Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nintendo is getting old.

I love Nintendo.  They are the company that brought me into the gaming world with the NES when I was only 3 years old (1992).  They amazed me as a child with Super Mario 1,2 &3, Tetris, Zelda, among others.  Over the years, it has become apparently obvious to me, however, that Nintendo is starting to show its age.  I don't mean the obvious fact that the company is more than 100 years old itself, starting out as a card company in Japan in the early 1890's or that they have been in the gaming market for about 30 years now.  I mean this in the fact that they are behind the times when they used to innovate.  I mean that they focus where the rest of devs don't..in a bad way, not in the indie dev way.  Allow me to take you through some of my thoughts of Nintendo's mishaps since 2000.

Doom Cube
This year, I have come up with the thought that the Wii doesn't exist.  It was all a bad dream...right?....Guys?....  It is no secret to anyone that 'old school' Nintendo fans hate the Wii and feel that it ruins what Nintendo used to embody with gaming, and I am no stranger to this ideal.  The Gamecube, to me, was Nintendo's best console.  Twilight Princess (not the bastardized Wii version..*shudder*), Pikmin 1/2, Wind Waker, Melee, Luigi's Mansion, Metroid Prime 1/2, Viewtiful Joe, Super Mario Sunshine.  All great IP's from Nintendo released during this console.  While some weren't as good as others (it's hard to find another LM fan and I do agree Sunshine had a lot of 'problems' with it), it was clear to me that Nintendo loved developing for this console as much as I love playing all the games.  Add this to the success of the Nintendo 64, SNES, NES, Gameboy/Color/Advance/SP, and you have a formula of just pure awesomeness that is Nintendo.  It wasn't even until about 2003-4 that I had any desire to get a PS2. This was because I loved all the games Nintendo had to offer and didn't want to taint my mind with 'unworthy' games.  As far as XBOX was concerned, I was still of the mindset that Microsoft had already failed at OS's, they should stay out of gaming (obviously, I'm singing a different tune now).  But imagine my surprise when I talk to people who say 'Nintendo games suck' or 'Nintendo is a kiddie console'.  Looking back now, the Gamecube didn't get as many amazing reviews that I had thought, being a youngster and only reading Nintendo Power (because that's not biased, right?).  Even now, however, this doesn't taint my absolute love for Nintendo during that time.  It truly was a golden age for gaming to me and I couldn't have asked for anything else (aside from maybe releasing TP a bit sooner, I had it on pre-order for at least 2 years).

Then it all changed....

2 screens?!
I got a call from my friend Alex one day telling me he saw a story on the new Nintendo handheld.  At the time, I was happily playing on my GBA (Super Mario Advance 4, I think) and he proceeded to tell me that it would feature 2 screens.  Shocked by this, and my mind already wondering, I asked the question "What in the hell will the second screen be used for?  A map?!"  My first surprise at Nintendo.  "Why would they do that" I thought, thinking in my 13 year-old brain that it was a dumb idea.  Nevertheless, I was still kind of excited at a new Nintendo console, capable of an engine like the PSP, which was failing miserably at this point (and continued to do so, incidentally).  Without listening to my first judgement, I got an original DS (The fat ones, which had it's hinge broken after a year but still pressed on, the little soldier).  While it was fun to have, I found myself using it mostly to play my GBA games on and not so much DS games in general.  Also, guess what that second screen was used for (troll face).  Never the less, while it took some time the DS really did pump out a few great titles, original IP or rehashes, I have to give it credit for being a general success in the market on more than one instance.  But I could sense something was wrong with this company.  Why would they release something so...different.  Why would they engineer this device when not even they took advantage of the technology that they enforced upon other developers (name 1 good game that used both screens)?   And then *it* happened...

Whats my name?
The Wii, Nintendo Revolution turned into "Wiii".  What the bleeding hell?  All motion controls, no HD, no online system just motion controls.  Needless to say, this is a point where faith was starting to be shaken with Nintendo, finally getting myself familiar with the XBOX360/PS3/PC market.  But, I got one in 2006.

It collected dust until 2008 when Brawl came out.  Not entirely true, actually.  I played Wii Sports and enjoyed it enough to not despise it.  I played Galaxy 1/2, I played Corruption.  I was not impressed.  Relating back to my DS argument, why would they develop this technology and then not use it themselves?  Their own titles barely used the motion.  Corruption is the only one that stands out in my mind as being impressive with the motion controls.

Not only that, but then adding another accessory that you needed to buy (motion plus) because they didn't get the tech right the first time?  Sorry, that's just admitting failure but expecting the consumer to pay for your failure.  But people did, stuffing more money into their pockets and deepening my hatred for a once beloved company.

Don't get me started on Brawl, the friend codes that were required to do online game play.  The sequel to the most successful game on the GameCube; hindered from any real online play that could have skyrocketed up the eSports ladder to possibly be a rival to the lovely Starcraft 2 in competitive gaming.  Shattered by an archaic system in the age of Gamer tags and system-wide networks/matchmaking.  I mentioned HD and while that is not a strong suit, the fact that a console that came out a year beforehand and the other that came out that same year had support already put a notch against it in terms of comparability.

Nintendo dropped the ball.

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