I am sure many of you are well aware of the current negative internet trend concerning the Wii U. It's not exactly looking good, despite Super Mario 3D World being up for game of the year at VGX. Michael Pachter, whom many a Nintendo fan seem to despise due to thoughts like this, has said countless times that Nintendo should drop out of the hardware business. Of course, Michael Pachter doesn't think Nintendo will drop out, but he believes it would be best if they did. He is but one voice in the crowd, right?
Unfortunately that isn't the case. Kotaku gathered up a slew of quotes from around the industry that all agree Nintendo should stop making hardware. Worse than this is the voice of the people who actually play video games. Written a while ago, TechCrunch talked about how the death of Nintendo has actually been underexaggerated. Read the comment section. It's enough to make you feel ill. In fact, this seems to be a common trend in almost every topic involving Nintendo and the Wii U.
I'm not here to be a Nintendo apologist and sugar coat things. The Wii U is not doing well. The landscape certainly is changing and there is arguably more competition now than there has ever been in the 30 some odd years Nintendo has been at this. However, what seems to be a fervent desire for Nintendo to stop trying to stay in the hardware race seems to be misplaced to me. There should never be a time we actually want Nintendo to drop out of the race.
A couple days ago, we stumbled upon a Kickstarter for a game called The Legend of Lobodestroyo vs. La Liga De Los Villanos--thank god this is written, or I would have butchered that title. If funded, the game will feature a very Banjo-esque wolf named Mutt as he Lucha's his way through a colorful collectathon, gaining powers like in Mega Man and Metroid. It's an incredibly charming premise, made by a team of programmers and animators who've done work at theme parks and other major entertainment companies.
With a helplessly endearing humor and one of the best soundtracks I've seen from a Kickstarter game, it's piqued my interest in a big way. While the animations and aesthetics are a bit rough (the point of the Kickstarter is to help them buy better tools so they can fix these things) the game's personality is fully intact and charming, and that's something you can't buy. I contacted the Creative Director James Guy (one of the nicest designers I've had the pleasure to talk to) and asked him to answer a few questions.
You can see his answers after the jump!
The Wii U's perception among gamers seems like a lost cause, but Nintendo firmly believes that it takes one killer app to turn it all around. This has generally been the case throughout history, but what would such a game actually have to look like? Especially one that would draw in the crowd Nintendo doesn't traditionally cater to? For the Wii, the real killer app was Wii Sports, much to the chagrin of Twilight Princess. To fair though, Twilight Princess provided that one-two punch that helped make the Wii appeal to all. You had Wii Sports draw in non-traditional gamers and Twilight Princess to bring a few million traditional gamers on board.
At this point, many feel it is impossible for one game to turn the fate around, but let's assume history rings true and it is still possible. What sort of game would move the console to not just Nintendo fans, but even for those that don't traditionally play Nintendo games?
Everyone knows of Super Mario 64. It's a genuine classic that changed the way 3D games were made, popularized the idea of analog control in a 3D environment, and showed just how 3D could be used to make for fun experiences in a time when 3D was simply a novelty for the sake of having it. The game still holds up rather well today, but not for the typical reasons like graphics or music. What makes it playable even today is the fine-tuned gameplay. It's how Mario moves. It's how you can interact with the environment. It's that crippling sense of OCD the game gives you every time you pick it up. How could it be improved?
Well, in 2004, Nintendo showed us how while simultaneously showing us an entirely new way to play games with the brand new Nintendo DS. But where Super Mario 64 DS pioneered with the benefit of eight years of 3D game development knowledge, it took one major step backwards. What's more is that a rumor has been running about saying that Nintendo is considering making a Wii U port of the game with various upgrades and new features. But for a game that's been remade before, what's there to do? Before we speculate on what could be, we have to take a step back in time and take a closer look at what's come before.
Reggie Fils-Aime, President and COO of Nintendo of America, is perhaps one of the most widely-recognized faces in gaming—at least in North America. He's made several appearances at major events, spawned a few memes, including the famous line "my body is ready," and he's got a great connection with the public. At the recent #ImWithReggie "TweetUp," Reggie met with fans in person and answered questions from Twitter, even addressing an issue we hadn't heard about in a while.
A while back, Reggie said that he "wouldn't mind" making an appearance as a playable character in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. games for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, leading fans to petition Sakurai, the games' director, for his inclusion. At last night's TweetUp, Reggie said that Sakurai would consider adding him to Super Smash Bros. if 100,000 people signed "the petition." Head inside for more on this story!
Everyone’s heard it all before. “The Wii U is doooomed! Nintendo is the new SEGA! They’ve destroyed the video game industry forever!!1!” A lot of video game publications may be overdramatizing Nintendo’s situation when they make these ridiculous claims, but it's hard to deny that the Wii U has seen shockingly weak performance, putting Nintendo’s home console business in a bit of a bind.
Nintendo has plenty of money. Their portable console business is healthier than ever and their less-than-successful consoles are continually supported by Nintendo software and Nintendo fans. For these very reasons, I have faith that the Wii U will be fine—it does not need to be “saved.” However, its sales still do pale in comparison to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and Nintendo has displayed far too many issues with public relations, advertising, branding, online infrastructure, and more to reshape that hierarchy. It’s simply too late for Wii U to become anything more than a pacifier while we wait for Nintendo’s next console. Thus, Nintendo’s goal should not be to make the “ultimate console” in any sense of the term, but rather to provide the best-selling pacifier they reasonably can.
To accomplish this, Nintendo must focus on a clear goal for the Wii U and make every decision with this goal carefully in mind. Nintendo must create the best consumer value and properly inform the public without expending misguided or excessive resources. In this light, there is plenty that Nintendo can do to ensure a faster turnaround, greater success, and longer-lasting significance for the Wii U, even *gasp* without third-party support.
Head past the jump to keep reading!
From Studio Fawn, Bloom: Memories is a top-down 2D adventure game with a beautiful art direction (screenshot above) and loads of interesting, choice-based mechanics, taking inspiration from, among other things, Zelda, Thief, and point-and-click adventures. One of the most interesting aspects about the game is the way it seeks to "move away from" the common gaming cliches of "violence and domination," including mechanics such as "the bridge" to support that idea. Bloom is currently in the latter half of its third Kickstarter attempt and has already garnered the majority of its $40,000 goal, sitting at approximately $34,000—at the time of writing.
We had the chance to discuss the game Studio Fawn artist Dani Landers, whose "attempt to create a graphic novel" served as the basis for Bloom. Within, Landers describes the game's "great forest" setting, the choice-influenced RPG-esque gameplay which strives to have players "look past numbers and optimization strategies and be more connected with the world / experience," and much more. Head post-jump to check it out.
Super Mario 3D World was released a week ago today, and I've been having a jolly good time with it—and my grandma absolutely adored the swing-influenced soundtrack (as did I). Earlier this week, we posted our official Super Mario 3D World review, as we do for many games. But I decided to take on a project a little bit more ambitious.
For those of you who don't like to read long, boring reviews, we've got just the thing for you: Gamnesia's very first video review! Our YouTube channel has stayed a little bit dry as of late, but we're hoping—Newsgod willing—that we'll be able to get it back on its feet in no time. So click that play button and tell us what you think! We want to hear your thoughts and know what you want to see in the future. Would you like more video reviews? How have you been enjoying Super Mario 3D World?
Be sure to read our textual Super Mario 3D World review to see the pros and cons, the score, and more!
It may sound odd… games I’m thankful for. But, as someone who has played video games their whole life, there is a lot I owe to video games. I’m making this list because I know there are those of you out there who have games like this as well, and I’m happy to share which ones I am most thankful for.
I understand that investors and investment websites, such as Motley Fool, have to view everything in terms of pure profitability. After all, they make their living by helping others invest wisely and conversely making their clients more money. This is exactly what Michael Pachter does, who's relevance to gaming is that he makes suggestions on Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo stock to various investors. That's one of his primary focuses at his day job. His opinion on actual games and such is no more relevant than your opinion, but his sales projects are just what he feels will relate to certain stock values in the future. Even if his sales projections are off, if his educated guess at the stock value is spot on or right around where he projected it, then he's successfully done his job. His job is to make others money with smart investing.
The death knells for Nintendo as a company seem to have never been higher than they are this year, though much of it comes from Nintendo's failure to get the Wii U to sell well. That may change with the fantastic Super Mario 3D World out, but we don't know what the future will truly hold until it arrives. We also know that Nintendo's market share in handheld gaming is probably smaller than it was during the DS era because of mobile phone gaming. I don't think that surprises anyone, but as the 3DS has proven there is still enough demand that Nintendo can make pretty big profits on what is probably becoming a niche gaming market in general compared to phones. Video games itself use to be a niche part of the market to begin with, so Nintendo can still easily survive serving that niche.
Motley Fool believe strongly, thanks to an accessory by Logitech, that Nintendo's handheld niche is about to vanish. The primary reasoning? iPhones now have buttons for gaming.