It is the oldest cliche in the great book of video game cliches: never underestimate Nintendo.
The industry veteran is a master of comebacks and agenda-setting lateral business moves; it practically invented handheld gaming as a viable global entertainment platform; it watched its 95% console market share eaten away by the Mega Drive, and then pummelled its upstart competition with a hundred classic SNES games.
Then it fell behind Sony and Microsoft in the tech arms race, so it built the Wii out of old bits and pieces it found in Radio Shack and sold a 100m units.
As for the Wii U? It's been a sorry tale so far. A bungled announcement, an inability to explain what the GamePad is for, a lack of games, the dwindling support of the major third-party game publishers. It all looked pretty grim for a while.
But in a survey published by IHS Technology and Gamer Network this week, consumers showed a 50% increase in "purchasing intent" for the Wii U, after a wonderful showing at the E3 games event in Los Angeles.
Big, bright family games like Yoshi's Woolly World, Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker, Super Smash Bros and Mario Maker promised fun in abundance; a world away from the grittily bombastic, grim-faced action adventures duking it out in however-many-frames-per-second on PS4 and Xbox One.
And then there's Mario Kart 8, easily a game of the year contender with half the year to go. It is a sublime and inventive addition to a much-loved series, combining all the traits we have come to expect from top line Nintendo-developed titles: accessibility, variety and depth.
Kids can play against each other, parents can play against kids, adults can play against each other, and everyone has a chance – and yet skilled driving is always rewarded. It will be a key feature of many lazy days during the coming school holidays (note: families can still go outside while not enjoying video games – it's okay to have both).
The key thing is that there's not much coming from the other "next-gen" consoles to counter Mario Kart 8 this summer. There will be a few interesting digital-only releases, but the mainstream schedule is, as usual, a wasteland until September.
This gives Nintendo several weeks to really push the Wii U, centred on Mario Kart 8, but also reminding people about a back catalogue that, while hardly an embarrassment of riches, is certainly not an actual embarrassment. Super Mario 3D World, Wind Waker HD, Pikmin 3, Wonderful 101 and Lego City Undercover are all there to be discovered.
Nintendo is even trying to improve the Wii U's online functionality. A new update allows players to finally transfer data and accounts from one machine to another, and to navigate more easily to the eShop digital store.
And there are hints that the company may finally be making games that genuinely explore the capabilities of the GamePad, the Wii U's "second screen" controller that promised a future of asymmetrical multiplayer experiences, but then delivered... a gigantic Fisher Price tablet that pretty much acted as a glorified mini-map for most titles.
At E3, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto showed off a couple of interesting experimental concepts – Project Giant Robot and Project Guard – that use the device in interesting ways. And the team-based shooter Splatoon has promise.
PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have some amazing titles lined up for later in the year, and even more in 2015. Let's not get silly here: Wii U is not going to trouble them for some time – if ever.
It's just that, right now, you can get Wii U and Mario Kart 8 in a bundle for £240 and that's probably the most fun you're going to have with a games machine this summer (while you're not outside at the beach or cycling or, you know, hand-gliding off the Malvern hills or whatever).
Nintendo needs to move fast – with its marketing, with its special offers, with whatever it has. Fun and light have always been the dual currencies of the Nintendo empire, and we need both right now.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010