The lights are on
Early adopters of the Wii U know full well of its drought of solid titles. Like many other owners, I bought the console on launch day, only to have the GamePad sit mostly unused ever since. Despite this rocky first year, I realized that this situation isn’t that far off from other Nintendo launches in the last decade. The DS, 3DS, and Wii all experienced rough first years, only to overcome and offer solid lineups soon thereafter. Because of this trend, I’m hoping that Nintendo’s HD console isn’t as doomed as some believe it to be.
In 2013, the DS is looked back on as one of the best portable gaming consoles of all time (I personally consider it to be at the top of the list). If you had told this to launch-day purchasers in the first year of its existence, they probably would have laughed at you. In its first year, the most notable DS releases were confined to Kirby Canvas Curse, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Mario Kart DS, and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow.
All of those games are solid, but they’re pretty slim pickings for an entire year’s worth of releases. After that initial year, however, the lineup exploded with a ton of quality titles. New Super Mario Bros., Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Animal Crossing: Wild World, the Scribblenauts series, two Zelda titles, two more Castlevania games, four Professor Layton games, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, Advance Wars: Dual Strike, The World Ends With You, two Mario & Luigi games, and the Pokemon Black & White titles were released after the first year of the DS. Those launch systems that gathered dust for a year wouldn’t leave the hands of gamers soon after.
Next up for Nintendo’s hardware was the Wii. It initially made waves with its novel control method, but its first year was plagued with lackluster ports featuring tacked-on motion implementation. Outside of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Metroid Prime 3, and Super Mario Galaxy, the console didn’t offer much to traditional gamers. Thankfully, Nintendo offered plenty of great titles by the end of its lifespan, including Zelda: Skyward Sword, Mario Kart Wii, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Punch-Out!!, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
This trend continued again with the 2011 release of the 3DS. Its first year was greeted with a ton of slightly updated ports (Super Street Fighter IV, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64, Snake Eater 3D), as well as the great Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7. Near the very end of its last year, Kid Icarus: Uprising also released. We’re still early in the 3DS' life cycle, but its second year has already given us Fire Emblem: Awakening, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Scribblenauts Unlimited, and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. On deck for upcoming releases is Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and Yoshi’s New Island.
With ten years and three consoles’ worth of rocky starts, should we really be so concerned about the Wii U already? New Super Mario Bros. U and Lego City Undercover are two of the only big, exclusive games available for the system right now, but I feel we shouldn’t write off its future so soon. First-party offerings like Super Smash Bros., Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Pikmin 3, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Yarn Yoshi, and Zelda: Wind Waker HD should all be surefire hits, and more niche titles like The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2 show promise as well.
I’m not saying that the Wii U is positively destined to see the success of the DS, Wii, and 3DS. Low sales numbers and the lukewarm reception from third parties is worrisome, but Nintendo has overcome the odds so many times in their history. The past has made it clear that it isn’t completely necessary for a console to knock it out of the park in its first year, so maybe we shouldn’t be dreading the Wii U’s future just yet.
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Too late traded mine off a few weeks back
They needed to have a strong line up at release...my wiiu is collecting dust
BEST 1st party franchises ever. enough said.
I just wish they would launch their consoles better. It's obvious the dev kits aren't sent out early enough, & devs aren't even excited about the hardware anyway, because of the specs. Finalize the next console specs sooner & make them more appealing. Release the kits sooner, & ease up on the developer restrictions. I promise that company will see immediate results. Nintendo I support you, but do better, dang!
I personally still don't want the Wii u because no longer interested in the games that they have. I never cared for Zelda, metroid, nor Mario. My favorite game on that console has been animal crossing, which I just bought for the 3ds and I love that game :)
What's a WiiU?
If you build it (the game library), they will come.
I noticed you didn't mention Monster Hunter Ultimate in this article as a nice Wii U exclusive (realize it's on 3DS as well so not REALLY an exclusive). I'm a huge Monster Hunter fanatic and already have hundreds of hours into it. At this point I'm actually worried I won't have time to play all my Wii U games which I know puts me in the minority but still. I'm glad to actually see a positive Wii U article for once though it's sort of refreshing. So far I have LOVED: Zombi U, Game & Wario (amazing with friends), New Super Mario U (and Luigi U which I'm not done with),Monster Hunter Ultimate, Nintendoland, Lego City Undercover, and playing my backlog of Wii Games.
Its nice seeing this, i wish the new consoles will come out so i can stop hearing about them
what's this? a logical train of thought when it comes to Nintendo? ON THE INTERNET?! what is this madness! lol.
in all seriousness though, nice article. It's what I've been saying for the longest time. Far too many people are prisoners of the moment, caught up in the short term, and scream doom and gloom before considering the long term. Will the Wii U absolutely be a success because its happened before with Nintendo? heck no. Past success doesn't guarantee anything. However, there is a noticeable trend, and as we've seen before, the one thing each system has in common is that it needed time to get on its feet. That's all I've ever asked for Wii U. Instead of being so quick to push the panic button, give it the time it deserves, and it may surprise you.
I never doubt Nintendo anymore, I just wait.
This article pretty much combines what we've all been saying in the comment threads for the last few months...Maybe now people trafficking this site will get a clue and we can all start focusing on how badass the upcoming Wii U titles are looking, instead of "Oh dear, Nintendo is in trouble!" I'm getting tired of hearing about how Nintendo is dead in the water, and I'm also getting tired of hearing people reiterate over and over again that they aren't dead in the water. Let's move on, people.
I'm a huge Metroid fan and have been waiting for a new HD release before I purchase the WiiU. I just read an interview with Miyamoto in which he said that Nintendo isn't working on a new title at this time. It's this kind of decision which has me worried about this console. Not having an HD Zelda or Metroid at launch is inexcusable. Did you see how many huge games in 2013/14 are not being developed for the WiiU? Zelda WW should have been the LAST game that Nintendo re-makes. HD cell shading? c'mon, WW already looks and plays great. When Samus returns, so will I.