The Life and Times of a Nintendo Fan (Editorial)

Fellow Nintendo fans, it’s time to rejoice as a new Nintendo console is on its way. New console launches are always the most exciting time for videogame fans, but especially for those of us who love the house that Mario built. I became a Nintendo fan from the minute I played Super Mario Bros., way back in the eighties. From then on I was hooked. Being introduced to The Legend of Zelda, Contra, Castlevania, Mega Man, Metroid, Punch-Out, and so forth was something I will never forget. The NES was the first gaming console that really had it all. It introduced so many different genres and was a real evolution of the Atari 2600. I mean Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy were so unlike anything else I had played before. Let’s not forget other classics like Maniac Mansion. The NES single handily shaped the entire videogame market into what we have today. How could you not be a Nintendo fan at this point in time?

Greatest system of all time?

When the Genesis arrived in 1989 it really was an impressive piece of hardware. One look at Altered Beast and it was clear that the NES was starting to show its age. In the end I barely cared though thanks to incredible releases like Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, and Super Mario Bros. 3. When the SNES finally arrived, it was my platform of choice until 1995. My brother and I enjoyed our Genesis, but the SNES was our bread and butter. I need not remind everyone of how many spectacular games were released on that platform. My favorite game of all time, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was released on the SNES for goodness’ sake.

Who wants to play on the Genesis when you’ve got Super Mario Bros. 3?

These were the glory days for me, the time when I was the most happy with my videogames. It was as if the market was just where I wanted it. Magazines at the time were hailing this new age of 3D, but honestly I had seen some primitive stuff on our Sega CD, that didn’t blow my mind so I wasn’t too eager for the launch of the Saturn or PS1. It was first seeing Super Mario 64 that really changed my mind. That’s when I realized this new 32/64-bit era would be something else. What I didn’t realize at the time was that even though I owned several other systems, deep down I was a die-hard Nintendo fanboy. I wanted the N64 to dominate just as much as the NES and SNES dominated. I assumed it would have all the biggest games from all the biggest publishers. When I realized that wouldn’t happen, the PlayStation became my SNES 2, but again, deep down inside I was really hoping for miracles out of my N64. I used to say Ocarina of Time would be the greatest game ever, and then another delay would hit. By the end of 1997 I realized that even though I loved my N64, the glory days of Nintendo would not repeat themselves during this generation.

This is when 3D became exciting for me. Shame it took so long to get released.

By the time the GameCube was officially announced I was transformed from this hardcore Nintendo fanboy into a huge Sony fan. I fell in love with so many amazing games on the PS1 that the PS2 was king from the second it was announced. Sure I loved my Dreamcast, but I knew the PS2 would be SNES 3 and have all the major hits. I wasn’t proved wrong either, but hope remained for Nintendo. When the big N secured the Resident Evil series as an exclusive I thought this was it, this was how they would reclaim the videogame throne, but alas it wasn’t meant to be and in the end the GameCube would actually come in third place behind not only the PS2, but also the new contender, the Xbox.

All Nintendo fans remember when Nintendo secured the Resident Evil series. It was a highlight…that eventually didn’t go very far.

It was during this time when I joined the Nsider message boards and met everyone who works here on COE. We became a group of lifelong friends, all thanks to the power of Nintendo. It truly sucks that Nintendo closed their official boards because they had a community unlike any other. All of us had this passion, in fact, this love for Nintendo and that was the one place we could all share our thoughts and talk about the future. I don’t think any of us were blinded to the fact the GameCube really didn’t stand a chance against the PS2, but who cares, at the end of the day it didn’t matter as we could still chat about Link’s next great adventure or the upcoming reboot of Metroid.

This was a real shame. The NSider boards were THE place where Nintendo fans could get together and since they closed there’s been no official Nintendo community. One would hope the Wii U changes that.

Towards the end of the Nsider message boards news broke about the Revolution, which was the code-name Nintendo had for the Wii. Almost the entire community was super excited for what the Revolution might bring to the industry. Virtually all of us, even if we didn’t say it out loud, hoped the Revolution would bring back the glory days. All of us enjoyed the GameCube, but there were simply too few exclusives from third parties to contend with the juggernaut that was the PS2. That doesn’t mean we didn’t love Metroid Prime, Luigi’s Mansion, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (after much debating that is), and all the rest of the first-party gems. What none of us knew back then was that would mark the very last time Nintendo would go toe-to-toe with the competition in terms of a powerful tech-rich console.

The Wii really divided the Nintendo fanbase. From the second it was shown some loved the idea, but a lot didn’t. I remained unconvinced for years and years and only recently went back to play through all kinds of Wii games I missed. Am I now a believer in the motion controls, no not really, but that doesn’t mean the Wii didn’t have great games. The key difference with the Wii and all the other Nintendo systems post SNES is that I had no hopes, no dreams, and no prayers of it being the one system to reclaim the old magic. Ironically it was the market leader for four years, and remains the highest selling platform of the generation and in Nintendo’s history, even though personally it was my least favorite Nintendo console of all time.

This is one of the major problems I had with the Wii. It was as if Nintendo was trying to attract everyone, but me.

So here we are today. I play countless PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games, I just built a brand new gaming PC where I can play the biggest and best PC games on the market, and we just got word the Wii U will hit on November 18th and officially begin the next round of console wars. So where does this leave me, as a gamer in his thirties, and a childhood Nintendo fan at heart?

I’ll be honest with you all, I’m actually excited for the Wii U, truly. The reason is that this new console, while surely not as powerful as the next round of PS and Xbox, is an HD console. I have always wanted to see my favorite childhood franchises re-imagined in high-definition. What will Zelda look like with glorious 1080p visuals? I saw what BioShock looked like, will Nintendo create an immersive and imaginative world like that? They have Retro Studios, one of the best developers in the world, will they let loose and create something truly unique? What about a 3D Mario, will we see new levels of detail unlike anything before? Will Metroid make a triumphant return? I could go on for hours here.

I’m excited, and believe all Nintendo fans should be. If Nintendo plays their cards right we might just have our Nintendo community back, and HD classics to go along with it.

Do I think Nintendo will have another NES or SNES on their hands with all the latest franchises from all the huge publishers, no I really don’t. I think those days are likely behind them forever, but I do hope to see some improvements from the Wii days. I want to see them aggressively go after the core market, because that’s me. Above all though, I really just want to have a good time. I want the same incredible Nintendo experiences I’ve been having since the eighties. If Nintendo can do that, then I think the Wii U will have a very special place in my home theater setup and in my heart. I really want Nintendo to reignite that burning passion I used to have for the company. I don’t ever want to become a blind fanboy, but it would be nice to know that this new console has the chance to take Nintendo to all new heights. As a mature player, that is enough for me, and as a lifelong Nintendo fan, that excites me.

On November 18th I will have my shiny new Nintendo console, and for the first time in about five years I am super excited :)

6 thoughts on “The Life and Times of a Nintendo Fan (Editorial)”

  1. I’ve always been a big Nintendo fan, ever since my dad brought home a NES. To me, few other companies really capture the wonder of video gaming. Nintendo just has something special that few other companies ever really hope to have. Even if I have a lot of fun playing games on other consoles and from other companies, with Nintendo, I have a sentimental feeling that I just don’t get with others. So it’s natural to assume that as the company tries new things, it’s going to have a pretty profound effect on people. For many, the NES and SNES were kings. The SNES is still my favorite game console of all time because of its amazing library of games. And deep down, I do have a tinge of sadness, because I don’t think Nintendo will ever really be back to what they were in the NES and SNES days–they won’t be the undisputed market king with all of the amazing exclusive games. For me, the N64 was the major shift. Before then, Nintendo was all I needed. During the N64 era though, I looked on with envy when the PlayStation got so many great games–so when games like Final Fantasy VII and Mega Man X4 hit, I had to play them.

    Going into GameCube era, I felt the same way as N64–there were plenty of great games, but the PlayStation 2 was the place to be. Also, even though I’m quick to defend the Wii (I think there are plenty of wonderful exclusives), the Wii absolutely did not capture the same magic that the NES and SNES did. So I definitely agree with you. When I played Wii, I didn’t assume that motion controls were the way of the future, but another wacky experiment for Nintendo (they do have a history of trying all kinds of peripherals and new game ideas). And I had a lot of fun with motion controls. I loved using the Wii remote in Skyward Sword, Red Steel 2, Sin and Punishment Star Successor, and Zack & Wiki. For other games, it didn’t really matter, like Tatsunoko vs. Capcom and Xenoblade (where I opted for classic controls).

    I’m with you on being excited for the Wii U! I managed to get a pre-order in for the Deluxe model and I’m pretty psyched to pick it up. This is the first time I’ve actually ever pre-ordered a game console.

    Great article Jarrod. :D

    1. Thanks Tim :) You’re 100% right, the great shift began with the N64 and that was felt with the delays. At leas that’s how it worked for me. Games were taking longer and longer to get released for some reason, while my PlayStation was spinning one classic after another. I remember hearing about OoT around the same time as RE2, as in OoT being released that is. Then RE2 came and went with no sign of OoT, and that was when I said to myself, ok Nintendo really isn’t going to be the market leader anymore.

      The GameCube days were more of the same, but damn did we get some incredible games that generation. That felt like Nintendo’s last hurrah, like they did everything they could to compete with Sony and MS. With the Wii I didn’t really like the direction, but the games were still excellent. The Wii U though feels like sort of middle ground between the GameCube and the Wii. It might not have all the bells and whistles of the PS4/Xbox3, but it should be something else. Can’t wait for it :)

      1. Excellent article indeed. You’re on a roll these days. For me though, that feeling of sadness came in very late, like during the GameCube era. The reason why is because the internet during that time became the source of all information, including sales figures and troubles. I was oblivious to all the technicalities before the GameCube/PS2 hit and I didn’t care. It was a much simpler time for me back in the old days. All I cared for was the games. I enjoyed the n64 and PS1 equally because each console offered a certain niche for me to fill. I was grateful for the PS1 for expanding my RPG tastes, and the n64 for epic platformers and multiplayer games. That’s why despite the sales difference, both were equally successful in my eyes.

        I’ve been trying to take the same approach since, but it’s hard to do so because everything is open in the internet and politics do influence my perspective at times. In the same time though, just like the n64…the Wii did fill a certain niche for me as well. I played it as much as the PS3 and then some. Not just for the fun games and motion control when it worked, but for epic single player experiences as well. As an example, Xenoblade is now officially the longest game I’ve ever played in my life. I’m 135 hours in and I still have not finished it. That alone is worth a lot for me. So for these reasons, I think the Wii took the right approach at the time and it’s one of my favorite Nintendo consoles. Yeah, it missed out on a lot of things, but it managed to do so much right as well.

        1. Awesome Ahmed. I think why the Wii didn’t immediately resonate with me was simply because I felt as though instead of giving me everything I had wanted Nintendo went in a direction that just seemed off to me. I have since gone back and played through countless Wii games, and had a real blast, but it was games like BioShock, Fight Night and others that appeared early on the Xbox 360 which had such a huge impact on me. I was absolutely floored by how these games made me feel. That said, going back and playing through Super Mario Galaxy was just awesome and I’m super glad I experienced them before the Wii U hit.

          Looking forward I think the Wii U will offer games that more closely match what I mentioned above, but at the same time retain that certain something Nintendo is known for, and that’s really exciting. I can’t wait to see what Nintendo has in store for us :)

          1. Well the Wii isn’t over yet for you. The Wii U is backward compatible after all.

            I just put in another 3 hours in Xenoblade. I swear every-time I think I finished all the sidequests, new ones pop up.

  2. Yeah there are literally billions of side quests in that game. I really want to check out The Last Story now. Tim’s review made it out to sound fantastic :).

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