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Feature: Your Guide to a Nintendo Holiday

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Christmas time, Mario and Trine...

It's Christmas time, and we all know what that means — rapidly depleting bank accounts, lots of food and merriment, and plenty of video gaming. The Holiday season actually means different things depending on your own perspective, of course, but to many it's a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends and exchange some gifts. Of course there are lots of gifts screaming for your attention from store shelves, so we thought we'd do our part to guide you towards a merry Nintendo Christmas.

Mario's on his sleigh — with baby Yoshis doing the hard work to pull the rotund plumber along — and is ready to bring Nintendo happiness to us all. Sadly, he only visits good children who believe in him, so for the rest of us here are some gift ideas on which to spend some cold, hard cash.

Wii U

Wii U is just days old, so wherever you go you're likely to be paying top-dollar, or close to it. Unlike with the launch of Wii you'll have two sets to choose from, the Basic or Deluxe/Premium models. While the Deluxe option comes in at an extra $50/£40-50, it does include extra on-board memory — 32GB instead of 8GB — as well as a copy of Nintendo Land and a reward scheme that'll earn you discounts on the Wii U eShop. Throw in some additional bits of plastic that can act as cradles and stands for the console and GamePad, and it represents good value for the extra investment.

Of course, the biggest challenge is stock, with the system only days old in Europe and selling well in North America. There's evidence that the Basic white model isn't selling as well as its black counterpart, so it seems more likely that this version will be on shelves more often. If you have to have a Wii U and it's the only available model, you can always pick up Nintendo Land separately and be prepared to add an external hard drive that little bit sooner.

A family-friendly standout in the games library is New Super Mario Bros. U, a continuation of the series that's arguably the best 2D Mario title in the "New" franchise, and includes the newbie-friendly Boost Mode on the GamePad. If you're looking for more entertainment that's solid and suitable for young gamers, consideration can also be given to Rabbids Land, which isn't up to the level of Nintendo's amusement park of tricks but offers some fun, while Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is one of the least expensive retail options that can be downloaded directly from the eShop.

An excellent budget option for older gamers is undoubtedly Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition, available at good prices in various stores and on the Wii U eShop, while Assassin's Creed III and ZombiU are high profile mature titles from Ubisoft that are well worth considering. The eShop has some download-only treats available too, with Trine 2: Director's Cut being a high profile example, though we particularly recommend Chasing Aurora and Nano Assault Neo, depending on your preferred genre.


Thanks to Nintendo's shiny new home console, the stereoscopic 3D handheld has now been somewhat shoved out of the limelight. That doesn't mean that it doesn't have plenty to offer, however, for those new to its charms or otherwise.

In terms of systems, there are two flavours to choose from with the standard model and this year's XL release. The original model is less expensive and, if rumours turn out to be true, heading for a further discount of $30 to its MSRP in North America. There are plenty of bundle options on hand, too, with the U.S. receiving a Blue 3DS XL bundle that comes with Mario Kart 7 pre-installed, while lucky Europeans can choose from five games for a free retail download if they register a 3DS XL before 15th January 2013. Whether you prefer the smaller version or its larger cousin, various retailers are sure to offer bundle deals to tempt you into a purchase.

In terms of high profile games this Holiday season, Nintendo weighed in with many of its big-hitters earlier in the year to clear the path for Wii U, though Paper Mario: Sticker Star is likely to be high on many wishlists, while Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is another high profile release vying for your attention — our review of that is coming soon. It's perhaps the eShop that's bringing the most goodness in this festive month, with titles such as Fluidity: Spin Cycle and Crimson Shroud catching the eye.

A Holiday 3DS can also be considered a sound investment for 2013. Let's just mention Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Fire Emblem: Awakening and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, and leave it at that.

The Golden Oldies

As Nintendo's recent Black Friday sales figures showed, there are still plenty of Wii and DS fans out there. With combined unit sales well above 200 million, you may wonder who on Earth doesn't own these systems, but there's always someone. From the Wii's perspective it's all about the back-catalogue, with Nintendo admitting that it's working on no more first-party games for the system. A recent high-profile release is Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, a sequel to the popular Wii original — our review is coming for that, as well. If you want to track down some classics though, you could always check out our top 20 list, while consoles bundled with a game are available for $150 and under, with UK equivalents available for around £120 at various retailers. If you're in Canada, you can always pick up a new Wii Mini.

The humble DS, or the DSi to be more precise, is also a good budget option for those hooked to the Touch Generation library of games, among others. The highest profile recent release is undoubtedly Pokémon Black and White 2, tapping into the collecting instincts of Pokémaniacs worldwide. Like Wii, DS has an impressive back-catalogue with dozens of stone-cold classics to choose from, with DSiWare also playing its role. In truth, the difference in price between DSi and 3DS does make the newer system the better value package, with its own ever-expanding library, but if you firmly want to stick to the older handheld there'll be plenty of games to work through.

So there you go, some ideas for the best of Nintendo that's available this Holiday season. We may update this article should other ideas strike, and we'd love it if you pass on your own suggestions in the comments below.

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User Comments (39)



JayRydah said:

Got my wii u friday night. And it is awesome. I havent even turned on my ps3 once since I got it and thats rare. GOO NINTENDO WII U



Syntax said:

Wait where did you guy's come from?! It was emty a 30 seconds ago?



JayRydah said:

@Syntax hahah.i know right. People are really quick to comment on to hear u wont be gettin the wii u.i had to look all over town till I found a walmart with 1 deluxe set left.



Syntax said:

Just deleted the comment, The worst part of this whole wii u madness is that a large number of wiiu got into the hands of greedy resellers instead of us customers!



Kyloctopus said:

I really want the cheaper games this christmas. I already spent a motherload for my Wii U and a few games. So I just want Pikmin 2, Fire Emblem: Shaddow Dragon, Kirby Mass Attack, and some other great games I missed last generation. As well as eShop points.



Norfair said:

Oh, I really want Pokemon B/W 2 and a Wii U, but I guess I already have enough to keep me busy.



Randomname19 said:

I pre ordered a black Wii U two months ago at a local store but I'm still waiting for it even tought it has been released 3 days ago (I live in Europe).As far as I can tell is sold out everywhere.I hope I'll get my hands on it before christmas



AyeHaley said:

There are plenty in my town. I still preordered mine in May though. So happy! Wii U is gamers heaven!



Boo_Buster said:

@Syntax If you really, really wanted one, it wasn't hard to get. You just have to be on top of it. I went 30 mins after the New York press conference and had no problems, and I know most people hate GameStop, but being able to reserve a Wii U for $50 was pretty damn cool. I too hate those inch brained morons who purchase multiple systems though, and I hope they have to sit on them and sell them for a loss someday.



sinalefa said:

Getting a Wii U for a decent price would be my Christmas miracle, lol. Most likely it will be better to wait until the rush ends and the systems are a bit cheaper, around January.

As the article mentions, it is very hard to recommend the older systems as both new ones are backwards compatible. I never got a DS, so I am using my 3DS to play the hell out of White 2.



Xyphon22 said:

I walked through Wal-Mart yesterday and saw at least one of each of the Basic and Deluxe Wii U's in their case, plus there may have been some behind those that I couldn't see. Apparently it isn't that popular here.



SonyFACE said:

The regular 3DS is on sale now at Target in the U.S. for $129.99. I'd take advantage of that if I didn't have it already.



Doge said:

holy ! 129.99? thats amazing! just imagine wat the wii u price could be....



Pikachupwnage said:

Back in the 80s miyamoto so loved the world he sent down his one and only son mario(he forgot about luigi Apparentally) to give games to all the good children.

To this day every year some blessed children are visited by mario. Oh and leave out some super mushrooms for mario kids!



coolvw93 said:

i was tempted to buy one at walmart today since a few were available... unfortunately, all my money is going to be headed into college classes for spring semester.....



HaastMK7 said:

I want a Wii U so much, but because I have a 3DS I doubt my parents will let me



HawkeyeWii said:

Can't wait for a wii U to be sitting under the Christmas tree. I know about it, but my younger siblings don't! It will be a blast of a Christmas morning!



Pixelrobin said:

i want a wii u so bad but i dont even have a tv. go ahead yell it in my face.
"but everyone has one"
lol cant tell u how many times i heard that :



StarDust4Ever said:

I'm still waiting for December 25th so I can play my Wii-U deluxe model and NintendoLand and New Super Mario Bros U.



Kevin said:

I'm waiting to get Kid Icarus and Paper Mario for Christmas. The Wii U rocks.



MetalKingShield said:

The one I'm getting for sure is Denpa Men, I'm very interested in Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion and Paper Mario: Sticker Star, and it's getting harder and harder to resist a Wii U!



Xjarnold said:

3-9-12:Annoyed I couldn't tell wtheck a Wii U is
6-11-12: Playing Kid Icarus Uprising like there's no tommorow
8-1-12: Blows Wii U off as crap
8-1-12 7:00 p.m Plays Wii U Demo.................................
0-0 This **** is awesome

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