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Nintendo: The Company The Industry Needs. The Company It Doesn’t Deserve

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A Seat At The Masters Table

Nintendo may not be able to walk on water but they did resurrect gaming from the dead. Look, they aren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination but without them we would probably witness another videogame crash.

WHY THE INDUSTRY NEEDS NINTENDO

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Without Nintendo There Would Be No Great Innovation

When Atari killed the industry for us westerners it was Nintendo that brought gaming back from the dead. You wouldn’t be sitting there now enjoying your PS3’s and your Xbox’s and God help me if you actually enjoy gaming on the ipad but you owe that to Nintendo as well. The house that Mario built rekindled a flame for the love of gaming with it’s very first home console. The Nintendo Entertainment System or NES for short. I know what your thinking. Why dwell on the past? That was the Nintendo of old. Today they are a former shell of themselves. Well unfortunately for the Nintendo naysayers i can prove that to be false. Bare with me.

The Super NES is regarded by many as the greatest home console of all time. Why? Well Nintendo took the NES controller and turned it into what has become the standard by which all modern controllers are based off of. Just ask Sony. Nintendo gave us unbelievable software and a piece of hardware that was second to none. Sorry Genesis fans. By all accounts the Super NES was exactly what its named implied. A Super charged NES. Everything was bigger and better.

Nintendo doesn’t seem to feel the need to stick to the same formula for two long. After the success of the Super NES, Nintendo released the Nintendo 64. A console capable of 3d graphics that featured an awkward looking yet ingenious controller design. Full analog control via the analog stick which is still standard on controllers to this day. You like how your controller rumbles when you play games? Credit that to Nintendo as well for launching StarFox 64 with the “Rumble Pack”. Speaking of software. Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time set a new standard for platforming and adventure gameplay which is still unmatched to this day. 3D action games would be nothing without the road that Mario 64 paved for them. How about multiplayer? Nintendo was the first to allow gamer’s to plug in multiple controllers to a home console for local multiplayer. Of course there were always add-on’s that allowed it but with the N64 it was standard.

Now lets look at the curious case of the Gamecube. This is the first and only Nintendo home console that didn’t pack in any new innovations. It had a weird yet perfect controller built for games like Smash Bros but it lacked any real difference from its competitors. The Gamecube actually lacked features. No DVD playback and an inferior optical disc format that held less data than XBOX and Playstation’s DVD formats. The Gamecube while profitable, didn’t fair too well against SONY and Microsoft’s consoles. Something had to change

With the Wii, Nintendo went a completely different route. They turned their backs on cutting edge visuals in favor of a new way for gamer’s to interact with the gaming world. Enter motion controls. Say what you want about Motion gaming but for a short while it was fun. Nintendo set out to attract those who had never picked up a controller before and bring back into the fold those that lost interest in the hobby. They succeeded and the sales prove it. No one cared that the Wii was inferior in every way from a power standpoint compared to it’s competitors. In the first few years of the Wii’s lifespan Nintendo brought game after game and the console was a mega success. As soon as the games stopped coming, the console died. Which brings me to my last point.

Software sells hardware. Nintendo announced a successor to the Wii last November called the Wii U. Nintendo’s goal was to continue the Wii’s legacy of offering gamer’s a new way of interacting with their game. Tablets are mega popular these days and it doesn’t seem as if that trend will end anytime soon. Nintendo integrated their new home console with that very technology. They even went a step further and added a huge social media component to the Wii U’s infrastructure. So…why isn’t the Wii U selling. Simple. The games haven’t started rolling in yet. Do you think the original Wii would have been as successful as it was i the beginning if it didn’t have the software that it did? NO. It wouldn’t have. The proof is in the way that the sales quickly declined once new software stopped being introduced. With the Wii U things seem to be the opposite. There aren’t any really strong pieces of original software for the Wii U to keep people interested and that is all Nintendo’s fault. Good news, folks. The games are coming and once they do the system will begin to sell very well. Very well.

What is the moral of this story? The gaming media sucks and it spins stories to get hits. The Wii U is not “Dead in the water” and Nintendo is not doomed. The same exact things were said about the PS3 when it launched and all it took was a price cut (Ps3 was too damn expensive) and a steady stream of games. Let’s just wait and see what Nintendo does during this years E3.  Lets just wait and see.

WHY THE INDUSTRY DOESN’T DESERVE THEM

Simple. Nintendo can’t seem to catch a break. They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they do exactly as Sony and Microsoft then everyone thinks they are doomed. If they innovate then they are doomed. People are actually saying that Nintendo should and will become a 3rd party publisher only. Lets say Nintendo does actually stop making hardware. This is what will happen. Nintendo will be out for good. They are too stubborn to make their software for competing platforms. Like it or not, loosing Nintendo is bad for the industry. Very bad. If it happens it could be the beginning of the end. What? You think Sony is going to take over the mantle of innovation? Microsoft? Electronic Arts is more likely to win “The Best Company In America” award two years straight before that happens.

Let me know what you think about today’s topic.

Wii U Mad?


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Is Nintendo Done? Everyone Else Seems To Think So

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Wii U Sad?

EA Sports software engineer, Johan Andersson says that the Wii U is crap. EA also says that the Nintendo’s newest console can’t even run the Frostbite 2 engine with favorable results. Heck, most of the gaming media thinks that Nintendo is “dead in the water” and that they should pull a Sega and become a software only developer. Well, here are a few thoughts on why Nintendo could be headed the way of Sega and a few thoughts as to why they could be on their way to absolute success. 

NINTENDO IS NOT SEGA. OR SONY OR MICROSOFT FOR THAT MATTER

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Nintendo is not like the other two console makers. They don’t run with the latest trends in hardware or software development. Nintendo looks at what is currently on the market and tries to come up with ways to innovate instead of imitate. Nintendo is all about doing things differently. Unfortunately it is this approach that gives fuel to the Nintendo haters, allowing them enough ammo for an all out assault on the beloved Japanese console maker. Here is what is unfair. When Nintendo doesn’t do something that fits in line with what the so-called industry professionals feel is the correct course of action they get heavily criticized. When that course of action seems to not resonate as much as Nintendo would have liked then the media crucifies them. God forbid that Nintendo does something that is widely considered “the right thing to do” because that’s when the media gets all up on the big N’s sack and forgets how much they previously hated them. That may sound like a good thing to have the media flip their perception of Nintendo into something positive but not when you consider the hypocritical nature of the gaming media in general. If said it before, E3 is judgement day for the Wii U, not Nintendo. Here are three things Nintendo needs to do to prove that the console is worth everyone’s attention and hard earned money. Believe me when i say that if Nintendo doesn’t do these things then they may as well pull up a chair next to good ‘ol Sega.

1. First party franchises

Nintendo has already stated that a new 3d Mario title as well as Mario Kart, Smash Bros and zelda will make an appearance during this years press events. This is great because Nintendo consoles thrive off of their first party titles. The problem is that Nintendo cant rely only on those. They need to resurrect some old franchises. Where is Wave Race? Where is F-Zero? Will Punch-Out make a return this generation? Also worth noting is that Nintendo needs to absolutely wow us with these titles. And yes i’m talking about graphics. We already know Nintendo will deliver on the gameplay but its the consoles graphical prowess or lack there of that has given the haters most of their Nintendo sniping ammo.

2. Partnerships

Nintendo seems to be doing well when it comes to partnering with other developer/publishers to bring the Wii U some interesting content. Nintendo just announced a partnership with Sega to produce a Wii U exclusive Sonic game. Look at the partnership between Nintendo and Platinum games to produce Bayonetta and Wonderful 101 which are both exclusive to Wii U. Nintendo has stated in the past that there are definitely more partnerships like these to be announced in the future. It would be nice to see Capcom and Square show up on that list. 

3. THIRD PARTY SUPPORT

Screw EA! Now that we got that out of the way lets talk about the developers that matter. We all know that the main reason the Wii U isn’t getting the 3rd party support it deserves is because of slow sales and a small install base. Provided that things pick up for the Wii U, we should see more and more 3rd parties come on board. Regardless of this, Nintendo should be courting third parties like never before. Myamoto said a few months back that he was doing just that. In person. Now i’m not saying that Nintendo needs every major third party game released on the Wii U. I don’t believe they do. What they need are the titles that matter from the developers that matter. GTA 5 coming to the Wii U would be huge news for Nintendo and its fan base. Nintendo needs to change the perception that their consoles are only for the likes of Mario and Zelda and show the gaming world that the Wii U can be home to a wide range of content from both first and third parties. 

I could go on forever it feels like. I didn’t even touch on things like improvements to the OS, Miiverse upgrades and the Gamecube Virtual console. All these things need to be added too. How about dual gamepad support? 

If people feel the Wii U sucks, its Nintendo’s own fault. They decided to release a console that from a hardware and software standpoint wasn’t ready. Not to mention the piss poor advertising. Its been around 6 months since the Wii U has launched and it’s sad to say that their isn’t much to show for it. Yes i know the console is young but Nintendo has a lot to prove to not just the gaming media, but to gamer’s like you and me. I love Nintendo but maybe it’s time for a new approach from them. If we don’t see Nintendo strike gold come this E3 then i think Iwata should step down. 

As always, let me know what your thoughts on the matter are. Wii U Mad?