Is Nintendo just stupid?

I am so sick of the same stuff, different year.

True story, conversation I had with a guy at work yesterday on the production line. Young guy, into cars mostly, racing and stuff for reals (you should see his ‘road car’, it’s pretty sweet) but during the winter months he playes video games, WoW, etc.

And we’re talking about the Rock Band announcements for the Wii (no downloadable content), and he tells me, “Oh, I’m a huge Nintendo fanboi. I’ve always bought everything they make. But I sold my Wii a few months after I bought it. It’s awesome they have held their value so well, I really got my money out of it. Nintendo really lost me with the way they handled this one.”

 And I know what he meant.

Look, every console Nintendo puts out follows the same cycle.

They develop a console, they have in-house first party software development that puts out polished, solid, innovative gameplay that just shines with style and quality, gameplay that is new and fresh and pretty well tuned. 

They sell the consoles and games on the enthusiasm of the community that can see the promise inherent in the new console. It comes out strong, it’s gorgeous, the games blow folks away.

Everyone who buys one then waits for that promise to be delivered on.

And waits.

Third party developers see the popularity of the console and first party software, and continue to refine the ideas and put them out, and new third party games come out, but highly anticipated titles from Nintendo become few, and release dates stretch out. A few revamped games in their long-running popular brands come out to keep fans going over the next few years.

And that’s it. The console is dead. Longer and longer delays occur between first party releases. Strange peripherals come out that hook up to the regular unit that seem to have little to no actual game use in the long term, just single purpose items that have no broader application, and support for them is hastily abandoned.

The promise, the beauty, the OBVIOUS things that we could clearly see in the vision of the original console never happen. The development path stops halfway and moves on to the next thing, like a ferret boinging down a path headed for a flowerbed, stopping and changing course near a stream, calling out “Oooh, shiny!”

Which console am I talking about? NAME ONE. That’s the one I’m talking about.

The Nintendo consoles have never really cost that much money when I’ve bought ’em, I’m not an early adopter by nature. So hey, it’s fine. For example, I picked up my Gamecube for $50 on eBay, got a handful of amazing games like Paper Mario 2, and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, and the hardware addon that lets you plug in DS cartridges to play on your big TV, and the Mario Dance Dance Revolution game with dance mat, etc. It is fun, a few great games, not too expensive. I still ahve it, it rocks.

As long as you approach them as good, fun game machines, as is, without expecting them to continue to grow and expand, you are solid.

I changed my style on the Wii. They suckered me in. I did buy early on the Wii.

It just looked too fantastic, it looked like the suits in Nintendo had gotten the idea about the way todays’ game player, young and old alike, are NOT stupid, and want more interaction and more options and new, fresh content all the time.

It was coming with wireless motion sensitive controllers that are inherently ideal for light gun games. Clearly, the thing is a port of the best On-Rails shooter games just waiting to happen.

It’s got wireless internet access, and would come with an integrated marketplace designed for purchasable, downloadable content. It would be far less expensive than the other two next-gen game systems. It would be based around family fun, but also cater to solid console gamers that like their fighting and racing and FPS.

Oh yeah, they suckered me good.

The Wii came out, and I tried the disc that came with it, with the minigames.

Clearly, I was right in buying it. Nintendo had that shooting minigame in there, and it was obvious someone saw how perfect their system was for such games. They would come out in a flood. All the minigames showed that Nintendo had some solid thought into the gameplay for this sucker. It was going to be golden.

The marketplace worked. You could pay for and download content from Virtual Console and play right away, nice and smooth. And Nintendo was not just putting agmes on it, they were throwing open their entire library of classic games eventually. With support like that, they had to be serious this time. Dead serious.

The whole thing was… finished. Clear.

So I bought it.

And once again, there have been a handful of highly refined, polished games that have showcased the capabilities of the system.

And then the third party games that flooded the market with reworked concepts of Nintendo ideas, and ports of crappy versions of things on other consoles.

But where is the follow through? Why have they already abandoned carrying through on the obvious capabilities?

Early on, one announcement I remember being excited about, was the word that third party independent software designers would be able to make their games available on the Virtual Console. I could conceivably buy new content direct on my system from small, in-house software start-ups. The Xbox marketplace had seen this to a wild success, and I wanted it too.

Yes, awesome, thank you, it’s a no brainer, but I was getting worried. But you announced it so maybe you DO have a clue, thank you god.

Well, where is it?

All I see on my Wii are old games that Nintendo is putting out to get more money from us a second time around. Where is the third party Virtual Console presence? Where are actual downloadable game trailers or game demos for upcoming games?

Where are video clips other players have saved from their matches and uploaded to share?

Where the flying f&*k is the downloadable content for ports of games DESIGNED FOR DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT?!?

Are you really this STUPID? How can you have Rock Band, or Guitar Hero, or ANY game that is wide open for expansion through us giving you money for a few more songs to stretch out our enjoyment of it, and NOT do it?

Are you stupid? Is that what it is?

You see this? This in my hands? This is the bucket full of money we want to hand you in exchange for the downloadable content the other console owners get. What, you don’t want it? Why? is it dirty?

I personally work with 5 other people that own Wiis. They all had been really looking forward to Rock band, and had waited to buy it on Wii. All of them just looked at me in shock when I told them there would be no downaloable content int he future, that what came on the disc was it.

And one of them said, “But they could add support for it later, right?” 

That one sentence so perfectly sums up Nintendo fanboi-ism. It can’t do it now, and there is no announcement they ever will, but it’s so obvious… hey, they could do it later, right? Right? Maybe they just haven’t thought of it yet.

Yeah, right.

How about games? When is the next Zelda-quality game coming out for it? You released a beautiful Zelda, we all loved it… it’s been a long time now, Nintendo. Where is the next game of that quality? Anything? Anything at all? Oh, wait, we’re in the part of the development cycle where we get revamps of exiting brands… Mario Kart Racing, Super Smash Brothers, etc.

Where are the light gun games? Not FPS shooters, I’m letting you off the hook for that, you did your ONE. We know you only do one of each type. Metroid was pretty good. I know we won’t see any more after that out of you, you did your one for this console.

But where are the on-rails shooters? Where?!? I’m sorry, but that short little tech demo that came with your lightgun strap-on, Links’ Crossbow Big Game Fishing Hunter does NOT count.

And now, can you say ‘Wii Fit’? Hmm, have we entered the part of the cycle where wierd ass single hardware pieces get released that might have a lot of potential… except we know that it gets dropped without any support, and the potential we can imagine, YOU WILL NOT IMPLEMENT.

You got me. I bought early, I was delighted, I envisioned what would surely come as you capitalized on the potential inherent in your brilliant console design and remote.

Why haven’t I learned? WHY!?!

Look, here is a clue for you. We are gamers. We are also collectors, chasers of hidden things, easter egg hunters at heart, completists at our core.

What games do we love the most? We love ones that let us seek out and find stuff to collect, preferably stuff that makes us more powerful/look cooler/whatever.

Console RPG; start a character, look for stuff to get to customize.

Racing games; play to unlock new cars, new tracks, new wheels, new colors, new suspensions.

If you give us a game, and then you give us some extra features or options we can buy online, then download and use, we will do so.

The whole Guitar Hero/Rock Band thing pisses me off the worst. It really is the capper.

You know what? I love Guitar Hero, for what it promises. But it’s nowhere near what I want for a finished product.

What I want is Guitar Hero or Rock Band, where you buy the damn game and instruments, and it gives you three or four songs from every genre of music. You don’t have to play ’em all to unlock a damn thing, you can simply choose to play the music YOU like.

You can play your rap, your bluegrass, your country, stadium rock, hair band ballads, death metal, I don’t care, have some of ALL of them. Don’t discriminate, damn it!

Then, you make a large selection of songs, of all genres, available via download. Make it the new karaoke. A large selection. I don’t care if they’re covers, I’m singing along or I’m pounding on my guitar, I could care less if it’s really Charlie Daniels singing “A Country Boy Can Survive.”

If you like a particular type of music, then you should be able to go out and buy 25 songs that are all that type, play what YOU like. And you don’t have to beat 5 tiers of rock songs to get to Free Bird, for f%ks sake.

You like Type O Negative? Dead Can Dance? Do you really want to play the Police to get to your music? I do NOT think so.

Hello? Having no downloadable content at all available for these games when it’s on the other two consoles sends a clear message to me; Virtual Console has been abandoned. It will continue to get old game releases, since there is presumably a department that is converting the old ones and putting them live already in place and funded.

But I sincerely doubt we are just months away from seeing video game trailers, movie trailers, playable demos, or third party independent content on Virtual Console. And if the biggest popular games are coming out wihtout support for it, then yeah… that equals dead to me.

I’m glad I got it for what it already does, it is a great family fun party machine. The minigames deliver on that part of their promise. I love it for Super Paper Mario, I love it for Wario, and I expect that when the reported sequel to Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles comes out on it, if it is in any way as perfect as the original, it will have paid for it’s space on my shelf with that game.

But this is the last time I ever buy a Nintendo product for full retail value, based on my excitement at the possibilities. I’ll buy it for what it does NOW, not what it may do in the future.

16 thoughts on “Is Nintendo just stupid?

  1. For Rails shooters, there is Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, Ghost Squad, House of the Dead, and I believe the medal of honor was a rails shooter as well.


  2. I keep reading great reviews of Okami, and still haven’t tried it. I have no idea why. And Cassie LOVED Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. rreminds me I need to go look up the sequels’ street date.

    Brad, we greatly enjoyed Super Paper Mario for single player, and Cassie loves Carnival Games. I liked it a lot too.

    Carnival Games does have some difficult minigames, but there were some we both loved playing together.

    I’d highly recommend renting it and trying it out.

    And I’m not joking about the Super Paper Mario.


  3. I bought my Wii three weeks ago. I have played it whenever anyone has come over, but not one second by myself until this week. This week I rented Smash Brothers. It was fun, for an hour. My brother-in-law and I played it later that night for like 4 hours. I love it for when people are over, but it did not grab us like we thought it would. I have talked to lots of other teachers that have it and ask what games they have, and everyone spends most of their time with wii sports and wii play. I don’t mind causal, hell with WOW I get all the hardcore I need, but put some games out that grab us!

    Any suggestions what else to play when we have other couples over? I have looked at reviews or carnival games, playground, and warioware and it all seems like the same as the discs I own now.


  4. BBB;

    If you liked Twilight Princess–and you didn’t pick it up for the PS2–run out and get Okami. The game is really fantastic, and the wiimote pointer functionality works really well on this one.

    Also, I think the third party titles are only going to get better as developers get used to the motion controls. Same deal as with the ds, which took quite a while to hit its stride in that area.


  5. Oh, and here’s another cool bit on third party stuff. It’s not quite an on rails shooter, but IMO it’s still pretty awesome: Sam & Max S1 is coming to the Wii 😀 Digg, Gamespot and some other outlets picked it up.

    More info on no Rock Band DLC; Harmonix is blaming Nintendo for the whole ordeal(the no HDD comment I made earlier), but like I said; if people really want it, then spending 40 bucks on an SD card isn’t out of the option, IMO. I figure this because I bought one for the system way back in the day, and haven’t even touched it yet. 😦

    Clicky for where I found a quote to that effect:


  6. I wholeheartedly feel your pain with the Wii issue. My problem is that, well, the majority of the games seem like UTTER CRAP that I wouldn’t dream dropping 50-60 bucks on. I’ve got your standard mario galaxy, metroid, etc. and even a couple like trauma center (which I really liked).

    I agree with everyone here on the bullshit rehashing of games from other systems then having them suck.


  7. Ahhh…. hehe. Well, prayers on DLC are being addressed, so anyone got any answers for me on rail shooters? As long as my rant is getting me info, what the heck, I can pray, right?


  8. I can definitely understand the disappointment about downloadables in general on the Wii, but one thing I want to point out with regards to (new) third party downloadable games is that Ninty haven’t abandoned us there. They finally launched the Wiiware service for DLC games in Japan last month, and we are supposed to get it next month, so there is, at least, hope. From what I am reading, a lot of the Wiiware games themselves will have DLC as well, so perhaps somebody over there is finally catching on to the idea. *fingers crossed*


  9. lol. Well I haven’t even seen the Wii in stock since release. Oh wait, i saw one at BB, and (it was funny) a crowd of teenage salespeople pitched the hard sale. I almost got it. But that’s been Nintendo’s tactic for decades too. Keep supply so tight that demand is still pent up. Now that all our friends have the Wii, it’s not all that great as I first though, so I won’t get it. We bought the Raving Rabbits game for my wife’s brother (he has down’s syndrome). We figured the minigames would be real easy. No, you have to actually unlock all the minigames by becoming insanely good at them. There is no way around this. It just screams fail. Now we have a software that we can’t return (past return date) for a console we don’t own. That sucks. Ebay i guess.


  10. Yep, Nintendo has done this forever…great initial concept and release, horrible continuing support. It’s why they were second to Sega back in the day, then second to Playstation, and now just somewhere in the pack.

    Just to get off tangent a little…could someone whack the Guitar Hero folks upside the head and get them to release the wireless controller for the XBox 360 as a stand alone product already? Please? You know everyone NEEDS a second controller, right? It’s a party type game, a second controller is an EASY sell. You already have the product, just package it without the game bundle for F’s sake!


  11. WEll, I’ll give Jason the nod as being clearly more in the loop as far as what Harmonix is doing.

    Clearly, he has facts I lack, so okay… I’ll hate on them.


  12. The crossbow-style Zapper really disappointed me. Even though the only shooting games I have now are Shooting Gallery from Wii Play and the rails shooter part of Rayman, I still can’t wait for Nyko to release the Perfect Shot in June. Finally, a pistol grip for my Wiimote!

    And as for the Wii’s limited storage being a problem for DLC, there’s plenty of room for expansion. Jason mentioned in passing the SD card support. My 2GB card cost me $30 a year ago, but I see they still only come as large as 4GB and haven’t dropped much in price since. It’s cramped by other consoles’ standards, but plenty for something like adding songs to Rock Band. Even better would be support for USB Mass Storage devices on those neglected USB ports.


  13. I personally can’t pin the no DLC for Rock Band and GH3 on Nintendo at all. To date, everything I’ve read has been from Harmonix and MTV games saying ‘No HDD = No DLC’. Yes, that’d make it hard, but there’s nothing keeping them from offering it aside from their issue with the minute amount of internal storage. With that, I have no issues pinning it on Nintendo, but I can’t see it being that much of an issue to pull data off the card. After all, the photo channel does it, so clearly it’s technically viable.

    As for DLC in general, I’m as stumped as you are. That could easily be Nintendo lockout, which is EPIC FAIL. But the EPIC FAIL for Rock Band, which to me is a game built for DLC more than any other game I’ve played ever, I blame Harmonix for simply refusing to do it.


  14. I agree that in terms of handhelds, Nintendo has the win. I agree with a lot fo your points.

    On the other hand, I absolutely do not absolve Nintendo from any part in the DLC issues. They do, in fact, have a major part in this, because Nintendo holds the keys to access and software programming for their Virtual Console, and I have seen no signs of them wanting to play nice with others.

    I have yet to hear a single person say they intend to buy Rock Band for the Wii… AFTER the ‘no DLC’ announcement. And these were people that are all excited about it, but bought a Wii, not a 360.

    I think it says a lot about the hunger for the Rock Band product, and it’s role as a family/party game JUST AS THE WII ITSELF IS A FAMILY/PARTY CONSOLE, that what I am hearing is, “Well, I played Rock Band at a friends house, and I really want it. I’ve been waiting for the Wii version, but I guess I’ll have to buy a 360 so we can get it, and that sucks.”

    From a profit point of view, that screams to me fail. And I’m fairly sure whoever is handling the port at Harmonix didn’t just decide on a whim to neuter their chance at profits on that console. But I’m just not the only one that wants continued support of a product, just like everyone else gets.

    I dunno, I could be wrong. Suits have done far stupider things, it’s true. maybe it is all on the developers and distributers end.

    But if Nintendo is playing nice, then can I ask where the hell ANY third party downloadable content is, then?


  15. While I agree on a lot of points, there’s a bit that I don’t. But, the good stuff first.

    First Party Support – Nintendo has gotten really, really lax on this. However, as in all things, I would prefer they take their time, and put out fewer but higher quality releases than more less polished, less refined releases. On that, somethings that I’d like to see updates of:

    Kid Icarus

    And that’s all I can honestly think of. Fire Emblem is out. Zelda is out(WANT MOAR), Metroid is out, Mario is out, Mario Kart is out, Smash Brothers is out. Nintendo has put out a lot of first party releases. Not as many as I’d like to see, but a lot. Problem is, a lot of them just don’t get a lot of press. They really are bad in that department.

    Third party stuff – This is where I have a lot of issue. It’s not Nintendo’s fault that Harmonix and EA and whoever else are screwing Wii owners with no DLC for Rock Band and GH3. I am just as angry, and won’t be picking it up for the Wii. Instead, I’ll continue suffering along without it until I can pick up a 360 and buy it there. I too, get my hackles up at the fact that third party stuff is all bad ports and rehashed crap. It’s irritating seeing PS3 and 360 get all the good third party original stuff. But that’s life for a Nintendo console. The Genesis started leaking it all away over a decade ago; the Playstation continued that trend when it first launched.

    Trailers and other DLC – I don’t think this will ever happen, and TBH I don’t ever recall hearing that it was going to happen. 512mb of internal storage isn’t a whole lot, when you consider that game demos these days run double that in size at a minimum in most cases. Trailers are a little more doable, but there’s no built in media player to handle things like that that I’ve seen. I’m sure it’s possible to add in channel or some such, but the whole small internal flash drive with memory cards doesn’t really make it an attractive option. Some sort of external HDD attachment would go a long way to remedy that, but I don’t think it’ll happen either.

    All in all, it’s just the current state of affairs, sadly. I wish it weren’t the case; I’ve owned every major console released by Nintendo in the last 20+ years, starting with the original NES I got when I was 6. I got the SNES right after it launched, N64 the year it launched, GCN I bought when it hit $99, and I bought the Wii within a month of launch, because it took me that long to find one. I’ve owned at least one of ever iteration of GB out there, save the DS Lite, and that’s only because I prefer my DS Phat. On the DS note, I think that’s where all of Nintendo’s creativity is really going; all the good stuff is on the DS.


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