Let me preface this article by stating the obvious: the Nintendo Switch is a fantastic console, and in no way am I here to dispute that – so please put your torches and pitchforks down.
What I would like to raise, however, is how Nintendo continues to flagrantly disregard all the suckers who bought their previous console at launch. You know, the one with the big Fisher Price tablet screen and horrible third-party support. The one that was also so badly marketed, that most consumers couldn’t tell whether it was a standalone console or just an add-on for the Wii.
Well, I knew it wasn’t an add-on, Nintendo. And dare I say it, I championed that bloody piece of plastic that no one wanted like it was a member of my own family. The Mario-stuffed son I’ve yet to have, so to speak.
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When everyone else was jumping ship, proclaiming Nintendo was doomed and shouldn’t ever make a console again, I stuck it out. It was me and the Wii U – yes, the goddamn Wii U – against the world, and I loved that stupid thing regardless of how badly it sold or how miserably it was supported.
A golden dark age
Even though the console will largely be remembered as a catastrophic failure, Nintendo produced some of its finest work for the Wii U. There’s no doubt about that – a quick glance at Metacritic proves as much. Super Mario 3D World was bloody brilliant; Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze is the best platformer I’ve ever played; Bayonetta 2 was a fabulous sequel that no one saw coming; and Mario Kart 8 is comfortably the best entry in the series (though I do have soft spot for Mario Kart: Double Dash).
We also got treated to Pikmin 3, which still has the most realistic depiction of fruit in any video game to date, as well as a cracking side-scrolling Mario game in New Super Mario Bros. U. More niche titles also came to the ailing system as Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker rounded out the Wii U’s small library with nothing but pure quality.
And then, as expected, Nintendo pulled the plug. The glorious generation of gaming on Wii U was over (stop laughing at the back) and Nintendo Switch was suddenly the hip and happening place to be.
Switch it up
Of course, like any hardened Nintendo fan, I was ready for round two, just in case the Nintendo Switch didn’t strike a spark with consumers. However, as soon as the machine was revealed with that seriously catchy track from White Denim “Ha Ha Ha Ha (yeah)", it was clear Nintendo had managed to bottle lightning once again. It helped that the Nintendo Switch launched with one of the very best Legend of Zelda games of all time in the form of Breath of the Wild. But unlike the Wii U, everyone got what the Nintendo Switch was all about in an instant.
Now, I played Breath of the Wild on Switch and not on Wii U. It made sense at the time, as the Wii U’s best years were very much behind it. And yes, I also picked up Mario Kart 8 Deluxe because there’s no way I was missing out on schooling people anytime, anywhere. But it became clear that a worrying trend was beginning to emerge.
Announcement after announcement, more Wii U games were heading to Nintendo Switch. Some included additional content, or previously released DLC, and some also had a “Funky new mode” (you’ll either know what that means or you won’t). But sadly, with Nintendo being a notoriously tight-belted business, these re-releases were more often than not marked up at full price. So, not only were the biggest releases on Switch games that I had already bought, thoroughly enjoyed and often completed, I was now left with the choice to stump up full price to experience déjà vu, or have nothing to play.
Wii remember U
And sadly, that’s how it’s been for a while now. New releases for stalwart Wii U supporters are a few and far between. Every title that I’ve mentioned here is either available now or coming to Switch in the future, which is brilliant – if you’ve never played them of course. But to me, it feels like Nintendo is choosing the easy cash grab instead of trying to match its magnificent output on Wii U.
The company’s back was against the wall, and superb software was needed to sell its hardware. Now, though, the company can afford to release Super Mario 3D All-Stars for just six months before taking it off sale, because hey, why not?
To all the Wii U owners who suffered through the darkest Nintendo timeline like me... I hear your cries. I’m assuming they sound like mine: “No more Wii U ports! No more Wii U ports!”. After all, there would be no Wii U without I, or indeed you – and it’s about time Nintendo starts catering to those who backed it when no one else would.