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Reggie's Right: Nintendo Didn't Lose the Hardcore

I don't necessarily agree with the direction Nintendo is taking their company in terms of their console, but I understand it; it's a sound marketing strategy they've basically learned from their n64/gamecube transition while merging it with another target audience, but I still don't agree with it. Maybe my overall feelings will change some day, and I hope it does. What I do agree with is the fact that Nintendo has never, EVER slacked on delivering a AAA hardcore experience to their customers.

Nintendo in terms of it's games never ignored the hardcore. Whether a game is hardcore or not is determined by the gamer as much as the game; if the game has everything necessary for the gamer to want to strive and reach for to make incredible achievements, then the game is hardcore. If the gamer can make incredible achievements in a game, the gamer is hardcore.

I only have two examples, but I think they're apt.

It's like, if I recall correctly, this one guy talking in Sony's gamer advisory panel about an arch enemy he had in Motorstorm that he would play online, some days he would beat him, but other days this guy would cream him eight ways from Sunday. One day the guy had a conversation during a truce (not a fight, but I would think not 100% at ease, being competitors and all) he asked his enemy how did he get so good and his enemy told him, and I'm paraphrasing:

"I don't have enough fingers to play most games, so I play the games I can".

That guy going for opportunities and doing the best he can made him ambitious at the least. The fact that he plays with remarkable skill in Motorstorm despite his disability and held a rank in a popular game makes him hardcore.

The fact that the guy saw a game that gave him opportunities to advance and to strive for a ranking online and enough challenges to better himself in that game and to make a name for himself makes the game hardcore.

To sum it up: synergy of the player's dedication and the game's ability to allow gamers to strive for something in the game makes each other hardcore.

Now I said all of that to say this: Nintendo knows this and has used this as their central theme in every game they make, although nowadays it's hard to see that.

With all of the available options people have versus gaming in it's infancy makes it a little too easy to dismiss games that have a "childish" look to them as a game for the casual gamer (like Mario games). That's a little shortsighted to do, because the origin of video games started in bright, child-appealing colors; and it belies most games ingenious level design and deceptively simple appearance.

If we go to the core of Nintendo's gaming beginnings, we see Donkey Kong. Simple enough game, isn't it? In this game's heyday, it, and games like it, were so revered for it's challenge at the time that whole movements and competitions sprung up surrounding gamers who could make the highest score. In the documentary "King of Kong: A Fist Full of Quarters" you can see the passion and the pull from "games of old" that hearken back to when there were no instruction booklets, no onscreen prompts, no quick time events, and no more tries than three to beat a game or get enough points to earn another man. It's not game over and you start again; it's game over and you pay some more. You don't know old school hardcore unless you've played under those conditions. And you don't know old-school hardcore game appeal if you don't know a game that makes you start over, on top of paying more money to play it. Furthermore, Donkey Kong had to distinguish itself from other arcade games in terms of color, gameplay, music (if any), sound effects and re-playability. In other words, they only had one shot to make an impression. No demos, no game critics, and no second chances.

When you understand this, you will understand Nintendo and their philosophy regarding games. When you understand this, you will understand why Nintendo have always sold games at a profit. When you understand this, you will understand why Nintendo makes every game like it's their last, and why hardcore isn't Nintendo's middle name: hardcore is interchangeable with Nintendo.

Welcome to Nintendo 101.

You see their standards repeating in just about every game they make from the Mario Brothers, to Nintendogs, to Star Fox, to Metroid, to Wii Sports, and more. Their gaming experience is tough to match, if neigh impossible for any gaming company or console to repeat the complex pattern of excellence as long as Nintendo has. What Nintendo has to realize is that consoles aren't just for kids anymore. Sure, they have seniors playing the Wii as well as kids, but they haven't grasped that all because they make a game for adults (in the Western world) that it won't sully their name. What I do see fading is that old, restrictive Nintendo who used to not allow religious symbols, blood, gore, or sexually suggestive graphics in games on their console. If McDonald's can pull it off I think Nintendo can do it as well.

No, Nintendo didn't lose the hardcore; the hardcore gamers have to be reintroduced to what hardcore is.

With games like Demon Souls and Dark Souls being widely accepted, the hardcore gamers are learning.

With a new IP like Zombi U, Nintendo is learning, too.

MacDonagh4115d ago

Good blog. While I have my doubts on whether or not the Wii U will be able to entice me personally, you make good points on the validity of whether or not Nintendo are "hardcore". One thing that bothers me about this schism between core and casual gamers is that the core gamers see the casuals as the enemy when they should be seeing them as the future.

Whether or not they would like to admit it; it's no longer their jam anymore. It has invaded the popular sub-concious and will continue to bring in people who may have never thought that they'd ever be interested in gaming. It is a good thing that people are getting interested in gaming and it is establishing itself as a legitimate platform akin to films, books and music. Whether they'll reach the maturity to convey itself as an art form is another story for another time however.

StraightPath4115d ago

Super Mario Galaxy - Highest rated exclusive this gen
Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Highest rated exclusive this gen

Two fantastic mario games that can not be matched on any other platforms.

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The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess
The Legend Of Zelda Skyward Sword.

Two fantastic Zelda games that can not be matched on any other platforms. Skyward Sword best game I played last year. After playing all games from other platforms.

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Super Smash Brawl

A great party and beat em up that has influenced rival company to produce a inferior clone.

----------------------------- ---------------------------

Xenoblade Chornicles / last Story

A master piece JRPG who says JRPGS are dead? Shut up Xenoblade Chornicles has destoryed you.

----------------------------- ---------------------------

Metriod Prime 3 Corruption

Premier FPS game for the Wii just as Halo is for Xbox 360.

----------------------------- ---------------------------

New Super Mario Bros

co-op fun for everyone not just the hardcore

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Donkey Kong Returns

Another supreb platforming game. There are no exclusive platforming games on other platforms of the calibre of Donkey Kong or Mario. Expect Rayman Origins is great aswell.

This will take alot of my time to do but in the exclusive department the Nintendo Wii delivered a library of excellent games. I missed sooo many Mario Kart, influeced a rival to make inferior karting games, Madworld a game shows that the Wii caters also for mature gamers. Super Paper Mario, Monster Hunter Tri, Red Steel 2 , No more heroes and many more.

The wii suffered from the loss of multiplatform games due to its console power. But nintendo made sure they produced quality exclusive for its system for the hardcore.

closed minded idiotic fanboys from Sony and Ms that only own one console say that when thier favourites are copying nintendo all the time!

Nintendo just needs to fix up thier online upto Xbox Live standards or atleast a lower standard set by PSN.

Nintendo need to beef up thier console to able to maintain multiplatforms.

I have played many great games on wii but yes i play my ps3 and xbox more due to the lack of other games. But no they didnt lose hardcore.

The 3ds is doing great.

Owner of all consoles you need to be.

smashcrashbash4115d ago (Edited 4115d ago )

Yeah they did. They abandoned the hardcore for the 'casual' to make money.If they didn't abandon the hardcore all their mature games wouldn't have been treated the way they were. Nintendo treated most of their hardcore games like crap and concentrated on the 'casual' market.

And now that they have the Wii U they come crawling back to the hardcore hoping that we will believe that they never abandoned us in the first place. The Wii was never a multi gamer console it was tailored for the casual, while they tossed the hardcore a few scraps. They dropped us like a rock to save themselves from another failed system and hope to try and bring us back with the Wii U. Nothing but PR rubbish. They did what they did and are pretending they never did. Nintendo is getting as corrupt and as good at swindling people as Microsoft is.

Don't mind the disagrees. I just love to see people still try to defend Nintendo for doing the things they do and at the same time put down Sony and Microsoft when they do it. If Sony did what Nintendo did and took the route they did they would never have been congratulated for it. We would be hearing all now about Sony completely abandoning us for the 'casual' and how all they want is money and don't care about gamers.

Kratoscar20084115d ago

YEAH like with Microsoft that is now focusing more on casuals and people saying the patethic excuse for not having hardcore games aside from Halo and Gears just because suposedly they are working on the next Gen, hipocrisy.

ShaunCameron4115d ago

No they didn't. And where did people like you get this idea that Nintendo was "hardcore"? The only "hardcore" games that ever graced Nintendo's consoles were the ones 3rd parties made and published. Nintendo themselves never did "mature" games and rarely published them.

Neither were the NES nor the SNES if you actually took off the rose-tinted glasses. Remember the Power Pad? The Power Glove? The Zapper? Mario Paint? I guess Sega and their MasterSystem/Genesis fanboys were rambling about nothing back then. LOL @ Nintendo getting corrupt and swindling people. Nope. It's YOU who deluded yourself into believing that Nintendo have always made the same kind of games that their rivals and 3rd parties until the Wii came out. It was YOU who abondoned them for Sega because they didn't wanna allow blood on their consoles. It was YOU who abandoned them for Sony (and Microsoft) once 3rd parties stopped dealing with them. All while the casual crowd abandoned Nintendo when the N64 and GC came out because there was hardly anything for them to play and the controllers were awkward.

Just like I love to see people holding onto this false belief that Nintendo was always about the "gamer" since the beginning while completely ignoring the fact that they catered to the casual crowd. The same casual crowd that made the NES and the SNES to a lesser extent a success. The same casual crowd that bought a lot of those PS1's and 2's.

smashcrashbash4114d ago

First of all in all your rantings I barely understood what you were saying. I never abandoned Nintendo for anyone. I brought every Nintendo system up to the DS and was one of the biggest Nintendo fanboys back then bigger then all the wanna be fanboys this gen.

Second of all the PS1 and the PS2 sold more consoles then the NES or SNES did so many of them were new gamers not all of them were the 'casuals' you claim owned NES and SNES systems.What makes you so sure that all Sony system owners were Nintendo system owners. It was Sony that brought such a huge number of gamers to the table.

Third of all when I say casual I am not talking 'casual' as it is now. I am talking casual like not playing the low level garbage people call casual now that barely put a challenge in anything. I beat all modern Marios in my sleep and barely put up a sweat unlike Super Mario Brothers 3.

And last of all despite Nintendo having third party games they weren't afraid to give them the attention they deserved. Any third party on a Wii is treated like rubbish by Nintendo and EVERYONE knows Nintendo's has had bad relations with third parties as of late.

They concentrate on their own games and barely even take notice of the third party ones. Do you even remember any commercials for Conduit or Mad World or Zack and Wiki? They had no problem back then giving things like Mega Man, Metal Gear, Contra etc the same level of attention as their first party games but now they practically just use them to fill out the Wii's roster while giving all attention to Mario and Zelda.

HarryMasonHerpderp4114d ago


Well said!

phantomexe4114d ago

Here what i'm saying. i had alwasy done my gameing on nintendo platforms. i purchased the wii day one picked up ever game that i thought was good from madworld,conduit to mario. Nintendo couldn't feed me the games i wanted to play without 3rd partys support. I gave up on nintendo and traded mario for uncharted. i'm not saying id never play a mario or metroid again but 90% of my gameing will be done on the ps3 or xbox. I can't go without trophies and a proper online interface anymore and nintendo is to slow to change. I still hope nintendo does well but saying nintendo didn't lose some of there core base is wrong. I won't spend my money on another nintendo home consul. If it don't show up on the 3ds i won't be buying it. What i said is the gods truth.The wii couldn't give me the gameing experience i wanted.

ClimateKaren4114d ago

This is really simple actually, and you don't need to pull out sales charts, pontificate on what it means to be hardcore, or theorize on collective gamer consciousness. I'll make it nice and plain for the author of this blog and for everyone who is foaming at the mouth as they frantically rush to the scene to protect the reputation of the Mario factory while Reggie attempts to shoehorn his own foot from his mouth.

I grew up on Nintendo systems. I kept on buying systems that Nintendo came out with as they released. One day when trying to find a new game to play on my Nintendo system, I realized that I was out of potential choices that interested me. When this went on for some time I was forced to buy another console that had many games to choose from , the way NES and SNES used to. Then I got to play many games, of all genres, with all kinds of characters, new & familiar, and with great frequency. That trend has continued to this day.

So did I leave Nintendo hanging, or did Nintendo leave me hanging?

You know when Nintendo can stop defending itself for having abandoned the hardcore (an acknowledgement that proves the falsehood of their denial, by the way)? When you show me a current gamer that can survive on Nintendo alone. Anyone who has been gaming on a PS3, PC, or 360 this generation can survive on any one of those three platforms. They have libraries that surpass one's free time. They are beyond adequate to meet most gamers' needs. When was the last time the same could be said for a Nintendo console? How many people do you know who just play Wii? Or who can say "Wii + PC = bases covered".

Spare me the editorials. Face reality. This Nintendo brigade denial is starting to look really silly.

beerkeg4114d ago

Well actually, I couldn't survive with any of the consoles on their own. I could survive with pc as its libary has more games, and more variety of games, than all 3 consoles combined.

If I had just one of the consoles I would get bored a lot quicker.

But all 3 consoles have a selection of games that I couldn't get on pc so I bought them. Seeing as I'm one of those 'hardcore' gamers that everyone goes on about I like to play all kinds of different games.

And if I hadn't got a Wii this gen I would have missed out on a lot of great games I couldn't get anywhere else.

But what do I know, I'm just someone that loves games.

ClimateKaren4114d ago

The point isn't to say that one should be satisfied with the single console, or that any one console will let you play every game that you could possibly want to play. I thought that was clear. It's the 3/4 major home-gaming platforms have large and diverse libraries capable of sustaining interest across a wide array of genres and styles. The 4th is Nintendo.

beerkeg4114d ago

What you mean to say is it doesn't have many games on the system you like. Well that's okay, but it does have a large diverse libary of great games. Just because you don't like them doesn't mean they aren't there. It just means that you personally don't like them.

ClimateKaren4113d ago

The words your putting into my mouth don't make sense. I'm accusing Wii of not having games on a system I like? I didn't say anything about bad games, I'm talking about a library that pales in comparison to the competition.

What I meant to say is exactly what I said. Comparatively speaking, the Wii does not have a large library of diverse games. It's biggest forerunners are the same franchises we've seen from Nintendo for the past couple of decades, and outside of that things are sparse. The lack of third party support on the Wii is something whose reasons one can speculate on, but the fact itself can't be disputed. Are there games spanning all the genres? Sure. But not enough of them that one can be a Wii-only gamer.

And the fact that you or anyone owns multi or all platforms is irrelevant. Wanting access to every game available is different than not-having enough of a library on a console to keep one busy. I think we both know what I'm saying here, but you keep trying to sustain a debate that isn't really happening by trying to pretend that the Wii is a real contender for a hardcore gamer's living room instead of a 360 or PS3. I'll entertain the semantics and spell it out for you one more time:

Nobody who gamed heavily or "hardcore" for the last console gen, whether on GC, PS2, or Xbox, upgraded to a Wii and found it a console capable of keeping them busy on its own. Keep talking to me about this library of games that people love, and then explain to me why the fastest and biggest selling console of the big 3 was the first to die out, forcing them to come out with another system (which, by the way, that is being entirely marketed as catering to the hardcore, in direct acknowledgement of the lost audience). It's because the games weren't there.

Just to throw your own silly game at you: I'm glad YOU love Nintendo, but it doesn't mean everyone else does. Just because you like the games that are on the Wii doesn't mean that their library is satisfactory to most gamers.

And the proof is in the pudding. Reggie wouldn't be complaining about accusations of losing the hardcore if (get ready): The hardcore weren't complaining about being lost!

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