Nintendo recap: N64 games coming one at a time starting with Paper Mario, and let's discuss The Game Awards

N64 Games Game Awards Banjo Paper Mario Majoras Mask
N64 Games Game Awards Banjo Paper Mario Majoras Mask (Image credit: iMore)

This week, Nintendo only walked away with one win from The Game Awards, but it went to a deserving title. We also got to see just how well Pokémon Gen IV remakes sold globally, and Paper Mario came to Switch, revealing Nintendo's slow-drip approach to the Expansion Pack. Nintendo legend and creator of the NES and SNES also passed away this week, so we say goodbye to an influential legend. There's even more to discuss so let's get to it!

Nintendo at The Game Awards

Metroid Dread Clean Image (Image credit: Nintendo)

The Game Awards 2021 took place Thursday evening and spanned over three and a half hours. As is unfortunately typical, Nintendo's work didn't really get represented well. It even lost the sure-fire Nintendo category. You see, it's become a joke that the Best Family Game award was specifically made to include Nintendo as it's often the only place you'll even see Nintendo's creations nominated. This year, Nintendo's games took up four of the five nominee slots for Best Family Game, but the category was ultimately won by the only non-Nintendo game: It Takes Two, which also won Game of the Year. It's definitely an awesome co-op experience, so if you have the chance you should play it on PC, PS4, PS5, or Xbox One, X|S. The only award Nintendo walked away with last night was for Best Action/Adventure Game, which went to Metroid Dread, so congrats to the Mercury Steam team for that!

Considering several highly anticipated games are finally launching next year, it doesn't look too promising for next year's Nintendo nominees once again. Sure, there will be The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel (if it doesn't get delayed, of course), but it will be competing against Horizon Forbidden West, God of War: Ragnarok, Starfield, and the foam-at-the-mouth-highly-anticipated Elden Ring.

Pokémon BDSP sold about the same as Sword and Shield at launch

Pokemon Sword Zacian And Shining Pearl Palkia (Image credit: iMore)

The Pokémon Company officially released a statement about how Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (BDSP) has sold over 6 million units globally in it's first week on the market. As Joe Merrick on Twitter remarked, this is about the same as what Sword and Shield sold in its first week, with that official report saying it sold "over 6 million units". Considering that more people have become Switch owners over the last two years due to the pandemic, these numbers aren't too surprising. Some folks definitely purchase Nintendo hardware specifically for Pokémon games and jump at the chance to grab another entry.

Speaking of, we've got Pokémon Legends: Arceus releasing Jan. 28, 2022, but since it will only have the one version instead of selling two, sales will likely not be nearly as high as Sword and Shield or BDSP's.

Paper Mario comes to Switch in Nintendo's slow drip N64 game approach

Paper Mario Leaving House (Image credit: iMore)

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack has met with a lot of criticism since it first released due to many of the games' wonky controls and input lag. However, players have been looking forward to the additional games that have yet to come to the service, including Majora's Mask and Banjo-Kazooie. However, instead of dropping the next wave of highly anticipated N64 games all at once, Nintendo is releasing them one at a time, starting with Paper Mario, which came to the service on Friday and is one of the very best games in the Paper Mario series. We also know Banjo-Kazooie will follow by dropping sometime in January.

This slow-drip approach is angering several players who are already upset over the high price of the N64 and Sega Geneis emulator. At this rate, it could be months before Majora's Mask even comes to the Switch. So why are the games releasing like this? Believe it or not, the N64 was a commercial failure despite having some of the most iconic games of all time. As such, there aren't many N64 games to begin with, so Nintendo's probably trying to drag out the hype for this service as long as possible.

Now, Paper Mario is one of those ultimate classics from the N64 era and is definitely one you should check out if you haven't already. I myself am in the middle of my fifth playthrough thanks to its release on Switch, and I still love it just as much as I did when I was a kid. Since the controls are pretty basic mostly just using the joystick and the A button, it's still easy to play and doesn't have the same issues more intensive games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time experience within the Expansion Pack. While I liked Paper Mario: The Origami King well enough, there's something trully magnificent about the first two games in the series, so pick it up if you get the chance.

Creator of the NES and SNES has passed away

Nintendo NES and SNES Classic Editions (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

This week, we say fairwell to a legend: Masayuki Uemura, the lead architect on the NES and SNES. He created some of the most influential video game consoles in history, and was also involved in making several notable Nintendo games. He spent his later years teaching video game development at Kyoto's Ritsumeikan University. This magnificent man passed away on Dec. 6 at age 78. We may not have met him in person, but he played a major impact on many of our childhoods.

New Most Played section in the eShop

Most Played Section Nintendo Eshop (Image credit: iMore)

A brand new category has been added to the Nintendo eShop, but it's a little hidden. By clicking on the Featured section, and scrolling all the way to the bottom, you can find a link to the most played Nintendo Switch games of the last two weeks. It truly is fascinating seeing what games get played the most since the ones that appeared seriously aren't the ones I would have expected. Last I checked, some new releases make an appearance, but Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny is at the very top. It will be interesting keeping an eye on this list going forward and seeing just what games people are sinking their teeth into most.

Nintendo loses eShop preorder cancelations appeal

Nintendo eShop (Image credit: iMore)

For the last few years, Nintendo Switch owners haven't been too happy with how preorders and refunds work on the eShop since it's incredibly different from how easy it is when puchasing physical goods. This lead to a legal matter in Germany that started a few years ago, where Nintendo was taken to court over its digital refund and return policy. After two years, Nintendo won, but then the decision was appealed.

This week, as reported by Nintendo Life, things swung the other way and Nintendo has now lost the court appeal. It's likely that this will lead to refund and return policy changes on the eShop in the future. For now, buyers can cancel preorders within seven days of a game's release, but this will likely be affected by the appeal. We'll keep an eye on this and report as we learn more.

All for this week

That's it for Nintendo news. I'll be spending the next few days playing through Paper Mario once again and shiny hunting in Pokémon BDSP. I hope you all have a lovely weekend and get to enjoy the video games you want to play most.

Until next time.

- Rebecca Spear

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.