As consumers, we have strong opinions about what we want to see in our video games. That is perfectly okay, and no one should tell you otherwise. Video games are an expensive hobby. We all spend hard-earned dollars on the products publishers are pushing out. However, while we may be vocal about the things in the gaming industry that upset us, annoy us, or baffle us, it’s also important to acknowledge the good. There is plenty giving us reasons to celebrate.
So, while it’s Thanksgiving week in the United States, we should all ponder the things that have gone right and that we are absolutely thankful for. Nintendo had another great year, and it only seems natural to highlight the best that’s come our way.
The continued embrace of third-parties
The Nintendo Switch was never going to directly compete with the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One consoles in terms of power. This much was obvious, even to Nintendo. But what the console did was rope in a wider audience of gamers than the Wii U ever dreamed of. This was due to its console/handheld hybrid concept. This was something even Reggie Fils-Aime stated was a progression of what Nintendo started with the Wii U.
Gamers like taking experiences on the go. We lead busy lives and can’t simply plop in front of the TV at home. Being able to take console-quality games on the go has been important to consumers. For instance, even though I purchased Doom on the PS4 at launch, I grabbed a copy for the Switch as well solely because I could bring the game with me. My son and I both love the LEGO games and we’ve now switched (see what I did there?) from buying LEGO games on the PS4 to purchasing the newest releases for the Nintendo Switch instead. Third-party publishers and developers have continued to show the Nintendo love this year with the release of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, the stellar Octopath Traveler, and even the release of games like Bayonetta 1 & 2. Mobility is important to me, and I’m thankful that third-parties are embracing this concept.
More fun for the family
Nintendo has garnered the reputation of being the family-friendly console among the group. That might have everything to do with its bubbly first-party titles. But, the company’s focus on couch co-op or local multiplayer titles might also contribute to this. Last year we saw the release of some great multiplayer games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. 2017 also helped me introduce gaming to my then 3-year-old son with Super Mario Odyssey. Being able to use the simple controls of Cappy sent him over the moon. Super Mario Odyssey was the first full gaming adventure I was ever able to complete with my son and I will always be grateful for that.
But, 2018 didn’t stop the inclusion of family-centric multiplayer experiences. Kirby Star Allies came along in March 2018. While the game is probably too simplistic for the standard gamer, its broad accessibility once again spoke to the budding gamer in my son who was still getting his feet wet. Not only did we play the entire game together, but at times were able to have other family members join in the fun. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was re-released on the Switch with a co-op component where a second player can hurl turnips at enemies. Again, it may seem a bit too simple for the standard gamer, but it means everything to families with little ones to incorporate something so simple, but inclusive.
Of course, I shouldn’t go without mentioning Super Mario Party or the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which my son and I are eagerly awaiting. Super Mario Party has been a family favorite. My wife even joins frequently and it makes for an easy family night. We just order some pizza and have a blast playing round after round. With that being said, I am truly thankful that Nintendo has helped me introduce gaming to my son and enabled our entire family to share in the experience.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Yes, I know, the game hasn’t even launched yet, but the fact that the biggest entry in Super Smash Bros. is just mere days away is thrilling. The effort that Masahiro Sakurai and his team have put into this game is apparent in every direct we’ve seen.
Just think about it – 76+ fighters, more than 300 stages (with variations), and over 900 musical compositions that Nintendo has stated would take over 28 hours to fully listen to. What. A. Game. And, whether you care for them or not, there are dynamic modes such as the new Spirits mode or story adventure. There’s going to be something in this game for any fan of the past Super Smash Bros. entries. Hold your disappointment for the characters we aren’t getting in the game (may my dreams for Waluigi and Banjo Kazooie rest in peace), and think about everything we are getting. After taking it all in, it’s hard to not be thankful for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
These are the things I’m thankful for in Nintendo’s 2018. What are you thankful for? Are you happy to see ports of stellar games like Dark Souls make their way to the Switch? Or maybe, you’re just happy that you can play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with a Gamecube controller. Whatever the case may be, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below. For those celebrating the holiday this week, Happy Thanksgiving. And to everyone, have a safe and enjoyable gaming season as we move toward the end of the year.