In this weekly column where our Deputy Editor Daryl finds some great retro content, it’s all about Nintendo's very strange conference from E3 2003..
Nintendo Direct events have the rare effect where almost everyone puts time aside so they can see what Nintendo are announcing for the coming months.
There's been memorable ones, such as the announcement of Metroid Prime 4, to not-so-memorable ones.
However, before Nintendo's at the time CEO, Satoru Iwata thought up the Direct events, fans would mainly wait for the E3 conference each year, where they would see the company's announcements.
With that, let's look at the 2003 E3 conference by Nintendo.
A Nintendo WordArt Convention
Back in 2003, Nintendo were coasting on uncertainty. 'Mario Sunshine' had launched on the Gamecube a year before, to middling reception, while 'Zelda: Wind Waker' was seen as 'warmly met' due to its cel-shaded art style, and not as a sequel to 'Ocarina of Time'.
Even at the 10:20 mark, Iwata himself acknowledged that the console had 'not sold as well as we planned, and a majority of customers had found it unfavourable.'
He had also mentioned Mario Sunshine and Metroid Prime as not meeting their expectations in sales. While Iwata was only one year in as President, he had a lot of work to do.
It seemed like this presentation was the first step in how 'not' to show examples. At 11:52, many 'WordArt' graphics surround a teenage boy enjoying himself in a game, and justifying their aims as not aiming toward a HD era.
A Direct Follow-Up
However, Resident Evil 4 was confirmed to be coming to the GameCube during this event, even in an earlier state, so the event wasn't all bad.
But now, especially after the Direct from last week, one wonders if Nintendo regard the GameCube as a time that they'd rather forget. Even with players either re-discovering or discovering 'Mario Sunshine' for the first time with 'Mario 3D All Stars' late last year, some still regard it to be the weakest 3D entry for Mario.
This was only a year before Reggie Fils-Aime arrived at Nintendo, blowing open the doors, John Wayne style, talking about 'Kicking ass and making games' at the 2004 E3 conference, with no 'WordArt' in sight, and much less corporate in appearance.
But the E3 2003 Conference is a time capsule of how Nintendo simply weren't sure of themselves during this time. This was way before the Nintendo DS and definitely before the Wii was announced, but it's a pure example of how Nintendo bounce back in situations like this; the Wii U and then the Switch for example.
Don't expect a nostalgia hit of some 'WordArt' text appearing in the next Direct, but this is a great example of how muddled Nintendo appeared eighteen years ago.