I hate Nintendo. Really.

I hate Nintendo. Really.

I hate Nintendo. As a person who jabs at buttons and keyboards for a living, these are pretty strong words. But guess what, I have got reasons for it – a whole bunch of them. Let’s get started. If you look at history, Nintendo has been a critical force in shaping what gaming has become today. When Nintendo started, it used all the technological advances available at that time to create top end hardware and quite possibly a few of the most innovative games of the 20th century. They were the first to create a discrete hand-held gaming device capable of running story-length, full color games. It all went good till the GameCube. Nintendo got infected with the moneymilker virus after the GameCube expired.

With the rising popularity of gaming, two electronic giants decided to enter the field. And with them they brought a whole new realm of technological innovation. Whilst retaining its edge on pure game-making innovation, Nintendo was hopelessly behind in terms of hardware specs and data input. So as Sony and Microsoft prepared to launch their state-of-the-art high-definition gaming devices, Nintendo was left with few choices – they could have remained true to their fans and stay on the path they had been for so many years: releasing consoles to the best of their technological ability with focus on retaining a creative edge over their competitors, OR, they could leave their current market and fanbase behind, and try to create a market elsewhere in gaming. Not content with losing such a large chunk of their main market to Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo opted for the second option. PS3 level hardware was always available to Nintendo, but they opted to create a cheap, lightweight console instead, with the understanding that there was a huge, untapped well of potential gamers lying just below the surface, who didn’t give a damn about pixels counts or processing speeds.

So now we have the two Nintendo consoles: The DS and the Wii. Both behind their competition in hardware specs, but performing surprisingly well as far as sales go. This is not due to innovation, contrary to what every marketing campaign for the two would have you believe. This is down to selling out. Instead of directly competing against Sony and Microsoft, they decided on another route. Casual gaming became the primary focus on the Nintendo Wii. Nintendo focused on games like Wii Fit and Brain Training. After all, casual gamers are more in number than hardcore gamers anyway. Combined with the cheaper price than the consoles from Sony and Microsoft, it’s a no-brainer that the sales of Nintendo hardware is good. Which is good for Nintendo – they’re a business, after all, not a service, and businesses are out to make money. But guess what – Wii may be the best-selling console, but it is also the least played console of the three. The DS and the Wii have been subject to a tidal wave of brain-training games, fitness games, cooking games, and games of other categories utterly unrelated to gaming. The purpose of which is not to please the current fans, but to bring in new ones, who wouldn’t care for genuine gaming. The old titles are still there. Super Mario, Zelda etc. But that’s all they are: Old titles. Not an ounce of innovation in the games themselves, just a slightly new way to play them. Sure, there was the odd game like Mario Galaxy or Punch Out to perk us up, remind us that there were still those inside Nintendo devoted to making games for the “hardcore gamer”, but they were an exception, not a rule.

It was sad. Then sadness became frustration. Frustration became anger. New games for me, not my little sister or my grandmother, goddammit! And now Nintendo have lost interest of third-party developers. Heck, even their dev-kits look like dumb old boxes. The situation – Nintendo doesn’t have any third-party games which can be called console sellers. Sony and Microsoft are not dependent on their own studios for console sales. The Wii is the worst system of this console generation. Not because it’s got ‘lower specs’ or it’s ‘for casuals’, but simply because most of the games are bad. They’re mini-game collections or ‘let’s waggle the Wiimote a lot’ games. Truth is, I am not a fan of motion based gaming. First, it makes you look stupid. Second, I just prefer bumming on the couch with a traditional controller. Something that the Xbox 360 and the PS3 still offer.

Another major factor that makes me hate Nintendo systems is the lack of online gameplay. As a guy who spends a minimum of three hours daily on online gameplay, it’s just too big of a thing to ignore for me. Hey, does Mr. Miyamoto even know how satisfying it feels to dominate another player in a game of Team Fortress 2? I doubt if people at Nintendo even play online multiplayers. Single player games are fun, but multiplayer games are just a lot more fun. And it adds to the replay value as well. Multiplayer is always fun and things like leaderboards and trophies/achievements just add to the gameplay value. I just don’t get why Nintendo just doesn’t gets it?

An innovation is not simply bringing an already existing product (touch-screens, motion sensitive controllers) into the mainstream for the sake of feigning originality. And it isn’t about playing old things in new ways. It’s about creativity: Sheer ingenuity to create something previously unheard of. And Nintendo obviously aren’t in that business anymore. And I just hate them now.

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