Imagine a child, a bright beautiful child who is talented at just about everything he does, his teachers love him, his babysitters love him, even his siblings respect him. Then the years pass and he gets older, his talents are as well tuned as they ever were, however, time has made him lazy, and a little stupid as his life choices are questionable at best. He opts out of college and makes no effort to get a job, he talks about all kinds of plans to do amazing things but never really does them and the longer one talks to him the more one will realize all of his best stories happened in the past. Meanwhile, the jock across the street that always seemed dumb as bricks and the nerd next door are the ones making the neighborhood proud. Though this prodigy still swears he could do as well or better than the others no one has seen it to date.
This prodigy is Nintendo.
This never-changing company sits on its laurels at every available turn; when its competitors go CD it goes cartridge, when they go DVD it goes miniDVD (aka Nintendo optical discs), when everyone else has a DVD player Nintendo says, ‘Not I’. When the world moves to VR Nintendo boldly digs its heels in with motion controls and HD Rumble. When it sits at the top of mobile gaming beneath only cell phones, it figures phuck it, time to merge the mobile division with the console and drag them both down.
These choices feel less like those of a titan of this industry and more like the decisions of a high school valedictorian getting knocked up two weeks before college. They are known for under-shipping products with a high demand and having one of the most confusing subscription services known to man (though recently they have been parsing it down a tad). Love them or hate them Nintendo has a long running history of stiffing the customers, making the upcoming Switch a point of interest for all looking to enter into another roller coaster ride of a relationship with this underperforming genius.
Ignoring how Nintendo’s press conferences are littered with the bare minimum of information, often times leaving crucial information until after the fact, to be found in the latest discarded copy of Game Informer
, one cannot miss how regularly this video game mogul drops the ball. Already Switch users can look forward to having to make an account on a Nintendo app in order to talk to teammates in online play I do not know. Why this would not be something built into the Switch natively or why customers would not use one of the several preexisting services, including starting a regular group call, instead of some untested app is beyond my understanding. Not only will online play be sketchy, especially since for the first year it will be free (you will get what you paid for) and communicating will be a chore, but the average gamer can only expect to game seriously for about 3 hours. Yes, the lofty time of 6 hours was quoted, though clearly meant for lighters titles, maybe a Sudoku Mario game that is hitherto unannounced, however, if you are planning an outing any longer than the standard trip to a nearby supermarket stick to your 3DS.
This company who has long shown the same understanding of the changing times and economic demand as the average grandpa should be watched with trepidation rather than excitement. Nintendo has a shiny new thing coming out soon, and, as usual with things they know people want, it will be hard to find, but rather than paying scalper prices or waiting with baited breath for the next shipment, let’s sit back and watch this comic foil stick the landing before throwing our flowers to the stage. Maybe it’s time to vote by keeping our wallets closed and waiting for them to see that it’s time to get off the couch and work. Take the time to study and think about what is being done instead of just doing it. Have a game that needs HD Rumble before spouting off how good it is. Find a way for players to talk to each other without having to uses a phone app that accomplishes the primary job of a phone. Think how easily great titles could be made better without them being compared to some of the greatest disasters in gaming history. We love you Nintendo, but it’s time to stop coasting on that and earn the sentiment.
by: A. Clarke, Writer & Animator