2009 was an eventful year for Nintendo. The Wii kept selling in truckloads, Wii games topped the charts almost all year, a new handheld launched, weird accessories were announced, and Mario returned to 2D.
The year began in strange fashion. Nintendo's only first-party releases were Wii-makes (old Gamecube games updated with Wii controls) of Pikmin, Mario Tennis and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. And we didn't even get Excitebots - the follow-up to the well-received launch title Excite Truck - in Australia at all.
Third-party publishers were trying, with mixed success, to deliver hardcore games: House of the Dead: Overkill and Madworld fared well, but Deadly Creatures and Dead Rising: Chop Til You Drop are best forgotten. One surprisingly hardcore game was the cutesy Little King's Story, which betrayed its childlike veneer to deliver a deep and complex strategy game.
April saw the launch of the DSi, a revision of Nintendo's handheld that didn't so much replace the existing DS Lite as sit alongside sporting some confusing multimedia features at a confusing higher price. Still, it sold very well despite not having any games specifically designed for it.
At E3, Nintendo debuted new Mario, Metroid and Zelda games, two of which would be out this year. They also baffled the gaming world by unveiling the Wii Vitality Sensor, a thing that you put your thumb in to detect, er, something. Six months later and we're still not any closer to understanding exactly how it is any different to Boong-ga Boong-ga.
In July, however, Nintendo recovered its accessory sanity with the excellent MotionPlus. Wii Sports Resort, Grand Slam Tennis and Tiger Woods all stood testament to just how much the increased sensitivity of MotionPlus could make such gaming experiences more engaging. Another third-party title designed for the hardcore, The Conduit, came and went, proving yet again how little interest Wii owners had in traditional genres.
August was better for games. The delayed Punch-Out!! finally arrived and was great. It was swiftly followed by another Wii-make, the sterling value of the Metroid Prime Trilogy compilation, and the excellent Professor Layton sequel on DS. Australia was also blessed with a visit from the voice of Mario, the very charming Charles Martinet.
October saw a hairbrained marketing campaign for the DSi and the launch of Wii Fit Plus. Then in November, Nintendo gave us New Super Mario Bros. Wii, a magnificent four-player adaptation of the traditional Mario side-scrolling, before in December we got Spirit Tracks, surely the most subdued launch of any Zelda game. And Muramasa: The Demon Blade, A Boy and His Blob, Dead Space: Extraction and Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles all finally showed that the Wii had some great games for core gamers.
So, that was 2009 for Nintendo. I’m keen to hear what you thought of 2009 from a Nintendo perspective. Were you happy with your Wii and DS lot this year? What were the highlights? The lowlights?