July 29 – August 2

I don't really know what to make of the Wii U. I'm operating under the assumption that Nintendo is quietly taking a beating on the disappointing performance of the system, but I also find that when I make assumptions like that about anything having to do with Nintendo I find out later how completely wrong I was. For example, I labored under the misunderstanding that the 3DS was similarly struggling only to discover earlier this year that its early 2013 sales were up some 50% year-over-year.

So in some ways it wouldn't surprise me to suddenly read that the Wii U were some kind of secret success, but I guess I doubt it. My son, who is nine and should be the ideal target audience for the Wii U, has not once expressed any interest in having the system. We're talking about a boy so obsessed with all things video games that if you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he has to stop to decide if it's professional gamer or e-sportscaster. Apparently what he wants to be when he grows up is living in my basement.

I suppose as new Sony and Microsoft offerings invade our house later this year, the trusty old Wii will be asked to hold strong. Frankly, I'm a little disappointed. I think it's good having a strong Nintendo presence in the console gaming mix.

As for the Game of the Week, let's give the Wii U its due brief moment in the sun with the release of Pikmin 3.

PC
- CastleStorm (download)
- Cloudberry Kingdom (download)
- Narco Terror (download)
- Realms of Arkania - Blade of Destiny (download)
- Rise of the Triad (download)
- Skulls of the Shogun Bone-a-Fide Edition (download)

Xbox 360
- Cloudberry Kingdom (XBLA)
- Narco Terror (XBLA)

PS3
- Cloudberry Kingdom (PSN)
- Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly (PS2 Classics)
- Narco Terror (PSN)
- Samurai Warriors: Xtreme Legends (PS2 Classics)
- The Last Bounty Hunter (PSN)

Wii U
- Cloudberry Kingdom (eShop)
- Pikmin 3

Vita
- PixelJunk Monsters: Ultimate HD (PSN)
- Puzzle by Nikoli V: Slitherlink (PSN)

3DS
- Family Kart 3D (eShop - $5)
- Kirby's Dream Land (Virtual Console)

Comments

Pikmin 3 is bound to be a great game but it's not going to help sell any Wii Us. The narrow window that Nintendo had to make an impact is now closed as people are saving their gaming monies for PS4 and XBone.

That bodes poorly for the future of Nintendo as a full-scale hardware developer, but like you said, it's hard to rule them out. For all I know they're just going through a mid-90's-esque Apple Computer phase and will somehow reinvent themselves in spectacular fashion. I guess you could argue though that the Wii U was the attempt to do just that. Apple came out of their slump by breaking out of the samey beige box paradigm, and Nintendo is already out there in left field.

Personally I'm really excited to see Fatal Frame 2 available for PS3. I might have to grab that for a weekend spook fix.

Good thing Family Kart 3D is only on the e-shop. If that was on shelves there would be a lot of kid/parent arguments about how it's NOT the same and MARIO and who cares if it's cheaper.

Or maybe he wants to live in a South Korean basement.

No games for me. Civ 5 and Rogue Legacy is going to last for, I don't know, a couple of thousand hours more I guess.

imbiginjapan wrote:

That bodes poorly for the future of Nintendo as a full-scale hardware developer, but like you said, it's hard to rule them out.

I wouldn't worry about that at this point, frankly. The 3DS is selling quite well and is on pace to sell gangbusters over its lifetime.

The Wii U may end up being a total flop, or it could end up being a slow burn success story, but it's not going to sink Nintendo as a hardware developer since the 3DS is doing so well. The worst that happens is that their home console is significantly less successful than their handheld (i.e., we get another Nintendo 64 or GameCube).

ClockworkHouse wrote:
imbiginjapan wrote:

That bodes poorly for the future of Nintendo as a full-scale hardware developer, but like you said, it's hard to rule them out.

I wouldn't worry about that at this point, frankly. The 3DS is selling quite well and is on pace to sell gangbusters over its lifetime.

By "full-scale" I was trying to separate the handheld space from the living room console. I think they are stubborn and resilient enough to keep trying but it will come down to whether or not they can achieve profitability on a niche console system. The Wii U is decidedly not profitable at this point from everything I have heard.

I see. I misunderstood you.

I think it's far too early to rule out the Wii U. I doubt it'll hit Wii-like numbers, of course, but it's been out for less than a year. If Nintendo can start cranking out games for it like they have for the 3DS, which is in the middle of one of the best years I've ever seen on a console, then I think the Wii U has a chance of getting picked up as a companion console. We'll just have to see.

I've taken a gamble on the Realms of Arkania - BoD remake. Never played very far into the original version but I do quite like the more modern "Dark Eye" games.

...although it may not bode well that they only have 1 "testing achievement" set up for it in Steam 0_o

stevenmack wrote:

I've taken a gamble on the Realms of Arkania - BoD remake. Never played very far into the original version but I do quite like the more modern "Dark Eye" games.

...although it may not bode well that they only have 1 "testing achievement" set up for it in Steam 0_o

I also took a gamble, but more so because I am an RPGs addict. I watched a trailer for a bit and made an impulse purchase. Later I watched more and saw some terrible looking tactical turn based combat and thought rut roh. The graphics on the rest were ok for an indie budget game but that combat stuff.... Man it looked like it was created by first year graphic art students.

Pikmin 3 is this week? Good job on me for taking a vacation this week

imbiginjapan wrote:

Pikmin 3 is bound to be a great game but it's not going to help sell any Wii Us.

*ahem*

Granted the hardware sales dropped by a 1/3rd the following week but you did say *any*.

Certis wrote:

Good thing Family Kart 3D is only on the e-shop. If that was on shelves there would be a lot of kid/parent arguments about how it's NOT the same and MARIO and who cares if it's cheaper.

Had I a WiiU, Pikmin 3 would then be my likely choice, however, since I don't own that system, I'm folding for this week

The biggest draw of the Wii (U) for me is the VC. I still haven't bought one yet, and likely never will, but if I ever did it would be because I realized I couldn't live anymore without old Nintendo/SNES games like Earthbound (that, or I refuse to buy them for $150+ on ebay). Also, no matter what Nintendo does in the console and handheld world, they'll have a ridiculously strong presence in Japan - just ask Microsoft how their sales overseas are compared to Nintendo and Sony.

- Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly (PS2 Classics)

Wait, what?

I don't even see this on the EU release list.... I loved this game back in the day but never got a chance to complete it! Maaaaaan!!

Or does PS2 classics mean "PSN"? Because I read it was removed from PSN after its initial release...

We're talking about a boy so obsessed with all things video games that if you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he has to stop to decide if it's professional gamer or e-sportscaster. Apparently what he wants to be when he grows up is living in my basement.

To be fair to him, that laz-e-boy you've been hoarding will be well broken-in by the time he gets to have it! Plus, what with certain e-sportstereers being named "athletes" in the USA recently he might not be onto a bad thing...

My game of the week? Any game I got during the steam sale!! @D

Duoae wrote:
- Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly (PS2 Classics)

Wait, what?

I don't even see this on the EU release list.... I loved this game back in the day but never got a chance to complete it! Maaaaaan!!

Or does PS2 classics mean "PSN"? Because I read it was removed from PSN after its initial release...

From what I gather it was pulled from PSN for technical problems and now it's been fixed and re-released. No idea what the status in EU is.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

I see. I misunderstood you. :)

Yeah it sounded like the same old "Nintendo is going to go the way of Sega and only make games instead of hardware" that the gaming media and/or MS/Sony fanboys have been singing for the last 10? ( 12? years... since whenever the Dreamcast failed.

And it's never going to happen. Nintendo had so many reserves that they withstood the Gamecube's less than stellar performance, and they have made a killing with the DS and Wii for years that they can probably stand to fail a couple more times without ever being "in trouble".

Wow, looks like Realms of Arkania is currently broken in almost every conceivable way (can't even get past the intro screen here - most of which is still in German or with placeholder text).

However it sounds like it got released accidentally about 10 hours before the devs were expecting it to, so they are running around fixing things at the moment and HOPEFULLY it'll be in a playable state later...

* Oh my...ok - so I did get past my CTD bug. I'm hoping that the devs are correct about there being some magical updates that fixes things in the next few hours because, yeesh.

I finally got past the character creation stage. Thoughts so far...

- It's very much the old school setup (start with 6 premade characters which you can remove and then build your own and add them from the main pool of characters. Except for some reason the character I create doesn't get saved 50% of the time.

- Many descriptions of spells and items are in German or are variable names (#text_desc111 type stuff).

Example - a spell from the Leaf Elf's (?) Spellbook:

Meek You Be (3)
Full name : text_121_name
Cost : Monsterklasse
Description : Meek You Be

What!?

- This is extra not helpful because there's no indication as to what the classes or races are. What the hell is an Ice Elf? Does it shoot magic? Is it a rogue? I don't have a copy of the PnP rulebook to hand, just so you know, devs! I can guess at some of the stuff from playing Drakensang but really - Is it too much to ask for a couple of tooltips?

- It seems to assume you know the rules of The Dark Eye off the top of your head. Or at least from playing the original version of the game. Might have to look out the manuals from the original game (thanks GOG) to figure out how everything works.

- The music and sound effects that accompany character creation make me want to claw my own ears off. Especially the REALLY obnoxious noise that happens when you upgrade a stat or skill in the levelling up screen.

* * *

I'm thinking you should probably hold off on grabbing this one for now until things get a bit patched up. And even then, probably check for general feedback first.

***

And now I've gone back to it after some patch got added and it's CTD'ing every time I try to load or start a game. Game is completely borked as far as I can tell. Avoid like the plague, at least until (if) it's many problems get ironed out.

Kirby's Dream Land was robbed!
Luckily I beat that game several times already when I owned it for the Game Boy (original, 4 colors of green Game Boy).

OH MY GOODNESS RISE OF THE TRIAD IS ALL KINDS OF STUPID (in the way it should be )

I'm just happy that with Pikmin 3 finally releasing, we can declare an official end to the Wii U "launch window".

In all seriousness, I wouldn't worry about the big N getting out of the console business. They survived the Virtua Boy, they'll survive the Wii U. In a couple of years, I wouldn't be surprised if the Wii U ends up earning a net profit. I read today that N as a whole returned to profitability this quarter (although just barely).