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12 Nov 2013

The Many Foibles of Nintendo

Sorry about this, but I feel the need to rant about the constant stupidity of one of the world's largest computer console manufacturers.

So, the 'brand new 2DS' has been released, but before I get to my issues with it, I have to travel right back to the N64. First off, in an era with the brand new disc based Playstation and Sega whateveritwascalled, Nintendo, in their not quite infinite wisdom, decided to stick with cartridges. Because of this very poor decision, they lost out on the phenomenally popular Final Fantasy VII; a series that had been released on their consoles for almost a decade before. Their excuse? Short loading times. But, with short loading times in those days came short games.
And then we come to their worst decision with that console. The controller. For those of you too young to remember, it was similar to the Playstation controller, except with abnormally long handles, AND a completely unnecessary third prong. I've yet to meet a human being with enough hands to hold that thing properly, so what most people did was hold two of them … throughout the entire game. They didn't even need to switch handles because, wisely, no game ever took advantage of this system.

Then, their next great idea was the Game Cube. They had fixed the controller by then, and now it looked similar to the so-awesome-it-hasn't-really-changed-in-four-generations Playstation controller, but, they still thought the public wanted shorter games. So used a smaller disc to that of Sony. This meant they could not even tap into the DVD market that Sony now dominated with the PS2. A decision that popularised the use of the format.
And then we had the Wii. Apart from its stupid sounding name, it hadn't moved on technology wise, except for its gimmicky controllers. I admit, I did enjoy playing on it for this reason, but when your entire sales pitch is a gimmick, it isn't going to last. Having stuck to the previous generation's technology, they couldn't even boast superior graphics.
So, out comes the Wii U with honestly, their worst idea for a controller since the N64. It has a screen in it! Wow! Remember the Dreamcast? Yeah, that had a screen in its controller and that forced Sega to cease console making and become solely a software developer. A controller should be invisible. It is a means to an end. Putting a heavy screen in it and forcing the player to look away from the television is counterproductive.

And now we come to their handheld consoles. Don't get me wrong, back in the day the Gameboy was a genius piece of technology. It was portable! No other console ever was at that time. Until Sega's Gamegear came out. In colour! And with a screen in between the buttons, meaning you had a good hold of the console rather than scrunching your hands up at the bottom. Nintendo did not fix the colour until the GBA (no, I'm not counting GBC because it could not render anything other than like ten different colours) and they didn't fix the screen position until the DS. Which I will now say, is another of their silly gimmicky ideas. Two screens! You're getting twice the screenage for your money!
So what about the 3DS? Well, it had 3D capabilities without the need for glasses, which was cool. But that was its only selling point. And now we have the 2DS which is like a standard DS, but without the clamshell design. What's more, the 'two screens' is actually only ONE screen! Yup, that's right your dual screen system is lying to you. All they've done to keep the DS gimmick is place a plastic strip across a screen that could have been quite large.

Basically, Nintendo have survived in the competitive market of Xbox and Playstation by using cheaper old technology and gimmicks. Sooner or later, they're going to have to start making games other than Mario.

Oh, yes, I went there. That fat little Italian plumber has kept the company in business for years, despite being only fun enough to fill a few bored minutes, and even then, it can struggle. Every other game stars this character and it's getting on my nerves. Nintendo are just the champions of unoriginal content provided by gimmicky hardware.

/rant. Next time I'll be back with something a little more positive. I just had to get this off my chest.

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