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10 Years Later, We Can't Stop Watching Nintendo Directs

Reflecting on 10 years of Animal Crossing teases, Bayonetta trailers, and more

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Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto stands next to the Splitscreen podcast logo wearing a Mario t-shirt.
Image: Nintendo / Kotaku

Way back in 2011, the very first “Nintendo Direct” featured then-Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé in a white, echo-y room promoting the struggling 3DS by talking about how it was getting Hulu Plus and could record 3D videos. “Up to 10 minutes of 3D video can be recorded of anything you want,” he said. “Birthdays, holiday family gatherings, or your brother drooling in his sleep.” But 10 years later, Nintendo’s product marketing experiment has gone from awkward infomercial to appointment viewing for everyone who plays games, and even some who don’t.

Last week, Nintendo held its 150th Direct, showcasing Splatoon 3, Bayonetta 3, and teases for future Directs. It also revealed the star-studded, for better or worse, cast of its upcoming Super Mario Bros. movie, momentarily breaking the internet in the process. Hundreds of thousands watched live on YouTube and Twitch, while others cracked jokes on social media. The format, in other words, has come a long way, buoyed by the massive popularity of the Nintendo Switch.


On this week’s episode of Splitscreen we share our thoughts on the biggest news items from the latest Direct, take a brief look back at how it all got started, and analyze the weird, idiosyncratic baggage that comes along with it, like Nintendo fans accusing others of “spoiling” the Direct by sharing leaked images from Kirby and the Forgotten Land ahead of time. Nintendo’s big fall Directs are like having the circus whip through your town in a 45-minute whirlwind, which understandably leave people with a lot of complicated feelings.


Kotaku senior reporter and Splitscreen elder Mike Fahey is out again this week but will be back soon. In the meantime, another star from Kotaku’s new freshmen class, Isaiah Colbert, drops by to chat about all things Nintendo (and Bayonetta).

Remember that new episodes come out every Friday, so like and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher to get them as soon as they go live. You can leave a review, too, or drop us a line at if you have questions or want to suggest a topic. Or if you want to deliver your hottakes in realtime you can reach us on Twitter: I’m @ethangach, Lisa Marie is @lisamarie_lynn, and Isaiah is @EyeZehUhh. Until next week!