How Nintendo Lost Themselves $414.15
(Dislcaimer: The following may cause you distress if youíre a Nintendo apologist. If you are, I advise you not to read the below unless you enjoy self-harm.)
Firstly, a couple of things youíll need to know about me to understand the nature of this blog Ė firstly, if I want an enjoyable single-player experience I will generally seek out a game that either a) has a great storyline, or b) requires me to think a lot. Itís why Iím drawn to games such as the Ace Attorney series which do a spectacularly great job of linking both. Itís also why Iím not a particularly large Nintendo fan, because games such as Mario, Zelda and Metroid Ė whilst undeniably strong games Ė are not for me. Secondly, if I want an enjoyable multiplayer experience, I look for fun party games over a massive co-op experience. This would be where Nintendo does come into its own with the likes of Mario Kart Double Dash, Mario Party, Mario Power Tennis, and, of course, Super Smash Bros. Melee. Youíll notice I said Melee and not Brawl, and that links me nicely onto the third thing you need to know Ė Iím a Brit.
Yes, I know, I donít have Brawl. Lol me indeed. I do feel quite the twit for not being able to use Wolf, thanks for pointing it out. The thing is though, the joke is on Nintendo. Because frankly, Iím satisfied with my Gamecube. Iím the sort of person who likes to get as much use out of something as he can before moving onto the next thing Ė and I still enjoy my Gamecube party games. I had NO reason to upgrade to a Wii Ė EXCEPT for Brawl. And what Nintendo have done by delaying Brawl this long (as well as a bunch of little things) is theyíve made me reconsider that position, and Iíve basically just said ď**** itĒ and thrown in the towel.
(Fun trivia note for this point in time: $414.15 is how much it would cost in USD for a Brit to buy a Wii and a copy of Brawl. You probably already guessed that, but since itís in the title of the blog I figured I should clarify it.)
The thing is, Iíve thought about why Iíve been looking forward to Brawl so much, and why Iíve been willing to pay what is quite frankly a ridiculous amount of money for one game. The conclusion that I came up with was that: a) the online play would be awesome; b) the enhanced single-player mode could be good fun; and c) more features! But the thing is, none of those are really good enough reasons.
Firstly, the online play Ė for starters, itís awful. Secondly, why do I need online play in a game where I can play competitively with my friends as it is? Think about it Ė I loved Melee because it was a PARTY game. I didnít love it for its engaging gameplay, particularly Ė the gameplay was fun, donít get me wrong, but near the end of completing the Event battles I was starting to think ďÖgetting a bit bored nowÖĒ. If I want competitive play on Melee I can get it from my friends. I donít NEED online. Donít get me wrong here, Iím not some pre-historic dinosaur who doesnít think the onlineís a worthwhile feature; I just donít think it would enhance my enjoyment of the game. Oh, so I get to play against people I know over the internet, fun! Wow, that makes such a difference when I can already play what is essentially the same game against friends offline, and itís a better experience because theyíre there in person to be taunted upon my inevitable victory. I mean, with a game like Halo or something, online play makes sense because itís vastly superior to the split-screen multiplayer; with Smash Bros., itís the same game only with lag. Sure, I get to play with people I wouldnít get to play with otherwise Ė um, so? Again, itís not like thereís a voice chat or anything, itís not personalised Ė Iím playing against what might as well be a computer, as evidenced by the fact that the computer takes over without telling you if someone disconnects. Is finding out who is slightly better at edge-guarding out of me and a friend in the States that important that I need to take the game online?
Secondly, the enhanced single-player. This will follow a similar train of thought as the above did Ė I donít play Smash for the single-player, the same way the online experience isnít what makes it great either. What makes the concept fun is playing with your friends in the same room. Sure, itís a cool feature and Iím glad Nintendo added it, but itís not for me and isnít going to decide whether I get the game or not.
Finally, more features. Thatís great, but, uh, what good do they really do? They give you more variety, I know, butÖeh. Itís just not at all a big deal to me. The original Smash Bros. I loved, and that had what, 12 characters in it? Itís not the number of characters/stages/items that dictates how good the game is, itís what the game is.
At this point I just want to quickly clarify, before I get hateful responses implying Iím an idiot (or explicitly saying it, for that matter) Ė Iím not trying to suggest that Brawlís a bad game. Iím sure itís better than Melee, because, well, why would it be worse? Theyíve taken a great game and just made it slightly better. When it finally does come out here, assuming Iíve not died of old age by then, Iím sure Iíll practically live round my Wii-owning friendís house for a fortnight or so playing it non-stop. The thing is that, for me, itís an unnecessary game. Itís not that much of an improvement that I can justify buying a Wii for it. And frankly, for me, the Wii has nothing else to offer. This isnít about being anti-Nintendo Ė I love my Gamecube and I love my DS. This is about being strung about for so long that Iíve had time to re-evaluate my excitement and realising that sure, Sonic Vs Snake Vs Mario would be epic, but not to the degree of over $400.
So to sum up, thank you Nintendo. Your kind, considerate approach to the European market has given me the time I needed to save an awful lot of money that I can now put toward a PS3 or 360, or just put aside for a rainy day. Thanks, and I hope you wonít begrudge me my money you could have had, had you not played that game of ďsuck the excitement I had as a gamer until I became overcome with apathyĒ. I hear thereís a peripheral addition to the Wiimote for that game actually, itís just a massive middle-finger that you can point at Europe in general.
If youíre a Nintendo fan and got this far and feel that Iím misguided in my views, feel free to club together and put together $414.15 to mail to Nintendo to make up for this heathen amongst you. Otherwise just call me a cock-wit in the comments section, Iím sure itíll have the same effect eventually.