I will first have admit that I had a falling out with Nintendo during the Nintendo 64 era. I was (and remain) a stalwart Sega Dreamcast supporter, and had adopted Sony’s PlayStation 1 as my primary console of choice. Why? because in my opinion the overall library of games were better. I felt that the Nintendo 64 had done a disservice to its first party properties with the exception of Mario. What do I remember most about the Nintendo 64? Goldeneye and Battletanks plugged into a GameShark. Even today I only own a couple dozen N64 titles, and over 300 PS1 games. I skipped the Gamecube era for the most part, the only games ever getting any attention on my purple cube being Smash Bros and the excellent Metal Gear Solid remake Twin Snakes. I bought the Wii during its initial launch and it has yellowed from disuse until we began our “Classic Capture” series as it proved to be a great 480p upscale console for Gamecube games, as the Japanese component cable for the Gamecube is something like a rare, expensive unicorn.
That being said, I have reconciled with Nintendo recently on a personal level and have caught a glimpse of what could be a new golden age for Nintendo. Within the last year I have purchased a Nintendo Wii U and a Nintendo 3DS XL, both of which I had severe doubts about using just like the original Nintendo Wii. Suffice to say, my Nintendo 3DS XL is always with me wherever I travel, and is always charged and at the ready on my desk with a slew of excellent games from last year. The Nintendo Wii U made a big splash with me as well with its strong release lineup and console OS.
So let’s get the obvious problems out in the open. The Nintendo Wii U has seen nearly no game releases since launch, with a trickle of titles only beginning to hit the market as of March. This was definitely a disappointment to the Stalwart Nintendo supporters, however I felt it was good on Nintendo to make a public apology during one of the many Nintendo Direct videos. Nintendo acknowledging the issue in public, being honest about development, and keeping in touch with the fan base regularly through this type of media outlet has kept me hopeful for what’s to come for the Wii U. Obviously the most common argument for the Wii U’s possible failure is in regard to its hardware and place with current and upcoming platforms. Even though I did not use my Wii very much, there were a number of excellent first and third party games that were only released on the Wii. “Power” does not quantify quality of a game. Crysis 3 is currently the lead example of what can be achieved technically with the most powerful hardware spec, but that does not detract from the fact that it is another shooter in a market over-saturated by shooting things and people, i.e. boring. Yes the Nintendo Wii U’s hardware specs are similar to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but Nintendo has never needed the bleeding edge to make great, compelling content. I would like to see how many people who will turn down the inevitable Super Smash Bros. sequel because it didn’t have the same fidelity as anything being released on the PlayStation 4 and the Next Gen Xbox. That’s the sort of Magic Nintendo brings to the table with its unique and timeless stable of characters and worlds. You don’t need Mario in 120fps in 4k resolution to make his games more fun. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend playing New Super Mario Bros. U in 1080p on a decent monitor or television. Come back to me after that experience and tell me with a straight face that the hardware in the Nintendo Wii U isn’t adequate for Nintendo’s needs. Some may argue that this lack of leap into the bleeding edge abandon’s third parties and porting games to the Wii U. It will be a long time before ports stop coming to the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, let alone the Wii U. Even if ports of the newest games stop coming to the Wii U, third parties will develop games for the Wii U specifically in mind. You may not get Crysis 4 on the Nintendo Wii U, but im not sure you’ll want it anyway (If you do, you’re the wrong audience for the Wii U). Yes I admit the releases are slow now, but it is too early to count out the Wii U just yet.
Nintendo’s true shining star though resides with the Nintendo 3DS. The 3DS has made a real comeback since its rocky launch in a big way with some of the best games on any platform being released on it exclusively. You constantly read about the iPhone and iPad killing Nintendo in the Mobile market, but as long as Mario and Pokémon exist exclusively on Nintendo handhelds, there will always be a place for Nintendo Handheld hardware with any true gamer. Pokémon and Mario are not the only games exclusive to the handheld platform, there are tons of great third party games being made and ported to the 3DS. The 3DS eShop has a slew of retro titles as well as compelling downloadable games not found anywhere else. With a strong list of upcoming games set to be released this year alone, it’s definitely a good time to own a 3DS besides the fact that a new Pokémon game is on the way THIS YEAR.
E3 2013 will be a show to remember with tons of confirmed Next Generation projects being announced, shown, and confirmed. Nintendo has laid out some large morsels of what’s to come in their recent Nintendo Direct videos, which leaves all the more time during their press conference to present the most important games in the future. Nintendo has been in the games business for 35 years now and many have claimed their imminent downfall with every successive console generation. I think there is plenty of evidence to support Nintendo wants to win back the hardcore audiences trust. The Nintendo Wii U still shows promise, and the Nintendo 3DS has come into its own and remains a strong seller internationally. To the doubtful I can only advise that they reserve final judgment and wait for the dust to settle after E3. Nintendo needs to bring their A-Game to stand out above the torrent of announcements, and I have a feeling they are really going to deliver.
By: Bobby Major
Our Nintendo Wii U Review: