I’m glad my email about the Genesis sound inspired you for other posts!
In fact, few days ago I was thinking the same thoughts you expressed in your “Nintendo makes the best hardware hands-down” post.
I start to think about it THIS YEAR, only after get Nintendo consoles (as I was a Sega-maniac on that time).
We know that games sells the hardware, but let’s keep focus only in hardware for a moment.
You’re absolutely right about how solid the Nintendo hardware is. Additionally, the specs were always good enough to their time, with a good price!
NES: no console competitor. Additionally, it has a cool design (futurist), gamepad was totally a new concept, hardware spec was good enough to play ports from everywhere, Disrupted because everyone was saying consoles were dead, only powerful PCs with keyboards will survive! Only YEARS later some competitor arrived, but their hardware was not that different, just NES clones entering the red market (some additional colors here, few additional CPU cicles there). You feel happy paying the purchasing price.
SNES: the gamepad was awesome (the best gamepad in history with 6 buttons), hardware specs was really good (nice sound chip, enough CPU, some cool arcade effects). For sure, Genesis had a better CPU, but the SNES one was good enough. But Genesis had a cool console design. And it was black (cool in the 90’s). On that time, SNES and Famicon designs was not that futurist like NES. In fact, a bit of toyish (the SNES design). You feel ok paying the purchasing price.
N64: well, solid construction, good spec, but the console design was a bit weird, including the control. Yeap, the gamepad innovated to the point competitors cloned the analog stick, but it was not a cool design at all. While CDs were fragile, on that time they sounded like the future. You don’t feel happy paying for a N64. It’s like buy a new replacement for a broken hardware at home. A “meh” feeling. Like “I’ll just buy this for my kids, I don’t have interest”.
Gamecube: better spec then competitors, but it appears like a toy. Westerners don’t like this kind of stuff. It’s a blocker for most of us.
Wii: don’t need to mention, but you know, almost the same NES points: competitors focusing on horsepower (3D, complicated controllers, etc), while Wii was good enough in specs. Wiimote was new and cool concept, console design is cool, minimalist and futurist. You feel happy paying the purchasing price.
Wii U: same feeling as the N64. It’s not totally ugly, it’s black piano (still modern these days)… but it’s weird design for the console (like a spiked and ugly bizarre version of Wii), including the control, which requires a power cord and base. While specs are good enough, due the tablet, price got higher then it should be. So, the feeling is not “good enough” for the pricing you’re paying compared with the hardware you’re getting. The tablet innovated a bit, but again, like N64, the console + controller is not a cool design at all. Additionally, you need so many different controllers to play (I have a wiimote, had to bought a new classic controller, and the tablet itself). I just felt “meh” purchasing it for my kids (probably the same N64 feeling fathers faced on that time).
Switch: of course, we don’t know everything yet, and we know the games will define the future. But, I’m not sure about the feeling. While in a first moment the design appears to be cool, I’m afraid it’ll be a Frankenstein to use like WiiU. Wii was so cool, because you only need a wiimote (fortunately, only few games used nunchuck). I just hope the price will sound legit.
I remember when the NES came out and just how extraordinary the D-pad was. It allowed so much more precision in games than the clunky joysticks. Imagine playing a platformer with a joystick. Imagine playing Ninja Gaiden with the Atari joystick. The game is too precise.
And I absolutely love, love, love the SNES controllers. The design is just… immortal.
While I despise everything about the PC-Engine hardware (its small size doesn’t matter if you have to keep on adding things to it!), but I do adore the controllers. The PC-Engine controllers are NES controllers but with turbo buttons! I love the turbo buttons! Why did we get rid of them? I wouldn’t mind turbo switches coming back. But games are no longer twitch based so it is sad.
Now that I think about it, the ‘amazing’ Hucard design of the PC-Engine games was nothing but the CD based design before CDs. It was pre-CD CDs! The Hucard was basically a credit card with some chips on it. There was no real electronics in it.
Anyway, the great thing I am looking forward to about Switch is that it is a Cartridge Fortress. Cartridges coming back to the home console gaming! Yeah, baby! I think I will buy games even if I do not like them. That is how excited I am for the cartridges. (not joking!) Switch will be amazingly fun console to collect for.
Zelda on a cartridge! Skyrim on a cartridge! Splatoon on a cartridge! Mario Kart 8 on a cartridge! I want these cartridges, reader. I want them bad.
If I was Nintendo marketing, I would use cartridges as a point of differentiation from the competitors because every gamer understands it. Old school gamers REALLY understand it. Too bad Nintendo’s marketing is coast based la la land where they think playing Switch on an apartment located on the roof is ‘exciting’.
I want the Nintendo console to rocket my house away again.
Above: Fuck yeah!