With the release of the New Nintendo 3DS model, Nintendo seems to be ever more interested in taking a big chance, and by taking a big chance, I mean doing something completely pointless that didn’t need to be done in the first place. I already outlined a few problems with the N3DS, but in this article, I intend to outline a few other problems with Nintendo itself.
Nintendo may still be a gaming giant in its own right, but it’s not as culturally relevant as it used to be, what with Sony and Microsoft firmly in competition with Nintendo, and with better quality consoles. I’ll fully admit that the Wii U has done far better recently, to the point that it has become more of a respective console than its predecessor could hope to achieve, but I feel there’s still some room for Nintendo to improve.
First, I think Nintendo is a company that’s stuck in the 1990’s. While family-friendly entertainment makes Nintendo stand out in an industry now dominated by gritty, realistic violence, but I think Nintendo has relied too heavily on a family-friendly image. I know that from a business point of view, parents being able to trust your brand is a good thing, but Nintendo has been doing that way too much this past decade, and is still too scared to appeal to an older crowd as competently as its competitors can.
Nintendo is also still under the illusion that their biggest franchises of the 80’s and 90’s can survive just on nostalgia value. Mario, Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda definitely survive on this, but at least they have vast libraries of games to back it up, and at least they all have good reasons to keep going. Their other franchises, however, haven’t received any real support from Nintendo since the 2000’s. Metroid has been stalling since the notorious failure known as Metroid: Other M came out in 2010, Star Fox has yet to have a new game in its franchise after an eight-year hiatus, and F-Zero hasn’t had any game in the franchise since 2004. If all these old franchises are somehow important to Nintendo, then they should be making games for them, rather than relying solely on established cash-grabbing franchises like Mario.
I think it’s a good thing that Nintendo isn’t forgetting its roots, but there’s one thing that I think might be sceptical about – the Amiibo figures. To me, this is an obvious attempt to break into the Skylanders toy market, which is based only around getting kids to beg their parents to shell out cash for pointless collectibles. Does anyone remember when Nintendo games didn’t need them? So far, we’ve only seem them be used in the Super Smash Bros. games, but it’s implied that they can be used in some other games. If Nintendo made the Amiibo figures in order to make the money necessary to support their classic video game franchises, then I think this might be a justified move, but it still comes across to me as a money-grubbing initiative. I think Nintendo should remember that it’s about the games, and not the peripherals.
Next, I think should talk about the consoles. I already talked about the New Nintendo 3DS, and while I think it’s something of an improvement, I feel that it should have been its own standalone system. I might, however, have an idea for what Nintendo’s next handheld console should be. I noticed that the Wii U’s Game Pad looks like it could either be a tablet or a standalone handheld console. So I thought, why not make the next handheld console that way? It would be far less gimmicky than the New 3DS’ design, and given the trigger buttons and analog sticks, it would allow Nintendo’s handheld consoles to finally make the jump to handheld consoles that actually come close to the same quality as home consoles.
Finally, as for the next home console, I think Nintendo should try emulating the success of the SNES. No more gimmicks, and no more weird controller designs. What I think Nintendo should make for their next console is a straight-forward, high quality games console that will allow Nintendo to outgun its competitors and cement Nintendo as the reputable brand name it used to be, and Nintendo has hinted that they might be doing exactly that. Whatever Nintendo is doing for their next console, I think they should definitely ditch the Wii brand, given the association with less-successful consoles.
I still have plenty of faith in Nintendo, but there’s a lot of things that need to happen before they can stand mightily against its competitors. One thing I can say for sure is that we’re all getting very tired of the culture of “AAA games” that are essentially Hollywood films with occasional viewer interaction. At some point, people are going to trust Nintendo again, and it’s only a matter of time before Nintendo proves its worth in an increasingly shallow industry.