How Nintendo Can Teach You to Be Your Own Hype Man
God, I love E3.
Between the trailers for upcoming games, the announcement of new releases, and the sheer spectacle of it all, I can’t get enough of the excitement surrounding video games in the middle of June.
In recent years I’ve felt even more engaged — I have a PS4 and a Nintendo Switch — so now I feel even more invested in every reveal.
Even so, I always find the highlight of every E3 to be the Nintendo press conference — or, Nintendo Direct, as they are wont to call it. I grew up with Nintendo, so it’s comforting to see the kid-friendly platform still hold its own against the juggernaut Sony and the behemoth Microsoft.
Here’s the thing: I don’t really play video games that much anymore. Yeah, since moving out of my parents’ house and getting nestled into a 9-to-5 corporate job, I don’t have the time for it anymore. Gone are the glory days from years freshly out of college where I had nothing going on in my life and could devote all my attention to 100%-ing Super Mario Galaxy. I look back with nostalgia to the days when me and my brothers and sister would hunker down in front of the N64, the Gamecube, or the Wii and play some Mario Party or Super Smash Bros.
But those days are behind me now. I’ll play occasionally but no longer have the time or patience for hour-long marathons of mindless gameplay.
And yet I still tune it with bated breath and feverish anticipation for anything Nintendo will announce. Why is that?
One word: Etika.
For those well-versed in the history of the video game industry, it’s common knowledge that fans are eager to hear from three (formerly four — RIP Satoru Iwata) individuals in Nintendo:
🕹️Reggie “My Body is Ready” Fils-Aime
Sakurai as of late had become quite the celebrity in his own right, a modernized Japanese Willy Wonka, thanks in no small part to his involvement in one of Nintendo’s flagship series — Super Smash Bros.
Etika is a Twitch personality that is famous for his intense love of the series and its creator, going as far as dubbing the developer “Daddy Sakurai”.
A version of the game was announced for the Switch in the spring, and it was inevitable that further details would be revealed during the Nintendo Direct at E3.
Sure, there were some satisfying reveals in the livestream, but none could compare to the aftermath of Etika’s reaction.
This is why I love Nintendo: they are the masters at drumming up hype. I believe that some of the techniques they use are applicable to one’s own life.
How to Be Your Own Hype Man:
1) Underpromise, Then Overdeliver
When Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was announced for the Switch, it was assumed it would be a glorified port of the game on the Wii U, with just a few added features sprinkled in to garner interest.
Well, imagine the fans’ surprise when not only the DLC from the previous game was confirmed, but every playable character ever introduced into the series was announced. Yes, that’s over 60 characters finally together under one massive game (Infinity War’s got nothing on this crossover!)
2) Exceed Expectations
Since the introduction of Samus into the roster, there have been two opposing camps of thought on the introduction of her antagonist Ridley. The more vocal of the two camps proclaimed that including the character into Smash Bros. would be impossible given the sheer size of the character in the context of previous Metroid games.
Well, on June 12, 2018, the impossible became possible, and fans went wild, as what was greatly understood to be a pipe dream became a reality in the form of a new character reveal exclusive to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
3) Give the People (Some of) What They Asked For
Two other minor reveals for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate garnered overwhelming responses. One was the inclusion of Princess Daisy in the roster; formerly relegated as a palette-swap for Princess Peach, Daisy has been promoted to “echo character” status. She now has a similar moveset to Peach, but also her own distinct voice and features that distinguish her as a separate entity.
The other announcement was that Waluigi would make his grand appearance back in the series…as an assist trophy, the trumped-up power-up that players can use in the game but cannot otherwise control.
Personally, I don’t get the appeal for this character. Since his debut, Waluigi, like Daisy, has only been playable in the spinoff Mario titles (Mario Party, Mario Kart, Mario <insert sport here>). With no real defining identity to speak of other than as an evil version of Luigi, his role as an assist trophy seemed par for the course.
But not to his fans.
This perceived snub doubles as a crucial reminder: Nintendo is cognizant of the fans’ desires. It was no accident that they showcased assist trophy Waluigi in the promotional footage. By doing so, Nintendo communicated their intentions to consumers that they will strive to deliver the best gaming experience possible…but also tease that nugget of hope that maybe next time, your individual dreams will be answered by Masahiro Sakurai.
Although, it’s certainly fun to bask in the afterglow of the winning team.
So to recap:
To be Your Own Hype Man, you Must:
💎Underpromise, Then Overdeliver
💎Give the People (Some of) What They Asked For
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