Nintendo and Innovation

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.

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4 Responses to Nintendo and Innovation

  1. Shaun says:

    The Wii was innovative. Sadly, the hardware was out of date before it was released with SD graphics and slow CPU. Your adult games rightly shunned it as a gimmick.
    The 3DS was a good idea, but most people now turn off the 3D as it was a nice feature but ultimately useless as a gaming experience when the novelty wore off.
    Games-wise, recycling old NES games really isn’t the way forward if you’re selling them for £40. If they were released on Android or Steam, they’d be under a fiver. See Red Alert, GTA III, Dungeon Keeper etc for further research.

    • davidjesmith says:

      The NES games that have been put on the Virtual Console are less than a fiver, so nowhere near the £40 mark that you’re mentioning there. Even when you consider the HD remakes of games like The Wind Waker, the £40 price tag is entirely justified given the kind of game you’re getting and the amount of new stuff they’ve added. Quality doesn’t come for free, you know!

  2. connorbros says:

    I love my Wii U, it just needs more games, and I have faith that it will get there. I think it is an amazing piece of technology that has been fairly misunderstood (whether that be because of the name, the lack of games or whatever reason). I mean, it’s just so solid to be able to play on my TV and have seamless menus and other components that help with the immersion, then when it is getting late just going to gamepad mode, busting out my epic headphones and getting cozy under a blanket with my closer, more personal experience. And when my friend wants to pick up and play some Wind Waker, it’s no hassle at all.

    ~Dyl

    • davidjesmith says:

      I love my Wii U too. Absolutely fantastic console. 2014 will definitely be a good year with releases from the Mario Kart, Donkey Kong and Super Smash Bros coming up. Even the close of 2013 is looking good with the new Mario game and Wind Waker HD. I really hope it starts to get the recognition it deserves.

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