Nintendo Through the Generations
The Nintendo Entertainment System
Also known as: The Nes, Nintendo, Original Nintendo, Our Grey Box.
Top Games: Super Mario Brothers 3, Super Mario Brothers 2, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Super Mario Brothers, Jaws
The Nintendo Entertainment System, a classic system from Nintendo that provided many hours of entertainment. Originally released in America in 1985 it resurrected the home video game market that had been dealt a death blow by over exposure from approximately 30000 different version of Atari and various systems that were just an Atari with a new sticker put over the Atari logo.
The Nintendo was known as the Famicon in Japan, a Portmanteau of the words “family” and “convict.” For the North America release, Nintendo tried to calm nervous store owners who thought video games were a fad that had run its course (and that kids would go back to playing outside any minute now) by claiming the Nintendo Entertainment System was a home computer, by showing them a keyboard somebody had made for it out of super glue and a Commodore 64 keyboard. And that’s why we have Mario Teaches Typing.
Eventually the Nintendo Entertainment System was released, sans keyboard, and as it turns out video games aren’t a fad. In fact, they are way more fun then any physical activity ever could be. After brief test runs in New York, Los Angeles, and Montpelier the Nintendo was released nationwide.
The Nes’s launch titles were as follows: 10-Yard Fight, Baseball, Clay Shooting, Clu Clu Land, Donkey Kong Jr. Math, Golf, Gyromite, Hogan's Alley, Ice Climber, Kung Fu, Mach Rider, Pinball, Stack-Up, Super Mario Bros., Tennis, Wild Gunman, and Wrecking Crew.
Guess which one of those launch titles didn’t suck. Here’s a clue, it begins with the word Super and ends with Mario Bros.
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Also known as: The Snes, Super Nintendo, Fucking Sweet.
Top Games: Super Mario World, Super Mario Word 2: Yoshi’s Island, Super Mario Kart, Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! Super Mario Word 3: Donkey Kong Country 4, Super Mario vs. Demonic Toys: Donkey Kong Country 5, Secret of Mana.
After the runaway success of the Nintendo Entertainment System it was natural for Nintendo to want to bring their games to the 16 bit era. The Super Nintendo had been beaten to the gun by the Sega Genesis which ushered the 16 bit generation years earlier. A fierce rivalry began. Nintendo claimed their system had better games, graphics, and quality. Sega had “blast processing.” Nobody knows what that means but it sounds impressive. Children across the nation would gather on playgrounds to argue the merits of their consol of choice and take part in fierce gang wars which resulted in the deaths of thousands.
While the Super Nintendo lacked Blast Processing, it did feature Mode 7. Mode 7 allowed games to look sort of 3D and the only downside was everything being out of scale and looking weird. Nintendo felt that Mode 7 was a big selling point for the system and made sure to point out how the world map of Final Fantasy 3, that one level in Turtles in Time, and most importantly Super Star Wars wouldn’t exist without it.
The Super Nintendo is often considered the golden age for console role playing games, and the system does boast an impressive collection. Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 2, Final Fantasy 3, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, Super Mario RPG, Earthbound, Lufia: First Blood Part II, and Arcana. The major contributor to the success of the Snes RPG was that this was the perfect point in video game history to tell a story. Technology finally allowed for stories more complex then “A wizard stole the Princess, use this sword to beat him” but weren’t so advanced that the action had to be interrupted every ten minutes by a FMV which didn’t feature any of the optional characters. The Super Nintendo’s RPG success was continued on by the Nintendo 64 which featured nearly three RPGs.
The final game released on the SNES was ironically enough a port of Frogger, a game first released in 1981. Unsurprisingly a 17 year old game on a dying system only managed to sell 2 million copies.
Also known as: N64, N-64, Big Red, The Dream Machine, Jabberwocky.
Top Games: Super Mario 64, Donkey Kong 64, Star Fox 64, The Legend of Zelda 64 Super Smash Bros 64, Goldeneye 64 Clayfighters 63 1/3
Released in 1997 The Nintendo 64 came on a time when video game developers were deciding between using CD based systems or cartridge based systems. CDs were able to hold more data, were cheaper to produce and program on, could have CD quality sound and music, and could produce fancy pants FMVs. Cartridges had the advantage of… well I’m not sure. They never physically harmed anybody I guess. Like they weren’t made out of poison. That’s something I guess.
The Nintendo 64 started a bit of a tradition for Nintendo. Nintendo would make a new system, 3rd party developers would ignore the system, and the end result is that the only good games for the system were the ones Nintendo made themselves. This means a list of the top ten games on a Nintendo system end up being more homogenous than an Alabama wedding registry. This doesn’t really bother Nintendo. People keep buying their systems and they end up only buying games by Nintendo so Nintendo makes twice as much money. Hey people, you want to know why Nintendo doesn’t do more to entice 3rd party developers? That’s why.
The Nintendo 64 also began Nintendo’s tradition of having developmental names that are way better then the actual system’s name. The Wii had the badass production name Revolution, the GameCube was in early stages called The Dolphin, which is cool because the system could have been shaped like a dolphin. The Nintendo 64 was first called Nintendo Ultra Sixty-Four which you may recognize as being the sort of thing a low budget Star Wars rip off would name a robot.
The lack of third party support, the archaic cartridges, and stiff competition from CD based consoles led Nintendo to lose its status as lead video game console. This is something that matters more to people on the internet than people who work at Nintendo. After all the Nintendo 64 still made like a 9 billion dollars for the company. Who gives a shit if somebody else made a one 9 billion five hundred dollars? Fanboys, that’s who!
Also known as: GameCube, Nintendo 64: Part 2, Kiddie
Top Games: Super Smash Bros Melee, Super Mario Sunshine, Mario Kart: Double Dash, a couple of Zelda games, several Resident evil games, some other ones I’m sure, I don’t know, Wikipedia is down right now.
How do you follow up a system that takes your company from the number one down the chain to number four, being beaten by Sony, Microsoft, and a Japanese company that only makes rape simulators? Well you bust out the elbow grease, work hard, and make a new system that address one of the problems of the last generation. Nintendo was proud to say the GameCube would be 100% cartridge free.
Not that it would use CDs. Nope, CDs are for pansies. Little girlie pansies who like to play Playstation 2 and make out with men. The GameCube wasn’t going to mess with that shit. Instead it used these weird little mini CDs. They were like CDs but way smaller.
The choice to use these odd little doodads was an attempt to combat piracy. Good luck burning a GameCube game now Guybrush, nobody even knows what you call those things, much less where you can buy them. Go to Walmart and say you want a package of tiny CDs like the GameCube uses and they would throw you out on your rump. Apparently not even game developers knew where to get them, which is why they just didn’t bother to make GameCube games.
Once again third party development was an issue for the GameCube. First party development wasn’t always so hot either. Some months found GameCube releases to be so sparse that magazines didn’t have anything to run in their GameCube sections and would sell this space out to used car dealerships and physic hotlines.
The problem that plagued the GameCube was the reputation that it was too “Kiddie.” What does the word kiddie mean? Apparently the fact the many Nintendo games feature cartoon like graphics and aren’t overly violent means that only children could enjoy them. The highest sign of maturity is not playing a game, no matter how good could it might be, just because it doesn’t feature enough blood and swearing. Because mature people care about that sort of thing. Mature people also worry that other people might not think they are mature if they are playing a game without a lot of blood and swearing. Evidently the most mature people in the world are 13 year old males.
The arguments about the kiddiness of the GameCube rocked the internet. Mature people would point out that the GameCube has absolutely no games for mature people, except for the Resident Evil series, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, Killer 7, a couple Def Jam games, Geist, Eternal Darkness, Hitman 2, Red Faction 2, Blood Rayne, Shadow the Hedgehog, Turok: Evolution, some Mortal Kombat games, and the least censored version of BMX XXX. Aside from those games and the other M rated games I didn’t mention there are totally no games for mature people on the GameCube, unless they are the kind of mature people who play something other then M rated games. Then there’s a bunch of games.
On the other hand the GameCube’s default color is purple. Totally kiddie console for kids.
Also known as: Penis. Ha ha ha, Wii can mean penis.
Top Games: Super Mario Galax, Super Smash Bros Brawl, a bunch of games you waggle the controller at, a Zelda game for the GameCube
The Wii brought Nintendo back to the top of the hill. While Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and the Super Rape Simulator 90000 focused on greater graphics and divisibility away from gaming, the Wii instead innovated game play, by letting you shake a remote control around instead of pressing the B button. Trillions flocked to play the Wii. It’s almost as fun as real bowling they cried while playing Wii baseball. This will never get old others said right before it kind of got old, but then they got drunk and it was even more fun then ever.
The Wii isn’t the most powerful system of the block. It has been said that it is barely more powerful then a GameCube. This isn’t true but that doesn’t stop people from saying it. The Wii has also been blamed for the downfall for gaming because many of those who enjoy it don’t enjoy more “hardcore” games. Any game that isn’t a first person shooter or a 100 hour RPG isn’t hardcore. Somehow thousands of new players getting involved in gaming will be the downfall of the hobby somehow. It’s so devastating that people can’t even give details about why it is going to be the downfall of gaming. It’s just bound to happen.
Super Smash Bros Brawl features demos for Nintendo and Super Nintendo games that were either available on the Virtual Console of will be soon. The Japanese version featured a demo for Mother 2, known as Earthbound in America. The American version removed the demo. Presumably this is because Nintendo of America likes to piss of the guys at Starmen.net.
Speaking of the Virtual Console, the Wii has the Virtual Console, an online store where you spend Wii Points to buy games for old systems that you can then play on the Wii. Games are sold at a uniform price depending on the system. This means Wave Race 64, like all Nintendo 64 games sells for ten dollars. This is approximately nine dollars and fifty cents more then anybody would pay for a copy of Wave Race 64.
The Wii is the definite winner of the consol battle of this generation selling more units then its competitors combined. So far more Wiis have been sold then there are people on the planet and more and more are sold every single second. Nobody can explain how that is possible it just is. The Wii also makes a profit with every unit sold, something the competitors cannot say. The Playstation 3 is sold at a loss and one out of every three Xbox 360s is made out of solid gold and sold for far less than its value. Because of the Wii’s success Satoru Iwata, Nintendo President and CEO spends most of his time swimming in his money vault, not unlike fictional millionaire duck Steve Jobs.
Who knows what the future holds for Nintendo? Certainly they will continue to conquer untapped markets of casual gamers. Yes they connected with old people on the Wii, but what about blind people? Pets? The deceased? Surely Nintendo has plans for these markets as well. At the same time old fans will be remembered. Nintendo will continue to release games for its classic series such as Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong Jr. Math, while developing new series like Super Tokyo Solar Attack, and Agent for R.A.P.E. which are game series that do not exist, but may exist someday, and when they do I expect to be given a creator credit and a check.
What we know is Nintendo will be around forever. It may get knocked around, bumped out of the top spot, or even shot and left in a gutter, but like the mighty Phoenix Nintendo will rise again and save humanity from Satan. All praise Nintendo. Someday confused parents and grandparents will again refer to all video games as a Nintendo while pesters a Gamestop employee about why there aren’t any Zelda Marios for sale in the Xbox 720 section.