Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wii U Wishes: Desires from a Longtime Nintendo Fan for Thursday's Media Event

It's no secret if you have been a reader of this site for a while that I do enjoy my Nintendo franchises and games quite a lot. They rank up with the best the industry has to offer (alongside Sony and Valve's wide cast of memorable franchises). People complain of no new IPs while they ignore the ones that are released. That's fine. Their loss. Regardless, being a fan of Nintendo (or a fan of any company's products, for that matter) does not mean that you have to be a fanboy. That is an argument I make on a consistent basis, and it's why I sometimes hate liking Nintendo because they have -- I hate to say this as it is a tad harsh -- some of the most annoying fanatics, and I don't wish to be associated with them. At all.

Nonetheless, speaking of wishes, Nintendo is hosting a September media event this Thursday for the Wii U, much like they did with the Wii and the 3DS before it. The event is supposedly to reveal the majority of the mystery surrounding Nintendo's secretive console. What will the price be? What will the date be? What about the launch games? How about Japanese support? Online infrastructure and other tidbits? Anything has to be better than the Wii, right? This editorial regards all of my wishes outside the obvious ones like "Oh my goodness, I hope the Wii U launches on so-and-so date at so-and-so price with Nintendo Land bundled in." From creating the right marketing message to presenting why anyone should be excited for the console, these are just some of my desires for Thursday.

One of my primary wishes is Nintendo showing that they know what they are doing with the Wii U, and not just seeming to many that they are just throwing anything and everything into a console and controller to see what sticks. I want them to prove to their skeptics (who, let's face it, probably wouldn't care if Nintendo's console cured cancer) and those on the fence that the Wii U is a much needed innovation in this stagnant industry, and that the console and controller serve a genuine purpose for gameplay. Why is the Wii U different, what reason, and why should people be excited for it? What purpose does it have for different types of games? I don't personally care about potential, because the Wii had lots of that, and aside from Nintendo, no one really stepped up to the plate, despite the sales and enthusiasm of the console. Third-parties didn't even try most of the time. A self-fulfilling prophecy for sure, which I hope the Wii U doesn't get.

Very interested to see the full details of Miiverse.
I want Nintendo to be serious about sending the message that the Wii U is not just a Wii with a new tablet controller. They completely botched (and horribly so) the 3DS launch. Hell, a good amount of people are still confused as to why they need to upgrade from their original DS systems despite the games for the 3DS being in a different box. (Though the Wii U boxes are remarkably varied from Wii boxes.) The marketing for the 3DS did not do a strong enough job of setting the system apart from its predecessor. I fear the same thing for the Wii U. Nintendo has been publicizing the new controller, yet they aren't yet pushing that little thing called the console as much. I feel that this will just confuse consumers, and not those who already have a serious invested interest in the platform. Did Nintendo learn their lesson with the initial disappointing sales of their 3DS? Will they alter their strategy for the Wii U? We'll see Thursday, I imagine.

I also wish to see Nintendo really explain why Nintendo Land is one of their most pushed launch lineup games. I sort of have an idea. I saw people on one message board (the one I always call GameFAQs 2.0 is your hint) saying that the latest part of Nintendo Land, Balloon Trip Breeze, looks like an iOS game, and that they wouldn't spend full retail price for it. 1) Nintendo was making iOS-like experiences way before iOS gaming was a thing, and 2) You're not just paying fifty or sixty bucks for it. You're paying or getting 12 packaged games, each tailored to show off one or several functions of the Wii U controller and experience. You get asymmetric gaming with the Zelda, Luigi's Mansion, Metroid, and Animal Crossing games. You get gyro controls with the Donkey Kong game. And you get touch controls with the Balloon Trip game. Balloon Trip Breeze is the only one without the extensive amount of depth as the other games, so it's bizarre that the critics cling to that one as the example of the quality of all of Nintendo Land's games as a whole.

The asymmetry of Animal Crossing Sweet Day.
This final wish comes off as more of a rant towards the industry than the Wii U, but most importantly, I wish gamers and the gaming press would grow up and out of this console wars mindset. I am tired of reading through console zealot and console trolls playing console wars instead of what they should be playing, actual video games. I don't want to see people trolling a console and saying it's "on par" with current gen, and then when the true specs of the console are announced and it trumps current gen, they predictably say, "well, it'd be pathetic if the console wasn't stronger than the PS3 and 360." I wish gamers would stop revising what the term "next gen" means and resist the urge to only consider only updated graphics as the future and "next gen" rather than new features, controllers, and such. I should know about such debates because I stupidly enter them!

Meh, just wait for the inevitable 360 port.
This seeps into the press, too. A fair portion are just as blatant in their fanboyism than the gamers they pander to. I do not wish to await comments from reviewers suggesting people not buy Batman: Arkham City - Armored Edition and Darksiders II because they are late ports while telling their same readers to wait for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 ports of Rayman Legends and ZombiU. I don't want that kind of hypocrisy. I understand that Nintendo has a tough road ahead of it with Western gamers and the press that panders to them. I know Nintendo has really dropped the ball on getting a significant portion of gamers interested in their console. We'll see if this Thursday's conference and media event actually steps up the interest, or if it will just be yet another massacre of a showing by Nintendo for most people. But I'm sure that certain people (gamers, members of the press, and publishers/developers) have already written off the Wii U, and like an infatuation with political party, no matter what is said, no matter what is revealed, no matter how good the showing, they will never be convinced. Their minds are set in stone regarding what preconceived notions they already had before. As for everyone else, let's hope Nintendo can show us why we should be excited for the Wii U and its future.

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