Nintendo's Most Important Game Of 2012

The most important game for Nintendo this year is Nintendo Land. It is the launch title for the Wii U, which is perhaps the riskiest console Nintendo has ever created — yes, riskier even than the Wii.

Where the Wii was built around the simple, pure idea of accessible motion-control gaming, The Wii U is designed to impress the world with the idea that having a screen in your hands while you play video games on your TV is a must-have video game experience.

Nintendo Land, a compilation of mini-games stitched together with a Nintendo theme park hub world, is designed to show people the many ways the Wii U's two-screen approach to living room gaming can be great. The question is whether Nintendo Land has its equivalent to Wii Sports' tennis and bowling, simple games that sold a globe on a new way of playing games.

We've written a lot about Wii U this week, but perhaps it's time to simply look again at the experiences five of Nintendo Land's 12 mini-games offer. Here they are, in the order of how much I liked my them, my favourite one at the top:

Luigi's Ghost Mansion is the crowd-pleaser of the bunch, a great five-player bit of skill and chaos that shows the appeal of what Nintendo is calling asymmetric gaming.

The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest is a three-player co-op game and another good one for demonstrating what's great about asymmetric multiplayer.

Animal Crossing: Sweet Day is another asymmetric multiplayer game, but what's really good here is the simple, Nintendo-style twist of requiring a player who has a controller that features two analogue sticks to control one character with each stick. This one is Nintendo at its best, because the idea here actually has little to do with the Wii U and a lot to do with the kind of fresh thinking about conventional control schemes that Nintendo's top people can be really good at.

Donkey Kong's Crash Course is a one-player arcade-style challenge that shows how the same game can play well privately on the GamePad screen or for an audience on the TV.

Takamaru's Ninja Castle demonstrates how the Wii U's GamePad can be used as a touch-based controller, but it also exposes the Wii U's calibration problem.


Many of the Nintendo Land games will include singleplayer modes that the game's creators say will be deeper than what we saw in the likes of Wii Play and other fairly shallow mini-game collections on the Wii. That may please the most hardcore gamers, but Nintendo Land's main job will be to convince anyone and everyone, that the oddball Wii U is in fact a machine that presents the kind of gaming few of us have experienced but all of us must.


    So are we to assume those icons in the picture are officially from Nintendo? If so we have a Metroid, Boo, Yoshi, Pikmin and Balloon fight mini game to be shown in the future? Dunno what the other icon would be..

    Well they are my guesses.

      The Boo icon would be the Luigi's Mansion game, I expect. Way to recognise Balloon Fight, though: I was wondering what that could've been.

      Is that the Game & Watch octopus on the second row?

        Okay I never looked at it that way, I just pressumed the Mario hat would be Luigi but looking at it now, id say yeah your right.

      The black one? It reminds me of the Game & Watch Octopus.

      And yeah, they are official. They were put up on their twitter account or something the other day.

      The orange one next to Mario's cap is Samus' helmet, so there is that, I guess!

        Derp. Already mentioned.

          It wasn't actually, someone instead claimed there was 'a metroid.' I think clarification on that's fair to make.

      ninja star is the "Takamaru's Ninja Castle" ninja star throwing game that was used in a lot of promo stuff and the girder will be Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong Crash Course).

      I am not overly familiar with animal crossing but I would guess that it is the leaf with a hole in it? I doubt it is the G&W octo or the spaceship/jet.

      So basically can anyone peg what the spaceship is to round out the list, we currently have (as best as I can tell)
      Zelda (triforce), Pikmin (flower) Metroid (samus helm) Mario (mario hat) Luigis ghost mansion (boo) Animal Crossing 'probably' (leaf) Yoshi something (green spotted egg) probably game and watch something (grey octo) Donkey Kong (girder) Takamaru's Ninja Castle (ninja star) (blue spaceship), Balloon Fight (balloon)

        The spaceship is the Blue Falcon. Ie F-Zero, which has been revealed somewhere or other.

          ahh yes, knew it was familiar but just couldn't place it

    I politely disagree.
    I think ZombiU is the game that is most important, at the moment.
    Mostly beacause it is a mature title that uses the game pad WELL.
    Not as a gimicky thing but uses it for useful things.

    Sure Nintendo Land will help people use the controller, but its basically just a tutorial game.
    People play it once then never look at it again, the WiiU needs a deep title that will appeal to mature gamers.

    Well thats my 2c anyways.

      I agree with you - ZombiU is one of the most interesting games to come out of E3, in my opinion.
      It's got enough new ideas to differentiate itself from other FPS', and it's a mature, 3rd party Wii U title. It has me very interested indeed.
      Unlike this NintendoLand thing, for which I understand the strategy, but am not remotely interested.

        I want games that show how the touch screen control integration adds a new dimension to games and so far ZombiU is the only one that i have seen that has done this. Not just 1 way too. Its tried to vary up the touchscreen usage too which is admirable, im sure it will definately influence future games, so having such a show case game out at launch (and this time not by Nintendo) is good for the platform. I just hope the game has a high level of polish when its released, its amazing to think at one stage the game wasnt even about zombies at all (it was Killer freaks wasnt it?) and has created so much buzz thanks to the way it uses the Wii U gamepad they are now thinking of turning a once exclusive game to multiplatform.

    2 Words. Project P100.

      Sounds great! So the full list of series/franchise themes for Nintendoland is probably:
      Zelda - The Triforce (Confirmed)
      Picmin - The Flower.
      Metroid - Samus' Helmet.
      Mario - Mario's cap.
      Luigi - The Boo (Confirmed)
      Animal Crossing - The Leaf (Confirmed)
      Yoshi - Yoshi egg.
      Game & Watch - The Grey Octopuss.
      Donkey Kong - The Girder (Confirmed)
      Takamaru thing - The Ninja Star (Confirmed)
      F-Zero - The Blue Falcon (Confirmed)
      Balloon Fight - The Balloon.

        The metroid helmet is that mini game they had from last E3 I am assuming

        The gray one makes me think of Birdo.

    So the most important game on the Wii-U is a mini game collection? Really changing up your game there Nintendo.

    It's like ps home. Only not as boring. It's not just a collection of a games. It's also a Mii Plaza where you roam around.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now