June 13, 2013 by Paul Curtin
Nintendo hasn’t been doing very well ever since the excitement surrounding the Wii fad died down and their Wii U “next gen” announcement at last year’s E3 failed to create any sort of new excitement, instead generating more confusion than anything else the prior year.
To make matters worse, the Wii U seems to already be in the same position as the Wii where the third-party support that was promised by Nintendo isn’t coming fast enough now over half a year after its launch. And this week at E3, Nintendo surprisingly didn’t even hold their traditional live press conference before the event like they usually do along with Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, and Sony.
Instead, Nintendo had a pre-taped broadcast right before E3 started to make sure that absolutely nothing could go wrong. And in a sign of true desperation, Nintendo will be only having a few third-party exclusives like Bayonetta 2 and is once again resorting to rehashing all of their most popular franchises to try to keep the dying console alive… for now.
This year we got the same usual announcements from Nintendo, i.e. nothing special: some new Mario games, a new Pikmen, a new Pokemon, a new Smash Bros, a new Donkey Kong, a new Sonic, and a new Zelda.
Quite honestly, there’s nothing wrong with Nintendo almost annually putting out new first-party titles to their most popular franchises as it’s something that’s great for the younger generation of gamers. However, as a hardcore gamer that grew up on Nintendo, it’s sad to see them almost not even try to do anything else but kids games and having to now resort to lame gimmicks.
I got a chance to play Mario Kart 8 at this year’s E3, and even with being disappointing by Nintendo overall, have to admit that I thought it looked really good. Visually, it’s what you would expect from a Mario Kart game in 2013 with some new underwater and flying mechanics that make gameplay feel a bit more like Diddy Kong Racing and the more recent Sonic racing games, but the motion controls and giant Wii U pad are just not on the same level as a compact and comfortable controller that you’ll find on the Xbox and PlayStation.
It’s also sad to now see other developers take Nintendo’s Wii U pad idea and use it in better games on next-gen consoles that don’t require extra purchases because you can use the more advanced and sleeker tablets you already own.
Bottom line, Nintendo simply cannot keep going down this road of relying on the same games year after year and hoping to get lucky with another Wii-like gimmick. If they’re going to continue down this stubborn road and can’t think of any new ideas in terms of tech, they might as well just become a publisher and get their titles on all the major real next-gen gaming systems. I know I for one would definitely buy Smash Bros and Mario Kart on the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, but there’s no chance that a couple of great children’s games are going to get me or most mature gamers to buy a piece of outdated technology for $299 when for just $100 more you can get a PlayStation 4.