Thursday, June 23, 2011

thoughts on Nintendo... from a core gamer perspective

Well, today there won't be any pretty gadget pics or snaps.  This last week, I just sold my Nintendo 3DS and realized that at the moment I have ZERO interest in the Wii U.  Thus this post, my current thoughts on Nintendo from a core gamer viewpoint.

I'm a core gamer. Actually, now that I think of it, I'm a super core gamer and have been gaming since around 1984 and my first run in with an Atari and Air Sea Battle and Pacman.  I owned an Atari, Atari 2600, Master System (traded w/my cousin for his NES for a summer), Super NES (pal had a Genesis), PSone (best friend had a N64 on launch), PS2 and XBOX (never owned, but modded roommates) and now this gen: PS3, XBOX 360 Slim and of course the Wii.  My portables included: original Gameboy, DS Lite, PSP, 3DS.

So I think I have the background to be considered a super core gamer. I've seen the collapse in the 80s and the glory days that is this generation (the gen that gaming went mainstream).

Back in 2006, I was pretty excited about the Wii and what it could bring to the table.  I waited in line at Target on the launch day and picked one up and loved Wii Sports.  That weekend was Thanksgiving so I in turn brought it with to the parents place (since Nintendo was using a blue ocean marketing strategy and my parents and sis would be a great test).  My dad was instantly in love with it. He played Wii Bowling for probably about 12 hours on that Saturday.  My Wii log for that weekend was crazy.  My parents actually ended up buying a Wii the next weekend and still play it nearly daily to this day.  My dad still kicks my a$$ in bowling.

I personally loved my Wii the first 3 months of owning it.  It was fun and there seemed to be a ton of potential in the control scheme.  Around November of the same year, I upgraded and entered the realm of HDTV with my first 750p/1080i capable set.

After a few months of Wii Sports and Zelda (Super Mario Galaxy wasn't slated until Late 2007), the quality of games released dropped.  Most games were party games or just flailing of the Wiimote.  For a core gamer, there wasn't much there.  Another point about the Wii that most don't realize is that the cost of the system for a full setup is NOT cheap.  Let's see: 1 x Wii console w/Wii mote = $250, 3 x Wii motes = $120 ($40 ea), 4 x  nunchucks ($20 ea) = $80; total cost: $450.

At this point in the Wii cycle, I don't know of a single title that has my interest except this one multiplayer RPG: Dokapon Kingdom.  My Wii has become my homebrew station more than anything. It is a used and broken Wii from eBay that's been softmodded to play my old school NES, SNES, N64, Genesis roms.  Nintendo, why do you hold back your retro library? Mario from every single system should have been on the 3DS Shop on day 1.  If you put them there, we will buy them and why don't you??? Its YOUR IP!!!! and my phoen runs all of them just fine so don't say its too technical.  Argg!

The 3DS launch was reminscent of the PS3's launch. LACK OF GAMES.  Nintendo at E3 2010 promised a MUCH larger library of release titles.  Actually, they used the term 'launch window' more than launch date to justify the lack of titles on release day.  Again, I thought Nintendo would come through to us core gamers and deliver the Virtual Console goods atleast.  So I pre-ordered and actually was the first one at Best Buy in Richfield, MN to get a 3DS. I just didn't have to wait in line (in a way, I got screwed because I got NOTHING for schwag that night but was the only pre-order).

However its now June 2011 and my 3DS has long been sold on eBay for a lost.  Why? Lack of games.  I don't care about Zelda.  Actually I'm really getting sick of Mario too.  I've been playing as Mario now for over 20 years and I think its time to move on.  How about some new IP? Some risks? Taking a loss on your hardware?  Nintendo has become too close minded in the audience and method of delivery.  Where is their online infrastructure? Look how long it took Sony to establish the PSN. Nearly 3 years.  Do you think Nintendo will just NAIL online? I won't even go into detail on the friend code fiasco and the lack of any online abilities.

Anywho, so NO.  I am not excited at all about the Wii U.  Why? Because I know that it will either be:

1. A system that you invest heavily in and end up finding out that most of the its features turn into gimmicks.

2. There is no entertainment purpose behinds this console beyond streaming.  A PS3 or XBOX 360 is most likely superior in what Multimedia options the Wii U could offer.  Bluray, doubtful. Proprietery, most likely. Voice commands, doubtful.

3. Ports. Ports. Ports. Developers know who purchases games: the core gamer.  I spend WAY too much each year on games (PS3 and 360).  With most Nintendo hardware, there is no killer 3rd party game.  Most 3rd party devs know that you have to compete w/Nintendo's own first party games (which is nearly impossible).   Remember the PSP? I imagine the same.

4. Bad Timing. Wii owners won't buy a Wii HD just because they own a Wii.  PS3 owners aren't going to want to start over too and same for 360 owners, especially if games are ports that are dev mainly for the PS3/360.

5. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, dang it! I owned a Wii and a 3DS recently, enough said.

We all know Nintendo is the Apple of gaming and the Wii U will be a success. I personally won't be waiting for this console or pre-ordering.  I will check it out though.  Also, what do the controllers look like for the 2nd player? Wii mote? Better be more a REAL controller.

I just wish Nintendo would try something original for a change (in regards to software titles).  Yes, we know Mario but what about something a bit new? Why not challenge yourself?

Your thoughts?