So there I was, driving down the autobahn at 130 KPH, and then it hit me. No, nothing actually hit me, I probably wouldn't be here typing this if anything had. What I meant was that I had a thought. I just so happened to be thinking about the Nintendo Wii and I had a revelation. Well, maybe not a revelation per se, more like a breakthrough.

In the beginning there were a whole bunch of consoles that not many people alive today have ever actually played, so let's jump forward a little bit. In 1985 Nintendo was ready to launch its brand new console to a game deprived public (make that good game deprived public, there were plenty of bad ones around), but there was a problem. After the videogame crash of '83 retailers didn't want to trust a new console, so Nintendo got sneaky. Enter R.O.B., that little gray guy that came boxed with the brand new Nintendo Entertainment System. Notice that videogames console is nowhere in its name, and that was the point. It wasn't a videogame console, it was a toy, hence the addition of the plastic paperweight. And therein lies the problem.

Since the console was marketed as a toy and sold mostly to children, Nintendo got a reputation of being just for kids. This is a reputation that Nintendo has tried to change, but with little success. And now my thoughts on this. Who cares? One thing that you can always count on with Nintendo is great first party games. Sure, they are generally really cartoony, colorful kid games, but guess what? There's nothing wrong with that. Besides, adults still play them too. Mario since the NES days has always been about exploring bright, blocky worlds with lots of not too terribly dangerous bad guys to step on. Super Mario Bros. is most definitely a kids game, but we still love it no matter our age.

See, the problem isn't that Nintendo makes games for kids (once you admit that Nintendo has ALWAYS made games for kids), it's that we grew up and changed but Nintendo didn't. They've always been about the pure fun of the experience, not about the blood or blown apart bodies (one reason why the SNES Mortal Kombat game had gray blood instead of red). I was 12 when I first played the NES and it was very influential to me at that age. When I got older, I looked less and less to Nintendo for my games. My tastes were changing, but Nintendo was still doing the same types of games they did during the NES and SNES generations. Was there anything wrong with that? No, but I didn't think that way at the time. I kept wondering why Nintendo didn't mature with me. Why didn't they make games for the 18 year olds, for the 21 year olds, for the 25 year olds? Why were they still making games for the 12 year olds, like I was in 1986? The answer? Because that is what they are good at and what gamers, true gamers, still want from them.

Nintendo consoles have never been about the same things that the PlayStation has. Or the Saturn has. Or the Xbox has. They are just about the enjoyment of the game, enjoyment for all ages, not just the gamer of average age. Whether we like it or not, Nintendo will always have children close to it's heart, kinda like a not so creepy Michael Jackson. And you know what? That's something I can live with.

Comments

2 responses to "Nintendo Generations"

  1. thejakeman On November 2, 2008 at 2:38 AM

    Commenting in an intelligent post. Yay for cool headed rationalism.

     
  2. Sean On January 3, 2009 at 11:27 AM

    Excellent post. I too am of the Nintendo generation.