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Response to Sean Malstrom's response to my article on Nintendo apologists

This blog post is a response to a response by Sean Malstrom to my blog post "Question to Nintendo apologists: Hasn't Apple proven that you can appeal to both the public and your fan base at the same time?" that was posted on Destructoid earlier this week. I have never heard of Sean Malstrom prior to this but a quick search on Google suggests to me that this individual is the high priest of Nintendo supporters and so I suppose that I will take it as a honor that he has come down to enlighten a commoner such as myself. I am writing this response because I highly disagree with just about everything in his response.

To Hcapt, thank you for first informing me of Sean Malstrom and his response to my blog post. I am sure that your suggestion to "Please read it, as you might learn something" was made with the best of intentions and not in an arrogant "ha ha ha I got you" way.

Perception is the key

I am confused as to your response to me in general because it contains so many leaps of interpretative faith and a lack of understanding of my original point.

You countered my view of Apple fans by claiming that I don't "know Apple fans. Many Apple fans are not too happy about Macs becoming more popular. When they heard that Apple wants to start selling Macs at Wal-Mart, they blew a gasket." Are you serious? These are the examples you choose to cite? There's a difference between saying that you are upset because Apple wants to make their products more available to others and saying that you are upset because Apple has totally abandoned the fan base. I can only imagine that you do not understand the difference. Nintendo fans are not angry because the products are attracting more sales: they are angry because Nintendo's marketing has completely failed to convincingly show that they view their long-time fans as high priorities. If you are trying to compare the quotes you gave me to the complains Nintendo fans as being equivalent, then I can only say that like Nintendo, you are completely clueless about Nintendo fans and what they are thinking.

"Everyone knows that the best selling N64 and Gamecube games are the Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Smash Brothers, and Paper Mario ones. Yet, sequels to these games do not satisfy the hardcore."

If this is your opinion of the hardcore then you clearly are just as clueless as Nintendo. People cared about Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and Super Smash Bros. because they were innovative games of their time that brought something new and fun into the Nintendo lexicon. In the N64 era, fans were excited about the potential of the 64DD drive and the promise of a new Earthbound game based on that drive.

You claim that the sequels are not satisfying the hardcore but you are ignoring the fact that these sequels are themselves arguably less satisfying on an intrinsic level. The third Metroid Prime game is fundamentally still the same as the previous games in the series. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess did not innovate in the way that both previous Zelda games did with respect to their predecessor. The wolf game play was done better in the game Okami which came out earlier. Super Smash Bros. Brawl dropped popular characters, had a pathetic and aggravating single-play story mode, and was marred by horrible online game performance. Like Nintendo, you blindly assume that just because it's a sequel, that Nintendo fans will bite and love the game. Nintendo fans, for the most part, are not that stupid. They want innovation and if you are going to offer a sequel, you better make sure that it is really really good. You can't just throw out a sequel that feels less interesting or ambitious than its predecessor and then wonder why the fans aren't happy.

It is this same reason that I question why you feel that Virtual Console is proof that Nintendo loves the hardcore fan base. If Nintendo loves the fan base, it would make more new games like those games and not just make a quick buck by dragging out old games that most of these "hardcore fans" already knew how to pirate and emulate for years.

I am disturbed by your comment that "I can understand if Nintendo is no longer making the games you want. But I find it disturbing that people’s happiness depends on whether a corporation coddles them. Take a hint from the Expanded Market and get a life." I am not sure where you get this idea from that people's happiness are depending on Nintendo's actions. Passionate comments about Nintendo's direction are due, not because the individual is actually bawling out their eyes Chris Crocker style, but to fans who genuinely feel that Nintendo has lost their direction and has abandoned the legacy that they themselves have touted. Granted, given the other ludicrous comments you have made already and your inability to understand what it is that Nintendo fans are unhappy about, I am not surprised that you think this way.

"You have two other consoles that appeal directly to the ‘hardcore’. Why must all three consoles do so? Are they so selfish that ALL GAMES must cater to their taste?"

Again, it is not selfish to be angry when the company whose works you have supported for years, who has spent years touting its legacy and its commitment to its fan base, has decided that you are no longer important to them. To you, games are just games. For many people, the products that Nintendo create are works of art that have touched and affected people for many years and shaped their growth. In contrast, I do not think an Apple product has every made someone feeling emotion or cry in the way that certain video games Nintendo has made has. People are passionate because of the experiences that Nintendo has created.

To summarize, open your eyes and look around you. Nintendo fans are annoyed and feel betrayed and this is something new for Nintendo. Your view is that Nintendo should say "screw the hardcore" because they are making tons of money off of the "disruption" that is the Wii. To criticize your theories on disruption is far beyond the scope of this blog. That being said, I will say that I do not agree with your impression that disruption is as easy and obvious a strategy to pull off as you claim. It is very hard to pull off what Nintendo did with the Wii and it is likely that they will not be able to do it again. You make fun of my conclusion, comparing me to a teenage girl, but my point has already happened and been proved when Nintendo failed with the N64 and GameCube and found itself appealing, focusing, and targeting its fan base more and more. History has already proven that Nintendo runs back to its hardcore fans when it does badly with the mainstream. The difference is that this time they have thrown its fans under the bus.

Sean Malstrom, the argument I have been having, which is the predominant complaint fans have been having, is simply about perception. We already know that Nintendo has done well financially. If you want to go study that, feel free to go for it. When it comes to an argument about Nintendo and its ability to handle perceptions, I think you are way out of your league. Regardless of how well Nintendo's business is doing, it is never a good idea to have tons of people hate you. It is even worse then that group of people are your long-time fans.
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About Tascarone of us since 9:27 PM on 03.03.2008

Once upon a time, back in the 8-bit and 16-bit era, I was a "hard-core" gamer. Since that time, a variety of factors ranging from money to college to real life significantly cut into my video game time. Nonetheless, I have always retained my love and interest in video games, although to a lesser extent.

At present, my video game time is generally monopolized by World of Warcraft. I play a troll mage named Moor (WoW Armory profile here) on the Nathrezim server where I am a happy member of the guild Sanity.

Current-generation consoles I own include an XBox 360, a Ps3, a Wii, a Nintendo DS, a PsP, and a PC.

I am a huge fan of video game music. In fact, I confess that many of the games I own, such as the Halo games and Rygar: The Legendary Adventure are in my collection solely because I love their incredible musical scores. I have only been able to attend one VGM event, Video Game Live's New York concert on April 26, 2008 which was an amazing experience.

During middle school and high school, I was inspired to attempt music composition after hearing the reprise of Shadow's theme that appears in the ending of Final Fantasy VI by Nobuo Uematsu and "Angel's Fear" from Secret of Mana by Hiroki Kikuta, an attempt that quickly ended due to my lack of talent with little more to show than a crappy five-song musical. The highlight of my musical career as well as my journey through video game geekdom came during an impromptu musician meet-up at the Otakon anime convention in 2003 in which I had the honor of performing the violin solo in Yasunori Mitsuda's incredible "Scars of Time" from Chrono Cross.

I have been a lurker on Destructoid for some time. I am an especially huge fan of Destructoid's three excellent podcasts, which are not only the best video game podcasts I have heard but amongst my favorite podcasts of all time. I give much credit to these podcasts for bringing about a resurgence in my interest in video games and inspiring me to think more about video games. I also give them special credit for entertaining me during a series of hospitalizations in which the only thing I had for entertainment were these podcasts saved on my Zune.

I was particularly inspired by Podtoid and randombullseye and ended up composing the music to randombullseye's game Bonerquest, my first and last foray into video game composing as I quickly came to realize, as I did back in high school, that I lacked the training and talent for the art. Nonetheless, I am grateful to randombullseye for the opportunity to have contributed to a part of an actual finished product as opposed to the unfinished sketches that populate my desk and computer hard drive.

I love writing and I often find myself discussing and writing about video games on a variety of subjects and contexts. As a high school student, I had great difficulty writing long papers or long articles and so I began to force myself to write as much as possible. By the time I was in college, writing huge amounts of text for both school and school-unrelated purposes became not only easy but rather relaxing and unenjoyable. I therefore apologize in advance because I know that a great deal of my writing will probably be far far longer than what is probably necessary or appropriate. In the past, my writings on video games found themselves in a variety of places ranging from the WoW forums, a text file on my desktop, to my friends' Xanga and MySpace pages and for some time, I have thought about consolidating my video game writing at one place, which is why I am happy that I discovered Destructoid. The Destructoid staff and community have greatly influenced my thoughts on video games and opened my eyes to things that I never saw. I hope that many writing can give a fraction of that inspiration (or at the very least some entertainment) back to the Destructoid community.
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