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Expect Nothing: A Word of Advice for Viewing Nintendo Directs

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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.


Quick plug for my favorite game of all time, Kid Icarus: Uprising, a game absolutely no one was expecting when it was first shown off at E3 2010

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.


Never thought you’d see the day when Kirby would start piloting a sweet mecha, did you? You and me both.

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.


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  1. It’s important to remember that Nintendo Direct format is ultimately a marketing too like any therl–and that’s okay. We can still love these presentations not just in spite of their purpose, but because of them. There’s no sense in leaving yourself emotionally vulnerable to marketing, but if you’re mindful of the game Nintendo’s playing, you can prepare for the worst while still hoping for the best. A poor showing need only be their loss, not yours.

    Igiulaw on August 31 |
  2. Having no expectations leaves me never feeling disappointed after a direct, and sometimes extremely pleased. xD

    xkan on August 31 |
  3. Sadly for me, I always got hit by the Hype Train. I can’t control it. I try to watch them live but I tend to avoid leaks (I f***** hate when some ***** leak a big reveal some days before their time, like what happened to Ryu). But at the same time, when things go sour, and the presentation is “disappointing” I don’t mind it that much… Maybe because I like the “presentation” of the news, even if they are underwhelming, I value their efforts…or maybe I’m just a Blind Sheep
    But yeah, expecting nothing is the best way to get surprised and not get mad when things take a bad turn. It’s the best way to not become a Salty monster

  4. Sometimes it’s better to just watch them late. That way I can skip the stuff I don’t care about. In the last Smash direct I ignored large portions of the thing…unfortunately I watched that one live.

    Arthur 97 on September 1 |
  5. Good use of advice to use use on Nintendo Directs and in life in general. Whenever I’m watching the Directs, I never go to twitch or open the live chat section mainly because the attitude fluctuates. It’s also getting tiring to read comments after the show and some complaints come to mind (Mother 3, No NX, Melee HD or riot) so and so… My advice to add on would be if you can find at least one game of interest in the Direct, then there’s no need to be upset. Good things come to those who wait.

    Chris.W on September 1 |
  6. No expectations, no disappointments.

    Smash44 on September 1 |
  7. To be honest, I don’t really have any expectations at all because I couldn’t care less about this direct. I know the Wii U is being killed off for NX, but I’d rather see some Wii U stuff in the Direct. More info on Breath of the Wild would be fine.

    Retroactive Post: That was typed before I saw the Direct but hadn’t posted it, but then stopped as I found out the direct was streaming right at the moment so I stopped typing and went to go watch it. I’d say, it was pretty forgettable. Didn’t expect Woolly World to get a 3DS port, which is kinda neat, and Super Mario Maker getting a 3DS port was less unexpected but still unexpected, and it seems cool to have on the go. New Mario Sports title looks forgettable and one of the choices being horse racing seems kinda questionable. Pikmin side-scroller was unexpected, and looks a bit low-effort visually, but seems like a interesting way to expand on the series (without being as ill-advised as a certain other spin-off from another series).

    MagcargoMan on September 1 |
  8. Great tips. I guess from now on I’d put my expectations on 0 and yell in excitement when a game that interests me is revealed.

    Isaac: Venus Adept on September 2 |
  9. I agree with this article. I’ve been saying this for the whole time ever since the production of Smash 3DS/Wii U: NEVER EXPECT ANYTHING!!! Having too much of an expectation can easily betray you if things didn’t go according to your ideas, and having such disappointment for no reasons is really a salty and sucky moment. Even those leaks are 100% more disappointing for everybody, whether that’ll be fake or real. Its good to hop into the Hype Train, but it shouldn’t be something that anybody should take for a long ride because it’ll sometimes switch to the wrong rails to a wrong destination, and there’s no way you can return as it’s a one-way ticket ride. Best way to survive from becoming a salty monster is not to expect anything at all, which helped me since the beginning of the Smash DLC (Bayonetta isn’t my favorite but wasn’t disappointed as her entry is still acceptable to me).

    Its a good thing they’re still bringing Nintendo Direct as being part of Mr. Iwata’s will, but its also a good thing not to expect anything for it in order to avoid disappointments. Like furthermore, don’t expect MOTHER 3 at all, I doubt they’ll even be localized.

    zoniken on September 2 |
  10. Honestly, I went into the recent 3DS Direct with no expectations whatsoever, and I was still disappointed. The only new announcement that had me excited was Super Mario Maker 3DS, but it was dead on arrival when they said that there would be no online level sharing. The rest of the games that were shown didn’t really interest me, except for Spirit of Justice and Pokemon Sun & Moon. We already knew quite a bit about both of those games though, so it didn’t really affect me. In my opinion, I feel like Nintendo doesn’t have a lot to look forward to right now, as their last couple of years have been pretty rough save for some games like Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario Maker. Hopefully next year’s game lineup will be better, especially with the NX on the way.

    Handy Man on September 3 |
  11. I’m sorta an optimist, so I get excited by most news anyway…

    This is late, considering the Direct in question already happened (which I enjoyed), but I rarely find myself ‘disappointed’ by the Directs. There’s usually something in them worth getting me excited for.

    Spiral on September 5 |