Every time I write something about Nintendo, I always find myself using words like ‘innovative’ and ‘groundbreaking’. Mostly because I have a very selective vocabulary, but there is some truth to it as well. Nintendo is very much the old boy in the current console generation making an appearance in every console generation since the third generation in 1983. By comparison, Sony have only been around since the 5th while Microsoft’s Xbox is the baby of the current big sellers, first appearing in the 6th generation in 2001.
You could say that Nintendo have been there and have done that, they have seen it all and a number of other similar clichés. Over the years Nintendo have been pioneers in the industry, and while not everything they have done has been a success, I’m looking at you virtual boy, there are still a lot of eyes on them, expecting them to strike gold again and again. The question I pose to you though is do we expect too much of them?
I read an interview recently with Reggie Fils-Aime, president of the U.S. branch of Nintendo shortly after his press conference at E3. During the interview he said a few things that got me thinking. He made a lot of comments giving some insight into his view of the current Nintendo consumer as well as what he saw as the popular attitude of the gaming community at large. And if I’m honest, I found myself agreeing with a lot of what he said.
In the brief interview he talked about how, for the past few years, fans have been asking ‘Where’s Pimkin?’ every time Nintendo appear somewhere, and it’s true, I’ve been looking forward to it for years now. And when Nintendo finally did announce Pikmin, the community brush it off like they had lost interest and asked for more. He went on to say that people has said ‘Damnit Reggie, when you launch, you better launch with a Mario game’, they go and do exactly that, and people ask, ‘okay, what else?’
Reggie seemed more than a bit exasperated with the gaming community at large in this interview, and to be honest I can’t really blame him. Gamers can be right assholes when we want to be.
People today aren’t ever content with what they have, they have so much information bombarding them all of the time, and it frustrates them when they can’t have things their own way and all at once. I know I’m guilty of the same thing. A lot of the time I won’t be bothered to watch an episode of a television series once a week, so I’ll wait to buy the box set and watch it all at once, or the nights where I go on sites like Reddit and I’ll just lose hours of my life.
It seems that people want everything from Nintendo all at once in the same. In their ideal world, at E3 Nintendo will announce a new Mario, Metorid, Legend of Zelda and a new Kirby game on both their console and their handheld, they’ll announce news on a new console of peripheral. They’ll announce a long list of new third party support titles as well as the return of some almost forgotten or cult favourites from yesteryear. They would have this, and they would probably still find something to complain about.
There is a culture of entitlement amongst the gaming community that is both a blessing and a curse in the industry in my opinion. Developers and executives alike will strain and try to do something that will keep all of their fans happy, in some naive attempt to finally content them, but because they never will they continue to strive for perfection they’ll probably ever attain as long as someone is posting their ‘opinion’ on some forum.
On the other hand though, this really gives us the opportunity to see an ugly side of the fanbase, they’ll badger to have their particular little niggle satisfied, and will go on and on about their little pet peeve to anyone who will listen. And, if by some piece of luck or from someone actually making the change based on the comment, in all likelihood, they’ll come back with their second biggest peeve.
Reggie and the interviewer go on to debate the reputation Nintendo has for ‘genius’ and the ability to create phenomena in their games and products. And people were disappointed with E3 this year because there weren’t any games on show that fit that criteria for them. Reggie went on to say that who can decide at this early stage which of their games is or isn’t a phenomena? WiiFit was received incredibly poorly when that was displayed at E3 and yet it went on to 43 million copies. It’s not until we have hindsight that we can see if these games were big hits or not.
While it seemed that there was an obvious edge to his answers in the interview, I think it’s true that people are too quick to criticise Nintendo and the video games industry in general. It’s impossible to really tell what will hit off and what will sink this far before any of the games have come out. If people knew how to predict that, then these companies would have a lot more money than they already do.
The point is, while there is so much negativity surrounding the Nintendo press event at E3 this year, nobody actually knows how good or bad these games are going to be until we actually play them. Maybe we really do need to give them the time to do, what it is that they do and see what comes out the other end before we really start criticising them.
If you have an opinion on this topic, please feel free to make a comment.
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