Did Mario Kart 8 Save the Wii U? I'm Not So Sure
Mario Kart 8 finally released last week and early signs are pointing to the game being an early success as it flew off the shelves and managed to even bolster sales of the Wii U by a sound margin. It seems like a lot of the internet is ready to herald the return of Nintendo as an actual contender in the home console market, but I’m not yet convinced.
Don’t get me wrong here; nothing would please me more than to see Nintendo right its course and steer its ship into less troubled waters. Competition breeds variety and creativity, something the video games industry could always use more of. But this single bright moment for the Wii U hasn’t yet convinced me to book my ticket on the hype train.
For starters, it takes more than a single game to make a console and, as gamers have shown in the past year and a half, even Nintendo’s beloved stable of staple characters/franchises haven’t been enough to convert the masses. Folks went ga-ga for the original Wii, but something about the Wii U (likely a lack of third party support and a game pad many folks can’t come to grips with) has kept the console from capturing lighting in a bottle a second time.
While I say “lack of third party support,” I suppose a more accurate comment would be “lack of much support at all, even from Nintendo.” Rather than churning out handfuls of new games that provide a valid argument for owning its new console, Nintendo has instead brought out a couple of titles a year, none of which have made that giant controller feel like a revolution in gaming.
There’s even an attachment coming out to allow the Wii U to utilize GameCube controllers for games like Smash Bros., proving that the latest wacky idea from the Big N was more gimmick than innovation. And while the other (and quite a bit younger) next gen consoles are still finding they’re groove, at least their respective digital markets are churning out smaller and indie titles on the regular, giving folks something to sink their teeth into while waiting for the next big fix.
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