Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Inane Idiocy of Saying "I've Outgrown Nintendo"

One of the most overused and obnoxious sayings I see against Nintendo from their critics is that gamers have "outgrown Nintendo." This is pure lunacy, in my opinion. That's like me saying I've outgrown Disney, despite that company producing and manufacturing content for all ages. What gets me further agitated is some of these same people say they've outgrown Nintendo go on to play what I would consider to be totally immature, albeit very fun and well designed game series like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty.

I think the most important distinction to be made is that "Nintendo games" is not a genre. By saying this, you're painting with a broad brush, thinking all Nintendo makes is one kind of product, which is completely untrue. It's not like saying "I've outgrown military shooters that are popular online with nine-year-old racists screeching profanities and telling me to have sexual things done to myself." There's a big, not-so-subtle difference here. Nintendo creates games for everyone. Just because some have more color than others does not mean that the game is simply for kids. That's a fallacy that only middle school children should make, and not grown adults.

Even still, Nintendo doesn't just make Mario and Zelda, though that is clearly their bread and butter, without question. No, they produce action games like Metroid and Kid Icarus, arcade shoot-em-ups like Sin & Punishment: Star Successor, eccentric sports games like ExciteBots: Trick Racing and Punch-Out!!, strategy RPGs like Fire Emblem, and traditional RPGs like Xenoblade Chronicles. When someone paints with a broad brush and states that they have outgrown Nintendo, that means to me that they've totally ignored everything Nintendo has put out. Nintendo doesn't do one thing and one thing alone. They make a wide assortment of games for a wide assortment of people. If a given person can't find anything that Nintendo produces, then I can't help but think they have an extremely limited taste in gaming.

Kid Icarus: Uprising
(i.e. Not a Mario or Zelda game.)
Some argue that the industry has grown up while Nintendo has not. This assumption annoys me, as all I see in the retail space are games that would rather be Hollywood blockbusters than-- you know-- actual games, titles with budgets that are insanely high and have a lopsided risk vs. reward ratio, and a profusion of games with guns. That is not growing up. That is simply a different direction than what Nintendo is doing. To me it's a worse direction, but to others it is what they want out of gaming. Perhaps they think that if gaming gets closer in scope to Hollywood and film the mainstream will take the industry more seriously. However, I'm sure all of the studios that closed this past generation due to only one of their games failing to sell one million copies just to break even wouldn't have minded trying Nintendo's direction if it meant staying alive.

While not a bad game by any means,
MGS4 felt more like a movie with gameplay
parts than a game with cutscenes.

I grew up in the 8-bit and 16-bit eras-- the true golden age of gaming. There was great variety in genres. You can't really say that today, where the most anticipated and/or best selling titles are either shooters or sports games. Developers didn't try to mimic Hollywood, making interactive movies under the guise of games-- they knew they were a separate medium than film and treated video games as such.

Sure, it's a type of shooter,
but not the type we see so much of today.
Another reason as to why some folks say they've outgrown Nintendo has nothing to do with their games and more to do with company's policies. In a generation where $400 and $500 systems will be the norm with their beastly power, the Wii U, in comparison, has all the power of a kitty cat. These critics who have "aged out of Nintendo" have possibly grown weary of the company utilizing underpowered consoles when compared to the competition. In this regard, they've outgrown Nintendo due to their weak hardware, which is one position I can actually understand.

Perhaps I'm simply being a stick in the mud, or showing my age. That's entirely in the realm of possibility. Nonetheless, I've been playing Nintendo's games ever since Super Mario Bros. on the original Nintendo Entertainment System. In an incredibly unstable gaming industry, one constant that I have the pleasure in knowing is that Nintendo will deliver competent, capable, and nearly always enjoyable games. They may take less risks and may be more conservative now than ever before, but the titles they churn out with care and polish still make me smile. In a world where guns and gore, or big blockbuster budget movie-like games seem to be what the industry deems "mature", I'm happy there is still a niche for creative and charming titles in the gaming industry. No, Nintendo isn't the only developer/publisher producing such titles. Far from it. However, they've always been a constant in this regard in their illustrious history in the gaming industry.

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