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How is Nintendo successful?


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Mario, Luigi, Zelda, Link, Donkey Kong, Bowser, Wario, Waluigi, Kirby, Samus, Diddy Kong, Princess Peach, Rosalina, Toad, Yoshi, Meta Knight, Princess Daisy, Tom Nook, Pauline, King Dedede, Captain Falcon, Bowser Jr., Boo, Ganondorf, Fox McCloud, and Pokémon exclusivity. Original gaming consoles and handheld portable systems. Just a few reasons. 

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16 minutes ago, CastletonSnob said:

Yes, it is. The GameCube would have sold more if it used regular discs.

 

Not even close. The console had a wildly weak set of launch titles and also launched only THREE months after the GBA. THREE!!! This was after Sony already had a year head start with the PS2 and many gamers were burnt on the short-lived Dreamcast. The lack of a Mario game at launch certainly didn't help and Luigi's Mansion was great, but it wasn't exactly console carrying like Breath of the Wild.

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Nintendo pretty much defines video games.  They're responsible for developing, and perfecting, nearly every genre of game that people still play.  They also put out the most consistently high-quality software of any major game developer.  They prioritize gameplay, which is generally immediate, fun, and accessible.  This is all without mentioning that they're the only one of the big three that continues to push boundaries and take risks as a toy maker - while others race to the bottom in the pointless pursuit of better visuals, Nintendo makes games out of cardboard and puts a remote control Mario Kart game in your house.  In short, they are successful because nobody else can do what they do or reach the type of audiences that they can.

 

If you are genuinely curious about what makes Nintendo games unique and successful, watch this developer round table that was recorded right after Breath of the Wild came out, wherein several industry leaders have a hard time understanding how a game can be so incredible:

 

 

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I'm trying to think of a time when using optical discs hurt them. I'm sure it happened, but I can't think of any specific instance.

 

I suppose another example of an "arms race" is I suppose that era was when console manufacturers started buying exclusives. That wasn't really a thing in the N64/PSX/Saturn era. Sony and Microsoft had no qualms about buying third party exclusivity. Nintendo tried to catch up with buying Capcom exclusivity (Viewtiful Joe, RE4, Killer7, etc), but that barely moved the needle. So by the end of that console generation, they basically realized they were never going to throw around the kind of money for third party exclusives that Sony and Microsoft will, so there's no point in trying.

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1 hour ago, CastletonSnob said:

Yes, it is. The GameCube would have sold more if it used regular discs.

The thread and this line of thinking leads me to believe you just have no idea what you’re talking about. Most of us here remember the era vividly. The Cube was Nintendo’s last attempt to maintain parity in terms of power with Sony and MS, but they didn’t have the resources or realize that they needed to make an effort to get software beyond their own at that time on the system. It became a real thing, justified or not, it was viewed as a console for kids. It wasn’t getting big titles like GTA that would go on to define the generation. I wanna say even sports games piddled out on it, and back then stuff like Madden and NCAA needed to be on your console. 
 

That had nothing (or very little) to do with the discs.  That was negligible. 

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Right. The GameCube routinely had better graphics on multiplats than the PS2 but lagged behind the Xbox. The discs weren’t the issue. 
 

Do people consider the N64 a failure? That was a little before I started following games online so I don’t know how it was received overall but it’s the system me and all of my friends owned and it’s hands down my favorite console of all time. I knew it lagged behind the PlayStation in sales but I didn’t think it was regarded as a failure. 

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4 minutes ago, Mercury33 said:

Right. The GameCube routinely had better graphics on multiplats than the PS2 but lagged behind the Xbox. The discs weren’t the issue. 
 

Do people consider the N64 a failure? That was a little before I started following games online so I don’t know how it was received overall but it’s the system me and all of my friends owned and it’s hands down my favorite console of all time. I knew it lagged behind the PlayStation in sales but I didn’t think it was regarded as a failure. 

Having titles like GoldenEye and Perfect Dark that everyone played, I wonder if that actually hurt more than helped it. PSX games were cheaper, and had titles pumped out left and right. There are still great PSX games to this day that I've never played. I kind of feel like I got the full N64 experience. If there was a N64 game that anyone considers great, I've probably played it.

 

That said, I don't think anyone considers the N64 a failure, by any stretch.

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5 hours ago, Paperclyp said:

I do think part of what’s currently going on with Nintendo is that the crowd that they very specifically catered to during the Wii / DS / 3DS eras (namely, young children), especially on the handheld side, is the generation that is currently driving pop culture and popular opinion. 
 

The switch is ALL the rage for like the 20-30 year old crowd, in a way that personally I feel is disproportionate with the quality of the console and its software, and I do feel like that is driven by that crowd’s love and nostalgia for nintendo. Obviously that’s just my opinion, but man my switch has been pretty much a fancy paper weight for over a year now. Their first party software really isn’t doing much for me (I hope metroid changes that), and now every time I play a game and think hmmm this would be nice if it were portable, I keep thinking about the steam deck. 


I absolutely love the Switch (it has a solid case for being my favorite console of all time), but this is absolutely on the nose. 

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1 hour ago, Mercury33 said:

Right. The GameCube routinely had better graphics on multiplats than the PS2 but lagged behind the Xbox. The discs weren’t the issue. 
 

Do people consider the N64 a failure? That was a little before I started following games online so I don’t know how it was received overall but it’s the system me and all of my friends owned and it’s hands down my favorite console of all time. I knew it lagged behind the PlayStation in sales but I didn’t think it was regarded as a failure. 

My sense is that people who were older find it was absolutely a failure. I think I am in the same boat as you where I just thought everything was cool, and most of my friends had 64s. 

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43 minutes ago, Paperclyp said:

My sense is that people who were older find it was absolutely a failure. I think I am in the same boat as you where I just thought everything was cool, and most of my friends had 64s. 


I never had the original PlayStation, but played a ton of N64 with my friend group. I was 11 when the N64 launched, so it’s more family friendly content appealed to me far more than what was available on PlayStation.

 

I think a lot of the notion of failure in the console space is driven by people who have no understanding of business and think that one firm selling more units than another in the same industry means one failed while the other succeeded. If there is one thing that should be abundantly clear this far in is that gaming is not a zero sum industry where a dollar spent at one place is a dollar not spent at another. People will spend more money and buy into multiple platforms if they perceive the value of doing so. And a rising tide lifts all boats here.


Excitement for gaming, even if it is more pronounced on one platform, generates more interest in all platforms, in all games, and the entire industry grows.

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Talk of failures aside, I don't understand how so many people still have so much love for N64. I'm in a few 90s nostalgia groups on FB(yeah yeah) and there have been so many polls about "favorite 90s console" and N64 wins almost every time. Just...how? How do you rank it above SNES and PS1? Dafuq.

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9 minutes ago, CastlevaniaNut18 said:

Talk of failures aside, I don't understand how so many people still have so much love for N64. I'm in a few 90s nostalgia groups on FB(yeah yeah) and there have been so many polls about "favorite 90s console" and N64 wins almost every time. Just...how? How do you rank it above SNES and PS1? Dafuq.

 

Most of its best 3D games have aged better than PS1 ones IMO.  Fighters and Tony Hawk excepting.  And there’s 4 controller ports, analog sticks by default, and it pioneered rumble.  I can see it for those reasons.

 

But yeah, SNES and PS1 were better.

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5 minutes ago, CastlevaniaNut18 said:

Talk of failures aside, I don't understand how so many people still have so much love for N64. I'm in a few 90s nostalgia groups on FB(yeah yeah) and there have been so many polls about "favorite 90s console" and N64 wins almost every time. Just...how? How do you rank it above SNES and PS1? Dafuq.

 

The N64 wins a ton of nostalgia points based on multiplayer. For many, it was their first time playing a four player game on a single TV. Memories of 4 player Mario Kart, GoldenEye, Mario Party, Smash Bros, and even Star Fox was eye opening.

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The hours I put into Goldeneye/PD with my friends plus the hours I put into both Mario 64 and OOT make it the console I spent far and away the most time with in the 90s. I didn’t get an SNES until the year the N64 came out, so I didn’t put much time into at all. The Genesis would actually be #2 of the 90s for me.

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36 minutes ago, sblfilms said:


I never had the original PlayStation, but played a ton of N64 with my friend group. I was 11 when the N64 launched, so it’s more family friendly content appealed to me far more than what was available on PlayStation.

 

I think a lot of the notion of failure in the console space is driven by people who have no understanding of business and think that one firm selling more units than another in the same industry means one failed while the other succeeded. If there is one thing that should be abundantly clear this far in is that gaming is not a zero sum industry where a dollar spent at one place is a dollar not spent at another. People will spend more money and buy into multiple platforms if they perceive the value of doing so. And a rising tide lifts all boats here.


Excitement for gaming, even if it is more pronounced on one platform, generates more interest in all platforms, in all games, and the entire industry grows.

I agree totally, and failure is a strong word, but given Nintendo’s utter dominance of the industry followed by the N64 that got waxed in a number of areas and set itself up for getting waxed again by Sony in the PS2 era, I can see why people would consider it a failure in that context. 
 

Plus just look at the sheer games comparison. The N64 had less than 400 games! That’s unfathomable.  

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Just now, Paperclyp said:

I agree totally, and failure is a strong word, but given Nintendo’s utter dominance of the industry followed by the N64 that got waxed in a number of areas at set itself up for getting waxed again by Sony in the PS2 era, I can see why people would consider it a failure in that context. 
 

Plus just look at the sheer games comparison. The N64 had less than 400 games! That’s unfathomable.  


Sure, I think it is fair to judge something on multiple levels and one certainly would be expectations vs. actual. I am sure Nintendo and everybody else expected the N64 to continue the market leading ways of the NES and SNES, so it’s eventual performance and the utter surprise of the PlayStation brand exploding onto the scene creates a certain aura that people may read as failure even if Nintendo continued to be a solidly profitable entity.

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19 minutes ago, crispy4000 said:

 

Most of its best 3D games have aged better than PS1 ones IMO.  Fighters and Tony Hawk excepting.  And there’s 4 controller ports, analog sticks by default, and it pioneered rumble.  I can see it for those reasons.

 

But yeah, SNES and PS1 were better.

See, I find N64 uglier. It's aged the worst of the three consoles of that gen. Even with the RGB mod, there's still a filmy coating and it's just unappealing.

 

For me, it's primarily the lack of variety. Yes, it was a great MP system, but it didn't have anywhere near the variety of PS1 and was a huge step back from SNES. The lack of RPGs alone killed it for me.

 

Out of 90s systems, it's SNES, PS1, Genesis. In that order. I'll take Saturn over N64.

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17 minutes ago, CastlevaniaNut18 said:

See, I find N64 uglier. It's aged the worst of the three consoles of that gen. Even with the RGB mod, there's still a filmy coating and it's just unappealing.

 

Uglier doesn’t matter much when they’re all relatively ugly nowadays.  My big issue is that a lot of 3D PlayStation games controlled hamfisted without analog support for so long.  Even classics like Twisted Metal 2 are kind of a mess to return to today as a result.  Nintendo (and Rare) also got analog right pretty much from the start in their games.  I can’t imagine playing Star Fox 64 on a d-pad.

 

Ironically, the situation reversed itself with the DS vs PSP.

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While this was clearly a troll thread, I've genuinely enjoyed everyone's responses to it. 

 

But everyone knows why Nintendo is successful. They developed and produced Urban Champion. It was Easy Street from then on out. :p 

 

I keed, I keed. Please, carry on everyone. I don't think anyone has nailed why Nintendo is successful as they are, but I'm interested on how the conversation is going to play out. 

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Amusingly, I played a LOT more Playstation than N64. I spent most of my time on RPGs on the SNES so the PSX was the natural follow-up. I have a huge amount of nostalgia for games like Lunar, Suikoden, Grandia, and Persona. That said, I still think the nostalgia hits harder in the N64 simply because my fondest highschool gaming memories are huddled up and playing way to much Mario Kart and Golden Eye. There just went any multiplayer games outside of fighting games that caught my attention. It was either those games or LAN parties with Quake II and Half Life.

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While I loved both my PS1 and my N64, I think PS1 is far uglier. From day 1 I utterly and completely hated those fucking unstable polygons. The texture warping was so unappealing to me that it remains my most hated "feature" of most PS1 games. Combined with the lack of texture filtering so all textures were just these chunky pixelated piles of trash, it just looks like some unfinished, unstable prototype bullshit, I hate it so much. N64 games were blurry but they were stable. Although going back in time, N64 games had some really awful frame rates. Tons of PS1 games also had poor frame rates but the ones that run at 60 still look pretty dang good and at least generally speaking, move fast enough to where I don't notice the warping textures quite as much.

 

But when I spoke of relative failures, the N64 is where Nintendo lost pretty much all third-party support. While Nintendo fans over the last decade might be fine with that as they buy the console for Nintendo games... Going from the SNES to the N64, outside of the initial blast of great Nintendo games, was a total shock to the system. Losing Square Enix alone was a massive blow and was a not-so-insignificant factor in why the PS1 blew up like it did. Nintendo architected Sony's dominance practically every step of the way. If you wanna talk about success, Nintendo was absolutely incredible at getting people to buy Sony's products.

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9 hours ago, Xbob42 said:

But when I spoke of relative failures, the N64 is where Nintendo lost pretty much all third-party support. While Nintendo fans over the last decade might be fine with that as they buy the console for Nintendo games... Going from the SNES to the N64, outside of the initial blast of great Nintendo games, was a total shock to the system. Losing Square Enix alone was a massive blow and was a not-so-insignificant factor in why the PS1 blew up like it did. Nintendo architected Sony's dominance practically every step of the way. If you wanna talk about success, Nintendo was absolutely incredible at getting people to buy Sony's products.

 

Agree 100%. It was crazy going from SNES to N64, and suddenly not having much (or any) support from major developers like Capcom, Namco, Tecmo, Square, Enix. Even Konami to an extent, even though Konami produced a lot of games for the 64. 

 

Sony came into the market at the exact right time. Nintendo made a mistake with the N64, and SEGA was already doing a fine job of pushing *themselves* out of the market on their own. Not saying Sony didn't have any competition going into the industry with the original Playstation, but man. Nintendo - and especially SEGA - made it super-easy for them. (Barely an inconvenience!) 

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I think if we took the Nintendo of today, and brought them back to the Gamecube era along with the Switch and all of the heavy hitters, it still would have been a failure.

 

The reality is Nintendo is relatively constant in regards to their philosophy, and they certainly don't concede to trends or even industry standards. All of this meaning, I don't think Nintendo is really doing anything different to warrant their success. The success of Switch goes beyond the novelty of the hardware (though it's certainly a factor), there's legitimate passion for Nintendo, the system, and their IPs.

 

Honestly, I think the big reason for their success is due to the evolution and maturity of the industry, the destruction of toxic masculinity, and the rise of social media. Videogames from the 80s through 2010 was pretty much a boy's club. And as that boy's club came of age, the industry kept appealing to and fostered edginess and hyper aggressive masculinity. There was a lot of identity wrapped up in boys/men about what games they played, what movies/TV they watched, what activities/sports they took part in, and Nintendo was not a part of that equation. But the industry started maturing and becoming inclusive of other demographics. Social media grew and fostered communities of like-minded individuals who weren't afraid to share their passions. Millenials became adults and gen z started coming of age, society started changing, and those outdated notions of masculinity started falling apart. Couple that with the rise of social media influencers, Nintendo making key decisions, millenials embracing their childhood, and a lot of small societal changes, the market just became ripe for Nintendo to succeed.

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Nintendo is a small Japanese company that has focused on making money. They play somethings safe and also roll the dice. They have real high highs and some very real lows and either one success (ex gameboy, Wii) covered them on loses (virtual boy, WiiU) at the time. Also they mostly make good games and they have name recognition. They make Mario Games and some others.

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@AbsolutSurgen

 

When’s the last Star Fox game you enjoyed?  

Are you a fan of Other M?  Federation Force?

 

Sometimes things they do to freshen things up work.  I’d even venture to say they do most of the time.  But it’s also the reason why some of their franchises fail to live up to older entries, and moreover, why some don’t return altogether.

 

f-zerogxjpg-eede87_160w.jpg?width=1280
WWW.IGN.COM

Takaya Imamura, the now-retired Nintendo artist and designer who helped create Captain Falcon, has said that while F-Zero isn't dead, it is a series that is "hard to bring back" without a...

 

Nintendo’s still searching for that “grand idea” there.

 

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You believe they are truly innovating on each Mario Kart?  Or each Pokemon?  Or each Super Smash Bros?

No.  They make minimal changes to each game.  For many their biggest franchises, they have found a successful formula, do very small iterations and release them so a new generation of young gamers can play them.

That's not so different from how Activision and EA handle their biggest franchises (except they release them more often).

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