Nintendo is arguably the single foremost producer of video games in the world, being both one of the earliest pioneers of the medium and one of the most aggressive in furthering the technology of such. They have reaped the rewards of global success as they have developed several of the most recognizable franchises in the world, drawing inspiration from various cultures to craft stories that not only draw us into individual games, but also stretch across entire franchises, which take decades to be entirely published. And the narratives remain surprisingly coherent, unlike certain MMORPGS I could name, which likewise stretch on for a great deal of time. Nintendo has brought friends and fans together across the world to enjoy the tales of pipe-sliding plumbers and legendary heroes, to race on impossible courses or fly among the stars, to fight in a free-for-all with all our favorite characters, or to just work on a digital farm.
And heck, they just built their first amusement park, taking a page out of Disney’s handbook!
Clearly, they know their trade very well. Certainly they know it better than I ever will!
That being the case, even the best of us need feedback, especially from the customers, that we might always strive to improve whatever product we produce. In that vein, though it may be a bit presumptuous of me, I offer one or two ideas to send in Nintendo’s general direction, and I’d be glad to hear what you, my humble audience, might care to add.
First and foremost, I would love it if Nintendo drew more fully on their own history. By which I mean, they’ve done a couple of good things, and now I’m basically saying, “Yes, do that more!”
It’s clear that there are people at Nintendo who understand how they might use their history to create a more powerful experience for their audience. I can look at both The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and Super Mario Odyssey for proof of that.
In Skyward Sword, they took the Zelda franchise back to its origin story. Here, we saw a reincarnated goddess fighting against a powerful demon with the aid of that first hero who became a legend. We saw the forging of the Master Sword out of an even more ancient blade. And we saw the moment that the rest of the series was effectively put into motion, in a rewarding finale that bound the evil of the demon, the blood of the goddess, and the soul of the hero together in a mythical cycle of eternal confrontation. Honestly, it was pretty great.
The Mario franchise has never been nearly so restricted by any form of continuity, and any attempt at such would probably turn out even more convoluted than the triple-forking of the Zelda timeline. However, Odyssey has several nods towards the history of Mario, and of Nintendo in general. There’s the inclusion of the eight-bit portion of the levels, there’s the presentation of Mayor Pauline, who apparently debuted in the first Donkey Kong game as a damsel in distress, and there are several expressions of gratitude from Nintendo to the fans for the decades of fun and success that they have enjoyed together. They’re actively using our nostalgia to improve our experience.
Heck, the Super Smash Bros franchise and Hyrule Warriors demonstrate that someone understands the appeal of drawing characters we like from numerous games we enjoy and throwing them all together.
And yet, Nintendo still seems fairly hesitant to actually dig into their history and brings back the games we love from yester-years and yester-decades.
Oh, they’re doing that a little. They’ve released a couple of packs of their older games, including most of the Mega Man series, and they released three of the previous 3D Mario games (Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy) together for the Switch. And that is what I really want them to be doing! Not only incorporating what we feel about their history into future games, but actually letting us relive it again, this time with our own kids!
I would quickly be all “shut up and take my money” if they duplicated the 3D Mario game idea with their other most recognizable series, The Legend of Zelda. If they released Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess, and Wind Waker together for the Switch? I would buy that so fast! And the same with other franchises like Super Smash Bros, Star Fox, Mario Kart, that sort of thing!
Even more, as a friend and fellow blogger put it, they should have some part of their organization dedicated to going through their older archives and re-releasing those games for the Switch as well. They did it with Mega Man, why not the Mario games? The Zelda games? Kirby and Bubble-Bobble and Chrono Trigger would all be huge hits again, I am sure! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg which would utterly sink my finances! 😉
Look back, Nintento! Look back and use what you know has already worked! I mean, try new things, of course, but balance that with what you already know works! 🙂
On which note, I have really only one other bit of feedback for Nintendo: there is such a thing as too much personalization.
See, with any of the other games, any that had any sort of save function, one could take that specific game and use it with any Nintendo console of the right kind. Any game on the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Super NES, the Game Boy, the 64, and so on… they did not pair the specific game with the specific console.
The Switch, apparently, has taken a step backward in that regard. This, I know through recent experience.
Avoiding most details, I will say that someone I care very much for, and who has been under a great deal of stress for a long time, has found a bit of respite in playing on the Switch. It’s just a little break, a small moment of refreshment, but it works wonders. So, when something went wrong and their Switch stopped working properly, it was a bit unpleasant for them. They had to send it back to Nintendo, and, naturally, I offered to let them use mine. But I had a funny feeling that, against all logic, it might not work out so great.
I could not, and still cannot, think of a single reason why, but the Switch apparently saw that such-and-such game had been used on another Switch. Instead of simply starting the game up, it asked, in effect, if they wanted to delete all the saved data – and there are years‘ worth of saved data on these game cards – in order to start up the game on a new Switch.
The answer, of course, was, “NO.”
In effect, the Switch is so personalized that one apparently can’t keep any saved data if one is using a different Switch from before. Personally, and bluntly, I find that to be stupid. Whose bright idea was that?
I’m hoping that this particular experience is a lesson for the future of Nintendo: “new” is not always “better.” The old ways work quite well.
We love the classic games, and the franchises they launcheed.
This “new” way of saving data is less functional than the old “save” function was.
Heck, I still think they were nuts to depart from the formula of a single, cohesive story when they made Breath of the Wild, making it a huge collection of choose-your-own-adventure side-quests, with cooking and weapon maintenance included. But, as that was apparently a big hit, I’m obviously no great authority on the matter, haha. And at least there’s a story to enjoy in Age of Calamity.
In short, Nintendo: remember what you’ve already done right, and use it more effectively.
We could all do with putting that into practice, I think.