Yesterday, Nintendo announced to the world that the Wii U will be shipping in North America on November 18th, Europe on November 30th, and Japan on December 8th. They also announced a two tier pricing structure. The “standard” edition will retail for $299 and the “deluxe” edition will run for $349.

As with any console launch though, your decision to purchase comes down to one thing… the software. This list compiles five “launch” games that we think will be essential when it comes to your decision to buy a Nintendo Wii U this holiday season.

1. New Super Mario Bros U

Nintendo’s most famous and loveable mascot is a must for any Nintendo launch. Going back to the original Nintendo Entertainment System, Mario has always accompanied the launch of a Nintendo console. The Wii U will be no different.

New Super Mario Bros. U will be launching on release day with the Wii U and I couldn’t be happier. These are the Mario games that we all grew up with when we were children. New Super Mario Bros. is all about getting together with a group of friends and going through (the often challenging) levels in the game. New Super Mario Bros. U will also include new suits for our favorite Italian plumber. You would think that the inclusion of a “flying squirrel” suit would not be a big deal, but somehow Nintendo makes it one. I was able to play New Super Mario Bros U earlier this year and I can tell you… the suit is awesome.

Another new addition to the game is the “challenges” mode. These are specific goals that are designated at the beginning of the stage and you either pass/fail them. During Nintendo’s press conference, they showed off one level where you had to bounce on Koopa shells throughout the whole level. Baby Yoshi’s also make their return in New Super Mario Bros. U. A cool little novelty is also the inter-connected map. So gone are the maps where you complete 8 levels and then shift to another world. While that is still the same premise, all the levels are connected on a single map. Another new mode that will excite some people would be Boost Rush.  Boost Rush takes place on an automatically scrolling level which increases in speed as players collect coins, with the goal to clear the stage as quickly as possible… awesome.

New Super Mario Bros U will be a great game for both hardcore and casual gamers and should be a pivotal title for the launch of the Wii U.

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This article was first posted on September 15, 2012