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Is nintendo trapped by it's own Legacy?


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Showing 1-25 of 56 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 25, 2013 10:33:15 AM PST
We've been here before. The trickle of new releases has dried up. Release dates that seemed so near have been pushed to the distant future. Third-party developers are nowhere to be found. It's the ugly reality of Nintendo's consoles, and this worrying cycle is on display once more with the Wii U. And as is always the case, just when people have almost lost hope, a light shines down from Kyoto, illuminating the bleak tableau in a ray of blinding white promises. The characters and worlds that you love most, that you cut your teeth on in your formative years, are set to relieve your boredom once more. Franchise updates are on the way, but are more sequels enough to elicit excitement?

A television psychic could have proven his telepathic might by forecasting Nintendo's latest announcements. Coming soon to a Wii U near you are the latest iterations of franchises that anyone who has a mild interest in the industry saw coming a mile away. Nintendo's hallowed Tokyo studio tries its hand at another Mario platformer, Eiji Aonuma vows to "rethink the conventions of Zelda" in his latest attempt to top Ocarina of Time, Yoshi enters a world that looks strikingly like Kirby's Epic Yarn, and Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. add more fuel to the flames of friendly competition. Anyone playing Nintendo Bingo at home would have won with a clean sweep, though a couple of surprises caused a mild stir. Intelligent Systems is working on a mash-up of its own Fire Emblem series with Atlas' revered Shin Megami Tensei, and Monolith Soft looks to be taking on Monster Hunter in another expansive role-playing game.

There's no doubt that Nintendo has cheered up those who have been lamenting their purchase of the Wii U. News has been dire since the troubled launch. A bloated firmware update had eaten up a large chunk of the system's meager storage space, third parties have been announcing games for every system except for Nintendo's, and interesting offerings in the future have seemed depressingly far away. Nothing can brighten the day quite like another entry in a beloved franchise, and though we have no idea when those newly announced games will hit, Nintendo extended a bonus for those in need of coaxing. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, the most endearing of Link's many outings, is being reimagined in high definition this fall. All is right with the world.

How quickly we forgive Nintendo for their mistakes. They have pulled this same maneuver in the past, and it's tiring to suffer through lengthy neglect followed by effusive apologizing to make us forget about how they wronged us. For the last two decades, Nintendo has ventured forth alone. Third-party developers have flocked toward Sony and Microsoft, forcing Nintendo to pick up the slack. And they've yet to solve the constant dilemma that has infected every one of their consoles. They simply cannot create enough games to fill an entire calendar year, which leads to aching dry spells while we wait for the next release. Promises followed by promises followed by promises. To appease us a decade ago, those who preordered Wind Waker received a bonus disc containing both the original and Master Quest version of Ocarina of Time. Now, while we wait for Zelda Wii U, we're given a remake of Wind Waker. The circle is complete. When will we learn our lesson? And, more importantly, when will Nintendo?

Nintendo has a knack for catering to its excitable fan base. It has earned that trust through years of churning out top-notch games, so it's no surprise that people are willing to forgive Nintendo for every misstep the company takes. But Nintendo is so infatuated with its history that it seems reluctant to pull away from it, even slightly. They are being smothered by their own legacy, forced to endlessly resurrect elderly franchises to appease the unquenchable desire for the same-old experiences. A ripple tore through the industry when Nintendo announced a slew of new franchise installments. But how much longer can Nintendo rely solely on the same tried-and-true characters to push its products? At some point, Nintendo has to step boldly into the future, without the rope of frayed memories holding it back.

Nintendo has earned goodwill by periodically reinventing its most enduring properties. Mario has been as malleable as he is portly, pushing the bounds of platforming in every 3D adventure he undertakes. Kirby and Donkey Kong are just as flexible. The pink puff can be found in a delightful world constructed of yarn or floating in a dangerous land as you use the stylus to guide him to safety, while his simian pal might fancy the rhythmic tapping of a plastic bongo drum. It's these forays into previously unexplored realms that keep aging Nintendo franchises feeling fresh despite their years of digital work, but they are rare exceptions to the rule.

It's hard to get excited about the newest round of Nintendo announcements, because it feels as though we've been in this exact place before. What can be done with Mario Kart that we haven't seen before? Why should we trust Aonuma's claim that he's going to reinvent Zelda when he has failed to do so in every attempt thus far? Does a new Smash Bros. have much appeal beyond the requisite roster update? Chances are that every one of these games will exhibit the high quality that Nintendo is known for, but that doesn't change the feeling of sameness that suffocates this upcoming lineup.

Excitement is a difficult property to bottle. Nintendo has briefly conjured interest in the Wii U after it had been collecting dust in the months since release, but it has done so by courting the very people who have already made up their minds about the system. The company's reluctance to break new ground has made it appear like a tired relic desperately grasping old ideas, and that identity is only going to be harder to shake the longer Nintendo embraces it. Nintendo has the talent and expertise to forge a glorious future. It just has to trust that it can fly without the safety net of nostalgia underneath it.

By Tom Mc Shea, Editor

Posted on Jan 25, 2013 10:35:11 AM PST
Oh boy, I worry about the future of journalism in the VG industry.

Posted on Jan 25, 2013 10:39:42 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 25, 2013 10:50:32 AM PST
Lucanus says:
I figure the answer is obvious. Some like Nintendo and some don't. I don't get why the non Nintendo fans care. Just move along. It reminds me of how Windows lovers constantly post negative Apple articles. A company can be niche and still highly successful. Nintendo not being your cup of tea, actually isn't a big deal. If Nintendo were to cater more towards the 360/ps3 crowd, Nintendo loyalist would be furious. So really, Nintendo can't make everybody happy. I personally can't wait to finally see Nintendo games in HD. Also the part about Zelda not being re-invented for years.... I would easily argue Skyward is nothing like previous titles. The entire setup was different as was the battle system. :)

For me I just don't get the logic. If company A doesn't cater to my needs, I don't whine and cry about it. I simply don't buy their product and let customers in which company A does cater too enjoy. I don't routinely complain Victoria's Secret doesn't carry anything that fits me properly. Those who don't like Nintendo, buy MS/Sony and stop crying.

Posted on Jan 25, 2013 10:44:41 AM PST
Home Fried says:
Yeah, it's nice that Nintendo refuses to copy its competitors and just do their own thing. Sometimes it pays off big time like when the NES launched, and sometimes it doesn't.

Posted on Jan 25, 2013 10:50:29 AM PST
"There's no doubt that Nintendo has cheered up those who have been lamenting their purchase of the Wii U."

For real? It's been THREE MONTHS!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 11:28:12 AM PST
Seriously. You know gamers though...if it doesn't have 600 games to choose from the week after release, that's grounds for selling it outright.

Posted on Jan 25, 2013 11:29:45 AM PST
Closer to two months.

Posted on Jan 25, 2013 11:36:40 AM PST
Can I guess the plot for the Wii U version of Zelda?

I'm guessing it has something to do with an elvish boy in a green cap saving a young princess from an evil man that has a secondary demon/pig form. Am I close?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 11:46:16 AM PST
Close! But not all Zeldas have Ganon as the antagonist. In fact, most don't.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 11:47:51 AM PST
This 100X. Great post Wiistation.

Posted on Jan 25, 2013 11:48:31 AM PST
saskamazon says:
people expect too much when any new system launches ... if you decide to be an early adopter, you must know that an extensive software library won't be immediately available ... I'm not sure why with each launch, people seem to forget that .... I just am 1 week with the U, & have barely scratched the surface of the few games I do have, or having a good grip on the features the system provides ... & by the sounds of what's on the U horizon, I will have more than enough to keep me interested - Rayman Legends next month, Lego City in March ... our 7 30 cent VC games ... possibly my expectations are more realistic than folks who expect something to launch & 2 months later have 100s of available titles ... who really has the resources to get all of them anyway, even if that is the case .... between the next couple of game purchases, & my external HDD for the U, I will be spending enough on it .... Yarn Yoshi has me pretty intrigued.

Posted on Jan 25, 2013 11:51:41 AM PST
Aku says:
I am amused at how much they downplay that SMT/Fire Emblem announcement, something that probably blew away the fans of both franchises. Also, let's just quietly ignore the sudden surge of 3DS games peppering the calendar throughout the year, first and third party, because support for that system shoots down the pessimistic vibe this guy's aiming for.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 11:53:42 AM PST
Lucanus says:
Thanks Krunch. Enjoy your weekend. :)

Posted on Jan 25, 2013 11:58:26 AM PST
After watching the trailer for Xenoblade 2, I could really care less what else is done by Nintendo now. I am sold and it only took that one game, lol. Maybe I will get a Wii U for my birthday in August.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 12:14:26 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 25, 2013 12:39:24 PM PST
3DS had the same "drought" as did almost every other console in recent memory and now it has a great selection of software and a steady stream of AAA titles for the next 12 months. This is how video game cycles work and have worked for the last 25 years. Look at how barren the original NES first year was and that console library is still extremely relevant today...it takes time to build a software library.

Posted on Jan 25, 2013 12:19:50 PM PST
In the end, babiez will save Ninty. They always do.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 12:41:06 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 25, 2013 12:41:41 PM PST
HorizonBrave says:
We don't continually profess our obsessive love for a hardware company either, so both sides can have an argument.
But you just don't stop fapping to Nintendo the whole day, so you're invalid to give advice.

Posted on Jan 25, 2013 12:41:39 PM PST
Here's the thing. I mock the original Wii with a savage glii. It's an easy target because of its craptastic motion controls and ugly graphics. However, when it comes to delivering awesome titles, I have to admit that they had their share of great games that were completely exclusive:

Skyward Sword
Xenoblade Chronicles
Madworld
Muramasa
Little King's Story
Last Story
Pandora's Tower
SMG 1&2
Fragile Dreams
Silent Hill: Shattered
Zak and Wiki
Monster Hunter Tri
Trauma Center
Resident Evil Umbrella/Darkside Chronicles
Dead Space: Extraction
No More Heroes 1 & 2
Red Steel 2 (1 sucked, sorry)
Metroid Prime: Corruption and uhhh...Other M

All these games I mentioned are great titles that are worth owning the system to play. Even on a system known for not releasing games, Nintendo provided a decent amount of unique, fun experiences.

So I'm guessing Wii U will give us a similar experience, and I'm totally ok with that.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 12:42:36 PM PST
Is continually bashing a hardware company somehow more highbrow than professing your love for it?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 12:44:08 PM PST
HorizonBrave says:
I bash the sheep, not the games.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 12:45:08 PM PST
By the sheep do you mean the company? Because you have a lot of fun with Nintendo itself as well.

Well whatever, you are ever so noble.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 12:47:10 PM PST
HorizonBrave says:
Quote one post of mine where I say something bad about a Nintendo game, just one. I don't need to prove you anything.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 12:47:53 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 25, 2013 12:49:27 PM PST
Lucanus says:
Well stated, that is my view point as well. I certainly would not only own a Nintendo console, given the competition overall has a stronger lineup, however I never regretted owning a Nintendo console. Good post. Those games are exactly why my Wii has a great spot on the shelf next to my 360 and ps3. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 12:50:13 PM PST
I didn't say you said anything bad about the games, specifically I said "the company", because you go into (or create) threads and make fun of Nintendo all the time. Which, by the way is perfectly fine, just don't expect everyone to be cheerful about it.

Posted on Jan 25, 2013 12:58:38 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 25, 2013 12:58:58 PM PST
New console launches, followed by doom & gloom for 6 months, new game releases and/or price drop comes, sales pick up, doom & gloom evaporates.

Same shtick every single time.
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Discussion in:  Video Games forum
Participants:  23
Total posts:  56
Initial post:  Jan 25, 2013
Latest post:  Jan 25, 2013

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