Thursday, October 27, 2011

Some Thoughts on Nintendo's Hard Times

Check it out: Nintendo has lost nearly a billion dollars. Startling, eh? Well, I'm no economist, but I have my theories on what brought them here. Of course there are the exchange rates which probably account for the bulk of it, but I think there's something more pressing.

Nintendo largely abandoned their traditional market with the Wii. It was the first time they'd released a console with indisputably inferior hardware. Sure, long before the N64 had employed inferior cartridges, and the GameCube suffered from a similar small disc size, but with the Wii, there wasn't any real comparison at all. The only improvement were some gimmicky motion controls that no one really wanted.. except their new market. They ate that shit up and Nintendo made billions.

But, one day, Nintendo decides to sell a 3DS, a handheld system. Call me a madman, but I don't see Wii Sports players taking time out of their lunchbreak to play Metroid 3D or whatever. The market that might have bought this system is looking elsewhere because Nintendo they thought Nintendo would probably release (and in fact did release) a bunch of demoesque crap for it. But, lo and behold, their new market didn't come through and buy the system. Imagine that!

So, basically, I think the Wii retroactively bit them in the ass. They made a lot of money, then they lost a lot money. Of course, Nintendo isn't totally to blame. They haven't really dominated the 'hardcore' market since the days of the SNES, and I guess they wanted to look elsewhere. But all they really had to do was release a system comparable to the 360/PS3. That la di da "Nintendo is for children" garble Sega spewed up years ago would have fallen by the wayside if Black Ops had looked better on Wii than it had other consoles.

And what's worse is that we're probably going to see this continue with the Wii-U. My fear is that the casual market will eventually abandon them too, and we'll live in world without games like Mario and Zelda. That would suck.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Skyward Sword's Lack of a Left-Handed Option

You raised my hopes then dashed quite expertly, sir! Bravo! -- Tinny Tim, Futurama.

Of course, as readers of my blog might note, I follow these Zelda issues rather closely, and I recall hearing that the game would not have a left handed option. As a person who does almost everything with my left hand, I found that to sort of suck, of course. But I toughed it out and tried to start holding that Wii Remote in my right hand to prepare for it. I rather like Zelda, of course, and don't want to miss a console title just because of some hand preference issue.

But then, there was hope! IGN made a video saying that the game would indeed have a left handed option. This appeared to resolve a much more trivial issue of mine.. that Link is now right handed. The only reason it matters to me is that, when I see the sword in his right hand, he looks sort of odd to me. It was particularly evident in Wii Twilight Princess, but that might have been because the title in question reminded me of Ocarina of Time.

Anyway, before I started trying to play Wii games right handed and become halfway decent at it, I'd hold the remote in my left hand and the nunchuk in my right. Like playing the guitar right handed, it took a decent degree of effort on my part. I certainly would understand if someone didn't buy Skyward Sword because of the issue in question.

However, there is good news. Initial testimonials from E3 seem to indicate that the game can be played pretty well with the Wii Remote in your left hand. That's good news, but there's one rather large issue with doing that: The game won't look right. This was a large issue for me the first time I played Twilight Princess (using my left hand for sword swinging). The actions on screen didn't match what I was doing, and I was very aware of the fact that I was using some gimmicky tacked-on motion controls. Will Skyward Sword be the same? Well.. with vastly improved controls, I should the think the lack of realism for left handed Wii Remote users will be infinitely worse!

So, anyway, I'll be playing it right handed, but there are people who can't do that or just won't want to take the time to learn to do it. I understand that, and *grumble grumble* Link is.. was.. a left handed hero! Don't give me that sprite mirroring garble, either! Lefty is lefty is lefty! :P