Video Game Thoughts: Nintendo Land

Nintendo Land was a 2012 party game for the Wii U by Nintendo. Me getting to play this game was an interesting affair. I was a pretty big Nintendo player until the Nintendo GameCube. I really liked a lot of the games on GameCube, but the console just didn’t live up to my expectations. A lot of games I looked forward to were delayed or cancelled. I decided to move on from Nintendo for the next generation of consoles. I bought an Xbox 360 instead of a Nintendo Wii. I had some fun with Xbox 360, but, ultimately, it didn’t turn out how I expected either. My computer was becoming outdated. I put in a little extra money to get a gaming computer. Now I was a PC player. Most of the best games on the consoles were also available on the PC, except Nintendo games. They were always exclusive to Nintendo consoles.

When Nintendo announced their next console, the Wii U, would use more traditional controls, I was intrigued. I thought it would be fun to play Nintendo games again. I already could play most console games on my computer. I was only missing Nintendo games. In the end though, Nintendo was getting a lot of negative speculation from the gaming industry. I wasn’t interested in spending that much money either. I could make do with just my computer. I didn’t need to play all the games.

Well, in a complete surprise to me, my parents had some extra money and decided to get a Wii U for me for Christmas. I never even asked for it, but my mom knew I had loved Nintendo games when I was little. I wasn’t sure about this at first because I knew it was a big purchase, and I didn’t have a huge interest in Nintendo games at the moment. I had already decided to just stick with PC, so I felt no hype for Nintendo games. I wasn’t sure if I would use it that much, but I decided that it would be best to accept this gift. My parents got me the Wii U Deluxe, which included Nintendo Land.

Nintendo Land was probably the best party game I’ve played. Party games have a pretty negative reputation in the game industry. Because they are made for casual game players, the game mechanics tend to be very simple. Veteran game players just don’t find anything interesting in the gameplay. On top of that, the developers try to make the game inclusive, so that experienced players don’t build a runaway lead from the new players. Like a board game, luck plays a big factor in who wins. Veteran game players want to be rewarded for their skill or experience. They don’t like games where all the hard work they put in is trivialized by random chance.

I mostly fit in the veteran game player group. Even more, I tend to prefer single player games to multiplayer games, just because I like the flexibility of being able to stop playing whenever I want. There were many multiplayer modes in Nintendo Land, but, luckily, there was a bunch of single player stuff to do as well. In fact, six of the mini-games were only for single player. Most of the games had a little bit of progression too, which veteran players love. Beating all the levels, unlocked a new set of levels. Each mini-game had a set of stamps to collect too. These were like achievements in other games. They didn’t give the player anything, but they were fun to collect. I had a lot of fun replaying each mini-game to get the stamps.

Nintendo Land was good for a party game, but it still wasn’t my favorite just because I like to have a long term goal to keep me interested. Nintendo Land’s mini-games were mostly all self-contained. Each game awarded coins, which the player could use to unlock little museum displays in the main hub of the game, but there was no story that involved the mini-games and no real gameplay altering things to unlock. Because of that, Nintendo Land was love-hate for me. For a few weeks, I would play it to death trying to beat all of a mini-game’s levels or get all the stamps. Then I’d get bored and not play it for a year before continuing the cycle again.

Nintendo Land wasn’t perfect for me, but it was worth the time I put into it. I probably spent around fifty hours doing everything it offered. The game was sort of educational too because it showed me how many features of the new console worked. Later games that employed those same features were easier to learn since I had already seen their use in Nintendo Land. I would have been disappointed if Nintendo Land was all I had to play, but my parents had the forethought to get a game more to my liking in New Super Mario Bros. U.

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