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.