Nintendo have had a rough time in the media in the last couple of years.
The Wii U had issues since it had been announced. Repeatedly I’d hear people misinterpret it as an add on to the existing Wii console. It’s had some great, enjoyable games, such as Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros with its DLC add ons, alongside Super Mario 3D World and the remaster of Wind Waker.
But when you see any third party games that aren’t made by Nintendo, they’re either a poor port of the existing game, or just not interesting enough for a second or third play.
When they finally announced plans to create games for mobile devices with a company called DeNA, fans and the media were overjoyed with the news.
But since then, there’s been delays to launch the first games until the second quarter of this year. The first is an app for your ‘Mii’ called ‘Miitomo’, an avatar that you create when you have a Wii U or 3DS, and you can use in-app purchases to buy clothes and other add ons. This is going to be released in March, while another app has been announced to include a ‘well known’ character, with more details apparently coming by March as well.
With plans to unveil the next console, the ‘NX’ at E3, I’m still unconvinced for now that it will bring a great appeal to use them as much as or more than people do now with their Wii U.
Something that I strongly don’t agree with, was any purchases from the Wii Virtual Console, aren’t brought over to the Wii U. The same goes for anything bought on the 3DS Virtual Console. Anything bought there, cannot be continued to be played on a Wii U. Having to buy something potentially twice over, £4 at a time, in 2016 does not make sense for me.
What I’ve always imagined would be the best idea to start with, would be to show a glimpse of the games they’re making with DeNA, at Apple’s WWDC event in June.
While there’s been independent developers on stage showing off their apps, or awkwardly showing the failure of others, to have Nintendo come on stage and demo one on an iPhone would be a great surprise, and something that would show the company’s commitment to having proper, dedicated games on iOS. Perhaps not exclusively on iOS, but to have them on stage on a conference such as Apple’s would be a great feat for Apple, as well as Nintendo.
With an event rumoured to be held by Apple in March, the timings could match up well for Nintendo to announce more of their mobile games offering at this event.
I still struggle to think how a Nintendo brand like Mario could work on an iPad. Mario Party or Paper Mario could work, but something like 3D World or Super Smash Bros, I can’t imagine there being virtual buttons being anywhere on the screen at all. One only has to play Tomb Raider II on iOS to experience a nightmare of controls on a screen.
The one where I think there’s so much potential, is Pokémon.
The Apple Watch could be your Pokédex, and using location services on the iPhone, you could be given notifications, similar to a phone call, where it could show a wild Pokemon has approached you. Suddenly, it’s attacking your own collection, so you have to quickly unlock the phone, and begin a battle similar to how it is now on the 3DS.
Other notifications could use quick reply to send or receive a Pokemon to another trainer that you’re trading with. With this, there could even be a trading market. Think eBay but in the game world.
They have announced a game called Pokémon Go, which will be coming to Android & iOS devices this year, which is an app but also a wearable device. Hopefully this could bring out the potential.
I feel 2016 is a big year for Nintendo, for them to show a new interpretation of the many brands they have, and the company as a whole.
It’s going to be very curious as to how they’re going to appeal to, not only existing fans, but ones such as myself who have a nostalgic attachment to the games of twenty years ago.
It’s going to be an interesting time.