How’s Nintendo Doing?

So, IGN wrote an interesting column about how Nintendo is not creating decent, brand-new content, but we as the consumers are just fine with that. I’m not writing this article to directly pounce on anything specific that IGN wrote, but rather the concept itself-that Nintendo could be doing more.

It’s an interesting topic, really. I hear people say this about the movie industry when considering franchises such as Saw, Final Destination, or even your typical romance comedy. They are not necessarily well-made pieces of art, but we don’t care as moviegoers-we’re still shelling out money to see them. IGN has likened that to Nintendo. I have to agree, for the most part. I see games like “Cold Stone Creamery” and probably over a hundred others that probably shouldn’t even exist, but do. Apparently, somebody is buying this stuff. One reason I don’t like GameStop is because they seem to be the ones stocking so much of this junk. But I guess there are people buying it.

But the junk drawer of video games isn’t exactly what this post nor IGN’s post is about. It’s more about first-party Nintendo stuff. The first thing that comes to my mind is that Nintendo could be continuing certain franchises but have decided not to. I’m really left wondering why. The two that come to my mind are Pikmin and Star Fox. Now, Star Fox didn’t do so well in the GCN era, by many people’s standards. I personally liked Star Fox Adventures quite a lot, despite the fact (I acknowledge it, too) that it’s not really a Star Fox game. And then when a ‘real’ Star Fox game arrives, it’s not nearly up to par with classics like Star Fox 64 and even the original. With Pikmin, I personally thought the second game in the franchise was one of the best games for GCN, and I absolutely loved it. The sales didn’t match the widespread praise for the game. Had the 3-year old franchise really died out? I myself was a bit uncertain as to the low sales. When the original was remade for the Wii, that too received poor sales. And I am still screaming at Nintendo for not releasing Pikmin 2 for the Wii when every other region has it (or so I’ve heard).

But if I even gripe about Wii games that were originally GCN or PS2 games, than it brings a whole different topic into mind. Many of the best games for the Wii are not entirely for the Wii. I can think of several off the top of my head. Resident Evil 4, Okami, Metroid Prime Trilogy…I might even put The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on this list since it was basically made as a GCN game. But I’m okay with this. Why? Because they are good games that I never fully experienced on past consoles.

As much as I want Nintendo to make another Star Fox or Pikmin for the Wii, I’m actually doing quite fine until they even make an announcement. I’m still playing through Okami, Metroid Prime Trilogy and Twilight Princess. I’m still exploring the vast library of Virtual Console games, especially with my latest download, Super Mario RPG. Nintendo seems to be gradually releasing those games, as well.

A part of me feels like despite a new Zelda, new Mario, new Metroid, that the Wii is indeed running out of steam. There aren’t even that many more VC games that I can think of that I want to buy (probably Donkey Kong 64, Pilotwings 64 and Star Fox). So while it seems that a new ‘Wii’ or new Nintendo console may not be coming in 2011, I would wonder how Nintendo is going to keep this coming year strong. It seems like all the major releases will be at the end of the year. There’s no guarantee in my mind that Zelda will even be coming out this year, especially given Nintendo’s track record. Super Mario Galaxy 2 will likely see the light of day this year, but still…

All that said, the Wii could be doing so much more. What is with the lack of support for the Wii Motion Plus, by the way? I am left confused at such a strong launch for the device (Tiger Woods 10, Wii Sports Resort) at why there can’t at least be another Mario Party for the Wii. Nintendo shelled out 4 of them for the GCN, and none were all that good. The Wii’s current version is selling so well that Nintendo is just cashing in on that. Can’t blame them, but still-3 years later, I’m left wondering why they can’t make at least one more.

But maybe I am asking too much. Maybe Nintendo sees its potential in other franchises and is letting the gamer like me sit and play the games I currently own while I happily (maybe) wait for their big games to hit this Fall. Which is like 10 months away. And so I am left waiting. But I am hoping that Nintendo can deliver something besides Pokemon HeartGold for me before that time.