Quiklist: 5 Reasons why Nintendo = Win


Posted by Eric on Thursday, July 10th, 2008 in Gaming Life / Quiklists

I. Icons

The Big N owns characters and franchises more recognizable than Mickey Mouse himself, speaking of Mario specifically of course. That alone is pretty damn impressive. The biggest names, characters, and series in gaming history. From Mario to Samus, Link to Donkey Kong, Nintendo’s got some heavy hitters, and game titles to go right along with’em.

II. Fanbase

Ask anyone, absolutely anyone, if they’ve heard of Nintendo. Unless the person literally just crawled out of a cave, chances are they know exactly who Nintendo is and could probably even tell you who some of the icons I just mentioned are. Nintendo is a household name, and will forever continue to be as long as the gaming industry is still around. Even though most games, especially lately, appeal to a much smaller demographic, players of any age can still enjoy their favorite titles thanks to Virtual Console.

III. Profitability

Nintendo has never released a console for less than it’s worth. Unlike Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo’s had their hands in the gaming industry for more than 25 years! That’s some hefty industry experience. Knowledge of the market can only help you play the upper hand. And with such a large margin of profit with every console released, you can’t help but pocket the moneys when your consoles are almost guaranteed to be sold.

Being a first-party developer with huge franchise names also helps Nintendo keep the change with software. A Mario-related game? You’d better believe they’ll bank. Plus it’s almost a given that any Nintendo console owner will also own 50% or more first-party titles in their library.

IV. Nonlinear franchise title names

This is important is because it doesn’t limit Big N’s ability to spit out smokin’ titles due to storyline. Games like Gears of War come to mind because it’s a storyline that will inevitably end at some point, regardless of if spin-offs are created. I love me some Gears, but the title is about the characters, not an object that couldn’t be replicated across many eras, like Halo for instance.

Nintendo got out of numbering their hot titles when they veered away from the SNES. Using an obvious choice, Mario, we had the original, 2, and 3 on the NES; then they gave us World 1 & 2 on the SNES, with the next major release being the jump into 3D with the N64. Since then, they’ve shown the industry that they don’t need to make storyline sequels to make people excited, and that the gameplay and franchise alone is what moves the product.

Zelda is another great example as only the second rendition of the series had a number tied to it. The franchise is one of Nintendo’s best and has over 13 games under its belt. Every version of the legend is the same, but is told a different way. Ocarina of Time, A Link to the Past, and Twilight Pricess are my personal favorites. Link has changed so many ways since his days on the NES. Some good; some bad; all appreciated, but his quest almost always remains the same.

V. Recycled hardware

This one probably doesn’t matter to most people, but I believe it’s been key to Nintendo’s success. When the SNES came out in 1991, Nintendo supplied the proprietary A/V cable. Same with the N64, and the GameCube; only the cable was the same...every single time.

Nintendo also had six different releases of the original GameBoy, exciting more people just by offering different colors of the unit. Two hardware versions later, the newer units could still play the original cartridges, by now consisting of 500+ titles. Then, accessories like Super GameBoy made old GameBoy games into new SNES games, increasing the console user-base by a percentage of the portable.

Here comes the real kicker; the Wii. Nintendo’s "next-gen" console is barely next-gen at all. A souped-up GameCube with a new costume and and an innovative control scheme is all Nintendo needed to absolutely dominate the console market of power lifters for nearly two years now. You still can’t find the thing on store shelves, even though it’s slowing down.

Nintendo has played the market for suckers, and taking everyone by astonishment. How can something with such horrible third party support be so popular. The answer is the demographic. The Wii appeals to every age group simply by offering easy, interactive gameplay; not to mention the ability to play every previous home console’s games, though not all, through the one system. Nothing says recycled hardware like backwards compatibility.

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