In this, the Year of Luigi, we have learned to expect the unexpected from Nintendo. While Microsoft and Sony have been preparing their consoles with the same old, same old, Nintendo has taken a totally different approach. They’ve released an HD version of a Zelda game (not Majora’s Mask — the one people are begging for — but Windwaker), dressed up their mascot in a cat suit, released a Grand Theft Auto inspired sandbox game featuring Lego characters, failed to stop the presses at any major gaming event, and spat in the face of any type of conventional thinking.
Which brings us to the now. Exactly one week before Christmas, Nintendo aired the final Nintendo Direct of 2013. Refusing to end the Year of Luigi quietly, they’re giving us Dr. Luigi, a re-imagined version of the puzzle classic Dr. Mario. Our prayers for Zelda gaming was answered…with Hyrule Warriors, a crossover between the Zelda franchise in Dynasty Warriors. We’re getting the chance to relive our favorite NES moments with a twist as we’re given yet another game we never asked for in NES Remix. We got trolled with the appearance of Kirby in Mario Kart 8 before seeing new footage of Super Smash Bros.
Nintendo is ending 2013, the Year of Luigi, the way they began it: their way, on their terms. They’ll announce games when they want to; nobody saw Windwaker HD or Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem coming last winter. Nobody saw a new Kirby game coming over a month ago. Absolutely nobody saw Dr. Luigi coming; the Year of Luigi was over. Nobody will see surprises this spring when Nintendo hosts an inevitable pre Mario Kart 8 Nintendo Direct. Say what you want about the amount of systems they’re selling, but there’s no denying that Nintendo knows who they are. Not only that, they're embracing it.
I’ve actually already talked about that very subject recently: how Nintendo isn’t afraid to be different. Nintendo reinforced that this week. In a crowd of big budgets, shiny graphics, and mainstream, they’re the console maker who’s going a different route. Wii U owners keep shouting and asking for the same thing: Metroid, Smash, and Zelda. Instead, we’re given entirely different games. Games that never crossed out minds. Games that people are getting excited about. Games that I absolutely need to have this very second. Excuse me, I'm running to the eShop and picking up NES Remix right now.
Most importantly, these are all games that may not have existed if Nintendo was afraid to take a chance. So thank you, Nintendo. Here’s to hoping 2014 is as good as the Year of Luigi.
The year of F-Zero would totally be awesome, by the way.