As soon as Mario exclaimed “MARIO KAAART EIIIIGGHHT” on the title screen of the recently released Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, I knew I was done for. A game that I had sunk over 100 hours into on my maligned Wii U had hooked me again. Before I knew it, I was dusting Daisy so hard that Lakitu had to fish her across the finish line – snaking through dizzying turns like I had never put down the controller. In the 2 years since I had last tasted sweet gold, what had changed? The obvious answer is the bevy of features that earn Mario Kart 8 Deluxe its fancy new moniker, but their presence has provided microscopic returns in my limited playing time. If not that, then what? The answer is, again, obvious; the Nintendo Switch.
Across the gaming landscape, media and community alike are singing the praises of the Nintendo Switch. Those who have it can’t seem to put it down, and those who don’t are either hunting it like the Predator or standing firm in their criticisms (which are perfectly valid, I should note). The point to be gleaned from the situation is that Nintendo’s plucky new hybrid has taken gaming by storm, regardless of its status as a Zelda/Nindies (and now Mario Kart) machine. The reason? It is damn fun to play. I am most certainly not alone in my desire to play everything on my Switch.
The problem is; I can’t.
Nintendo has a lot to prove with the Switch after the Wii U debacle, so it will inevitably take time for the new system to find its footing with third parties. Ideas that it will ever receive games like Red Dead Redemption 2 or Battlefront 2 are, I’m sorry, laughable. But by supporting Unreal Engine 4, Unity and other standardized development tools, third parties will eventually make games for the system, provided it continues to sell with a steady momentum. This is all well and good, but what is Nintendo doing for me now? Which brings me back to Mario Kart.
Nintendo’s stellar kart racer was announced to be the fastest-selling title in the mega-popular series, selling approximately 459K units in its first 24 hours. This is impressive, and it’s a testament to the quality of Mario Kart 8. What is even more impressive is that the original release has sold 7.38 million units, meaning (presumably) many players double dipped. Playing the game on Switch injected a new level of fun into a 3-year-old title, and there isn’t any reason to believe that Wii U’s other great games wouldn’t experience a similar effect, and that it wouldn’t be lucrative for Nintendo.
As a player who slogged through the Wii U era, I received a few magnificent games on hardware that did its best to push me away. Super Mario 3D World, Super Smash Bros., Super Mario Maker and even Pikmin 3 were fantastic experiences that I enjoyed in the moment but have no desire to return to. Not because of their quality, but because of the Wii U’s clunky obtuseness. The idea of handing a Joycon to a friend and bopping around a Super Mario 3D World level is alluring, and all of these games would fit beautifully on the Switch. Featuring evergreen art styles and tight, polished gameplay, the growing Switch community would devour these titles in the same way that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is captivating the audience now. They deserve better than what they got, and the Switch can provide a new lease on life.
I don’t care that these games are old. I don’t care that I’ve played them before. Playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has convinced me that Wii U ports can feel exciting and fresh solely by existing on a delightful piece of hardware. And for the current and future Switch owners that never had the pleasure of owning a Wii U, these “old games” will be all new experiences. None of them look or play old, and would give these fans another reason to interact with their Switch. New games are coming, but when Nintendo’s understandable gaps in software intersect with third party trepidation, ports can be the system’s lifeblood. So bring on the ports! While nonbelievers are grumbling about the lack of games, I’ll be lapping them on Sunshine Airport.
And I’ll be having a blast while doing it.
Brett Williams is an Associate Writer for MONG who wishes he was as capable behind the wheel of his 09 Civic as he is in the B-Dasher, banana in hand. You can follow his nonexistent ramblings on twitter.