The last new character Nintendo created is literally a manikin.
Mario Is Keeping Nintendo From Creating New Experiences
For years now Shigeru Miyamoto has been stating he’d like to focus more on new games and experiences, but that he’s simply too busy. What’s he busy with? Mario. Mario, Mario and more Mario.
As the number of Mario games increases, the number of new experiences from Nintendo decreases. Arguably the last major new IP from Nintendo was Wii Fit, which was released in 2007. In the meantime, Nintendo has released a whopping eight Mario platformers since 2007. Mario platformers are always developed in-house by Nintendo, and based on the company’s lack of creativity lately, it seems fair to say they’re directly consuming resources that could be going to new, original titles. And again, new original titles — Wii Fit, Wii Sports, Nintendogs — are what have brought Nintendo its greatest success over the past decade.
Mario Is Keeping Nintendo From Taking Proper Care Of Their Other Franchises
Mario doesn’t just draw resources away from new, original titles — he also drains the life force from Nintendo’s other classic franchises. In this era of biannual Mario platformer releases, Metroid has been allowed to wither on the vine. Miyamoto himself has admitted F-Zero is probably dead. Star Fox, Eternal Darkness, Wave Race and 1080 Snowboarding are lost to the sands of time. Beloved franchises like Punch-Out!! and Pikmin get a new entry every decade or two. This Mario guy’s a damn glory hog.
Nintendo Already Has Its Mario Bases Covered
Listen, even if you don’t think Mario drains resources away from other Nintendo projects, the fact is, Nintendo has already delivered everything the Mario fan could ever want on the Wii U. We have a couple 2D platformers, a 3D platformer and Mario Kart and Smash Bros. will be here within months. At this point, more Mario is just scooping an extra quart of vanilla on top of an ice-cream cake.
What’s Nintendo Got To Lose At This Point?
Despite the Wii U being a virtual smorgasbord of Mario goodness, people still aren’t buying. For whatever reason, Mario isn’t selling systems anymore, or more specifically, he isn’t selling Wii U systems. It’s time to court somebody other than Mario fans, and if they don’t bite, well, things can’t get much worse than they are now.
In fact, if I were in charge of Nintendo, I’d make 2015 the year where I didn’t release a single Mario game whatsoever.
Give me Zelda. Give me Metroid. Give me RPGs (Monolith’s Xenoblade sequel seems to be the only Wii U title with any sort of serious buzz). Give me large scale original titles for the hardcore gamers, and original arcade titles for the casuals. Bring back Star Fox, Bring back Eternal Darkness. Hell, bring back forgotten oddities like Star Tropics and Mach Rider. Just anything but more plumbers in red and green caps. It might not save the Wii U, but dammit, at least you’ll go out on a creative high, which is something the Nintendo of the past would have cared about.