The biggest Nintendo stories of 2017

The news that stood out for the Switch maker this year.

\Nintendo has enjoyed a phenomenal year of sales victories and mainstream recognition. Reggie Fils-Aimé, the president of Nintendo America, has said that the success of Switch is owed to lessons learned from Wii U, and that the goal now is to keep momentum going.

However, nostalgia for Nintendo’s illustrious past has also attracted millions more fans to SNES Classic since September. Also, a landmark announcement from Nvidia in December saw classic Nintendo games enhanced for PC hardware, though only in China (for now).

The competition may up the ante in 2018 with news of future generation consoles, but the way things currently stand, Nintendo has earned a commanding position for years to come.

Switch joins TIME’s best inventions line-up

TIME magazine has placed Nintendo Switch in the company of life-enhancing or significantly life-changing products and services to complete its list of ‘The 25 Best Inventions of 2017’.

To give this perspective, other entries include: the NASA Mars InSight, a lander that will probe beneath the red planet’s surface; eSight 3, dubbed as ‘Glasses That Give Sight to the Blind’; and the ‘Portable, Wearable Breast Pump’ Willow Pump.

Switch is commended as ‘A Gaming Console That Lets You Play Anywhere,’ but specifically heralded as a legitimate home console that’s capable of playing on the go. The standalone VR unit Oculus Go was the only other gaming gizmo to appear on the roster.

Meanwhile, Switch has ranked Number One in TIME magazine’s Top 10 Gadgets of 2017, a list that also includes SNES Classic at number six (and Microsoft Xbox One X in at eight).

Nintendo games on Nvidia Shield

Although we have witnessed other examples of “will never happen” such as Mario sharing the same spotlight as Sonic the Hedgehog (Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games) and both Pokémon and Mario marching successfully onto smart phones, the thought of actual, full-blown Nintendo classics appearing on anything other than bespoke Nintendo hardware was not only naïve, but some might sternly address your lack of understanding about Nintendo.

However, on December 5, Nvidia announced a partnership that allows for Nintendo Wii and GameCube games to run on Nvidia Shield, the portable PC gaming device. Before anyone was allowed to become too excited, the caveat is that this deal relates only to the launch of Shield in mainland China. Online video service provider iQiyi is also a partner in this deal.

It’s especially agonising for Nintendo fans outside of China, since Nintendo Wii games The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Mario Galaxy and Punch Out are to be remastered in Full HD. Metroid Prime is also coming, according to Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad.

Switch sells 10 million in nine months

After the retail stumble that was Wii U, Nintendo has significantly – spectacularly – regained credibility in the home console space with Switch. Since its worldwide launch on March 3, 2017 Switch has sailed through the 10 million units sold threshold, a figure that took its predecessor almost two and a half years.

This isn’t just a success story for Nintendo in isolation. The milestone puts Switch almost neck and neck with the runaway train that has become Sony’s PlayStation 4, which made similar progress during its opening year.

The high level of demand for Switch continues to push Nintendo on the supply side. The company originally forecasted 10 million units sold during year one, but this has since been revised to 14 million – almost 50 per cent positive adjustment. Wii U lifetime sales peaked at around 13 million, this gives you a clearer picture of how Switch flipped things around.

SNES Classic sells two million in one month

Barely one month after its North American and European on September 29, shortly followed by Japan on October 5, Nintendo announced that SNES Classic (aka Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System / Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Famicom) had sold through two million units worldwide. The 10 million Switch milestone was as yet unknown.

Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said that, "the expectation is that the chance to interact with video games for those who either haven't done so in a long while or those who never have will lead to a greater appreciation for our newest gaming console, Nintendo Switch.” Kimishima also confirmed that SNES Classic “will continue to ship moving forward."

SNES Classic really is a mini marvel, with 21 games on-board including Super Castlevania IV, Street Fighter II, Super Mario Kart, Yoshi’s Island, Donkey Kong Country and Mega Man X. It’s practically a master class in console gaming.

Switch hidden golf game

Earlier this year, a group of hackers claimed to have found a hidden emulator on Nintendo Switch that launched the 1984 NES classic Golf. The precise method remained a mystery, but its presence was rumored as a tribute to the late Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, who passed away on July 11, 2015.

Since the news broke, several fan sites have locked down the way to achieve the hack, and Twitter user @sprsk (Justin Epperson, senior producer at Japanese video game localization company 8-4) relayed the message that “JP internet is calling it an ‘omamori’ or charm from Iwata (he coded the game himself).”

Proof that the game can be unlocked was posted by member ‘fire3element’ on September 30, with details on how to do so, including a video uploaded to YouTube.

The upshot is that your Switch may need to have never been connected to the internet, owing to one of the conditions being that the console is set to July 11, and firmware 1.0.0. You are, however, required to mimic the hand gestures of the beloved Iwata-san to launch.


Paul’s first videogame was Space Invaders in 1978, which gives away his age a bit. We put his encyclopedic knowledge of the beforetimes to good use in our Retro coverage. If you want to reach Paul, you can email or tweet him @FutureKick.

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