Pure Speculation: Will the NX Save Nintendo?

It is widely known that the Wii U has suffered a rather poor reception, and as a less than proud owner of the console for about two years now, it takes no stretch of the imagination to understand why this is.  In all that time, my Wii U has been largely used for recording gameplay for…Wii, SNES, and N64 games.  Aside from being convenient for recording, the only other time I had a lot of fun with the console was when I downloaded EarthBound on the Virtual Console.  As an actual Wii U, however, I rarely have any use for this poor machine.  In fact, after all this time, I still only own five games for the console, three of which I stopped playing before I finished them.  And let me tell you, I am not the kind of person who gives up on games.  I literally spent a full month leveling up in Final Fantasy XIII in order to defeat the final boss.  The fact that I dedicated that much time to a game such as FFXIII, but I quit New Super Mario Bros for the Wii U partway in is not a good sign.  It’s certainly not due to FFXIII being a superior game, because it’s not, but when it comes to the Wii U, it’s just not very long before I lose interest and play something else.

Nevertheless, despite my lukewarm feelings towards Nintendo as of late, they have managed to intrigue both myself and gamers worldwide with their ultra-mysterious future console, the NX, which some believe will have what it takes to restore the company’s former glory.  As a result, I thought I’d take a look online to see what I could find about this enigmatic little machine.  In the end, I still know very little, but I’ll try to list what I learned.  First of all, it would appear that the NX is not intended to simply be Nintendo’s next console, but something entirely new, like a console-handheld hybrid.  It is also said that the NX will use cartridges rather than discs, and I have seen images of a machine that looks similar to the Wii U game pad, but with detachable controllers on either side.  Whether or not this is legitimate or just an image someone made up, I know not, but I found this image on several web sites, as a black and white drawing and as an actual photo, so who knows.  Last of all, it is rumored the NX might have VR technology, which is pretty interesting.

Okay, so that pretty much sums up everything I know thus far about the NX.  And though it’s much too early to speculate over its potential success, speculate I shall by attempting to answer two important questions.  Will the NX be Nintendo’s next big success?  Simply put, I think it will be.  I can only hope that a company that’s been a giant in the gaming industry for this long will surely be able to correct the mistakes they made with the Wii U and make a product that many people will want.  I’m not big into handhelds, but a lot of people are, so if this device is able to combine handhelds and consoles like the rumors say, I would think this would interest a lot of people.  As for myself, I’m rather interested to see if the rumors about VR technology are true.  I find this kind of technology intriguing, but I have yet been compelled to try it for myself.  If Nintendo is actually offering games with such technology, however, that might be enough to change my mind.

My other question might be even more important.  Will the NX be enough to restore everyone’s faith in this once great company?  My personal opinion: not really.

My argument boils down to one main thing.  The games.  Sure, the NX sounds innovative enough, and that’s what sold the Wii, but what made Nintendo so famous were the many iconic characters and franchises associated with them.  When you think of Nintendo, do you think of the Wiimote or Mario?  Do you think of the Nintendo DS and its two screens or The Legend of Zelda?  To illustrate further, let’s take a brief journey through Nintendo’s many consoles.

The original NES console was released in 1983, and it introduced gamers to the original Super Mario Bros trilogy, The Legend of Zelda, the original Donkey Kong, Kirby, and Metroid.  I am sure there are others, but need I go on?  That is an amazing lineup of games, and these franchises are, as we all know, still alive and going strong today.  The SNES continued these great series with Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Kirby Superstar, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (what, no “super” in the title?), and even the Donkey Kong Country trilogy, while the Nintendo 64 introduced us to the wonderful world of 3D games.  At the very least, we have this console to thank for the classic Super Mario 64, widely regarded as the first 3D game, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which many consider to be even more iconic than the original Zelda game on the NES.  And then there’s my personal favorite, Majora’s Mask, which I still feel is the greatest Zelda game of all time.  And I’m not the only one with that opinion.

That is a truly impressive history, and I just want to pause for a moment and say, whether or not Nintendo ever regains the glory they once had, I think what they accomplished between the NES and N64 era is enough to safely rank them as the greatest video game company of all time.  And we haven’t even finished.  I personally feel that the GameCube was a weaker entry in Nintendo’s lineup of consoles, but it was not without its achievements.  We got the first two Metroid Prime games, the first of which is considered to be one of the greatest games ever made, and Super Smash Bros Melee, which I have also heard is considered by some to be the best fighting game of all time.  The Wii was massively successful because it appealed to casual gamers and because of the motion controls that were innovative and fun at the time, even if their appeal has greatly worn off.  Aside from the Wii’s technology, there were also some very good games, such as a pair of Super Mario Galaxy games and two entries in The Legend of Zelda series (kind of, as Twilight Princess was also on the GameCube, so you can kind of say that the Wii had 1.5 Zelda games…).

My point is, this is where I think the Wii U falls short.  I think the massive, heavy controller is absurd.  I see no difference in the quality of graphics between the Wii and the Wii U.  At all.  But my biggest problem is the games.  There are just not that many great games for the Wii U, especially when you take into consideration that some of the better games on the console are not exclusive to it.  I personally loved Rayman Legends (which I have on the PS3), and I am super excited for Yooka-Laylee, but you don’t need a Wii U to play these games.  Maybe it’s not fair to compare the Wii U to classic consoles like the original NES, which introduced the world to all these famous franchises, or the Nintendo 64, which included the classic Super Mario 64.  But if the most fun I ever have with the Wii U is when I download a game from the 90’s, that is an issue.

Supposedly the NX will have more games from third party developers, which is all well and good.  But honestly, I don’t usually buy Nintendo consoles for third party games.  I buy them for the Nintendo-exclusive titles, which I believe the Wii U is sorely lacking.  (Nintendo-exclusive titles clearly exist on the Wii U.  There just aren’t a lot of good ones compared to past consoles.)  So how, I ask, is the NX going to fix this problem?  I doubt that the NX, by virtue of its mere existence, is going to inspire Nintendo to create more of their classic games again.  If they plan on simply making more games that people want, why didn’t they just do that for the Wii U?  A few strong games worthy of Nintendo’s illustrious reputation could surely pull the Wii U from the ashes, right?  (Maybe…)  Because it was games that made the NES, SNES, and N64 great.  Not fancy controllers with TV’s embedded in them.  Not VR technology.  Heck, these three consoles are the weakest graphic-wise of Nintendo’s consoles, so it was surely not graphics that made these consoles classics, either.  It was just the games, pure and simple.

I guess all I’m saying is, I want more than one Zelda game every five years.  I want another regular, free-roaming Mario game like Super Mario Galaxy because, frankly, New Super Mario Bros for the Wii U just feels a bit too similar to the game for the Wii with nearly the same title.  I’d love another Metroid Prime, or even a more traditional Kirby game.  Maybe I’m alone in these opinions.  I don’t think I am, but maybe.  All I know is that, when I find myself indifferent to the Wii U, it’s not because I wish there were more third-party games for it or because the console would be more appealing if it doubled as a handheld device.  I just want more Nintendo games likes the ones I used to love on previous consoles.  That’s all.  The NX might end up being pretty cool, and it might fix some of the issues the Wii U has, but will it fix the right problems?

Well, all I can say right now is, it’s much too early to tell.  I hear the NX will be released in March of 2017, so we may very well find out for sure how well it does in the near future.  I want Nintendo to succeed, so hopefully the NX has what it takes to do just that.  I’m just not sure if Nintendo can ever achieve the greatness they once had.  Maybe it’s unfair to expect such a thing from them.  How many classics can one company really make?  Anyway, speculating by myself is fun and all, but I’d really like to hear what you guys think.  Do you think the NX will be Nintendo’s next big success?  What features do you hope the NX will have?  And who plans to buy the NX?  Please let me know in the comments.

DX, Which Means Duck X-Treme!

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Matt says:

    It’s a shame you dropped New Super Mario Bros for the Wii U. I actually think it is the best of the series by a good margin and (this is where I get killed) it is up to par with Super Mario World and Super Mario Bros. 3 in terms of level design.

    Anyway, as for the NX, I am not worried about lack of classics; it will have some. I feel Nintendo, even though they have dropped the ball massively during the last year, has produced a good share of classics for each console. The Wii U has Splatoon, Tropical Freeze, Mario 3D World (which for some reason gets downplayed by many, when it was actually overwhelmingly well-received when it came out), Mario Kart 8 (best in franchise), Smash Bros (best in franchise), Pikmin 3 (best in franchise), and a few others, not to mention Breath of the Wild.

    The problem, as it has been the case since the N64 (although the Wii did so so in that regard), will be whether or not Nintendo will find a way to attract third-parties. The first step would be to stop being stuck in a bubble and producing hardware that is as powerful as those of its competitors, but I don’t see that happening. So I guess we will have to count on them finding another way to lure those guys.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. duckofindeed says:

      I really should return to New Super Mario Bros for the Wii U someday. I think my problem is that this game felt too similar to the New Super Mario Bros game on the Wii, so I kind of lost interest. Plus, I got stuck in the cloud world and gave up. I’m terrible at side-scrolling Mario games. I prefer the more free-roaming ones.

      And you are quite right, there are a decent number of games that did quite well on the Wii U. At the same time, at least for me, I didn’t find that many games that appealed to me personally, however. What I really wanted was another Zelda game, or Metroid, or more Mario games similar to Galaxy. I’m excited for Breath of the Wild, so at least I’ll get my wish when it comes to the Zelda series, but overall, I think the last time a Nintendo console really had games that I connected with was the N64, with Majora’s Mask and Banjo-Kazooie and the like. I think I liked the Wii better than the GameCube, but the Wii U just didn’t offer me much besides the Virtual Console.

      And I, too, wonder how the NX will be more appealing to third-party developers. The Wii U, as you mentioned, is a less powerful console than its competitors, and this limitation, among other things, kept third-party developers away. Will the NX really be powerful enough to compete with the PS4 and XBox One? And if the rumor about cartridges is true, could this potentially be an issue for third-party developers, as well? It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Matt says:

        Yeah, I also wish we had gotten a Galaxy-style or a more free-roaming Mario game (like Sunshine, 64, or even something more expansive) and a Metroid title. Nintendo really dropped the ball there.

        I grew up with the N64 – it came out when I was 6 – so I really treasure its games; many of them are among my favorites. Still, I can’t help but think it is Nintendo’s weakest console. Other than Nintendo itself and Rare, nobody really did anything noteworthy for the system.

        Let’s hope Nintendo can make the NX appealing to third-parties, but – like you said – it seems like it is going to be something really unique.

        Like

      2. duckofindeed says:

        That is true about the N64, and I often feel the same way. I love the console, but when I think about it, I realize that there aren’t tons of great games for it. The reason I love it, though, is because, out of the few great games, they are really fantastic. I haven’t felt such adoration for a Nintendo game, I think, since 2000. Ah, now those were the days.

        Like

      3. Matt says:

        Yes. The two Zelda games, Super Mario 64, the two Banjo games, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Star Fox 64, Smash Bros., Diddy Kong Racing and Paper Mario are all all-time classics.

        I would also add Mario Tennis and Donkey Kong 64 to that list.

        Like

      4. duckofindeed says:

        I know this game wasn’t exclusive to the N64, but Rayman 2 was great, as well. It’s also one of my favorite games for the N64 and my personal favorite Rayman game.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Matt says:

        Oh yeah, it is excellent indeed. I think I like Origins and Legends better, but Rayman 2 is spectacular as well.

        Like

  2. It could “save” Nintendo, it could not, but I agree with you that it’s the games that are important. I mean the Wii sold not because of abstract motion controls but because of Wii Sports. Same thing with the DS and games like Mario Kart, Brain Training and Nintendogs. I also agree that Nintendo’s own games are more important than third parties. I do think a system needs both to be successful (for example the Professor Layton series on the DS was a big deal here in the UK), but there’s no doubt that Nintendo’s games have been mainly responsible for the success or failure of its systems over the years.

    Like you, I’m not big on handheld gaming. But I do like the look of many of the games on the 3DS and if I could play 3DS games on the TV I would get the system. So all Nintendo needs to do to get me interested in NX is to let me play handheld-type games on a TV.

    Like

    1. duckofindeed says:

      It just seems like lately, Nintendo is spending too much of their efforts on experimenting with new ways to play games that they are neglecting the games themselves. When we choose to buy a Nintendo console, we are giving up better graphics, a more powerful machine, and certain features in order to play Nintendo games. I start every generation with the current Nintendo console for this very reason…and then I waited…and nothing much happened. Nothing that appealed to me, anyway.

      I definitely agree that it would be nice if the NX allowed us to play handheld games on a larger screen. Handhelds are just too cramped for me to enjoy them, so I miss out on a good number of games I’d otherwise like to play.

      Like

  3. Dina Farmer says:

    I tend to agree with you! I don’t think the NX is going to be Nintendo’s salvation. We are watching an empire die a very slow death.

    Like

    1. duckofindeed says:

      Yes, that certainly seems to be the case. It would be quite sad if the great Nintendo met their end, but unless they really do something, it seems inevitable.

      Like

      1. Dina Farmer says:

        It really seems that way. They have a lot of work to make the changes gamers have been asking them for. It can still be a family console but it needs to be along the same lines as the other consoles too.

        Like

      2. duckofindeed says:

        I agree. Nintendo consoles have just been falling father and farther behind, and it feels as if their current consoles belong several generations ago. Give us a console with graphics that actually compete with Sony and Microsoft. Give us normal controllers again. Or a larger hard drive. Just the ability to play DVDs on a Nintendo console would help to close the gap a little. Basically, the list of what Nintendo consoles can’t do needs to grow drastically shorter. If they focus on the wrong things with the NX, it’s not going to help them.

        Liked by 1 person

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