Wed 6 Jun 2012
At Nintendo's E3 press conference this morning, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said NintendoLand would serve as the new system's version of Wii Sports; a killer app that could immediately convey the appeal of the system's new controller to a skeptical audience. And in fact, NintendoLand does a good job of demonstrating what can be done with the touchscreen-equipped GamePad, but I'm not sure it will attract the same, wide audience of non-traditional gamers that Wii Sports did.
The main problem with the five NintendoLand mini-games the company is showing at E3 is that they tend to require quite a bit of explanation to understand. Take Animal Crossing: Sweet Day, a slightly tweaked version of the hide-and-seek tech demo Nintendo showed off at last year's E3. Before we got going, a PR rep had to spend about a minute explaining how the four players with Wii Remotes are working together to collect candy, how carrying more candy slows a player down, and how to drop candy when the antagonists (controlled by the GamePad) got too close. It's not too complicated by video game standards, but it's far from the five-second "swing it like a tennis racquet" explanation of Wii Sports, and it's likely enough to scare away anyone not already versed in how games work.
Similarly, the player using the GamePad in Sweet Day has to control two separate characters using the GamePad's two analog sticks, a concept that is a bit difficult to master even for people with a lot of video game experience. Trying to get your non-gaming grandmother to play this role in NintendoLand seems likely to be a lot tougher than getting her to try a few frames of Wii Sports bowling.