Opinion: Mario & Zelda are all The Next-Gen I Need, for Now…

by on November 24, 2013

Considering the last time I failed to pick up a console on or very close to launch was probably the PS3, you might expect that I would be beating down the door of my nearest stockist to snare myself a shiny Xbox One, and that the pre-order had long been done and dusted for the fourth instalment in the PlayStation Quadrilogy. After all, I do write about games and stuff, and people expect this sort of thing from me. Yet here I am, the Sunday after Microsoft have dropped their new hardware, and I am still resolutely stuck in the last gen.

The reasons for this aren’t financial, it is simply that I have decided (for better or worse) to play the waiting game. I have learned that in recent times, I have had my fingers burned by the lack of a juicy line-up of titles to enjoy post-console release. From the lacklustre offerings which initially accompanied the 3DS and Vita, to the disappointment of how long it has taken Nintendo to put out enough quality first party releases to get me excited, the past few years have been littered with launches that have underwhelmed and had me questioning why I chose to shell out my hard-earned. Of course, all of those consoles have gone on to have some stellar times – in particular the handhelds which have been the must-own gadgets of 2013 for gamers.

But why am I not excited by new tech? Everyone loves a new bit of kit, right?

Let us take the supposedly improved Kinect. I learned the hard way about the last time Microsoft employed their motion sensing wizardry, when I finally adopted the eerie little camera gizmo, and was left bitterly disappointed by the Steel Battalion game that I had been looking forward to so much. I am not about to get worked up about their sophomore effort, not until I have more hard evidence that it isn’t going to be another peripheral I have to find room for out of sight behind my telly. I don’t like the idea of having to talk to any kind of electronic device, either. To me, that is one step closer to Skynet and the dystopian future of Terminator for my liking.

But hey, I am being negative here. My main reason for avoiding the initial clamour and new console fever, is that I still have much to enjoy from what I already have. In the same week that a duo of new consoles arrives, Nintendo are wheeling out their two biggest hitters. They probably won’t make much of a dent in the sales Sony and Microsoft are craving, but they do serve to demonstrate two things – the undeniable ascent to greatness of the 3DS console, and the fact that Nintendo’s internal development studios are gaming alchemists of the highest order, capable of touching true gaming greatness when they put their minds to it.

If, like me, you have read the superb reviews on this very site, then you should be getting extremely excited about the prospect of playing Super Mario 3D World and A Link Between Worlds. Finding Nintendo at the very top of their game, the prospect of picking up these games fills me with more innate gaming joy than any ultra-realistic spin around a Forza track, or visceral guns ‘n’ grunts shoot-outs in Killzone ever could. And don’t get it twisted, I bloody love Killzone. So when you are all unpacking your shiny new PlayStation, or getting to grips with telling your Xbox to play something on Netflix, I am going to be scarpering around in a cat suit, and re-acquainting myself with one of my favourite gaming haunts – top down, O.G Hyrule from the early 90s when I was a kid.

But deep down I will be slightly jealous, and I am not made of stone entirely – there are things about this next generation that I am looking forward to with genuine, crack-fiend shakes ongoing. The twelve minutes of Big Boss in action that we recently saw was the stuff of day one purchase legends, a new Metal Gear adventure that looks to be on the cusp of delivering the best interpretation yet seen of Kojima’s nutty vision of tactical espionage action. Then you have Michael Ancel. The last time he brought one of his old friends back from the dead, it was to reinvent Rayman for a whole new generation of gleeful, grateful platform fans. The prospect of him hard at work on a sequel to the sublime Beyond Good & Evil is a delightful one. Driveclub could be the game that finally tempts me back behind a virtual wheel for the first time since the original Gran Turismo. And then you have sports. I love sports! And I cannot wait to see just what the big guns are going to do with the myriad franchises I have been lucky enough to cover over the years.

So I am going to wait, maybe try and work my way through my last-gen pile of shame a bit, cast a few green eyed glances in the direction of my colleagues already experiencing what the future feels like. But rest assured when I do finally succumb, I will check in with you guys one Sunday afternoon, and let you know what I think about it. If in the meantime if I pull a Colm Ahern Vita about-turn and buy two of each console, then I am sure someone somewhere will point me back to this very article.

What about you, have you succumbed yet, and spent some hard-earned cash on a next-gen system? Let us know what you think of it so far in the comment section below.

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