You posed a really good question with that post, and I decided to chime in with my two cents’ worth.
I am more or less in the situation you described–a man in his mid-30′s who has a chance (quite possibly my last chance) to re-capture the feeling that I experienced in 1991. I spent that fall waiting for Christmas, when I could finally get the SNES and Super Mario World. To this day, I still have fond memories of that experience (heh. It’s weird how perceptions change. Back then, as I agonized every day waiting for the moment to come, I don’t think I would have described my feelings as “fond”!). I cannot assume that this opportunity will ever come again–after all, it hasn’t happened in more than twenty years. The prospect of buying a new Nintendo machine complete with a new Super Mario Bros. game–even if it isn’t packed in (by the way, Nintendo, listen up–if this game was packed in, I wouldn’t even be considering it; I’d have already placed my reservation by now. As it is, I’m still on the fence. Something to think about.)–is incredibly tempting. I might do it just for that reason alone. Then again, I might not.
One thing that would help is if Nintendo assured me that this won’t be the only proper 2D Mario Bros. side-scroller on the Wii U. There is no reason why Nintendo doesn’t make one of these games every other year. If I felt confident that in 2014, I’d be getting another one, I’d have almost no hesitation; yet I tend to think that this will be a one-and-done.
Why, Nintendo? Why?
The 2D platformer is the quintessential type of video game. All other genres of games–action games, adventure games, RPGs, shoot-em-ups, racers, sports games, fighters, cinematic games, everything, everything, everything–are mere replications of other types of media and can be enjoyed in some form or fashion away from video game consoles, but the 2D platformer is the only type of video game that has no equivalent anywhere else in society (board games would be the closest thing to it). And Super Mario Bros. is the quintessential 2D platformer. Which means Super Mario Bros. is the quintessential video game.
You are the sole producers of the one video games that defines all others. If all else ceased to be, only Super Mario Bros. would remain.
Why do you want to throw that away, Nintendo? Why?
(P.S. I am the guy who wrote you the Harry Potter email in July. I had a response to your response half-written, but I got in a bizarre, unfortunate accident while cleaning out my gutters and broke both of my arms. Only in the last week have I been slowly regaining the use of them, and this is the first time I’ve typed since then. I still intend to send you that email, if you’re still interested, because I do have reasons behind my statements, although I admit that my previous email was written in an overly aggressive tone. Oh, well, that’s another topic for another time.)
Nintendo thinks your reactions are all based on nostalgia. But there is a very major difference then and now. Those of us who purchased a SNES early on did so because of our experience with the NES. We expected our gaming experience to be the same or to get better. On the NES, we had three Mario games, two Zelda games, a Metroid, a Kid Icarus, Punch-Out, and other gems. So when we go to the SNES, we got only one Mario game, one Zelda game, a Metroid, a Punch-Out, but not much else. We did get Super Mario Kart and Yoshi’s Island. We got many fantastic third party adventure/RPG games.
I distinctly remember in the late 80s being jazzed as hell about the future of gaming. I assumed this company called Nintendo would keep the awesome experiences coming. And this wasn’t happening as we moved further and further with each new console. My disappointment kept growing so I was not surprised to see Nintendo hardware sales keep declining.
It’s not our fault we thought the console experience would get better. Game consoles were still very new, and Nintendo had no history.
We made that mistake with the Wii. At least, I did. I thought the Wii signaled a significant change to the way how Nintendo did game consoles. After all, Nintendo had a new president. The company had a new mission statement. The Wii looked like a resurrection of the NES in its controller to its simple games to its form.
When the Wii came out, EVERYONE assumed the console experience would be the same or get better. If Wii Sports was the first game, SURELY the games following the launch titles will be even more extraordinary. And there were some extraordinary games that kept the Wii sales going like Wii Fit and NSMB Wii. But we ended up with Gamecube Plus duds like the Mario Galaxy games. We got Wii Resort that had no online and no tennis (WTF?). We got Wii Music (terrible!). I can’t find anyone who wasn’t disappointed with Skyward Sword. And Metroid: Other M was the biggest WTF ever. I’m absolutely certain the same cycle will occur with the Wii U. Nintendo has no ambition anymore.
There are always certain consistent flaws with Nintendo’s console “cycle”. They are never addressed. Each generation, we are told to ‘eat it’. Unhappy that the console gets abandoned after a couple of years, you are to shut up and buy the next console at launch.
I don’t understand how a company can do something right in the 80s and then do it wrong in the 90s. I don’t understand how Miyamoto thought Mario fans would ever accept 3d Mario. I don’t understand how Aonuma thinks re-writing Zelda to be a Japanese PC adventure game with puzzles would work. And I really, really don’t understand how Sakamoto went from Metroid and Super Metroid to… Metroid: Other M.
The Nintendo brands, IPs, and marketing has been shielding this. We’ve always sensed something ‘wasn’t the same’, but it has become absurd.
I don’t understand why Nintendo doesn’t have an account system in place RIGHT NOW in the year 2012. Or why Nintendo offers no online multiplayer with every game not named Mario Kart. I don’t understand why Nintendo is pissing on the Virtual Console with the Wii U.
I know that many people read this site because they think I understand Nintendo. But I don’t understand why Nintendo is doing these things mentioned above.
I understand why Nintendo adopts a ‘integrated hardware and software’ approach to things as it is a competitive advantage. But I don’t understand why Nintendo is pushing ‘integrated hardware and software’ in places where it becomes a competitive disadvantage.
I fear the reason why we cannot understand it is because it is not rational decision making. For example, Metroid: Other M can only be explained as irrational. There is nothing logical about the direction of that product at all. And there is nothing logical about putting out 3d Marios, one after another, and watching them all underperform compared to the MAIN Mario series of 2d Mario. It is just irrational behavior. The 3DS design is so bizarre that I can only think of irrationality behind some of it. The decision to put trains in Zelda: Spirit Tracks was not a logical decision but an IRRATIONAL one based on the relationship of a father-son overriding the relationship of the game developer and the product.
I cannot explain Nintendo’s ways. I can only explain why Nintendo’s ways are not for me.