The Dark Age Of Nintendo (2012-2017)

In their bid to win back an audience, Nintendo fell off their lofty perch with the Wii U.

Reggie Fils-Aime Wii U announcement

Having been in the gaming business longer than just about any other, Nintendo has had many ups and downs in their history. Some of these include the ill-received Virtual Boy and more recently the treatment of third-party fan projects.

Few of these can compare to their dark age with the Wii U. After their smashing success with the Wii, Nintendo faced a gruelling struggle as developer support packed up and their franchises stagnated. How did Nintendo fall from the top spot and how did they haul themselves back with the Switch? Let's find out.

On Top Of The Gaming Landscape

nintendo wii

After sliding into third place with the Nintendo GameCube, the Japanese giant went on to strike gold with its successor. From its debut in 2006, the Wii dominated sales charts around the world and it all came down to its novel and accessible innovations. The arrival of motion controls allowed almost anyone and everyone to pick up a Wii remote and join in on the fun. Thanks to Wii Sports being bundled in, the system immediately struck a chord with families and found itself on many a Christmas wish list. In the first four months of its release, it had already sold over five million units.

The console's smashing success would only continue in the years to follow. Boosted by the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the Nintendo faithful were equally well provided for. What made all of these titles work so well was how they avoided slipping into gimmicky territory and successfully put new spins on each of the long running franchises. With these great exclusives, some were able to overlook the system's weaker support for online play.

Amongst all this commercial success however, there was one noticeable flaw dogging the Wii. The sheer amount of casually produced shovelware that found its way onto the platform. The sheer number of consoles finding their way into family homes prompted many an unskilled developer to follow the money and push out many crappy titles on the platform. Many of these were often aimed at children and gave the console an unwanted reputation; this was something Nintendo would need to fix in the future.


A tough but fair writer and critic broadly covering games, movies and just about every type of entertainment media. Spent a good part of the last seven years blogging and more recently, making amateur videos under "The Cainage Critique". You can follow my work on my website and my YouTube channel at