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Nintendo Wins the Kawaii War


I've been spending some quality time with my 2DS lately and there's something that I really like about it. I feels like a Nintendo console, with that distinct fun feel to it. It's a toy-like game system, but not toy-like enough to be a game system-like toy. So it's not like the Emperor of the Sea  in that respect.

Everything about the interface is just so adorable! The home screen is bright and bubbly, and when I went to configure my internet settings, a little cartoon guy popped up and said "Hi I'm here to help you connect to the internet!" Awwww!

And the cute things certainly don't end there. When you download games from the e-shop, the loading screen displays the game's icon being filled up with little hearts that are dropped from above. When the download is finished, it gift-wraps the icon and you have to go to the home screen to unwrap it.


I've noticed that Nintendo outs a certain level of cuteness and fun into their systems that Sony and Microsoft won't, or rather are afraid to. According to Sony, the PS4 is supposed to "blend in" to the background and not be noticed while Microsoft stated that the Xbox One was made to look "high-quality, just like the high-definition televisions in people's living rooms" (source). That's why they made it look like an expensive DVD player. 

Seriously, look at the XBone and the Wii U side-by side:

The XBone is a black rectangle, made to look like any piece of hardware other than a game console. It's minimalist and dull with plenty of serious, hard lines. It's a game console that's embarrassed to be a game console.

the Wii U, however, is a little bubbly, rounded thing. You can tell just by looking at it that it's made for fun.

Let's look at the interfaces too:

It's the same deal. Top: Dark, sharp, square, and serious, complete with advertisements for adult stuff.

Bottom: Bright, bubbly and overwhelmingly cute.

It doesn't end with the 3DS and Wii U either. Check out the Wii mini:

It's Fun, colorful, and a little goofy. Kind of like the Gamecube! 

It says "Yeah, I play games! So fucking what?! Put a Super Mario Galaxy disc in me, bitch! Oh yeah... just like that... nonono, no. Not so hard... yeah, that's it."

Dat ASS!

Now, I'm not saying that Microsoft and Sony are going in the wrong direction or anything. It seems to be working out for them. But it seems like they want to distance themselves more and more from developing things for games. They want to make mature, serious, and expensive all-in-one media systems.

More plugs! MORE!

While Nintendo... it seems like they really get me, aesthetically. They make things that are wacky and fun and it seems like they're not embarrassed that they make things for nerds.

Microsoft used to be this way once too. Remember this thing?:

That's right, Zach. It's the Xbox 1 (not Xbox One). What a great design! A huge X shape in the console itself and a big green circle right in the middle!

They wanted to be more like Nintendo back then. Remember Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee? That was going to be their "Mario."

Note: Apparently they didn't play the first two Oddworld games, otherwise they would have caught the dark themes and ant-consumerist messages. Oddworld got more serious with Stranger's Wrath and then parted with Microsoft altogether. Even these days Microsoft wants nothing to do with Oddworld without them going through a publisher.


Maybe next time Microsoft can recapture a bit of that fun, but I doubt it.

As of now, Nintendo is winning the Kawaii War, and there's no competition in sight.

Thanks for reading, everybody!
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About Benny Discoone of us since 9:53 AM on 03.24.2013

My name is Benny. I work full time in a freak show eating live chickens, and I work part time as Brendan Fraser's scrotum cleanser.

I play video games sometimes, but most of the time I'm too poor and don't have enough free time. I still like talking about them though.