Written by John Hussey
Every now and again I feel the need to ask certain questions, ones that leave me puzzled about how life and the world works. Today in particular I want to know whether or not Nintendo is a corporation of crafty, money-grabbing, arse-hats that continually con their fans out of their money.
I suppose this all steams back to my views on the gaming industry and which company’s I trust and stay loyal to. You’re probably aware by now that I stand by Sony Interactive Entertainment and the PlayStation because I feel they deliver content for their fandom, releasing quality systems to play games off and fantastically crafted exclusives. This (for me anyway) is the key to a good console and relationship between manufacturer and consumer. With games like Uncharted, The Last of Us, Kingdom Hearts, God of War, Sly Cooper, Ratchet and Clank, Heavy Rain, Until Dawn, Infamous, Killzone, and Bloodborne, you have yourself a long list of great games to choose from whilst Microsoft and their Xbox lack any definitive exclusives (with a lot of them being ported to PlayStation over time).
The only real rival in the exclusive department is Nintendo, having got Super Mario Bros., Pokémon, Kirby, The Legend of Zelda, and Super Smash Bros. to name a few. But I’ve always felt that these games don’t canter to me for one reason or another, which is why I stray over to PlayStation because they produce an abundance of games that I enjoy to play. But it’s with these exclusives that help to lure in the selected gamers that will willingly follow a particular company and their consoles. However, whilst Sony are more honest with their products, i.e. luring gamers in with good content, Nintendo are more devious and cunning (and not necessarily in a good way).
It’s because of this that I’m quite sceptical of Nintendo and have had some deep arguments with my partner because of this. Basically she loves Nintendo and their content, whereas I don’t, but it’s made worse by the fact that I question why she’s so devoted to their content. I do this because I actually despise the way they go about producing products and literally con the players.
My biggest hatred goes towards their beloved mascot Mario. He’s the face of evil in my eyes, luring in player’s with his sweet smile, his cartoonish nature, and the iconic voice of Charles Martinet. But it all plays out to be the perfect advertisement and draw factor. It makes you want to come over and play their games despite the fact that it’s the same fucking game over and over again. I’m not kidding, look at any of the main Super Mario Bros. games of the last ten years and I guarantee they’re virtually the same with a few minor tweaks.
This started with Super Mario Bros. Wii, starting a nasty trend of releasing new Super Mario Bros. games for each new console, but they’re the same game with maybe a few new levels, and most obvious, new graphics. Essentially you’re buying a re-master, except, Nintendo have the cheek to promote it as a new game. What infuriates me further is the lazy title card of simply slapping on the name of the console as if gamers are dumb and need to be told what console it’s for. I don’t fully hate the Mario franchise because when Nintendo can be arsed to put the effort in they produce some real gems, i.e. Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, Luigi’s Mansion, and Super Mario Galaxy.
It just sickens me that they can re-release the same fucking game over and over by slapping a tweaked title on the box. It’s a massive con. Plus it’s rather annoying that the same basic set-up returns in each game, from the controls, the design, and the level structures. I know sometimes there’s no need to fix something that isn’t broken but I think Nintendo takes that saying one step too fucking far.
This seems to be the problem with most of their main franchises, with The Legend of Zelda coming to mind. I know I haven’t played any of the games but it always seems to me that each game (like Mario) follows the same formula, making me feel convinced that Nintendo relies solely on repetition and nostalgia which is wrong. They need to move forward as well as celebrating the past otherwise they will never truly progress.
And then we come to Pokémon, the biggest con of them all. For starters each new generation comes with two games. One will have one Legendary Pokémon whilst the other game will have the other. Seems harmful enough I suppose as it allows you to choose who you want to have on your team. But then it starts to become really sneaky as you technically require both games to acquire all the different items and Pokémon. You could say that it promotes multiplayer experiences as you go out and trade with other players, thus socialising over something you love. But deep down it’s just another con.
Why can’t the content be put onto one cartridge? It’s not like there’s any other reason other than making more money. Double the cartridges, double the profit. And you might think that this is stupid marketing at first but it’s not because the games sell, and I mean sell. Some gamers will happily buy both versions of the game just so they can have all the content without faffing around trading online. So essentially that person has bought the same game twice just to acquire the different items that reside on the different versions when in reality they could’ve just been on one cartridge. What the fuck?!
It wouldn’t be so bad if the games had different content in terms of story and characters, representing the different Legendary Pokémon but this isn’t the case. They’re the same game, just with a few different items and Pokémon, meaning you need both versions to complete the game 100%. I don’t know whether to be pissed off with Nintendo or to praise them for clever strategy in merchandising. I suppose they do take it a little too far when it comes to “special events” when they’re mostly exclusive to Japan, meaning the rest of the world essentially misses out on rare Pokémon. Again, it seems to me that Pokémon is all about having all the coolest shit and having to go to extreme lengths to obtain it (usually resulting in spending a lot of money).
And then Nintendo take it one step further by bringing out a third instalment which is essentially a re-master of the first two games, cramming in everything that is great about the first two games plus updates, design tweaks, and extra content. Okay, now that is definitely a con. Essentially you bring out two fucking cartridges that hold the same content, except for a few minor differences which forces players to obtain both versions to get all the relevant content, only to then bring out a third fucking cartridge which essentially becomes the definitive version because it holds everything the first cartridges had and more. Fuck! You! Nintendo! You! Greedy! Fucking! Bastards!
What made things worse was when I basically stated this fact to my partner she looked at me as if it was okay. How the fuck is this okay?! They are conning you. They are deliberately prying on your needs and draining your wallets dry. Am I the only one that sees that? Why don’t they just bring out the third game first if that’s the definitive version? Why go to all the trouble of making three fucking games? I’ll tell you why because they’re a greedy money-grabbing corporation that have their dear little fandom tightly held by the bollocks and because of that they will do anything they tell them to.
Then comes the biggest problem (besides all the ones mentioned above) is that Nintendo aren’t very good anymore when it comes to third-party games. Even my partner will admit that anything that isn’t made directly by Nintendo are cheaply made games without any real quality or enthusiasm. So this basically means that you’re buying a really expensive console so that you can claim the few exclusives released throughout the year. That’s basically the opposite of buying a Microsoft console, you’re buying it for the third-party games (because they’re aren’t really any exclusives left on the Xbox besides Halo and Gears of War [which aren’t too dissimilar when you think about it]).
And bare in mind what I said above, a lot of the content is a rehash of what’s been done before. It’s not so far off from buying EA games in which they have the cheek to bring out the same shit each and every year and charge you full-price for what is essentially a DLC package of the game from about ten years ago. It’s a bit hard to compare on the hand-held console front because the only real competition is the PlayStation Vita which has its flaws in terms of content, but at least the hardware tries to push itself whereas Nintendo stay within the parameters of cartoonish art-style because apparently they can’t create quality graphics otherwise.
I guess that’s another problem you can add to the list: it’s all too child friendly. It’s very rare you see anything anymore produced for a Nintendo console that’s strictly adult content. It’s usually brightly coloured and for a more family audience, which I suppose I can’t judge too much (because Disney does a similar thing) but it does in many ways limit its audience and alienates many players who want more of a variety (such as myself). But, then again, this guise could just be another clever means of covering up their devious schemes for conning players out of their money.
Another thing Nintendo prides itself on nowadays is technology, usually resorting to making their consoles hip and cool for the kids to get down with (usually turning the said console into a massive fucking gimmick). The Wii certainly proved to be a success with its family orientated appeal, bringing together different members and ages to play along to a variety of different (if mostly the same) party games in order to have simple fun. Even I was a sucker for enjoying the Wii for it’s harmless fun, but I guess this is another reason it became a lure because it promoted family entertainment.
But the problem there is that’s what it was: a family console, meaning it was only useful for parties (and let’s face it, you don’t have those everyday of the week), meaning it became redundant throughout most of the year (unless you was one of those people who was sad, and lonely, enough to play party games by themselves just to get better in preparation for the next family-do).
Unfortunately, the Wii was a double-age sword in terms of its content. On the main front it was a family entertainment system but then there was a small part of it that catered entirely for hard-core gamers. With that sentence alone you can see the problem this kind of dilemma causes, meaning hard-core gamers were forced to buy a console that was primarily focused upon family games just to play the far and few exclusives that were actual Nintendo games, such as Super Mario Galaxy, Mario Kart Wii, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, Sonic Colors, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
What a fucking rob! Not to mention you’re stuck with a console that’s filled with endless shitty third-party games that are either devoid of any soul or are simply put together to serve the gimmicky motion controls. Upon the Wii-U coming out things became even clearer that either Nintendo no longer knew what they were doing or were just pitifully spelling out the words “sell-out” and “money-grabbers” as you’re faced with another dilemma console that doesn’t know what it wants to be, not to mention featuring some of the worst gimmicky control systems on the planet.
I could go and on as to why Nintendo get under-my-skin so let’s just end it there. All I will say is I hope this article has made some sort of sense (as I would hate for you all to be really confused right now, or simply hating me for even daring to throw shit at Saint Nintendo). Also, I would like to stress that I’m not straight-up taking a jab at Nintendo, just simply pointing out some technical flaws in their merchandising and the way they go about selling them (it really doesn’t do them any favours).
Plus, I could say the same for any company (heck, I only yesterday harpooned Sony for their crazy antics with the Spider-Man franchise). They’re out to just make money, no matter whether or not they have a good relationship with their consumer, they just want to reach into your wallets and take every last penny.
Before I go, I would like to settle my curiosity by asking this final question: “Are Nintendo fans just totally oblivious by actually going along with Nintendo’s obvious money-grabbing schemes?” And if so then I take back every bit of slander I threw within this article because how can I fully blame Nintendo for doing what they are doing if their consumers want to play the ignorant game. Nintendo are obviously going to continue to con the players and make a shit ton of money if they know they can take advantage of their consumers for being unable to open their fucking eyes to the truth. The Con is an illusion.
Anyway, I think the noose is tight enough around my neck for one day, time to make a quick get-away before the drum-roll finishes and the trap door opens beneath my feet. Peace out!