Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
On Running Feuds
An Adult Conversation about Nintendo?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on June 02, 2003   |   Episode 29 (Show Archive)  


"Hey guys, is this control supposed to be shaking??"
It's long be thought that Nintendo doesn't understand adult audiences. While gamers may have grown up playing Nintendo's consoles, these days they seem more interested in systems that cater to them, systems like the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. So what was Nintendo's current generation system doing up on stage with the men from the Man Show?

After all, this is a show that is geared towards a young adult audience, most of whom are intoxicated with something or other. As the blind man attempted to play Burnout 2 on the GameCube, I pondered to myself whether I have been giving Nintendo a hard time for nothing. Maybe there is a method to their madness, and I just hadn't given them credit for it yet. But soon it dawned on me, Nintendo has done it to themselves, and somebody has to do something about it.

You see, now that most of the game buying public is over 18, one would assume Nintendo would do more to provide products for not only kids, but adults as well. However, if you look at this year's line up, that would clearly not be the case. Take, for example, the beginning of 2003, when the long anticipated cel-shaded Zelda: the Wind Waker was released.

Here we see young Billy Hatcher just days before going to detox to deal with his addiction to hallucinogenic.
And now that we're closing in on the year, what are GameCube owners privy to? Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Kirby's Air Ride, and the all ages racer, F-Zero GX. No matter how fun these games are, and most of them are a riot, it's hard to pick these games when Xbox owners could play Grand Theft Auto Vice City for the first time, or PlayStation 2 gamers will have Manhunt.

Last year Nintendo talked up Metroid Prime as being their big AAA title for adults. A science fiction adventure that would combine closed quarter's exploration, with some big scares from some nasty looking aliens. The game was one of the best games of the year; it worked on every level, but also appealed to a wide audience. To put a game like Metroid Prime in the same category as the Grand Theft Auto series, would be like saying 2001: A Space Odyssey is like A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Even the third party support has turned decidedly kid-friendly. The few companies left on Nintendo's sinking ship, like Sega, are stuck making exclusives like Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, a game so cute, it makes Sonic the Hedgehog feel like A Clockwork Orange. Titles like Driver 3 and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines have been cancelled, and companies are starting to put their full support behind the systems looking out for both adults and children.

These accusations are nothing new; Nintendo has always gone after the family friendly vote, trying to be the Disney of video games. A decade ago Nintendo stopped much of the gore from going into the Super NES port of the Mortal Kombat, one of the most played arcade games. The effect back then, just like now, can be measured in a general loss of sales, and a loss of interest by third parties who want to write stories with actual meat.

The French have written the book on brutality, it would be nice if Nintendo would take a page from that book and bring us a Man Bites Dog game!
But how long will they be able to play by their own rules? For the first time in over 40 years Big N will report a financial loss, thanks in part to what has been a disastrous year for the company. I'm sure there is plenty of blame to go around, but a big chunk of the problem is that Nintendo just does not give its consumers what they want.

Not only that, but they often make smug comments as if they know what's better for the industry. Earlier this year Nintendo stated that you would "never see Mario stealing cars", an obvious nod to the top selling Grand Theft Auto Vice City. To Nintendo it's just a phase people are going through, like boy bands or disaster movies. But as the gaming public grows older, games will need to keep up.

Perhaps it's time for Nintendo to introduce a second company, one that works exclusively on games with hard-edged themes, compelling stories, and characters you could see in a Martin Scorsese film. A company that wouldn't have to worry about the Mario's and the Zelda's. A company that made the opposite of Pikmin.

But as long as Nintendo thinks they know best, they will always miss the boar. So if there's a morale to Nintendo's madness, it's that you should not be as bull headed as they are, and spot the trends and make them work for you. Either that, or drink a lot of beer and watch the Man Show.


Mario, Mega Man, Lolo & More!

The Best Reviewed 16-Bit Games!


Snake Pass


Little Nightmare

comments powered by Disqus