This gaming monopoly was broken when I received a PlayStation for Christmas in the early 2000’s, but I continued to rally behind my original team. I waited with bated breath when Nintendo announced that they were working on Project Dolphin, the codename for what would be the Nintendo GameCube. But then Sony released the PlayStation 2. My allegiance was shattered, set in cement by a PlayStation 2 for christmas and some time spent with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4. The next time I’d own a Nintendo console would be in 2008 when my sister sold me a Nintendo Wii. My relationship with my Wii was rocky, and I eventually succumbed to trading it in when Sony refreshed the PlayStation 3 and I purchased a 120GB Slim.
This month I was excited about a Nintendo console. It’s not a new release slated for 2015 or a secret project. It’s the Nintendo Wii U and the future promised to me during the latest Nintendo Direct.
Just when all seemed lost, Nintendo started to pull themselves out of the mud with Mario Kart 8. The grandfather of franchise racers returned to blow the start of 2014 out of the water, and helped the Wii U see an 666% sales increase in the UK alone. Critically and financially successful, Mario Kart 8 seemed like the only game worth getting a Wii U for. One game doesn't save a console, but Nintendo’s upcoming line-up might.
Nintendo Direct is an online presentation that streams directly to the public and stars leading figures from the company talking about Nintendo Hardware and Software. Usually boring and awkwardly Japanese, the latest Nintendo Direct renewed my interest in the company and everything that it’s doing or plans to do. With a pinch of nostalgia, Nintendo are using familiar characters and franchises coupled with impressive gameplay videos and new ways to interact with existing characters and the worlds they inhabit. Creating levels with Mario Maker, leveling up characters with the Skylanders-like, Amiibo and returning to Hyrule in the new Legend of Zelda is just a glimpse into the crystal ball.
It seems like the perfect time to purchase a Wii U. The poor start to it’s life has lead many retailers to advertise the console and it’s accessories below recommended retail pricing, with the consoles and bundles selling from anywhere between £100-£220 pounds. Pricing like this takes it out of the sights of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One, and brings it in direct competition with quasi-consoles like the Ouya. But where the Android based console market appears to be stalling, the Wii U may be in the perfect position to strike.
Ouya and other Android based consoles promised quality gaming for roughly £100, but failed due to limited developer support and a tiny user base.