Before the pitchforks become lit, I would just like to point out how much of a fan of Nintendo I am: my first gaming console was the Super NES and from that point onward I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every console they released and just about every game they published that I’ve gotten my hands on. Heck, I even still believe the Wii U is a console with plenty of great games that practically beg for the average gamer’s attention. I also care enough about Nintendo to wish that they do the best they can to be on top of things.
That said, they really need to step up their game.
Throughout this decade, I couldn’t help but realize some of the games Nintendo have put out are…considerably below-average in comparison to the caliber they are typically known for.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 was the earliest example that triggered my suspicion that something felt off. I remember anticipating the first two games (DS and Wii) long before their respective releases, as they were the first original 2D Mario games since Super Mario World. Maybe it was because Nintendo decided to release both New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Mario Bros. 2 on the same year that caused hype to wane for me. Either way, when I did play NSMB2, I was disappointed. It wasn’t a bad game per se, but it was a deliberately easier game that spat coins and lives at you when it wasn’t busy rehashing graphics and sound from NSMBWii.
And then came Paper Mario: Sticker Star. My God, what a mess this one turned out to be…
No partners, chapters, witty humor, drama, imagination, or any sense of tangible game design. Just the fact that I found myself using a walk-through for 90% of the time playing it made me realize that Nintendo really had been dropping the ball.
And it sure as heck didn’t stop when I went on to play Yoshi’s New Island and New Super Luigi U, two succeeding games that are as equally unoriginal and disappointing as NSMB2. In fact, Yoshi was annoying on account of the extremely lackluster kazoo-boasting soundtrack and how it subtracted elements from the original Yoshi’s Island, which is always a pet peeve of mine for game sequels.
Speaking of, last year was where things arguably got to their worst. Mario Party 10 was nothing more than a subtraction from Mario Party 9, and while Chibi Robo: Zip Lash wasn’t bad, it was definitely more like a second-rate Kirby game than one with the Chibi Robo name.
And then there was Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash.
They Christmas Rushed a game in the Mario franchise. Ultra Smash looked pretty, but had barely any content in it at all! Sure there’s online play, but one stadium just with certain optional gimmicky floors, a gimmicky mode that involves Mega Mushrooms, and a minigame. That’s not worth $50.
So yeah, I can’t say I like their position at this point in time. What they have going on this year doesn’t seem like it’ll change the tide anytime soon, either.
So….What is it? Why is it that Nintendo insists on pushing aside what fans have been asking for years in favor of a game that is very obviously inferior to what fans have in mind? I get it, Nintendo. You want people to think the Wii U’s primary controller has a place in gaming. But to tack it onto Star Fox? Weren’t people wanting a new game in the series for the past decade? Why couldn’t it just be left without the hardware gimmick?
Better yet, why does Paper Mario: Color Splash exist? Did Nintendo not look online for the past nine years in regards of how people feel about the Paper Mario series? Go ahead and claim I’m getting angry over a trailer that doesn’t show much of the game. I analyzed the thing ever since its debut, and the more I watched it, the more I found that I despised. I listed sixteen points in full detail (on my deviantart page that is) why I hate where this game is going. That is sixteen points too many.
Suddenly that joke about Mother 3 in the E3 2014 Nintendo Robot Chicken skits hits too close to home, as if Nintendo knows we want, yet refuses to actually pull through with an effort to deliver.
You know what? I’m being such a Negative Nancy at this point. Why don’t we go back to a time where the opposite was happening for Nintendo games?
Ah….The Nintendo Gamecube. Granted, this wasn’t Nintendo’s greatest selling console, but I’d be lying if I said there was nothing remarkable to be found in its game library.
Back then, all that mattered was Nintendo’s ability to play along with the rest of the sixth generation of consoles. It had its fair share of third-party support and had a much more standard controller than Nintendo fans of succeeding generations would be used to. So what makes the Gamecube so special? Well, it has…
….a hugely extensive Super Smash Bros. game aimed squarely at the hardcore crowd….
…a sequel to a fantastic Mario RPG that superbly cranks up the humor, story, and overall sense of imagination…
…the only two Pokemon games structured like the handheld games, but for a TV console and with a distinct edge…
…and even the only 3D Wario game ever!
That’s just to name some examples.
But my point is: Where is any of this on the Wii U?
Say what you want about the good of the Wii U, but that doesn’t excuse how much is missing from it! There is so much that could’ve been done with the existing franchises they have, yet they don’t bother and would rather stick by the motions of a typical game from them. Heck, where are many of their other franchises? Where is F-Zero? Mother (3)? Wario? Actual Metroid? How about ones like Punch-Out and Startropics? Nintendo has got to learn from why people fondly remember the Gamecube (and it’s not just because of Smash Bros.) and make use of the potential goldmines they have that seem to be just lying around the floor like crumbled up documents deemed unimportant.