“A once innovational tyrant, propelled to be an industry powerhouse by winning the War of a Generation will continue to disappoint, and instead feed off of the income from a repetitive, nostalgia led, nonsensical company direction.”
Identifying the Problem
There will be no friends made with this one let’s be clear. To be fair, it’s hard to make too many when you go after a classic home favorite like Nintendo, but this needs to be said. This particular opinion isn’t even very popular among my close personal friends, but that’s okay. To quote the niece of the late, great Peggy Carter, “Compromise where you can. Where you can’t, don’t. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say, ‘No, you move’.”. If you get that reference then you are my type of people and should definitely stick around.
I have this internal feeling of responsibility to inform you of any and all events and circumstances that could directly have an impact on your life as a gamer. In my opinion, a powerhouse in gaming that is consistently skating by and refusing to truly develop new titles qualifies as a notable event, and an abuse of a formerly great technological giant that we need to discuss. On top of that, this particular company then sells their inferior, outdated, and overly reimagined products and ideas at completely overpriced rates, especially for all the more quality that is offered.
“They have essentially become the mirror image of how Bethesda carries itself constantly peddling the same thing until it becomes so stale even the fanboys stop buying it.”
They seem to just aimlessly throw whatever they can at the wall and hope it sticks. Sure they get a couple solid hits here and there, but it’s insulting to former and current fans of the brand to have to endure such a pretentious company direction. They have essentially become the mirror image of how Bethesda carries itself constantly peddling the same thing until it becomes so stale even the fanboys stop buying it. At that point they do the bare minimum to throw out something slightly new, but still essentially the same as their last big hit and the fanboys just eat it up. Who could blame them though, if it keeps working and everyone is stupid enough to keep paying for it why would they ever change.
Here’s an example. How many of you people have paid for Skyrim 3 different times? Nintendo runs the same scheme. Bethesda will have some pretty good hits every few years but they also throw out some flops and they continue to replatform and resell a single game, albeit a great game, but it’s completely worn out at this point. Not to mention closing in on 10 years old which will most certainly demand a 10 year anniversary version of the game to be released, can’t miss that opportunity.
The ethical question I am framing here is, do you think it’s okay to have a company rebox and resell the same product at nauseam and think it’s okay if they put a different spin on it. Or worse, throw out any garbage game they can think up and sell it as long as it has some version of their darling hero mascot, who has been seemingly fetishized by the community and the company itself.
Nintendo’s mascot, the beloved plumber Mario to be clear, has been made into a borderline god like figure with the sole goal of getting his own face to sell more games off of reputation alone rather than the actual quality of the games themselves, and it has been working for years! Most disappointingly, Nintendo has once done so many great things, innovating and helping to advance a rapidly growing industry only to now become comfortable with their past success. Today it allows nostalgia to cloud their creativity department and have done very little to advance the industry in any way.
“Nintendo has began to alienate a larger portion of their following… by keeping their games steered more towards the forgiving child’s market.”
I know many of you out there think Nintendo can do no wrong, that they’ve only ever been creators, innovators, a company of the people. Well, like it or not I’m here to tell you that ideology stopped years ago.
In recent years Nintendo has began to alienate a larger portion of their following, and of the gaming community in general by keeping their games steered more towards the forgiving child’s market. They refuse to acknowledge the growing age of the generation that helped to build their company into this industry powerhouse it has become besides the occasional gem. Instead they have decided it best to stop being creative altogether and mimic the GameCube by creating a console that may be quite unique, full of solid games, and fun to use, but at the same time is majorly outgunned in processing power and generally just a step behind in the technology of the day. Making sure to keep up the idea of throwing their creativity and development department completely out the window, Nintendo continues to just throw in games to the Switch’s lineup that have already been on the market for years and have grown tiresome to play. These games like Skyrim, Doom, Divinity Original Sin 2, and the Witcher 3, are games that have already well aged out of the market. In other words, if you’ve ever intended on playing them you already have.
Technologically, A Step Behind
Nintendo’s marketing ploy recently is that they are making AAA games mobile and convenient to play. This might be an interesting concept if the games on the front line of this move weren’t already years old and I’ve played them 10 times over already. Also, downgrading the games to 720p on this console is disrespectful, disrespectful because I have a device in my pocket a quarter of the size and I can live stream videos and games in 4K on it.
Now, believe it or not I honestly and truly believe the switch is a graceful, elegant and generally an ingenious fresh take on gaming consoles that has, and should be welcomed into the community. However, the disrespect Nintendo shows by downgrading the quality of these games to run on their technologically inferior platform and then still charging $300 for it is severe. Not to mention their regular games still run off of a cartridge system, and now cost $60 for games nearly identical in spec to those of the Nintendo DS handheld cartridges which had never cost above $40. Obviously, the internal technology would have been upgraded, but there is nothing to suggest that the Switch games should cost $20 more besides Nintendo’s greed. The concept of still using cartridges for their games is absolutely mind boggling, because that technology is so hopelessly outdated, and on top of that you still need an SD card for game save storage. This could be looked at as simply throwing out one of the few benefits of still using cartridges in today’s technologically advanced world.
We live in an age where, like it or not, graphic quality of gaming has become one of the core production goals in producing great games. Taking this big of a step backwards just to achieve mobility of gaming shows such a lack of personal interest in innovation it’s mind blowing. Nintendo simply doesn’t understand because they’ve never been in the market of high end graphic quality games. They don’t see it as an important feature because they’ve only ever been in the market of making games that are fun to play split screen with friends, and to be fair they’ve been pretty good at it over the years. This just goes to show how out of depth they are in their dealings with these AAA title games.
I’m not here to die on the hill of “games need good graphics to be good games”, because that’s not how I feel at all. I’ve played great games that in no way needed better graphic quality to be great games, they were just great games. The Tell Tale Series comes to mind in this regard. Those games didn’t need the upgrades of hyper realistic visuals in order to immerse their players in a fun and emotional journey all of the way through. They developed a unique artwork, and created fantastic characters in order to create some of the best interactive stories I’ve ever experienced.
My point is graphics do not need to be sacrificed for the sake of mobility like Nintendo has done in order to deliver these AAA games on the Switch. Just look to Google Stadia and the concept of streaming games. Google Stadia is offering true AAA games that are recent and still in the public eye at the quality they deserve to be played. Oh yea, and they will be fully mobile and playable on our phones. The only thing needed is access to the internet and you could play any one of their games. Google is truly the one innovating the market. That said there are clear and obvious problems with Stadia that need addressed, but none of them involve sacrificing the quality of the games themselves in order to have them be available on their platform.
“Nintendo hasn’t defined a generation in almost a quarter century”
Google isn’t trying to become the lead company in mobile gaming with Stadia either though. They just intend to offer a great new way to play games. Google doesn’t even need to throw its hat in the gaming ring. However, Google sees the opportunity to do something nobody else knows how to properly do and that is provide the capability to effortlessly stream any game, of any quality, anywhere, anytime. Nothing that’s gone in or out of Nintendo’s head in the last 10 years is in the same class as that concept. That is an idea that defines a generation, if it works. Nintendo hasn’t defined a generation in almost a quarter century, they’re just riding on the coattails of what used to be.
Just look to the semi recent events of CES and Alienware’s Concept UFO gaming system they had revealed there. Reports from the people who had hands on experience with the device were overwhelmingly positive. That device is of the quality the Switch should have been when it was initially released. That type of system coming from a company like Nintendo would’ve broken sales records, and could’ve had a legit chance to dethrone the PS2 as the most sold gaming console ever, but that type of innovation is no longer what we expect from modern day Nintendo who seem stuck in an ancient age of gaming.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s all just a tactic for Nintendo to grab back that aging out demographic that they’ve all but forgotten about. Instead of coming up with great games to attract the older demographic they’ve decided to put in as little effort as possible, and just take some classically great games of past years and throw them on their new console. This way they can focus on what’s really important, counting all those dollars. That’s just the Nintendo way.
Ambition Conquered by Greed
Now I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that at one time Nintendo was churning out hit after hit and rolling out sweet new tech like when they decided to throw their hat in the ring of the original mobile gaming in 1989 with the Gameboy. While not having the most impressive hardware of its competition the Atari Lynx & Sega Game Gear, Nintendo found a way to offer the best experience. Not only was the Gameboy the most ergonomically pleasing of the trio, but it launched with a game that grabbed its users, that game was Tetris. Tetris a simple puzzle game was revolutionary at the time, and was the key piece in showing that Nintendo wasn’t a company to just throw out the really good hardware hoping it’ll get the attention of buyers. Nintendo wanted to be the company that thinks about the player in a way not necessarily shown as outright as its competitors of the time. They were going to think about how comfortable their system was to hold for prolonged gaming, the simplicity of its design and make it appealing to the eye, and most importantly pair it with great games that will keep the attention of gamers for generations the way Pokémon has for so long.
What happened to this Nintendo? Today’s Nintendo is walking around masquerading as that Nintendo of 1989 that captured a generation when it brought us the first GameBoy. To see what has become of that company today honestly deeply hurts me as a Nintendo fan. Yes if you could believe it, I am indeed a fan of Nintendo.
“Nintendo inspired many of my generation to join in a technological movement”
I was someone that grew up playing Ocarina of Time and MarioKart on the Nintendo 64 like most kids of my age. My story doesn’t differ in that way, but it does differ in the way that I refuse to stay a silent and hopeful fanboy for Nintendo. I refuse to let a company go down this road with my support. Especially, one that helped shape my life as a gamer, and really catch my interest in an industry that for so many years struggled to pull kids in from the outdoors. I know that my parents weren’t thrilled that video games stole me away from playing outside either, but I fought for every second of gaming I got because it was that important to me, and I enjoyed it. I didn’t just stop going outside either if that’s what you’re thinking. Video games don’t capture kids and get them addicted to the screen like too many people out there think, they simply offer an escape from life, not a replacement of life. In today’s world is that such a bad thing?
If your childhood was anything like mine my friends and I always played outside after school. We would just use our imaginations pretending sticks were guns and throwing rocks at each other like grenades. The reason modern day Nintendo has gotten under my skin so much is because the Nintendo I grew up on had showed kids like me what kind of power their imagination could really have. Nintendo inspired many of my generation to join in a technological movement and search for careers in game development and truly unleash their imaginations in the hopes to do to others what Nintendo did for them.
“Creating is supposed to be hard, so make it hard.”
This is what Nintendo needs to strive to be. They need to stop being comfortable and get hungry again for innovation. They must feel the need to inspire again and embrace the rapidly improving technologies of the world we live in. Stop living a step behind the world so that your new gaming consoles come easy. The Switch had the potential to be a staple in homes like the PlayStation 2 was at one time, but Nintendo decided to skimp in a few key areas holding on to outdated technologies, on top of their lack luster games. All of these key missteps put together really brought down history making potential of the system.
Creating is supposed to be hard, so make it hard. Show the generation that helped to build your success that you haven’t forgotten about them. Stop taking the easy route making games tailored for a forgiving, child friendly market. Step off the ledge and trust your inventions to catch you. Otherwise you will forever taint your legacy that once showed a world full of promise. If Nintendo allows its reputation to fade due to its stubborn, repetitive, nostalgia led creative direction it would be an infamous collapse, and truly a sad day for the community as a whole. Nobody wants to see a pioneer of the industry like Nintendo fall.
I know many people reading probably think this has been a hit piece aimed at Nintendo but that’s simply not true. I just hate to see a misuse of such a great set of creative minds that could be shaping the future of gaming, but if Nintendo stays comfortable raking in the money from their fanboys who refuse to see how they’ve strayed than so be it. However, I refuse to be a part of it. This is the prophecy I present to you if Nintendo doesn’t change their way, and as you will come to know, my prophecy is truth.