Mario Kart 8: The Wii U's ultimate power-up?
July 20, 2014 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Could Mario Kart 8 be the Bullet Bill that propels Nintendo's Wii U from its slump? Outstanding reviews, a free game with purchase, plus the Luigi stare of death meme, helped make MK8 the best-selling game in June and boosted Wii U sales tremendously. An arcade version - featuring Fusion Carts - is forthcoming.

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Forbes: Five things Nintendo needs to bring to MK8

Telegraph (UK): Seven best shortcuts

Kotaku: Let's Rank the Mario Kart Games Worst to Best
How to get a perfect starting boost in Mario Kart 8

Gamezone: New Mario Kart 8 Hack Sends Luigi into Space
posted by porn in the woods (75 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I bought the WiiU the day MK8 came out and have not regretted it a bit.

posted by Navelgazer at 5:09 PM on July 20, 2014

once again so many friendships shall be tested, questioned, and destroyed
posted by elizardbits at 5:13 PM on July 20, 2014 [6 favorites]

So very stoked on MK8 and the Wii U. I bought a Wii U a few weeks after it was released and have doubted my decision a few times - no longer! With the forthcoming release of the GameCube controller adaptor, I'm crossing my fingers for GC classics to show up on their online store, which I will happily repurchase again.
posted by porn in the woods at 5:17 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

There is seriously delightful homage art by MeFi's own Woodblock100
posted by Anitanola at 5:25 PM on July 20, 2014 [9 favorites]

New Nintendo strategy: release a game as good as Mario Kart 8 every single month.
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:37 PM on July 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is Awkward Zombie's cartoon take on the game.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:56 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

In an age where every "exclusive" XBOX One and PS4 title comes out on Steam two weeks later, maybe Nintendo can actually pull off selling consoles with amazing games that you really can't play on PC. Here's hoping they have a bunch more awesome first-party games in the pipe.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:00 PM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

I don't think the Wii U can be saved, but it can serve as Nintendo's "rebuilding" console. The best thing Nintendo can do right now is take big risks on innovative software, instead of playing it safe like they did on the Wii. They're starting to do that, with Splatoon (Nintendo's take on an FPS) and the open world, Skyrim-like Wii U Zelda.

Their CEO (Satori Iwata) said earlier this year that their future plan is to make all their consoles and handhelds part of a family that can all run the same software. The unified architecture will be based on the Wii U. I'm speculating that all the Wii U games that they're releasing now will form the basis of the software library of the "NintendOS" devices that we should start seeing in a year or two.
posted by zixyer at 6:15 PM on July 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

I love Mario Kart 8 a lot. We bought it when it came out and it is absolutely amazing and my Wii U is as far as I'm concerned just a little device that sits in the corner to play Mario Kart 8 and Wind Waker HD (WHICH I TOTALLY GOT FOR FREE FOR BUYING MARIO KART 8!!!!!!!) and I don't remember how much I paid for my Wii U but however much it was that's totally fine with me it's so good.
posted by kbanas at 6:35 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

They were hyping this like crazy in Tokyo, it was all over the subway
posted by subdee at 6:50 PM on July 20, 2014

While we're playing armchair Iwata, I personally think what Nintendo really needs to do is switch to the Android OS.

Seriously. One of the things Nintendo seems doomed to do each console iteration is reimplement all its USB drivers (hence why you couldn't use a USB keyboard with Wii U at launch despite that feature being several years old on Wii), and Android has excellent USB support. It'd also instantly give them a lot of things Nintendo has had trouble with, like multitasking. Nintendo has something of a working relationship with Google, what with the Google Street View app on the eStore. And looking at Nintendo's OSes since the Wii, it always looks like they're uncomfortable with the constant reimplementation of shells and OSes and would rather stick with making games.

Anyway, if you're new to the Wii-U and are wondering what to get next/what free game to get, here are some highlights so far, all IMO:
- Mario Kart 8, yes. Given.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. Derided at its Gamecube launch, the game has since come to be recognized as a highlight of the entire series. Nintendo didn't change the game too much besides upscaling it, but one thing they did add is awesome you can leave Miiverse messages in a bottle in the ocean, and they'll randomly show up in other people's games! You can even drop Pictograph photos in bottles this way, and awesomely, they all count for the optional (and tricky) figurine quest, which back on the Gamecube required two playthroughs to complete and was easy to lock yourself out of.
- Pikmin 3: I consider this to be a grossly underrated game. The Pikmin games have always been underrated of course, but this one is particularly good, combining the best elements of the first game with the best elements of the second, then adding a degree of autonomy to your three captains, allowing uncontrolled guys to do some things on their own, like walk to destinations and pluck Pikmin, while you focus on killing bosses of solving puzzles.
- Ducktales Remastered is a nice little 2D game. It's not a Nintendo exclusive, but it's somehow fitting that it'd be on a Nintendo system. Plus it has the voice actors from the original show! Also, music by Metafilter's own jake!
- Earthbound finally made it to a rerelease, and it's on Wii U. It is an awe-inspiring game. You really need to play it.
- Also not an exclusive is Dungeons & Dragons: Champions of Mystara, which I think is a must-play both for arcade beat-em-up fans and D&D fans. The two genres have never been combined as well as here.
- NES Remix is supposed to be pretty good, but I've had a blast with its sequel, NES Remix 2, because the games remixed for it are much more iconic. All the trials in it are made out of hacked-up versions of the original game ROMs, and some of them are tremendous fun. Clear out a Mario-style pipe room with Kirby! Rescue Princess Peach in Mario 3 with playable Princess Peach from Mario 2! Use Toad to kill Zelda 2 Octoroks! Lots of amazing moments here.
- And of course, the system has all three NES Castlevania games. HOLY WATER SPAM FTW.
posted by JHarris at 6:52 PM on July 20, 2014 [12 favorites]

I bought for Mario Kart 8, plus the promise of a Kirby Canvas Curse sequel. And Splatoon looks really cool too. Nintendo is always best when they struggle, so all the promos and upcoming games have me very optimistic.

I think the Wii U is going to be a Gamecube---never a huge seller, but a solid profit-maker and home to a lot of neat games that live on in memory and remakes.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:59 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

JHarris: I'd also drop in an enthusiastic endorsement of Tropical Freeze, which is maniacally difficult but not punishingly so, and keeps finding innovative things to do with the Donkey Kong Country basics.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:01 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

My only problem with Tropical Freeze is that it's not Jungle Beat, which, in its Gamecube incarnation, is terrifically underrated. I still have my GC copy and bongos, somewhere....
posted by JHarris at 7:12 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

JHarris' list illustrated what exactly is wrong with Nintendo - they're mired in nostalgia, have a cadre of designers who should have retired to upper management long ago, every home system they've made since after the SNES has been deeply flawed, and they don't really know what to do beyond cranking out sequel after sequel.

Mario Kart 8- sequel
Zelda WW - remake
Pikmin 3 - sequel
Ducktales - remake (and not a console exclusive)
Earthbound - remake
D&D Mystara - remake (and not exclusive)
NES Remix - please do the remaking for us.
And finally please pay us again and again for emulated versions of those NES games you played 3 decades ago.

Nintendo would be an absolute monster if they went the way of Sega and only developed software. Their handheld division is an 800-lbs gorilla. But they blundered into a massive warchest when the Wii became the console to have if you don't like video games and now they've got so much money they can afford to keep making these mistakes.
posted by thecjm at 7:13 PM on July 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

A while ago there was a rumor that WWF No Mercy would be rereleased for the Wii with an updated roster. That this has not happened is the reason I don't own a Wii or a Wii U. If they actually did that, I would buy one tomorrow.

Just in case you're listening, Nintendo.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:49 PM on July 20, 2014

I don't really care if they're banking on old IPs if they keep churning out fun games. Super Mario 3D World was AMAZING, Mario Kart 8 is one of the best racing games ever, Tropical Freeze is just fun, Animal Crossing remains charming as all hell, etc, etc, etc. Granted I didn't really grow up on Nintendo, so maybe it's getting old for lots of other people. There's something to be said for how damn refined and solid all the recent iterations are.
posted by sonmi at 7:50 PM on July 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


The thing about Nintendo sequels is that they aren't just mere repetition. Super Mario Bros. is not Super Mario World is not Super Mario 64. The same basic framework of "Mario rescues Princess from Bowser" may remain for most games (and even then, they're expanding that out on occasion), but the actual gameplay to get there manages to be innovative and fresh with new iterations. The physics and ambiance of Super Mario Galaxy are incredible and show a clear distinction from 64, and are way more than the "Super Mario Bros. level update 15" that would come from phoning it in with "just another sequel"
posted by leviathan3k at 8:04 PM on July 20, 2014 [5 favorites]

holy shit i've said it before but i'm so tired of the "wii u is a failure nintendo sucks/is dying" circlejerk on the internet.

People have been saying nintendo is dying and their console is a failure since the N64 was outsold by the PS1. They said it about the gamecube, they said it about the wii.

Meanwhile, it isn't the virtual boy and they have an installed base of 6-ish million which yea, while they had a year headstart to go higher, is a bit more than the xbox one, although less than the PS4.

I mean, if you're going to call it a failure can you at least explain why that is other than just restating it as accepted fact?

Every nintendo console has taken at least a year or two to actually get a solid library of games and take off. The good games are just starting to come out for the wii u. I mean maybe i'm just jaded, but i remember these exact same arguments and remarks coming up for why the n64/gamecube/wii was a failure and it just seems like such a joke.
posted by emptythought at 8:10 PM on July 20, 2014 [6 favorites]

Video game sequels are a hell of a dilemma. You can't not make a sequel to a successful and well-loved game, it would be financial madness. So you make one, but if the sequel is too different from the first one, people will complain about it being untrue to the franchise; if it's too similar, people will complain that it brings nothing new to the franchise. It's a delicate tightrope to walk, and Nintendo does it fairly well. (Exception: Other M.)

And yeah, "Nintendo is dying" is nonsense. DS/3DS owns the handheld market, and is making enough money that the Wii U could be a plastic box full of weevils that sold zero units, and they still wouldn't be dead.
posted by rifflesby at 8:18 PM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

I mean, if you're going to call it a failure can you at least explain why that is other than just restating it as accepted fact?

Of the approximately 20 months the Wii U has been on the market, it's tracked worse in sales than the GameCube every month but June (thanks to MK8). Hell, several months the Wii U sold worse than the Dreamcast did at the same point in its life cycle. Shit's dire.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:20 PM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

leviathan3k: "The thing about Nintendo sequels is that they aren't just mere repetition. Super Mario Bros. is not Super Mario World is not Super Mario 64. "

Well, they do have some copy/paste sequels, like New Super Mario Bros (Wii) 2 and Mario Galaxy 2. They improved the latter tremendously from the first game but still, it's basically the same game.

Other than that, I agree. I'm a sucker for Nintendo games and right now the only consoles I have are a 3DS and a Wii just because I love playing Mario (and others). Sure, their third party support kinda sucks but no one does first party games like Nintendo.
posted by Memo at 8:25 PM on July 20, 2014

i've been dying to buy this and i can't justify spending over $300 just to play one game. so what i'm asking is: any dc mefites want to invite me over to play it? will trade homemade pie for mk8 playtime.
posted by kerning at 8:41 PM on July 20, 2014

Aww I would if I were in DC, driving halfway down the east coast for Wii U might be too far. Pie would get cold.
posted by JHarris at 8:46 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Of the approximately 20 months the Wii U has been on the market, it's tracked worse in sales than the GameCube every month but June (thanks to MK8). Hell, several months the Wii U sold worse than the Dreamcast did at the same point in its life cycle. Shit's dire.

I think it's a bit disingenuous to point this out and not mention that console sales in general are down though.

If you compare the PS4 sales numbers to the PS2 at the same point in its life cycle it looks equally dire, and paints a picture of it selling like shit. Hell, the thing perpetually sold as fast as they could produce them for the first few years. Ditto to the 360 vs XB1, in which the 1 looks like a flop.

It's like looking at tv ratings in the 90s vs now, or something. The era of megalithic console sales is coming to a close, and people seem to completely ignore this when they want to make the wii u = dead in the water point.
posted by emptythought at 8:47 PM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

the Wii U could be a plastic box full of weevils that sold zero units, and they still wouldn't be dead

I hate that Pikmin 3 level.
posted by JHarris at 8:47 PM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you don't want to pay $300, Nintendo of America is selling refurbished Wii Us with Nintendo Land for $200 in their online store. People who have bought them are saying that the units they receive show no signs of use, so they're probably unsold stock. You get a 1 year warranty.
posted by zixyer at 9:04 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Wind Waker HD. Derided at its Gamecube launch

Outside of a pre-release freak out about Link's design, that game was really well received on initial release. It was an instant classic.

Mario Kart 8 still isn't enough to sell me on the WiiU. I've already got MK7 on Nintendo's better console.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:08 PM on July 20, 2014

That's according to reviews. Reviewers loved Wind Waker, yes, they love all Zeldas. But the internet shouted their heads off about CELDA.

It's weird you call the Wii better, because, well, technically, it's kind of strange. I've been keeping up a bit on news from the Wii hacking scene, and Nintendo made a number of odd technical choices. Like, saving dozens of copies of the basic OS, which they called IOS (no relation to Apple) in the limited storage, and letting each game pick which it wanted to run under. Or having full DVD support included but disabled through software. Or the strcpy() bug that allowed titles to just short-circuit the security certificate check and initially made hacking the Wii possible in the first place.

Of course we know far less about how the Wii U does things under the hood, but it's got to be better than that.
posted by JHarris at 9:15 PM on July 20, 2014

I believe he was referring to the 3DS as Nintendo's "better console," unless there's some way to get MK7 on the Wii (in which case I need to know about it.)
posted by Navelgazer at 9:20 PM on July 20, 2014

It's weird you call the Wii better, because, well, technically, it's kind of strange.

I never said anything about the Wii.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:20 PM on July 20, 2014

Outside of a pre-release freak out about Link's design, that game was really well received on initial release. It was an instant classic.

It wasn't just a pre-release freakout, there was a strong vocal group of people online and off who wouldn't shut up about how it, and the gamecube itself was "kiddie" and how it was like, totally gay man.

I was a teenage boy when it was released, and the amount of hatred i saw directed at it by my peers and online was staggering.

If you could dig up threads from old gamefaqs, g4tv, or other full-of-teenagers game discussion boards like that you'd find a mindblowing amount of it.

I honestly can't think of a contemporary analogy even. Imagine the hate for apple products combined with the hate for "casual" gaming and it not being real gaming and combine it in series and you're getting vaguely into the right territory.

People who actually played the game almost universally loved it, but there was a huge loud pushback against it before and after release. It definitely had a bumpy landing, and it's only after a few years that people seem to have sort of forgotten just what the width and breadth of that hatred was.
posted by emptythought at 10:44 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you compare the PS4 sales numbers to the PS2 at the same point in its life cycle it looks equally dire, and paints a picture of it selling like shit. Hell, the thing perpetually sold as fast as they could produce them for the first few years. Ditto to the 360 vs XB1, in which the 1 looks like a flop.

There were something like 150 million PS2s sold versus 25 million Gamecubes. Selling worse than the best selling console of all time isn't anything to worry about. Selling worse than the Gamecube can be. (And plenty of people would say the XB1 is/was a flop.)

I mean maybe i'm just jaded, but i remember these exact same arguments and remarks coming up for why the n64/gamecube/wii was a failure and it just seems like such a joke.

Did anybody say that about the Wii? It was selling like hotcakes pretty much from day one.

I'm sure Nintendo will do fine and it looks like things are turning around for the WiiU, but its performance pre-MK8 was truly dire. You don't slash sales forecasts like this because of Internet circlejerks.
posted by kmz at 10:48 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

emptythought: "I honestly can't think of a contemporary analogy even."

Here you go.
posted by pwnguin at 11:04 PM on July 20, 2014

I never said anything about the Wii.

Ya know I was about to go all mea culpa, and you did say MK7...

...but no, you said Nintendo's better console. MK7 isn't out for a console, it's out for a portable. You made a contradictory statement and so it is void. I say to you: "nyaah nyaah nyaah."
posted by JHarris at 12:11 AM on July 21, 2014

The 3DS is a handheld game console.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:13 AM on July 21, 2014

Nintendo would be an absolute monster if they went the way of Sega and only developed software. Their handheld division is an 800-lbs gorilla.

Allow me to vehemently disagree. First of all, what has Sega done for us lately? It's mostly Creative Assembly with the odd ok/good Sonic game thrown in. You say it yourself: their handheld division is amazing, so why abandon it? Nintendo gets increased revenue from their hardware and a cut from the sales of third parties. Furthermore, because Nintendo know their hardware in and out, they can wring the most out of it.

They re-use their IP constantly, but they often mess about with the gameplay (Mario 64 isn't Super Mario Sunshine isn't Super Mario Galaxy isn't Super Mario 3D World) and they are one of the very few software developers who mainly focus on fun rather than wow factor or features/selling points. On these terms, Wii U is the best console afaic because it has the only kind of games I won't be able to play on a computer and there are already enough games out there that I want to play.

If only they'd create a unified online and VC architecture.
posted by ersatz at 3:57 AM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

The best story about the WiiU's development was the part where the third-party dudes discovered that nobody working on the Wii U's online features had any idea how Sony and Microsoft's online stuff works or even looks like.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:00 AM on July 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

I bought a Wii U for Zelda and Mario, but right now the game I'm most interested in is Project Zero 5. The previous game didn't make it out of Japan (I still bought it - there's a fan translation patch) but hopefully Nintendo are so conscious of the need for software that this one will get a localisation.
posted by permafrost at 4:46 AM on July 21, 2014

The 3DS is a handheld game console.

Sure, I bet you just edited Wikipedia to say that.

(So this doesn't escalate further: YES I AM KIDDING)
posted by JHarris at 4:50 AM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I wasn't trying to imply that Sega is going great right now. I still think that Nintendo is a very effective software company that spends way too much money producing mediocre gaming hardware.

For every other hardware company, they make and sell the hardware at a loss so you go out and buy their games. For Nintendo, they're currently giving away a free game just to get you to buy one of their most anticipated titles. Can you imagine the shitstorm on the internet if Sony gave out a free game to get you to the next Uncharted? Or Microsoft with the new Halo? At this point, Nintendo is using their games to prop up their hardware, and it should be the other way around.

But the Wii (a terrible console from any angle other than sales) sold like gangbusters so they have so much cash they can afford to hemorrhage money for a while. And the status quo at Nintendo will continue.
posted by thecjm at 6:56 AM on July 21, 2014

I think Nintendo biggest problem is not the Wii U. It had a slow start but there are a lot of games that can be system sellers scheduled for late 2014 and 2015.

Nintendo biggest problem is that they still don't understand the internet or online stores. Did you know that if you lose your 3DS you're going to permanently lose all your eshop games? Games bought from their eshop are linked to the hardware.The only known way to get them back is to file a police report and beg Nintendo to associate them to your new device.
posted by Memo at 7:20 AM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

They re-use their IP constantly, but they often mess about with the gameplay

This is why I get annoyed when people say "Nintendo doesn't have any new ideas."
Most gaming companies use the same old gameplay, but with new stories and characters. All of Ubisoft's open-world games play pretty similarly, but have different skins and a few gameplay changes; most FPS games have the same mechanics but different stories and looks.

Nintendo does the opposite: They keep the story the same, but change the gameplay. Sometimes you get direct sequels (i.e. New Super Mario Bros.), but just as often you get, say, Kirby's Canvas Curse. The familiar IP eases people into new and unusual gameplay, so they can be very innovative in terms of the mechnics (which are what matters to a game anyway).
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:30 AM on July 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

This thread inspired me to finally get my Wii U (arrived Monday!) hooked up, and play the single-player parts of NintendoLand. Holy shit, is this a weird console! The back and forth between screen and TV takes some real getting used to– Nintendo is trying to build on the way that most people now watch TV with a phone in hand, and it's a really neat idea, but conceptually it's making my brain pulse. After all the complaining about the Wii being too casual, Nintendo has built something that's pretty much only accessible to people into experimental gaming... But seeing as how I am, this'll work out great!
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:34 AM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

NintendoLand is pretty much a demo for the Pad. Few 'good' games force any back and forth, and many simply replicate what's on the top screen. The Mario games, for example, have a mode to play the entire game on your gamepad. Which can be useful if the TV the Wii U is hooked up to is in high demand.

I suppose expert players who can juggle it have an advantage in some games. For example, in Mario Kart 8, there's a minimap with all the player locations, and the items they're carrying. If you want your red shell to connect, it's likely you should wait until the banana your target is carrying is spent, and the gamepad can reveal that at a glance.

The more interesting Nintendoland games, IMO, are the multiplayer games with hidden information. Hide and seek games, essentially, where one player is given special knowledge to use against the other players.
posted by pwnguin at 8:42 AM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

True, most games don't really use the WiiU gamepad to any real effect. In my experience, there are a few games that work well with it:

1. Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. It doesn't require use of the 'pad but if you are using the pad it will keep the map or your inventory on screen which turns out to be pretty great for games like Zelda

2. Lego City Undercover. This is actually a Wii U exclusive and uses the 'pad really well, contextually requiring you to use it in certain areas to scan buildings for baddies, etc...almost works like an augmented reality tool and is pretty sweet. Also Lego City Undercover is essentially a GTA-game you can play with your kids! IT'S GTA WITH LEGOS GUYS

3. The aforementioned MK8 also doesn't require the 'pad but augments the experience for those interested in using it.
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:36 AM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm just glad we're past the remote-and-nunchuck stuff. I really grew to hate that setup.
posted by naju at 9:51 AM on July 21, 2014

GTA with Lego?! My favorite part about Lego Batman 2 is exploring Gotham City outside of the missions, maybe I should look into that....

naju, a Wiimote+Nunchuk is basically what you have to use if you decide to forego the pad, it's by no means dead.

The best game I've seen for pad use is (yes, mentioning it again) Pikmin 3, where the best control scheme has you controlling with the standard Wiimote+Nunchuk, but the pad is devoted to showing a realtime map. You can tap on one of your Captains on the map (immediately pausing the game), then drag the view somewhere else, and immediately send that character to that spot, along with any Pikmin he has in tow, taking care of pathfinding automatically. (The Pikmin games have always had clever pathfinding, but this game shows it off the best.) And, if there are sprouts at the destination, he'll immediately begin plucking them without player input. This trick quickly becomes essential to getting good times in the excellent (although half-DLC) Mission Mode, where you're given short time limits to clear large maps of treasure or enemies.

It does mean, however, that you should have a table handy to set the pad on if you play that way.
posted by JHarris at 11:13 AM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think I'm going to skip on MK8. It's.. fine, but I don't like weapon-racers, preferring straight-up speed/route contests with occasional bumping (SSX 3, F-Zero, et cetera). Also, the only freebie game I'm interested in is Pikmin 3 and I already have that. ;P Wii U Party might be interesting but I don't have regular access to a group to make it worth it. (and I'll never do the endless treasure hunt in Wind Waker again, and everything I hear about the New SMB is that it's too hardcore for me)

I'm looking forward to Splatoon and Captain Toad. The new Zelda (regular, not Hyrule Warriors) looks interesting but I imagine that's not going to be out for at least another year. Mario Maker could be pretty great? Also, now that Nintendo has a rather-more-sane (though still slightly Byzantine) approach to indie developers, I'm hoping smaller eshop stuff comes out that's worth it.
posted by curious nu at 12:10 PM on July 21, 2014

GTA with Lego?! My favorite part about Lego Batman 2 is exploring Gotham City outside of the missions, maybe I should look into that....

Yes, you really should. It's surprisingly fun! You play as a cop, so when you wanna take someone's ride the character yells stuff like "sorry, police business!" or "it's an emergency!" which makes playing the game waaay less fraught when the little ones are watching. Also it's even less violent than other LEGO games; generally speaking you don't actually knock out the baddies, you just sort of 'kung-fu' them and then put 'cuffs on them! And there are super-builds everywhere!

It really is a pleasantly suprising, fun game, with a good sense of humor. The only downside is the epic load times.
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:10 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

It really is a pleasantly suprising, fun game, with a good sense of humor. The only downside is the epic load times.

Quoted for epic truth. Lego City Undercover is more or less my favorite GTA game ever (LEGO! No misogyny! No ultraviolence! Tons of fun sidequests and vehicles! Neat abilities!). Unfortunately, the load times are atrocious -- to this day, my wife and I will sometimes jokingly do a rendition of the load music if we're waiting for something.

Still, it is totally worth playing. It's like the Wii U's best kept secret.
posted by tocts at 3:15 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well, at the moment I think the Wii U's best kept secret is Game & Wario (the game I chose free for the Platinum Club Nintendo year-end promotion). It's only $30 in the eStore (I think), and it has a super-abundance of the quirky weirdness of the WarioWare titles.

The WarioWare games are odd because each of them has a gimmick, usually a hardware thing. When they're good they're awesome (the original, Twisted, the Gamecube multiplayer party one, and I hear D.I.Y.), when they're off (Touched, Smooth Moves) they're just okay, but still usually good for some laughs.

This one's different in that, except for a cameo in one of the modes (Gamer), it's actually a collection of longer (but not much longer) games. Some of them are just okay, but a few are terrific, especially "Taxi," where you rove around a 3D map, fire a bazooka at aliens, and rescue people. "Gamer" is excellent too, since it can be played either in standard WarioWare style, or as a game where that's a distraction from the true goal, which is not to be caught by your mom staying up past your bedtime playing silly video games. Mom's tricks to catch you staying up are ludicrously bizarre, some taken right out of horror moves like The Ring. The "Pirates" game is also surprisingly catchy, although it takes some getting used to (I had to look up a FAQ to figure out something about how to play). Best of all, Pyoro, the star unlockable of the original WarioWare, is back with new presentation. (Every WarioWare game has a variant of Pyoro in it, but this one is very close to the original, which is still the best.)

What really makes this one for me however is the presentation, which is just as charmingly bizarre as always, and the unlockable system, which is borrowed from Twisted. Both games have a large quantity (240 in G&W's case) of silly little unlockables, ranging from simple info cards on the characters, to tips on the major games, to tiny games in their own right, to silly little toys.

One of the toys I just unlocked, "Beans," made me grin ear to ear. Simply, it asks you to tilt the Game Pad slowly from side to side, to rustle a bunch of dried beans in a wooden box, to create the sound of relaxing waves, to provide a scenic sound effect for an emotional scene the end ending of a movie (illustrated with manga art). If you slack off with the foley the director breaks the mood and shouts at you MORE WAVES!

It's hard to convey how much I love stuff like that, although I could understand why some people might not get the same kick out of it. Some times it feels like the WarioWare games are a secret thing that Nintendo made for me alone, that I'm surprised anyone else likes.
posted by JHarris at 3:13 AM on July 22, 2014 [4 favorites]

Agreed on the wonderfulness of WarioWare presentation---I always love their goofy little storylets. I'm really look forward to trying Game & Wario.

I'm surprised by all the hate for Wiimote and nunchuck! I found that for long play sessions, being able to slouch back in the couch with my hands on either thigh was a preternaturally relaxing/lazy-ass position. It was like a platonic ideal of video game chillout, with none of the hard, hard work of having to keep my hands together.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:28 AM on July 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

It was splurging a bit, but I picked up Lego City Undercover last night. You guys were all so right, it's great. This is the ideal Lego game. Your idiot partner (who I call Officer Moron) is hilarious:

(this is paraphrased)
YOU (a Lego policeman, in Lego Police Headquarters): "I''ll wake up the (napping) chief."
LADY (an office worker): "When you're through with that, I've got a hornet's nest you can hit with a stick."
OFFICER MORON: "Oh, can I do it!"
OM: "I've done it before!"
OM: "Actually, that didn't go to well."
OM: "I thought it was a pinata."
OM: "The candy hurt the inside of my mouth."
OM: "That was the worst birthday ever."

Everything the other characters in the game say is like this! Lego games tend to have a lot of jokes, but this one is incredibly dense with them. Any word on how well it's sold?
posted by JHarris at 12:53 PM on July 22, 2014

I'm assuming poorly, because it was a release title.
posted by pwnguin at 7:46 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I read it sold 100K units, which isn't bad. I think it proves we need more open-world Lego games.

The best story about the WiiU's development was the part where the third-party dudes discovered that nobody working on the Wii U's online features had any idea how Sony and Microsoft's online stuff works or even looks like.

This has been Nintendo's greatest flaw and strength: they have a strong ethic of doing things themselves, in their own way. If Microsoft and Sony didn't have each other to compete with, they wouldn't be as driven to include new features in their systems and OSes, and so probably wouldn't have developed features like achievements and online messaging so quickly.

Meanwhile, Nintendo continues to putter away like a mad inventor, disdaining the world, doing it themselves. When they release a new feature it's either absolute genius (the idea of motion controls, screen pointing interfaces, Miis) or weirdly broken (some of the reality of motion controls, friend codes, Wii Shop/eShop purchases tied to consoles instead of accounts).

Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of cross-pollination between Nintendo and the rest of the development world. I mean, they outsource some work to others, hire or buy some second parties (like HAL, Intelligent Systems, Retro Studios, and the Rare of old) and they get in deals with other major (usually Japanese) devs, like when Capcom make the Oracle Zelda games, or Square Enix with that DS Mario sports game and Fortune Street.

But generally, people at Nintendo of Japan don't generally seem to go work for other companies, and people from other companies don't generally seem to go to work for Nintendo of Japan, at least internally. This is entirely from casual observation, I'm not claiming inside or special knowledge and I haven't made a concerted effort to prove it's true. But there don't seem to be many stories about some Nintendo dev guy getting fed up and getting outright hired by someone else. The closest I know of is Masahiro Sakurai, the Smash Bros. guy, who quit Nintendo (I hear over dev drama involving the superlative Kirby Air Ride on GC, one of the best games on that platform) to start his own company, which then got hired to make Lumines and others. But still, they made Meteos and Kid Icarus Uprising for Nintendo, and their biggest gig now seems to be making more Smash Bros games.

I hear that, Nintendo of America at least, is a pretty chummy place to work, with a good work environment and benefits.
posted by JHarris at 1:38 PM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

dynamite slow-mo Japan MK8 commercial, with a nice Luigi Death Stare.
posted by porn in the woods at 6:17 PM on July 23, 2014

So, I've played a bit of Mario Kart 8 now, and wanted to remark on a couple of very interesting, I think, things about it.

1. The short one first. Mario Kart Wii's versions of "Tournaments" was wonderful, consisting of a number of set challenges created by the designers that were doled out to players on a regular basis over the internet, and asked them all to compete in these tasks and ranked them by score or time. It's a shame that that mode of MKW is now permanently disabled, due to that Gamespy business. It was especially interesting in that some of the challenges were things you couldn't experience in the main game, and indeed a couple involved tracks unavailable in any other mode.

2. (The verisimilitude. This is essayish, and I think I'm going to post it on another website too. It's here first, though!)

One of the most entertaining things about Mario Kart, I think, is the extent the track builders and artists attempt to build Mario Kart into the Mario universe. Mario Kart is really the closest we get to some kind of official world building for the Mushroom Kingdom. Now, it's not really cohesive, or even coherent, but that makes sense for this. Like the Cthulhu Mythos was never intended to be a internally-consistent body of lore describing a complete alternate universe, the Mario games each reinvent the world around the basics presented in the games. This is done most convincingly by the brilliant and witty Paper Mario games, but Mario Kart tops it, I think, because:
- it's made by Nintendo themselves (the Paper Mario games are made by Intelligent Systems, a second-party)
- none of these bits of world building ever take center stage and become prominent, it's all in the trackside detail
- the Mario Kart games have been revisiting their own lore lately in the form of the Retro Cups,
- and finally, the glorious lunacy of fleshing out the Mushroom Kingdom in the form of an organized kart race.

In terms of world building, very little about the Mario games other than gameplay aspects and enemies ever seems to "stick." Things that would seem to be major parts of series lore, like Peach's minster Toadsworth (from Super Mario Sunshine), show up for one game and are rarely seen again. (Paper Mario 2 did use Toadsworth, and there's probably a sticker of him in Smash Bros. Brawl. That has been the extent of the career of this dedicated caretaker.) So the elements that do stick are made prominent by the difference.

One of the major examples of this is Peach's Castle, first seen in Mario 64 and sporadically reappearing since in multiple games. Famously, the Castle exterior was reproduced for the Royal Raceway track in the second Mario Kart game, Mario Kart 64, and you could even leave the track down a side road and putter around its courtyard. Royal Raceway is one of three classic MK64 tracks in MK8's Retro Cups, and although you can no longer visit the Castle, it's still visible. (According to the entertainingly exhaustive "Mario Kart Racing Wikia" -- you know there had to be one -- the castle's design in MK8 has changed to match that from New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which might be why you can't visit it now.)

Another thing Mario Kart 8 gives us to speculate about is the extent of technological development of the Mario universe in recent years. In the first game, Super Mario Kart (SNES), most of the tracks bore a clear relationship to levels from Super Mario World. There were no visible spectators, or broadcast equipment, or race-hosting apparatus of any kind besides a start/finish line and the omniscient presence of Lakitu. The exception to this, as it tends to be in all the MK games, is Rainbow Road, the series' most enduring tradition/nightmare, which here is just a big inexplicable "psychedelic experience" up in outer space... in the form of a racetrack. ("Psychedelic experience" is the subtitle the remake of MK64's Rainbow Road got in F-Zero 64.)

Mario Kart 64 changed this a bit with tracks that seem more obviously constructed for racing, including sections that must have taken a lot of effort (in universe) to put together, like the giant ramp outside of Peach's castle. And one of them, Luigi Raceway, has visible Toad spectators watching the race in stands. This was also the first game to establish my favorite of Mario Kart's many little traditions, the parody advertisements for Mushroom Kingdom automotive products that litter the side of the track, which would come back in a big way in MK8. Another thing MK64 gave us was Toad's Turnpike, a highlight in the series and the first track in the series to force the players to drive through traffic on a simulated highway, which both implies the Mushroom Kingdom has a developed road system, and has a relatively urban area.

I didn't get to play the GBA Mario Kart Super Circuit, but the limitations of the platform make it seem unlikely that there was much additional racing infrastructure.

But that changed with what we might call the first "modern" Mario Kart game, the Gamecube's underrated DoubleDash!! (the italicized exclamation points are part of the title, and while I'm usually loathe to reproduce such bits of marketing stylization in titles, I'll do it this time), although examination of video of the tracks shows that it was Waluigi Stadium, of all places, where spectators first show up en masse. This is also the first game to do real worldbuilding in Mario Kart itself; they gave (perennial Mario Kart also-ran*) Daisy a cruise ship large enough to hold a kart race on, after all. It also gave us two more live traffic tracks in Mushroom Bridge and Mushroom City. The first is fairly rural, but the second has us drive on big city streets. Both feature some whimsical traffic, like Bob-omb Cars (aren't those a driving hazard?) and long long Wiggler Buses. Of particular note: the Mario Kart Wiki informs us, when playing single-player, GC Rainbow Road is visible above the track, a fact I hadn't noticed when I played the game myself.

(*Princess Daisy, these days, is only ever seen in Mario Kart and sports games. After Waluigi [who was created for these games], she's the most obscure character to reliably appear in every installment.)

[I have to run at the moment, will continue this later]
posted by JHarris at 1:31 PM on July 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

I really miss DoubleDash!! I'm kind of terrible at racing games and get bored with them easily, but loved the co-op mode where I could make someone else drive. I brought the blue sparks! We cleared every single track on gold.

No idea why they haven't offered that playstyle in subsequent games. I haven't bought any of them for that reason.
posted by asperity at 8:49 AM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Continuing --

Mario Kart, when it comes down to it, has always relied on a limited number of track archetypes, which, other than the standard racetracks and Rainbow Road, correspond roughly with the Mario series platforming archetypes. These are obvious choices (which is why nearly every platforming game uses them), but they don't tell us anything more about Mario's world. The DS edition of Mario Kart began to change this, by giving us a track set in a giant clock. (Well, that was probably a reference to a Mario 64 level, Mario 64 DS being a recent release at the publication of MKDS.) MK87 gives us Music Park, courses that crossed over from Wii Sports Resort (which puts the Miis in Mario's world) and Neo Bowser City, which finally presents a glimpse of non-castle property firmly in Bowser's land, or nation, or whatever it is he has. It has big Bowser signs up everywhere, but other than that, and it's buildings are made of gray stone, it doesn't tell us awful much.

I'm writing all this out because MK8 has more of this than usual. The game seems much more willing to write in the borders of the tracks things you'll only notice upon pausing. For example:
- MKTV, not just a presence in the menu and a means of posting your races on YouTube but a presence in the tracks themselves, indicating that the Mushroom Kingdom not only has television but specialty cable channels.
- Anti-gravity track sections and transforming karts indicate that, in addition to pipes that go everywhere and magical growth fungus, a fairly highly-advanced technology.
- One track has Toads watching the race from atop one of Bowsers Propeller Clown Machines, that he used to try to crush Mario at the end of Super Mario World.
- In Luigi Stadium, the vast crowds (how the audience for Mario Kart has grown!) can be seen holding up giant banners bearing images of Peach's Crown symbol, or a big picture of the Koopa King and the words LORD BOWSER. I guess tyrants have their fans too.
- Remade is the original MK live traffic level, Toad's Turnpike, which has been updated with traffic bearing in-universe textures, but there's also a big sign for "Toad Services," presumably roadside assistance for fungal drivers.
- One of the best of the new tracks is Toad Harbor, which bears geographic similarities to San Francisco with its high hills, and it also has cable cars. But humorously, out in the harbor is a Statue of Liberty that's actually Peach! That's a weirdly evocative juxtaposition, and makes the ol' girl seem a tad more heroic than usual.
- Rainbow Road is now around a space station! Apparently Mario's space travels in the Galaxy games has caused the Mushroom Kingdom to launch a proper space program.
- The ads for Mushroom Kingdom automotive services, all strangely represented by the drivers themselves (in addition to things like Bowser Oil and [a favorite] Undead Motors, many of the Koopalings have their own companies). The ubiquity of these new ads causes me to wonder what Mario and his friends'/enemy's role in the Mushroom Kingdom really is; not just hero/villain/ruler/etc., but kind of like celebrities, sought after to promote products, or maybe even automotive moguls themselves.

Well, I wonder about these things anyway. You are, of course, free to ignore them as you wish.
posted by JHarris at 9:38 AM on July 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Mr minsies and I are going to trade in our Xbox 360 today for a Wii U, and I am stupid excited. We got a PS4 at launch, and there hasn't been a single game released for it (especially since Elder Scrolls Online was delayed), besides FFXIV, that I've wanted to play. After playing that for a few months, I remembered that I really don't like MMORPGs and was just killing time because there was nothing else I wanted to play.

We'll be going for the Mario Kart 8/Tropical Freeze bundle, I think; I'll use the MK8 code for Pikmin 3 (and probably pick up Wind Waker HD today as well). Thanks to this thread, I'll grab Earthbound as well (as long as it's available from the UK version of the Virtual Console).

I do have a question about Pikmin 3, for JHarris or anyone else who knows their Pikmin stuff, as I was not very good at Pikmin 2. I got maybe 30% through the game and then it got too difficult for me - maybe I didn't pay enough attention to the tutorials? Anyway, it felt like the difficulty just shot up. I played Pikmin at some point after that, but didn't realise there was a time limit (since I had played Pikmin 2 first), so didn't get very far in that after I burned through my 30 days doing various dumb things. So: does Pikmin 3 have a more gentle difficulty slope? I'll play it anyway, but I'm just curious how frustrated I'll get after the first few levels.

I'll be sure to put my Nintendo Network ID in the MetaTalk thread once I get it, too. I need to check if I have something set up on my 3DS already.
posted by minsies at 12:34 AM on July 26, 2014

Here is the low down on the Pikmin series, which I entirely love:

1: I think the designers intended that most people would lose at Pikmin on their first attempt. If you're not using FAQs, it's quite difficult to keep up the one-piece-a-day pace needed to completely clear it, but once you've started over, you can easily use your knowledge from the first attempt to get several pieces in a day at the start and give yourself a buffer zone. So, that might be why you failed that time.

2: The game has no overall time limit, but it's filled with those dungeons and a wide variety of bosses. Some of those bosses are very challenging: I'm remembering Man At Legs and the Titan Dweevil in particular. But it's been a long time since I played much of it, so I don't solidly remember how hard it was. (I recently picked up a used Gamecube and have started a new Pikmin 2 save. We'll see how it goes.)

3: It's kind of a mixture of the first two. The time limit of the first game is back, but it's somewhat offset because the things you're collecting in this game, fruit, has the side effect of increasing your time limit. Most fruit gives you one day or more of time (and can give you up to three), so the game's time limit is much easier than Pikmin 1. There is an event during the game that temporarily removes your entire backlog of time up to that point, forcing you to make due with the juice you collect after that point for a while, but it's not hard to build up another backlog, and eventually you get your old juice back. If you get all the fruit in the game, the total time limit is 99 days.

Plus, the game structure is designed differently: instead of choosing between multiple save files, each of which recording only your last day's status, you have only one save file, but it remembers your progress after each day. You can always restore your game back to any previous day in the current run! If, upon replaying an old day, you decide you like your progress better than what you did before, you can then save and reset your game back to that day, forgoing all your progress after that point. In fact, this is how you start over if you decide you want to play again. You just restore back to the beginning of Day 1! You can still have multiple people playing with their own saves, but they'll need to create separate users in the Wii U system interface, who will each experience the game from the beginning.

As far as play difficulty... Pikmin 3 has many fewer bosses than Pikmin 2 -- the game only has five real bosses. The later ones are still fairly difficult, plus, since there are no story-mode dungeons in Pikmin 3, they're always fought during the day system. In that way it's harder.

However, in another way, the game is much easier: damage done to bosses is not reset at Sunset. When you get your troops back out to the boss on the next day, its health will be as you left it! If you have spare time, which it's easy to get, you can whittle a boss down over multiple days. Also, dead enemies will stick around after Sunset for one day, giving you more opportunity to drag its corpse in for Pikmin sprouts.

Pikmin 3 also gives you more play amenities. Of greatest note here is the fact that your three guys are semi-autonomous when not directly controlled. A guy left alone around Pikmin sprouts while you're controlling one of the other captains will take it upon his own initiative to pluck them, and you can use the GamePad to select a destination for the current captain, who will then automatically move there if he can, even if you select a different captain to control. This adds a whole new dimension to strategy, but it also gives you more to track, especially if you're trying for good scores in Mission Mode (which I am). Captains not being controlled are defenseless against attack, but you can use this to have a spare captain bring in reinforcement Pikmin from base during a boss fight.

So, overall, the game is easier than Pikmin 1. The time limit is harder than Pikmin 2 (which has no time limit), but play difficulty is a bit easier, I think.

A note on the Mario Kart 8 offer: the word from up-thread is that UK Mario Kart 8 buyers have a much wider selection of free games to choose from. So, check the list before deciding. Also, to qualify for the deal, you must register Mario Kart 8 with Nintendo's Club Nintendo website before the end of July, so you only have a few days left.
posted by JHarris at 1:59 AM on July 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

I Googled it, and it seems that Earthbound is available in the UK eShop.
posted by JHarris at 2:03 AM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Super! Thanks for all the info. I'll get to registering Mario Kart 8 once I get everything unboxed. I think Pikmin 3 will still be my choice, but I'll take another look through the list again. I feel like I should be better at Pikmin than I felt like I was during the first 2 games. I am probably deluded.
posted by minsies at 3:48 AM on July 26, 2014

There are some additional system changes to Pikmin 3 you might be interested in hearing:

- The controls have changed. Now you can either play with the GamePad alone, or with a Wii Remote + Nunchuk + GamePad. After a game update, the controls now defaults to GamePad, but I find the game plays much better with a Wiimote & Nunchuk. To switch, just press buttons on the connected Wiimote.
- The C-stick army control from the Gamecube games, sadly, is no longer supported. You can make your whole army roll left or right, once you get the appropriate item, with the control pad on the Wiimote, but it's not as fluid. Slightly making up for this, Pikmin now try to queue up and follow your footsteps exactly.
- Replacing that, however, if you play with a Wiimote, you can throw at precise spots by just pointing at them with the controller. This soon becomes THE obvious way to play, and it might result in you playing a lot better than you did on the Gamecube.
- In addition to Pikmin, you can now throw captains too, to get them to places not otherwise accessible. This is a very important technique, and you'll have to use it several times once you get to two, and three, captains in your group. They can't be thrown as high as Pikmin.
- Enemies are now affected differently if you throw at different parts of their bodies. Throw at the eyes of Bulborbs, for instance, to make them flinch and sneeze.
- The final level is quite a doozy.
- The Pikmin lineup is five types again, but the two types introduced by the GC version have been relegated to Mission Mode. I won't spoil the new types.
- Take note: about half of Mission Mode now takes the form of DLC, and it takes about $10 to purchase it all. I'm not fond of the real money requirement, but I've had a lot of fun with the Mission Mode levels, and I got the game itself free, so I can't complain too much. If you're not fond of replaying difficult levels over and over to better your score, then you can safely pass up buying the Mission Mode unlocks.

If you need help with the game feel free to MeMail, I've played a lot of it.
posted by JHarris at 4:36 AM on July 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

It was especially interesting in that some of the challenges were things you couldn't experience in the main game, and indeed a couple involved tracks unavailable in any other mode.


Some of those weird tracks would also show up in normal online play if you picked "random" on the track selection and enough people voted for that too a while back. I swear. I was just taking to a couple of friends about this and they were convinced I was pulling the old "you can get mew by going to this weird secret place in Pokemon red" kind of made up garbage that everyone used to go on about in the late 90s and early 2000s with Nintendo games.

Some of that stuff was in fact awesome, and I wish it wasn't just gone forever now.
posted by emptythought at 8:30 PM on July 26, 2014

It is technically possible to get Mew without a game modification device in first gen Pokemon, but it requires taking advantage of a glitch that could possibly erase your saved game.
posted by JHarris at 10:06 PM on July 26, 2014

Oh, one more thing, it is generally acknowledged that, if you are serious about the Wii U, you will need an external USB hard drive. Some downloadable versions of disk games are more than 14 GB in size. You can make due with a large flash drive for awhile, but a 500 GB drive isn't very expensive. It's best, though, to get one with its own power supply, or else get a Y cable so you can use the power from two USB ports at once.
posted by JHarris at 10:24 PM on July 26, 2014

Ars Technica: Mario Kart 8 boosts Wii U hardware sales, but not enough to earn profits
Worldwide, Nintendo sold 510,000 units of the Wii U in the three months from April to June. That's a substantial improvement from the tepid 160,000 it sold during the same period last year and a smaller bump from the 310,000 it sold during the January to March quarter of 2014. But those kinds of numbers aren't going to help the Wii U look like a real contender with competition like the PlayStation 4, which was selling a million consoles a month as recently as April, or even the Xbox One, which shipped just over one million consoles in the first quarter of 2014 (though, to be fair, neither competitor has broken out current console sales numbers for the second quarter of the year).
posted by porn in the woods at 6:45 PM on July 30, 2014

Nintendo should have realized by now that the beatings will continue until Smash Bros is delivered.
posted by pwnguin at 9:21 PM on July 30, 2014

What Mario Kart 8 did for Nintendo wasn't immediately make the Wii U profitable, but instead, it increased the install base, and game people (like some of us) an excuse to play it online with each other.

Myself, the big thing I'm looking forward to is the open world Zelda. That will be nice.

Still enjoying Lego City Undercover though. You're just driving around, smashing up lampposts in your squad car, and a Lego minifig in a lizard suit wanders by, or a couple of cave women, and it's like a perfect moment.
posted by JHarris at 10:19 PM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think what you see in Nintendo is a company in trouble that recognizes that fact and is taking steps to solve it.

Compare that to a company like Blackberry or Nokia where anybody could see that they were in serious trouble and they just kept making the same thing over and over until it was too late.
posted by zixyer at 8:49 AM on July 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

If anything, it would appear that Nintendo's failing here is their inability to made good on their promise of delivering Zelda, Mario and Smash Bros over and over again. The launch offering for Wii U had a surprising amount of publisher support. What it lacked was an anchor game from Nintendo's stable to drive platform sales and support the ecosystem.

And I'm sorry, but New Mario Bros U and Wind Waker HD do not count as anchor games. They're good games, but New Mario Bros works just as well on an old DS Lite as it does on Wii U, and I played Wind Waker a sufficient number of times on Gamecube. I bought the Wii U to play Mario 3D World, but apparently not many people joined me there.

It may be that Nintendo isn't rushing out Smash for Wii U specifically because it's their few remaining chances to drive platform growth. A bad Smash game might be considered worse than a delayed one, in this view.
posted by pwnguin at 5:31 PM on July 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've fallen away from the Smash Bros games in recent vesions. N64 we played a lot of, Melee quite a bit, but I never got into Brawl. Not sure about the new one, although the 3DS version's City Trial-like adventure mode is interesting.
posted by JHarris at 9:48 PM on July 31, 2014

Also, I just played the last story level of Lego City Undercover last night, and that falling sequence at the end of it is impossibly epic.

The last part of the last level. Give it a few seconds. For your poor Lego minifig guy to begin reentry. (After the falling section comes the ending, so you might want to stop it there, although it's a Lego game, it's not like it's really spoiling anything.)
posted by JHarris at 10:13 PM on July 31, 2014

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