 8 year old I know (And he finished it) but NSMB2 was a complete waste of time for the same kid.

A sequel should be harder. (Like Donkey Kong Country 2 was). They already have stuff like Kirby that is already even easier.

If they were truly making games for everybody they would design them so no matter how good or bad you are then you get the same amount out of it.

midnafanboy

#32

midnafanboy said:

That room looks so fun, i would love to meet shigeru miyamoto one day. For some reason this article brought back childhood memories, those were the days.

c1pher_c0mplet

#33

c1pher_c0mplet said:

@DJSmith99 I meant generally. There are handful of mature games for Wii U but that's just it: a handful. I'll take quality > quantity every time but Nintendo (and gamers) could definitely profit from more outside support.

DarkKirby

#34

DarkKirby said:

Wait...
There was a point in time when Nintendo didn't have a focus on children?
Seriously though, Nintendo has pushed a "family friendly" model even since they got out of the Love Hotel business and the started making video games, even to the point of massive censorship and communication restrictions being unliftable by older players rather than leave it to parents and parental controls like every other console system.

Also
A Kid’s Corner initiative brought some hand-picked children into E3 to try out the new games and experience the thrills of the big video-game show. With parents and guardians in tow

The American president (any of them since this practice started) isn't brave for getting off a plane and being greeted and cheered for by a crowd of hand picked adults as Nintendo isn't brave or breaking new ground by interacting with hand picked children escorted by their parents. This was a publicity stunt, and there is nothing wrong with that, but it's not anything more than that.

Melkac

#35

Melkac said:

Yes, Iwata. Keep focusing on the audience that prefers to play on smartphones and tablets.

Dpishere

#38

Dpishere said:

I wonder if those kids know just how lucky they are to be able to hang out with Nintendo's developers!

eviLaTtenDant

#39

eviLaTtenDant said:

Getting the biggest reaction, though, was the new multiplayer first person tactical paintballing game Splatoon.

Looked more like third person to me tbh. :o

DJSmith99

#41

DJSmith99 said:

@c1pher_c0mplet Yeah they really need 3rd Party support. Then it would have an advantage the other consoles don't have. They would have both Nintendo exclusives and 3rd Party games.

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