Search This Blog

Monday, January 2, 2017

What I Love AND Hate About Nintendo

I think anyone that's read my blog for even a little while knows that I do greatly enjoy the products that Nintendo puts out. I'd go as far as to say that as a developer, they are easily one of my favorites in the gaming industry. I will always be grateful to Nintendo for reviving video games in North America after the crash of 1983 and for helping make my childhood a lot more awesome. Having said that, in no way am I a Nintendo white knight. As much as I love Nintendo's dedication to games as a developer, as a company, well, they don't get a lot of love from me.

Have you heard of The Wonderful 101? It was this marvel of a Wii U game that had you controlling a ton of heroes in domino masks that could unleash all kinds of havoc by uniting to form massive weapons such as a giant gun or fist. It wasn't perfect but it was one of the best games you could own for the Wii U. The game received little in the way of marketing and to this day, there are still people that think The Wonderful 101 is a third party game. Platinum developed The Wonderful 101, but it is a Nintendo owned IP. There is a reason the two songs from the game appear in Nintendo themed stages in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Nintendo fans usually support Nintendo games heavily but The Wonderful 101 was left to die on store shelves because Nintendo didn't throw the add money towards it that they did Splatoon or Mario Kart 8, the later of which, probably didn't even need so much because it's freaking Mario Kart. Nintendo did everything in their power to make sure everyone knew that Splatoon was gonna be a thing. The game did so well and had big marketing behind it that it is often incorrectly stated to be Nintendo's first new IP since Pikmin in 2001.

Contrary to popular belief, The Wonderful 101 is owned
by Nintendo.
Don't know who Chibi Robo is? He's another Nintendo
character who didn't have the ad money of Zelda and Mario, so he
was sent out to die cold and alone.
Nintendo baffles me with the way they continue to treat their fans. Fan games and ROM hacks have been hit really hard as of late, with Pokemon Uranium AM2R (Another Metroid 2 Remake) being two of the most notable examples. To be fair to Nintendo, every company sends out cease and desist orders for fan remakes. SEGA did it when the Streets of Rage Remake finally released in 2011 and Square Enix quickly killed the Chrono Trigger remake before it could really take off. Nintendo has just been far more active lately in killing fan projects. On the one hand, I can understand Nintendo wanting to protect their franchises from copy right infringement, especially when it comes to fan remakes. But fan games that are done from the ground up being canned? That's a pill that's pretty hard to swallow.

AM2R is the best Metroid 2 Remake that Nintendo
didn't make. 
In the case of SEGA, they've been pretty loose when it comes to ROM hacks and fan games that use their copy right material. Taxman and Stealth, two pretty big names in the fan game and ROM hack community are two of the main guys behind Sonic Mania, a fully endorsed SEGA game. In other words, their fan works that were inspired by love of what SEGA had made helped open up the door to make an original Sonic game. Rather than embrace these up and coming game makers, Nintendo spits in their faces, which kinda sends the message that they don't want anyone doing any passion fan projects that involve their franchises. Keep in mind that there are dozens upon dozens of ROM hacks out there that Nintendo has not gone after. I'm talking stuff like Mario Adventure, probably the most well known Super Mario Bros. 3 ROM hack out there, and Nintendo has done nothing to squash it. 

Nintendo's eagerness to send out cease and desist orders can extend beyond games. Let's say a group of fans get together and wants to make a Super Mario web series and post it on YouTube. They get a few episodes up, it gets mentioned on blogs, Twitter, facebook and some major gaming medium outlets and YouTube channels start talking about it. Nintendo decides they don't like the noise this series is generating and shuts it down. Nintendo is fine with you enjoying their copy right material. So long as you're enjoying it on their terms. 

The TLDR version? Nintendo is great as a developer. One of the best out there. As a company? Not so much.

No comments: