Posted by: seanmalstrom | March 4, 2015

Email: Wii U impressions and other stuff

This January was the first time I actually had my hands on Wii U. It was a hypermarket demo stand that I and my oldest son (now ten years old) decided to try out. I think we spent around an hour playing the demos.

The games I played at the demo stand were Captain Toad, NSMBU, Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, Hyrule Warriors, Sonic Lost World and Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze.

After having tried the games out, it looks like Nintendo has serious issues not only in their content, not only in their marketing, but both (in a way you could say problem is in every way how they interact with the customer). Everything feels somehow so inconsistent and Nintendo saying one thing whilst doing another.
If Wii U sales are slowly getting better, that may be caused by people finding out Wii U doesn’t suck as bad as Nintendo have tried to make it look like.

The impressions:
-New Super Mario Bros. U, while Nintendo’s marketing focused on all the stupid Miiverse-stuff and tried to make NSMBU look like the exact same game as NSMBW, now with gamepad, it actually has much more “newer” feel than expected (still not fresh, as the game is “new” series, that’s generic with no new content in Nintendo-slang) and didn’t seem to have anything to do with Miiverse (that is good).

-Super Mario 3D World, this game could be New Super Mario Galaxy or something. It’s hard to imagine how you could go more wrong with naming the game. While the content and gameplay is more or less the best parts of SMG (the fixed camera ones), game seems not to be marketed towards Super Mario Galaxy fans but SMW, and on the other side, everyone can clearly see SM3DW have nothing to do with Super Mario World, so this game might have hard time finding its audience, that would be the 3D-fans.

-Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, what do you think of “tropical freeze”? To my surprise, the game wasn’t about “ice world going bananas”, at least the demo wasn’t. If the game isn’t about a sucky ice world, why is it named like one? Nobody’s buying a game about “ice world” because ice worlds suck. What’s wrong with Donkey Kong Country U? U was a name good enough for 2D Mario.

There was some pig jumping out from the background that seemed a little out of place, as well as the viking ships (Swedes taking over Kong island?). The gameplay looks a little linear with little to no options on how to play the levels. Otherwise the game was really fun to play.

-Mario Kart 8, maybe the lamest Mario Kart ever. What’s with the glider? Wtf, seriously. After jumping a ramp you glide a long while without having control over your kart before hitting the ground. Why is it so? The glorious scenery is in HD now, so you need to have time to notice how great of an artists the developers are?

The power-ups, jumps and other stuff in Mario Kart usually serves a purpose of having better control over the game, but this is the complete opposite. Where Mario Kart Wii took the direction opposite to “industry”, this is two steps back. Another interesting thing was the “tune up” by selecting the wing and other stuff to your kart that just didn’t seem to fit Mario Kart content. And the worst thing was that you couldn’t ditch the wing (and other stuff) altogether just to have your kart and play. In a Mario Kart game you’re supposed just to pick up the controller and have fun.

With the track twisting and bending and the hovering karts, this game is no Mario Kart but F-Zero.

Expect F-Zero U (or New F-Zero) to happen that’s Mario Kart 8 with speed up and they call it “hardcore” (no need to point out Mario Kart origins).

-Captain Toad was a little similar game to SM3DW, with CTTT having the puzzle/scavenger hunt esque from Super Mario Galaxy. Demo was so damn short that it’s hard to tell, but obviously it’s “find a button -> step on it -> gate opens -> find your way to the star”. Once again a game for Galaxy fans.

-Sonic was a more straightforward knockoff of Super Mario Galaxy with elements taken from Sonic Colours. Seems to be one of the “better” 3D-Sonic games, could be a better game than SMG.

-Hyrule Warriors was just pure gold. Period. This is what I have been waiting ever since Zelda went 3D. In OoT you had the skeletons attack you in overworld at night that haven’t been done in a Zelda game ever since. With N64 you had the excuse of not having any more enemies on screen in a game with free roaming camera due to processing power (you were always hoping there would be more of them coming at you). Now you had hordes of enemies coming at you, and even if overly easy, cutting enemies in two with your sword is much more fun than cutting grass with your sword – that is when you ask us, the people who are willing pay money for the games they play.

At a quick glance, Hyrule Warriors’ content seems to fit that of the Zelda 2 comics of the 90’s, even if it has so much elements that just aren’t Zelda, but it feels more Zelda than anything Aonuma ever made.

Zelda – Aonuma = kick ass.

Another funny thing with Wii U is that the demo stand has white Wii U, but white is nowhere to be found. All you can find is the black one.

With Hyrule Warriors and Mario Kart 8 out, I could buy a Wii U if there were a white one available. How Nintendo expects Wii owners to replace their white Wiis in their livingrooms if there’s no white one? Well, they don’t – it’s the “Playstation customer” Nintendo seems to be after. I don’t know if Nintendo thinks it’s following the disruption and getting it all wrong or is the purpose just to drive Nintendo’s market value into the ground for someone to takeover now that Yamauchi is dead.

And, I know there was a white model available, it’s just that the basic is so insulting it should be called Fuck U. If you buy all the stuff you get with the Premium, you end up not only paying more for your console but still have less internal storage. I even asked local Nintendo rep if they could upgrade Wii U firmware as the European one if I imported one from Japan (they couldn’t).

Just look how Sony does it; PS4 is available in both, black and white, with the same specs. PS4 is running around Wii U in circles despite the difference in price just because Sony is treating the customer better. I’m quite sure it’s the white PS4 rather than black Wii U that’s replacing white Wiis in people’s living rooms – if PS4 had the games Wii U has now, white PS4 might have been a day one purchase for me.

This is the point: I’m willing to pay money when someone sells me what I want to buy. When Nintendo sold me what I wanted, I ended up buying more than 50 boxed games for Wii (plus around 30 digital games) and a total of 4 DS’s with more than 30 games.

In any case, what Iwata currently does with Nintendo seems to be following what Elop did with Nokia; confuse everyone with inconsistency and instead of securing your existing customers you ditch them altogether and shove something that nobody wants up everyone’s asses. Elop cost Nokia’s shareholders around 2/3 of the market value, 18 billion euros (18 million € a day), and a majority of the company’s market share, eventually leading to the sale of the now bleeding mobile phones division.

Anyway, shortly after I had my hands on Wii U, I plugged my N64 to my kids TV. What happened is that Lylat Wars became an instant hit, especially the multiplayer. My three oldest boys seem to play it every time they have the chance.

Another game that made an impact, was Ocarina of Time, that my 4-year old son loved instantly. I let him play my +95% complete save, played the game to Hyrule field from Kokiri forest and let my kid fight the skeletons at night. He thought it was fun as not only he could slash the skeletons with the sword, but also beat them with deku sticks and shoot with slingshot among other.

After a while he found his way into Hyrule castle town, where I showed him how to become adult Link. Not only having a bigger sword (two to choose from actually) was fun but you could use weapons such as bombs and hookshot aswell, and the best of all: fire arrows.

Now when he wants to play OoT, he says he wants to play “the swordfighting game”, yes SWORDFIGHTING, not puzzle game, not grass-cutting game, but swordfighting.

 

I can see Hyrule Warriors going up in value decades from now. It shows that Zelda made a different way will not ‘scare the Zelda fans’. If I had a Wii U, Hyrule Warriors would be the first game I’d get.

Wii U as Fuck U? Yes. Iwata doing his his giant retcon of ‘I didn’t really mean gamer expansion, I meant Nintendo expansion…’ is actually saying: “Miyamoto and other devs don’t want to make games for people like Malstrom.” Miyamoto has said this point blank anyway.

They don’t want the Wii consumers, they just want the Wii money. If they can get the money in other ways than making games, they will do so (like health products).

Much has been said about the New Market Consumer. What hasn’t been noticed is that the New Market Consumer is a MUCH HARDER CUSTOMER than our good friends, the hardcore gamers. You see the hardcore gamers will buy anything. Hell, they even bought Metroid: Other M. Hardcore gamers will buy any game console at launch and all the launch games. Ironically, hardcore gamers say they are the ones with the most discriminating taste, but it is the opposite! They have no standards! They will buy literally anything. The Game Industry loves them. They are Industry puppets. Put out some marketing hype and, like lemmings, they go out and buy the game immediately.

I agree with the identity and even the poor Tropical Freeze name.

Nothing Nintendo is putting out feels fresh. Even during the 16-bit generation, the games Nintendo was putting out began to feel samey (and 16-bit was a HUGE upgrade from 8-bit). Super Mario World did not save the SNES. Even to this day, people debate whether it or the 8-bit Super Mario Brothers 3 is better. There was Super Castlevania but there were already three Castlevanias on the NES. There was Gradius 3, but we had seen Gradius before. Even Super Metroid was received with a yawn. Sonic was fresh and new. It was only until Donkey Kong Country came out that people went wow. But Donkey Kong Country might as well have been a new IP.

Hyrule Warriors feels fresh if you haven’t played Dynasty Warriors. 2d Mario we have seen. 3d Mario we have seen. Toad game we see all the time in PC shareware crap. Splatoon is interesting but doesn’t seem substantial. I cannot find any kid excited about Splatoon, only aged adults. Mario Kart 8 is just more Mario Kart. Smash Brothers we know what it is.

Those who played the NES the first time were wowed by the QUALITY and sheer difference the Japanese design of the games provided. In fact, most kids who grew up with Nintendo will point to the FIRST CONSOLE they really played as their favorite. After that, everything grows stale. There is a first time for everything after all.

Nintendo thinks it is putting out new games. In the consumers’ minds, Nintendo is putting out the same old games. “We have bought those games before. I do not want to buy them again.” Nintendo keeps saying how creative and magical they are, but they do not make anything new.

Miyamoto then interrupts this post.

“Master Malstrom, how can you say the things you do? We create new games all the time that do new gameplay things. Please understand!”

“Hey, that’s my line!”

“Sorry. But this online fiend needs to understand that the games use our unique hardware to do unique gameplay that no one else can do. Mario is like Mickey Mouse in that he appears in many games.”

“Excuse me, gentlemen. It is my turn.

“In the early games Mario appeared in, they were all extremely different. Donkey Kong and Mario Brothers are extremely different. Super Mario Brothers is extremely different. The USA version of Super Mario Brothers 2 had different gameplay and even different enemies and different world. Super Mario Brothers 3 was completely unlike Super Mario Brothers 1. And Mario was appearing in Pinball, Mike Tyson’s Punch-out, Tetris, and other games that were not related to platforming.

“The point is that Nintendo has become like EA and turned all their franchises into sports installments. A new Mario game, to the consumer, is exploring new worlds, new enemies, and entirely new gameplay. What we get instead is a hardware gimmick with all the content recycled from prior games. Mario games are like Madden games now. None of them are fresh and just seem to be put out there just so there is a Mario game on that console. Nintendo is better off re-mastering and releasing old Nintendo games instead of giving us this uninspired crap.

“Oh look, a new Kirby game is coming out. Who cares?

“Oh look, a new Mario Kart is coming out. Who cares?

“Oh look, a new Metroid is coming out. Who cares?

“Do you know why people anticipate a new Metroid? It is because ruling out Metroid Primes and pretending Other M doesn’t exist, each new Metroid added something. Metroid was not Madden. I think it is not that people are excited about Metroid as they are excited about any Nintendo series that hasn’t been Madden-ized.

“Yes, I know you, Nintendo. You are in awe of EA and wish to be like them. I know it. And I want everyone else to know it because it explains why you have destroyed your franchises by Madden-izing them.”


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