How to be a Nintendo Fanboy in Today's Climate
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Written by: BoneStormer
These days it seems very hard to be a Nintendo fanboy. With the lack of information out of Nintendo and just a complete lack of games in general, who in their right mind could utter phrases like, "Xbox SUXX0RS, GC RULEZ!" I myself have been a huge Nintendo fan as far back as I can remember, and in my opinion Nintendo continues to spit out the best games on the planet, when they see fit to actually release one. How has it come to this though? Where people go ape over a small press release where the only real information is a release date many had predicted already?
Well it really isn't as bad as first appears. As long as certain rumors have absolutely NO truth to them (coughrareleavingcough), then if you can come to gripe with three major points, all is well. All of these points intertwine in some way. Feeding off each other if you will. Learn to live with them.
1) "Quality Over Quantity" is Nintendo's middle name. Get used to it. It's not easy to keep high quality games coming out. These days games do take longer to produce, so in order to keep them in line with the great games of the past, games can take 1-2 years to develop. Then there is the obligatory delay in order to make it perfect of course. And from Nintendo and its 2nd parties, this moniker does hold true. You don't see as many games pumping out as you did in the NES and SNES eras, but I don't think anyone can say the quality has dropped. It would be nice to have more games, but how many games can most of us actually afford? Yet, I always hated how on the N64 every great game that came out you had to get since it was that or nothing. It's not like any of these were bad games, I did enjoy them, but I would much rather have a choice in gaming instead of basically them saying, "Here, play this next." With this "quality over quantity" slogan, Nintendo devoids most gamers of choice. And here in America, that's a no-no. It's something you just have to get used to these days to be a Nintendo fan however. Taking games when you can get them. The high quality of these games does help ease the pain. It's just that not every game has to be a major blockbuster. A simplier game can be fun to play inbetween the next Mario and Zelda. This is where other developers could come in. There is of course a major catch to this: these 3rd parties.
2) Nintendo doesn't give a rat's ass about its 3rd parties. Fact. Nintendo knows that all 3rd party games do is take money out of their pocket. Sure Nintendo get's a licensing fee from every game, but what is that compared to all the profits on one of their own games like Luigi's Mansion? If Nintendo could, they would just have 1st and 2nd party games on GC, they have said as much in interviews. Every year the best selling game on a Nintendo console is a Nintendo game, but look at last year. What was the best selling game on PS2 (and in fact overall)? GTA3, a 3rd party game. If a 3rd party game sold the most on GC, Nintendo would be pretty pissed off to put it nicely. Because of this, often 3rd parties don't give a rat's ass about Nintendo in return. How else can you explain such a lackluster list of 3rd party games from now until fall? How else do you explain Namco so far just sending Smashing Drive to GC? That certainly doesn't fit with Nintendo's "quality over quantity" philosophy. As a Nintendo fanboy, one has to face the facts: you own a GC for the 1st and 2nd party games PERIOD. Anything else is just a bonus. Don't plan on owning many 3rd party GC games. Like I said, it seems when 3rd parties do send GC a game or two, often it is something they can throw together in a few months to keep costs down in case it doesn't sell very well (ie a 'crapola' game). Or they send GC a game that targets the largest group of gamers on GC: younger kids.
3) Anyone who says the target demographic for GC is NOT younger age groups is in denial. Look at a few recent events. On the same day Konami announces a new Contra for PS2 and Xbox, they announce a Disney soccer game for GC. "Bloody Roar" on GC doesn't actually have any 'blood' in it. Sega gives GC simple games like Soccer Slam and Home Run King while PS2 has Virtua Fighter 4 and Xbox has Gunvalkyrie and WSB2K3. Sega also states if they did bring VF to GC, it would probably be changed to better suit the GC, meaning changing it into a VF Kids. It is a known fact that online gaming is more abundant among older gamers, so is Nintendo's reserved stance on online gaming a coincidence? (I think not.) And I could go on like this. Before you go nuts, I am not for a second claiming GC is JUST for kids, just developers will concentrate on making younger ages happy before they do something for the older gamer. This goes for 3rd parties and Nintendo developers as well. Yes, this often means GC will miss out on a number of cool mature games while developers work on games like Donald Duck. Which is where the 'suckiness' factor comes in on this point. I should also point out though that I do agree that the majority of games on GC are for "all ages". But for every Resident Evil on GC, there are three Universal Studios. This tips the scale to a much younger overall game target then any of the other consoles. Again, this isn't the end of humanity. Nintendo WANTS to keep this "clean" or "family" image (parents buy a lot of consoles for their kids). And while I love many of these games, like most red-blooded males, I also enjoy a more violent excursion now and then. It is just something a Nintendo fanboy over the age of 16 has to come to terms with. Gory, violent games will be few in number. Cartoonish, colorful Disney games will be plentiful. When you stress quality over quantity, you don't want to waste too much time on games there is only a small market for on GC.
And the world goes round...
Over the past few weeks I have been cursing the name Nintendo. Then I stopped to think. I thought about the possibility of playing Star Fox, Mario, Zelda, and Metroid by the end of this very year (I guarantee one will slip though, coughmetroidcough). I thought about playing Resident Evil 0. I thought about playing a number of other games on GC. And I started to feel better. Nintendo can be quite stubborn. Like their stance on online games while the other two heavy weights are all ready to take the dive. Almost like they are living off their past successes. Thinking gamers will never pass up the chance to play the next Mario. Which is true to a point. However, this is VERY dangerous thinking, one that could cause them to slip to the back of the pack. Which no matter what some fanboy who claims, "Bah, who cares if GC is last. I don't follow what others do. I'm too cool," is not a good thing. All this would do is further push these 3 points into prominence. Nintendo would push quality over quantity even more so. 3rd parties would all but disappear from GC. Why waste time on such a small fanbase when there are two other, much larger ones out there? Then the games that do come out would target even more so the demographic seen to be the largest on GC, the younger kids. In the past, Nintendo was the one who censored games (MK), but now these companies do it themselves since they think it might help it sell better under Nintendo's 'family' image. Hence, fewer and younger people own GC. And again, the world goes round...
But there is no need to panic yet. There are a number of great games coming to GC. There is significant 3rd party support. There are games coming aimed at older gamers. Just in order to stay a Nintendo fanboy in this day and age, I think until something MAJOR happens, you have to come to terms with these three points since they do hold water. Once you do, you can be just as big of a fanboy as you ever were. GC should have a very good run. You just have to stress its strengths (high quality exclusive games) instead of trying to say, "GC isn't aimed at kids," or, "GC has plenty of games and 3rd party support," neither of which will win any argument. Although having another console to pick up the slack these points create on GC helps a lot...