Nintendo will have the best next-gen Christmas line-up, but no-one is going to care

And there’s the rest of the machine’s steadily improving year one line-up. You know, all that other great stuff you’ve ignored because it’s on the Wii U. Pikmin 3. Zombi U. Lego City (shut up, it’s great). Drop your serious, glowering, hardcore gamer ego at the door, and you’ll probably enjoy Wii Party U as well. Because regardless of their rep, bona fide Nintendo-developed party games are always fun. Oh, and did I mention that the Wii U version of Batman: Arkham Origins is currently the only one not beset by a game-killing plague of brokenness? Yeah, Nintendo has the best version of one of this autumn’s biggest games, but no-one’s talking about that, either.

Oh, and the 3DS? Stellar line-up this Christmas. There’s a brand-new Zelda. There’s Adventure Time. There’s Mario Party. There’s Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. There’s the final Professor Layton. There’s Bravely Default (in Europe, at least). There’s Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies. There’s Animal Crossing. There’s Pokemon. Going back a bit further back into the year, there’s Shin Megami Tensei 4 and Monster Hunter. 

You’ve probably noticed the theme of the last three paragraphs. If not, there’s something desperately wrong with either you or me, because as far as I’m concerned I’ve been hammering it home like Thor sending a postcard. Basically, the Wii U’s reputation is crippling Nintendo’s ability to grab a slice of the Key Limelight pie. Nintendo has made massive screw-ups with the machine’s price, launch timing, horsepower and marketing. Of that there is no doubt. Everything about the console’s management has been a car wreck. But what the console has now could not be further on the quality scale from how it’s been handled.

With a Nintendo console, you’re always buying a first-party machine. We’ve long had to accept that. The days of widespread publisher support are over. But now, finally, Nintendo has a line-up, spread over both of its consoles, that makes it a real contender in the fun stakes. And you know the really great flip-side to being first-party only? All your best stuff is entirely exclusive. Unlike many of the best games coming soon to the supposed ‘real’ next-gen.

Super Mario 3D World is one of the best games of the year. Objectively and subjectively, it’s one of the finest, most polished, most downright fun pieces of game design I’ve enjoyed since January. And you can only get it on a Nintendo machine. Ditto Zelda. And Zelda on the 3DS. And 90% of everything else I mentioned above. And while I wouldn’t recommend the Wii U as anyone’s main console, as a secondary machine that exclusive quality makes it darn near essential now.

But Nintendo really needs to go all-out this Christmas, because it’s, ironically, not going to get a better chance to change minds than during this next-gen launch window. The PS4 and Xbox One will never be less engaging than they will be this Christmas, just as the Wii U is becoming a real prospect. Nintendo needs to, at least briefly, remember how it used to sell games. It needs to embrace the specialist gaming press again. It needs to engage with its old audience.

It needs to, for just a couple of months, drop the patronising, sterile, vapid kids’ TV tone of its advertising and shove Mario and Zelda to the front, in the most dynamic, vibrant, fun-pushing way it can muster. It needs strong bundle packs, it needs smart pricing, and it needs to convince those of us who just like good games that it has those in droves. Because between now and late February, Nintendo has a real chance to make a dent.

But what am I saying? This is madness. It’ll never work. Why would it, when there’s all the fun of spending £400 on Killzone to be had, and then the positively enthralling period of excitement that comes with waiting several months for something else to play? The ‘real’ Next-gen is where it’s at. Just look at all those extra particle effects in Knack. That's where the important stuff is. Nothing to see here. 


  • shawksta - November 15, 2013 6:15 p.m.

    You, considering certain circumstances, this is almost true and possible to happen. Killzone's great but Knack was mediocre, and who knows how Xbone will fare, with the rest of the library and 3D World possibly being a better recieved game than either launch titles, the Wii U has an advantage but as dave says, Nintendo needs to find a way to exploit that.
  • edward-la-guardia - November 13, 2013 11:04 p.m.

    Don't have a Wii U yet but I truly think I am going to be getting one this holiday season for myself. I'm a big Nintendo fan, but I just couldn't justify buying a Wii U when it came out because the games seemed fairly lackluster and the system (like all brand new systems) was full of bugs and long loading times and other missing features. I originally was going to get a PS4 but after reconsidering there is no way I'm paying 400 bucks to get something that doesn't have any must have games. If AC IV was next-gen only and Watch Dogs was still coming out...maybe, maybe I'd get it...but for Killzone (which I've never played) and Knack (which is getting pretty terrible reviews) there is no way I can justify getting the system for just that. So, with Wii U having a backlog of at least 10 games that I've been wanting to play, it doesn't seem really like any question of which one I will go with.
  • browngamer41 - November 13, 2013 4:23 p.m.

    WiiU wipes the floor with those other guys weak ass line ups, also someone above was complaining of storage space-buy a hard drive, there pretty cheap now days if you don't already have one lying around..I have two Terabytes of space which is far more than what either of the other two can store, plus my hard drive and system were still cheaper than a Ps4(with a game) and it matches my system and is super fast..
  • Pruman - November 13, 2013 10:58 a.m.

    I am REALLY tempted to spring for the Wind Waker bundle (since it would look awesome with my Ocarina 3DS and Skyward Sword Wiimote), but I hate the fact that the included game copy is a digital one and I can definitely see myself blowing another 50 bucks on a physical copy. Also, I swore I'd get no more non-handheld games or platforms until I clear out my existing backlog. (Handheld games don't count because I get to play them at least an hour every day thanks to my commute.)
  • Firepunch - November 13, 2013 12:48 a.m.

    I would have gotten a Wii U this Christmas if Nintendo released a new model with more memory and all the updates pre-installed. Oh well, no next gen consoles for me this year I guess
  • talleyXIV - November 13, 2013 12:39 p.m.

    Honestly if there is anything I can say to convince you, it's that the storage really isn't bothersome. I've had it for about 10 months now and played at least 15 games on it and have around 8 downloadable titles and it isn't even halfway filled up. Unless you are buying full retail games digitally it won't trouble you for a looong time.
  • Firepunch - November 14, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    While I guess memory might not be that much of a problem I'm pretty sure Nintendo will release or at least announce a new, better version of the Wii U some time next year and if I buy a Wii U now, I'll probably kick myself for not waiting
  • leon-hastings - January 20, 2014 7:21 a.m.

    Buy one it's great. If your worried about storage space, just use a USB. You will be missing out on waiting. I don't see them releasing a better version anytime soon, as they lose so much money on their hardware as it is. The games this year are awesome and they have a new DDP promotion that will be going on this year and ending next year. They give you 10% credit back for every game you buy. That equals out to $1 for every $10, it may not sound like much but it does add up quick and some of their games are super cheap right now.
  • Firepunch - January 20, 2014 10:33 a.m.

    Surprised someone replied to a comment from two months ago but I guess I should reply. First, I am going to get a Wii U some time in July whether they release a new version or not purely because I want to play Wonderful 101 so bad. Second, I want to thank you for telling me about the promotion because it sounds awesome seeing as I want to buy indie and virtual console stuff on my Wii U.
  • leon-hastings - January 20, 2014 12:32 p.m.

    Wondeful 101 is a blast.
  • GOD - November 13, 2013 12:32 a.m.

    Oh I care. As fancy as a shiny PS4 would look on my shelf, I know I'd much rather have a WiiU this holiday. Really want to get into some Pikmin 3 and Wonderful 101. Also speaking of no one caring, I went and got Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus that just came out today from Best Buy, and not only was it not on the shelves or where the rest of the new releases normally go, but it took them about 30 minutes to locate their stock of it. I must've been the only person to get the game by that point in the day, and possibly the only person that day. Keep in mind that I live in a very populated area and that's the only Best Buy for many many miles around.
  • Arix - November 12, 2013 8:08 p.m.

    Honestly, people can say what they want about Nintendo. But there simply aren't enough (read: any) games exclusive to Sony and/or Microsoft that interest me anywhere near enough to buy into them.
  • Nev3rtime - November 12, 2013 7:08 p.m.

    I'm enjoying my Wii U and probably won't consider a second next gen console till at least 2015. The Wonderful 101 is a fantastic and highly underrated game and Windwaker HD is brilliant. Also, I skipped the Wii and thanks to the wii u's backwards compatibility this is also my chance to play Skyward Sword... although so far, though I appreciate they were trying something new and more dungeon orientated, it's my least favourite 3d Zelda.
  • nick-stancato - November 12, 2013 3:28 p.m.

    Yeah no. For those like me that don't care about yet another Mario and yet another Zelda, Wii U isn't attractive at all. It doesn't even compare to my PS4 this fall
  • talleyXIV - November 13, 2013 12:40 p.m.

    "My PS4." So how did designing it go? Great way to keep an open mind by the way, are you really going to say Mario and Zelda games aren't good?
  • TheWebSwinger - November 12, 2013 1:05 p.m.

    Way to shit all over PS4 at the end there :T
  • shawksta - November 12, 2013 9:51 a.m.

    Im more surprised that its David out of all people that made this article, otherwise i wouldve assumed %100 that it was Henry if i didnt look at the author. Great article david, even though you pulled up games from the past to push your argument, you still made your point. People keep giving Nintendo a lot of shit but all they want is their games on their consoles. Flat out ignoring that Nintendo tries to push for new ideas out of their consoles, "Gimmicky" or not. Its all part of the fun factor of actually playing games and potential. Also i can see your Backpeddling and flat out loving Super Mario 3D World, the cycle repeats itself XD
  • BladedFalcon - November 12, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    Dave never said Super Mario 3D World wouldn't be good, he just said it wasn't the 3D Mario people wanted, and nothing has changed to contradict that statement. Yes, the game looks better now, but it's still far from being nearly as exciting as Mario Galaxy or Mario Sunshine were back when they were revealed.
  • jeremycarrier - November 12, 2013 10:51 a.m.

    It looks to be a much better game than Sunshine, at any rate
  • BladedFalcon - November 12, 2013 11:12 a.m.

    That I'm not contesting. But people were way more excited comparatively for Mario Sunshine than they are for this game for a reason.

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