Nintendo has always been known for its high quality video games. At the first glance, it’s easy to think that Nintendo is a hardware powerhouse, because of their success with Nintendo Entertainment System, Super NES, Nintendo 64, GameCube, the entire GameBoy family of handhelds, the Nintendo DS family, and the recent worldwide acclaimed Wii. The truth is they’re not masters of Hardware. That belongs to Sony.
You see Nintendo contracts out other companies to design their proprietary chipsets, chips, and the like. And the only thing they do best is design video games for that particular hardware. Consider this: What if Nintendo developed for Sony branded consoles exclusively, or Microsoft’s consoles exclusively, that would mean they’d go 2nd party. But, why not take the Sega approach, but in a unique way? Nintendo has plenty of game divisions within’ its own company. So, while Nintendo becomes a Third Party developer, why don’t they contract out its “second party” teams to specific companies and act as the “face” of the brand.
Let’s take an example. Tecmo is a third party developer, but they contracted out Team Ninja to do Nintendo’s Metroid brand. I love Metroid, but it’s always on a Nintendo console or handheld, which pisses me off a lot. I would love nothing more than to see a big Metroid game on Sony’s PS3 – the only thing that Metroid suffers is from graphical limitations on Wii. But, Nintendo makes its games look good even though it’s on a chipset with specs of an earlier generation console. This is where Nintendo succeeds where other third party developers fail in.
Team Ninja is currently in development of Metroid: Other M for the Wii:
I love Nintendo for its video games – everything from Zelda, to Metroid, to Super Smash Bros. Its consoles are either a hit, or a miss. For example, when I saw Nintendo 64 for the first time – I was ecstatic. The code name for the console was “Ultra 64” and its flagship title was none other than Rare’s Killer Instinct. It was not only one of the best fighting game that I’ve played at the time, it was also one of the best looking game of its time, the CG graphics was enough to wow everyone.
I used to go off-campus of my high school just to play Killer Instinct 2 every day, I spent almost a dollar just to play a few games, and when I had no time left to stay there and play. I did, and I was late to class sometimes. I loved it that much. So, when N64 came out, the very first game that I got was Killer Instinct Gold. Granted, it wasn’t sharp, but it’s freakin’ Killer Instinct, dude. I will never forget the famous “Ultraaa” echoes. It’s better than Mortal Kombat’s “toasty.” It was so famous, that everytime you pulled off a two digit combo, and knocked him out of the ring, everyone, and I mean, everyone was excited about it. Everyone. Never played Killer Instinct? Doesn’t matter, you were excited to hear it.
Zelda was charming in its 8-bit, and 16-bit days, but when I got Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I was excited to play it, because it allowed for free roaming play, I enjoyed every single second of Zelda 64, much to my surprise. How surprising? Because no matter how much I hated change at the time, the switch from 2D to 3D for a Zelda game, I embraced the idea as long as it plays good. The surprising part of it was how well it was executed, while delivering an epic game of its proportion. It’s like the first time you saw a huge boss, you went like “holy…$#!t.” Two reasons; 3D was a new technology at the time. So, how far they pushed the hardware is what impressed people. Secondly, you don’t remember an enemy filling up the entire screen in mere seconds, whereas in 2D games, the boss has to be positioned in a place to be able to “fill” a screen.
Turok is another game that pushed the hardware in ways other developers couldn’t. Granted, it had a lot of fog, but even then, it was charming. It added a dimension to gameplay because you can’t see the other side. So, the first time you saw them raptors leaping at you for the first time – you retreated and tried to fight for your life. Or when you are about to look around in a new area, you find out that you have platforms to jump to, like Super Mario. And when fog’s added to the mix, Houston we got a problem. I loved the platforming part of Turok 64. No matter how hard it was, and no matter how many times I died. I came back for more. And then, we have the musical score that Turok was packed with. Acclaim folded because they forgot what Quality means to people.
Thing is, N64 sold a measly 32.93 million units when compared to PlayStation’s 100 million units sold. Conversely, GameCube only sold 21.74 million units which is a step back from N64’s numbers, while compared to PlayStation 2’s staggering success at 150 million units sold. Wii has sold more than 67 million units, surpassing NES’s record for best selling console in Nintendo’s history. And also surpassing Xbox 360, and PS3 by only 30 million and 33.3 million respectively.
My point is, Nintendo is synonymous with quality games. Why can’t Nintendo be a third party developer and create new brands with their creative minds? Why the hell do I have to buy every single one of their consoles just to be able to play Metroid, Zelda, Super Mario?
Why not bring Metroid, Mario, Zelda to other consoles, while creating new brands along the way?
When I look at the Wii, all I see, is that Nintendo only makes games for its own brands, its franchises, and its mascots – exclusively only to its past games. I don’t see new brands being made. How about focusing all their cash flow to its games, instead of juggling between games and hardware?
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