Nintendo’s Resurgence

Posted December 4, 2014 by Alexander Handziuk in Video Games

I am gonna start this article off with a disclaimer, I am a Nintendo fan. I have been playing Nintendo games for as long as I can remember and as such Nintendo has always had a special place in my heart. When the Wii U was announced in at E3 in 2011, I was ridiculously excited. And during the following years till its release it had been hyped up in my mind to seemingly inconceivable levels. I pre-ordered The Wii U the first day it was available and I stood in line at my local EB Games (Gamestop) hours before it opened so that I could be the first one in my area to get one. In theory the Wii U was going to be the greatest console to date. It had 3rd party support from companies such as EA and Ubisoft and of course had its masterful assortment of first party titles. It really seemed like the best of both worlds.
For the first month I was enamoured with it, I enjoyed playing games like Nintendo Land, Super Mario Bros. U and 3rd party games like Mass Effect and Fifa. But, after that initial period, the games became more and more sporadic and big name titles were nowhere to be found. Worse, third party support began to diminish with EA announcing that they would no longer be making games for Wii U because of a lack of install base. Rayman Legends, one of the best platforms of all time, which was supposed to be a Wii U exclusive, was delayed by Ubisoft and instead released on all major systems. People were confused by the name Wii U , many thinking it to be a simple add on to The Wii, which at that point was hopelessly outdated in the gaming market and those who knew what the Wii U was were simply not interested in the gaming library which it offered. 2012 and 2013 were low points for Nintendo. They posted their first ever operating loss in company history, a loss of ¥37.3 billion yen , which is about $458 million American. I remember simply googling Wii U on an almost daily basis and seeing nothing but articles that were dissing the system and bringing bad more news such as 3rd party titles skipping the Wii U. This was Nintendo’s and subsequently my low point. All my friends were talking about the Xbox One and Ps4 and pretty much no one even knew about the Wii U. As a lifelong fan of Nintendo this stung, knowing that they were not doing well and I worried about their future. That’s the thing about being a Nintendo fan, you really feel a bond to the big N and as a result when it struggles you feel it too. However I had forgotten who I was dealing with, Nintendo,the super-smash-bros-wii-u-j-545367606fb52most successful gaming company in the world. The company that has more money than Sony even though Nintendo only focus on gaming.
At the time, even though the Wii U was floundering, the 3Ds was thriving and was making it clear that the fears of iPads and iPhones making portable gaming obsolete were overblown. Anyone who doubted the Wii U’s future should have looked at the history of the 3Ds first, before jumping to conclusions.The 3ds had an awful first year as well. It was too expensive, had no games and its 3D was written off as a simple gimmick. Yet Nintendo stuck by its device and did what it does best, and that is making amazing games. They released games like Pokemon X and Y, Animal Crossing new Leaf, Fire Emblem Awakening, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Starfox 64, Kid Icarus Uprising, Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land, Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon, Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and many other top notch games and transitioned the 3Ds from a gimmick to a must own console.
You don’t buy a Nintendo console for its overflowing third party support, you buy one for for the amazing first party titles. The release of Mario Kart 8 doubled the number of Wii U consoles sold and led Nintendo to its first consecutive quarterly gain since The Wii U was released. Holiday 2014 has been pegged by many business and industry experts as sink or swim for Nintendo and Nintendo has responded with a resounding doggy paddle. As of the publication of this article there are a number of great first-party Wii U games such as Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3, New Super Mario Bros. U, The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker, The Wonderful 101, Bayonetta 2, Lego City Undercover, Hyrule Warriors, Mario Kart U, and arguably Nintendo’s biggest title to date – Super Smash Bros-Wii U. Smash has sold 490,000 copies in just 3 days since its release and has dethroned Mario Kart as the highest selling Wii U game. This is especially good news for Nintendo as their sales of Wii U consoles more than doubled due to Mario Kart’s release and Smash Bros. strong start coupled with the holiday shopping season should do wonders to move Wii U consoles off store shelves. It may have taken some time but The Wii U now boasts a great gaming library, headlined not only by Mario Kart and Smash Bros but also by third-party-exclusive Bayonetta 2, which has received industry-wide acclaim and a 91 medium score on Metacritic. Speaking of Nintendo games and scores, eight Wii U games have a metacritic score and user score of 85 plus, compared to just two by their rivals. This speaks above all to the quality, effort and love that Nintendo puts into its games.Captain-Toad-1280x720.
This momentum means nothing if it won’t be followed up on, but thankfully Nintendo intends to do just that. The Wii U software lineup for next year includes Captain Toad Treasure Tracker, Kirby’s Rainbow Cruise, Yoshi’s Wooly World , Star Fox Wii U, Splatoon, Mario Maker, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Mario Party 10 and Zelda Wii U. These titles are all exclusive to the Wii U. However, their 3rd party outlook is still pretty awful with just a handful of titles including Sacrilegem, Project Cars, Human Element and the Wii U exclusive, Devil’s Third.
Although 3rd party support is lacking, and The Wii U is physically less powerful then it’s Sony and Microsoft counterparts, in my opinion its array of quality, exclusive games puts it above and beyond the competition. Reggie Fils Aime, President of Nintendo America, has often said, quite accurately, that the PS4 and XBOX One are pretty much the same console, save for a few exclusives split between them, yet Nintendo offers a completely unique range of games and experiences. This uniqueness is what has made Nintendo the most successful video game maker of all time and is also why I am happy to be a lifetime Nintendo fan, player and member of the Nintendo family.

About the Author

Alexander Handziuk

Alex is a comic aficionado who loves Aquaman, Overwatch, the musical Hamilton and medium length strolls on beaches. Check him out on the Comics Dash Podcast, on twitter at @axehandziuk and in real life patrolling the borders of Canada.