Welcome to the brand new column Achievement Pending. This weekly column is devoted to the future of gaming, specifically, what our hopes are with any given unreleased gaming product. Every Friday, we will bring you a new article with all our hopes and dreams (we know they will probably be crushed in the end. The cake is a lie). Today, I’m going to talk about Nintendo’s mysterious new console codenamed: Nintendo NX.
Chances are, if you’ve been a fan of Nintendo as long as I have (born in 1992, so I grew up with the SNES and N64), you aren’t very impressed with Nintendo as of late. Sure, they had one of the best-selling consoles of the last generation with the Wii, and they have had their fair share of successful games in the past ten years. However, Nintendo over the past 5 years has started to have some troubles. Consumers did not respond well towards the Wii U, and rightfully so, as it launched with games that were hardly exciting, while also adding it’s clunky and odd “tablet controller.” While Nintendo has brought in some heavy hitters, like Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. Wii U, it just hasn’t been enough to bring the console back from the brink. The Wii U always felt like an extension of the Wii, an upgrade, and it even shares a name with its predecessor. With that, Nintendo found it was time to start new again, and so was born the NX. So far, the NX is only a codename, but there have been many rumors about it. I’m going to list some of the things I think Nintendo must do to get back to the “Gaming Gods” status they once held.
- Nintendo Must Make it Easy for Third-Party Developers
The Wii and Wii U’s worst features for third-party developers were the gimmicky peripherals the consoles utilized. For the Wii, it was the motion controllers, which meant that any game created on the console had to use them. For the Wii U, it was the Wii U Gamepad, a large tablet-like controller, which made it difficult to create a game without utilizing the touch screen. Now, while I applaud Nintendo’s creativity and uniqueness, and I still believe they need to continue it in some way, the vastly different peripherals, coupled with bad game programming in the systems, scared away developers. If Nintendo wants their next console to be successful, they need to have A. an easy-to-use controller that won’t change the way a third-party title is played, and B. a code that is easy to write with. Imagine going from playing the newest Mario Kart game to playing Fallout 4 on the same console. I wouldn’t need any other console.
- Do Online Gaming Right
I can’t believe it’s 2016 and I have to write this, but Nintendo still has not gotten online right. When the Xbox 360 hit in 2005, it changed the way games were played forever, because of its amazing advancements with online play. PS3 followed the next year with a comparable online infrastructure. However, the Wii’s online capabilities were laughable in comparison. Nintendo was obviously still stuck in couch-mode, which wasn’t necessarily terrible for what the system was. The online capabilities were only downloadable content and a friend code, which allowed you to play games online, assuming the game didn’t lag out. When the Wii U came out 6 years later, they tried to improve the online capabilities, but they still were too poor. The downloadable content was expanded, which is great because Nintendo has an amazing back catalog. The online games were improved, as well, and you could actually play games with friends. Unfortunately, we were still using a dumbed down party system with no options for voice chat. If the NX is going to be successful, Nintendo needs to steal the play-book from Microsoft and Sony.
- Make the NX as Powerful as the Xbox One, at Least
Now, you might say “Dan, this system is coming out 3 years after the launch of the Xbox One, shouldn’t it be more powerful?” and while I would love for the NX to be the most powerful system in the world, it doesn’t have to be. Nintendo has never been known to boast the powerful systems. They’ve gotten by just fine with lower specs, because their first-party titles are so great. I believe the NX only needs to be as powerful as the weakest competitor, which would be the Xbox One. If the NX can play all of the games that the Xbox One can, plus Nintendo has their huge list of exclusive characters, they can dominate the market. If we receive a console that’s more powerful, well then we’re just spoiled.
- Make Use of Nintendo’s Great Exclusives
If Nintendo wishes to do well in the future, they have to get out their big guns. Some sure fire games that would propel the system into “must-have” territory are a new Super Mario game, the long-awaited Zelda title, a new Metroid Prime game, a new Pokémon game, and a new title involving Donkey Kong. Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy: all critically acclaimed, and all of them helped shape their respective consoles. We’ve been without Mario for quite some time, and what better time for his help than now, with a new console. Zelda’s new title has been announced for a while, too, but I’m hoping they delay it until the release of the NX. Nothing says “must-buy” like a brand new Zelda title out only on Nintendo NX. Nintendo teased a new Metroid Prime title for 3DS at last year’s E3, however, when the game doesn’t even feature Metroid, fans wrote it off immediately. To make things right, Nintendo would be smart to feature a sequel to one of their most successful first-person shooters, a genre that Nintendo doesn’t have much of. Pokémon has been underutilized by Nintendo… Yep, I said it. Since the N64 games Pokémon Snap and Stadium, there have been only a handful of console games with the franchise. That needs to end here. Imagine this: a Pokémon game in the vein of the classic handheld Blue and Red, but in a three-dimensional world. I imagine it as a Oblivion or Fallout-style Pokémon game. Now tell me that wouldn’t be amazing. It’s definitely a possibility with a console as strong as this one. Then there’s Donkey Kong, a beloved character who has barely been done justice. Rare created DK 64 in 1999, which was, at its time, a very refreshing take on the character. If Nintendo can make a game in a similar vein of DK 64 for the NX, it would do wonders for sales. Basically, Nintendo has to keep utilizing its amazing catalogue of characters.
- Nintendo Must Continue to Be Innovative
Finally, while I admit that they must still utilize the past characters, they must also innovate and create original IP’s. Splatoon, while it was not perfect, was a step in the right direction for Nintendo. If they can continue to create new games that are interesting and fun, they can dominate for the next 10 years. Nintendo has been relying on their old brands for far too long, and using them in the worst ways (I’m looking at you, Mario Party 10). If they won’t use their old characters for the greater good (see number 4), then they must start to innovate with new characters. In a perfect world, Nintendo will do innovating with both new and old characters, creating awesome games all around.
These are just some of my hopes and dreams for Nintendo’s next console. I refrained from talking about any type of virtual or augmented reality (yes, I know it’s the “Year of VR”), because given Nintendo’s past two consoles and the gimmicky types of peripherals they utilized, I’d like to see Nintendo return to the normal. What Nintendo needs right now is to be innovative with their games. If they can do that, then I’m all for the virtual realm.
Is there a specific unreleased gaming topic you want us to evaluate? Let us know in the comments below!