Nintendo: What happened?
Nintendo, Nintendo, Nintendo, Lately a lot of us have been wondering when it was we feel out of love with you. I remember when I a fell out of lust thatís for sure, it was when you traded in your cute and playful curves from the n64, and dark yet sexy edginess of the GameCube for the antiseptic aesthetics of your current console. Yes I remember when I fell out of lust with you completely it was November 19 2006. However loveÖwell I donít recall the exact date that happened but somewhere along the line it happened. No gamer will argue your how important Nintendo is to them or to the industry. They completely revitalized the market after the video game crash 83í single handedly bringing gaming-Good gaming back into the home again even if they had to pimp poor R.O.B.íie to do it. They had quality control and a promise to gamers everywhere that standards would be met.
They kept up that standard with the excellent successor the Super Nintendo a system that many consider to be one of the greatest consoles ever created. The success continued with the Nintendo64 as we all know. It was a revolutionary leap into the third dimension that offered innovation in the controller department as well a critically acclaimed games galore including what has been called the greatest game of all time: The legend of Zelda the ocarina of time(younginís if you havenít played this game run donít walk the virtual store)..
But alas the Nintendo64 for all its wonders is where the love affair was at its peak. The numbers donít lie either : The NES sold 61 million , The SNES 50 Million, The Nintendo64 32million. Donít worry weíll get to the GameCube in a bit.
So what happened? Well thatís a question thatís not to easy to answer but Iíll venture a thought on the subject. You see as the industry grew so did the kidís who were playing video games, and some of those kids migrated to other consoles who marketed themselves to a slightly older crowed and while a lot of them still had love for the big N a choice at home had to be made. The former Toymaker who has made two beloved consoles with the cute characters? Or the tech Giants with Badassís to the left of them, Badassís to the right of them? For me in my teens I was an easy seduction for the new console titans on the block. I guess Nintendo noticed this though because with the introduction of the Gamecube there was a shift in the company- things werenít quite right. If donít agree thatís fine, but remember the Gamecube was the first to launch without a game featuring Mario (thatís not to say that luigiís mansion wasnítÖÖnice)
With the GameCube Nintendo tried to do something different while still adhering to the past; We got the marioís, the starfox games, some good star wars games and two wonderful Zelda titles. We also got some tried and true mature games as well, a great deal of them survival horror games, something that while not completely new to Nintendo where never exclusives prior to . Resident Evil 4 and Eternal Darkness were two games that, lets be honest when you heard the description of the game and then the console they were being developed for it didnít seem to add up at first and. Unfortunately for Nintendo, on the whole neither did the numbers. In itís lifespan the GameCube became the lowest selling modern mainstream console in history of the company selling only 21 million units. It was time for them to reevaluate their position in the industry and look toward a solution.
That solution was the Wii. The Wii Brought innovation back to Nintendo as they had done two generations prior with the Nintendo64. Motion control was in, standard controllers were out. Trying to appeal the core gamers who grew up with the company was compromised in favor of getting the attention of everyone else- The Nonís, the people who donít game. With this new strategy came the end of a lustful relationship many traditional gamers had with the company. This problem is stretching the company thin, in the four years since the Wiiís launch I think I can count on one hand the number of must have titles for, and in the list of top selling games for the Wii, Five of them Have the prefix ďWiiĒ in them. Party games and shovel ware is what sells on the console, and save for the Mario franchise and the Zelda franchise (which has yet to see an original title for the Wii) thatís whatís selling. I cant help but fee that just as I turned my back on Nintendo in favor of other consoles, so has Nintendo turn itís back on me in favor of ďthe casual gamerĒ But the thing is, losing me as a former loyalist isnít hurting Nintendo at all, because like I said before the numbers say it all. In the four years since itís debut, while the wii may only have a handful of must haves for me, that hasnít stopped Nintendo from getting exactly what it wanted; A return to dominance with 67 million units sold. 67 million. Thatís more than NES sold in itís entire lifespan. And if you think that the offerings that the competitors will be offering this fall arenít just ďMii Tooís ď Iíll say it again ď67 million units soldĒ and the fact that Nintendo has stated that there will not be a new console anytime soon pretty much guaranteeís them 70 million units sold.
So where do we go from here? Do we accept the fact the former lover has found a new life with the ďNonísĒ? Do we beg them to fix our relationship so we can get back to easy loviní street? Or do we just accept the situation for what it is; that the company we used to love isnít that company anymore and that weíll find comfort in another (Itís not like we havenít) The truth is I donít know. I hope now that weíre this far into the cycle Nintendo will impress me with more than just Mario, and Link ( yeah im not mentioning metroid, me and samus never really got along) you see I donít hate the wii, I think itís interesting, but im just waiting for it to me make love it and Nintendo again.
Until next time.