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Nintendo's 2008 E3 Conference Is Considered One Of The Worst Ever. Here's Why

Well before the success of Nintendo Directs and a global pandemic transitioned new game announcements to happening solely online for the foreseeable future, there was E3. The implicit promise of each E3 convention in years past was the reveal of at least a portion the year's most hyped trailers and/or gameplay videos in front of live audiences of industry attendees.


In practice, E3 didn't always live up to its promise. Sometimes E3 presentations were outright deceptive. Other times they simply disappointed a large portion of a company's fanbase. Such was the case for Nintendo's E3 conference in 2008.

Dissatisfaction with Nintendo's 2008 E3 press conference was so sizable, in fact, that the company issued a public apology shortly afterword.

What made that year's presentation so underwhelming was ultimately the failure of its showcased games to meet the high expectations of fans. The bar was set high for the latest offerings from one of the video game industry's marquee developers.

Wario Land and Wii Music

Nintendo ultimately revealed five first-party titles during its 2008 E3 press conference: Wario Land: Shake It!, Wii Music, Wii Sports Resort, Mario Super Sluggers and Animal Crossing: City Folk. The obvious outlier among these is City Folk. However, while today Animal Crossing is something of a blockbuster franchise, prior to New Horizons redefining the franchise, its cutesy life simulation gameplay was considerably more niche.


The rest of Nintendo's lineup for that year included games that have simply failed to achieve much lasting power among the company's considerable catalogue of releases. Wii Music in particular counts itself among Shigeru Miyamoto's biggest mistakes.

That said, a couple of these games did end up receiving positive critical receptions upon their release dates. Wii Sports Resort currently holds a Metacritic score of 80, and Wario Land: Shake It! has a score of 78, with an 8.5 user score. By comparison, Animal Crossing: City Folk has ultimately received a Metascore of 73.

Nevertheless, write-ups like one IGN posted just after the conference noted the lack of releases from any of Nintendo's larger franchises.


Little to celebrate

Footage of the press conference in question is reminiscent of the famously awkward Windows 95 Launch. Instead of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer gleefully swinging their fists around to The Rolling Stones, Nintendo executives stiffly swung Wiimotes around to Wii Sports Resort. Even though the game was good, this demonstrated how hard it is for adults in business wear to sell the relevance of a goofy Nintendo product designed to appeal to children.


Furthermore, Nintendo left some notable issues that were ongoing with the Wii at the time unmentioned. A write-up on CNET noted how Nintendo failed to address the many Wii owners who were running out of storage following the implementation of WiiWare, as well as many users who found the Wii's online functionality lacking.

Though Nintendo may still get flak for disappointing announcements from time to time, the company has at least learned to pepper that disappointment with plenty of other great news and releases, instead of relying on a cameo from Shaun White.