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Objecting Nintendo

June 8, 2006

I like Nintendo.

However, i’m not a Nintendo fan, in the typical sense. In case you don’t know, there are distinct differences between the two. [The majority of] Nintendo’s diehard faithful possess a willingness to be swayed. They want to be swept away from the competition’s notions of gaming’s next plateau, building facades of indifference whenever a tantalizing game comes along that doesn’t bear the Nintendo brand. They shoot catapulted boulders of flame at opposing gamers when an opinion isn’t shared. They will behead you if you don’t score Mario Party 9 perfect 10s.

Ok, that first one was a tiny bit exaggerated, but the rest are all proven facts.

Moving on, Nintendo fans in the more “casually core” sense – like Invisibleman, among few others on the intraweb – are a completely different breed. In fact, you almost can’t classify them, due to their varying opinions, but there are commonalities amongst them. One of these Nin fans’ most common ground is that they don’t bash their heads into walls when Nintendo hype wafts out from E3. A level head is nessecary to survive that event as a sane person, and the aforementioned typical N-fans will come out with a more profound craze than they went in with.

The casual core audience contains reason and a mostly objective view. Lamentably, the typical fans don’t. It’s a sad state of affairs because it divides Nintendo’s consumer base like a pre-1989 Berlin.

Although, that isn’t the point of this write-up. The point is that Nintendo is guilty. Guilty of relying too much on those diehards to keep their greenback cows nice and chubby. When Nintendo talks of delivering games that suit casual gamers and games that cater to hardcore tastes, those hardcore gamers tend to be the more, um, receptive kind. At this year’s E3, Nintendo announced Yoshi’s Island 2, Star Fox DS, and Diddy Kong Racing. They also showed off Super Paper Mario, another DS Kirby game, and Mario vs Donkey Kong 2.

See where i’m going with this?

The only brand new games that came out of Nintendo’s E3 showing were 3 Wii games — Disaster: Day of Crisis, Project H.A.M.M.E.R., and Excite Truck. A few other 3rd party offers (like Elebits and Necro Nesia) were present, too, but not playable. The thing is, Nintendo promised everyone those 3 new intellectual properties (IPs) a long time ago, we just didn’t know what they were yet. So…where were the surprises? Where’s the Trauma Centers, the Cooking Mamas, the Geometry Wars? Where’r the new games? I don’t give a damn about Super Paper Mario, Donkey Kong Bongo Blast, or any of those other franchise sequels– save for Galaxy and Corruption since they’re actually fresh. Wii is supposed to bring a new age for games, yet at this point, the DS is still the king of innovation, and even though it’s an early call. Wii’s launch line-up isn’t half as interesting as anyone expected prior to E3.

Nintendo has to stop listening to those followers who bend over everytime new Nin spiel comes out. If Nintendo wants to exceed their current standing and their lauded history, they need to wake up. You say innovation is your mantra? Then give Mario a rest for a year or two, let someone else shine with the New Super Mario Bros engine instead of pimping him out one more time. Give some other IP a chance to play 3-on-3 basketball. Tell the Pokemon to take a couple years off. Grant Link a vacation. You can’t say the industry is at the cusp of extinction and point fingers, when you only innovate 20 percent of the time.

The videogame industry isn’t in a golden period. Nor is it in a gaming ghetto. The situation is much more dire– it’s in a lucrative slum. Games are repetitive, identical, and familiar beyond familiarity, but they make tons of cash and nobody’s anxious to stop now. As long as Nintendo panders to their faithful and new “non-gamers”, they will only expand the market marginally. Touch Generation games are meant as stepping stones to introduce new and lapsed gamers to hardcore gaming over time. By realizing this, you can see that the real intent is to multiply the number of Nin sheep. This should also tell you not to expect the indie gaming scene to thrive on Wii’s Virtual Console, because it aint gonna happen.

People say Nintendo’s marketing is the weakest of the 3 console competitors. The truth is, Nintendo are marketing masterminds in their own right; possibly the best of the 3. Cause when your advertising is as lackluster as their’s is and your software is as redundant, yet people follow you into volcanic fire pits with blind loyalty, there has to be something in the Kool-aid you’re distributing. We are victims of Nintendo’s exploitation of nutcase fanatics – all we can think to do is stand by, waiting to be rocked by the occasional Meteos, Scurge: Hive, and Alien Hominid from a disassociated 3rd party dev.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Frisby permalink
    June 8, 2006 11:33 pm

    Great post Rollin. Excellent post. It’s reminiscent of Presidential Elections, as in voting for the less of 2…er..3 evils.

    I still prefer Nintendo’s marketing and sometimes innovation to Microsoft’s cool and way too hip marketing that Sony also has.

    I want to see the PSP chimerical with all the cool hip stereotypes that pass the PSP back and forth with old people passing touch generation games on walkers, just because a little shit talking and brutal gorilla marketing is more fun than this tree hugging hippie shit.

    Fuck! IF the games are fun I will play them, but clones are lame. I want to go back to SNES Geneses days when people flug shit and took sides. Now we have people bitching about prices and graphics. Fuck that. Bitch about being told what you can play and play something new and cool. FUCK!!!!

    Geez. Did I need to swear so much…YES!

  2. InvisibleMan permalink
    June 9, 2006 1:51 am

    But is Nintendo really the worst of the three? With Microsoft pushing to sell operating systems with their console, and Sony pushing to sell you Blu-ray with theirs, at least Nintendo still deals exclusively in games…

  3. Rollin permalink
    June 9, 2006 8:08 am

    I didn’t say they were the worst of the three. I was only pointing out how Nintendo isn’t as holy as people make em out to be. In fact, they can be just as bad as everyone else. You could say that Wii, with its low cost and accessibility, is a vehicle for Nintendo’s franchises, and that can be negative in a way. It makes you more likely to support various rehashes and keep them lazily profitable.

    Notice, i didn’t praise either of the other 2. This article’s main idea is to not be so accepting of what these hardware makers push on you, no matter how innovative or new they claim it is in comparison to their competing companies. It’s all mud-slinging in the end. Playing is believing? Ok I’ll do that, but i won’t listen to your PR.

    The marketing bit was just to show how Nintendo doesn’t need great ads to make people buy their games cause there’s always that set of fans who will buy em regardless.

    You’re right, Friz. People complain about prices and graphics then succumb to everything else a system has to offer like idiots. For some reason, they seem to think that those are the only points of a system worth contending, not game selection. That’s why some folks buy all the competing consoles.

    I’ve always been a multi-plat owner, and the 16-bit fight was the most beneficial. The marketshare between them was almost deadlocked. This next one is probably gonna be the worst yet, with more cross platform titles than you’ve ever seen. We might have to abandon consoles altogether at some point and go completely indie, or look to the Xbox Live Arcade and (maybe) Virtual Console for that infrequent fix of no fluff gameplay.

  4. Blake permalink
    June 9, 2006 11:01 am

    Being a cult brand (which Nintendo obviously is like Apple, Harley, etc) has nothing to do with marketing. Nintendo is simply more cult than Sony, MS when it comes to gaming, hence there are outspoken, ilogical thinking fans, just like there are with Apple and Harley and the like.

    That shouldn’t negate the good things that cult companies do, which does help them achieve cult status, but you have to take what they dish out with a some salt. These companies are smart, and they play up their cult status, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I AM a Nintendo enthusiast. That is, for me they’re a good fit for the games I like to play. Period.

    Looking forward to more posts.

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