4th May 2011; By KnucklesSonic8
Hearing Nintendo officially confirm the 'Nintendo Selects' collection today was good news, as I'm sure you'll agree. Surely, this great marketing endeavour will encourage Wii owners to purchase some of the best games on the system when they're listed at such a reasonable price! Nintendo has announced that the "must-own games" they'll start off with are The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Animal Crossing: City Folk, Mario Super Sluggers and Wii Sports. Yes that's right, Nintendo is releasing Wii Sports as a standalone game.
Going back to the last gaming era, the Player's Choice line-up on the Gamecube was great. Because of it, I was able to purchase a bunch of games that I would have otherwise skipped out on due to the price. So I'm sure Nintendo of America will experience success with this much in the same way that Nintendo of Japan did when they launched their "Everyone's Recommendation" line. Consider for a moment that Japan's selection began over a year ago, and Nintendo of America is just getting this started now. Going back to the thought of Nintendo having success with this endeavour, there's a lingering question that's entered my mind since this rumor first surfaced. That is, are they a little too late?
As far as the initial choices go, I'm honestly surprised to see Zelda: Twilight Princess appear. In my opinion, I don't think it deserves as much of a place in this line-up as some other first-party titles simply because it's already had a good run. But evidently, Nintendo thinks there are still people out there who haven't tried it (and ironically, I am one of them), so I guess they know what they're doing. Mario Super Sluggers is another game I'm also surprised about. As much as I love the game and think it's underrated, I'm not sure it's a "must-own" title. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that it's getting re-branded under the 'Nintendo Selects' line as I really think more people need to play this game. And for $20, it's definitely worth it. But at the same time, because it's a "newer" release (at least, compared to Twilight Princess), they might have benefited more from using one of the older titles in the catalogue in the first batch.
Animal Crossing, on the other hand, didn't surprise me that much. For $20, it is a must-own in my eyes and I'm glad it's going to get more attention now that it's at a lower price. Although it may not include the Wii Speak peripheral, most places sell it for really cheap anyway, so it's not like it'll be a big deal to pick one up anyway.
And finally, there's Wii Sports. Don't you think seeing it in the stores as a standalone title would be a bit odd now? Since we're so used to associating Wii Sports as a system pack-in, I think it'll be a bit humorous to see it on store shelves for the first time. But if it means that the Wii bundles can now include Mario Kart Wii (which is a much better game), then I'm all for it. Basically what they're doing is switching places of the two titles for the bundle, and that's fine. But I almost think they missed the ideal time to do this. I'm not sure they should have done this while all these rumors about the Wii's successor are popping up. No, it would have made more sense to do this bundle move closer to when the Red Wii's came out. Surprisingly, there are a select few who actually still need to obtain a copy of the game for one reason or another, so it may serve its purpose. But then again, if most have just been getting it used at Gamestop until now, then I'm not sure this will do as well as Nintendo thinks. But I digress. It's a funny situation that's for sure.
Which first-party titles do I think deserve to be part of the 'Nintendo Selects' series? Well like I said, Nintendo should go back further into their backlog of first-party titles, particularly the games that are no longer in print. Like, for example, Excite Truck. I mean, it's very late in the game for it to start popping up again, but had Nintendo implemented this in 2010 or 2009, I would have definitely said Excite Truck deserves to be part of the line-up. I think they should seriously consider Super Paper Mario for the line-up, not because it's a must-have, but more because of the price that it's set at. Ever since I rented the game when it came out, I always said it wouldn't be worth the full price. And that was back when it was $60. For only $20, it's a much more reasonable sell for a game that's pretty good in its own right.
I think Mario Party 8 would be a great pick as well, especially since Wii Party is now set at a lower price than this 2007 game. So that's an obvious one. Also, since they're so willing to put Sluggers down, I imagine Mario Strikers Charged will make an appearance as well, which is something I'll personally by pleased to see since it's such an excellent game. I'm kind of shocked they didn't choose WarioWare: Smooth Moves for the first batch, but I seriously hope it does appear. Now that is a must-have. Other than those picks, maybe Sin & Punishment: Star Successor and hopefully both iterations of Super Mario Galaxy. It'll be interesting to see what they end up choosing and how sales are impacted with each title.
When you really stop and think about it, the very presence of the 'Nintendo Selects' line-up (let alone the fact that it's pretty late) just demonstrates that the Wii is more or less on its last legs for mass market appeal. Really, it would have been much more effective if they did this earlier on in the system's life cycle. But at the same time, it makes me wonder what else they would have done at this time to push more software had they implemented this earlier on. At least now, they can try to meet the demands of medium- and low-income families who will see the $20 mark as a means of support for this group of consumers. As a dual-purpose last-ditch effort to encourage more sales numbers in software and hardware, I think it'll work well for Nintendo as they prepare to release the Wii's successor.