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Friday, May 23, 2014

Why the Death of Nintendo Would Do Gaming Zero Favors

Nintendo. Innovators. Saviors of the North American video game market. A company that so many want to see go down in flames for reasons I cannot possibly comprehend. Over the course of several console generations, Nintendo has gone from one of the most respected gaming companies to a blight upon the medium that should die a horrific death. Says the throngs of console warrior zealots and Nintendo haters that live in a bubble and cannot see the forest for the freaking trees. The death of the Nintendo, no matter how many want to see it come to pass would spell nothing good for the gaming industry.

I really don't understand the seething hatred gamers bore Nintendo. Just what did this company do to warrant so much spite? Did they key their cars? Raid their refrigerators? Not flush the toilet? Hey, I hate lifting up the seat to find that nasty surprise as much as the next person, but it doesn't make me start calling out for heads on fence posts.

Remember this game? It's pretty much the
reason the North American game market is
still around. 

Let's get he obvious reason for the Nintendo hate parade out of the way: we are no longer in the 16-bit era. Widely remembered as the golden age of gaming, during the early to mid 1990s, Nintendo and SEGA were locked into one of the fiercest console wars the medium has ever seen. SEGA did something every other competitor wished to achieve, but ultimately failed at, dethroning them from their number one spot. The arrival of Sonic the Hedgehog made the Genesis a recognizable console and brought the fight right to Nintendo's front door and the results of that battle were glorious for gamers. Because of the competition Nintendo and SEGA gave each other, many feel that both companies were at their peak. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to and end and as 32-bit gaming tech began to grab the eyes of the gaming masses, the 16-bit era became a memory.

Things change. It's a simple saying, consists of merely two words but it truly is amazing how much weight those words carry. A lot has changed in the Nintendo camp from the 16-bit console generation all the way up to now. One thing that remains the same is that Nintendo still puts out amazing quality hardware and software. A big difference is that Nintendo still has the lackluster third party support that dogged them since the N64 days. True, the Wii U and the last few consoles Nintendo made had third party support but not of the likes that Sony and Microsoft have enjoyed.

Unless you are vehemently against having
a good time, there's no reason you
shouldn't be playing this game.

Because things aren't like "The good old days" countless gamers believe Nintendo is a relic that has long outlived their usefulness and is dying or is already dead. There are a plethora of "Nintendo is Doomed" articles on the net that only serve to fuel the desires of the Nintendo naysayers to see the company perish. Their blinding hate for Nintendo makes it impossible for them to admit three things.

1.) When Nintendo delivers the goods, they really deliver the goods. Super Mario 3D World may not be a revolutionary game, but it is one of the best games I've ever played. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, for all it's frustrating moments is some of the most fun I've had with a 2D platformer.

2.) Nintendo makes handhelds like nobody's business. Right now, the best device to game on is not the PlayStation 4, nor is it the Xbox One. It's not even the Wii U, even though of the three current gen home consoles, it has the best library of games. It's the 3DS. Kid Icarus: Uprising, Shin Megami Tensai IV, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Bravely Default, and so many others. The amount of fantastic games on the 3DS is overwhelming, so much that it can be difficult to keep up with them all.

3.) Gaming would be a far less interesting place without Nintendo. In fact, I dare say it would be flat out bad. The haters will never admit it, because hey, being wrong is the most awful thing in the world.

Some of these gamers that wish Nintendo to die want them to go third party. Why? So they won't have to buy a Nintendo console to play Mario, Zelda, Pikmin and the rest of Nintendo's fabulous brand games, of course. The thing is, these titles wouldn't be nearly as good on a system not manufactured by Nintendo. Nintendo knows the ins and outs of their hardware like no one else. Do you honestly believe a game like Super Mario 64 would have worked on the PlayStation?

"The Game Pad sucks because it isn't
like a normal controller!" Says all those
that cannot step out of their comfort zone.

Nintendo is solely a video game company. Going third party would net them less cash than having their own hardware. This nonsense that Nintendo should drop the Wii U and start fresh is just that, nonsense. SEGA pulled the plug on three of their consoles and it's what got them where they are today. Nintendo giving the Wii U the axe would do irreparable damage to the company and spit in the faces of those that bought the system.

Let's take a look back on what Nintendo has given to the industry.

The control pad. That thing on every single controller today that greatly changed the way we play video games. This invention came from Nintendo. The Wavebird controller for the GameCube. Yeah, we had wireless controls before, but they all sucked. The Wavebird made wireless controls work and this was carried over with the Wii. Wireless controls in gaming are now a big thing. With the Wii U Game Pad, we can play HD games on our controller while someone else watches TV. On top of that, you can be a respectable distance away from the console and still play. Yeah, the Game Pad is bigger than just about every other controller out there, but it's vastly different from anything Sony and Microsoft has offered.

What am I getting at? Nintendo is still an innovative company. Gamers like to bemoan Nintendo for not doing things the way Sony and Microsoft do, but what's the point of having three consoles that are so similar? The PS3 and 360 being so alike meant fewer exclusives to each respective console. The Wii may have been inferior from a technical standpoint, but it easily had the best exclusives of the three. Nintendo has arguably done more for gaming than any other company. Their death would mean no more awesome handhelds and less innovative products. With each new Mario and Zelda title, Nintendo is often ridiculed for rehashing yet when they do try something different, they still catch heat.

Is Nintendo perfect? Not by a long shot. Their online strategy could use a lot of work and in many ways, they are behind the times. Having said that, they are a dinosaur that has done a lot of good in the world of gaming and I firmly believe they will continue to be an innovative force as long as they are around. Anyone that believes the industry would be better off if Nintendo kicked the bucket is living in a fool's paradise.


Voltech said...

"I really don't understand the seething hatred gamers bore Nintendo."

I'm going to go with "they hate fun". Or, alternatively, they think Nintendo needs to "grow up" and make some games that are actually mature -- in a superficial sense. (See: too many modern/action games to list.) I will contend until the day I die that anyone who thinks Skyward Sword is "for 12-year-olds" A) completely missed the point of the game, and B) may never know that it's one of the most harrowing titles since Majora's Mask. Their loss, I guess.

I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but I'll go ahead and say it again: the day the Big N steps out of the gaming world -- and maybe even takes a diminished role in it -- is the day I'll seriously consider giving up gaming. I'm not even going to pretend like they're flawless saviors of the industry, because they're not (FOR GOD'S SAKE NINTENDO, MARKET YOUR CONSOLE AND GAMES!), but as the days go by it seems like they're one of the few gaming companies that's actually interested in know, GAMES. And great ones, at that. It's reached a point where I'm about ready to start calling them "Good Guy Nintendo". For about infinity reasons.

>Releases the latest game in an esteemed franchise
>Lets buyers get an additional, full, high-quality game for free


Reggie White Jr. said...

I never understood the "Nintendo needs to grow up" mindset. Just what does that even mean? Are these gamers that think this way self conscience about playing "kiddie" games? If that's the case, maybe they are the ones that need to grow up.

Nintendo, for all of their faults makes some of the best games on this planet. I firmly believe this is because, as you said, they are very interested in making games. This is evident in many of the games Nintendo puts out. Games like Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and countless others are fine tuned to near perfection. Of course this is all lost on all the haters because Nintendo isn't operating like Sony and Microsoft.