I couldn't see Nintendo's press conference live, since I was at work, but just seeing the highlights sent me in a state of shock and dismay. When you have an ailing system that direly needs help, letting the competition stomp your ass on the biggest stage you'll get all year is the last thing you need. Of course Nintendo aren't helping themselves with the very questionable decision to let SSB4 and Hyrule Warriors be a thing on the 3DS (Xenoblade also going there instead of getting a next-gen remaster like every other last-gen game doesn't help either), but what happened today at E3 was terrible. Fallout 4 is a thing. Shenmue 3 is a thing. THE FUCKING FF7 REMAKE is a thing (now we know why the originally planned port was unceremoniously canned). And the best thing Nintendo can do to answer that is having a Japan-only Mother game get an international release. But nooooo, it can't be Mother 3 (for all that I'm not terribly fond of it), but the original grindfest of suffering on NES. At least the former would've pleased people, but we couldn't have that today, could we?
Nope, make way for a shitty Samus-less Metroid spin-off that's less visually appealing than Metroid Prime Hunters (YES I WENT THERE). You know, people could scarcely believe it when Sega made another attempt at this whole Sonic thing after the 2006 debacle, but it actually worked out pretty well for them. Unleashed wasn't perfect, but it was decent enough that it laid the groundwork for Colors and Generations, unequivocally the best Sonic games since the Genesis era, if not ever. And it took them, what, two years to bounce back? Here, we have to wait five years. Five long years of pondering if Metroid was truly dead or not. And then THIS happens. Other M may not be quite the same magnitude of disaster Sonic 2006 was, but there's no doubt left that it did more lasting damage to its franchise in spite of that. It's a wonder people wanted to hear the name "Metroid" again after Other M, but now it's getting more likely to induce apathy and nothing else.
(Side rant: this is supposedly set in the "Metroid Prime" universe, as opposed to the "Metroid" universe. I know this is probably meant to ride Metroid Prime's dick as a name that's been synonymous for quality, but the other implication is that Metroid Prime's canon is now entirely separate from the rest of the series. It's often been suggested Yoshio Sakamoto really hates Metroid Prime (and that some other execs likely do), so it's a nagging suspicion I'm having in the back of my head. And if it happens to be true, fuck you too, Nintendo.)
There was some other stuff too, and there's a bit too much to list, but that was what really pissed me off. But make no mistake: the rest was pretty bad too. Oh, sure, we finally have that XCX release date, and we'll get MD4 by the end of the year, but that's not enough to get really excited about anything in Nintendo's future.
Because here's the problem: the Gamecube and the Wii both had solid first few years before petering out in dramatic fashion (the Gamecube in particular ended up losing to a console whose only noteworthy exclusives were Halo and Halo 2). The Wii U doesn't even have that, and after today it's safe to say it can only LOSE even more momentum. With Nintendo's third-party support thinning out year after year, it's up to Nintendo themselves to step up to the plate and hit it out of the park Every. Single. Time. No other company, whether they make consoles or just games, are in such a delicate position. Sony and Microsoft have a smorgasbord of third-party support to fall back on, and most developers that strictly make games can survive a failure better than Nintendo can because they're not losing money on consoles that don't sell on top of games that don't sell.
So in a world where the Wii U starts struggling to attract shovelware (I'm not kidding, look at the upcoming release calendar and compare it to other systems), Nintendo is condemned to perfection. And you and I both know Nintendo's good, but not THAT good. No one is. And let's face it: not even during the Gamecube's long, painful agony (it was already starting to die when Metroid Prime 2, IMO the best game on the system, and Resident Evil 4 came out, and it still had to hold on for two more years after that!), did I doubt Nintendo's capacity to survive as a console manufacturer to this kind of extent. We've officially reached the point where I really, really want Nintendo to just bow out of the home console market once the Wii U's run ends, while it still has some dignity left. After all, what are the odds of a Wii-like miracle happening for a second time? I wouldn't bet on those odds, whatever they are.
Of course this leads to an equally big problem: Nintendo's always said that the day they stop making consoles will be the day they close shop entirely. Naturally you can ponder whether they mean it or not, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if they seriously consider it if the time ever comes (and looking at the way things are now, it just might). But hey, what if, say, Sony offers them fat stacks of cash to keep making games for them? Could it happen? The most surreal thing I've ever seen as a gamer was Sonic Adventure 2 getting ported to the Gamecube, so nothing's impossible. I just hope that if Nintendo has to concede victory to Sony and Microsoft, they don't go out with a whimper.
tl;dr version: June 16, 2015: the day I finally lost a near-unshakable faith. Mark your calendars.