Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 14, 2015

Nintendo badly needs Sports Psychology

Nintendo has recently announced the return of Nintendo World Championship Event (or whatever it is called). Go to the Nintendo page to find out more. There is a silly skit with Reggie. I enjoy the skit, but it becomes more distracting than anything. I also think it is a business mistake to use real people as ‘characters’ such as “Reggie” or “Miyamoto” or “Iwata”. The reason why is that “Reggie”, “Miyamoto”, and “Iwata” will grow old, retire, and die. But Mario, Link, and Samus do not age (thank God Samus does not age. The Perfect Woman!!!!). This is why I so love the Dos Equis ‘most interesting man in the world’ marketing because while the actor may grow old and die, the character is eternal. This is why I dislike celebrity endorsements as well. The celebrity may go to jail or say something stupid.

That said, I have been wondering what has been missing at Nintendo lately. I then thought of an Iwata Asks interview long ago when Iwata interviewed someone at Nintendo who went over to Capcom to help make the Capcom Zelda games. Iwata asked, “How was it working with Capcom?” I’ll never forget the answer. He said: “They are different from us. They are much more sporty.”

Sports Psychology is an interesting concept when it comes to video games. With something like E-sports, it is not the video game that is relevant but the sports psychology of the players. When playing these games, the sports psychology is fun. By sports psychology, I mean the ‘sporty’ type behavior. It is a game. There are winners and losers. There is sportsmanship.

While I think many of the E-Sports game scenes can be ridiculous, the sports psychology is not. It also highlights perhaps the true reason why the NES Era of Nintendo is my favorite. It is the only period where Nintendo embraced sports psychology.

Nintendo Power used to have top scores in the magazine during the NES era.

tetris evets kainzov

The highlighted name above is actually Steve Wozniak (of Apple fame) who spelled his name backwards. It’s true.

(NOTE: the arcades were about sports psychology especially with their HIGH SCORES)

Make fun of The Wizard all you want, but it very astutely encapsulates the Sports Psychology of the NES Era PLUS pointing out that kids (and adults) play video games for a source of agency. The main character in the movie had a health condition so he couldn’t play normal sports. It is why he played video games.

I can’t chase a ball like a dog in football or baseball anymore. I prefer video games.

The entire ‘Console War’ mentality is also a type of Sports Psychology. Everyone is rooting for their ‘console company’ like a sports team.

One thing sorely lacking from the SNES era was that sports psychology. The sports games were on Genesis and SNES players just stayed by themselves playing adventure games. N64 had some of that Sports Psychology with games like Golden Eye. The reason why Nintendo cannot do FPS games is because it cannot do sports psychology. It is why Splatoon is destined to flop.

Remember the above? Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out is not about Little Mac or the mechanics. The game is about Sports Psychology even though it is single player.

There was another game Nintendo made that was about sports. Do you remember what it was, reader? Oh yes…

Sports Psychology was part of that secret sauce of Wii Sports. Wii Sports Resort didn’t really have it aside from sword fighting. 3d Mario and Aonuma Zelda lack Sports Psychology which might be why I despise the games so much.

If Reggie is thinking like I’m thinking, he is going to be the announcer dude at a NEW video armageddon where the final game will be something brand new. Video Armageddon would also be a great way to showcase a brand new game.

Will he do it, reader?

Will Reggie give us ARMAGEDDON?

Our bodies are ready.



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