I had been thinking about reviewing Mario Kart Wii since I picked it up a few weeks ago, but didn’t really have much to say about it. The first time I sat down to write a quick draft, I started the title with, “Mario Kart Wii is More of the Same…” Hold the phone! This seems all too familiar. The following day, Ryan Davis (formerly of GameSpot) over at Giant Bomb wrote about Mario Kart Wii and totally hit the nail on the head. The bottom line, is that Nintendo has stopped evolving their successful franchises, instead relying on the existing fan base to buy into each and every regurgitation. The last two generations of Nintendo consoles have been particular bad for this. But since the Wii is merely a tiny step up from the GameCube in the graphics and sound departments, these new titles feel immediately dated. As much as it seems like Nintendo simply isn’t trying any more, that’s not the case for a couple of reasons.
For one, they’re sticking with proven formulas that people love and have brought them success. With each regurgitation, there’s always new features and usually new characters and game modes. So it’s not like they’ve halted growth entirely. Nintendo has always been known for making games that just about anyone can pick up and play. They can never lose that aspect, and it appears they’re well aware of that.
On the other hand, Nintendo has taken some massive risks and stepped out onto a limb that didn’t even exist on numerous occasions. In recent years, they’ve come up on top repeatedly. The DS, the Wii… need I say more? They try when it really counts, and as much as their top franchises are average regurgitations, the fact that it’s still hard to find a Wii in stock proves that it doesn’t even matter.