Although I missed out on the NES, I’ve managed to experience every Nintendo console from the SNES through to the Wii, including all handhelds. The Wii-U has yet to really grab my attention so you could say that it’s been a veritable Nintendo sandwich over these many years, sealed between two tasteless lumps of plastic.
In other words: I’m more qualified than most to have an opinion – even if it’s one that you won’t like.
I start-out on the defence as I know that I’ll need to, given the near religious fervour that Nintendo loyalists tend to whip themselves up into, the first sign of any criticism. Not that my protective efforts will matter, mind you – wax voodoo dolls of my likeness are no doubt being cast this very minute, needles at the ready.
And that’s kind of my point.
Nintendo have made some truly stunning games, that goes without saying, and have performed with greater longevity and greater consistency than perhaps anyone else in the business. But does that mean that they automatically deserve my undying loyalty? Does that put them beyond reproach? Does being the elder statesman mean that you’re incapable of putting a foot wrong?
I am so painfully bored of this character, it almost hurts
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Nintendo produce something that’s truly pricked my ears up. Yes, I know that what they have produced is well-polished and highly playable, but their apparent stubbornness to experiment with new IP, move with the times, get a grip online and not treat their fans like dumb junkies, smacks of a tremendous amount of arrogance to me.
Would it really be too much to ask to leave Mario behind? Just for a bit? Would it really be too much to ask to not insert him into every genre imaginable? Would some new sound effects on their key franchises really be that blasphemous? Would decent third-party-support be such a big thing to ask? Would investing in cutting edge hardware really kill them? Is repeatedly shipping dated hardware in a new colour or a dinky new case really the best that these supposedly messianic beings can manage?
“That’s not the point of Nintendo”, I hear you scream. And you have a point – really, you do. Nintendo always have, and arguably always will, go their own way. But with desperately flagging Wii-U sales so close to the real launch of the next-gen and with the Wii quite simply bled to death: has the merry-go-round finally stopped? The 3DS has, it seems, finally begun to pick-up-the-pace, but is that really going to keep Nintendo afloat over the next console cycle?
If Nintendo were to fall upon seriously hard times, it would be a sad chapter in the history of gaming. Their unquestionable mastery of a certain type of game-design might be lost forever – and the world would be a little bit less wonderful as a result.
The thing is, I just can’t escape the feeling that they’d only have themselves to blame.