Posted by Claire Phillips on Oct 15, 2013

Next Gen and Nintendo

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With the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One perilously close to release, a new console is on the horizon for a lot of gamers. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a new toy to play with and getting in on the day one craziness is always fun. I’ve been deliberating a lot recently about where my money is going to go, and many people have already made their minds up, slapping down preorders for either console as soon as they possibly could.

Ruminating away it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn’t spared a second thought for Nintendo in these particular console wars. Nintendo are responsible for me being a gamer, but I don’t own any of their current generation hardware. First console I ever used? SNES. First gaming device of my own? GameBoy. I stuck with them right up until the Wii. What gives?

The End

wii-console-transparentFor me the Wii was the death knell to my Nintendo love affair. I got one on release day and played the hell out of Mario and Zelda, but after that the little white plastic box started moving further and further towards the back of the shelf. I’m not a fan of motion control and the whole set up smacked as cheap in comparison to the PlayStation 3 that soon took up residence next to it. Eventually I hooked up my GameCube next to Sony’s behemoth. Sorry Wii.

Then in 2011 the 3DS appeared, and in late 2012 the Wii U. To me neither machine distinguished itself from its predecessors enough to warrant a cash drop, and so my Nintendoless life continued. Whilst I had always hung on to a Nintendo machine to have access to the Pokemon and Zelda titles, those franchises too had lost their appeal – nothing fresh was happening, why bother?

And that is how you get stuck in an anti Nintendo bubble. Poking my head out of it has been quite an interesting experience, revealing that I actually have quite a few reasons to get myself some Nintendo kit:

The Wind Waker HD

I was a GameCube girl back in the day, so much so that Microsoft Word evens knows to capitalise it for me. I would walk into a game store and tentatively ask the assistant, “Where are the GameCube games?” and he would point me to a tiny shelf in the corner, far away from the walls worth of PS2 titles where all the cool kids were. I would breathe a sigh of relief that they had any at all and head off to check out the half dozen games on the shelf. But I didn’t really care, because I had this –

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Wind Waker is my favorite Zelda game, at least until I recommence arguing with myself about it. I loved it in a way that Ocarina never quite managed to achieve, and my Majora’s Mask cartridge insisted on deleting the water temple mask every time I got it. A Wind Waker HD port/remake/whatever is one of the few things that carries enough nostalgia power to make me want a Wii U, and given that my GameCube is in the wrong hemisphere for me to use it, that power increases tenfold. Kaboom!!

Bayonetta 2

One of my defining traits as a gamer is always being late to the party – hence I’m only just playing Bayonetta now, over three years after it came out. Perhaps surprisingly for someone who has slightly feminist leanings I am enjoying the hell out of it. It’s ridiculous and it knows it. It has huge monsters, campy voice acting, cool creature design and a combat system that is actually fun even if you suck at it. I’ve never taken to DmC style games but for some reason Bayonetta got me, and no action game has done that in a while. Naturally I want the sequel, but we all know where that ended up.

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Pokémon & the 2DS

It’s amazing how many people in my online life suddenly went dark when this thing appeared. Pokémon X & Y has been touted as the next big thing for the Pokémon franchise, and even though I’ve read several reviews that are largely to the contrary on that point, I still want the game. I grew up on Pokemon, and ten year old me still lives on, overly attached to Charizard and hoping that one day a new generation of Pokémon might be as cool as the first.

It isn’t a coincidence that the first Pokémon game that doesn’t work on a DS is also the one being advertised as an evolutionary step. And of course the 2DS came out on the same day as the game. In one fell swoop Nintendo removed Pokémon from the grasp of those who hadn’t upgraded their handheld since the DS and dropped the price barrier to doing so – carrot and stick. I’ve gone without playing Pokémon since Heart Gold and Soul Silver but now that I can’t play the latest game I find myself eying up the 2DS – it’s a lot cheaper than the 3DS right?

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Now those are just the main three reasons that popped into my head, but of course there are other games out there that stand proud with their Nintendo only hats on – I’ve made no mention of the plumber himself for example. So according to this little thought experiment I have decent reason to get myself some Nintendo gear. So Nintendo, if you want to base your market strategy off the opinion of one person on the internet, here are the rules:

1. Make wise use of your back catalog to maximise nostalgia, better yet, ensure that people haven’t got access to the original version of the game through some diabolical scheme to fry every Nintendo 64 and GameCube in the world. (note: Wii U sales in the UK have gone up 685% since Wind Waker HD came out)

2. Get third party exclusives that have value, as in “OMG this better be a joke Bayonetta 2 is Wii U exclusive wot?!”.

3. Make sure people need to upgrade by using your biggest draw cards exclusively on the new platform – why did Pokemon take so long to go 3DS/2DS exclusive? Most people’s annoyance will not last long in the face of Poke-drought

4. Drop the gimmicks and make things cheaper, but preferably not uglier. 2D and pretty, that’s it.

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