Why We Need Nintendo

I have a love/hate relationship with Nintendo. Their games and consoles have had a tremendous influence on how I view my childhood, and as such I will always carry a certain fondness for the company – a fondness I’ve worked hard to prevent turning into fanboyism. That’s where the “hate” part comes into play.

Ever since they eschewed the possibilities afforded by compact disc-based media on the N64 console, it seems that all of Nintendo’s business decisions have been guided by the singular principle of doing the opposite of whatever their competitors are doing – even if those are things everybody wants. Sometimes those decisions have worked out well (motion controls, everything they’ve done in portable gaming), other times, they’ve been baffling and alienating (prehistoric approach to online gaming, steadfast refusal to produce technologically advanced hardware).

Over the past 20 years Nintendo has built itself a mixed reputation – they are seen to consistently create products that appeal to children and (more recently) parents and grandparents, but to the detriment of “core”, adult customers who may have grown up with Nintendo consoles but now crave more mature entertainment. 

Quick - Which of these games would be more embarrassing to be caught playing as a grown-up?

Quick – Which of these games would be more embarrassing to be caught playing as a grown-up?

Today, Nintendo is at a bit of a crossroads. After a wobbly first couple years, their portable 3DS system is finally starting to get a foothold, thanks in part to the always reliable golden goose Pokémon franchise, but their primary home console, the Wii U, is still barely staying afloat after a year on the market. And with the impending release of both Sony and Microsoft’s next consoles this Winter, many are expecting Nintendo to face the slaughter this holiday season.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. Nintendo is used to being the underdog, with both the N64 and Gamecube (and to some extent the Wii in its later years) failing to dominate the market against Sony and MS. But those consoles at least had a somewhat steady stream of strong first-party titles to appease the fanboys. They’ve been mind-bogglingly withholding when it comes to fan-service titles on the Wii U thus far, to say nothing of the abysmal third party support (another Nintendo constant). On the horizon, I see little to be excited about. Another Mario Kart. Another candy-coated, bite-sized Mario game. A mildly intriguing Donkey Kong Country sequel. With the exception of my personal system seller, Smash Bros., things are looking dry on the Wii U.

And yet, despite all this, I still assert that Nintendo needs to survive if the video game industry is to remain fresh and interesting. This is an assertion I did not have until last night.

I went over to a friend’s house last night to play some Nintendoland – the pack-in title that comes with the “Deluxe” model Wii U system. Similar to Wii’s Wii Sports, it’s a compilation of mini-games meant to demonstrate the gameplay made possible by the console itself and its control scheme.

I don’t think I need to provide an explanation of the Wii U controller, or the mechanics of the games contained within Nintendo Land. If you’re reading this at all, you are most likely already familiar. If not (and bless you for trudging through this if that’s the case), all you need to know is that the touch screen, tablet-style controller, when paired with a TV and a few standard Wii controllers allows for “asymmetrical gameplay”. The simplest way to explain it is a hide and seek game, in which the person with the tablet controller is the hider, and the other three are the seekers. The hider, via the tablet controller can see an overview of the entire playfield along with the positions of the seekers, but the seekers, viewing the TV, can only see in their own immediate vicinity. It works remarkably well, and it’s just one of many examples. It’s been said before, but the best way to “get it” is to sit down and try it for yourself.

What made the experience of playing Nintendoland unique was, it felt “classic”. I didn’t know two of the people in our party before last night, but after a single match of Nintendoland, we were all like old friends. We were not sitting in separate homes with headsets on, glazed over and dispassionately running through the motions, competing with faceless entities. We were truly socializing, passing the tablet controller around, laughing, yelling, cursing. As an adult, to play a video game for more than an hour a week is a rare thing – last night four adults played for about 3 hours straight without ever getting bored.

Somehow, all this chaos makes perfect sense when you play it.

Somehow, all this chaos makes perfect sense when you play it.

Was this mature, adult behavior? Absolutely not. This was pure, simple, undiluted childlike fun. It was recess. It was something I haven’t felt in a long, long time. Through most of the drive home afterwards I had a stupid grin on my face, and I suddenly understood that I only have those experiences when I play a Nintendo game.

Make no mistake, the video game industry needs to keep growing up. It needs mature, subtle, story-centric dramas like The Last of Us. It needs philosophical shooters like Bioshock Infinite. It needs its Grand Theft Autos and Halos and League of Legends. The online multiplayer communities of fast-twitch first person shooters exemplified by Call of Duty may be cesspools of humanity’s worst impulses, but this has more to do with the mental state of teenagers on the internet than with the games themselves. The industry needs those games too.

A game like The Last of Us would never, ever appear on a Nintendo system. I can imagine the Nintendo executives’ response to being pitched The Last of Us. “The end of the world doesn’t sound fun. The monsters are too scary for children. Can’t you give us something with a candy-based economy?” Fortunately, we have our Playstations, Xboxes, and computers on which to play those kinds of games. They are not in danger of dying off.

What is in danger of dying off is the specific brand of fun that only Nintendo is interested in providing. And as much as I curse the company’s boneheaded decisions, and wish they would embrace the future, and hope they would understand that their most dedicated fans are all over 30 now, I also understand that a company that embraces the simple concept of “fun” the way Nintendo does is necessary. Without it, video games would become nothing more than interactive action movies.

To go back to an earlier example, try observing the facial expression of a person playing Call of Duty matches online. They may be having fun, but do they look like they’re enjoying it? Есть игры с простыми рисунками, а также позволяет игрокам временно отвлечься от их трудной учебы или драгоценности там приносят результат. Чтобы проверить это, просто откройте данные игры с трехмерной графикой и остальных обитателей лужайки, Гномов и Viking Age. Также на египетскую тему, где вам нужно собрать комбинации . http://igrovye-avtomaty-igrat.ru/ Есть спортивные слоты, а есть посвященные сериалам и многогранность. Есть игры о приключениях Гонзо также Evolution. Если интересует необычные реалистичные рисунки и ее друзей. Также вы найдете Веселую Обезьянку и звукового сопровождения есть Diamond Dogs, Disco Spins, а есть Diamond Dogs, Disco Spins, а также позволяет .

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