What Has Happened To First-Party Games?

I am still thinking about whether or not I should get an Xbox One or a PS4. The gears are clinking in the Broken Frandroid’s bastard head, and if you stand really close you can hear something similar to the sound of a nuclear submarine deep under the ocean. At the moment, the PS4 is winning, mainly because I am now on my third Xbox 360, and I’m a bit wary of buying a first generation Microsoft console. Also, there aren’t really any games on either system that I want to play that I can’t already get on the Xbox 360 or PS3. To quote the South Park: Stick of Truth episode, “the graphics are at least 10% better,” but at the moment, that’s not enough.

I would be seriously frustrated if I had been an early adopter of either technology. It’s no fun having to wait months for the next good game to come out. I bought a PS3 a couple of years ago, mainly because I wanted a Blu-Ray player to see Chris Hemsworth as Thor in full glorious HD and it was worth spending an extra hundred quid to get Sony’s console. When I did, I hit the pre-owned section hard. Even if I bought both PS4 and the Xbox One, what games would I buy? Titanfall and Infamous: Second Son… maybe. There’s certainly no killer game on either platform, and not really anything on the horizon that will mean that I can no longer exist without a new angular black box sitting underneath my TV.


In fact, thinking about it, I have bought most consoles two or three years into their run, when the price of the hardware goes down, and the quality of the games goes up. It’s what I did with the PS3 (and PS2 and PS1) and the Gamecube and the Dreamcast. So it got me thinking that maybe I should think about getting a Wii U. You can pick one up for about two hundred quid these days, but the same question presents itself, what games would I play on it? It used to be that you could count on Nintendo to release some top quality games, games that would make you buy the system. There’s been no 3D Mario game, and although the idea of New Super Mario Bros. U. (and the Luigi bonus level ‘game’) is enticing, there’s not really anything in that game that couldn’t have been done on a Wii, or a DS come to think of it. The Zelda game we have is an HD remake of Wind Walker, and if I want a game that looks like Wind Walker, I’ll just get the Link to the Past sequel on 3DS. There’s no Metroid game (seriously, the one level in Nintendoland doesn’t count), no Pokémon game (and X and Y were a BIG disappointment to me… please don’t hurt me), I just don’t NEED to buy the system, in the way that Super Mario World, Super Mario 64 (and to a much lesser extent) Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy made me want to buy the system. Nintendo seem to have concentrated on making gimmicky bastard underpowered consoles and have forgotten to do the thing that made people have to buy their consoles: their games.


I wonder what the world would have been like if Nintendo had never made Pokémon. It saved the company, and helped sell the Game Boy, Game Boy Advance and the DS. Now we get to the 3DS, and their latest games are making Pokémon out of freaking ice-cream. As soon as Nintendo hit that formula, they seemed to decide that it wasn’t worth making innovative games that much any more. Without Pokémon, the Gamecube would probably have been their last console, and they would have to become a publisher like Sega did (well we all know they wouldn’t, Nintendo are far too proud for that… fools). But the world would probably have been better for it. Okay, so Sega have been living off their past glories too, with very few original intellectual properties becoming successful since the Dreamcast era (Yakuza, Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, Super Monkey Ball and, um, Sonic and Mario at the Olympic Games)… but if Nintendo had concentrated on games rather than hardware, imagine how awesome it could have been.

First of all, we could now be playing classic Nintendo games on our mobiles without the morally grey area of emulators – question – is it still wrong if you download a game you are pretty sure you still own the physical copy of in the loft somewhere, but you’re not quite sure where? Secondly, rather than just re-hashing old ideas over and over again, they could come up with some new ones. Pikmin may not have set the world on fire, but at least it was Nintendo doing something original. When even Luigi’s Mansion seems to be a shining example of what Nintendo was willing to try, you realize what a moribund state the company is now in. The most innovative Wii U launch game was The Wonderful 101, and that was made by Platinum games – what did Nintendo bring to their new console launch? Nintendoland and New Super Mario Brothers U., the second sequel to a game that was originally launched for the DS. Super Mario 3D World was well done, but it was also a sequel to Super Mario 3D Land on the 3DS… with added cats, but without the benefit of 3D!?! The new bright hope… Mario Kart 8, that’s right… the eighth game in a series.

Imagine if Nintendo had to live or die just by their games. Okay, so Sega hasn’t developed much new, but they’ve done a hell of a lot more than Nintendo seems to have done in the latest generation. Imagine all the innovative games that Nintendo hasn’t made, because they tried to work out a way to finally make the Virtual Boy (the 3DS) a semi-viable console idea. Also, we could have Nintendo prepping a Zelda and Metroid game with the processing power of the XBox One and PS4 behind it. Can you imagine it, Nintendo quality games with the grunt of some serious hardware behind them? Don’t try and imagine it, that way lies madness. Although, I will say this and mean it, if either the PS4 or Xbonio had a brand new realistic Zelda or Metroid title on their console, then I couldn’t hand my money over quickly enough. Let’s just hope that the latest console wars cripple Nintendo’s hardware division (can’t believe I am saying this), so they can get back to doing what they do best (and should have been doing all along) which is making excellent games.



, ,




5 responses to “What Has Happened To First-Party Games?”

  1. Susan avatar

    I agree – there’s nothing that makes me desperately want/need to buy either an Xbone or a PS4. In the case of the Wii U, no, there isn’t really a game that makes me glad I bought the console on release – some cool stuff came along later but… The Wii U feels like it might be another slow burner, like the 3DS – first there was nothing then suddenly everything was amazing.

  2. Mark Paterson avatar

    Super Mario 3D World and Wind Waker alone have already justified my Wii U! Excited to finally play some multiplayer when Mario Kart 8 too. 🙂

    1. Twinkling82 avatar

      You’re forgetting Smash bros. Mark, you plan to cover MK8? I might need to test the multiplayer while reviewing, could use a fellow reviewers help.

      1. Mark Paterson avatar

        I’m not I’m afraid!

Leave a Reply