Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mario "WTFPWNS" the Critics' Hearts and the Wii Reigns Supreme

According to Next-Gen, the wee little plumber is now firmly straddling the 9 year old cartridge that is The Ocarina of Time as the now highest rated game ever. The story for that can be found here. What's interesting to note is that the top 3 rated games of all time are each Nintendo titles, one for each of the last 3 generations. Number 1 is now Super Mario Galaxy (98% average score), followed by Zelda: OoT at number 2 (97%), and Metroid Prime (96.5%). That's Does this mean that on the Wii2, we'll see a 99% rated Kirby game? :)

I'm going to go off on a fanboy tangent here, so consider yourself warned. Typos be damned.

Really it's just a numerical testament to how loved these Nintendo franchises are. They could be the only games to hit a Nintendo system (indeed on the Gamecube, they may have been close to it), and people would still buy said system just to play Zelda, Mario, and Metroid. The 1st two of those 3 franchises sell systems, and the latter is quickly become a hardcore favorite.

Third parties, due to the sheer dominance of Nintendo's first party offerings, have been known to say that they'd be stupid to release a game anywhere near the Big N's software. Luckily this is becoming an industry myth as of late as EA, Ubisoft, and Activision are all experiencing success. Nintendo's games still hold the top spot, and likely always will as long as they're created with such love and care, but being on a Nintendo system is no longer the kiss of death for a software title.

The Wii is consistently outselling its heftier competition from month to month, selling over 500,000 units in the US during the month of October, according to the NPD. One wonders how hard the little white box will be to find this year. And while the Xbox 360 dominates the hardcore market, the price of the Wii seems to bring more and more core gamers into the "Wii60" club, where owning both is the way to go. Meanwhile, last generation's Goliath, Sony, is getting pummeled in sales in the US and abroad. Only in Japan is the 360 doing poorer than Sony's PS3. But everywhere, no matter the nationality, Nintendo's motion-controlled little gadget is winning people over.

I'll be the 1st to admit that it needs more core gaming titles, and we're starting to see the the influx of those with Medal of Honor Heroes 2, Guitar Hero III, Metroid Prime, and others releasing in the past few months. Final Fantasy spin-offs are coming next year, Smash Brothers hits in February, a new true Wii Zelda is being made, and even Rockstar is on board with titles like Manhunt 2 and Bully being tailored for the system. Developers cannot ignore Nintendo like they have in the past, because guess where the market is?

For the first time in over 10 years, Nintendo's on top of the console hill again. Through failure they learned what not to do, and they've certainly capitalized on their opponent's more conservative hardware views. The little guy is winning this time around, and I really never thought I'd see the day where my favorite game maker was numero uno again. I was prepared to support them as the underdog for years to come... and yet, here we are. 1 year and nearing 20 million consoles sold worldwide later. What a weird turn of events. The e3 convention where people lined up for hours to try the WiiMote was definitely an indicator... I just don't think we all thought it'd still be going strong a year later.

Oh, and on a less rambling note. Mario sold over 500,000 copies in the US in its 1st week, no doubt on the back of glowing reviews. It seems there's still room in gaming for something bright and colorful after all. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go do about 5 more hours of work before I can go home and hunt down Bowser.


wldwlf said...

I have no problem acknowledging the Wii's success but I still do not think it is the "ideal" system for gamers. If the only games that are of "good quality" are the Nintendo brand, then people are going to let their Wii's sit on their shelf at home and collect dust. It's great for kids but even my kids have grown bored of it because of the lack of quality titles. My son will love Mario Galaxy for Christmas though :)

Bildo said...

Remember the 360's 1st year on shelves? Yeah. Same thing, buddy.

Seriously. There was the exact same thing going on the 360, and even on the PS3 right now.

It wasn't until this year really that the 360 started seeing its quality titles, as you can attest to, being someone who got rid of it only to rebuy it a few months down the road when more titles hit it.

I think it's safe to say that someone who buys a Wii this year, won't have the issue of not having games to play for a while... unless they want JRPGs. Then they're fudged.