Tomorrow’s release of Wii U seems to be unusually quiet for a Nintendo home console, and being a long-time fan of Nintendo, this could be concerning. It is quiet, particularly when compared to the excitement created by previous launches, and as evidence of this, let’s have a look back:
This, like most, was my first introduction into gaming. It appeared in my bedroom as if by magic. Returning from a short holiday to this gift from a family friend would change how I spent a lot of free time from then on. The wonderment of first pressing start for Mario Bros. has maybe never been surpassed. Those simple pixels jumping me into a fantastical new world of the Mushroom Kingdom sent me straight to Nintendo fandom. On the same cartridge was the reason Nintendo World Cup is the most underrated of football games. Scoring was immensely difficult and you could knock opposing players unconscious—like the GTA of sports simulation. It was this kind of simple gaming brilliance delivered by the chunky box under my TV that would lead me to get very excited at each new Nintendo console.
I actually don’t remember the run up to the SNES—I hadn’t started reading gaming magazines yet. Thankfully, however, my parents were aware and ensured a very successful Christmas morning. This generation, a HD collection is all well and good but they still can’t beat the best ever gaming collection that was put onto one SNES cartridge: Super Mario All-Stars WITH Super Mario World. The greatest ever platform games to date on one cartridge. I had missed a lot of the NES titles and playing catch-up had never been so much fun. Nintendo could do no wrong.
3D. One number and one letter that kept going through my mind from the reveal of N64 to finally getting my hands on that revolutionary controller. With a gaming magazine subscription I was now fully versed in the up-to-date news, previews, and any other available information on the console. This was special, Nintendo fan-boy status had never been so cemented—I needed to fly as Mario! An agonizing launch day passed as £2 pocket money couldn’t save up quick enough. A few months later I stood in my local video shop—they were offering N64 console rentals. I gathered my friends and we spent our first ever weekend playing Mario Kart 64. It pained me to return the large black case housing Nintendo goodness to the shop. The weekend after, my friend somehow scored himself a console for his own. I immediately payed him a visit and we played Star Wars: Shadows of The Empire and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. Why did I not have this machine? It was Christmas when eventually my red hat had wings and I promised the now immortal Nintendo fan within I will not wait that long for a new Nintendo console again.
I didn’t have to wait that long again for GameCube—of only by a month, as my birthday was now the excuse of receiving the latest console. Despite the lures of other consoles my loyalty to the Big N was in no question. The latest Nintendo console was the only one for me, and playing Ghostbusters with Luigi was something I was all for (still am—yay for Luigi’s Mansion 2!) The appeal of Nintendo’s home consoles was still great for me and after the brilliant achievements of Super Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Yoshi’s Story, Super Smash Bros. and other Nintendo 64 classics I couldn’t wait to see what they would come up with for GameCube. It became the console on which I had the most games for, approximately 50 at one time at the peak and although I was aware of criticisms such as lack of mature games (essentially the GTA argument) I didn’t expect my support and excitement for Nintendo’s home consoles to dwindle.
Optimism. That’s possibly the best way to describe my approach to the launch of Wii. Nintendo had suddenly discovered marketing and not the kind that grabs a gamer to show what they’ll be blown away by but the marketing that yells at the one who haven’t played before and lets them know its OK for them to spend a couple hundred quid too. I was all for it, gaming and its positives should be encouraged, that was until the overkill of party games being thrown about. Still, my intentions were pure. I was a gamer and the launch of Wii still had something just for those like me: a brand new Legend of Zelda. My excitement was still alive for now.
It’s not long at all until the Wii U is actually released. You wouldn’t really think it, I’ve only just seen for the first time a TV ad for the console and its been months since I received an email trying to get me to pre-order. Have they all already been pre-ordered? Or does everyone else share the same anxiety as me? I shouldn’t—the console offers something completely different in typical Nintendo style. The GamePad may very well change yet again how we play our games, but that is only if developers—Nintendo included—actually fulfill its potential. Even if this console is same generation rather than next, Nintendo matching the market and appealing to hardcore gamers, while also providing something new, is definitely a very good thing. However I’ve already given in to the other side, and alongside my Wii and 3DS also resides my Xbox 360 which sees a lot more action. Nintendo has to work harder than it ever had to before for my continued affection and anticipation. I will get a Wii U. When it will be, I do not know. Whether the days before it’s under my TV will be as painful as returning the N64 to the video shop—well, I doubt it. The software has to match the hardware and I will remain reserved for now.