Why I’ve Retired from Nintendo
I’ve retired from Nintendo the way people retire from careers. I still possess the knowledge and skills from years of experience, but I may revisit that job field as a guest or part-time consultant if my interest is piqued in a certain project. This “moving on” has has been happening over the past few years, but with the recent release of the 3DS and the announcement of Skyward Sword, I realized I’ve lost faith in the brand. The fact that neither of those rather “big” releases hold any interest for me is like someone deciding the next big change in the job field is one too many. I won’t throw the games or systems away but merely put them on a shelf where I put other video games of which I merely have a passing interest. I’ll hold on to my classics, but it will never be the same.
The thing is, I’m not sure why this happened. Did Nintendo change too much or did I? I’d like to believe they left me. I loved my NES and SNES with all the games I could afford. When I was in high school, I lived off of the N64 and defended it against the invading Playstation with a zealot’s passion. I owned all the classics and went through at least a dozen controllers with worn-out joysticks. We were in sync. We were in love. We had a child named Game Boy Color with whom I played countless hours of Pokemon on bus rides. Then the Gamecube came out, and the haters started hatin’, even then I stood by Nintendo as a faithful fanboy should. Although I was older, I still enjoyed the “Cube” thoroughly. Then came the Wii, bringing with it motion controls and a desperate need to appeal to non-gamers (casual gamers). Where did that come from? It felt like they went from servicing rabid fanboys to making crappy games for little kids overnight.
The more I think about it, the more I realize the straw that broke my camel’s back was Mario Kart Wii. I forced myself to like it, but I had too many reservations to ignore. I’d had enough of the buddy codes, hated the motorcycles, the new items were blech, and some of the unlockable characters were just beyond the skill that I was willing to develop online. Furthermore, the fact that I hated using the wheel shouldn’t have made me less of a gamer, but using the wheel online gave people the “I’m better than you” golden wheel, the likes of which haven’t been seen since Dr. Seuss wrote The Sneetches. Every Nintendo game I’ve purchased since then has only been enjoyed with much forgiveness on my part.
But as I said, did they change or did I? Nintendo catered to me as I grew up, but now that I’m more mature, are the games all that different? Should they still appeal to me? From what I’ve seen, they still appeal quite a bit to the younger demographic while I enjoy mature games that didn’t seem all that interesting when I was a youth. Is Nintendo at fault for not changing in order to continue appealing to me? The sales numbers constantly astonish me, but they don’t lie; people love Nintendo. I could get into economic theory about why, but that’s a different subject.
In the end, I’m still unsure if the new “classics” are as poor as they seem or if they are just different for a different generation. I want to say they suck and that, “Kids nowadays don’t know how good they’ve got it. I used to have to jump cliff in Ninja Gaiden, in the snow, that would play both ways by Level 2!” I feel like making games that focus on gimmicks like two screens, motion controls, and 3D are the opposite of what I want… which is lasting, memorable experiences that are timeless like Super Metroid. I want something new that isn’t just a rehash of something another game has already done, like Super Mario World. Don’t get me wrong, great games come out all the time, and I’m playing and loving them (PixelJunk Shooter, anyone?), but Nintendo isn’t bringing it home for me anymore.