A few days ago, Tom Mc Shea published an article onto Gamespot entitled: "Is Nintendo Trapped by It's Legacy?" It's a well written piece, and I recommend that you go over there and give it a look. If you're just too cool for that I'll give you the rundown. Tom believes that with recent console generations, Nintendo's been making the same mistakes and pulling the same shtick. Droughts of game releases, third parties not being interested, things that have become synonymous with Nintendo consoles. Tom explains that the only reason that gamers are willing to overlook this is because of first-party releases, and he believes that even those are growing stale and obsolete. Like I said, it's an enjoyable read, but I couldn't help but find some holes in his argument. I'm not trying to be disrespectful or prove him wrong, I just wanted to put my two cents in.
The first issue that Tom brought up was the drought of game releases that have become so frequent during the lifespan of a Nintendo console. I don't disagree completely with this point. In terms of game releases, the Wii became a bit of a sparse desert in it's later years, with months upon months populated with nothing but shovelware. Don't get me wrong, the Wii is my favorite console of all time, but that doesn't mean that I'm blind to it's shortcomings. I suppose I was more oblivious to game droughts because I was a relatively late adopter of the Wii. At that point it had a significant backlog of truly awesome games. I was never one to tear through games in a week, so a game could keep me occupied for months on end. However, I suppose I'm a bit of an anomaly when it comes to the amount of time it takes me to complete a game. Tom also claimed that the Wii U is no exception when it comes to game droughts and I do agree with him. There doesn't seem to be anything big coming out in the next month or so, but I do think that the Wii U had a good enough launch so that there would be enough games to satiate console owners for at least two months after launch.
Tom states that Nintendo's roster of first-party heavy-hitters have become stale and samey. Old franchises like Mario Kart, Smash Brothers, and Zelda have and will continue to rely on the same old tropes that they've been using ever since their first iteration. This is where I begin to disagree with Tom's sentiment. One of the things that makes Nintendo games so magical, to me at least, is their ability to present a beginning and ending to a story we've all seen before, and make that journey in between different each time. Every Zelda game starts you off in the shoes of an unsuspecting young boy, and ends with that boy becoming a legendary hero. It's how each game presents itself to you with different characters, puzzles, and aesthetic. It's what makes these games unique and enduring. Tom even brings Nintendo's ability to "reinvent it's most enduring properties" up during the editorial, but believes that the games that reinvent themselves are few and far between. I would argue the opposite however, with the only Nintendo titles that stay more or less the same in terms of aesthetic and general gameplay being the New Super Mario Brothers series, and even they have differences in terms of level design, powerups, and scope.
As for Nintendo relying too much on first party titles, I have a feeling that's about to change. The Big N's recent Nintendo Direct showcased quite a bit of 3rd party games such as Bayonetta 2 and the Wonderful 101, as well as Nintendo's collaboration with Atlus on Fire Emblem X Shin Megami Tensei. Iwata himself stated that this collaboration is very telling of Nintendo's new approach to making games, which would have you believe that more collaborations and work with 3rd parties can be expected in the near future. Nintendo's even bringing newer IPs such as the Xenoblade series to the forefront, which is evidenced by the new "X" game unveiled at the Nintendo Direct.
Again, this was not written to embarrass Tom McShea by any means. He believes what he believes and that's completely fine. I just wanted to respectfully document my response in a way that hopefully starts discussion.view gallery