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Nintendo: Losing Touch

July 19, 2008


Back in November of 2006, we never thought it would be like this. I remember vividly sitting in line for the Wii while people passing us asked if we where waiting for Sony’s PS3 (shootings where still in the news). They then would patronize us or look confused when we would say we where waiting for a Wii . Today those same people would either offer up a friend code or money to buy my Wii if they knew I had one. It has become such a pop culture phenomenon now I hate to say I own it. Such a phenomenon that Nintendo has lost sight of who they where only 2 years prior and have fallen back into the mentality they got them where they where in 2005.

While I love the fact that Nintendo or any game system has hit the world fierce and has more people gaming than ever, I do not love… or even like what that means for the hardcore gamers who where repping Nintendo when they where down and out.

Now I have these yuppie parents coming to me and telling me about how they have a “WII” and “Oh man it’s just the greatest”. They tell me about how they play Wii Sports and they tell me about their stupid kids. Always with the stupid kids. It’s like how I’ve been a computer nerd all of my life and now the same people who made fun of us nerds growing up now treat us like we’re cool because we know how they screwed up their computers… and we know how to fix them.

How can we as hardcore gamers relate to people like that. We really can’t. The media and the companies who push it may say that casual gaming is bringing people together, but what it really is doing is segregating people into Casual Gamers and then “Core” gamers. Calling us “Core” gamers is the new politically correct way to say “hardcore gamers”, which is Nintendo’s nicer way to say “game freaks”.

Alas, this post is how Nintnedo is losing touch, not social and political correctness of todays society. Yesterday (when I wrote this) after Nintendo’s E3 conference I was ready to attack the Big N. I really wanted to, because thats what I do. I actually had a realization while watching yesterday. Nintendo is ran by a bunch of yuppies. Rich yuppies too if the money is trinkling down. Even Shiggy is not the guy I once thought he was. He was once a man who created new and challenging ways to intrigue gamers, but now, like the staple franchise character in Nintendo, is losing his shpadoinkle. He now has become a casual gamer who would look out of place in an arcade hitting up Donkey Kong or spending hours at a time playing Legend of Zelda.

The fact is, when you watched the other companies conferences you saw a lot of developers playing their own games. Microsoft however had this casual game moment when they had all of these yuppies on the stage pushing a game I thought I played at a Gamestop 10 years ago with the PS2 Eye Sight. So then we watched some fat chick dance for a camera and get inserted into a wacky pre-rendered backdrop. I asked myself “Why the hell am I watching this BS?” That was the feeling I had the entire Nintendo conference with yuppie stories followed by onstage yuppie gatherings and creepy smiling people… talking about smiling… and how they are going to keep on smiling…. and how they are going to make you smile even if you don’t want to. It felt like I was living the Happy Happy Joy Joy song except it never got over the top… just lamer.

WTF happened the the promises for CORE GAMES at E3!!??

Some people will spit AC at me. Animal Crossing was an appetizer, something most gamers consider a niche game, neither “core” or casual. In a G4 interview after the confrence, when Reggie was asked about the lack of core games he got very defensive/impatient and said, “We brought Animal Crossing!!!”.

What happened? They brag about how great they are at marketing for about an hour and then they respond to their “core” gaming front like they are petulant children. The fact is Nintendo has no time for games that don’t make tons of money. That means games that the games these “core” gamers want are not going to be  a big deal to Nintendo. To them making a “core” game is like mowing the yard. Something they do only when they have to and if they did it a year ago they want to tell you about it like you owe them something. 

I could go on, but why bother. I’d much rather bitch about the Sony and Microsoft side of things… and will. Until next time.

This is Colonel Chuck Frisby, and the truth may piss you off.

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