I had a very interesting conversation with a friend of mine very recently about the state of Nintendo. He believes that Nintendo have fallen among the wayside when it comes to innovation. Being the Nintendo fan that I am, I am always very quick to come to Nintendo’s defense. I did however do a lot of thinking on the subject.
The question I asked myself is as follows. Have Nintendo really innovated since the Wii?
It’s easy to look at the past few years for Nintendo and the list of remakes and spin off games that Nintendo have commissioned recently and think that the answer to the question is a resounding No. I personally think that the answer is a resounding Yes.
The thing is, if you ever play these spin-offs, even if they are intended for a casual audience and not for the “core” gamer (I really HATE that term, but whatever), one of the main things you will take from the experience is that you will have had some kind of fun with it. Even if the experience is considered “throw away” by most people who would label themselves as “core”, it is impossible to deny that it’s not at the very least fun. Nintendo do not make bad games. They might make games that don’t specifically appeal to you, but that doesn’t make them bad. There is a very distinct difference and it is important that it is not understated. Given this, I think we can safely say that Nintendo innovate on fun.
The above is a given even before you consider how they innovate on a hardware perspective. Yes, you heard me right. The company that release consoles almost a generation behind innovate in hardware too. I would hope that it is obvious that Nintendo innovated Motion Control and Touchscreen Control on their Wii and Wii U platforms respectively, and they continue to innovate in the Handheld space too with the 2DS/3DS.
What I would say to anyone who believes that Nintendo do not innovate is that you should read between the lines. Nintendo know what they’re doing and wouldn’t be doing what they are doing if they didn’t think it had the potential to be successful, regardless of whether or not it ultimately will be. Just my two pence worth.