Mount Rushmore is a monument to some of the greatest men in American history. It immediately brings to mind those four men’s contributions to making this country the way it is. That form could be used in any industry to remember the most respected figures in said industry’s history. Last week we talked about the men behind the games who we think should be immortalized. This week we’re going to look at some of their creations. There are a number of characters that immediately come to your mind when you think of video games. Having said that, “If you were to create a video game version of Mount Rushmore what four characters would you nominate to be immortalized for all time on the monument?”
Let me first get this out of the way. To many people this will sound like an article from a Wii U fanboy who’s whining about their favorite system not getting support it deserves and saying that Ubisoft owes me something. That’s actually far from the truth. I know there are many other Wii U owners out there who have pledged their support and voted with their wallets that think every game player should be able to get the same experiences no matter what platform they own. This is my own personal opinion and yes it’s going to be a little rantish, but I think everyone is entitled to that every now and then.
If you were a Wii owner in the last generation you know things were pretty slim when it came to third party support. If you got games with the same title as other consoles it was very often a completely different game only loosely tied to the “proper” console release of the same name. They were very often feature incomplete. Games like Call of Duty left out entire levels, had minimal online support, if any or were cartoonified like Madden to fit the platform. Ubisoft was one of the few publishers that pushed support of Nintendo’s little white box and even they had a tendency to create sub-par experiences for Wii owners (I’m looking at you H.A.W.X. and Ghost Recon).
There are a few games that I could rattle off if you asked me my favorite games of all time; Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Luigi’s Mansion, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Plants vs Zombies just to name a few. Those games are tied to significant events in my life, my fascination for history or they’re just crazy fun games that I enjoy playing at least once a year. I’ve found nearly every secret in those games, beaten the final boss dozens of times or finally 100% completed them after months. However, none of those games have captured me and kept a hold of me as much as the game I’m playing right now has.
Infamous: Second Son is the game, which if the year ended right now, I would say is my most favorite game of this year. I’d also venture to say it’s rocketing itself into my list of favorite games of all time. I’m ¾ of the way through the story of the game right now and I’ve already completed all the side quests in the game. That’s something that never happens. Even in Mario games I fly through the “story” and get to the end so I can say that I’ve finished the game. Then if I’m interested I go back and find all the coins, stars or whatever collectibles the game happens to have. Something about the way Infamous laid out their side quests and the numbers of them there are to do struck the perfect balance. Not only that, but they’ve been fun to finish. No unnecessarily difficult flags to collect like in Assassin’s Creed and nothing that I had to go completely out of my way for.
On the podcast this week we were asked about what our favorite games of the year had been so far. I mentioned a couple of titles, but I didn’t have a list of the games that I had played in front of me. Now I have the list of all the games I’ve played this year and I thought I’d give you my thoughts on the first half of the year. I haven’t played all of the big name titles out this year so this isn’t a comprehensive list of the best games of the year; just the best ones that I’ve played so far.
The Wii U has had a good year so far and there are a number of titles coming out throughout the rest of the year that I’m looking for. I also bought two new systems, the PS4 and the Vita, so I’ve had a lot of new stuff to play. These are some of the games I’ve played so far this year that I’ve really enjoyed. These games are listed in no particular order and, unlike our end of the year lists, it only comprises of games that came out this year.
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U) – After the last three Mario Kart games (Wii, DS and 7) I was beginning to sour on the franchise. I played all of those games and had a fun time with them for a while, but things begin hampering the experiences. I thought maybe I was growing past my love of the franchise and it wasn’t going to be something I was interested in much longer. I went into Mario Kart 8 with a little bit of hesitation and tempered my expectations and because of that I’ve been incredibly happy with the experience. My family has gotten to the point where it’s a huge competition amongst all of us and everyone has a chance to win every race. There’s no more intentional throwing of races to let the younger kids win. There’s no incredibly broken rubber banding of the AI. There’s no snaking or cheater online. It’s just been great fun for everyone that I play the game with.
Capcom used to be one of the best developers in the business. They were a huge name in the NES and Super Nintendo era and have developed some of the most memorable franchises of all time. Recently, though, it seems like they’ve just sort of dropped off the face of the Earth releasing only a handful of titles every year.
While franchises like Resident Evil and Street Fighter continue to have a following some of their other franchises, most notably Mega Man, have been absent for years. Capcom has announced and then cancelled a number of games featuring the Blue Bomber. Dead Rising 3 for the Xbox One and Ultimate Street Fighter IV are their most recent releases.
The company just released a press release highlighting their lineup for E3 2014 announcing new titles and confirming their lineup of games that will be shown off at the biggest gaming event of the year. That list includes a port of Dead Rising 3 for the PC, a port of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite for iOS, a compliation of three Phoenix Wright games for 3DS, and Monster Hunter 4 for North America.
So, a while back I posted an article where I took a look at the sales figures of Mario Kart as a franchise and speculated that Mario Kart 8 could to be the worst selling game in the franchise. In terms of the number of units sold I still hold to that statement, but I don’t think it will be the worst selling in terms of attach rate. In fact the news from over the weekend seems to confirm just that.
Back in my previous article I speculated that based on current sales figures Nintendo would sell 1.57 million units of the game. Nintendo announced that over the first weekend of availability Mario Kart 8 actually sold 1.2 million units worldwide. What that means is that in terms of current available units my speculation was pretty close. What I didn’t take into account in that article was potential sales due to the release of the game. That’s just a crapshoot and a guess at best so I wasn’t going to try and calculate those figures.
Now, what these initial sales tell me is that while history proves to be pretty accurate those are with static numbers over the life of a system. We don’t know how many of those sales came from bundles of the game with the Wii U as each territory sold a system/game bundle for the game. Based on the fact there is a bundle for the game I would wager that Mario Kart has proven that it will be able to move Wii U units. What type of boost that gives the console will not really be evident until the June NPD numbers are released and Nintendo either boasts about sales of the system jumping or dismisses the numbers altogether because the bump wasn’t that impressive. Many outlets were reporting that sales of the Wii U jumped by over 600% over the weekend off the back of Mario Kart 8 so I would expect Nintendo to be crowing about how good the system is doing now with quality software in the pipeline.
In a press release discussing the numbers Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime was quoted saying, “The early response to Mario Kart 8 demonstrates that the best days for Wii U are still ahead.” I think that’s absolutely true and with the slate of software from Nintendo expected to be release for the rest of this year and into 2015 it’s going to be good for fans of Nintendo. Whether or not this spurs third parties to jump back on the bandwagon is still to be seen.
Mario Kart 8 is even getting love from the mainstream press with reactions to both sales figures and Luigi (the man deserves the love). While my initial sales numbers would probably have to be tweaked over the life of the console I think overall the game will sell right around the 22-25% attach rate for the game on Wii U. This would make it the fourth best-selling game in the franchise overall.
The Mario Kart franchise has been one of the most successful selling franchises Nintendo has ever created. It started back on the Super Nintendo and has made one appearance on every console Nintendo has released since that time. You can pretty much bet that if a Nintendo system is sold it will have a Mario Kart game on it. Many people would even label it one of the best games that could be considered a system seller for the company. It’s so successful that it has been one of the best selling, if not THE best selling game on systems for the last two generations.
Recently the question was posed as to whether or not Mario Kart 8 could be the worst selling game in the franchise and could it potentially be bad enough to kill the franchise. I, personally, am not sure it would do that poorly, but it was an interesting question none-the-less and so I decided to do a little bit of research.