Nintendo makes the best games. That’s my opinion. The Wii and Wii U may not appeal to everyone, but there’s no denying they know how to make a fun, vibrant, charming game. I am of course talking about first party titles, not the lazy third party nonsense that saturated the market for the likes of Wii and DS.
A new Mario or Zelda game is something to be excited about, and is almost guaranteed to be a top quality experience. True, there are a few exceptions to this rule, but they are certainly a minority. Nintendo has a lot of huge names in its arsenal (just take a look at any Smash Bros. game). Mario seems to get the most attention (he is their mascot after all), not just with his mainstream games, but also his vast array of spin offs such as Mario Kart or Mario Party. The Legend of Zelda games also come around pretty regularly, especially with the recent re-releases of older games. But the question is when a series has gone on as long as Mario or Zelda, how do you maintain your game’s identity, but also keep it new and fresh?
This is true for almost any game series, on any console. Halo, Call of Duty and many more suffer from this affliction too, but to me Nintendo fans always seem the hardest to please. Maybe it’s because Nintendo has been around longer. Long time fans have seen many iterations of their favourite franchise and aren’t quite sure what they want anymore. Nintendo brings out a new game with some brand new feature, and fans cry that “It’s not proper Zelda!” and that they want more games like the classics. Then Nintendo brings out a game just like the classics and fans cry “It’s exactly like the old ones, get some new ideas!”
Even brilliant new ideas such as Wind Waker’s charming cel shaded graphics were met with hatred and outrage by many, despite the fact that the game creates a beautiful world and gives Link the most personality of any game with his adorable little facial expressions. Fans want something new and interesting, but they don’t like to change too much from the franchise they know and love. I have a lot of sympathy for the developers because they have the impossible task of trying to please everyone.
I am a long time Nintendo fan, but I have to admit that my attention has moved elsewhere. I still believe that Nintendo makes unsurpassable games, but with only limited money I don’t want to buy a Wii U purely to be a Mario and Zelda machine, especially when I know that they will be so similar to previous experiences.
I worry that Nintendo will become stale for the veterans who have been with them for a long time. However, I am hopeful that their audience has shifted to a new generation. I may have played plenty of side-scrolling Mario games and lost interest, but younger children who have never experienced a Mario game may have their little socks blown off, just as I did many years ago. Zelda may no longer hold the attention of people who feel like they have seen it all before, but it may absolutely enchant newcomers, and I am happy about that. Mario and Zelda have served me well for many years, maybe now it’s time to pass on the torch to the new generation.
On the flip side I believe that if Nintendo were to shift its focus to some of its other series, that many older Nintendo fans would rejoice. Metroid games are always fantastic, but are very few and far between. A new sidescrolling Metroid, much like the original on 3DS? Or better yet, a new Metroid Prime on handheld or Wii U? Preferably both. I’d be so excited for that. A new F-Zero? Absolutely, I want that. A brand new Star Fox game would be sure to get fans excited. How about a console version of Pokémon, with a full open world and great graphics? I’m sure there’s a market for that.
While Nintendo will always be responsible for some of my favourite games, I am happy to let newcomers enjoy series’ I have loved for many years. I also hope that Nintendo can cater for veterans as well and not forget other beloved franchise that don’t get the attention they deserve. With E3 not far away, we can only sit and hope.
Are you a loyal Nintendo fan and you love what they’re doing? Or have you started to lose interest? Let us know in the comments below.