Oh Nintendo, how do I love thee? You were the company that got me into gaming, I mean really into gaming. The Atari 2600 was my first gaming console but it was nothing compared to the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The NES had Super Mario Bros. a game unlike any before it. It was such an impact on gaming that it brought an entire industry back from the dead. Mario was such an iconic figure that in 1990 according to surveys taken, Mario was a more recognized figure in America then Mickey Mouse. Not only did Nintendo have Super Mario Bros. but they also had other great games like Metroid, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, and let’s not forget Nintendo’s big heavy hitter The Legend of Zelda. TLOZ took the main character Link on such an epic quest trying to locate the eight hidden pieces of the Triforce and rescue Princess Zelda from the evil clutches of Ganon. It revolutionized a gaming formula that is still used to this day. As you can see Nintendo was on their A game.
Then came the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). Now the SNES is one of my all time top 3 favorite systems. This is the system that brought great franchises like Star Fox, Mario Kart, F-Zero, Pilotwings among many more great games. The 16 bit era was an awesome time to be a gamer. If you lived through the SNES vs. Genesis days it was a console war like no other. The SNES excelled at everything tech wise but SEGA had an anything goes policy with the Genesis and it had the better versions of sports games. This is also the generation that the ESRB ratings came about. The two games that were the cause of this were Night Trap for the SEGA CD and Mortal Kombat. Nintendo would not allow the blood and fatalitys of Mortal Kombat on their system, so it was replaced with lame sweat and less violent fatalitys. This move caused the Genesis to fly off the store shelves, even though the Genesis version lacked in graphics and sound it at least had all the arcade content that could be unlocked via a code. Nintendo then realized that their approach wasn’t necessarily the right one and ended up accepting the ESRB rating system for content. The SNES would go on to win this battle overall despite the Genesis being more popular in North America but it was the closest console war that was ever fought by fanboys.
Now we can talk about the Nintendo 64 (N64). Nintendo choose to use cartridges for this system when the CD era was just starting to become strong. Their decision to not use the CD medium also created their biggest competition the Playstation. Sony and Nintendo actually were partners to create a CD Rom device for the SNES and it was codenamed Playstation. At the last minute before the Playstation was announced for the SNES, Nintendo decided to back out and present the Super FX chip instead, which left Sony with a CD Rom gaming device which they would later bring to market themselves. The lack of memory that the cartridges provided compared to the CD left many developers switching sides and creating games for the Playstation. Remember Final Fantasy 7 was originally announced as an N64 game. Despite not being on top of the market Nintendo still had incredible games and new IP’s. Games like Super Smash Bros, Mario Party, and Wave Race just to name a few. Then there was Super Mario 64, SM64 is the title that showed developers how to make a game in a 3D world. Never before was there such exploration and secrets to be found. Everything about this game was amazing. This generation Nintendo would also go on to create one of the highest rated games of all time in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Ocarina would go on to win multiple Game of the Year awards and added the Lock-on trigger system which is also still being used in games right now.
For time sake I’m going to briefly talk about the Gamecube. It was a great system but had a lot of competition, despite it’s great games this was the era when online console gaming was just starting to take off but for some reason Nintendo missed the boat on that and choose to do things their own way (surprise). Nintendo still had a lot of great titles that were released like Luigi’s Mansion, Pikmin and the best Smash Bros. game Melee. It’s just felt like this time around most of Nintendo’s games were generic versions of the titles from the previous gen. Sure they tried to innovate with titles like Super Mario Sunshine by adding a backpack filled with water to Mario but it just didn’t have the same awesome feel that Super Mario 64 did before it. Then there was the exceptional Metroid Prime. Metroid Prime blew everyone away with how amazing a Metroid game could be when done in the first person. It also put Retro Studios on the map as a great games developer and they would go on to make more Prime games and then design the return of Donkey Kong Country.
Then came the most off the wall decision for a console that Nintendo could have made, the Wii. Nintendo decided to turn gaming on it’s head with a system that was underpowered compared to it’s competition and added motion controls for it’s games so everybody, young and old could all play together. Packing this system with Wii Sports, which could have just been Wii bowling and would still have had the same effect. Nintendo struck gold with this new way of playing games and they would end up smoking the competition in sales this gen. The Wii was Nintendo’s best selling console of all time with more then 101 million sold worldwide. This systems would also have the highest reviewed game of all time in Super Mario Galaxy.
Now we have the WiiU, which is Nintendo’s first HD system. The WiiU has been off to a rocky start despite having some of the best reviewed games of this generation so far. Already Nintendo has classics like Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and New Super Mario Bros U. Then with the upcoming Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. on the way it looks like Nintendo will carry on their tradition of making outstanding games.
Nintendo is constantly having their systems called “kiddy” and that all they do is make Mario games. Yet these same people that say this go out and buy Call of Duty and Assassin Creed titles year in and year out. I hate that Nintendo is called the “kiddy” system. Is it wrong for a company to make games that everybody can play and enjoy? It it so bad that their worlds are colorful and not dark and drab? I for one love that Nintendo plays by the beat of their own drum. They do things the Nintendo way which if you have been reading this then you know that stands for quality. Sure they are not perfect and they could change a few things (online voice chat) but even after all these years they still make fun games to play and isn’t that what gaming is all about? So the next time you want to bash on Nintendo why don’t you go bash on the Xbox One for being the console that can barely run games in 1080p resolution, or bash the PS4 for it’s lack of first party software. Nintendo makes machine’s designed for one purpose and that is to play amazing games, plain and simple.
*In no way does my opinion reflect the rest of the staff at GameGravy or it’s affiliates*