Last month Nintendo president Satoru Iwata passed away, causing wide-spread grief across the gaming world. Iwata was a true legend in the industry having played a part in many iconic titles like Earthbound and the long-running Pokemon series. This couldn’t come at a worse time as Nintendo have come under a lot of fire recently for the Wii-U not meeting sales targets and paling in comparison to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
Recently our resident Liam Gittins wrote an interesting article on why the Wii-U has sadly failed amongst its contemporaries. There are claims of gamers not understanding the console’s intentions and that the market for tablet computers has dwarfed the Wii-U’s capabilities. Whilst you can agree that are some substance to these ideas, it’s pretty obvious that Nintendo just want to keep up appearances by firing back with such statements. ‘Failure’ is the interesting word here because Nintendo have only failed in terms of sales which to us gamers is not the be all and end all. Despite my stance as a Sony fanboy, I know a damn fine console when I see one and I’m hear to tell you that the Wii-U is exactly that. Disregard those claims of cheap gimmicks and graphics that aren’t up to par with its competitors, we have a machine here that knows exactly what it is and what it needs to achieve. Nintendo’s sales aren’t exactly up to scratch, but there is one area that you can’t fault them on and that’s their games.
Which coincidentally happens to be the most fundamental aspect of a home console.
Microsoft and Sony gleefully shove everything they possibly can into their products, making them media centres before consoles and in doing so have made it the norm. The Wii-U faced a lot of criticism for this but I can’t help wonder why Microsoft and Sony don’t get equally as much scrutiny for showing off their add-ons more than their actual games. In the grand scheme of things, both parties don’t have a great deal of exclusives up their sleeve, despite both machines almost reaching their second birthdays. It’s taken quite a while for them to move on from the embryonic stage where all of their games are either HD remasters or split-releases between their former consoles. There aren’t lot of real exclusives for the PS4 and Xbox One and amongst the ones that do, only a few of them are actually worth playing. Everything else is either on both systems or exclusive to their respective download markets. Where are all the big name exclusives that really sell these consoles to people?
This is where Nintendo have the upper-hand. Granted, they do have their fair share of the gimmicks (The original Wii being one huge gimmick) but they have kept their old mantra of “Play Games, Have Fun” an idea that seems to be lost these days amongst tides of modern warfare based shooters and endless cycles of football games. There’s a commitment to Nintendo’s usual cast of characters getting their standard big-name release alongside other mainstays like Mario Kart, which itself has seen a peak in quality with the eighth instalment. Speaking of the download market too, the Virtual Console has a plethora of classic titles from the NES-era right up to the N64 that are fairly cheap. Fan-service it may be, but it’s allowed a lot of us Westerners to get our hands on rarities like Earthbound that we could only access through badly translated ROMs.