Saturday, June 28, 2014

More Nintendo Love - Mario Kart 8

For the few of you who may have actually read some of my posts, it may come as no surprise to you that I am writing another blog on the greatness of Nintendo as an entertainment company and the Wii U as a video game console; previously I had already sung the praises of the Wii U and detailed why I wouldn't be buying an XBox One or PS4.

I'll admit: "Wii U" is a terrible name and the system has suffered from a low number of quality games, but Mario Kart 8 has changed all that. With the word that the game has sold over 2 million copies in roughly a month, Nintendo finally has the massive Wii U hit that it desperately needed. Estimates were placing roughly 600,000 new Wii U purchases strictly on the back of this game as well, making it truly the "killer app" Nintendo was hoping for.

Quality games is nothing new to Nintendo - they've been doing it longer than I've been alive. What I think is lost is that there are a lot of great Wii U games - The Wonderful 101 is a great example of a fresh title that offered new characters and gameplay, and Pikmin 3 was so well-made that it redefined the series. Lego Marvel Super Heroes is another great title that appeared on other systems, but the Wii U version has a brighter, cleaner look to it. The Uncharted Series is the closest to a breath of fresh air I've seen from Sony or Microsoft, but the tired genre of Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo, etc., doesn't offer me anything compared to seeing my five year old daughter power slide through a turn, fire off a red turtle shell and take first place at Mario Stadium. We've beaten every track and unlocked almost every item and we still enjoy playing it. Sometimes I even play the game by myself after my daughter's gone to bed - which is something I've not done in years.

It may surprise you to learn that, even though I sing the praises of Nintendo regularly, I was never into Mario Kart before. The first time I ever played the game was "Mario Kart DS," after buying the game for my daughter. That purchase quickly snowballed into "Mario Kart 7 (3DS)" and now "MK8." I had actually played quite a few racing games when I first got a Nintendo Entertainment System, but my interests quickly switched to more "serious games." I can remember the original Mario Kart being released, but it came in a time when I was not into "fun" games - I considered myself a "serious gamer" who had to conquer RPGs and save the universe every time. But games are supposed to be fun!

So Nintendo, congratulations on the sales. I hope they continue to skyrocket. Now just bring me a modern version of RC Pro-Am, Cobra TriangleSuper Off RoadF-Zero and Wave Race, 'cause I've got the racing bug. (And if you're feeling generous, an HD Micro Machines would ice this cake!)