Never give up on Nintendo should be the rallying cry of the gaming giant, as no matter how low a release is perceived, you know the next item around the corner will blow it out of the water.
From the Gameboy with four AA batteries to one with dual screens and a 3-dimensional input, the Gameboy has been a mainstay at home for years. Combine this with adventures on the Nintendo 64, Gamecube, Wii and Switch, and you have a recipe for true devotion.
Missing from the list if notably the Wii U. This was not purchased by myself due to playtesting and a general sense that the console had widely missed the mark.
The price point didn’t help either but the purpose of bringing up the Wii U is to illustrate that even Nintendo has a blip in the road, they dust themselves down and re-invent. The final outcome of this re-invention is the Switch, the perfect hybrid of portable and home console.
The Gamecube was another console that is perceived to have missed the mark, yet had unforgettable experiences such as Mario Sunshine, Rogue Squadron and Smash Bros Melee.
Therefore, even though the console was outsold by its rivals, the experiences were still unique and added value and following the Gamecube, we had the Wii, which dominated that generation.
Consistently re-inventing the formula
This is not to say that Nintendo is perfect, as they are not. The online services provided by the company have never really reached the mainstream appeal and lust that Sony and Microsoft have.
The Switch store is a perfect example of this with AAA games often being hidden behind a never-ending list of £2 experiences. It is confusing but the Switch and its online experience are miles ahead of its predecessors. Nintendo has never overly invested in this area, only adapting when the market insisted and they have been able to take their time by investing where it counts the games.
Games are what make consoles. This sounds like the simplest comment in the world to make but often times we forget the easy and aim for the complex.
Every company in the world has made missteps and Nintendo’s competitors are no strangers to this also with the Kinect and Move Controllers being first in the mind here. The point here is that nothing is perfect but by creating beloved experiences such as Pokemon, Mario, Zelda, Kirby and Super Smash Bros, Nintendo gives itself time.
All of Nintendo’s first-party experiences are console sellers, whereas Microsoft and Sony struggle in this respect, especially when the exclusives are now more time based than console specific.
Nintendo has created exclusive franchises that you can only play with them. The power of which can be seen when they are perceived to be shipping little out the door and then suddenly deliver Zelda and it sells millions of games and consoles.
They have invested where it counts and even if the pattern continues and the follow-up to the Switch ends up as the Wii U or Gamecube, then confidence will still exist and people will buy the next in the list.
My oldest friend
Nintendo has been connected to me since 1997, 23 years ago, which makes it my oldest friend.
A friend that has always stood by me and whilst we have been through many disagreements, namely the four batteries spitting acid and the Wii, which was traded in and re-bought twice, we have always been friends. The same cannot be said for the PC, Xbox and Playstation.
There have been gaps in ownership of the Playstation and PC, with the Xbox sitting on my shelf for weeks before being returned. Nintendo has always held in there.
For many years the perception of Nintendo in my mind always revolved around it being most suitable for portable gaming. Something that is arguably born out by the success of the Switch but countered also by the dominance of the Wii. This is an anomaly in my mind as the longevity of the N64 and Wii was rather limited yet the Gamecube endured, with one still sitting at my Mum’s house.
This is, however, a personal view and other than the Wii, you can make the argument that Nintendo has always had more success on the smaller screen. For this reason, the handheld consoles from Nintendo would be the ones that would be held onto whilst the majority of the home releases would eventually be traded in.
It doesn’t really matter as to whether you feel Nintendo is better at creating experiences for handheld devices or big screen, they have endured. They are the oldest company of the big three (Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo) that is still producing games and consoles, having seen Sega off in the early 00’s.
The re-invention of and listening to what the audience truly wants is why Nintendo will always have a spot in my home.
Creating unique experiences for all of the family
A final reason for why Nintendo will always appeal is that the experiences appeal to all ages, much like that of Disney.
The global entertainment giant has created beloved characters such as Snow White, Simba and Cinderella, re-invented them every few years, whilst also adding new characters. Nintendo is the same with characters such as Mario and Link. Beloved characters that follow you through life and leave you looking forward to seeing them again and enjoying that experience with the next generation.
Sony and Microsoft don’t have that level of connection with the audience. Characters and games are aimed at adults with the acceptance of shooting people in the head with your three-year-old son being about as acceptable as Donald Trump recommending Detol as a Covid-19 preventative.
Nintendo has the appeal of the family which aids to its longevity and why it will be the first console that will be played with my children. These children live in my head right now but when they arrive into the world, they will be treated to the love of Nintendo and Sony will remain for Dad only.
Nintendo has been by my side for more than twenty years, producing unique experiences that appeal to the mass audience and pass between generations. Whether you agree that they are more suited to a portable outlet or not, you can agree that the characters they have created, have endured and are at the heart of them, console sellers.
By consistently re-inventing themselves, Nintendo have been able to bounce back from perceived mistakes. The Wii U is the primary example of this. Preceded by the Wii and followed by the Switch, they saw the response, analysed their mistakes and came back fighting.
Nintendo will always have a space on my shelf as you can never count them out. They have the longevity and vision of Disney, without the dominance and market purchase. They are a pioneering company that will always sit proudly on the shelf.