Lately there has been an annoying din of noise coming from many different directions. People complaining and moaning about this and that regarding Nintendo. What the company has done, is doing and will do, seem to all be up for discussion between every armchair CEO, analyst, investor, and developer. For years, detractors have been preaching the demise of Nintendo, and every time anything new comes about, they are thumping their proverbial chests, shouting about how “right” they were. No matter how benign the news may be, there is a segment of the population that decided long ago that it was catastrophic.
So my question to many is simply, “To what end…?” To what end is the massive backlash and ridiculous hyperbole regarding Nintendo, their hardware, and software? For some time now, there has been a segment of the population that is just dissatisfied with any-/everything that Nintendo does. Whether the company is communicating too much, or not enough. Whether the company is taking away physical rewards, or offering them in a different form (amiibo). Whether the company releases a game that may seem unfinished, or delays it to make sure it is thoroughly complete. These are all things that draw the ire of many in this community, and you may have noticed that there are a lot of people truly finding their poles to attach their allegiances.
…truth about disappointment: it’s only ever the product of hope subverted.
On several occasions I have written about this topic, but it seems that it is just a recurring theme in today’s gaming environment. Of course, its not just limited to gaming, but the polar mentality has permeated many aspects of life these days. That mentality coupled with the desire to want everything quickly, and right away makes for a truly entitled attitude for a lot of gamers these days. There does not seem to be any room for tolerance anymore. It’s almost as if people are not allowed to have personal preference or an opinion anymore…unless of course, it matches up with what others “think”. Group-think is a thing and it’s dangerous. A lot of times, people seem to confuse the fact that we live in a democracy with a majority-rules process for thinking. As if that way of thought means you’re right versus wrong.
This current time period seems to be bringing out the worst in people, too. From people squabbling over specs of the newest platforms that have not even been revealed, yet, to people vociferously professing the eulogy of the Wii U to the shear ignorance of Nintendo and their handling of the Titan of Shows — Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3). No matter what, the group-think will lead you to believe that all is wrong in the Land of Nintendo!
“Nintendo is disappointing and crazy” is an easy way to encapsulate things, certainly, but it’s also an easy way to erode one’s knowledge of what else it can be.
I would dare suggest to ignore the voices and think for yourself. If that leads you to conclude something differently than my take (illustrated below), so be it. But that certainly does not make what I will share any more incorrect than your thoughts.
So recently, the very informative and often-quoted Emily Rogers posted a list of 10 questions that 3rd party publishers ask themselves before supporting Nintendo hardware. Now, the thing about this list is the fact that I am not 100% convinced it is truly something that 1.) is legitimately something that publishers indeed check off before working with Nintendo, and 2.) is even a fair representation. There are so many biased points about this list, it is kind of irksome. I won’t go point by point about this list, but I will point out a handful of my gripes with it and hopefully get your feedback, as well.
Now, some of these are valid questions, but stuff like installed-base, or caring about certain genres, or the ability to compete with Nintendo IP is just plain ridiculous to me. Here’s what we have when we lend validity to such questions. By accepting these questions as a legitimate list, it says that the premise is also true. That is where I take most exception because at best these are opinions created after the fact. Take the first question I mentioned; at the start of any console life the installed base is absolute zero. There is no one who owns a system prior to its launch, however, there are always third party developers who have games available. No matter which system it is, there are a few games. Even the launch of Wii U, there were a couple first-party games, and a few third-party entries, as well. Granted most were “old ports”, but they were there. So there is no reason to believe they asked the question about install base, simply because there wasn’t one yet.
Also, questioning whether Nintendo fans “care about” sports games, or any other genre is odd, seeing that Every individual is different. In fact, not every Nintendo fan is a fan of ALL “Nintendo games”. There are many players who enjoy all types of game experiences, and it is not even remotely fair to attempt to lump Nintendo fans into categories of liking/not liking a particular genre because you will never get an accurate assessment one way or the other. One Nintendo fan may love playing football, or basketball, or wrestling, but another may not find joy in those types of games. Choosing not to supply them to Nintendo consoles though, only results in alienating every Nintendo fan from those experiences, unless they choose to invest in additional hardware, which may not happen. That is not necessarily a choice that player has made, but one that those developers have made for them. Not a good thing.
Now, the argument about “competing for attention” with Mario, Zelda, Splatoon, etc. is very odd to me. First, Nintendo is not releasing a major IP title even every month of a year, so that leaves gaps in the calendar that can easily be filled by different titles. There is sect of the community that believes there is a drought going right now for the Wii U. That is due to the fact that Nintendo is not releasing very many more first party games for the system through the remainder of the calendar/fiscal year. However, there are third party games that are releasing during that time that the decision to abandon the Wii U have precluded from being made available during this time. Something else that’s funny about this question is the fact that Splatoon is even on the list. How does that work? That game is only a year old at the time of this writing. One year ago, it was debated about whether this game would be able to do anything. The hope was that it would be pretty good, but the guarantee was far from there. There was criticism about the ads the company chose to use, the amount of content was heavily questioned, and there was even talk of “boycotting” the game from some. So what was there to “compete” against, and how would third parties have known about it 1-3 years ago when they decided to either abandon the system, or handicap their efforts when they did release something?
So, as things go, there is a group of people (some of whom are influential members of the Nintendo gaming community) who give credence to this type of thing which invites more negativity and Nintendo bashing. It’s interesting when you can see how much effort they go to in order to find fault with the company, and its actions.
One simple example of late; Emily Rogers again, recently tweeted one point of validation for Nintendo forgoing a hardware reveal at E3 2016. That tweet was immediately met with a particular Nintendo “influencer” spewing his negativity once again. Every chance he gets, he takes the opportunity to point out how he thinks the company has done something wrong. I hesitate to talk too much about him, just to ensure I stay away from a rant, but it’s nothing short of disappointing to have enjoyed his content at one point, to completely despising pretty much everything he says and does. To each their own, I always say, but generating and feeding any negativity for something that you claim to “love” is irresponsible, and downright disingenuous. Maybe you feel it’s more lucrative to garner “hate”, but I refuse to aid it, if I can possibly help it.
And all of this is amplified by the fact that historically, Nintendo is always at its most exciting when it’s rebooting. That tends to only happen when the company’s back is undeniably against the wall, but it also tends to be when Nintendo thinks hard, digs deep, and brings its A-game in the most unexpected yet thrilling ways…
It feels like we might be close to another one of those events. So who cares if Nintendo executes it at E3 – a show that several big publishers have already left this year, rightly raising questions about the importance of the show, not the companies in question – or elsewhere, later down the line? Are we really going to demand that Nintendo reveals the off-kilter, Wonka-style creativity that we so love on a strict, industry mandated schedule, based on rules that no-one really made, based on tradition that exists just because? Are we going to claim doom because Nintendo seems to want to do its next era justice, starting it at the right time to give it the chance its predecessor never got?
Apparently some of us are, but I’m certainly not.
Look, my initial question is also my closing question: “To what end…?” To what end is the benefit of the concerted effort to paint Nintendo in the worst light possible? To what end does it make life better for one, by criticizing the opinions of others? If someone likes Nintendo, it does no harm to anyone else that feels they are not getting what they “need” from the company. But at the same time it is certainly not necessary to voice your dislike on every turn, either. There is already plenty of negativity polluting our mental environment, as it is. There is absolutely not a requisite to continue to add to it.
How do you feel about the current climate in the community? Do you think there is an overabundance of meaningless negativity?
As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!