The Angry Gamer 02.19.04: Disconnected

Like any Nintendophile, I play my with Gamecube nearly as much as I play with myself. Lately, though, the Big N has been getting on my nerves. The Nintendo DS bullshit. The focus on GBA/GC connectivity (more on that in a few moments). And hilarious comments from Nintendo ex-president Hiroshi “Ate Too Many Mushrooms” Yamauchi:

“As for game consoles, [we are] aiming to reveal something new at next year’s E3, which will use the Gamecube as its parent body. We won’t release a high-tech machine that’s commonly referred to as a ‘next-generation game console’. People who talk about next-generation consoles are those that don’t know about games, considering that customers aren’t demanding for leading edge technology.”

Yeah, sure. That’s why Sony’s “cutting-edge technology” urinated all over the N64 in the late ’90s. But I digress. Even though Yamauchi’s the ex-prez, he wields considerable power over the company’s direction. Let’s hope arrogant attitudes like this do not prevail, otherwise you can kiss Nintendo’s ass goodbye. Stateside, Nintendo of America reps still claim that the next Nintendo home console will release at the same time as the next Playstation and Xbox. Hopefully they’re right.

But in the meantime…what have we got? Well, aside from Nintendo creating a third console to confuse everyone, they want to amp up the use of peripherals in their games. At its core, this seems like a good idea…but it’s really not. Let’s take the issue of GBA/GC connectivity, for starters. When this is a minor optional feature in a game, then it’s great; you won’t need a GBA to enjoy 99% of a GC game. The problem lies when too much connectivity is needed, for example, a GC game that requires the use of a GBA as a controller. Now, for something like Pac-Man vs., a free game, it’s no big deal. But when you’re shelling out $50 for a game, it becomes a bigger issue, especially if this game requires GBA connectivity for most of the action. What if you don’t have a GBA? (Believe it or not, there’s plenty of people that don’t.) Then you get to spend nearly $100 on one, to use as a controller. That’s ridiculous.

What if it gets worse? What if more and more peripherals come out for the ‘Cube, as Yamauchi seems to imply? How much shit are we going to have to plug in and set up just to play a damn game? I don’t know about you, but when I come home after a long day at work, I don’t want to spend 15 minutes setting up all of this crap. I want to collapse on my couch with my controller in hand, and that’s it. Alright, and maybe a can of soda. Even stuff like Dance Dance Revolution or the PS2’s EyeToy can be a little annoying at times. But a GC controller in one hand, with a GBA next to you to keep an on a map screen or whatever, a headset plugged in so you can yell at people online, and a wrist strap that’ll shock you every time your character gets shot at, and…you can see how things spiral out of control far too quickly.

Focusing on good games and weird technologies is an interesting concept, but it doesn’t cut it in the gaming business world. Yeah, it sucks for the hardcore gamer, but we’ve got to deal with the bullshit in order to get the few shining gems of gaming goodness that we crave. Face it, the casual gamer loves “mature” content, unoriginal gameplay, and super-pretty graphics. We’ll just look past that, and wait for the next inspiring piece of game design mastery to sneak up on us.