Man, it’s been a while since I wrote anything, but I really wanted to make sure I fleshed out all of my points well, so I decided against doing a simple video rant. So first of all, welcome back and thanks for sticking around if you have been following this blog. Lately I’ve noticed there’s been a lot of Nintendo hate and I gotta say, I really don’t see the whole point of it. But first, let’s start with ancient history.
Ancient History (late 80s and early 90s)
The NES was the first console I ever had and I grew into quite the Nintendo fanboy…at least for a while. Back then, it was the NES versus the Sega Genesis. Nintendo and Sega were constantly competing, which is funny when you consider Sega just kinda does whatever now, doesn’t have their own console, and even makes games on Nintendo consoles, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Back in these days the competition made a little more sense. The NES had a lot of great exclusives (though some didn’t stay exclusive forever) such as Megaman, Metroid, Legend of Zelda, Kid Icarus, Castlevania, Contra, <href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTdlzqhSdt8″>Final Fantasy, and of course, Mario. However, the Genesis had a lot of great exclusives as well as some awesome arcade ports, such as Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, Eternal Champions, Shinobi, Phantasy Star, Shining Force, and of course, Sonic.
The Genesis was a 16-bit console and the NES was limited graphically, so even when it received arcade “ports” they were usually a far cry from the real thing (i.e. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 – The Arcade Game). But all the same, there were enough first party exclusives to keep the console going for a bit (and originally they were competing with the Sega Master System, not Genesis) that the NES did very well and eventually the SNES was released.
Nintendo’s Golden Era (90s)
For every one thing you could point to right in the Genesis, the SNES probably had 10 more. Not only did Nintendo continue having great first party titles, but also exceptional third party titles and great arcade ports. At this point, the 2 things the Genesis had in favor over the SNES were its exclusives and the fact that their sound hardware was more geared toward arcade ports, mostly because they wanted their hardware to match what their arcade games were already doing (Shinobi and Golden Axe are great examples of this).
However, Genesis had some ideas on the horizon with things like Game Gear, Sega CD, and 32X. And while the GG did alright, the others did not. Right around the time Sega decided to make a new console (Saturn), Nintendo was doing the same (N64), but they had some new competition in town: Playstation. While there were decent games on the Saturn that are still worth playing, the PS1 absolutely blew them out of the water and the N64 still managed to pull through because despite being a cartridge based system, their graphics really were better (in most respects) than the PS1 and there were either no load times or virtually no load times, which was a major criticism of early CD-based gaming.
Point is, Nintendo continued to push through with outstanding first party exclusives and a number of third party exclusives as well. Sega had lost a significant amount of ground and Sony created some serious competition. As a last ditch effort, Sega released the Dreamcast, which was superior to both the PS1 and N64, but they had lost a lot of third party support and it was enough to drive them under only a couple of years into the 2000s.
A New Challenger Appears (2000 – 2010)
As the Dreamcast was on its last leg, yet another challenger appeared: the original Xbox. It was around this time that the Gameboy Advance was gaining popularity and coming out with all new content as well as some cool SNES ports. But then Nintendo released the very hit and miss console, the Gamecube. On the one hand, it did have better graphics and some pretty cool exclusives (Eternal Darkness, Animal Crossing, Luigi’s Mansion, Super Mario Sunshine, etc.), but it wasn’t nearly as well received as the N64 and almost everyone hated the controller.
That’s not to say that the Xbox was well received initially, but people warmed up to it fairly quickly and appreciated its top notch graphics. But truth be told, it was mostly Halo that sold the system. Shortly thereafter the Nintendo DS came out and slightly after that, the PSP. The PSP did not do that well despite having a lot of support and the DS squashed them pretty soundly, which is a good thing because without that, we probably would not have seen any further Nintendo consoles.
Everyone agrees that the PS2 was a kickass console and had a lot of great games on it, but…what mascot? See, Nintendo has always had Mario, Xbox has always had Master Chief (at least previously), and Sony used to have Crash Bandicoot…but that was kind of no longer a thing. I suppose most people may rebut with icons such as Sly Cooper, Kratos, Ratchet & Clank, and even Jak & Daxter, but some of those characters only knew the PS2 as their console and that’s it.
A lot of people scoffed at the Wii when it was originally announced and hey, why not? It didn’t exhibit any further processing power above the Gamecube and backwards compatibility? Lol, whatevs yo. Except, see, the Gamecube actually had some good games on it that were still worth playing, there was the Virtual Console, there were still several awesome first party exclusives and the motion controls actually worked really well and forced developers to be creative in their attempts at making Wii titles.
The 360 wasn’t a BAD console, but the failure rate was ridiculous and there weren’t enough first party exclusives to really differentiate itself away from the PS3 or make it more attractive. It was also around this time that the “PC master gaming race” was scoffing at console games because, well, most of the games that found their way onto the 360 also found their way onto the PC and were far better there.
However, the PS3 had a crapload of exclusives and most games in general ended up playing better on there than the 360. Besides that, in most cases you did NOT have to pay to play games online, which is an utterly absurd proposition. Of course, you don’t have to pay to play ANYTHING online on the PC unless it’s a pay as you go service anyway…but hey, whatever.
Why Did I Buy A Wii-U?
And this all leads us into the current generation of consoles. Actually, the reasoning for me buying a Wii-U is not what you would expect. I felt myself getting tight because I have a bad tendency to do lots of weightlifting, but not stretch. I remembered that I had Wii Fit, but realized the batteries had corroded inside the Wii Board (yeah I hadn’t used it for a number of years).
Well, it was around tax time, so I thought why not just get a Wii-U along with Wii Fit U and a new board? So I ended up getting that, Super Mario Maker, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Bayonetta 2, and the Wii-U came with Mario Kart 8 pre-installed. And yeah, I’m loving the console so far. I mean, absolutely loving it. So obviously, this presents a bit of bias.
Here’s the thing, I honestly could not tell you any one specific reason to own an Xbox One. Sure, there’s the Kinect, but I would only want that in order to play one game I have an interest in (Dance Central) and that’s it. Beyond that, nearly everything else I would want to play on there is already on the PS4 and/or PC anyway, so there is literally no reason for me to own this console.
Regarding the PS4, I want one. Why? Because of exclusives such as Disgaea 5 and the upcoming Persona 5. So no, I don’t feel I need one right now, but I will want one eventually. And beyond that? I have my PC. It’s in need of upgrading, sure, but once I do that, I can still play EVERYTHING I already have on there (which is literally too many games already) and way more on top of that.
Hypothetical Q&A and Conclusion
“But Gun Sage, Nintendo is a children’s console!” Uh, maybe, but I don’t think Bayonetta 2 is a kids game. Besides that, have you PLAYED the new Mario Kart? That shit gets TOUGH.
“But Gun Sage, the Wii-U doesn’t have X that Console Y does!” X is usually processing power or certain exclusives. And my response is…so what? It has Mario, Nintendo doesn’t care about or need photorealistic games to succeed, and the other companies are so busy getting into a pissing contest with each other and their respective fanboys more or less ignoring the big N that they don’t realize how much of the market Nintendo sweeps up by appealing to children.
“Nintendo is a joke and shouldn’t be part of the market anymore!” While it is true that Nintendo should get out of the portable market (smartphones and the like are taking over), Nintendo has and will remain a strong contender if only because they have a lot of strong first party exclusives and appeal mostly to children. Look at it this way.
Sony doesn’t have a mascot, but it doesn’t matter because Microsoft doesn’t either and they consider themselves to be in direct competition with each other. Sony/Microsoft console gamers don’t like to talk about PC gamers because they know that’s an argument they can’t win, but they LOVE to talk about Nintendo gamers because they don’t consider them to be verifiable gamers anymore.
Back into the attic, old friend
ORLY? See, the problem with that statement is even if every Nintendo system from now until the end of time was meant only for children, it would still be competition because even though there are more adult gamers now than there have ever been, how do you propose new gamers actually occur? Casual games? Oh wait, I forgot; you hate those. MLG and git gud son and all that.
So how do you propose this happen? I hate to be like this, but you need to learn how to walk before you can run…and since neither Sony nor Microsoft really care about gearing their consoles toward children (at least nowadays), Nintendo will always have the “starter games.” Oh but whatever, once the little kiddos get tired of Mario, clearly they’ll move on to Call of Duty!
Well, not necessarily. And furthermore, once they become parents, guess what? Yep, it’s time to purchase another Nintendo console! “Oh, but not me! NOT ME! I’m going to find that one in a million game on an entirely different console and never purchase another Nintendo console ever again! AHHHHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!” Yeahhhhhhh, good luck with that.
And look, I’m not saying Sony/Microsoft will never again care about younger gamers, but it seems their primary focus is on adult gamers. At first glance, it makes sense. Children don’t have hundreds of dollars a year to spend on new consoles, games, accessories, and so on. However, parents do. And furthermore, Mario is geared toward ALL audiences, not just children.
Or in some cases not at all geared toward children
Don’t believe me? Try almost any Mario Kart beyond 100CC. Sure, it’s cutesy and cartoony, but it will FUCK YOU IN THE ASS if you’re not good at it already. Sure, it’s not fucking Dark Souls, but it’s deceptive in its approach. Almost any Mario game from Super Mario World onward had a progressively increasing difficulty AND a shitload of optional levels that are designed to test the very best.
Remember, children are our future. Unless you want this generation of gamers to be the last, you’ll understand that Nintendo will always have a place as long as they have an identity. I know a lot of people want them to stop making consoles and just make games for everything, but the likelihood of that actually happening is very low because, oh hey, they making serious fucking bank regardless of how “done” you think they are.