Electronic Arts showed off a new story mode in Madden NFL on Saturday. Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One X on Sunday. On Monday, Sony had a lengthy yet somewhat unfulfilling press event. On Tuesday, all eyes shifted to Nintendo at E3 as the company looked to showcase the Nintendo Switch for the first time in the E3 spotlight. Though Nintendo does not put on a grand show the way Sony and Microsoft do, Nintendo went for quality over quantity during a nearly half-hour digital presentation.

Going into E3, Nintendo made it clear the large focus of their main digital presentation would be on games due to come out in 2017, which meant some new looks at Super Mario Odyssey and perhaps Splatoon 2. But Nintendo always has a few surprises in store for their fans and their first day showcasing upcoming titles has been no disappointment.

For example, I thought there was next to no chance Nintendo would do anything with their Metroid franchise, but Nintendo not only teased a long-awaited Metroid Prime title for the Nintendo Switch but also a complete re-imagination of Metroid II from the old Game Boy in the updated form of Metroid: Samus Returns.

Here’s a rundown of the highs and lows of Nintendo’s top news from E3 so far.

Super Mario Odyssey looks fantastic

Nintendo rarely stumbles when putting out a Mario adventure. Super Mario Odyssey is coming this October and it looks to be another well-done installment in the 3D sandbox adventure games of Mario’s past with some new twists to implement into a smooth game. I mean, seriously. Look at this game.

We learned some new features of the game too. For example, Mario can buy items and clothes with the moon coins he is collecting. I’m calling them moon shines, just so I can say Mario has to load up on moon shine. But the biggest takeaway is the hat mechanic. Previous footage showed Mario throwing his hat to give him a boost in places, but now we see the hat can take over the form of a baddie and then be controlled while donning Mario’s signature cap and moustache! How can you not like that idea?

Naturally, this game is also going to release alongside some new amiibo figures to add to an amiibo collection (it was a big afternoon for amiibo announcements, which I’ll get to).

Super Mario Odyssey will actually be the second Mario-themed game releasing this year on the Switch. Before we get to Super Mario Odyssey from Nintendo, Ubisoft is releasing the unique crossover Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, which sees Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom invaded by the menacing and awkward rabbit creatures from the Rayman franchise. It is essentially a crossover that is built on top of a turn-based tactical strategy game. It seems curious. It won’t go toe-to-toe with Super Mario Odyssey, but it should serve as a nice bridge for some between Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey.

Other new amiibo announcements

Nintendo has some DLC coming to Breath of the Wild, and wouldn’t you know it, they are also tacking on some new amiibo to go with their initial batch of figures in the Breath of the Wild theme.

To go with the upcoming release of Fire Emblem Warriors, there are some new amiibo…

And this should serve as a nice transition to our next highlight…

Metroid Prime 4 is currently in development

… and 3DS owners can get a new 2D Metroid adventure to kill the time.

Yes, one of my bold predictions for E3 was there was no way Nintendo would mention a full Metroid adventure game. So, naturally, Nintendo teases Metroid Prime 4 for the Switch as being in development with a simple title trailer. That’s all Nintendo had to do to get people excited. No release date. No video footage. Just a title teaser.

In addition to that, Nintendo dropped the announcement of Metroid: Samus Returns for the 3DS, which is essentially a complete remake and update to the first portable Metroid title on the original Game Boy. Let’s just say Metroid on the go has come a long way.

Kirby and Yoshi are coming in 2018

No, not together, although that would be quite a combo that would overload on the cute factor. Both Kirby and Yoshi will have new games coming to the Switch in 2018. Nintendo showed off some footage of each game, unlike Metroid Prime 4, suggesting they are likely farther along the line of production and could be slated for a pre-E3 release in 2018. It looks like Kirby is going to shower his rivals with love…

Meanwhile, Yoshi looks like it is moving on from being modeled in yarn and taking more inspiration from Little Big Planet.


Pokemon for Switch is coming too, and could be a game-changer

Nintendo previously announced they are bringing the tournament fighter Pokken Tournament to the Switch and will feature a live tournament at E3 this week. But the big news for Pokemon fans was the tease of a full console version of Pokemon currently being in development. This is significant because up until now the core Pokemon games have always been on Nintendo’s portable consoles dating as far back as the original Game Boy. A core Pokemon game on the Switch sticks to the portability mindset with how the console is designed but this would be a milestone for the franchise and could be a huge boom for Nintendo’s future Switch sales.

Rocket League is coming to Nintendo Switch

Rocket League has developed quite the following in the gaming community recently thanks to a growing online community, and now that community is opening its doors to the Nintendo Switch. For those unfamiliar, imagine a game of soccer played by cars in a demolition derby arena. That’s Rocket League in a nutshell. It looks like a lot of fun and is a hit for online gamers.

The developers of Rocket League say not only are they bringing the game to the Switch, but it will come with Switch-exclusive customization options and Switch users will be able to join in on the cross-platform online gameplay to play against the existing Rocket League community. That’s a great move for the Switch because now you can take Rocket League with you on the go. That’s a nice perk.

Where has Nintendo whiffed?

Nintendo may easily address some mild concerns Nintendo fans have after watching the first day of Nintendo’s E3 coverage. One notable omission from the main presentation was the upcoming Nintendo Switch Online system. Nintendo has mapped out the details for its paid monthly service coming to the Switch, but it is amazing the system has been out since April and we have yet to hear more about a launch date or more on the online game library users will have access too.

Again, this could easily be addressed in the coming days, because Nintendo does spread out their announcements. This just seemed like an obvious item to touch on during the main presentation that could have been a major home run. That is my lone gripe, although fans of the Animal Crossing franchise feel a bit letdown at the moment (I say hang in there for 2018).

And still no virtual console. And no Earthbound. And no Super NES Classic. Boo.

Overall Observations

I’m a Nintendo fan at heart and always will be, so it is entirely plausible I am much more optimistic about what Nintendo rolled out so far at E3 than others may be. But for the first year at E3 following the launch of the new Switch, I think Nintendo largely did a good job to keep its core fans satisfied. There still seems to be some struggles to bring in fans who may have left or stayed away from Nintendo, but maybe a game like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 could help. Metroid in 2018 (2019?) will have a lot to say in ho eventw Nintendo is viewed by a more “hardcore” base out there, and it remains to be seen just how the FIFA 18 title coming to Switch will hold its weight in the same market that sees Microsoft and Sony get the premier version of the game.

But Nintendo gets two thumbs up from me. A new Mario (technically two new Mario titles) is always good. Rocket League is coming. And there are some good franchises in development to bring all of Nintendo’s top franchises to the Switch in the coming year (or two depending on the Metroid timeline). Nintendo is in decent shape.

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to NBCSports.com. Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.