Wii U

When the original Wii was released, the gaming platform flew off shelves so quickly that even journalists had to ask vendors like Gamestop to call as soon as they received a shipment. But the Wii U failed to game steam with third party developers, and like its previous iteration, eventually had to count on in-house support for nearly all of its top titles. That said, when your top-tier titles boast marquee names like Mario and Zelda, you’re not struggling that much to catch the mainstream’s attention. Meanwhile, with the next generation finally here, it’s time to take a look at which games for Nintendo’s new console are exciting enough to be worthy of their iconic predecessors.

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1. Mario Kart 8

Right away, Nintendo strikes with one its time-honored franchises. Mario Kart 8 looks to break away from the norm and add more vehicle types than ever before. In addition to the legendary karts, this entry will borrow from another classic Nintendo racer, F-Zero, and personal favorite Diddy Kong Racing by adding both airborne and water-based courses.

The series is always a big hit with fans of all ages and skill levels and in my opinion stands head and shoulders above any other at the top of the “games your girlfriend will play with you” pantheon. Nintendo’s best chance for success here is to replicate the easy-to-play-yet-hard-to-master balance that makes these games accessible to casual gamers and has enough depth to please those who consider themselves hardcore.

Release Date: May 30, 2014

2. NES Remix 2

There’s “time honored” and then there is just straight up nostalgia. This is the latter, but with a history like Nintendo’s that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This series takes the games you grew up playing (Super Mario Bros 3, Kirby’s Adventure, and Metroid to name a few) and lets you experience them without having to blow into the cartridges. The appeal of this series can’t be overstated — ’90s babies can experience these classic games for the first time, and similar to hip-hop heads listening to Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt for the first time, can finally see how well the titles have aged.

Gamers like me who grew up with these games can finally delete their emulators, stop blowing into cartridges and most importantly experience these games with new twists, such as Super Luigi Bros., which is basically Super Mario Bros. played right to left and with the high flying physics gamers associate with the most famous player 2 of all time. This game should find its niche and if they manage to sneak in 2 player modes to some of these classics could easily become a party game for all ages.

Release Date: April 25, 2014

3. Hyrule Warriors

Remember how Dynasty Warriors was really fun until you realized that each iteration of the series drew from the same period of history, featured the same characters and basically pit you against the same adversaries over and over again? Remember how you still kept playing to unlock every character and every weapon? So take that add one of the most revered characters in all of gaming and you have Hyrule Warriors.

I for one can’t wait to pit Link (and hopefully other fan favorites like Ganon, Sheik, and Zelda) against onrushing hordes of Armos and Stalfos. Add in the ability to launch arrows, bombs, and boomerangs with reckless abandon and the opportunity to cut through the armies of evil with the Master Sword? Shut up and take my money.

Release Date: TBA

4. Yarn Yoshi

As a fan of Kirby’s Epic Yarn and of course Yoshi, this seems like a game personally relevant to my interests. The problem here is that after showing the game off, Nintendo has been mum about the project for more than a year making gamers wonder if it has been cancelled, is undergoing a makeover or was just a demo for some other planned project.

Yoshi’s Island was a great series and if this game could harness any of that magic in addition the over the top cutesy visuals then Nintendo could end up making the “yarn” title similar to those of the “paper” Mario games on previous consoles.

Release Date: TBA (Maybe Never)

5. Super Smash Bros. Wii U

This is the game I am personally waiting for more than any other, regardless of console. I spent so many hours playing the previous titles in this series that it definitely cost me better grades, relationships, and possibly some personal hygiene moments. The revolutionary party brawler is definitely one of the games that Nintendo can hang its “M” emblazoned hat on.

The addition of gaming icon MegaMan, on loan from Capcom, definitely won’t lessen the appeal of this juggernaut. This game should be a prime example of what Nintendo did so well for years, a game that anyone can pick up, enjoy and play with friends meets a game that spawns a diehard, hypercompetitive tournament scene. I have to admit that the last generation’s lack of current generational online matchmaking really left a sour taste in my mouth so I’m rooting incredibly hard for Nintendo to give us the game that Brawl could have been.

Release Date: TBA (not soon enough)

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