All things considered, Nintendo has been having a pretty stellar 2019. The Switch is stronger than ever, their first-party output is outrageously compelling, and, at this point, the flub that was the Wii U feels like it never even happened.
That said, it hasn't necessarily been all smooth sailing for the big N so far this year, and, while they've done a lot of good, they've also stumbled in a few places. Nintendo has a history of questionable decision making, and that's still on display in a major way. From strange fitness joy-cons to major hardware defects, here are 20 mistakes Nintendo has already made this year.
20 Mario Kart Tour
Due to release next week, Mario Kart Tour seems set to be Nintendo's latest mobile snafu. Though it's heartening to see them branch out into other spheres of gaming, their output on mobile devices has been less than stellar so far. Those who've played early versions of Tour have complained that it relies heavily on gacha mechanics and microtransactions, and the whole thing seems to be shaping up to be a dud, though we'll just have to wait and see.
19 Pokémon Sword and Shield Designs
We know that this wasn't Nintendo's decision, but some of the new Pokémon set to debut in Pokémon Sword and Shield are... well, kinda dumb. We've weathered through bad designs before—though some will never get over monstrosities like Vanillite, Trubbish, or Klefki—but, sheesh, creatures like Alcremie, Yamper, the new Weezing, and even the two legendaries just don't seem up to snuff. Fans always complain about the designs of new Pokémon, but these are some serious monstrosities. To say nothing of Dexit.
18 Nintendo Labo VR Kit
Nintendo's VR Labo kit was clearly aimed at children, and we recognize that it's not intended to be taken all that seriously or compared to other virtual reality headsets out there, but this product can be downright nauseating, particularly when it comes to Breath of the Wild. Awkward to play and headache-inducing, the Switch's screen resolution is far, far too low to handle even simple VR experiences.
17 Nintendo Switch Lite
While it's virtually guaranteed to sell well based on the reduced price point when compared to the standard Switch model, we can't help but be disappointed that Nintendo opted for a downgraded revision rather than an upgraded enhancement of their console. The Switch could really benefit from some hardware improvements, but, instead, we're getting a mobile-only version, and we're still salty that it isn't called the LiteSwitch.
16 Dr. Mario World
The latest in Nintendo's aforementioned odyssey of mobile blunders, Dr. Mario World was a huge disappointment which proved that the company wasn't above stooping to money-grubbing monetization tactics. Limiting daily playtime and harshly dumbing down the mechanics from older titles, Dr. Mario World is a downright insult to the series' legacy and a total dud of a release.
15 Lackluster NES and SNES Releases
Nintendo's treatment of their massive backlog of retro games has been downright bewildering of late. Rather than opting for a traditional virtual console system which would have raked in millions of dollars, they instead drip-feed Nintendo Switch Online Scribers with small handfuls of NES and SNES games with little regard for what consumers actually want.
14 Ring Fit Adventure
Obviously, we aren't in a position to call Ring Fit Adventure a mistake at this point, but the marketing up to now, as well as the overall concept, seem a bit bizarre. An apparent attempt to relive the glory days of the Wii fitness craze, Ring Fit Adventure seems like the sort of odd peripheral destined to be taking up space in our attics in a few years' time.
13 ELEAGUE Partnership
Though eSports certainly has a niche audience, it's struggled to find a place in the mainstream, and that was made all the more evident by Nintendo's partnership with ELEAGUE, which culminated in a series of Nintendo-related tournaments broadcast on CBS a few weeks ago. The event wasn't necessarily a flop, but it more or less proved that extensive cable network partnerships are probably more than a few years out, if they ever happen at all.
12 Breath Of The Wild Sequel Announcement
How could Nintendo's fantastic E3 2019 showcase possibly be counted as a mistake? Well, though it's certainly a controversial opinion, we were a little bummed out by the fact that Nintendo didn't really give any details regarding the upcoming Breath of the Wild sequel—we didn't even get so much as a name. Sure, we now have confirmation that it's in development, but, c'mon, we knew that beforehand.
11 The Witcher 3 Switch Port
Yes, we're bending the rules here; Nintendo themselves really don't have anything to do with this decision. However, we're still going to take the time to worry over the Witcher 3 Switch port's potential issues. Porting such a massive, graphically-intensive title to what is essentially a handheld console seems like a Herculean task, and we're worried that, once the devs compress it down to size, The Witcher 3 won't even be recognizable.
10 No Switch Pro Announcement
Look, we're going to hammer this point home until everyone is beyond sick of hearing it. The Switch, though a fantastic, borderline revolutionary console, is really lacking in terms of power. That's nothing new for Nintendo's consoles, but an upgraded version would have been a monumental announcement. It's only been two years since the original version released, but how long will we have to wait? Of course, the year isn't over yet...
9 Refusing To Admit That They're Abandoning the 3DS
The announcement of a mobile-only version of the Switch has more or less killed any hope the 3DS may have had for the future. Released in 2011, the thing is a total dinosaur and a relic of a bygone era, but Nintendo won't officially discontinue their support for the thing. Come on, Nintendo, it's time to move on.
8 Nintendo Switch Online SNES Titles
We're thrilled that Nintendo finally decided to grant their online service subscribers access to SNES games, but we have a few gripes with the titles they chose to debut. While classics like Super Mario World and A Link To The Past made appearances, we also got total duds like Super Soccer, Super Tennis, and the ultra-niche Earth Defence Force.
7 Nintendo Switch Online Renewal Price Increase
A topic which didn't receive much coverage in North American, Nintendo quietly upped the price of renewing a Nintendo Switch Online subscription in Japan. Though the subscription is cheap enough to begin with, even a slight increase will draw the ire of the community, and, should something like this come stateside, it could end up being a controversial issue.
6 The Joy-Con Drift Issue
Likely to go down as one of the most controversial moments of the Switch's lifecycle, 2019 saw one of the console's major design flaws attain mainstream attention. Extensive play could cause the ultra-expensive joy-con controllers to be nearly unusable, and, though Nintendo vowed to amend the issue for users experiencing it following a class action investigation, it's gone down as a black mark on the console's otherwise sterling record.
5 Sans In Smash Bros. Ultimate
Yes, we know he's not technically a playable character, but the mere sight of a Sans skin in Smash Bros. Ultimate makes us feel like we're living in some awful parallel dimension where people only do things for the meme potential. Wait, that's not an alternate reality at all, that's just the world we live in.
4 Link's Awakening Remaster
How in the world could the Link's Awakening Remaster possibly be a mistake in any sense of the word?
Well, though we still think it's awesome, fans have to admit that the game's art style is sort of divisive. However, our bone to pick with the game is that it isn't a remaster of A Link To the Past. Yes, it's a stupid reason to put it on this list, but, hey, Nintendo has otherwise been really solid this year.
3 Updated Switch Release
Though Nintendo's Switch revision is a welcome change, the console's quiet release meant that anyone who bought a Switch in the first half of 2019 was left behind. Though some buyers may have qualified for a free upgrade, the fact that a brand new console purchase was immediately made outdated for some was a bit of a scummy move by Nintendo.
2 No Virtual Console Support
Nintendo's been dragging their feet regarding virtual console support for the Switch. While it was a massive success on the Wii & Wii U, Nintendo seems committed to pigeon-holing their consumers into signing up for their subscription service before they can offer any sort of legal emulation on the Switch.
1 Super Kirby Clash
The release of Super Kirby Clash is sort of a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it's interesting to see Nintendo experiment with a new form of game distribution. On the other hand, it could be the start of Nintendo adopting their ugly mobile practices on the Switch, which isn't something anyone in their right mind would want to see.
Sources: Nintendo.com, Reddit.com, IGN.com