The Angry Gamer 09.24.03: Damn You, Nintendo!

Plenty of Playstation and Xbox fanboys love to pick on Nintendo. But they’re not the only ones; would you believe that legions of Nintendo diehards also rip on the Big N?

Yeah, it happens. In fact, this ought to put to rest numerous accusations that our crew here somehow sucks up to Nintendo on a constant basis. Far from it; no one here provides any sort of penis-related service to Nintendo execs, to the best of my knowledge.

Anyway, it’s time for me to bitch. Let me start off by saying that my favorite system of all time is the original NES. I still play classic games on that thing all the time. Nintendo followed it up with two more kickass systems: the Game Boy, and the Super NES. I was in heaven during those years.

Then, tragedy struck. Rather than moving forward with the times, Nintendo decided a) to stick with a cartridge format, when the world was moving to CD-ROM, and b) release their N64 system a year after their competitors. Their arrogance led to their downfall here; they thought an upstart like Sony could never top them. Not only was the Playstation far superior to the N64 in every way, shape, and form, it had such a diverse library of games that the N64 seemed like a worthless chunk of plastic by comparison. Granted, it had its gems, like Super Mario 64, but the PS blew it out of the water with groundbreaking titles like Metal Gear Solid, Wipeout XL, and Final Fantasy VII (which I didn’t even enjoy that much, but you can’t deny its influence).

Okay, so Nintendo f*cked up. Big time. They lost a monstrous chunk of the market, and got punted down to #2 very quickly. Well, they could always come back and be a strong competitor in the next generation, right?

Wrong. Along comes the Gamecube, fraught with many of the same arrogant issues that plagued Nintendo before. Rather than going with the flow, and moving to standard DVD-ROM discs, Nintendo chose to use proprietary mini-DVD-ROM discs. Rather than building a multipurpose console, they chose to “focus on making great games.”

Newsflash: great games alone don’t cut it. You want to make money, and stay in business? You cater to the masses. Period. The masses want a system that does more than just play games. They want to watch DVDs. They want a solid online gaming plan, not a cheesy announcement like “it’s coming.”

The light in the darkness? The Game Boy Advance. But even then, Nintendo pissed off some of its fanbase by releasing a newer, better GBA (the SP) a mere two years after the original GBA’s release. Worse, they pulled a Wonderswan, and ditched the headphone jack! Now you get to shell out extra money for a headphone jack adapter. Totally unnecessary.

I’m sure the Nintendo fanboys will scream and yell about how many Gamecube games are some of the best games available right now, and they’d be right. However, when their sales drop, and PS2 titles like Grand Theft Auto Vice City are still creaming them, we’re back to square one. Nintendo can bluster all they want; they’ve lost out tremendously on two concurrent generations of gaming. If they don’t shape up soon, they’ll soon go the way of Sega and end up as a third-party developer. Don’t even run your mouth saying, “Oh, that could NEVER happen.” Guess what…it DOES happen. Sega had Nintendo beat (marginally) during the 16-bit era, and look at them now. And if you’re a fanboy? Face reality. The GC’s at the bottom of the barrel. Why did GC sales edge past PS2 a bit in Japan a week or two ago? Because everyone in Japan already HAS a PS2. Sales in the US are still in serious trouble, prompting yet another price drop (to $99 this time). Warehouses are overstocked, because the system just isn’t cutting the mustard.

With the coming release of the Playstation Portable, which already has third-party developers chomping at the bit to do all manner of things that the GBA can’t handle (face it, kids…gamers love 3D, no matter what we 2D diehards may think), Nintendo’s got their work cut out for them. Their response? The usual arrogance. “We already dominate the handheld market.” Yeah, just like you USED to dominate the home console one. Drop the arrogance, kiss up to the casual gamer, and get your f*cking act together.