Nintendo Undoes Four Years Of Alienation In A Single Hour

Nintendo's E3 was very strange. Watching the parade of titles on show for both new and existing hardware, you'd never have guessed this was the same company that for four years had almost undone twenty years of good work.

I mean that in a very selfish way, of course. With unprecedented sales of both the Nintendo DS and Wii, times have never been better for Nintendo as a company. But I don't need to beat around the bush when saying Nintendo's support for "traditional" gamers has fallen away significantly since the launch of Wii. Not if you're the kind of person who reads this site.

Ever since Nintendo first adopted its "Blue Ocean" strategy over five years ago, many long-time fans of the company have felt increasingly like they've been "left behind". As someone who nearly flunked out of university because of my GameCube collection, I am one of them. The more Nintendo focused on games like Wii Fit and Brain Training, the less they seemed to focus on games like F-Zero and Pikmin.

Which was great for Nintendo! They're a business, after all, not a service, and businesses are out to make money. If Nintendogs is where the money was, then so be it. But the longer this went on, the sadder I (and many of you) became. Sure, there was the odd game like Mario Galaxy or Punch Out!! to perk us up, remind us that there were still those inside Nintendo devoted to making games for the "old guard", but they were an exception, not a rule.

As 2006 rolled on to 2007, and 2007 to 2008, sadness gave way to frustration, and frustration occasionally to anger. Which, when you think about it, was stupid! As I said above, Nintendo was not a service. New games for you, and not your little sister or grandparents, are not a right, something to be demanded.

But it's hard letting go. Seeing a former loved one go in a new direction, one that doesn't include you or your tastes and interests. It's why real-life break-ups can be so hard, as your emotions and common sense often play tug-of-war, the reality of a situation utterly incompatible with the fantasy of what you want from a situation.

By 2010, then, even with the release of the excellent Mario Galaxy 2, many long-time Nintendo fans had simply... lapsed. They'd still buy and enjoy the odd Nintendo game, like MG2, but on the whole, the fervour was gone. The passion that had once led a generation of schoolchildren to bleed Nintendo Red in a war against Sega had been spent. Many people liked Nintendo, and respected them for their past achievements (and present dominance), but they no longer loved them.

What a difference an E3 makes.

Revealing the new 3DS handheld to the world's press last week, Nintendo did not show family games. Simple games. Games to be enjoyed by senior citizens and your mother. They showed a freaking Kid Icarus title. Pilotwings. Resident Evil. Mario Kart. Heck, they even had a tease for a possible Ocarina of Time remake. Throw in a new Zelda game for the Wii and Nintendo's E3 lineup reads like a fansite's wildest wishlist.

This was a shot aimed straight at your heart. "Hey, you know how we made all those games you had no interest in for the last four years? Yeah, sorry. Here's some stuff just for you". And for all but the most bitter cynic, it worked.

We lapped it up. Loved every second of it. There was a wave of joy and excitement washing over video game messageboards that hadn't been seen since the initial unveiling of the Revolution (which later became the Wii) back at the 2005 Tokyo Game Show. Somehow, within the space of an hour, Nintendo had undone over four years of alienation.

That, I think, was the most impressive achievement of Nintendo's E3 press conference. Not the hardware, not the games, but in the revelation that this company has managed to instil such powerful emotions in people that it can pull off a stunt like that and get away with it. If any other developer in the world had done what Nintendo has done since the launch of the Wii, their name would be mud. There'd be no coming back.

The fact Nintendo did, and did it so quickly, shows more than any sales numbers or metacritic ratings could ever hope to show that the Japanese developer holds a special place in many gamer's hearts, one that can take all the neglect in the world and not just survive, but be renewed at the flick of a switch. Which may sound crazy, but then, that's the reward (or "get out of jail free card") you get when you give the world Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, the NES, SNES, Game Boy and N64.


Comments

    This is just 4 yrs of stuff they held back. I will play them, but I will never think of Nintendo the same way I once did.

      I'm sure that will make nintendo loose a lot of sleep.

    Since this e3, Nintendo and I have got back together. The kids are very happy.

    Although..... if the next Animal Crossing game is just another rehash then I'm going to have my doubts.

    Here is the real question? is 4 years of aienation worth all the new releases mentioned in that one hour? cause 4 years is a long time.

    Still not enough to make me start caring. I mean the 3DS looks interesting but they hardly have me wanting to rush out and stock up on their products.

    So.... after these releases, another 4 years until a great lineup thats not shovel/fitness ware again?

    I would imagine that this all due to the fact that the 'casual gamer' well is starting to dry up for nintendo and its back to 'ol faithful to keep sales flowing in.

    What Nintendo announced at E3 does not make up for four years worth of nothing. My Wii has been gathering dust since the holidays of 2006/07. If I had have waited to buy a Wii now, i could have saved more than $100. I demand some compensation from Nintendo.

    Would you look at the time, ahem, yes of course my comment:

    Four more years!

    Carry on.

    I don't get it... They showed games that I could play on my N64 and this makes up for 4 years of crap? No. No no no no no NO. Bring me a 1080P, HDMI, High Definition, REAL console, produce some NEW - Like actually NEW games - then we will talk Nintendo, until then you are dead to me.

      Games are not about HD graphics. If you think they are, then you belong to Sony. Nice graphics make a good game better. But they don't MAKE the game.

        Of course you are right, but I don't know if you've tried playing a Wii on a 46" LCD. Everything looks like a giant pixel and I can't tell the difference between Mario and Bowser, I'm not asking for Crysis graphics I'm asking for current up to date graphics that look like they were produced sometime in the last 5 years.

          first of all, major respect for responding in a polite manner.
          Second, with that wording, yeah, I have to agree. Even playing Ocarina with a new texture pack, in HD (via an emulator) makes the game look infinitely better.
          Oh well, Wii still has 1 hardware remake up its sleeve (PS3 Slim, Xbox360 Nova). Maybe they'll make a WiiXL :P (though I very much doubt it)

    Almost everyone has at least one Wii. Even if they play other platforms more. Even if they bitch about shovelware and infinite identical applications of the WiiFit board. But we ALL know that it is worth it purely for the exclusives, if nothing else.

    Kinda like an X360 ;)

    I had to choose one console out of the current generation. I chose a wii. I've changed from a hardcore gamer to casual by force not choice. None of my friends are gamers. I can't afford a second console.
    Nintendo can't take that back. I'm raging inside because nintendo hasn't made any games for me to take out my aggression. I'm raging at nintendo.
    My next choice won't be such a bad one. No more nintendo. The glory days are over.
    Shame coz metroid is my fav IP ever and was the sole reason I purchased a gamecube as well. And now I have to miss out on that too...

      So let me make sure I got this right: you went with Nintendo when you bought a Wii this generation. Nintendo didn't give you what you wanted. Now Nintendo are going to give you want you want, but you're going to ignore them.

      Sour grapes much?

      I don't think you were much of a dedicated Nintendo fan in the first place if the ONLY reason you bought a Gamecube was to play Metroid Prime. And why do you have to miss out on Metroid: Other N? You HAVE a Wii. Don't deprive yourself just because you feel the need to sulk.

    Sure, over the past year I've hardly used my Wii at all, but Smash Bros Brawl, MarioKart, Naruto, No More Heroes 2 and others are STILL essential events whenever I see mates. Sure, we've been low on new titles, but I'll be damned if replayability on the above hasn't held me over. So they focussed on a new market for a while? Now they're roped in we might just get an entire new generation of Zelda and Goldeneye fans caring.

    I don't know about you guys but I spent the last 4 years playing some of the bext Nintendo games I've ever played.

    Zelda: Twilight Princess
    Super Mario Galaxy
    Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (and trilogy)
    Mario Kart Wii (casual edition, but still fun)
    Super Smash Bros. Brawl
    New Super Mario Bros.

    Not too mention less critically acclaimed titles like.
    Punch Out!!
    Super Paper Mario
    Mario Strikers Charged Football
    Warioware Smooth Moves

    Nintendo "good" games take time to develop, you should know this if your a Nintendo fan, delays are to be expected, and it always works out for the best. That said, I'm glad they've got more studios working on core titles.

      Yes those games are good. But there's only 1 of each, cept zelda, mario. Whereas in the same generation you can get 3 halo's, 3 gears of wars, 3 call of duty's, 2 forza's, gta + contentx2, fallout + content, new Resident evil 5 + content etc. the list goes on. bearing in mind twilight princess is actually a gamecube game and skyward sword isn't out till 2011. And why? as luke said in the article they're still focusing on the casual and thus the teams just cannot pump out a game as quick as the competition. For some gamer's this is fine but for other's especially older gamers like myself (24) i find myself wanting more, and sequels keep players engaged in existing IP's. For example, I'm a little tired of mario now, and whilst NSMB is a good game, it's not far different from what i've played over the years, i run, jump from left to right, done. And yes many of the above competitor's games are similar due to them being sequels, and least it's progressive gameplay, like i'm playing through a story or uncovering new elements along the way. Not just playing the same formula with different control input.

      Which brings me to my next opinion. Nintendo is casual focus no doubt about it with hints of hardcore popping up every 2 years or so. Microsoft & Sony are now entering the same market strategy, and whilst Microsoft is content with having family friendly games with kinect and leaving the core games to the core controller/experience, I'm unsure of what Sony is up to as they seem to want a piece of every part of the consumer pie. Either way time will tell, but at the end of the day i want games that interest me and i myself with a lot of others have lost interest in Nintendo (check the sales figures for core nintendo games), which is a shame as yes i have to leave behind a legacy of memories and emotions, such is life.

    Nintendo died for me the day the Playstation was finally released.

    I was dis-enfranchised with the way they kept us waiting for a disc based unit coupled with how long it took to finally release the N64, I have a SNES and it still gets a working out once in a while at a mates place.

    Despite buying a Wii for a family christmas present (with only multiplayer based games), I am still not convinced that they deserve any more of my money.

    I will however be purchasing a 3rd PS3 as soon as the 2100A's with 40nm RSX chips hit our shores.

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