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Why Nintendo Will Stand When The Rest Fall

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Don’t Think Nintendo Doesn’t Have It In Them!

I know, I know. The last article I wrote didn’t really go over in Nintendo’s favor. I called them Cowards! I stand by that for the most part. I called them cowards because I know that Nintendo is better than what they have shown us this past year and a half. I called them cowards because if someone has something special about them that if shared, would definitely benefit the world yet they decide to stifle their own potential due to fear and lack of confidence, I believe they are deserving of the title of coward. That person should still try! I believe Nintendo is that person. I believe that Nintendo has something so unique to share with the world and every inch they give up to Sony and Microsoft is such a tragedy because that means more people will now be turned away from getting to know the Nintendo that I grew up with. This cannot continue. Nintendo must dig down deep inside and pull out the desire to compete. Here is why.

Family First

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In Life, This Is What Really Matters. 

Ever since Nintendo released very first home console, the NES, it was evident that they were all about family. In case you weren’t in the know, the Japanese name for the original NES was Famicom. It means “Family Computer”. As you know Nintendo went on to create the Super NES or Super Famicom as it is known in Japan. Throughout Nintendo’s entire gaming history they have always been about bringing families together in the living room. All of Nintendo’s characters appeal to children, teenagers, and adults. Nintendo’s IP’s are meant to be enjoyed by a wide demographic, not just older ones. I like to refer to Nintendo as the Walt Disney of the gaming industry. You loved Disneyland as a kid, right? Going there was almost like a magical experience for lack of a better word. Even as an adult the magic really never fades away. It doesn’t matter what age you are, I feel Nintendo is the exact same way. For the young and young at heart there is Mario and everything Mario related. You can be a 7 year old kid or a 17 year old young man and still enjoy the pure fun there is to be had when playing a Mario title. I’m much older than 17 and I still love to visit the Mushroom Kingdom to defeat Bowser and the Princess. The experience is even much more meaningful now that I am a father and I can watch my kids play together and see the smiles on their faces. It is simply priceless.

No other console manufacture strives for this level of family fun. Sony and Microsoft try there hardest to cater to the most “core” of the hardcore gaming crowd. Much like the gaming media, Sony and Microsoft see family gaming as “kiddie”. I mean, how many times has Nintendo been accused of creating kiddie games in the last decade alone? The truth is no other developer can capture both the young and older markets like Nintendo. I often compare Nintendo’s approach to software creation to that of Pixar and the way that they can create a movie that will immediately attract kids while still having enough emotional impact to make a grown man cry. Pixar and Nintendo have a few things in common. When you look at Mario what do you see? A brightly colored character who runs and jumps through a brightly colored world full of sights and sounds that would attract the attention of any child with a set of senses. When you move beyond the visuals then you begin to uncover a gameplay experience so rich that several Mario titles have been rated and referred to as the greatest game of all time.

My point is this. It’s not Nintendo’s job to create mature content. Its not Nintendo’s job to cater to those gamers that have “grown up”. However, it is Nintendo’s job to preserve its legacy of amazing content that like no other can create such an amazing atmosphere fit for families of all sizes and ages. With Nintendo there is something for everyone. Nintendo caters to the youngest child to the oldest person with experiences like catching little critters called Poke’mon, to exploring the Tolkeinesque land of Hyrule in the Legend of Zelda. What you won’t find is sex, profanity and violence. That’s just not Nintendo’s style and I’m thankful for that.

I understand that Sony broadened the gaming demographic with the very first Playstation and as a result, gaming is enjoyed by men and women in their late 20’s all the way up to their early 40’s. Lets not forget about the generations that are coming after us gamers that grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. Lets remember that our kids deserve to be able to play games that aren’t filled with goals that require you to blow someones head off from across the map or sneak up behind another player and snap his neck. I know that I can let my kids play on a Nintendo platform while I’m out of the room and feel confident that they won’t be exposed to anything that their little eyes cant handle.

Its All About The Gameplay Experience

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Innovation Or Gimmick?

Say what you want about Nintendo and the Wii U but one thing you can not deny is that Nintendo has a strict focus on gameplay experience. You may think the Wii U Gamepad is a gimmick but it’s clear that when Nintendo designed it they had in mind the unique ways that gamers could potentially interact with the game they are playing. Dating all the way back to the original NES Nintendo was always thinking about control and how it effects the player experience. From adding more buttons, to less buttons all the way to motion controlled gaming, Nintendo is all about re-thinking what it means to control your game.

Zombie U is a perfect example. Yes I know the critics weren’t so nice to this title but I don’t think ever wanted it to succeed in the first place. Zombi U required the player to use the gamepad to interact with the environment while being mindful of the dangers on the tv screen. Using the gamepad as a virtual backpack, the player must rummage through it to find an item while being exposed to any potential dangers lurking on screen. While in this state, the player would be somewhat helpless until the virtual backpack was closed. Now some reviewers claimed that this process broke the experience for them because it felt out of place to look down at the gamepad and then have to lift your eyes to look at the tv screen. What a lazy thing to say. Its not like they had to look in a different direction or get up and start flailing their arms or something like that. This is to be expected though. In a generation of gamers and journalist more fixated on system specs, how could anyone expect them to admire anything that only benefits gameplay?

For the most part, gamers today only care about the level of graphical fidelity that a game displays. Hardly do I ever hear an argument over what game controls better than another or what game is more fun to play. Don’t believe me then just go on any gaming related message board and see for yourself. Everyone is worried about what console does 1080p and what console runs games at 60fps? All this is going on while Nintendo is focusing on gameplay. The fortunate thing about Nintendo’s development teams is that their games speak for themselves. It doesn’t matter what resolution they run at because regardless, they look awesome. It doesn’t matter what fps they run at because regardless, they run awesome. While Sony and Microsoft try and outdo each other, Nintendo just sticks to business as usual. In some cases that is a bad thing I will admit, but in the case of gameplay it is the best course of action for them.

No Money, Mo’ Problems

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Real Talk…

The Gaming industry seems to be in a bit of a transition and I’m not sure if it is entirely for the better. Don’t get me wrong, change is definitely good but something else seems to be going on. Publishers and developers seem to be closing their doors left and right and even the “Big Three”  seem to be taking some hits. Now I won’t make this about who’s got more cash than who, that’s not my point. My point is that there is a bad trend in the gaming industry that really became noticeable within the last 4 or 5 years. Lets take Capcom for instant. Capcom is one of the most talented and beloved developers in gaming history yet they seem to be on the verge of closing their doors. Why? For one, taking a beloved franchise like Resident Evil and pouring an unnecessary amount of money and resource into changing the franchise into “The next big thing” was definitely a blow to Capcom and its fans. Speaking of fans lets talk about DLC. On disc DLC anyone? How about what overcharging for crap that should already be in the initial purchase of a game? Look at what Kojima just did with Metal Gear! $30 dollars for a over glorified demo! THQ is gone! Irrational Games is gone with the hopes of restarting with a new studio focused on digital downloads. Why? For one, fans are getting hooked on what I am now referring to as the “Fast Food” of gaming syndrome. They rush out and buy these yearly iterations of games that are barely different from what they bought the year before and instead of waiting for something better to come along, gamers buy these titles out of habit. What happens when the sales start to slip for one of these franchises? I’ll tell you. The publisher becomes Capcom or Square-Enix. How is it that Square can sell 6 million copies of Tomb Raider and not turn a profit? Developers try and cram as much over the top audio, visual filler into these games as possible instead of just relying on gameplay, all of which requires bigger teams and more resources which in turn results in more risk. When the risk isn’t outweighed by the reward then we begin to see companies file for bankruptcy, and even close their doors entirely.

My belief is that if developers created games with a greater emphasis on gameplay over graphics then the quality of that game would sell itself. Nintendo has often talked about their approach to game development versus the way most developers tackle game creation. When you look at behind the scenes documentaries on the matter, you often see developers try and sell you on concept art and high quality character models and environments. They often go into how grand the story will be and so on. While there is nothing really wrong with this approach it does bring up an interesting point. Using this logic, one would come to the conclusion that most developers fancy visuals and grand spectacle over gameplay. Nintendo’s approach to game development is quite different. First, Nintendo nails the core gameplay element that will be featured in a particular game. They make sure that they have a fun, unique and interesting gameplay structure that will hook the gamer and bring them into the experience. Once they have solved how the game will play, they can begin to decide what franchise would best be suited to this style of gameplay. So a game may start out as an idea for a Zelda title but could turn out to be the next Mario or Metroid.

What does this all mean? I’m glad you asked. Nintendo is often seen as being cheap and unwilling to take risks but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact I believe they take more risks than anyone else, that more likely than not, end up resulting in huge rewards for Nintendo. Because of Nintendo’s focus on gameplay, gamers know what to expect from them. I personally don’t know any gamer that says they will wait until they see the review of the next Zelda before they buy it. It’s Nintendo’s proven track record when it comes to software quality ensures that gamers have no problems “blind” buying their software. Nintendo’s software tends to sell steadily over long periods of time resulting in the price of that software retaining its value. How often do you see price drops for Nintendo titles? Not often at all. So while other companies pump out sequel after sequel as they watch the value of their IP’s steadily decline along with  revenue, Nintendo takes a slow surgical approach ensuring that the quality of their games as well as the revenue generated from them retains its consistency resulting in a healthy business.

That’s All Folks

Now don’t get me wrong. Like I said before, Nintendo has their work cut our for them. The Wii U seems to be all but a failure if the mainstream gaming media is anything to go by and Iwata seems to be unaware of how to fix Nintendo’s misfortunes. I’ve already spoken in the past about how I feel Nintendo let Sony come into the industry and punk them out of their market share, and why Nintendo needs to compete directly with the Playstation brand. It’s no secret that Nintendo dropped the ball this generation. Horrible marketing efforts as well as inferior hardware are just a few of their problems.

With that said, Nintendo is still the king of software, and the “Once and Future King” of the gaming industry. Even with the Wii U not selling as well as everyone hoped it would, Nintendo can and will still release what will eventually be considered some of the greatest games this generation will probably ever see. No matter what missteps Nintendo has taken this generation, none of it should detract from the fact that as a company, Nintendo holds a higher moral standard than what is expected from an entertainment company. Nintendo should still be applauded for going after the family unit. Nintendo’s efforts to get the next generation of the young as well as the old into gaming should not go unnoticed. The fact that Nintendo refuses to dump unnecessary amounts of money and resources into making a “cookie cutter” title should be praised by the industry. Nintendo uses business practices that while may seem ancient and out of touch, has kept them alive and strong for over 100 years. Yes, they need to adopt some of the more current trends. Yes, they need to pay more attention to what their competitors are doing, just not at the expense of loosing what makes Nintendo…Nintendo. They are a family run company that focuses on family. I have more respect for them as a multii-billion dollar corporation then I probably ever will for any other billion dollar corporation that focuses on entertainment. I truly believe that when the dust settles, Nintendo will still be around doing thier thing long after that inevitable day passes when Sony and Microsoft both bow out of the gaming industry to pursue other business ventures.

One last thing. There is this notion that if you play games on a Nintendo platform then your somehow a “man child” or you need to “grow up”. Have you ever thought to yourself that the very fact that you play videogames as a grown man, that this means you are a man child that needs to grow up? Now I believe that videogames were meant to be enjoyed by people of all ages but if your going to have that sort of attitude towards one corner of gaming than have that attitude towards all of it. Include yourself, ok?

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my latest article, I hope it was a good read for you. Come back soon, thanks.


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Sony Punked Nintendo: Nintendo Goes From Bully To Coward

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Nintendo, its time to knuckle up and fight back!! 

Let me start off by saying this first. I am, always have been, and probably always will be a huge fan and supporter of Nintendo as a company. I believe they are the reason gaming exists today and I have always applauded Nintendo on their family focused efforts in a world and industry were violence and sex sell. I believe that Nintendo brings a fresh and innovative approach to gaming that Sony and Microsoft could only dream of. With that said, Nintendo is NOT without their faults and I’m going to point out the major ones as I see them, so be warned. This article isn’t to bash Nintendo but I will not pull my punches. If you are a fan boy then stop reading now. If you are level headed gamer that loves Nintendo or just loves gaming in general, then I hope that you can appreciate what I’m trying to say in this article. Once again my intention is not to bash Nintendo but to try expose what I see as Nintendo’s biggest flaw at the moment. That huge flaw is the fact that they are cowards.

Nintendo Has Cowered Long Enough

Why does it seem as if Nintendo has become a shell of their former selves? Why does it seem as if Nintendo no longer has the desire to fight? Nintendo is fully capable of competing and they have done so since the early 80’s. Granted there wasn’t much competition then, but if you look at how they battled Sega and the Genesis you can see that Nintendo is a company that can go toe to toe with any company in the business. Remember when Nintendo was the bully on the block? Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, third parties had no other choice but to create games for Nintendo platforms especially if they wanted to remain relevant. See back then, Nintendo was top dog. Remember when Hiroshi Yamauchi would make third parties kneel before him in fear as they presented their latest piece of software? The gaming industry was Nintendo’s yard and everyone else was just playing in it. That is until Sony came along.

The truth is, Sony Punked Nintendo and now Nintendo acts less like the gaming giant we all know and love and more like cowards. When Nintendo backed out of the deal with Sony that would have resulted in hybrid gaming console between the two Japanese giants, that lit a fire under Sony’s butt. Ever since that day, Sony and its mighty Playstation brand has dominated gaming. Financial losses aside, the Playstation brand carries more weight than Nintendo today. What does Nintendo have to say about it…

“…Nintendo is not good at competing so we always have to challenge [the status quo] by making something new, rather than competing in an existing market.”

This is a statement that was made by Nintendo President Iwata back in late 2013. I find it to be a cowardly statement from Nintendo and an excuse on their part to not meet their competition face to face on the battlefield of gaming. I honestly feel that Sony scared them off with their original Playstation. They showed Nintendo that they are not the only game in town and that third parties in fact do NOT need them. Instead of responding with more aggression, they became more and more passive. Its a shame to watch. This is NOT behavior befitting the greatest gaming company of all time. Yes, I called them the greatest gaming company of all time but that title is slowly slipping away. It will be all but gone if they don not turn the ship around and head in the direction of the cannon fire. Nintendo can NOT be afraid of a good fight.

Get In Or Get Out

Now I’ll admit that Nintendo still had a bit of that fighting spirit left in them when it came to the Gamecube. I believe that most of the problems then were due to Nintendo not embracing popular trends and that problem still exists today. The real problem began when Nintendo just simply gave up fighting. Last generation Nintendo Introduced the Wii to the gaming world. It had an interesting motion control mechanic that got millions of non-gamers to board the hype train. It was a huge success and the second best selling home console of all time. So what’s the problem? Simply put, the console sucked! Outside of Mario Galaxy and maybe a few others, the Nintendo Wii pushed core gaming aside in favor of the casual experience. While fun at first, it quickly wore thin for most. Nintendo called it their new “Blue Ocean” strategy which in theory makes sense. It simply means that Nintendo strives to find an avenue to explore that no one else has done before or is doing so currently making them the only ones to explore this unique space. This is all fine but when you get so insulated that you forget what is going on around you then you become unaware of your weaknesses because you have nothing to compare yourself to. With the Wii, Nintendo got lazy and weak. They bet on the casual crowd and in the end they bet on the wrong horse so to speak.

This was done so that Nintendo did not have to compete in the same space as Sony. Iwata has no confidence that Nintendo can win a fight when competing in the same weight class as the Playstation and I think he is being a coward for running the company in such a way. Why am I using such a harsh word like “coward”? A coward is someone who looks at a situation that may seem bigger than what they can handle and gives up without trying even though they have all of the necessary skills and tools to handle what is ahead of them. They choose not to push forward because they are too afraid to take up the challenge. That to me is a coward. Iwata is being a coward.

I’ll end with this. Nintendo has better software than Sony hands down. Nintendo’s ip’s are more popular and far more profitable. Nintendo has better developers at their disposal. Now don’t get me wrong, Naughty Dog is a beast but they only make one type of game. Nintendo has what fanboys refer to as a “war chest” of money that Iwata probably spends his time diving into like Scrooge Mcduck. The idea that Nintendo cant afford to spend money on a high end gaming console is nuts! Nintendo has been in business for more than one hundred years and has been in gaming for more than 30 years so they definitely have the expertise and the knowledge. It’s time that Nintendo changed their thinking and started viewing themselves as the great gaming company they are. They have the capability to rule the gaming industry but to do so they must first face their greatest rival. The Sony Playstation. Nintendo needs to look Sony in the eye and commit to a good fight on equal ground. No gimmicks, no smoke and mirrors. Just a good ol’ fashioned console war fought with cutting edge hardware, advanced online capabilities, and outstanding software. Nintendo can do it. I know they can.

That’s All Folks

My hope is that through all of my harsh criticism of Nintendo that you can see my passion for them to succeed. Lets get something straight, though. Nintendo wont succeed as long as they are being coddled by fanboys. Nintendo needs tough love and a kick in the butt. This only comes if you hurt their wallet. You mess with a companies money and they are bound to make changes. I won’t go into that now because I’m saving that topic for another day. Oh, and just in case you were wondering why I didn’t mention Microsoft its because I don’t feel they are any threat to Nintendo simply because MS carries no weight in Japan. Well there you have it folks. I hope you enjoyed reading. See you next time.

The WiiUmadGamers show Ep.1 The Road Ahead

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The first ever WiiUmadGAMERS show. I cover topics ranging from the state of the industry, to the impact of the media and fanboys. Tune in every Friday for new episodes. Are you a gamer? Love Nintendo? Than what are you waiting for?

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