Gaming My Way

03 Apr

Why Nintendo Rocks

1) Their systems are sturdy. NES’s manufactured over 20 years ago still work to this very day, as do the cartridges the games were released on. As do the other systems Nintendo has released since then. In a stress test on X-Play, the Gamecube suffered having a 20 pound weight dropped on it, a drop of 15 feet, and was beaten with a sledgehammer, yet it kept playing games, albeit with the cover unwilling to close once the sledgehammer was done with it. The Xbox kicked it after the after 15 foot drop. The PS2… well, it didn’t come close to either system for durability. That’s built strong.

2) The Wii. It comes with a built in lightgun called the Wii Remote (aka the Wiimote). If you ever wanted to play an arcade style shooter, this is the perfect system for it. Moreover, if you wanted to make one, look no further.

Of course, if it was just lightgun games, I wouldn’t care so much. But using the Wiimote feels so cool for games designed well and for the Wiimote. Even in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the Wii controls helped make one feel cool, and those were added in as an afterthought (though a well-planned afterthought). Obviously, not everyone will want to design for this interesting bit of hardware, but that’s what Gamecube and Classic Controllers are for. Being able to use my Gamecube controllers for most games makes me happy because it means that when I have a Wii myself, I don’t have to buy four new controllers right away.

Now bring on some complete games that have one to one motion between the Wiimote and the items on screen. The mini-games of Wii Sports don’t count, even if some of them are crazy fun.

3) Mario, Zelda, and Metroid. If the holy trinity of Nintendo can’t convince you, I don’t know what can. All three series ooze high quality from their inception to present day releases. Even Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Yes, I said it, the side-scrolling Zelda was good, as long as you took it for what it was and not what you expected it would be. And this quality shows through in their other games as well.

4) Super Smash Brothers. All three of them. This series gets it’s own category for sheer awesome. Battle Royale of all your favorite Nintendo characters? Upon the release of Brawl, Mario and Sonic duke it out for mascot supremacy? Yeah, I’ll take that, because it’s packaged so nicely and plays like awesome in a can (or on a disc). Oh, and Snake’s also here now too.

5) They haven’t degenerated into marketing First Person Shooters first, and everything else second. I can still get my fix of platforming, fighters, side-scrolling and top-down shooters, even with an occasional RPG for good measure, without having to wade through 4857234957209 FPS selections.

6) They put gameplay first. I know, I know, graphics are an integral part of a game, and the Wii isn’t as good at it. Now, for those of you making that claim, while I agree to an extent, I still say gameplay is more important. Want to know some games I still play to this day? Super Mario Bros. The Legend of Zelda. Snow Bros. Sonic the Hedgehog. Street Fighter. And many other games from the 8 and 16-bit era. Know what they have in common? They were developed on systems that couldn’t even do 3-d, much less photo realism. Ok, technically the SNES and Genesis did 3-d once each, but in general, they didn’t do 3-d. And it wasn’t anywhere close to what even the N64 or Playstation could do. The graphics in those games were important, but it was the design of those graphics that made them appealing, not photorealism.

Now, I have no problem with photorealism if that’s your thing. But don’t buy or design games with photorealistic graphics and no gameplay. If you want to do that, just make a CG movie and call it a day. Games are about interaction, and that interaction should come first. Nintendo knows this, which is why they focused on the Wiimote input device first, then added some hardware later to give a minor graphical upgrade. The Wiimote simply improves interaction with the game by making you actually simulate the movement you need to take in the game. It’s a layer of immersion far more profound than more pretty pictures.

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