This article is based on the writer’s own personal opinion. You are allowed to disagree.
I’ve always had an appreciation for Nintendo Directs. They are a really unique and fun way of delivering news on upcoming content that not a lot of other companies have tried doing before. Whenever I tune in to one of the shows, that tend to go on for 20 to 40 (or even over 50!) minutes at a time, it’s a real treat to see something new and different, and even something as simple as receiving updates on an upcoming game I already know about is something I truly appreciate. The format of Nintendo Direct makes delivering news and updates seem much more exciting than usual, which is why I always make sure to tune in to each one to see what it has in store for me.
And yet, whenever a new Direct comes and goes, there’s always an undercurrent of disappointment that comes and goes along with it. With each passing day until a Direct or other media event happens, people tend to come up with the craziest wish lists imaginable and fantasize about how their own personal dreams and wishes will play out. Then, when the Direct arrives and some (or all) of these wishes aren’t fulfilled, these fans turn to moaning and complaining about how nothing in the Direct goes as they envisioned in their heads. Even minor details like a previously announced game not being mentioned or the announcement of a game that doesn’t strike their fancy is enough to incite plenty of grumbling from some of Nintendo’s biggest fans.
I myself am no stranger to this particular feeling, having been soured by a game’s absence or a certain game announcement before. But in these times of crushed hopes and bitter disappointment, I usually have to remind myself about a certain philosophy that I’ve taken to heart whenever I watch a Nintendo Direct that I feel could help a lot of other people from feeling let down after a Direct is over.
The answer isn’t to have realistic expectations, although there are many, many cases in this world where having realistic expectations can save you a lot of heartache. Rather, the best advice I could give to anyone when watching a Nintendo Direct is quite simply to expect nothing.
This isn’t meant to sound pessimistic or to assume I’m saying, “expect nothing shown to be any good;” this advice is tailor-made for expectations themselves. Nintendo has a real knack for making highly imaginative, unique, and creative games, and it’s no wonder why decades’ worth of high-quality titles would inspire generations of fans to have high expectations for anything they decide to make. But it’s because of how high these expectations are that there will inevitably be a situation where someone will feel let down because a product failed to meet their own expectations or ideas of what that product would be like. In the case of Nintendo Direct, what ends up happening is that people keep making up these insane fantasies for every possible game that could be announced or elaborated on, and then they complain whenever the Direct doesn’t go exactly as they wanted it to.
It’s why it’s all the more important to not have these expectations in the first place, in my opinion. By eliminating all expectations from your mind, it’ll allow you to enjoy watching a Nintendo Direct with a much clearer mind, as you won’t constantly be worrying about “when are they gonna talk about X game or announce something new” all the time. Then whenever something does come up during a Direct, it’ll make it easier on you to give a reaction to it, because it’s something you weren’t inherently expecting. And as a bonus, if you happen to like the thing you weren’t expecting, you’ll have a much more positive impression of how the Direct went overall.
If you want an example of what I’m talking about, there have been several examples of unexpected games appearing during a Nintendo Direct or other media-briefing event that have surprised and excited many people before. Just look at the January 2013 Direct when Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem was first announced (and later went silent before morphing into Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, but that’s another story), or when Splatoon made its debut during the 2014 Digital Event, or how Kirby: Planet Robobot got everyone excited in the March 2016 Direct. It’s because those games were so unexpected that people were able to accept their existence more easily, and in turn, people started to get excited for them. When you eliminate the barrier of expectations and wild dreams that can get in the way of seeing what a Direct has to offer, often what a Direct actually will have will have an easier time being accepted by the audiences that regularly tune in.
Again, though, it’s possible that this advice won’t work for everyone, likely because you can have no expectations and still be disappointed in how a Direct was handled. And that’s fine; I’m plenty familiar with the feeling. But at the same time, having no expectations is what keeps us grounded in reality and prevents our brain from skyrocketing to the moon with all the fantasies it can dream up. The allure of Nintendo Direct can make that line of thinking real difficult, but trust me when I say you’ll ultimately be better off when you watch a Direct and expect nothing.
Mains: Yoshi (64), Game and Watch (Melee), Wario (Brawl), Wario/Pac-Man (Smash for 3DS/Wii U)