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Nintendo Has Become The Underdog

Nintendo Has Become The Underdog

Filed inside: News

Way back in 2003, an article was published in Time Magazine written by Jim Frederick which read, “Nintendo once ruled games. No more.” Almost a full eleven years later, Nintendo is still a relevant contender for best game-makers, especially if you look at their recent string of incredible titles. I’m not going to say that Nintendo has the best games, and I’m certainly not going to argue that their consoles are a vital piece to the gaming community, but I am writing this for one simple reason: Nintendo has become the greatly underappreciated underdog.

One thing Nintendo does incredibly well is that they continue to innovate and improve on their core video game franchises with (almost) each iteration that is released. Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U was released on November 22, and it did so many things to reinvigorate the Super Mario franchise, and fully restore my faith in Nintendo’s ability to publish great games. Super Mario 3D World holds a 94/100 rating on Metacritic, placing it in the top 20 Nintendo video games of all-time. How did it get there—by being a vast improvement to the Super Mario Bros series in every way imaginable. The game is innovative, creative, and there’s a quirky cat suit. So that’s cool.

There are other examples, of course. Nintendo also recently released The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for the 3DS, which is widely considered a return to form game for the Legend of Zelda series, yet still pushed the series forward with new ideas and highly-refined gameplay. Let’s not forget about the upcoming Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, which is shaping up to be another must-own game for Nintendo lovers.

We can also take a look at Nintendo’s history of publishing innovative games. Looking back at Goldeneye 007 for the N64, Nintendo revolutionized 4 player local co-op in a way that was so significant, children around the world used the game as a basis for having sleepovers (including myself). Super Mario 64 also quickly became a favorite amongst the gaming community; everyone had to get all 120 stars. Then, Nintendo followed it up with Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2, both vibrant and well-received Wii titles that took Mario to, well, another galaxy.

Nintendo’s biggest triumph is the fact that the majority of its successful games aren’t T for Teen or M for Mature titles; they’re simple and fun E for Everyone. If you look at Nintendo’s top 20 highest-scored video games, only one of them is a mature title (Perfect Dark), and only two are rated teen (GoldenEye 007 and Metroid Prime). Every other game in their top 20 rated games is rated for everyone, which in itself is a reason that the gaming community should be appreciative of Nintendo in a world where the best selling games are Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto V (not that I’m against these types of games).

But even with these incredible advancements in their core games, and their generally family-friendly nature, Nintendo is still struggling on the hardware end of things. Even with the Wii U’s price cut on September 20 in the U.S., which gained Nintendo a 200 percent rise from August, the Wii U only sold a total of 3.91 million units worldwide as of September 30. With Nintendo projecting to sell 9 million units by their fiscal year end in March 2014, it’s likely that the company won’t meet its sales projections. Sure, the Wii U isn’t exactly the most powerful of the next-gen consoles. In fact, some gamers refuse to even call the Wii U next-gen.

While Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8 are sure to push more than a few Wii U consoles, the question remains about whether or not we will be able to consider Nintendo’s latest console a success in the coming years. But, if you ask me, Nintendo is leading in innovative games.

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Written by Bobby Bernstein

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