1)What was your First Nintendo Console you ever remember playing? And what were some of your favorite games.
NES was my first Nintendo console, actually, it was my first console period. It came out the same year I was born (two weeks after my birth in North America) and we got one in the year following. I wasn’t actually playing until 1987 or so, but I still remember those times playing games with my brothers. Besides the obvious classics like The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros, my favorite games were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle II The Arcade Game, Skate or Die, Mega Man 2, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, Ducktales and Contra.
2) What Set Nintendo Apart from the Competition?(Sega ,Atari)
During the NES era, Nintendo had more advanced games than what Atari had. In the SNES era, Nintendo had a better, more diverse catalog of games than Sega did. Super Mario World was better than all of the Sonic games released on the Genesis. Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger were better than games like Phantasy Star. It always came down to having better games, because in the end, that’s all that matters.
3)What are some of your fondest memories with a Nintendo game or Console? (Maybe a game you and your friends would play, or one that changed you)
Playing games like Contra and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 The Arcade Game with my brothers and friends stand out as fond memories. Chrono Trigger changed my perception of games. I got attached to the characters in a way that I never had before, and the fact that the game had so many different endings depending on various decisions was mind blowing at the time. 20 years later and it remains as one of my favorite games of all time.
“It always came down to having better games, because in the end, that’s all that matters.”
4)What was the last Nintendo Console you owned and what caused you to stop supporting Nintendo ?
Nintendo Wii was the last Nintendo console that I owned. The best way to explain why I stopped supporting Nintendo is through a classic Star Wars quote “You’re going down a path I cannot follow!” Starting with the Wii era, Nintendo decided to follow a different path from it’s “next-gen” counterparts. Instead of being interested in graphics, online functionality, and story, they became interested in gimmicky motion controls. I mean, this approach definitely worked for them. Shortly after the launch you found that parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles were all playing the Wii. While this was amazing to see so many people interested in gaming, people like myself were craving more of a traditional gaming experience. I was grown up, I wanted mature games that told a compelling story, I wanted to talk and play with friends online, and that just wasn’t what Nintendo was going for anymore.
5) Where do you feel Nintendo has had its biggest failures? And what would you do if you were in charge ?
Nintendo left behind the gamer who made them what they are. By focusing on gimmicky motion controls and family centric games, the gamers who had followed them for all the NES, SNES, N64 and Gamecube years were giving up and Nintendo, seemingly, didn’t care. They depended on Mario and Zelda to keep that audience around, but releasing one of those games every 3-4 years wasn’t good enough when other consoles were offering multiple exclusive games a year.
“Nintendo left behind the gamer who made them what they are.”
If I was in charge, I would be looking at the competition and actually competing. I would look at the online services provided by Playstation and Xbox and I would make one similar. By offering that kind of service, I could attract all of the Indie releases that those platforms get, which would complement the decades worth of classic Nintendo titles being offered on the Virtual Console. I wouldn’t have let third party support fail. I would have had the power to have the same Call of Duty and Battlefield offerings available on the platform. I would invest in new IP’s to complement the Mario and Zelda franchises and most importantly, I would make Star Fox great again.
What do you want to see from Nintendo in the future and how can they turn this around with the Switch?
I think the Switch looks great, but I still see some examples of Nintendo being Nintendo. Things like the dreaded friend codes are still around (though not as bad as they were before), the storage in the system is laughably bad, gimmick motion controls are still around, and the accessory prices are too high. The system itself looks very innovative, but in order to survive, they need to start looking at the other consoles to make their online services better and they need to bring on the games because once everyone has finished Zelda, there isn’t really anything compelling for some time..
Special Thanks to Reid Whittle for his perspective on this topic.