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!