Saturday, 8 February 2014

Nintendo’s Last Game

  The following is not a Ninten-DOOOMed article, or at least I hope it won’t become such as I write it.  With the financials of the gaming world now out in the open, I revisited the most recent video of an Internet Z-lister I find funny, the Game Overthinker.  It revisits a couple of ideas that have come out recently during Nintendo’s worrisome financials.

  That Nintendo is openly contemplating a new third pillar, its “quality of life” platform.  This article is not strongly interested in the new platform, except from the day (which I hope never comes) that Nintendo finds a new business more lucrative and less chaotic than the entertainment technology industry.  In so few words, I look forward into my crystal ball and see my worst fear, that there will no longer be a Nintendo game on the store shelves (or digital shelves, whatever).

  The last idea of GO’s video is that the impending, one-box future of video gaming will sweep up Nintendo and everybody else shortly thereafter.  He points out several good reasons why this is a fight Nintendo is doomed to lose; everyone is.  Cost, convenience, and many other reasons point to dedicated hardware and optimised, tailored machines and software losing out in the fullness of time.  In a moment crafted to sound inspiring, GO finishes his video with a speech that he hopes that Nintendo “fights” this future “like hell.”  So it got me wondering …

  What would that fight look like? 

  What sort of actions could Nintendo take to “leave footprints so deep, the world will know that gods once walked the Earth”?  If Nintendo is truly doomed (or it’s just fun to speculate about it being doomed) to lose its independence and become just another content maker working on a one-size-fits-all super TV, then what should their last act be?  If they transition out of the industry entirely, now making hospital software etc that cures patients to the catchy tune of the Poké-Center, all while feeding healthy doses of eggplant, how does Nintendo leave the games industry? 

  How could Nintendo go out with a bang?

  Full Disclaimer: Yeah, I know, this is silly, but it feels a lot more positive than the usual Nintendooomed articles!  Common, admit it!

  Option 1:  Bowser retires, Mario has a competent nemesis who leaves him locked away and hanging!
You know that old adage: leave ‘em wanting more?  What if Mario has his longest adventure yet, but “Our princess is still in another castle, and now you will never leave!”  Yeah, that would probably just piss everyone off.  Let’s try another:

  Option 2: Say “Fuzzy Pickles!”

  The number of memorable scenes Nintendo has brought us over the years, and a last act that plays to those memories seems suitable.  The exact format is something to parse, but I see something playable, maybe vaguely Paper Mario like, each world campaigning through the back catalogue with the barely remembered stuff crashing the party!

  Option 3: Come on in, take a seat…

  With Nintendo determined to stick to its own hardware, we might as well get a decent chair out of the deal.  Nintendo entered the market from the arcade scene, and NintendoLand strongly shows it.  Something closer the SEGA’s Hang-On might make a better claim, but I bet Nintendo could do a good job of it too!

  Option 4: The Be All and End All

  It would take some doing, but I’ve long since given up claiming that Nintendo can’t.  If Nintendo can’t make a living selling software anymore, then why not ruin it for everyone, creating a perfect game, one that lasts forever.  Donkey Kong (1981) is already very close, but like most other games players get tired of it eventually.  This idea tends to line up with the typical requests, such as a Nintendo “open world sand box” that often lends itself to ridicule, but before I get lynched over it, this is more of a long term goal, something to pursue throughout the lifespan of the WiiU and well into the next console. 

Option 5: The shameless request line

  Something I’ve long struggled to try to assemble is a Super Mario/Smash Bros roleplaying game.  I don’t mean Dragon Quest, think older.  I mean Dungeons and Dragons.  In practical terms, nobody is making great money there, but it is the epitome of great adventures, long after pioneer companies like TSR have been bought out.  As computing gets cheaper, I see this sector continuing to struggle to include it in its business model, while there could be potential for Nintendo to bequeath its franchises to its fans without intermediary.  It is extremely unlikely, as Nintendo only trusts individuals, and its IP are corporate assets protected by law, but we can always dream, can’t we.  Dream, and keep trying to do it as a freebie!

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