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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Stop apologizing for Nintendo's lackluster attitude
To be honest I dont think the WiiU will ever pick up, Nintendo had their choices with it and made them all wrong. I think the 2nd year will be worse than the 1st or same
I believe in Nintendo!
Thank you, Dan! This is the exact article we needed! Right now, everybody is declaring doom and gloom for the Wii U, but, by next year, I bet that it will be picking up steam like the 3DS did. I remember when it was 2011 and everybody was declaring the 3DS "doomed" and it to be "the next Virtual Boy," but, when you look at it 2 years later, it's selling faster than the DS did, has tons of amazing first and third party content like Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Project X Zone, and Resident Evil Revelation, and is getting many more epic games this year like Pokemon X/Y and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. The Wii U is going to recover by next year and most likely pull off what the 3DS did. People just need to be patient and remember that this is Nintendo's first venture into HD and first real venture into online, so it is taking longer for them to produce games. Personally, I love my Wii U and will have 7 games for it by the end of the summer (I actually just got mine about a week ago), but it does need more attention.
I agreed completely. I can't wait for the oncoming storm of titles
Poor Nintendo all people want these days are games like call of duty and Minecraft. I remember when they were on top in the 80,s and 90,s Sigh remember Ocarina of time?
Thank you guys, for giving me hope. I bought a Wii U in January and quickly stopped using it within a week after I had finished Arkham City, but it may just get better.
Yes, apparently they don't remember the start of the 3 D EFFING S (lol)
Or, on a non-Nintendo front, the start of the PS2 and PS3... especially the PS3.
I stand by my theory Gamers have the memory of goldfish, and A.D.D. added to that. No console is really worth owning it's first year; even the wii wasn't (even if it sold amazingly)
I'm excited for Pikmin 3, SSB4, and Mario Kart 8. It seems like so far, the PS4 is gonna be my primary console while the Wii U I just have for certain exclusives. But like you said Dan, I won't give up! There are some games I'd personally love to see on Wii U like a sequel to Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness, a new Mario Strikers, and maybe a new Paper Mario. With those I know I would be spending a lot more time with my Wii U :3
Im waiting for the $199.99 price point with at least 100 gigs of space. Till then i will wait it out. Besides, if i hold off for 4 years i can get a Wii U and all 5 games for it for under 100 bucks easy. Amazon 2017!
Don't want to see Nintendo fail, but I have no interest in buying Nintendo home consoles. The Ds is the only platform Nintendo offers that interests me. My next big purchase is going to be a ps4.
I am buying a Wii U this Christmas to prepare for super smash brothers.
thank you for writing this dan. the wii u is definitely not dead.it just needs more consumer support. now obviously nintendo has muffed up by not having an achievement system, and lack of cross play chat, but everything else is solid. if they are able too gain more third party support and give great 1st party games, then i think more people will get it. plus no one will be able to resist not getting one for super smash bros
I'm not sure what to think of the Wii U. Obviously, the name is terrible. Most people that I talk to that aren't gamers, have no idea what it is. Myself, being a gamer, can't even justify buying one, unless I want my Wii to have a companion to collect dust with. I tire of the Mario games, and just want something new, not gimmicky. I believe that this console could have a lot to offer. But, with the industry as unstable as it is nowadays, I can understand why so many 3rd party developers aren't developing for it. Look at Ubisoft. They praised Nintendo for their innovative console, but have taken a loss on their game(Zombie U). I just don't know what the future has in store for the Wii U. Apparently, I'm not alone.