My fanatical devotion to Nintendo knows few bounds and has earned me a certain level of notoriety over the years. From arguing the superiority of the SNES over the Genesis back on the playground in grade school to refuting the beliefs that Nintendo’s products are nothing but ‘toys for little kids’, I’ve heard every argument against them and rarely do I find much merit in those criticisms. However, that hardly means I see them as perfect. Indeed, my devotion to them has left me as frustrated as anyone else over the years, and often over blunders that were silly and completely unnecessary. I’ve compiled a list of ten things I personally wish Nintendo would do differently (or do at all). Some of these are common complaints you may have heard before, but others seem to only have occurred to me.
1. Offer the superior ports of games that have seen multiple releases.
I just don’t get it. When offering an existing digital product with multiple versions, why would you not offer the best version of said product? For years the NES version of Donkey Kong has been available on the eshop with its compressed graphics and missing level, while the Arcade version seems to be something we are expected to forget. Instead of getting the NES or Game Boy Color version of Tetris, we can only have the basic olive green Game Boy version. The beautiful revamped Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land the GBA made me shun the dull Kirby’s Adventure from the NES.
Time and again they’ve made effort to bury better versions of their own games and expected people to be happy about it. Why? Nostalgia? Why were all these games remade in the first place if we’re to believe that better is worse and worse is better? Please Nintendo, when you have two versions of the same game, release the better version. If you feel that nostalgia is so important, bundle them together and let me pick which version to play. Just because Super Mario Bros was amazing for its time doesn’t mean I don’t want to play the All-Stars version with better graphics and save points. I promise that doesn’t hurt the experience. And while we’re at it…
2. Put more effort into Virtual Console ports.
Controller button mapping. Multiple save states. Graphical filters. Stop removing password functions. Integrated codes, or ‘cheats’. Heaven forbid we get reasonably priced HD rereleases or upscaling functions. Most emulators on PC offer these basic functions and encourage piracy, but rather than try to make superior products than the pirates, it seems Nintendo wants to punish the people who pay real money for their official rereleases.
3. An intelligent port of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures and maybe Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles.
Released for the Gamecube in Japan in early 2004, this game was ambitious and ahead of its time. On the surface, you might mistake this for a casual party game when it fact it’s a meaty, action packed Zelda title. Unfortunately, in order to really appreciate it, it required three friends with Game Boy Advances and Link cables, and for all parties involved to have a lot of time to invest. Now, however, we have things like the Internet, Wi Fi, Wii U game pads, and 3DSs. For a little effort in porting, this game could finally get the love and recognition it deserves. Granted, Nintendo already tried doing something similar with Tri Force Heroes and mistakes were made, but just as some good direction could fix Tri Force Heroes, something other than a lazy straight port could make this game awesome. Proper matchmaking. Drop in – drop out, voice chat, and the ability to play it on either Wii U, Wii U linked to 3DS, or only a 3DS would not be hard to implement. The technology is all there, begging to be utilized.
4. Virtual Boy games on the 3DS Virtual Console.
I know I’m going to be in the minority on this one, but I enjoyed my brief experience with the Virtual Boy back in 1995, renting it from Blockbuster along with Mario Tennis and Red Alarm. The Virtual Boy is a tragic tale of hardware being rushed to market both before its time and without the proper development. I digress, the commercial failures of the Virtual Boy are no reason its titles should rot away forever. Certainly if we can get Game & Watch compilation games, there’s no reason we couldn’t get a compilation of all the published Virtual Boy titles for $30 or ala carte on the eshop for $2-$4 each. They’re already programmed, though there may be some type of conversion necessary for the 3D effect (I wouldn’t know). What I do know is that the VB is the only Nintendo system released in my lifetime that I’ve never owned and I want very much to change that in some way. I want to try Teleroboxer and VB Wario Land. Let us benefit from what history can teach us! All hail the Virtual Boy!
5. Make purchases multiplatform to home consoles and portables.
This has bothered me for as long as there has been an eshop, as well as many others. It’s flat out rude to not allow me to play games I’ve purchased on the eshop on both my Wii U and my 3DS, just as it was rude to not let me play them on my Wii and my DS before them. I understand sometimes hardware might impose limitations, but those limitations are being eroded with every new hardware release. I had hoped with the introduction of the new My Nintendo account system that this would finally be addressed, but to no avail. For the majority of the eshop catalog, this would be about as easy as flipping a switch. Surely the Wii U can do anything the 3DS can, save possibly render 3D graphics. Why not give me the option to port all the games from my 3DS to my Wii U? Why not let me port all possible games from my Wii U to my PC? Why do I have to buy two copies of Super Mario World if I want to play it on the go? Simple wifi programing would make it easy to sync my save games to whichever file is most recent. This would make my Nintendo experience so very rich, and yet the best we can get is ‘buy one get one’ with Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars forever cluttering the Sales and Deals tab on the eshop page. Simply put, there’s no excuse to not let me play the game I’ve already purchased on both of my active Nintendo devices.
6. Actually use the QR Code feature in the eshop.
When you obtain a game through means other than purchasing it directly on the eshop, such as a promotion or giveaway, you are given a complicated download code with which to enter on the eshop. This might make sense if we lived in a world without QR codes and if the same menu you use to enter a code didn’t have the ‘Scan QR Code’ button, but we do, so it doesn’t. Being the loyal Nintendo enthusiast I am, I’ve entered several such codes in the last few years and it never ceases to be frustrating. This might seem like a minor grievance in the grand scheme of things, but it reflects a reoccurring theme. Nintendo simply isn’t fully utilizing their own hardware! They seem to not understand what their own systems are capable of. In their underestimation, they diminish the overall experience. That, and I’m sick of confusing O’s with zeros…
7. Release a 3DS player for the Wii U.
Let’s take a break from whining about the eshop to focus on another obvious, unutilized idea. I remember as a kid getting plenty of mileage out of my Super Game Boy despite already having a Game Boy. Surely there is a market for a 3DS player on the Wii U. The 2DS proved people were interested in getting involved in the 3DS’ awesome game library for a reduced price. I’m sure a glorified USB slot for 3DS cards on the Wii U could justify a price tag up to $60 and get people buying more carts. Of course the Wii U has the touch-screen gamepad to work as the bottom screen, and a television would serve as the primary screen. Why not? Knowing nothing about the tech involved, I question if such an adaptor wouldn’t allow someone to play games in 3D on a 3D television. It would probably be pretty wild to play Kid Icarus Uprising or Resident Evil Revelations in 3D on a large setup. I also question if a USB based 3DS cart reader wouldn’t create piracy concerns, but Nintendo has done a stunning job preventing hackers from cracking 3DS roms so far this generation. Maybe there are only few WiiU owners who don’t already have a 3DS, but that doesn’t seem like any reason not to offer a 3DS player.
8. Phase out 3DS Friend Codes and merge them with My Nintendo.
This one is beyond overdue. People have hated friend codes since they were introduced back on the DS, and with the introduction of My Nintendo, there is no way to justify their continued existence. It should be a simple matter to release a system update that takes the codes and converts them to your friend’s My Nintendo ID, and change the format for adding new people. Much like eshop codes, friend codes are big, cumbersome, impersonal, and impossible to remember. They need to die. And while we’re at it, can we get a higher friend cap?
9. More Online Play.
Sometimes Nintendo gets it, and sometimes they don’t. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to when we get an awesome online game like Splatoon and when a game like Mario Party 10 has no online functionality at all. It makes no sense, and it seems like the situation is very slow to improve. Any time a game has multiplayer, it should have the option for online multiplayer. You think it’s better when people all get together and play in the same room, Nintendo? So do I! It’s too bad I’m lucky if I can make this magical scenario happen once every two months or so. In the meantime, give me the option to play with my ‘friends’ online, either from my designated friend list or through a simple matchmaking service. I’m sorry, I can’t justify spending $60 on Mario Party 10 if I’m only going to get to play it with other people twice. This goes for other multiplayer games. Super Mario 3D World, Yoshi’s Woolly World, Pikmin 3, Nintendo Land, and more. If you worry that the online experience is too impersonal, maybe use that camera and microphone installed in every Wii U and 3DS. People have bandwidth now. Annoying people can be muted or reported with the touch of a button. Please, Nintendo, your games are awesome! Let me enjoy them with other people! Speaking of…
Nintendo’s greatest pratfall of the last 15 years, in my opinion, has been their marketing. They have amazing games, but nobody knows about them because they’re too busy eating Doritos and drinking Mountain Dew while they discuss how things with your mom went last night over Call of Duty. This was not always the case. After Nintendo had to market the NES as a toy to overcome the gaming crash of 1983, but before ‘Wii’ would like to play Wii Bowling with your grandmother, there was a great period in Nintendo’s marketing where slick and edgy advertising was the norm. Mild games like Stunt Race FX got edgy and memorable commercials that didn’t always vibe with their content, and grittier games like Super Metroid and Mortal Kombat II got pushed to the forefront.
(It was around this time it became cool to like Nintendo on my playground.)
Ohh, it was a golden time to be a Nintendo fan. Nintendo understood America’s youth and its young adults, and as such their sales were great and they got tons of third party support. I don’t know what happened to the minds responsible for ‘Play it Loud’ or ‘get N or get out’, but Nintendo needs them now more than ever.
(Possibly my favorite commercial ever)
Even at the end of its life cycle, most people still don’t understand what Wii U is. As much as that makes me cringe, I can hardly blame them. I’m optimistic that Nintendo’s new president, Tatsumi Kimishima, understands this. Reportedly, he has promised Nintendo’s next system, codenamed NX, will be a “different and obviously a new experience.” After much of the confusion of what the Wii U was, they clearly need to make something different, and make it clear what that thing is and why you should play it.
It should go without saying that marketing is critical to Nintendo’s long term success. If people don’t know what it is or why they need it, then they won’t buy it, whatever that thing is. As a hardcore fan, I want them to do well, continue to thrive, keep innovating in their games and hardware, and for there to be no shortage of interested people to play against. Obviously if nobody buys their products, that cannot happen, and this is why I may occasionally be prone to bias toward them and harbor resentment towards their competitors.
So yeah, I love Nintendo, but there’s a lot to be fixed. There’s some buzz about gaming industry analyst ZhugeEX recently tweeting that Playstation Network generated more money recently than the entirety of Nintendo’s sales. People can try to say they aren’t competing, but they are. They just are. Maybe this buzz will serve as a wake up call and things can be changed soon, or maybe Nintendo will just continue to make these pratfalls forevermore. I don’t know. All I know is I’m done venting and I have a handful of indy games from that humble bundle to work on before the NX launches March of 2017.