While you’re distracted by the PS4 and Xbox One launches, Nintendo is secretly killing it

Super Mario 3D World Screenshot - 1155972

I was pretty excited about the PS4 and the Xbox One earlier this year (admittedly more for the PS4 than the Xbox One, but that’s beside the point).

Then I was reminded of how terrible console launches tend to be. See, there’s all this shovelware that the console giants crap out to show off the neat little bells and whistles they’re terrified we’re too stupid to figure out how to use. That’s par for the course. I think Wii Sports probably deserves a pass here, but Little Deviants? Come on.

While it’s hard to call titles like Killzone: Shadow Fall and Killer Instinct shovelware per se, a quick glance through the launch-day lineups for the PS4 and Xbox One come up fairly dry, aside from games that are either available on previous-gen hardware or simply uninteresting. To me, anyway. So what’s about to happen is that a bunch of people are going to get launch consoles, marvel over the tech, play some things for a week or two, and then let these fancy new machines collect dust for several months while we wait for the real games to come out. (Ahem, Titanfall, The Order: 1886, ahem.)

This is exactly what happened with the Wii U, right? And the Vita before that? And the 3DS before that? In fact, I seem to recall the Wii being the same way. The PS3 too, come to think of it. I’m sure I could go on, but my memory isn't all that great and the whole "doing research" thing sounds terribly unfun right now.

My point: Console launches tend to be followed by long lulls where nothing happens, where we all but forget we even bought these monster machines.

Nintendo knows this. In fact, they’ve been Solid Snaking around in an upside-down cardboard box, stealthily trying to infiltrate our hearts once again.

Seriously, Nintendo is absolutely killing it right now. Enough that my Wii U and 3DS are going to easily carry me through the holiday season. I don’t even need a PS4 or Xbox One for now.

Because, I mean, we just got an HD remake of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, which, despite my premature insistence otherwise, I managed to earn 100% completion in. That was a solid two weeks where my Wii U finally got some much needed lovin’. Sure, it was a remake, but it was one of the best remakes I’ve ever played, chock full of features that take advantage of the Wii U’s hardware in some incredible and intuitive ways. And come on, the game is gorgeous.

Not enough Zelda for you? How about A Link Between Worlds, the 3DS-exclusive follow-up to one of the most beloved games of all time? When I watched the trailer for the first time, I think I may have had an out-of-body experience. Yeah, it was that orgasmic.

A Link Between Worlds

Mario’s having a heyday as well. The same day A Link Between Worlds comes out, Super Mario 3D World is bringing some classic 3D platforming – and adorable cat suits – to the Wii U. Everything I’ve heard/seen about this game makes me giddy.

The ever-loveable Donkey Kong Country series returns just a couple weeks later in 2014 with Tropical Freeze, and despite its slightly oxymoronic title, it sounds like it’s going to be charming as all get-out. I never say “as all get-out” about anything. Ever.

There’s a back catalog of great games, too. Animal Crossing: New Leaf, for example, is just a few months old, and Pokémon X and Y are still hot off the press. And don’t forget about Pikmin 3 or The Wonderful 101. Or hell, the recent Earthbound re-release, which I haven’t gotten around to playing yet.

The future is looking stellar as well, with two of Nintendo’s most lauded franchises slated to return in 2014. Yes, I speak of Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros., both of which are practically guaranteed system-sellers.

Do you like Yoshi? We’re going to see some nifty things in the future, with Yoshi’s New Island for 3DS and Yarn Yoshi for Wii U.

That’s not even mentioning the Xeno series game that’s on its way, which should make fans of JRPGs and mechs weep sopping tears of glee.

All things considered, it’s not a bad time to be a fan of Nintendo (or even just a hardcore gamer with an interest in Nintendo's game library). There’s certainly plenty of great stuff coming out to get us through the “fresh-console doldrums” in the wake of the PS4 and Xbox One launches. So while you're twiddling your thumbs and waiting for the goods to land on Microsoft and Sony's new machines, I'll be basking in the glory of Nintendo's absolute gold mine.

Speaking of gold...

3DS

Beautiful, isn't it?

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Josh Wirtanen
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