Welcome Home, Nintendo?

What's the worst that can happen?

Growing up I was very much in the Nintendo camp. Sure, the likes of Sega tempted me and then later on Sony flaunted its undergarments in my direction with the birth of the Playstation, but Nintendo was always in my camp; we had that special bond between developer and gamer, they made games I liked and I pledged my full allegiance to the mighty N.  Things started turning sour more recently though, a story I’m sure that won’t be unfamiliar to many of you, so let’s just skip through the years of discontent and arrive on the eve of E3 2010.

There wasn’t really much hope going into E3 and no doubt many would have resigned themselves to another conference where arm wiggling over the latest instalment of Wii Sports took precedence as well as willy waving over the million Wii units that have been shipped worldwide. The company took centre stage and gave a performance that left many fist pumping in excitement. A performance which was like the Nintendo of old, the memories of ‘gamer neglect’ of the more recent years slowly fading away into the darkness.

This was a very different Nintendo than what anyone expected; it’s almost as if during a boardroom meeting somewhere in their Japanese HQ they opened up a number of gaming forums, took in what everyone was saying and acted upon it. Nintendo has always been about the games first and foremost, so to see reveal after reveal of fan favourite titles was almost too much to take in.

Going into E3, nobody would have expected Nintendo to deliver anything too substantial, but to walk away from it with a list of games so strong they could exclude a Starfox and Zelda: Ocarina of Time remake for the 3DS was simply astounding. While there will be no seismic shift in gamer allegiance, there will be those who have gained that twinkle in their eye once again, those that still cling on to the memories of a Nintendo from yesteryear. It was a fine return to form for the company whose performance had critics and gamers across the globe commending such a quality display.

They may not have done enough to win back the hardcore crowd and, in all reality, they probably never will; the damage has been done and the proverbial ship has set sail, but with the 3DS they’ve made a clear signal of intent towards the likes of Apple and Sony that the handheld / gaming on the go market won’t be given up easily. They’ve not just pandered around with marketing spin, but they’ve come out guns blazing and pointing directly at their competitors, their ammo the plethora of mouth-watering titles already announced.  It’s a strange set of events – nobody would have expected so many fan favourites to be announced, maybe the new Zelda but that was about it, and to get so much gaming juiciness is just a superb turn of events.

If you've never seen one of these before, it's because Nintendo didn't really think to tell anyone about it

You broke my heart Nintendo. You took away my favourite characters and went down a path that held little interest to me. I supported you through times when all my friends were bleating on about the Playstation, but I had every faith in the Nintendo 64. The Gamecube era came and slowly but surely I started to drift away, my love affair with you had been a long and strenuous one but it had to come to an end.  I’ve got a couple of new lovers now; sure the raven haired one is a bit temperamental and sometimes refuses to do my bidding but overall she knows how to hit the right spot but there’s still place in my humble abode for a naughty romp if you ever feel up to it, it is after all the least I can do.  Nobody else has such a great supporting cast that literally makes you sit up and get hit by wave upon wave of nostalgia – I’ve missed you my bushy tailed friend, just leave the bloody Toad at home please.

The signs are good for Nintendo, we know from past experience that you don’t have to have the best hardware in terms of technical specification to be a success, but can the big N deliver on its next push? I certainly hope so. To the cynic it may just be lots of remakes having [yet] another appearance or characters decades old being recycled yet again, and in that case they would probably be right. But let’s not forget the main point, the giant point, the point to which is of greatest delight. Nintendo, it seems, is back doing what it does best – making quality games which, say what you want about the direction they take their hardware in, is something they excel at. With the likes of a Donkey Kong, Metroid, Zelda and Kirby all on the cards the future is bright for long standing fans of Nintendo and while they may still feel let down there is at least, some light at the end of the tunnel.

Welcome home Nintendo, I’ve missed you.

Last five articles by Ben



  1. Victor Victor says:

    I have to be honest, I missed the majority of Nintendos E3 briefing and caught a few titles. Caught the excitement of the 3DS, but have to say that the portable way of gaming is no longer for me. Commuting and gaming is no fun anymore. And at home, I’d rather switch on my console.

    But I hear your complaints about the Nintendo love affair coming to an end after many, many years. Nintendo to me was just like Mrs Robinson was to The Graduate. Experienced, knew what I wanted even before I did, and did what she did so well, I didn’t have to look elsewhere. But then I grew up. And to my horror, Mrs Robinson became Madonna. Constantly courting younger things. A fundamental disconnect happened and I decided that perhaps after the Gameboy, NES, SNES and Nintendo64, it was time to engage in some Jungle Fever (for this joke to work, pretend I am white). Yes, the black box came into my bedroom and after that, Nintendo became an embarrassment to me. You know how people smirked at Police Academy and the diminishing returns of its sequels? That is how I look at the new Nintendo consoles. Which is a shame, because when Nintendo want, they still produce magic. Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 are games that I played through, without giving any thought to the fact that I am not getting any achievements.

    But that is where it stopped. Zelda? No interest any more. It really feels like I have played the same game in regards to structure since Ocarina of Time. And that was back in 1999! So yes, Nintendo. I have fallen out of love with you. But nevermind. You cheated on me first. With Ben. And all the younger models you traded me in for.

    /should stop drinking Cotes Du Rhone. Stream of consciousness typing is never good.

  2. M@thew says:

    It surprised me just how quickly most of the hardcore gaming audience “forgave” Nintendo this year. Sure, unlike Sony and Microsoft they actually delivered, but I’m not entirely convinced it will last. Nintendo have been a very selfish lover the last few years, and this felt very much like they’d just turned up on my doorstep holding flowers. I’ll accept them for now, but I won’t trust them quite the same again. They did what they had to to stay in the console game, but I don’t have to like them for it.

    I just hope they don’t forget us again come the Mii 2. (c) Only time will tell I guess?
    Pushing my worries aside, when I saw Donkey Kong Country burst onto the screen, I welled up an incey wincey tiny bit. :)

  3. Lee says:

    i’ll be honest i wont own a wii, i feel dirty just touching one but i will there there on day one waiting for my 3DS

  4. Pete says:

    I never got into Nintendo as a younger gamer, not sure why :)

    Hate me if you must but I quite like the Wii… not so much for playing solo but for the element of fun to be had with friends! I’m intrigued by the 3DS though… will definitely look into one when they’re a few months old ;)

  5. Iain says:

    Ninty’s E3 conference definitely gave me a big urge to rush out and buy a Wii again after the announcement of Kirby and Donkey Kong but I’ve been burned before. Maybe when both games are released to rave reviews I’ll consider buying another Wii but until then, Nintendo have well and truly crapped on my heart -_-

  6. Samuel The Preacher says:

    I loved my Gamecube… the console still gets such abuse. It wasn’t until the Wii that I started to think something was wrong, but this long list of future releases from E3 has made me optimistic again. And I didn’t care about E3 at all, any of the companies, until it became clear in the aftermath that Nintendo still had some kick. It’s about time too… Nintendo have been ignoring us for at least three years now. Whether it turns out to be a final fling, or a lasting return to roots… well. Only time will tell.

  7. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I have to admit that I thought the Gamecube was a great console… I’ve even argued that it was better than the Wii in terms of graphics performance and audio quality, although I think the Wii probably has more processing power overall. Not sure though, as I’ve never looked in to it. I’ve never been a Nintendo fan, purely because I’ve also never been a console gamer. I had the old CBS Colecovision and then never touched a console again until I got my first XBox which, although I played it often enough with Morrowind, I never actually ADORED it. I adore my 360 though, unconditionally. Perhaps if I had been more into console gaming, I’d naturally have become a Ninty fan. I have nothing against them. Actually, that’s wrong… I DO have a few things against them.. the original DS was a prototype and they need to admit it one day rather than saying it was a legit release that they’ve just improved upon, and Animal Crossing for the Wii was just disgusting compared to the more superior Gamecube version.

    I dread to think what my Animal Crossing town looks like now… I’ve not been back for years, it’ll be overrun with triffids!!

  8. Victor Victor says:

    I wonder what sort of a Twitter storm we would provoke if we were to announce that the original DS was a prototype that got released to hit its release window. Having said that, the first one was just so inelegant, even without comparing it to the more recent models.

  9. Ste says:

    I’ve owned every major Ninty console bar the 64 and I’m not ashamed to say that I even have a Wii which gets abit of mileage thanks to my girlfriends obsession with Mario Kart.

    I love Nintendo but I have to agree that they have let me down over the last few years on the games front. Hopefully these new games will be awesome and restore my faith in argueablely the most successful computer games company in the world ever. Year MS and Sony are good at what they do but they’re not Nintendo!

    In the mean time I won’t be getting a 3DS, I’m not convinced yet that it is going to be “all that” so for the moment I’ll adopt a wait and see atittude. Besides, I don’t have time for gaming on the go anymore. I only game at home now and I have 3 consoles and a PC to choose from there so theres no need for a portable anymore.

  10. Lorna Lorna says:

    Like you Ben, I too was primarily a Nintendo gamer for many years, from the the NES on upwards. However, when the Wii was announced and shown off, I remember my heart sinking…and to be honest…it never really stopped sinking. Many of my great gaming memories are from playing the SNES and NES, though my gaming apathy took a hit from my general depression at the time and my N64 and Cube suffered from lack of attention as a result. However, over the years they have had some stunning titles, strong franchises, and great characters, yet they seemed to want to leave them all behind.

    I fully expected this year’s E3 to be another embarrassment for Ninty but you could have knocked me down with a feather when they turned out to have wiped the floor with…well…everyone. When Kid Icarus burst onto the screen I think that I actually shouted in amazement! To add in new hits from their stable of fan favourites which just kept coming was incredible…you’re right in that they almost seemed to have actually listened to what their faithful core have wanted for so long. I just hope that this salvation hasn’t come too late, or that the implimentation of the new goodies isn’t messed up. I love the look of Epic Mickey…I just want to be able to play it with a proper controller…please?

  11. Edward Edward says:

    Good to see I’m not the only Nintendo geek at Gaminglives :)
    I have to admit, I started on the Game Boy and N64, but missed the Gamecube, and used the Wii to catch up with everything I missed. As much as people felt betrayed by the Wii, I still found well more than enough enjoyment and games than many other people did. But this year’s E3 was one of the most exciting prospects and possibilities for me, with all the amazing games being lined up, and Nintendo giving people more of what they want. Granted, Nintendo should probably look to inventing some new franchises, but with the Wii, the DS and the 3DS, they can have all of my money, and continue to have it all as long as I can get it.

  12. Kat says:

    Nintendo can’t start dishing out great things, my budget won’t allow it. I already need Sony to suck more as I’m caving, slowly, into wanting a PS3 badly :/

  13. MrCuddleswick says:

    I don’t really have a particular allegiance. I’ve heard about the “new” titles Nintendo are gearing up to release in the next year or so, and it’s good to see that they will finally have a library of Nintendo Wii games to bring to market.

    That is the end of that sentence. I stand by it.

  14. Adam Adam says:

    @Vic -Scary analogy dude. Seriously…

    I’ve played every incarnation of Nintendo though save for their always being a GameBoy in the house growing up, I have never once owned a non-portable Nintendo machine. I love so many of the games and I’ve often been jealous of some of them that were always set to just the big N, but none of it has ever pushed me towards the company. My problem has always been that they just recycle the same junk over again, hoping it’s what people still want. Like Red Dwarf past season 5, there was a lot of material that was still good but it was mostly the same sticky brown, polished.

    But it’s odd to be Nintendo, whenever they have tried anything new, they’ve been kicked in the balls by their fanbase. Zelda Wind Waker I thought was fantastic! So refreshing yet the fanbase practically spat at it. They seem to trapped in their own ways, not that they need to break free mind -they’re the most profitable of the 3 by a long shot!

    I’m looking forward to 3DS all the same, but I doubt I’ll ever be sold on Nintendo. Theres only so many times you can play the same 3 games :/

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