Kiddy Games, Schmiddy Games
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Written by: BoneStormer
Go into any video game related chat room on the internet and utter the
word "Nintendo." I guarantee that at least one person will reply
back, "Nintendo sucks. All they make is 'kiddy' games for 8 year
olds." In turn then people will fire back that they are wrong, that
Nintendo has plenty of 'mature' titles. However, how true is this? Where
did this image come from? Or more importantly, does it even matter?
One problem right off the bat is what exactly IS a 'kiddy' game? Is it
a game that can be enjoyed only by children under the age of 10? Is it
a game with simplistic controls and themes? Is it a game with bright colors
and cartooney graphics? One reason this whole 'kiddy' game debate seems
so pointless to me is that most games people mention as 'kiddy', I don't
see as 'kiddy'. Take Mario. Is this a 'mature' game? No, but that doesn't
automatically make it a 'kiddy' game. I think it's better described as
an 'all-ages' game, and what's wrong with that? To me a 'kiddy' game is
like Sesame Street or the Teletubbies, but how many games like this are
there really? And if you don't like them, don't buy them (even though
a Teletubbies game might be pretty cool;). For the sake of this article,
when I talk of 'kiddy' games, I'm referring to games the ignorant masses
There are a number of reasons Nintendo got this reputation for being
'kiddy'. For one, it's part of their legacy. Nintendo has been in the
gaming business since the 70's and 80's, beck when video games were seen
as mainly a "kid's toy". If you look back even further, back
when Nintendo was still making playing cards, they had a deal with Disney
to make Disney related cards. Still it wasn't until the 32/64bit era that
Nintendo got this 'kiddy' label.
While other consoles (i.e. the PlayStation) began to market itself to
an older crowd by bringing mature games to its system, Nintendo kept with
what had gotten them where they were. Why change what wasn't broken? However
as time went on, it became clear that the gaming audience had greatly
changed (thanks in part to the mainstream PSX and aging videogamers).
Still the N64 didn't adjust to this change, but one reason is that the
N64 didn't have many developers. So it didn't have a wide selection or
variation in its games. There weren't many fighting games, and almost
no RPGs at all. Part of this variation is in the number of 'mature' games
on N64. Sure they were there, but not enough just like there weren't enough
fighting games or RPGs on N64.
Another reason for this image is that an 'all-ages' image is exactly
the image Nintendo is going for. They know in this competitive industry
you have to do something to separate yourself from the competition. So
they want to be a family system (remember the Famicon, the "family
computer"). A LOT of systems are still bought by parents for their
children. When they see Nintendo they think of a much 'cleaner' image
than with other systems (for better or worse). Still, Nintendo also hope
that when the older crowd thinks of Nintendo they think of the "Nintendo
Difference" and will buy it too.
Nintendo has said in the past they plan on making GCN a platform for
'all ages'. One in which you will see a much better mix of games aimed
at younger audiences and the older crowds. Does this mean we'll see an
end to 'kiddy' games on GCN? Of course not. Do you expect Nintendo to
abandon fans of games like Pokemon like Sega abandons its fans? That's
probably a stupider move than if Nintendo came out and said all games
with a M rating or higher would not be allowed on GCN. Who among us doesn't
want to play the next Mario?
"The Nintendo Gamecube is definitely focusing on the teen gamer."
-Leslie Short, NOC. So I'm assuming she means GCN will feature more 'Teen'
rated games. However much Nintendo wants to expand its game selection
for a wider age audience, I think it will still be awhile before we see
games like Silent Hill on GCN. Nintendo wants to expand its image to include
the older crowd, but doesn't want to completely change and drop its somewhat
'clean' image. It's not so much Nintendo would prevent such a game coming
to GCN, but they won't go out of their way to try and get companies to
bring them to GCN. So for now developers will bring games more fitted
to the target audience of GCN. But as Iwata said, "Creating 'M-rated'
games is not the only way to attract older gamers." I think Pikmin could
be a good example of this. In short, the rating of a game has little to
do with whether or not it's a 'kiddy' game. Look at sports games which
are usually rated E. Yet games like Madden and NBA Live are a some of
the most popular games amongst the more 'mature' gamers.
I think most of those that call Nintendo 'kiddy' are 13 year olds who
think they are 'too cool' and 'mature' to play games like Mario. Their
lose. If you want to argue in recent years Nintendo didn't have enough
'mature' games, then you have a valid argument. There definitely wasn't
a good mix on the N64, but like I already said, there weren't enough fighting
games either. However fun games like Mario and StarFox can be, I don't
want all my games to have this 'catooney' feel. I need my Resident Evils
and Silent Hills too. I'm sure we'll see more on GCN, but in the end GCN
will still focus on being an 'all-ages' machine. So what, as long as they
keep making hella fun games like they have been for years. If I want to
play those type of games, that's what other consoles and the PC is for.
"The games with the highest quality of graphics
will go to PlayStation2, while the games with the most fun factor will
arrive on Gamecube, and the games for the hard-core gamers will arrive
on X-Box." -Yoshiki Okamoto, Capcom's general manager
This is a very interesting quote I thought. In particular what he said
about Gamecube (GCN). Does he say the games aimed at a younger audience
will head to GCN? No. He says the games with the highest "fun factor"
will be developed for the GCN. Which I think is what Nintendo is looking
for in their "Nintendo Difference," and what any gamer is looking
for in their games. Call them whatever you like, as long as they're fun,
I, and I think most others, will be playing them.