Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 1, 2016

Email: The Otaku-ization of Nintendo?

Greetings Malstrom

I’ve seen a few of your posts about Nintendo and Japanese culture, and how Nintendo embracing them could lead to their demise etc

I’ve noticed some strange things that could suggest this…

Yu Ayasaki in Mario Maker, if I played Super Mario Maker with a bunch of my friends, I would CRINGE if I ever played a level with this character. Did Nintendo put her in their flagship franchise for market growth? I can’t see anybody outside the gaming scene taking kindly to this.

Project X Zone 2 has Lucina and Chrom from Fire Emblem and Fiora from Xenoblade Chronicles (both games have anime artstyles), Project X Zone 2 has the whole spoken dialogue in JAPANESE for the Western release, no English voice actors, this game was clearly made for Otakus only. Nintendo may have put these characters in response to a request from Namco Bandai, or they really wanted their characters in a Japanese ridden game.

With these recent events and the Otaku-ization of Zelda and possibly Metroid, along with Nintendo’s focus on profits. Maybe your fears may become true. Splatoon for example, is very popular in Japan, the ‘Squid Sisters’ concerts and the big Japanese playerbase only (I’ve played games online where I’m the only player who does not have a Japanese name, you won’t see that in Call of Duty or Battlefield). With that new IP selling well, albeit not moving hardware units, Nintendo may be on this Otaku path.

Just some stuff I was concerned about these past few days and wanted to share with you, could all of this suggest that Nintendo may become fully Otaku-ed or am I just fretting too much?


With the NPD numbers out, it has Fire Emblem in the top ten (behind Minecraft of course). But, if you combine EVERY type of Fire Emblem sku of that title, you would get a larger number. If they can add a but, so can I. BUT you must differentiate CUSTOMERS and SALES. How many of those sales were unique customers? Many people were buying multiple ‘collector editions’ and other copies to sell. I know this because I know people who are doing this. I do not mind because I got some old Fire Emblem games from a garage sale (trash) which can now be sold at hundreds of dollars. I am looking at you, Path of Radiance from Gamecube. There is a difference between SALES and CUSTOMERS. You want to make CUSTOMERS. You do NOT want to increase sales with the same or dwindling number of customers. The sales collapse is inevitable and will come sharply.

While I do think Nintendo is being Otaku-ized, I think this merely a part of a growing problem for the video game industry.

The first game makers were NORMAL PEOPLE. Shigeru Miyamoto got a degree in INDUSTRIAL DESIGN. I can guarantee you that game developers today know shit about industrial design or industrial experience. They think it is ‘beneath them’. But if it was good enough for Miyamoto, why do they think they are ‘above it’? Miyamoto also interacted with people. Miyamoto would do his bluegrass type playing.

Sid Meir, Will Wright, and all the rest, they have life experiences before they went into video games. These life experiences helped make the games better.

Today’s game developers do not have life experiences. Their life experiences are video games which is why every new game seems like an old game.

I have observed a strange phenomenon with computer geeks, or, rather, those who merge with their machines. They get absorbed into ‘geek culture’. They think ‘geek culture’ is ‘real culture’. They literally begin to think they are geniuses. I watch computer programmers watch something like ‘Cosmos’ and then believe they are at the level of astrophysicists. The narcissism is extreme. The narcissism also creates an effeminate rot. By effeminacy, I do not mean ‘girl like’ or feminine, I mean the antithesis of any gender. It is a weakness of spirit.

They did not go to the video game industry to make video games. They came to the video game industry for eternal adolescence. They may be adolescents, their co-workers may be adolescents, but the PAYING CUSTOMERS are not. The customers have to live in the real world. The real world is an industrial world. It is a world of trucks, of dirt, of violence, of grit, and of many things these adolescents have no experience. They have a loosey-goosiness that makes them insufferable to be around. In conversations, they are always geniuses. I also believe original developers can be infected by this too.

Look at the most illustrative example of Sakamoto and Other M. The entire story and vision of Other M requires an audacity that makes someone believe they are a genius. Do you know what the difference between an intellectual and a genius is? The genius holds a mirror up to nature allowing us to see how it works. The intellectual tries to shine and sparkle like a wonderful pretty stone. This is why I do not like Game Gods. Game Gods are presented as if all goodness flows through them. Instead, good games work because they successfully hold a mirror up to Human nature. The game is not good because the developer is ‘magical’. The game is good because it successfully massages the gamer.

I’m becoming very concerned because software dens are not just ‘geek worlds’, but that they see and respect no other world than ‘geek world’. They have no ballast. They have no connection to reality. Finance, which an expression of reality, is despised because it brings in business models, cashflow, profit, and all that. “We don’t want to make customers. We want to make the games we want to make.” In other words, we wish to stay in the sanctuary of geek land.

One thing about the Wii revolution was that it was anti-geek. I believe this is why it was so despised.

Do you know what hardcore gamers are? They are geeks. They are only given the label of hardcore by marketing departments who want these fools to keep buying their crappy games. Most ‘hardcore’ gamers hate their jobs, hate their existence, and wish to live in ‘Geek Land’ which is what the video games represent to them.

As video game developers become more child-like, their products are going to reflect being a man-child. I believe this, more than anything, creates the stigma against video games. There was no stigma against Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, Tetris, Wii Sports, or Wii Fit. The only stigma that came against something like Wii Sports was from geek culture, i.e. the ‘hardcore’ gamers.

The best thing a video game company can do is to destroy their geek culture and bring their developers screaming into the real world. Imagine what video games they would make then! Imagine the new markets they would reach! Imagine the new gamers it would create. But no, the only customers they want are other geeks. Video game industry has become a geek culture providing entertainment to a geek culture.

Hipster-ization of gaming. This is what is happening. This is why you will not admit you are a gamer in public.



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