I don’t think we’ve ever done this before here at Crave. Mr. Paul Tamburro published an article last Friday that downright ruffled my feathers. Here she be:
I had to respond. Really. I read it, I disagreed and I knew I had to respond. This isn’t meant as an attack on Paul at all, but I think he’s misplaced a lot of his frustrations.
Nintendo isn’t blaming anyone for their problems. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Nintendo doesn’t even have anything to blame anyone for.
Paul built his argument around a section of an interview between Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime and Kotaku. You really need to read his editorial (linked above) in order to get an ounce of what I have to offer.
Here we go…
Gamers are hard to please.
While Paul may have isolated Reggie’s statement about pleasing gamers as an act of blame, I’ll note it’s an act of honest truth. We are a tough, tough crowd. We’re insatiable. We want more, we want better and we want it constantly.
Win us over, though? We’ll love you forever. Look at Valve. They’ve created some of the industries greatest experiences with their games and their marketplace. They’ve been working on, hopefully, Half-Life 3 for years without so much as a word on its potential progress. Gamers love Valve. And as such, we don’t care that they’re taking this long.
Oh, we joke about it, but we’re waiting patiently for Valve’s next. They’ve earned our trust.
Other companies aren’t so lucky. Gamers are quick to cry foul when something’s amiss. We’ll target our frustrations at whichever company we feel has wronged us. When a company does something right, we beg them to do it again.
How many times have you seen news about a game’s upcoming release and witnessed an interviewer or commenter immediately ask about future DLC? We’re insatiable, folks. Reggie’s right. Here’s his quote one more time.
"One of the things that, on one hand, I love and, on the other hand, that troubles me tremendously about not only our fanbase but about the gaming community at large is that, whenever you share information, the perspective is, 'Thank you, but I want more.' 'Thank you, but give me more.' I mean, it is insatiable.
And so for years this community has been asking, 'Where's Pikmin?' 'Where's Pikmin?' 'Where's Pikmin?' We give them Pikmin. And then they say, 'What else?'
For years, this community have said, 'Damnit Reggie, when you launch, you better launch with a Mario game.' So we launch with a Mario game, and they say, 'So what's more?'
I have heard people say, 'You know, you've got these fantastic franchises, beyond what you're doing in Smash Bros., isn't there a way to leverage all these franchises?' So we create Nintendo Land and they say, 'Ho-hum, give me more.' So it's an interesting challenge."
Nintendo Land is a necessity.
Yes, Nintendo Land is essentially a mini-game collection with Nintendo franchises built-in. Paul likens it to Wii Sports, the collection of motion control based mini-games that launched with the Wii several years back.
What Paul ignores, however, is that these mini-game collections are almost a necessity when it comes to new tech. The Wii U is a complicated console. Perhaps not for gamers. We get what Nintendo’s trying to accomplish with their 90 bajillion control methods. But for consumers, for those looking to buy the follow-up to the Wii? The Wii U is weird. It’s a console with Wii Remotes, a controller, a touchscreen and a host of peripherals.
Mini-game collections that launch with consoles are, essentially, tech demos. They are meant to teach gamers what they’ve purchased. That’s what Wii Sports was for the Wii. You heard about the console and were a bit confused. You saw it running in tandem with Wii Sports and it made complete sense.
If we agree that they are a necessity, then I’ll plainly state that I’d rather have Nintendo characters and themed mini-games than generic sports events. I love Nintendo’s first-party characters; being able to experience a mini-game collection based on their exploits actually sounds fun to me.
So, why don’t we have more?
Nintendo will launch two new Super Mario titles this fall, a new Paper Mario, Luigi's Mansion, Pikmin 3 and Nintendo Land.
Miyamoto is working on Pikmin 3, so count out Zelda and a Mario Galaxy style effort. Sakurai is working with Namco Bandai on two versions of Smash Bros., so we won’t see a Kirby or brand new Kid Icarus.
And the guy responsible for Animal Crossing, Wii Sports and the original Star Fox? Katsuya Eguchi is the lead hardware designer for the Wii U and the director of Nintendo Land.
Paul suggests that Nintendo’s lazy work ethic has caused them to launch one or two big titles for the Wii U. My response to that is, well, how would they make more? They’re most creative minds are actually working on new projects.
Nintendo is known for polish and greatness with their first-party efforts. They can’t exactly farm their work out to other, smaller developers and hope for the quality to remain intact. Hell, they’re trying it with Namco Bandai and the new Smash Bros. and fans are pissed!
Games are being made, folks. Really. We can't have everything all at once.
The Wii U may not look like a good buy to you right now; but, you can't exactly blame Nintendo for a lack of effort. I'll buy the console on day one. Then again, I'm a freaking nut for Pikmin games.