SNES Mini Wishlist

I’m sad that I was never able to get my hands on a NES mini. Even though Nintendo has said the last shipments of the year will be sent throughout April, I am kind of hopeful that the verbiage “of the year” means we will see its triumphant return at some point. I really want to get every version of the mini and will likely buy myself a Famicom Mini imported from Japan as prices for that console are fairly reasonable. HOPEFULLY, the SNES mini doesn’t have the same production issues the NES mini did. I imagine demand will be even higher this time around as the SNES is thought of better than the NES and I can imagine more people wanting to get on board with the games. So really my #1 wish for the SNES Mini is that they actually make enough that I can own one! But outside of that, everyone and their mothers are making wishlists of what games they want to see on the novelty console so I figured I’d make my wish list. Note though, there are a ton of games I want to see on this console. My choice is basically copying the concept of the NES mini of getting a number of games from different genres and companies.

  1. Super Mario World – I think this is the one gimme that we can expect on the system. The game plays just as good today.
  2. Earthbound – I kind of expect this one on the system as well. The mini will need a couple token RPGs, especially since SNES had so many really good ones. Nintendo of late has been doing its best to promote the Earthbound series and this would be another easy way to get it out there.
  3. F-Zero – A racer, and a great one at that. How could we not see this on the system?
  4. Super Street Fighter II: Random edition – Nintendo gets Final Edition on Switch as an exclusive (for now), is it possible we see one of the SNES editions make it here as well? I have a feeling it was in on the contract.
  5. Final Fantasy IV – VI is the better game, but could easily be held back for a second SNES mini. NES mini has the original Final Fantasy, proving that Square Enix is willing to deal with these.
  6. Super Metroid – Often considered the best Metroid that was made. This would be a beneficial addition for the actiony-type games.
  7. Mega Man X2 – X1 I think is the better game, like FF4 over 6, save it for a future edition, X2 provides a good variety and is still a good game.
  8. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest – See above.
  9. Earthworm Jim – I’m not even entirely sure who owns Earthworm Jim these days. There hasn’t been a new one in ages has there? It was a great game and also a little niche. I think it’d be a great add.
  10. Super Castlevania IV – Konami played nice and put Castlevania on the NES, here’s another classic.
  11. Kirby’s Dream Land 3 – I never got into the Kirby games, but how can you not include Kirby?
  12. Ken Griffey’s Jr’s Winning Run Baseball – Sports game that was actually created by Nintendo. Easy add.
  13. Super Punch-Out – Probably the least popular of the Punch Out games, but again, adds variety and owned by Nintendo.
  14. SimCity – This is one of my all time favorite renditions of any SimCity. Super fun version. I’m not sure how EA feels about putting their games out there and generally this one can only be gotten via cart, but still would be awesome to see its return.
  15. Pilotwings – Man the SNES had a good launch… Pilotwings, SimCity, F-Zero, and Mario World. Pretty sure that was it at launch but I’d take any one of em.
  16. NBA Jam Tournament Edition – Switch is getting a Jam-like game, why not promote it by putting Jam on the mini?
  17. Actraiser – Another game I love that doesn’t get a lot of praise but is great. Part Platformer, Part God-Simulation Part awesome.
  18. Star Fox – Honestly, I was originally going to leave it off the list of games because I feel like the list was already Nintendo heavy and needed to save a few gems for SNES Mini 2 (Which I imagine they have to leave as a possibility), but it is a shooter game and this list is pretty slim on those. It also is the game that showcases the FX chip the best.
  19. Breath of Fire – I wanted one more RPG on the system after FFIV & Earthbound and I wanted it to not be going through Square which is really difficult since Square and Enix were the two big RPG creators of the day and now they are the same company. Breath of Fire is a good game that doesn’t get a ton of press which makes it a great niche game to add to this list.
  20. The Legend of the Mystical Ninja – LOVE this game. Another niche action-adventure game.
  21. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – Thought I’d forget? Naw this game has to be there.
  22. Zombies Ate My Neighbors – I think the Genesis version might actually be the better version, but this is still a cult classic.
  23. Super Adventure Island – Another Hudson Soft Game, I was thinking either this or Bomberman, but I decided that if they were going to include games that allow for 3+ players it’d be on the next SNES Mini, not this version.
  24. Super Star Wars – This is kind of a pipe dream. I don’t think it would happen, but the Star Wars trilogy on the SNES were pretty good games.
  25. Super Mario Kart – Nintendo brings back the version that started it all. I would rank the original as the 4th best SMK, but die hards love this one.
  26. Lemmings – Another pipe dream. This was made by DMA designs which is now Rockstar North and Rockstar hasn’t traditionally played nice with Nintendo so don’t expect it to happen. But IMHO, Lemmings may have been the best puzzle game on the system.
  27. The Lost Vikings – Simliarly, another classic that likely won’t make it. I mean this has a better shot than Lemmings.
  28. Wario’s Woods – I”ll be honest, not played it, and I don’t think the game is generally thought of well. But it is a puzzle game all the same.
  29. Some random Madden – They are pretty much all the same, but this is the generation that started the franchise so I feel like it should be included.
  30. Aerobiz Supersonic – Another pipedream, but this game is a personal favorite of mine. It’s an Airliner business simulator back in the SNES days and is honestly one of my fav from the system. Very niche game and doubt it’d show up but this was my personal wish it was there item.

Done With Final Fantasy XIV

It may come as no surprise to anyone that late last week I cancelled my account for Final Fantasy XIV. The game is beautiful, has a couple of cool ideas, but overall it just isn’t for me. I had tried to salvage it one last shot by switching guilds, but the new guild didn’t work out so I just cancelled completely. Here’s a listing of overall issues I had with it.

  1. Lonely – I keep hearing how great the community of FFXIV is… maybe it is the juxtaposition of the juvenile community of WoW. But I never got over my sense of loneliness in the game. You were rarely encouraged to do quests as a group, really because they all contained long cut-scenes, in a lot of respects you were discouraged from grouping in them. Dungeons were largely cross-server which meant pick-up groups were even more throw away than before as you have no way to communicate cross server. The only real way to group was to get lucky on  your guild pick up, which I was not…. twice.
  2. Easy – FFXIV follows the WoW trend of making a game that requires no effort at all. No death penalties. Like, I’m sorry if I can do raids and extreme/savage difficulty in a pick up group, there’s something wrong with the game. The high end loot is all easily attainable by anyone. The game is, like WoW, designed to make sure that everyone has access to everything, and generally it takes the same amount of time, as everything is fairly kept to a cap, for everyone. (There are a few pieces that leave this formula but too few.) I find it funny that I had convos with people about the original FFXIV, and one of the things they brought up with why it was bad was that you lose xp on death… man that sounded nice. Now I have since watched videos on why the original was bad and I don’t think it was good, but that particular functionality is not a reason.
  3. Itemization – This game had really crappy items. I mean REALLY crappy. I feel like the game in general had a lot of features that were overly simplistic because balancing is hard. I mean, yeah it’s hard, that’s why they pay you money to do it and not just throw crap in. Items were super basic, there were no sets, no randomization, items never gave bonuses to skills. You have a stat for strength? Item will give it a bonus and nothing more. It wasn’t good and it made it difficult for me to want to progress. I didn’t look forward at items and go “Man I can’t wait until I get the extra 10 to Wisdom.”
  4. Raids – I have discussed this in a previous post. I chose FFXIV because I wanted to raid. And while the 3 raids the game had were pretty nifty… There just weren’t many here to hang your hat on.
  5. Class Selection – I will say, for the most part, the class selection in the game is fairly vanilla. I landed on Astrologer because I felt like it was one of the more interesting classes in the game, and also because I like healer, but everything else is also pretty standard. It’s hard to say so early, but I am kind of disappointed that Stormblood releases 2 DPS classes. Red Mage could have been cool if they did something to follow the traditional half-healer half-DPS, but they already got that sort of covered with the Scholar anyway. And the game completely ignores the fourth pillar of classic MMO class balance… the Support. I was leveling a Bard towards the end, but the Bard at its base is really DPS. It does touch on support, but not much.
  6. Elder Game  – Or lack thereof. This is kind of a summary of previous points to be fair. Obviously if there are few raids and no itemization. the Elder Game is going to be lacking as well.  I feel like FFXIV, and feel that again this is a problem in WoW as well, utilizing leveling  up secondary classes as a form of Elder Game, and as someone who just wants to play one or two classes at a time, this really holds little appeal to me. The game, and others in the game, really encourages you to go ahead and level that other class because it’s just so easy to switch between classes on the same character. It’s cool, but shallow. Stuck on the time limit to get better gear for your main class? Just level a new class! They entice you further by giving bonus XP for already having a max class character, so why not? Because there is no way for items to get lost, there is no need to get items more than once. And because it isn’t particularly difficult to get items, you always kind of have that urge of, I’m done with this class now to do another. It’s just not for me. Of note was the inclusion of a casino, haven’t seen that rendition of an Elder Game since the olden days. I didn’t mind that so much except to avoid people from getting rich, they made their own currency <rolls eyes>.

So with that, I end a chapter in my MMO life. At this point, there aren’t many  other MMOs I am very interested in. Most of the MMOs these days area either PvP or WoW-easy and I’m not that interested in either. Maybe in a year I will revisit the genre and there will be something new.

FFXIV 2 Months In

I am now entering my 3rd month with Final Fantasy XIV and I thought I’d stop and talk about it some. For reference, I have leveled both a White Mage and Astrologer to level 60, I’ve been at 60 for a few weeks with both actually and am starting to get fair gear for my level. I have also leveled the 3 gathering classes to level 46, and the about 8 crafting classes to almost level 40. I have not completed all of the Main Story line quests as of yet, but I feel I am probably pretty close to being done with them.

I first want to discuss the quests…. I did try to pay attention to the quests early on, but I got bored fairly quick and got tired of reading the insane amounts of text for what didn’t seem all that interesting of a story early on. I hear it picks up, but when I have this sense of “catching up” in terms of actual game since I didn’t play the first 3 or 4 years of the game, reading a ridiculous amount of text that don’t actually have much to do with the game play, well it’s easy to let it go. I don’t believe any of the story is interactive at all at any rate so I don’t feel like I am missing out. By interactive, I mean no choice I make or any player or group of player changes the story. We can’t as a server decide that we don’t care about X going on so that thing is going to not happen. As a matter of fact, you pretty much have to defeat whatever bosses you have to defeat because the only way to get content unlocked is by unlocking content which requires beating bosses. So if I decided to actually not defeat a boss because I don’t believe in his cause, well not only am I not unlocking that raid or dungeon or trial, but I am also not unlocking everything that gets unlocked AFTER it in the storyline, which is just awful. You may as well not play at that point. So there really is no story choice at all and there is no player that ever affects the game world at all in any meaningful way and because of this, I just don’t care about the story, even though I’ve heard it’s decent.

Now the reason that I came to FFXIV in the first place is because I heard that the raiding scene was pretty good. I am just starting to get into the raiding. I am not in a guild that has a regular group that raids, so I generally go in duty finder and just get auto added to the random raids. So I admit that I have a limited experience here. Still,  I have gone through most of the most recent line of raids. I have had a difficult time getting through the level 50 raids as there are fewer people who go through them which makes sense. My overall reaction is…. what raids? Which is only slightly unfair. Group content in this game is divied up into a number of different categories… It’s all instance and level synced so even at 60 you can play the level 17 dungeon and it is easier for a 60 than a straight 17 but still can be challenging.

  • Dungeons – are what you’d think, it’s usually 2 smaller bosses, one more challenging boss, and a bunch of trash. Usually it is a decent sized run that takes about a half hour and I find the Dungeons fairly satisfying, though they don’t drop any gear worth wearing for the most part. Most dungeons have a normal and a hard variety. I like this, as it reuses the assets from the original dungeon and keeps it relevant and variety later in the game.
  • Trials – These are essentially one off boss fights. The boss is usually fairly challenging, especially at extreme. The fight does have 3 difficulties: Normal, Hard, and Extreme. I kind of hope and expect for a forth difficulty with the upcoming expansion. Really, this is a non-loot event which is odd to me, the Extreme version does have super rare mount loots that people farm them for. They tend to have a decent tome drop compared to dungeons and they are super quick, like 10 or 15 minutes, there are a couple longer trials but they are rare. Honestly, I don’t entirely understand why people do the Trials but I find myself doing them more than other content because I find them fulfilling and when I only have a few minutes, they fill up time well.
  • GuildHests – Really these are kind of mini-trials. Most of them are a single fight and not overly difficult. The last Guildhest is level 40 so I have a feeling they won’t be continued longterm. Again no loot or anything, you do get some grand company $$ but not much.
  • Raids – Ok I am going to actually split this up into two:
    • Mini-Dungeons – This is actually a more accurate way to describe most of the raids in this game. Take 8 players and put them through a series of bosses, sometimes with trash mobs between. This is where most good loot is dolled out. They are generally quicker than actual dungeons because they have less trash to go through, but the mechanics of the bosses are far more complex and the boss fights take a bit more time. This is not at all what I would call a raid however because there isn’t a time investment or strategy investment really. They are like 2 or 3 trials put together, generally take 20-30 minutes. Honestly I’d rather do these more than Dungeons because there’s actually loot here. But because there isn’t a daily roulette, there aren’t as many groups doing it for some reason.
    • Raids – There are, I think, 3 Raids per 10 level tier. Seriously, only 3. And they aren’t overly popular to do. Probably because they actually require time and effort to do. But they also don’t seem to have as good of gear as the mini-dungeons either so there’s less reason to do them.

So here’s the thing. The best loot in the game is dropped in the mini-dungeons so everyone tends to focus on that. This makes sense. The second tier of loot can be received from doing ANY of the rest of the content (outside of guildhests). Because you receive tomes from doing them, you turn in tomes for 2nd and 3rd tier gear. YAY hazzah. Some methods you get more tomes than others, but generally you get tomes from doing near anything in the game. So in the end I feel very unfulfilled by what I’m seeing with the raiding tier. I don’t visualize small dungeons as raids, I really don’t. Raids are a massive undertaking…. to me it’s generally 20+ (though I would take 15+) people getting together and coordinating for a greater goal. And that was the draw I was looking for. 8 people running through large scale content, while fun is the stuff that fills the middle between the big thing. The dynamics within these are great! They totally remind me of the instanced dungeons in EQ2 that we would use to gear up to do the raids. But here they are the end result. It’s weird. The whole gear system is f’d up.

So Blech. I’m still playing FFXIV but I feel the writing is on the wall. I do really like their crafting system, being able to switch jobs is pretty nice too. I feel the game as a whole follows WoW’s “let’s make the game really easy so that casual players can play and hardcore players feel left out.” But that’s becoming standard, anything meant for a hardocre player is viewed as “not with the times.” I may go back to giving EQ2 another play, but honestly don’t have high hopes, it seems like the servers are pretty dead now.

Return to the land of MMORPGs

It was during Christmas Vacation, amidst working during my time off, that I was contemplating my current state of loneliness in life. And I was trying to think back to a time where I was feeling less lonely and more fulfilled by interactions with others, and I realized that this came largely due to friends made during online games rather than in real life.

I’ve always had a select few really good offline friends, but this was always supplemented by online friends made in games. It was in this way I always felt very fulfilled with my relationships in life despite having a case of social anxiety.

Well as it turns out, 5 or 6 years ago, I was playing Travian fairly hardcore and also in a hardcore EQ2 raiding guild when I had some fights with my roommate that led to me deciding that I needed to make my priorities a little more real life and a little less online. This was also helped by the fact that my raiding guild had broken up and though I joined a new one, I didn’t find it as fulfilling and didn’t really like the latest expansion from EQ2 so it felt like a natural time to end online games.

Now years later, no roommate and my kid is nearly 18, I find myself having less real world responsibilities again and I notice myself becoming more lonely. I realized that it was this absence of online games which had a big part of it so here I am, returning to the scene of the MMO.

I first thought, well EQ2 is still kicking but upon looking at the game as a whole I must say that it isn’t kicking all that much. I’m a little disappointed that EQ Next was axed as I think that one may have been a good home. So I started looking at what games made a good Raiding experience. I feel that, though I tend to prefer sand boxy games, this raiding cromradery is what I miss from my online life. Relaly guild cromradery, but I think raiding hardcore really speeds up frienships so that’s what I’m at for now.

With EQ pretty much out, there really isn’t a ton of games with a good raid experience. I kept on searching and finding people pointing at 3 games… World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, and Wildstar. Well, I kind of don’t want to go to WoW…. I have always been against how they have dumbed down the genre and made it easier, and though they do have a raiding experience, in my EQ2 days, EQ2 was largely thought as the better experience. It’s totally possible WoW has since gotten better, but meh I just don’t want to play that game really. I also have discovererd that Wildstar, though newer than the other two, has lost most of its subscribers and is a fairly lonely game so I felt that kind of took it out of contention for me. This left me with Final Fantasy XIV.

And so, I began my journey into the world of Eorzea. So far, so good I guess. The first 50 levels went by pretty quickly but it did slow down quite a bit at 50, largely because the quests stopped giving experience at that level. I have picked up playing White Mage because in my raiding days, I primarily played a healer… though now that I’ve been playing, I have heard that Scholar and Astrologean are more desired in the raiding tier. I will probably switch to Ast once I attain level 60 but for now I’m sticking with the white mage. I think this makes sense because you gain an xp bonus on future jobs once you hit the cap.

I do like that you can switch jobs at will whenever you like with no penalty. And really each class is separate. You get attribute points for leveling, but the points you get are kept only within the job that you leveled. If I switch from White Mage to Warrior, those points I put into Mind, go away entirely and once I level I can put points into Strength without a second thought. I really like the system, it makes me wonder why they gave everyone 8 characters to play. 8 Characters per datacenter at that, so you can build 16 on American servers alone. Seems like a good way to make mule characters. Another nice feature is that you can have up to 10 hot bars, but you can mark certain hotbars as unshared. What this means is that if you do switch jobs, the unshared hotbars will switch as to the new job as well. Very nice touch. Theoretically you can have a completely new set of 10 hotbars per job which really gives you a lot of room to play around with.

So far, it does largely follow the easiness of WoW. I am currently level 42, and the only time I have needed other players is when I have needed to do a dungeon to complete a quest. You can’t do a dungeon solo, there isn’t even the option as far as I can tell, you have to do it with a group. So group I must. I have also grouped and done dungeons just as a change of pace from walking back and forth from the dull quests. But overall it’s a mostly soloable game which I don’t like because it is an multiplayer game after all. Also, I play a healer, which to me by definition should be asking for someone to heal but whatever. There is also no real death penalty as far as I can tell. I know items degrade over time, but they degrade for pretty much any reason. Using a spell in combat degrades boots for some reason, as does enemies hitting you and once to 0% I think the item no longer provides its bonuses anymore but I don’t ever notice a big enough drop off in my production so I tend to just keep going with a few items broken. Oh well. And I don’t notice a significant hit to those items durability from death so again I don’t really notice a death penalty. Really FFXIV seems like a WoW 2.0. But I feel that is where most MMOs are going these days so I guess I gotta live with it if I want to continue with the genre.

I also dislike that FFXIV requires you to unlock everything via quest. And I do mean everything. I don’t think I could have grouped until I unlocked that via quest. You have to unlock jobs via quest (which I think is good), every dungeon, trial, every version of dungeon (Hard, extreme, savage), everything has to be unlocked via quest. To some degree I kind of like it, it gives an extra sense of progression. But on the other side, some features I feel should just be available. Like really? I have to unlock the email service during a quest? It also makes me think I can’t do certain things until I find the quest to unlock it so that when  you run across one of the few things you don’t need the quest to unlock, you still aren’t using it because you still feel you need a quest. (I ran into this with their guilds, thinking there must be a quest to unlock them as there was a greyed out option in my bar and i figured I needed to unlock that to search for guilds, but no, you just can’t search for guilds in the game apparently). I am currently in the midst of a bit where I have tons of unlock quests from the time that 50 was the highest level, so there are all these level 50 dungeons I need to unlock and hard versions and extreme versions and whatever. It gets old, and none of them seem to give xp because 50 was max cap even though it isn’t anymore.

Be that as it may, I am trudging through. I have found a guild and continue on with progression. I have yet to find myself in a raid because I still haven’t hit 60. But I hope to be full on raiding shortly. Here’s to hoping at least.

Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch

I’ve been waiting to post about the Nintendo Switch. Waiting for more and solid info, not just the rumors that have been going around. I’ve been waiting for my initial considerations to settle and get a more complex view of the system. And I finally feel that it’s time to sit down and write about what I think of Nintendo’s upcoming system.

First, let me say that I am excited. I currently have two preorders for the system sitting at Gamestop. One online with a couple bundled games, one from the store with just the system. I’m currently contemplating whether to cancel one or to scalp it. Not sure. But I am a Nintendo Fanboy and I get that my excitement is me being excited to see what Nintendo has next.

I looked at the previews for the various games coming out and personally I thought how different the games look. The last couple of consoles, we have been treated with gimmicky and kiddy games, and while that is still there, I felt that Nintendo has a line-up of RPGs which is fairly strong. In 2017 alone you have: Disgaea 5, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Skyrim, Zelda: Breath of the Wild (I hate calling this game an RPG, but this release seems more RPGy than most), I am Setsuna, Dragon Quest XI, and Dragon Quest Heroes 1 & 2. And that’s just what has been announced for 2016’s RPGs. On top of those, we have Project Octopath, Dragon Quest X, Shin Megami Tensei, and Tales of being announced as Switch games, if not this year then in the future. And then we have rumored games of Pokemon Stars, Mother 3, and that Ubisoft Mario/Rabbids crossover RPG. This is such a huge RPG lineup and I don’t think people fully comprehend this. RPGs have been where Nintendo  has struggled most since the SNES, which may very well be the best RPG console ever. Since the SNES days, Nintendo consoles may have 6 to 9 total RPGs in the entire lifespan of the console. Now, Nintendo may cross that mark in their first year with this console.

This shows Nintendo has definitely changed their tune for getting third parties involved. Obviously they are missing the mark on getting the prime 3rd party support that everyone wants. No Madden announced, no Red Dead Redemption 2, not even GTA V. But it feels like Nintendo is picking a niche that generally does well with a  certain segment of adults and trying to add it to it’s repertoire.  Let’s consider something else here when talking RPGs… Xbox One has , to my knowledge 4 RPGs after 2.5 years of console life… Final Fantasy XV, Skyrim, Fallout 4, and Dark Souls 3. Unfortunately for Nintendo, these are all considered AAA titles and it doesn’t look like Nintendo will score 3 of them, though there is a fairly large chance for Dark Souls 3 to enter into Switch’s lineup at a later date.

Outside their strong RPG lineup, I am slightly dismayed at what I saw from Nintendo. Again, no big sports games outside of FIFA and NBA 2K18, I usually get one Madden per generation and that won’t be on a Nintendo console yet again. Nintendo themselves have a good threesome of Splatoon 2, Mario and Zelda. Though Zelda is just a port from the Wii U and Splatoon 2 looks a lot like Splatoon 1. Mario looks great, but I don’t feel Mario holds the same sway that it once did, I could be wrong on that… Galaxy 1 & 2 were well thought of and those weren’t that long ago. I don’t think that 1, 2 Switch or ARMS were strong showings and outside that there really isn’t a ton out there. But I love the RPG support. It makes me feel so much better about the Switch than  the Wii  U.

I feel the best games for Switch outside of the RPG & Mario is Snipperclips (which I may not get because I don’t think I’d have anyone to play with) and Bomberman R. Neither of which is getting much mainstream press. I’m not interested in a lot of the other stuff, I feel Arms might be great, just not targeted towards me. I could be wrong. I looked at it and was like why isn’t this a Punch Out game? But I do think it goes places Punch Out doesn’t and probably is a more deep game than Punch Out even.

I also didn’t feel like any of the games they showed, really pushed the system past what the Wii U could do which really gave me pause of what the Switch could do. I felt like though it wouldn’t hit PS4 and Xbox One levels, it would outdo what the WU could do by far, but after watching their presentation, I question that. I have no doubt it is better… but it doesn’t feel like it is much better. I wish Nintendo had something that really made me feel like OMG this thing is so much more powerful than the Wii U AND I can take it anywhere. But really I feel like it is the Wii U, just portable. Which is cool, but disappointing at the same time.

Which kind of brings me to what is the biggest disappointment of the Switch. Their marketing. You would think that they would have learned from how the Wii U failed to NOT fail the same way, but I feel they are doing the exact same thing they did before and I think it might bite them. From watching everything they do, you would think that the Switch is a console that you can take anywhere. But the problem with that marketing is it puts it up against the Xbox One and PS4. Which if the Switch was slightly weaker than those two but portable, people would be OK with it. But it isn’t. It is drastically weaker than those two and so the comparisons to those two systems are really going to hurt the Switch I fear. They should be marketing as a portable that you can play on your TV. The reason this is an important distinction is that this puts the Switch into the realm of competing with the 3DS and Vita and maybe tablets to a lessor extent. In this comparison, the Switch does much better. It is hands above those systems in nearly every aspect. When someone complains to me about the graphics capabilities of the Switch vs PS4 I reply back.. yeah but the PS4’s battery life is crappy and it’s hard to play in the car while someone else is driving. My point obviously being that really the Switch is a portable. The problem Nintendo  has is that the 3DS still has steam and they are really scared of replacing the 3DS and the Wii U with the switch because while the Wii U has done poorly, the 3DS has done OK for itself. This past Christmas saw a huge seller in Pokemon Sun & Moon, so huge, it was hard to buy a 3DS from retail because they wanted to get one to play the new game. It puts Nintendo in an awkward place with this system, but they really need to sell it as a replacement to both, I think sales and 3rd party support would do better if they did.

At the end of the day, while companies were not supporting the Wii later years, and the Wii U…. support for the 3DS never really failed. And now with reports of the Vita being discontinued in American territories… the big place I feel Switch is picking support up is those Vita developers, hence the huge RPG support they seem to be getting. I think we may see a number of games which will be PS4 and Switch only, not because the Switch is the second most powerful, but because people are choosing #1 console and #1 portable. But if Nintendo continues to insist that it is not a  portable because they are afraid of galvanizing the 3DS market, they may find that instead the 3DS is galvanizing the Switch market and dooming the Switch. Nintendo needs to pick their poison at this point in time… and it is hard for them to change. They don’t want to admit that they are leaving the console market. But the Switch’s best hope is that they have.

An Ode to the Wii U

With the Switch being officially announced, and only one real game left on the Wii U, and one that will also be launched on the Switch at that. I think we can safely say that the Nintendo Wii U is dead in the water.  With that, I thought I’d take a moment to discuss the good and the bad of the console as there was definitely both.

First the name. It’s funny, the Wii took a lot of criticism for the name as well, but I think we all got kind of used to it. But by naming this console the Wii U instead of say the Wii 2, people didn’t fully understand it was a sequel to the Wii instead of an Update to the WIi. I personally don’t entirely understand the confusion with people thinking the Wii U was just a tablet add on for the Wii but there it is, people did. From the similar name, to the similar look of the console, to the similar graphics, people just thought it was the same console, so why buy? It’s been a much talked about issue and it was one of the larger ones that held the console back.

And that tablet addon? Well that never really functioned I think the way that Nintendo was hoping. They were hoping for divergent gameplay but really outside of Nintendoland and a couple other outside games, no one, even Nintendo, ever really used the gamepad. Instead it became a way to play your Wii U games without using the Television screen… a precursor in concept to the Nintendo Switch.

The menu… I have a love hate relationship with. I absolutely love the idea of the Miiverse and think Nintendo did a fair job of incorporating it. But I really never liked how they used the television to show recent things people are talking about in the mii community. I always wanted the menu on the TV. I feel like they could have done something else to bring the miiverse into the menu but I don’t know what. The menu itself was an evolution of what they had started in the Wii. You have tiles, you can arrange tiles. But it took designs from the 3DS as well. You could now change the number of rows on a screen and, more importantly, you could add folders which really helped keep the menus clean and organized. I will say, for whatever reason I like the simplicity of the Wii Shop menu a little more than what we got on the Wii U menu, but I think game developers liked the Wii U better as it did a better job showcasing various games that were out and on sale.

But really it’s all about the games. And to be honest, I really loved the games of the Wii U and feel like they have gone very under appreciated. Could there have been more? Hell yes! But I felt like where the WIi concentrated on casual games more, as evidenced by all the mario sports games, mario party games, and games like Wii Fit and Wii Music… the Wii U took a step back to the core gamer. Sure it had the updated version of Wii Fit and Wii Sports. But gone was the bevy of Mario Sports and other casual games. We never really got a stand alone Zelda or Mario, but I feel like that was largely due to the short lifespan of the system itself.  We did get a Pikmin, a Bayonetta, what I think is the best version of New Super Mario, to date, a new Yoshi game, and another new Xenoblade,  We also saw the creation of some great new IPs that I hope to see again some day in Wonderful 101 and Splatoon, as well as new takes o n old games like NES Remix and Super Mario Maker. And lastly we saw what has become a plague of remasters with the Zelda remasters. I will say I was kind of disappointed in the overall Virtual Console for the Wii U, it never really hit its stride as much as it did on the Wii… fewer games were released on it and many I still have to page back to the Wii in order to play, but it is sufficient. I was also disappointed that they never did start releasing Gamecube VC games, instead opting to release Wii VC games which I still find somewhat odd and puzzling. We did get Earthbound and Earthbound beginnings launched on the system’s VC though so I really can’t complain (sure I can!)

Overall, I feel like the Wii U has been a bittersweet system. Full of new and original ideas that Nintendo had never made before, but with launch dates that never really picked up the way that they did on the DS and the 3DS (both of which had a difficult time pumping out software early in their cycles). All in all, I think I ended up liking what I got from the Wii U slightly more than what I got from the WIi. I feel like had it gotten a couple more years and a bit more in the sales department people would have been more behind this system than what it ended up to be. I still rate N64 as my favorite all time console, but the Wii U has somehow squeaked into my top 5 I think. But then, I always have appreciated systems where there was a low level of shovelware.