11 Gaming Innovations We Owe To Nintendo

IGN - Nintendo is no mere game company. It’s a legacy. No name ever again will dominate the video-game industry as Nintendo did in the late 1980s and well into the 1990s. A generation grew up on a diet of NES games, and even the unswayed knew what it meant to “play Nintendo.” Acute business sense played an undeniable role in Nintendo’s rise, as the company built its empire with advertising, control, and licensing that gilded-age tycoons might envy or imitate. Yet there was more to it. Nintendo also dominated by introducing or sharpening up many innovations that endure in games today, and some innovations that aren’t so obvious.

Below are 11 gaming innovations we owe to Nintendo. They might not have been the first to try out any of this tech, but they're responsible for setting standards that endure to this very day.

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MSBAUSTX2484d ago

This was a really good article. There are so many other innovations that Nintendo had a part in. The zapper I think was the first gun to be used on a home console. They had a pad you could step on that laid on the floor back in the day, there was the ability to upgrade the memory of the N64, making peripherals that attached to your home console to play your mobile games on a larger screen for the Snes and GC, and finally there is the Game Genie. I don't know if Nintendo made this wonderful device, but the NES was the first system I know of to use anything like it. I love Nintendo and hope they are around for a long time.

WeAreLegion2484d ago

"The first gun for a home console was in fact a big rifle, the Magnavox Odyssey's Shooting Gallery, which looked very lifelike and even needed to be "cocked" after each shot."

From Wikipedia. SEGA and Nintendo had been doing light guns for years before they made consoles though. So, they were way ahead of MAGNAVOX. Just not for video games.

Sly-Lupin2483d ago

I remember reading that Majora's Mask was the first game to incorporate a quest journal the Bombers Notebook).

That's pretty damn huge. I can't even imagine playing a modern RPG these days without some kind of quest log.

By, of course, this was a major innovation that, like the similarly innovative time travel mechanics (also in MM) Nintendo promptly forgot about. After MM, it seems like they've gone out of their way to remove any kind of detailed side quests that would necessitate a log.

Hopefully we'll see a return of the quest log (and side quests) in ZeldaU.

Unless, of course, ZeldaU ends up being a big empty world with few, if any, side quests to be found. But that's a depressing thought so let's all just pretend it was never uttered.

ContinuePlay2484d ago (Edited 2484d ago )

They missed the biggest one - console DLC. (Look up the satellaview).

They were releasing downloadable expansions way back in the 8-bit era.

NegativeCreep4272484d ago (Edited 2484d ago )

Wow I just looked up the Satellaview and I was definately surprised. It was actually for the SNES but I was amazed still. I didnt think console dlc was technologically possible back in those days. I wondered why I NEVER HEARD of it until today, but unsuprisingly it was only released in Japan.

WeAreLegion2484d ago

I love Nintendo and what they've done for gaming.

However, I don't agree with how they did this list.

First, they give Nintendo credit for motion controls because they were the first to do it successfully.

Then, they give Nintendo credit for VR, even though Oculus seems to be the first to do it successfully.

What's up with that, IGN? I would have gone with saving your game, instead. The Legend of Zelda series introduced us to many new innovations. Miyamoto is a genius.

TheoreticalParticle2484d ago

Saving your games was possible on the Vic-20, the TI 99 4/A, the Commodore-64...

Home computers had way more in common with consoles back in those days than they today. The TI even had cartridges. I'd be hard pressed to give Nintendo credit for that. Maybe "saving your game on a cartridge" counts, though.

Neonridr2484d ago

if you read the part about save features they said that home computers could do it, but not consoles. Hence why Nintendo is credited with that feature.

TheoreticalParticle2483d ago

How is that a distinction worthy of calling out? That's like giving someone props for putting seatbelts in trucks when they already had them in cars.

Also, like I said, computers and consoles were a lot more alike in the past. (Though, since last gen, they've kind of started merging up again.) You literally had other systems with joysticks that came standard and also had games on cartridges which were allowing you to save. It's a really fine hair to split.

ContinuePlay2484d ago

Being the first to be successful isn't the same as being the first. The Virtual Boy may have bombed, but it was still the first home attempt at VR.

deafdani2484d ago

But by that logic, a lot of Nintendo's "innovations" aren't so, because they weren't the first to do it. The Wii Remote wasn't the first Motion Controller, it was the first to be truly successful, yet this article mentions it.

So, this article may have the right idea, but it lacks consistency within its own parameters.

Now, if the criteria for this article was "making things WORK in the gaming scene" (which I think is the correct perspective), then the Virtual Boy shouldn't count by any means, because it was a big failure that never took off and didn't have any impact in the gaming industry. It's as simple as that.

BullyMangler2484d ago (Edited 2484d ago )

nope, if it wasnt for the Virtual Boy, Sony would not be copying it, with their VR Headset for the PS4 lol . .

poor sony, trying to compete with Nintendo, yet all they can do is copy and paste, not bring anything NEW to gaming ..

I like sony and their exclusives, but when they try to compete with Nintendo even nowAdays when it comes to exclusives and gameChanging content= lol .

Nintendo is your daddy Sony . just admit it!

p.s. if you think Motion controls failed, then just remember games like Mario galaxy, and Zelda Skyward Sword . games that proved MC to have succeeded .

MSBAUSTX2484d ago

Good point about the discrepency of giv8ng credit for motion controls but then giving credit for virtual boy instead of giving it to oculus. Bubble for you. Nintendo is awesome though.

WeAreLegion2484d ago

Agreed. Bubble back at ya!

TongkatAli2484d ago

Microsoft and Sony are awesome too though.

InTheLab2484d ago

Notice the lack of analog sticks on this list kids. Some of you younger people don't know that analog sticks were on consoles 4 generations before the n64 was a thing.

EliteGameKnight2484d ago (Edited 2484d ago )

kinda, those were more so large joysticks though and were held with the hand instead of resting your thumb on them. The N64 had the first modern version analog stick that we recognize today. that is the case as from what I've found, I'm fine admitting that I'm wrong if shown proof.

TheoreticalParticle2484d ago

Here's the Intellivision controller, circa 1979.

That's a thumb pad. It was also terrible.

InTheLab2484d ago

The proof is what you are calling a joystick. A joystick is simply what we now call controllers. Some joysticks came with buttons and knobs. Others came with analog sticks.

The modern analog stick that we play with today are directional and clickable. The N64's analog is nothing like what we use today.

I give Nintendo all the credit in the world for their actuall innovations but he analog stick isn't one of them.

EliteGameKnight2484d ago (Edited 2484d ago )

I thought that was a predecessor to the d-pad, it works similarly as well as it isn't actually a stick but instead a multi directional button like the d-pad. The article above supports this as well.

certainly, the joystick did exist prior, and I wont say that it didn't nor will I say it was a nintendo innovation. what I was saying is that the thumb use analogue stick seems to have started with the N64, which though not being clickable or directional, is the base style they are used today. it could instead be said that they upgraded the analog stick in a big way.

InTheLab2484d ago (Edited 2484d ago )

Ok so you're still wrong here. The Sega Saturn also debuted their analog stick in 96, the same year the n64 launched and the controller looks very similar to a 360 controller.

The n64 controller had a weird setup with that was really only good for Nintendo's own games.

So the Saturn analog is more of what you mean than the n64 and really, an analog stick is an analog stick. It doesn't really matter how you're using it.

Nintendo didn't innovate here.

EliteGameKnight2484d ago


Sega's 3D pad, which came out on July 5, came out 2-3 months after the N64 came out on April 21.

I feel it should be stated, I'm not being led by some sort of chauvinism for Nintendo. I'm simply stating what I believe to be historically accurate, as I care very much for the history of this industry, and as such I am open to saying I am wrong when proven to be. Naturally I will give some resistance, as is necessary in maintaining knowledge, but it isn't because I just won't accept something as truth

considering how the definition of innovate is: "make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products." the fact that the analog stick was changed from being held by fingers to being controlled by the thumb is in fact innovation. just the same as it is innovation that Sony improved upon the technology by adding the clickable buttons.

CouldHaveYelledUiiW2483d ago

Another thing that is being forgotten is that Joysticks do not differentiate against pressure.

In Mario 64 (N64's 1st game)
You could control Mario's speed based on how much pressure you applied to the stick.

And yes,
The old Atari-like Joysticks are just like a button or a D-Pad.
Where the Analogue stick allowed more directions and range of movement.

With that said.
Nintendo did not invent the Analogue Stick but they were the 1st to bring it to consoles.
-I remember the controversy it stirred.

(Similarly, Nintendo took stylus controls from PDA's/Palm Pilots and then applied it to gaming.
But touchscreen tech has been around since the 70's).

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