Thoughts on the exclusivity of the Zelda Wii U demo

Nintendo’s big E3 event starts tomorrow: Tuesday, June 14, 2016. But they still have to announce something that I’ve been eagerly awaiting since they announced how Zelda-heavy their presence at the show will be.

No, it’s not voice acting.

Nope, I’m not waiting on a confirmation of being able to choose your gender in the game.

I’m not even all that worried about how many dungeons may or may not be in the game.

What I’ve been waiting for is word from Nintendo that the demo of Zelda Wii U wouldn’t just be limited to 500 “lucky” gamers who can get to the New York Nintendo store in time.

Every article I’ve read about this since the news broke a few weeks ago has angered me. It’s downright pissed me off. This move strikes me as being terribly exclusionary.

Nintendo’s streaming the game is fine, but games aren’t movies. I don’t want to just see what Zelda Wii U looks like. I want to experience the game for myself — even if it’s just a demo. And Nintendo has the ability to let everyone play that demo — not just people who are able to give up their time and a few days’ pay to be able to camp out in front of New York City’s Nintendo store to be the first 500 people in line. Nintendo could let everyone who has a Wii U play the game.

And doesn’t letting a wider swath of people play the Zelda Wii U demo make more sense than giving only 500 people able to get to a very particular place outside of E3 a chance to try it?

Zelda isn’t some obscure underground game like Splatoon was before it was released. Hell, before Splatoon hit store shelves you could play a time sensitive-demo in one of a few “Global Testfires.” Likewise, and i nthe midst of the Zelda franchise, the Triforce Heroes demo included a time-sensitive window for co-op play. So if Nintendo is worried about A Zelda Wii U demo languishing on the Wii U, there’s no need — they could open it up for a few days during or after E3 and then take it down. It has been done before.

Besides, Zelda Wii U doesn’t need 500 loud voices. And, really, how many of those 500 people at New York City’s Nintendo store are going to be big name youtubers or game journalists? If there won’t be that many, then the press generated from the event will be minimal. But, if there are a ton of personalities among the 500 people playing, then the average Nintendo gamer is effectively being cut off from experiencing the demo first hand.

At this point in the game’s pre-release existence, after delays and rumours and announcements and teasers, Nintendo doesn’t need to convince an anointed few that Zelda is an amazing game to play (to play — not just to watch (unless that’s central to the NX’s “new way to play”)), they need to reassure just about all of their fans (most of whom are Wii U owners) that this game will be worth the wait until March 2017. Not that it looks like it will be worth the wait. But that it actually is worth the wait. And the best way to do that is with a widely available demo.

Now, unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to watch most of tomorrow’s event live. So if Nintendo does, Oprah-like, tell everyone to turn on their Wii U’s and that they all get the demo, I’ll miss it.

But such a show of openness seems unlikely. It seems that Nintendo has forgotten how successful pre-release demos can be. The Splatoon testfires generated a great deal of buzz for the game, and a demo for Zelda Wii U would help to clarify the hype that already exists for Zelda Wii U and build it up even more. To me, this focus on two cities in the States also suggests that Nintendo has also forgotten that most of their fans don’t live in LA or New York, or even the United States.

What do you think of how Nintendo has chosen to deliver the Zelda Wii U demo? Leave your thoughts in the comments!


About NSCZach

A writer who translates Beowulf (and other things), freelances, reads voraciously, and plays adventure video games/J-RPGs.
This entry was posted in Legend of Zelda, Nintendo, Wii U and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Thoughts on the exclusivity of the Zelda Wii U demo

  1. Mike_Scorpio says:

    You make a lot of very valid points and believe you are definitely on to something. Nintendo should release the demo for Wii U owners to give them a taste of what game will be like. After E3 has a lot of potential because all those that have gone to E3 or Nintendo NY won’t feel as cheated because they got to play it first. There are more than 10 million Zelda fans in the world and only letting a select few play it would be distasteful and disrespectful to the other fans that didn’t have the opportunity. A clever move to get everyone back on the hype train would be to release one of the demos on the Wii U eShop after E3 is over.


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