Nintendo recently had a press conference detailing their new console The Nintendo Switch and to say the conference was a debacle would be an understatement. My neck actually hurt from the shaking my head so much and I’m pretty sure I’m blind now from rolling my eyes so hard. The conference perfectly demonstrated how out of touch Nintendo is with the current video game landscape and, while I am not outright hoping for their demise because that would suck, I won’t be surprised when The Nintendo Switch turns into another WiiU. Take a trip with me as we take look at how Nintendo has killed my love for Nintendo.
When I was 5 years old, I was very fortunate to receive The Nintendo 64 with two games: Super Mario 64 and Mortal Kombat. My parents then took away Mortal Kombat since they had no idea games were rated. Not that I mind since I found it difficult and Super Mario 64 was more than enough for me. Two years later came The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which is still to this day one of my favourite games, but the real test came in 2001 when Nintendo announced the GameCube. You see, some of my friends had The Plasytation 2 and even though I enjoyed the games I played there, I could not turn my back on Nintendo. Why would I when Nintendo was responsible introducing me to video games in the first place. My loyalty paid off, because with the GameCube came Metroid Prime, a game that is not only my favourite game of all times but is also the prime reason why I love video games.
My life changed with Metroid Prime. This game showcased the wonder and beautiful immersion that no other medium can achieve, and it did so without uttering a single word. Metroid Prime is a masterpiece, it tells its story through gameplay and presents you a world where you as the player is invited to fill in the blanks. Without dialogue and relying on scraps of lore, Metroid Prime possess a lot of questions and I love how it ignited my imagination as searched for answers and meaning in the mysterious planet of Tallon IV. This game is made me want to tell stories and is one of the main reasons why I decided to become a writer. Furthermore, it influenced me to such a degree that the games I enjoy the most are the ones with minimal to zero dialogue, games that present an world with numerous questions and ambiguous answers, games like Limbo, Bloodborne, Hyper Light Drifter and Inside. Metroid Prime did this but if it wasn’t for Nintendo, this love and appreciation wouldn’t have existed.
Our first falling out came with Nintendo’s next console the Wii. I know the Wii was a commercially successful console, but it signalled a direction that I personally found to be detrimental. With the Wii Nintendo’s aim was to bring the whole family into the video game world, which is a fine and noble sentiment. However, the downside of this was a decline in game quality and I’m not just talking of visuals, I’m talking about story and gameplay itself. The Wii’s motion control were hailed as innovative when they were nothing more than a gimmick, a gimmick that Nintendo saw fit to shove into every game they made. This gimmick destroyed Metroid Prime 3, which I will never forgive, but more importantly was responsible for an unending wave of mindless, forgettable, boring and hollow collection of tech-demos. From a creative standpoint, most of the games on the Wii failed to spark the imagination and are the reason why I abandoned Nintendo in favour of Sony’s PS3.
The Wii made me resent Nintendo, but it did not kill my love because when the Nintendo’s next console the WiiU was announced I jumped right back into their abusive arms. The gimmick of the new console was the gamepad, a control with its on screen that resembled the gameplay experience of the Nintendo 3DS. A home console with better graphics and portable capabilities? I was all for that to the point where I pre-order the console instantly. It also didn’t hurt that Nintendo promised new Super Smash Bros. and Zelda games. Unfortunately for me, the WiiU turned out to be utter garbage. Instead of improving gameplay, the gamepad actively destroyed your experience by shoving odd mechanics that confused and added nothing to the game from story-perspective. It was just another gimmick. Look no further than Star Fox Zero to see just how much that gimmick backfired.
Even worse about the WiiU was the fact that essentially everyone abandoned it mere months after its release. All those 3rd-party publishers that said would support the WiiU turned their backs, because they knew that the console besides selling like shit offered nothing to gamers. The public wanted nothing to do with the console. Why settle for a poor-looking gimmicky hardware when you can buy an Xbox One or a PS4? To make matters worse, Nintendo itself also gave up on the console by releasing a new game every couple of months, and focusing on their next “big” thing. As a WiiU owner, I felt utterly cheated. Yes, the new Super Smash Bros. was fun but it also served as an example of Nintendo’s new direction.
For a long time, Nintendo had no DLC in its consoles and when it saw how poorly the WiiU was selling, it decided to introduce DLC into its games. With the new Super Smash Bros. Nintendo started offering new playable fighters at an insulting price, knowing full well that all of its user would pay up because who wouldn’t want to play as Ryu, Bayonetta or Cloud? Nintendo took advantage of us, happily feeding into our consumerist greed and nostalgic love. While most of us see the WiiU as a failure, I believe Nintendo sees it differently. The WiiU may not have sold as much as the Wii but with the WiiU Nintendo stumbled into a successful formula, a new way to dig into its customers wallets with selfless abandon. The WiiU if nothing else herald a Nintendo driven by greed and utter indifference towards its legacy. Even the few things the WiiU got objectively right, like Miiverse and Splatoon, are being corrupted to insulting degrees by Nintendo. How? Well with The Nintendo Switch, the Miiverse will be scrapped and Splatoon 2 will be held hostage under an online subscription that is absolutely ludicrous.
The Nintendo Switch is, for all intents and purposes, the WiiU 2 and I am so very disappointed. That press conference was full of tech demos showing the new “awesome” technology of The Nintendo Switch’s motion controls, as if people actually cared about that crap. Nintendo is now so focused on being “innovative” and draining your wallets, that they have failed to realize not only how far off the mark they’re going, but also how much damage they are causing. Gone is the Nintendo where their video games had innovative stories, gone is the Nintendo that was in-tune with its customers and actually gave them what they wanted. Gone is the Nintendo that nurtured our love for video games since we were children.
Nintendo’s failure is ever-growing and my love for them is dying a slow painful death. It sadden me, because Nintendo has the potential to be the absolute greatest video game company. If they actually cared about their customers and their legacy, they would halt the gimmicks of motion controls and focus on making actually good video games, which they are totally capable of doing sometimes (Splatoon!). But the grim truth is that Splatoon is an anomaly, a sample of a spark of genius fading swiftly. What’s more stupid is that even Nintendo’s reliance on nostalgia is being employed incorrectly. If they really wanted to milk the nostalgia off their customers, they would release a new Metroid Prime game and give us a greater catalogue selection for their Virtual Console. If Nintendo promised me, the entire catalogue of both the Nintendo 64 and GameCube I’d pre-order the Nintendo Switch immediately. But they won’t, because no matter how greedy Nintendo has become, their greed is fuelled by a total misunderstanding of its customers.
Suffice to say that I won’t be buying The Nintendo Switch. Nintendo may have introduced me to video games and it may be responsible for my love of video games, but their attitude for the past couple of years has burned me exponentially. The Wii’s motion control gimmick has, unfortunately, become a parasite infecting every consequent console. The WiiU was a let down and instead of really examining why the console failed, Nintendo is poised to repeat the same mistake with The Nintendo Switch. Their behaviour is unacceptable and detrimental to its customers. Take it from someone who happily bought the WiiU, Nintendo is excels at delivering empty promises so don’t let your nostalgia drive you to buy a console that will disappoint. Realize that Nintendo is not what it used to be. The current Nintendo is all about greed, not about making genuinely innovative games, and I for one want zero part in their bullshit.