The NE Forums War Room #3: How We Think of Nintendo

The Nintendo Enthusiast Forums are filled with great people who make great posts and start great discussions. In this space, we give those great discussions a chance to shine – and invite the readers to come and join the forum community.

Often in the Nintendo Enthusiast forums, a forum member will get antsy and think in depth about themselves, and why it is that they can find themselves on an online message forum talking about the videogames that a specific videogame company makes. Such was the case with Mr-Chris, who started a thread titled \”How I Think of Nintendo\”.

This thread was destined to be a hit right from the opening post, and indeed drew many insightful thoughts from many members of the community. Here is the opening post of his thread, followed by some of the highlights of the discussion that came out of that topic.

Couldn\’t think of a better title, so maybe my writing will do it’s job lol

Anyway, I remember saying something similar before but…..something about Nintendo just seems good. And by good, I mean like that their games and consoles are made by good people. And by good people I mean that it feels like they passionately make games and enjoy doing it. I feel like with Microsoft, for example, are like this generic gaming company (Their gaming parts anyway) that make not-so-charmful games and they produce their games in a factory line. It’s like I can feel Nintendo stuff is made by humans but the Xbox to me feels like it was made by robots or something. With Nintendo however I get the feeling their games come from a wonderful land full of wonder and creativity; a place called \’funland\’ or something. I get this feeling from what Nintendo does.

Their games are full of charm and cheerfulness and even some of their \’darker\’ titles like Metroid provide their OWN type of charm, a type of atmosphere \’felt\’ in the Metroid series for example. Nintendo consoles usually have cool sound effects, like with the Wii U you get music for the shop, a nice ambient menu tune, etc. There’s a lot of this stuff. I\’m finding it hard to explain but it’s the smaller as well as bigger things Nintendo does that makes me like them the most. When I picture an Xbox, I think of a robot saying \”Hi this is a gaming machine, use it to have enjoyment on video games\” but when I think of any Nintendo console, I think of a cute but cool cartoon character who says \”Hey there gamer! This is our games console, you can have a lotta fun with this thing! Hope ya have fun!\”. It may come down to character, but Nintendo just aren\’t as cardboardy as Microsoft. In my opinion, Sony would be somewhere in between my two perceptions. Though thinking now this might have to do with Eastern vs Western markets. Meh.

I get this feeling about the Xbox on how THAT is. Doesn\’t do much of what the Wii U does, music and stuff. It doesn\’t have much character to be honest, Avatar’s are cool though. I mean, when you boot up your 360, you see tiles, adverts, movies, games, etc. When you boot up your Wii U, you see a million Mii’s run on screen under different games and they start saying random stuff (Miiverse ftw). Plus how Nintendo present themselves in conferences and Nintendo Directs. Iwata holding bananas, Reggie mentioning how his body is always ready, usually talking about the consumer (I think). When watching Microsoft’s E3’s it feels very Billion Dollar buisnessy, suits and all that. Yes Nintendo wear suits too, but sometimes with a Luigi hat or something. And I mean this is a literal and metaphorical way. (I swear Iwata wore one in a ND though lol). Of course, everything I said doesn\’t ALWAYS apply.

Anyway point is, Nintendo are just \’friendlier\’ I suppose. I obviously love my Xbox 360 a lot, great console. But to me, it’s very robotic, whereas Nintendo consoles feel more like a human. Yes yes yes, Nintendo makes mistakes and could easily improve on a lot of their stuff. But then again, all humans make mistakes………and sometimes robots do as well.

I just improvised all of that, so sorry if it doesn\’t make sense or anything lol.

To provoke further conversation, how to YOU think of Nintendo and/or other companies?

-Mr-Chris

For me, I correlate Nintendo to Disney. Disney was a company I grew up with, but the company also grew up with me. There were cartoons and movies I loved as a child, and for the nostalgia, I still love them. But Disney also offers experiences for adults (i.e. Marvel). Disney also manages to create products that are perfect for everyone.

To me, Nintendo does the same thing. There are games I grew up on. Games that I love to this day. Now that I\’m an adult, there are games that appeal to me more than others, and some games that I never could have played as a child. But still, there are games to enjoy no matter your age.

Nintendo is about character, heart, emotion, being unique. But above all, Nintendo is about fun. I play Nintendo games as a break from the grind of daily life. Whether it is a romp through Luigi’s Mansion, or galloping across Hyrule Field, or exploring the hidden recesses of distant planets in morphball form, I have fun. At the end of the day, I think that is the Nintendo difference.

-sjmartin79

\"Power

Love this thread. Yeah, it’s how I feel too and it has everything to do with the way Nintendo conducts themselves. I can\’t help but feeling like men in suits are the heart of the competition while gamers at heart run Nintendo.

And quite frankly, it’s true. Unlike the competition, Nintendo was somewhat constructed by game developers and is now run by game developers. Nintendo’s CEO used to develop first party titles for Nintendo and Nintendo’s platforms are largely designed based on the inspirations and ideas of it’s in-house developers. For me, as an aspiring software developer (not just for games) it’s hard not to admire a company who stays true to the creativity of the hobby. The company just operates in such an entertaining manner. From hardware to software, you never know what you\’re going to get. Every time Nintendo is about to launch a new console it’s like a huge event. Suddenly, everyone becomes a detective while others prefer not to even try, because just when they think they have an idea of what Nintendo’s going to come out it with, their mind ends up getting blown. Without Nintendo, nobody would question the negative connotation of the word gimmick, because Nintendo’s gimmicks always seem to work in harmony with their games.

Nintendo Directs, Nintendo World Store, the public demeanor of the execs, hell even Nintendo’s customer service is pretty awesome. Nintendo doesn\’t even give two f***s about investors (to an extent obviously). They work on their own terms and usually end up making amazing recoveries worthy of cheer.

They really are a company of kicking ass, taking names, and playing games.

-Jacesonnall (a.k.a. Omar T.)

It’s like when you read Motor Trend review a car and they say it has soul, that you can tell it was engineered by people who gave a damn. There’s no quantifiable measure of this sort of X factor, but it’s there. Some things feel imbued with a certain something.

With Nintendo, it’s charm. It’s the way Mario is animated, the goofy look on Link’s face when he opens a treasure chest. It’s not that this sort of thing doesn\’t exist in other games (Capcom has imbued Monster Hunter with its own brand of magic, Rockstar knows how to make an open-world that could only be made by them), but it’s why when you play a Nintendo game, you know it’s a Nintendo game.

-Mike D.

I think you nailed it when you said it’s East vs. West with Nintendo and Microsoft, respectively, because that’s ultimately what it is. Microsoft operates in a very western frame of mind, whereas Nintendo sticks to it’s eastern roots. It’s quite a contrast between the two, and I think it is why you have people out there who question a lot of what Nintendo has done in recent years. I suspect many of them want Nintendo to become more of a Western corporation than what they already are. Sony is the odd duck considering they are practically stuck between the two, but I think part of that western thinking is why they had posted over a billion dollar loss. Simply, they stretched themselves out too thin, and they need to hunker down to get back to basics. Nintendo has been doing this for three decades by becoming only a Gaming company that designed hardware to play their software. It’s a very closed system, but it has kept them going for years, and will do so for years to come.

Now some will quickly point out that they posted a loss in 2011, and are projected to get one for FY 2013 also, but it’s not as though Nintendo doesn\’t take risks. The Wii was a huge risk, and so was the DS and 3DS, and now the Wii U is Nintendo’s current risk. The Wii U is of course not a perfect system, but neither are any other platform out there past and present. The thing is if I spend most of my time complaining about what Nintendo should do or should not do, that only takes time away from actually playing a game and enjoying it. So despite some drawbacks, I try and focus more on the positives, although I fail to do so a lot of the time.

As I\’ve said many times before, it’s the games that keep myself and many others attached to Nintendo.

-imthesoldier

Most of the time I\’d say Nintendo games feel like the developers had a lot of fun making the game and felt creatively inspired by the ideas and innovations they were allowed to come up with for the game.

The only time I\’d say a Nintendo game feels sort of like the Call of Duty series is with the New Super Mario Bros series. I feel like that team is told that they have to make another NSMB game in a short amount of time, and they do a great job in the execution of the level design. They\’re already masters of level design, so they can use similar assets and gameplay to whip up another fun sidescrolling Mario game. However, it doesn\’t feel like the devs would have had a lot of enjoyment making the game. They aren\’t given much leeway in changing the formula with innovations. They just have to churn them out really quickly. I guess you can say there are a few Nintendo franchises that feel that way – like the developers are skilled, but they\’re just doing their jobs and collecting a paycheck at the end of the month. Possibly Mario Kart and Pokemon. Although Mario Kart 8 and Pokemon X/Y seem like they were given some new life.

-Menashe

\"Miyamoto

I would call that the Nintendo Magic.

And IMO Nintendo lost a bit of that magic with the Wii.

Before the Wii Nintendo consoles were ONLY for gamers.

So you knew everything was made for gamers and Nintendo REALLY understood what gamers wanted.

Of course there was the Playstation era and Nintendo failed to propose adult content as much as Sony did ; but in the end Nintendo games were Nintendo games ; and Nintendo consoles were Nintendo consoles.

But since the Wii, it’s not the same…

Going after the Casual market has been a blessing for Nintendo finances, but a disaster in PR with the gamers.

For years Nintendo – under Miyamoto’s impulsion – refused to make a difference between gamers and casuals.

Which led to some games as Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros – to a lesser extent – Brawl, being made for a wider audience.

That was brilliant move from a finance prospective, but gamers lost something in the process : exclusivity.

Before the Wii, Nintendo was ONLY addressing us, the gamers.

But since the Wii, they also address the casuals.

The results was that horrendous Wii Music E3 where Nintendo did not understand why gamers were pissed of.

Nintendo lost MANY gamers to the PS360, gamers that did not come back for Wii U…

I think this is why the Wii U is struggling so much.

Instead of being a console thought for gamers ONLY ; it’s a console that was thought for gamers and casuals at the same time.

But now the Casuals left the party for Android and IOS devices, and Nintendo is left with a console that wasn\’t designed for gamers entirely in the first place.

Now Nintendo has realised that gamers needed to be the center of the attention.

But maybe, it’s too little too late, to save the Wii U.

Anyway, that’s my view of things.

-Ex-Actarus

Not to be rude but they\’ve always had those casual titles. They were never purely dedicated to one audience. It’s just that, with the Wii and DS, Nintendo made more casual games. We still got our Marios, Zeldas, Metroids, Fire Emblems, Sin and Punishments, Punch Outs, etc. However, I can agree with the rest…except that I don\’t see how Nintendo is making any less core titles on the Wii-U than they did with say the N64 or the GameCube or the Wii.

-Superfakerbros

I don\’t think Nintendo has really lost any market or fanbase. PlayStation systems have always just done better than Nintendo systems.

Mario Kart has always been Mario Kart and Smash has always been Smash.

If any gamer jumped ship because Nintendo got popular, they were never fans in the first place (probably just as hard to call them core gamers as well).

I think Nintendo’s main problem right now is branding. The Wii wasn\’t such a well received system because of some change in game design, Nintendo just took everyone by storm with iconic advertising. They had a way better corporate image than they have now. There’s not a single person who doesn\’t remember the Wii would like to play commercials. And quite frankly, motion control gaming was a really interesting idea. There’s nothing Sony and Microsoft really had over Nintendo other than a great relationship with third parties. Other than that, their IPs have been mostly second rate when compared to Nintendo’s and that’s why Nintendo is even relevant these days.

I think the Wii U was supposed to finally rebuild the bridge between Nintendo and third parties, but unfortunately, Nintendo underestimated this generation and wasn\’t even prepared to support the system themselves for an entire year simply because they didn\’t realize how tough modern development was. Within a few days, all that corporate fire was gone and Nintendo knew they were in deep sh*t. Meanwhile, all the third parties were packed and ready to go, but Nintendo was still tying it’s shoe. This is just my opinion, but I think Wii U was screwed from the get-go. I\’ve no idea how a development team who had no past experience with HD and a modern online environment could have known how powerful their hardware should have been for next-gen. Moreover, it seems it was never Nintendo’s intention to have third parties running the show based on their lack of advertisements. I think what Nintendo wanted was for them to lead the pack with third parties trailing behind. But alas, Nintendo was still learning algebra, meanwhile third parties were already on Calculus.

Nintendo has shown their ability to learn from their mistakes multiple times in the past so I think the pickle they\’re in now will only serve as a battle scar rather than an amputation. In the end, people don\’t have any real opposition to Nintendo, they\’re just waiting for them to bounce back. Best thing Nintendo can do is capitalize on what they do have and keep making more appealing content.

-Jacesonnall (a.k.a. Omar T.)

I am ambivalent in how I feel about Nintendo right now, but not in a negative way. I am ambivalent in the sense that I don\’t know how partial I am exactly when it comes to being a Nintendo fan.

On one hand, I understand that Nintendo are a publicly owned corporation, and as such are by default participating in a flawed system that can only result in shittiness for everyone involved, and that this period of liking their games is only temporary and there will come a time where we will all go through a massive disappointment upon seeing Nintendo turn into yet another Microsoft or EA.

But on the other hand, they just announced their plans for using gamification in a way that improves the quality of life of their customers. When I contrast this with the ways that Valve, a private but highly revered company, have used gamification to squeeze every penny out of their fanbase — creating an addictive monetized infrastructure for the trade of in-game accessories (such as Team Fortress 2’s hats), or using that same addictive infrastructure for trading cards (which are nothing but monetized achievements) — I can\’t help but feel like Nintendo cares about me a tiny bit more than Valve.

Valve want me to pay them for the dopamine needle; Nintendo want me to pay them for a hyper-effective lifestyle coach, and the dopamine needle is complimentary.

So, besides really liking Nintendo’s products, I find myself starting to root for them as if they\’re the good guy.

-juegosmajics (a.k.a. Alex B.)

Just want to add that I think Nintendo haven\’t changed itself at all. Wii U was made under the same philosophy of NES. Look at this name: NES.

NES is the western name of Famicon and Famicon means what? Family Computer.

Family Computer holds the same idea of Wii and Wii U as well (Or Wii and Wii U holds the same idea of Famicon). I\’ve heard that Nintendo first wanted to make a computer with keyboard included, but then they realised that it could be not exactly family friendly and then they created the Family Computer, a computer for families to have fun without need to know how to deal with a standard computer. It’s the same idea of a family playing Wii Sports together or a family playing Super Mario 3D World.

So with computers dominating and destroying Atari, Nintendo first wanted to create a computer probably like an Apple Computer (Apple I), but they though a little more and then, \”no, we will do something different\”. Something that is not an Apple nor an Atari: the Family Computer: an gaming computer for everyone, easy like an Atari but mature and stable like an Apple Computer where people could find quality games from Nintendo and 3rd-parties.

So. that’s Nintendo. Nintendo means family together, games for everyone, quality games that you won\’t find anywhere else, stable hardware, and now fitness and healthy resources as well. That’s the company I adore.

-Odo

\"Nintendo

At some point in the thread, Majorbuddah felt that Microsoft was getting the short end of the stick, so he decided to address that.

[Microsoft] doesn\’t have the best stable of IP, but they\’ve definitely got some games with soul. Halo is definitely one of those games. I really love that franchise, and it’s the only FPS I really enjoy on a console. Halo is just awesome. [Halo] Reach was the only game I played for like 3 months when it first came out, and if anyone here’s noticed how fast I jump from game to game, that’s really saying something. Fable is an awesome franchise as well. It never lived up to what crazy molyneux would promise, but Fable 1 and 2 are some of my favorite adventure games period. Lost Odyssey just overflowed with quality and was probably the best JRPG of last gen. Forza is the best racing game you can get right now. If online play is important to you (I\’m guessing it isn\’t since you\’re a huge Nintendo fan), it’s best on Xbox.

Beyond what MS develops themselves, they see basically every third party game released on their console. So even if halo/fable/forza/gears etc. aren\’t for you, there’s bound to be loads of quality content coming from top tier devs at a constant rate that Nintendo just doesn\’t see.

It doesn\’t really matter to me what kind of \”vibe\” they put out at a gaming convention, or whether they do a bunch of quirky/goofy shit for their fan base. I\’m less interested in their corporate image and more interested in the software I can play on their machine. When it comes strictly down to the software you can play on their machine, I think 99% of core gamers will have a hard time saying the 360 let them down.

-Majorbuddah

I\’m not saying Microsoft sucks, hell in the [opening post] I said how I love my 360. I enjoy online play, I love Gears of War actually. I like Halo as well, though I don\’t agree on what you said about Halo’s soul. But then again I didn\’t grow up with Halo really, that might have something to do with it. Plus I guess I just don\’t \’feel\’ Halo the same way as you, though it’s defo one of my more preferred FPS\’.

I was simply expressing on my perception of Nintendo as a whole and am in no way saying one company is better than the other. You hold good points though Major, I will say.

-Mr-Chris

Yeah I\’ve been playing Halo since it launched. Had a lot of local MP fun after high school with my buds, so i guess that makes it special to me. That progressed over to [Xbox Live] with halo 2 and I\’ve loved the series ever since. There’s an absolute ton of lore in the Halo universe as well – I really wish they made that movie a few years back.

Halo reach is just fantastic though. If you can get a solid group of players together (like what we\’ve got going on here with [Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate]), forge mode is probably the most fun you can have on XBL period.

-Majorbuddah

At the end of the day, people can hold magical opinions of Microsoft the same as others hold magical opinions of Sony or Nintendo. It’s all gravy, baby, and it makes our community richer for it.

But what do YOU think? How do YOU think of Nintendo? Do you have such lovely thoughts of other companies too? Let us know in the comment section, or even better, join the NE Forums and help shape future discussions!

Alejandro Balderas
AKA Juegos Magicos. "You killed my father. Prepare to die."