Saturday, May 18, 2013

Nintendo's Worst Enemy Is Nintendo

In looking back at the games I bought for SNES when it was a modern console, it's clear that I bought a lot of games that were developed and/or published by Nintendo. Many of those games are the classics that I remember the SNES fondly for, such as Donkey Kong Countries 1-3, A Link to the Past, Yoshi's Island, etc.

I also bought a decent bit of third party games. I couldn't get enough of the stuff from Konami. Axelay, Castlevania IV, and Zombies Ate My Neighbors are some of my favorite SNES games (Axelay is top ten material, in fact.). In addition to Konami, there were RPGs from Square, sports games from EA and Iquana, and... my memory isn't what it used to be, but I definitely had good bit of third party games for it. :P

However, in doing this looking back, I realize that Nintendo and its second party Rareware are the height of the SNES show. The IPs involved with Nintendo's games are iconic. Super Mario World's levels are more memorable to me than the levels from Super Castlevania IV, even though both games are on an equal footing, fun-wise.

I and some unknown number other people would buy a Nintendo console purely to play Nintendo's games. And if a tight budget got in the way, forcing me to choose between say, Konami games and Nintendo games, I would choose Nintendo games every time. (Unless Konami ever pumps out Axelay 2. You've got me then, Konami! Axelay freakin' rules!).

I don't think I'm as averse to third-party games as some Nintendo fans, but I think it's somewhat of a problem with their fanbase. In reading other people's comments about the Wii U, they all say, “Wait until the new Mario and the new Zelda come out! It'll sell then.” Those games just might Wii Us, but will third parties start bringing games to the Wii U then? Nintendo is providing Wii U owners with all of the games that those gamers want: Mario and Zelda.

Nintendo's third party support problem goes back to the N64 (You could argue that the SNES had less third party support than the NES, but that's because Nintendo had an illegal monopoly.). The change to the disc format pushed most third parties to the PSX. Some of them never came back. And those that did were greeted with Nintendo fans that stuck by Nintendo because Nintendo's games are all they were ever interested in to begin with! Did these Wii owners support what few third party games the thing had? Consider Black Ops Wii. There definitely people who bought the game, but it was nothing when compared to the 360/PS3 crowds. If popular third party franchise such as Call of Duty struggles on Nintendo's platforms, what hope is there for lesser known third-party games?