Like many kids of my generation and upwards, I hold a great debt to Nintendo and the immense fun I had with their iconic consoles and handhelds. The first time I picked up a NES controller and my godsister booted up Super Mario Bros. on their shiny new grey box of tricks was a true Raiders of the Lost Ark moment for me. Without the melty faces and death, obviously.
Over the years under the big N's watchful gaze I had existential epiphanies from my time with Young Link and his magical ocarina, I was getting blisters on my fingers thanks to Killer Instinct, learning the true face of frustration thanks to Super Metroid, or making my friends cry in Goldeneye 007 -- thanks to me being a bit of a dick and camping with those sweet, sweet proximity mines. These fleeting moments were perfect and embellished my childhood with memories I will never forget.
Now that I'm all growed up and have been spoilt by the emergence of Sony, Microsoft and Steam, and have watched as arguments transformed from "my game has more blood than yours," to "my game has a higher frame rate than yours, and boasts a resolution of 900p," I feared for my beloved Nintendo and their noble belief of "fun comes first."
Innovation Gives Way To Sheen
The GameCube was a fine console with some truly underrated titles, but, due to it having next to no third party support and a heavy reliance on family fun, it was unfortunately trounced by the PlayStation 2 in the sixth generation of video game consoles. The same generation that poured water on the Dreamcast and SEGA's valiant front in the console war.
Now with the upstarts Sony and Microsoft dragging the industry in one particular direction with their technically superior consoles, online gaming and in-built DVD players to better ensnare the teens and young adults, Nintendo, being the perennial innovators they are, would change the way we interacted with consoles with a few gyroscopes and accelerators.
But the overwhelming successes of the Wii may have proved costly for the legendary developers whilst moving ahead into a future of gimmick laden gaming. The Wii was a cultural phenomenon, one enjoyed the world over by casual gamers and even those who don't game at all, due to it destroying the walls between casual and hardcore gamers.
But the financial gains the company saw from over 100m units sold worldwide somehow blinded them to the direction the industry was heading. I mean we all had a blast with Wii Sports, but games of that ilk were better reserved for family gatherings or, dare I say it, drinking games with buddies rather than the full fat online sessions with Call of Duty and, say, the expansive wilds of Red Dead Redemption we were all baying for.
So instead of making the console that brought together the heady heights of Nintendo's software genius and the powerful hardware of the modern age of gaming, Nintendo created the Wii U -- a console that didn't really know where it sat amongst giants, and has so far suffered from its lack of self-knowledge.
This is indeed a shame because the Wii U has some truly exceptional games, but lacks killer third party support. Which is an all too familiar trait. And, let's be honest, if you're not that big a gamer but own a Wii, why would you go out and buy an almost carbon copy of your console that plays the same games you have now, but this time has a controller the size of a plate, as opposed to a remote?
Stubborn Grandparent To Silver Surfer
Nintendo's influence on the market is waning, but still the industry waits with bated breath at what the future and the NX will bring. Mainly because we want to see whether the metaphorical old dog can indeed learn new tricks. And, honestly, who doesn't want a new, must have Nintendo console in their room of choosing?
But following the failure of the Wii U, Nintendo has thrust itself into the modern age with some interesting alternative tactics that could last the test of time if the NX comes to falter. We're all aware of the seminal cast of characters Nintendo has under its belt. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't heard of Super Mario.
And with the advent of amiibos, and Nintendo's foray into the mobile market with their social networking app, Miitomo, dominating top downloaded lists in the US, this proves that there is still scope for Ninty to ride into town atop its trusty Yoshi and lay waste to our minds with its NX future bullets. Rubber bullets, mind.
All I'm saying is, I hope Nintendo haven't lost themselves in a sea of rare, shiny amiibos, Splatoon tie-in lint removers, theme parks and funny selfies with Miis, and are planning on releasing a console that is rumored to run on x86 architecture and will be able to handle current gen ports, and sync with second screen devices.
Because, despite how spoilt that sounds, that's the current market we live in.
But now, after reaching the bottom of the page, I still fear for Nintendo. The fallout surrounding the fake NX controller that was leaked was quite saddening. But, hey, people hate change. Remember when we thought the 3D stick would never take off?