Gaming seems to be in the midst of a renaissance of sorts for many people right now. As the mundane nature of most big publishers continues to creep in on gamers and the industry, as a whole, for a lot of people there’s a desire to have more substance in their gaming. The fact is, a lot of gamers aren’t even aware that they want more. That is something that has not escaped some publishers, like Nintendo, however.
All anyone has to do is look at the style of games being released across all platforms to see what I mean. There is an abundance of shooters and the like that are severely unimaginative and repetitive, to say the least. One issue that you see in the current space is companies competing to one-up the other side by doing the same thing…only “better”. Whether you’re talking software publishers or hardware manufacturers, many are doing the same things.
One example of this is first-person shooters. (Disclaimer: I have never really been into shooters, heavily, although my first foray was one of the originals on PC, Wolfenstein.) Near the end of the last console generation, I noticed that the repetition was suffocating. On one hand you have Activision releasing annual Call of Duty titles that rarely did more than change maps and “story” (“Hey, we’re killin’ zombies, now!”). That went head-to-head with EA releasing Battlefield annually…until they realized they couldn’t keep up with that, but almost. That’s not to mention the non-annual Halo from Bungie (at the time; now 343 Studios), The Last of Us, and so many others. After a while, it becomes so much of the same thing.
Look at the blazing trend of Virtual Reality that is hitting the market place. With Occulus, and Morpheus and other iterations carving out mind-share with consumers, yet true application is far from settled for many of these companies and those whose hardware looks to be attached to them. Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto addressed this very issue after E3, and all of the displays that attempted to show what was capable instead of what was to be.
“Sony and Microsoft had many announcements of future titles that were not playable. VR lined the floor as a dream exhibit. There were lots of video demos of those titles,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nintendo had playable demos instead, Miyamoto said, and received “high praise”.
But that’s why I feel that Nintendo is a continual breath of fresh air for this industry. Not just in the hardware arena, but also in the software arena. Nintendo’s focus on fun and putting smiles on the faces of customers is the very essence of what makes gaming what it is, in my opinion. In a recent article by Polygon, the author, Brian Crecente, shared this very same sentiment regarding Nintendo and their ability to keep gaming fun.
It’s not just Nintendo that can make a game as fun to watch as it is to play, but they seem to nail that aspect nearly every single time. The company’s games, Wii U and 3DS are also a reminder that not all games need to have deeper meaning, or lead to thoughtful introspection. Sometimes they can just be fun.
For many people, coming to that realization is an emerging phenomena, and that is why I say that this is currently a renaissance of sorts for the gaming industry. Getting back to what made gaming what it is is an incredible thing, for sure, and for that to be something that more and more people are seeing and realizing is beyond exciting to me. Darren Bazil, of IGN, shared how becoming a father brought him back to Nintendo.
At first, I thought maybe the handheld platform itself was the biggest contributing factor to my renewed gaming enjoyment, but I found myself loving the content, as well…Nintendo’s longevity allows its games to span generations, and I quickly found myself excited to share these characters and stories – which meant so much to me as a child – with my own son. Before I knew it, I was out picking up a Wii U as well so he could see the characters on screen and become familiar with them. Nintendo’s family-friendly content doesn’t hurt, either.
The bottom line is, the renaissance is real and there are many gamers who are coming to realize there is a freshness and realness in Nintendo gaming that takes nothing away from your adulthood. At the end of the day, we are all still “playing games” so why not break down your gaming choices by what you like versus dislike, and forget about all that “kiddie” stuff as rationale for insecurities. Mature gamers don’t have to ask for permission to like what they like!
As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!