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Feature: Nintendo's Biggest Blunders

Posted by Javier Santana Panero

Even Mario gets it wrong sometimes

They say true love triumphs over any hardships. If that is the case, then we must really love Nintendo, for it's provided us with plenty of chances to test our devotion throughout the years. Here is a selection of moments where it all went topsy-turvy, even if our commitment never wavered:

You Can't Play That

Nintendo’s close to monopoly dominance of the console market during the late 80s allowed it to rule the gaming industry with an incontestable iron fist. Knowing it could get away with anything, and conscious of its main target audience, the head honchos at Nintendo of America devised a series of Content Guidelines for all game publishers to comply with. In its own words, these guidelines were a compendium of Nintendo’s ‘corporate and marketing philosophy’, representing ‘the acceptable norms of society’ to preserve children’s safety and more importantly keep their parents happy. In reality, the preposterous lengths of Nintendo’s Western censorship and third party control slowly filtered into the public’s consciousness, forever tainting the brand as safe and just a tad boring in the eyes of anyone older than 11.

Nintendo enforced the removal of any sexually suggestive content, cigarettes, alcohol, religious symbols or excessive violence, resulting in RPGs where strippers became ‘dancers’, magic spells would turn from Holy into Pearl and even cartoon characters weren't allowed to take a sip of champers after winning a kart race. This nannying attitude reached breaking point with the release of Mortal Kombat in 1992: while the Mega Drive/Genesis version was faithful to the violent arcade, the Super NES release swapped all blood splats for grey sweat squirts and completely removed one of the most memorable features of the original, the bloody Fatalities or finishing moves. Understandably, the game was a flop on the Super NES, a fact that’s credited with helping to shift Nintendo’s disposition towards censorship. The damage, however, was enough for rival companies Sega and Sony to exploit this kid-friendly association, successfully presenting themselves as the edgier alternative in the years to follow.

The Super NES CD-ROM Fiasco

It’s hard to believe these days, but there was a time when father of the PlayStation Ken Kutaragi was in serious conversations with Nintendo to create a CD-ROM drive for the Super NES. The prototype, tentatively named SNES-CD, was to be announced at the 1991 Consumer Electronics Show, but a wrangle over licensing — Sony had secured the rights to all CD-ROM games developed for the system and Nintendo was having none of it — culminated in one of the biggest public fall-outs in gaming history. Nintendo of America chairman Howard Lincoln took to the stage to announce Nintendo’s plans to work with Philips on the production of the machine instead. In exchange, Philips would be allowed to use Nintendo characters for several games developed for its own CD-ROM system, the CD-i.

Not only was this U-turn a legal nightmare for Nintendo, with judicial proceedings delaying the hardware until it was completely canned, but it also spurred Sony into flying solo with its own version of the console, which to Nintendo’s dismay would eventually become a major player in the business (you may have heard of it, it was called the PlayStation). The CD-i games featuring Mario and Zelda, of course, turned out to be so utterly hideous they have entered the gaming hall of fame for all the wrong reasons.

Yokoi and the Virtual Boy

The year was 1995 and the world wasn’t ready for 3D jelly just yet. The Virtual Boy, a cross between a tripod camera and an ophthalmologist’s torture toy, was always destined to flop hard on release, dogged by its half-baked 3D concept and swarms of complaints from players suffering from headaches due to its intensity levels.

The whole project was a bit of a shambles for a traditionally in-control company like Nintendo, but what makes the Virtual Boy debacle even more poignant is the way it managed to topple Gunpei Yokoi, the man behind the project, from his honourable position in the company. The genius responsible for the Game Boy and the Game & Watch series, arguably some of Nintendo’s finest hours, left the company through the back door in 1996. Details of his resignation are shady and some sources suggest he was planning on retiring soon anyway, but interestingly enough he wasted little time after leaving Nintendo and immediately started his own company, working on new hardware until his untimely death in a car accident a year later. One can only fathom what his vision could have brought to the Nintendo 3DS if Virtual Boy had been a success and he’d remained in the Big N’s generous bosom.

Going Cartridge

Nintendo’s hardware elves got a lot right with their 64-bit console, but they truly messed it up when choosing ROM cartridges as the storage standard for the system, a crucial factor that would single-handedly cost Nintendo the home console crown for the first time in its history.

The Big N stuck to its tried and tested cartridges in the face of CD-based competitors, arguing carts were more resistant, faster to load and harder to copy (a top trump for Nintendo). Their shortcomings, however, soon became painfully apparent: not only did they have very little capacity compared to CDs — a paramount factor in a burgeoning gaming landscape of CGI sequences and digitised soundtracks — but crucially their production costs were sky-high, thus bumping their retail price to nearly twice what PlayStation and Saturn owners were paying for their titles (remember Turok‘s price point?). On top of this, Nintendo refused to back down on its ridiculously high royalties, a product of the unhealthily powerful position it had attained in the market with the NES and Super NES, and as a consequence many key third parties like Capcom and Namco flew to more studio-friendly consoles. Even Squaresoft, Nintendo’s chummiest developer of the time, packed up its Final Fantasy VII bags and left for Sony when it realised the extent of Nintendo’s faux pas.

The Blue Ocean Turns into a Wii Wasteland

It’s a bit ironic that the Wii has become Nintendo’s most successful home console ever, because no other system before has managed to be the market leader of its generation with such little support. The signs were there from the start: here was a console boldly ruling itself out of the HD race, with a modest set of specs and a unique motion control system that practically shut out all possibilities of simple multi-platform development. Nintendo’s president, Satoru Iwata, was confident the offer was distinctive yet simple enough to resonate with a segment of the population that went beyond traditional players. A killer app was necessary to gun for this blue ocean of people who were not averse to gaming but had found the entry level of the existing consoles off-putting. Cue Wii Sports, a game with such crossover appeal it was played by toddlers and grannies alike, catching competitors out of step and forcing them to rethink their strategies halfway through the generation.

Unfortunately, and with very few exceptions, no other game came close to riding the zeitgeist in the same way, and the stigma of the casual, undiscerning gamer who doesn't care about a polished product soon became synonymous with the Wii – a company of the stature of Ubisoft went on to admit it was able to develop PS3 and 360 games thanks to the millions it was making on the Wii. Even Nintendo, which historically has had its finger on the gaming pulse, failed to reel in new consumers beyond the basic levels of engagement of the Touch! Generation. Iwata claims to have learned the lesson for Wii U – time will tell if the Wii Vitality Sensor will rear its ugly head again.

Nintendo's well over 100 years old now, so it's bound to have made a few mistakes, but it's testament to the company's stature and management that it's still held in such high regard by fans despite some of its colossal foul-ups over the years.

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User Comments (141)

eviLaTtenDant

#1

eviLaTtenDant said:

Well written article, Javier.
Here's to hoping that Nintendo has learnt its lessons. I especially don't wanna see censoring come back.
Maybe with the WiiU Ninty will be able to appeal to absolutely every gamer out there. Only time will tell.
By the image the console conveys so far this might be the perfect home to the Binding of Isaac. Oh well, one can dream.

HanuKwanzMasBif

#2

HanuKwanzMasBif said:

The Wii issue is a little blurry. Certainly Nintendo's main problem is dealing with shovelware.
Seeing that Ubisoft paraphrase makes my blood boil.

HugoSmits

#4

HugoSmits said:

I really liked the Link games and Hotel Mario. Mainly because of the cartoons....

Sure they look really crappy now, but at the time it was normal for games to tell story in text (mainly white text on a black background). So having realy animation AND music/voices was awesome!

TKOWL

#5

TKOWL said:

Yeah, the Wii had a HUUUUUUUUGE shovelware problem, and single-handedly made all of my friends hate Nintendo for being "kiddy".

Gamesake

#6

Gamesake said:

Glad you learned your lesson, Iwata. It's time to put a stop to the shovelware. The denying of Isaac was a big step in the right direction.

md1500

#7

md1500 said:

The thing is, Nintendo themselves never made shovelware. Even their casual games had a level of effort put into them.

I blame the third-parties. The most popular console always attracts companies wanting to make a quick buck - just look at some of the dire games released on the PS2 (most popular last gen), for example.

FonistofCruxis

#10

FonistofCruxis said:

Like md1500 said, developers often flock to the most popular console just to make a quick buck but the way people just look at the shovelware on the Wii annoys me so much when the Wii had so many great games and is favourite console. The mass of high quality first party software weren't the only great games on there either as while the Wii could've done better in third party software there were still many great third party games too like Zack and Wiki, NMH and its sequel, Little King's story, the Resident evil games on the console etc.

ajcismo

#11

ajcismo said:

Nice article, although it certainly makes me feel old since I remember every one of these "incidents" quite well.
The censorship thing in the 80s was a product of the times as a whole. By the time 1991 rolled around, people were just plain sick of the Reagan-era conservative view being shoved down their throats.
Nintendo has always been the type that doesn't play well with others. The CD-ROM debacle with Sony is, in my opinion, the biggest mess they've ever made and a direct result of it. I wonder how things would be different had Sony made the SNES-CD. Would there even be a Playstation brand today? Would the N64 still been cartridge-based or even invented at all? The fates of MS and Sega would've certainly turned out differently as well.

theblackdragonAdmin

#12

theblackdragon said:

Nice article. I've always felt bad for Yokoi-san, he took a big chance and unfortunately it did not pay off — the Virtual Boy made my eyes ache horribly the few times I got the chance to play a store demo version. I'd be interested to know what his influence on the DS line (and now the 3DS) would have been had he never pushed forward with the VB (and of course never been killed).

On the flip side, though, imagine the outcome for Sony had Nintendo not effed 'em over on the SNES CD and stuck with cartridges for the N64. I started that generation with an N64, but toward the end of it I was playing my PSX all the time — it had some amazing games, and Square was taking off like a mofo — the Final Fantasy series exploded, they came out with FFT, Legend of Mana, Threads of Fate, Brave Fencer Musashi, Vagrant Story, Xenogears... honestly, the list goes on. If Nintendo hadn't worked with Sony on that project, would they have gotten into video games at all, and how far would they have let Square run if they'd stuck to their original plans for the N64? I almost think the reason they bloomed like that was because they were doing their best to outshine Nintendo and show them what they lost. I have to thank Nintendo for blundering there, haha, because in the long run that particular competition is probably one of the best things to happen to us all as gamers :3

jspanero

#13

jspanero said:

Thanks for the kind comments. I think it's a credit to Nintendo's idiosyncracy that even when they fail in dismal ways their business sense and especially their knack for creating amazing game experiences always seems to pull them through.

The SNES-CD debacle is certainly an interesting landmark in gaming history, and even if it meant Nintendo would struggle for a whole decade afterwards with their home consoles, I think it was probably for the best that it ended up not happening. It meant everyone, including Nintendo, had to up the ante with their hardware.

NintyMan

#14

NintyMan said:

If you have had a company for over a hundred years, you're bound to mess something up along the way. Mistakes happen, but it's what the company does after it that makes the difference.

The censoring in the early days was excessive, especially for Devil World, which would've been an interesting game to have played if Nintendo of America hadn't banned it for religious themes. Strangely enough, Europe still got to play it.

The prospect of Nintendo and Sony working together seems hard to believe now, but imagine how far ahead Nintendo would've been with such a partnership. Things just weren't meant to be, I suppose.

I especially pity Gunpei Yokoi. The man was a developing genius and a Nintendo legend, mentoring Shigeru Miyamoto and inventing strange, yet interesting toys. He might not have said the Virtual Boy contributed to his retirement, but there's no doubt that it hurt his crediblity. It's bad enough that the man died a year later. I wonder what he would think of the 3DS?

These scandals and mistakes are humbling, but if the 3DS' late success after its underwhelming launch and Iwata's salary cut is any indication, Nintendo can bounce right back.

Betagam7

#15

Betagam7 said:

How about runing a Virtual Console service and then failing to (a) advertise it (b) mention releases on its own website (c) do anything to ever promote it in any way shape or form (d) leave prices static and fill it with badly emulated, sometimes broken software that doesn't even do what it says it does on the Wii shop channel (i.e run in 60hz, Hanabi Import titles).

hydeks

#16

hydeks said:

Nintendo's history is full of what we see today as bad choices, but there still alive aren't they? Sega can't say the same thing :(

I'd say there two biggest mistakes was Virtual Boy (but he gave us Game Boy before it) cause it wasn't portable or comfortable, and it was all red lol

2nd mistake, which is the biggest, was Nintendo running to Philips for the cd attachment, pissing off Sony and them in turn taking what they had, entering the game market and released "PlayStation". Yup, bad move. They made there biggest competition, and not to mention had 2 crappy Zelda and a Mario game on Philips CD-I.

Everyone makes bad moves, the difference between Nintendo and companies like Sony/Microsoft is they are willing to take a risk to take video game to a new level. If it was up to Sony and Microsoft we would be playing with old style controllers forever, and playing shooters non-stop.

misswliu81

#19

misswliu81 said:

@md1500 re: The thing is, Nintendo themselves never made shovelware. Even their casual games had a level of effort put into them. >>

i agree. it's just that nintendo decided to green-lit those awful 3rd party shovelware titles. however, nintendo's casual games did have some play-ability to them, which is no bad thing. examples include warioware and the recent rhythm heaven fever.

I blame the third-parties. The most popular console always attracts companies wanting to make a quick buck - just look at some of the dire games released on the PS2 (most popular last gen), for example. >>

the wii was and is underpowered compared to the PS3, x box but it doesn't give third party developers an excuse to put out crap games for the wii. but unfortunately they did do that. which is why i'm more optimistic for the wii U because i think in terms of games, there will be more quality titles supporting it.

nonetheless, if you look past all the crap, the wii does have some stellar games- sin and punishment star successor, kirby's return to dreamland, LoZ skyward sword, metroid other M, smash bros brawl, super mario galaxy 2, donkey kong country returns to name but a couple.

The_Fox

#22

The_Fox said:

It makes you realize how lucky Nintendo is that the Wii took off like it did. They were hemorrhaging market share in the console market through the N64/Gamecube years and then the Wii came and sold a bazillion systems.

MachineLaw

#23

MachineLaw said:

Well I'm glad Nintendo has learned from their mistakes, and I'm sure that they will somehow fix that shovelware problem with Wii U. I think that they also left behind those days of censoring, except for games with strong religious themes, especially for the Binding of Isaac (it's really a disgusting game, even for me as an atheist).

Expa0

#24

Expa0 said:

3DS being region locked is nintendo's biggest blunder and I still haven't forgiven them about that.

CrazyOtto

#26

CrazyOtto said:

The e-Reader should also be on this list.

I'm still heavily dissapointed in Nintendo for not releasing the rest of the SMA4 e-Reader cards, and not re-releasing the World e levels in any shape, way, or form.

sdcazares1980

#27

sdcazares1980 said:

You forgot to mention Iwata's "Customers don't want online games." SMDH!

There's also the Friend's Code, no online multiplayer for the VC games, ROB, the Super Mario Bros. movie, and many more I wish I can name.

Birthday_Boy

#29

Birthday_Boy said:

How come the 3DS isn't on the list? Because of the 3DS, Nintendo had to suffer it's first yearly loss,

Imagine23

#30

Imagine23 said:

I've realized that if Nintendo flubs, everyone and their mother spreads the word and bashes the console to bloody bits.
But you never hear of Sony's or Microsoft's mistakes

TrueWiiMaster

#31

TrueWiiMaster said:

Some of those "mistakes" weren't really all-out mistakes, they were only commercial- or preference-based.

You call the censorship a mistake, even though the systems that were most censored were very successful. Personally, I could care less whether the blood in a game is grey or red. Likewise, the words they swapped out would probably go unnoticed unless the player knew they were changed. I'd tend to say people who want plenty of blood, excessive violence, drugs, etc. in their games are actually the immature ones, though maybe that's the majority of people over 11?

The CD-rom fiasco was certainly a problem, but I wouldn't really call it a mistake. If Nintendo had continued with Sony, wouldn't Sony have owned the rights to all games released on CD? So then, if later on they decided to make a Playstation they could port those games to it, while Nintendo couldn't do a thing? Or am I completely off base here? That said, the CD Zelda games look REALLY bad...

The Virtual Boy was a commercial mistake, but isn't that mostly due to its marketing? It was impossible to show the 3D graphics on anything but the system itself, making it hard to advertise. It was also mistakenly marketed as a successor to the Game Boy, which it wasn't. That left it with some jumbo-sized shoes to fill, and it just wasn't up to the task. On top of all that, it had the bad press of headaches flying around. If it had been marketed better, the V-boy could have been a success, or at least more successful than it was.

I'll skip the N64 part for now...

I can't believe I read that about the Wii here of all places. How did the Wii have "such little support"? Why not mention that the "stigma of the casual, undiscerning gamer who doesn't care about a polished product" is wrongly used to describe Wii gamers? How can you say it has garnered no new fans outside of "the basic levels of engagement of the Touch! Generation"? And how can you imply the Wii Vitality shouldn't "rear its ugly head" when you don't know what it could have been used for? I still think it could have revolutionized horror games.

ajcismo

#33

ajcismo said:

@Koops3
Nope, not really the 3DS's fault. Its easy to look at their 2011 loss from a "right now" perspective, that is very typical of this day and age, and put the blame on the 3DS just because it was the only thing really going for most of last year. The reality is that Nintendo's 5-10 year plan for the twilight of the Wii and DS and afterwards was not well thought out and really quite arrogant. Hence slow hardware sales and little new software. Combine that with dumping a ton of money into R&D for the Wii-U and 3DS (which, is actually a good thing and something that is usually not mentioned when the "doom & gloom" articles were being written last year), and you have a first-time loss for the company.

Hardy83

#34

Hardy83 said:

Nintendo's biggest blunder?

Online.

What part of online? No, just online in general. lol

Bass_X0

#35

Bass_X0 said:

Certainly Nintendo's main problem is dealing with shovelware.

Every console has third party shovelware. The Wii is actually no different.

tdub154420

#36

tdub154420 said:

Additional not mentioned blunders:

1. The Gamecube in its entirety
2. Friend Codes/All Online
3. The 3DS' launch
4. The Wii's software drought

jspanero

#38

jspanero said:

@TrueWiiMaster The article does not imply that Wii gamers are casual and undiscerning, but rather that it was precisely this assumption that caused many companies to shy away from developing AAAs or exclusive games for the Wii with full budget and marketing support. And while it's an opinion that I don't necessarily agree with, it is also true that there is a perception from mainstream consumers (not necessarily gamers) of the Wii as the console of "the bowling game", Wii Fit and Just Dance. I can only think of Mario Kart Wii of a game with genuine crossover appeal among the casual and gaming community alike.

Dodger

#39

Dodger said:

The 3DS launch has to go up there.

They released it with no really good games. That wouldn't of been a problem if they had good games coming before November. They tried to sell it from March to November with nothing except Nintendogs, Street Fighter and N64 remakes. Pilotwings Resort was a joke. $40 for a worse version of a good game from Wii Sports Resort. They still don't have many good games yet. Kid Icarus is finally coming out but Paper Mario, Luigi's Mansion and Animal Crossing still don't have any info or release dates or anything.

On top of that, they didn't release it in a shopping season (Easter? Really?), they overpriced it and the screen scratches itself. I've already had to send mine in to get repaired once due to the R button breaking just like it did on the DSi (although to be fair, they did replace the clicky L/R buttons with soft ones when I got my 3DS repaired).

The 3DS is getting better but that first year was really painful.

sdcazares1980

#40

sdcazares1980 said:

@TrueWiiMaster I'm not sure where you got the idea that the "most censored" systems were the most successful. If that were true, then the Super NES version of Mortal Kombat would've completely outsold the Genesis version, and the systems wouldn't have as many bloody games like we have today.

I might agree with you on the Sony part and the ownership rights, but we can all agree that the alternatives Nintendo provided really did suck.

The Virtual Boy was also a failure in the gaming aspect because people were having vision problems after spending not a lot of time compared to the average person playing or even staring at the TV. Shoulder adjustments were also a big problem when trying to play the game. And the library wasn't that great either. So it wasn't just a commercial failure.

The Wii might be the most sold of all the consoles, but that's because it was the most different, yet that didn't make most of the games great. Many people consider it to be a secondary console because the Xbox 360 and the PS3 provided much better games than the Wii has. People buy the Wii because of some of the old school elements it has, but that, IMO, is as far as it went. Third party developers are more comfortable with MS and Sony than Nintendo because there is greater flexibility and universality in developing the games. And let's not forget about the hardware too.

cecesigue

#42

cecesigue said:

i only have good memories of the Virtual Boy and the N64, and of course Nintendo was right not to accept the "all the cd´s you sell, I´ll make, and there is no way around" thing;after that,Sony has been the junior with the big bucks, copying all the good ideas Nintendo create, but with the "edge", meaning faster tec, that is not always the best idea in terms of cost. i played Wario Land for VB yesterday and it rocks!!

cecesigue

#43

cecesigue said:

one more thing: Mortal Kombat for Genesis was not a better game that the one in the SNES... was some angry management problems by the people that was in there 20´s cos the thing coming out of the characters was not red... the characters in the Genesis version were small and to shiny, just i few colors like that machine was capable; those were photos of actual people, there sure look waaaay better in the SNES; little wash down, not like cartoons, and the size of the models were better;
just talking about graphics, because MK was not the best fluid control; well imagine in the Genesis!

warioswoods

#44

warioswoods said:

These are not all "blunders". This article conflates a few different levels of analysis, citing any move backwards in market share (ie, N64) or any rebuke of the "core" gamer mentality (censorship, Wii casual games) as a mistake without taking into account the positive effects of these on other levels.

N64's cartridges lacked in a number of areas, sure, but they also excelled in ways that PS1 couldn't. Ocarina of Time, to name one, couldn't have run the same way without terrible loading times between all its massive spaces. The avoidance of pre-rendered movies due to limited storage was also not purely a negative, because it meant making huge strides forward in scripted, real-time cutscenes; and in the long run, pre-rendered sequences have become obsolete as games move towards using the in-game engine for storytelling, just as the N64 was doing well ahead of the competition.

Where exactly are we marking a mistake in the case of the Wii? That it widened the base of gamers? No problem there. That it didn't deliver the goods to core gamers? I don't see how one can make that point, as the influx of money for Nintendo made possible the greatest games of recent years. You don't get Mario Galaxy without Wii Sports.

TheGreenSpiny

#45

TheGreenSpiny said:

Not sure where this censorship idea came from... I'm pretty sure most game systems were censored back then (yeah, MK was an exception, money will do that). BTW Solid Snake always had his pack smokes, even in the NES game.

The_Ink_Pit_Ox

#46

The_Ink_Pit_Ox said:

Nintendo relies upon its own franchises to survive, and boy does it have many of them. They also reference their older games to have its games appeal to all generations. Third parties found Sega, Sony, and Microsoft more attractive because of this.

TrueWiiMaster

#47

TrueWiiMaster said:

@sdcazares1980
I said the most censored SYSTEMS were the most successful. I never said anything about the games. I think we can both agree the SNES was more successful than the Genesis. The most successful games at that time were the ones that needed little to no censorship.

I actually recall reading an article, not necessarily on this website, about Iwata and/or Miyamoto saying that it was never meant to be the next great console. It was more for use as a fun gadget, I think they even compared it to a toy. It was marketed as an amazing new console, however, hence my saying the marketing was bad.

Saying that the 360/PS3 have provided much better games than the Wii is ridiculous. Half or more of the "great" games on the HD consoles are new installments of the same series. Whether it be the 7, soon to be 8, Call of Duty's, the 3 Gears of Wars, or 4 Halo's, they tend to put out more and more of the same. The only major 1st party game to do anything like that on Wii was Mario Galaxy, and it only had one sequel. Counting by great franchises, Nintendo is more than a match for Microsoft or Sony.

While there is definitely more universality to HD games, since they can be released on both consoles and often PC, flexibility is not as apparent. Most of the popular HD games are pretty similar to one another, and very few of them innovate at all. Developers might have room to do more, but they usually don't. Besides, it's not like the Wii lacked 3rd party support. It still had great exclusives like Monster Hunter, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Little King's Story, Red Steel 2, and Sonic Colors.

HiroshiYamauchi

#48

HiroshiYamauchi said:

@warioswoods
I agree completely with you. Nintendo may not be the best for her costumers, but it´s the best for itself. If you take a look at the N64 and GameCube best-sellers, almost all of them are first-party or second-party games. The original Playstation sold 4 times more games than the Nintendo 64, but how many games Sony sold? Nintendo only care about itself and to be honest, they are right, they always try to create the best scenario for their games, that's why they are a wealthy company. Some times they make some mistakes, no company is perfect, look at the N64 Disk Drive, for example.

CaPPa

#49

CaPPa said:

@sdcazares1980
TrueWiiMaster meant that despite the censorship on the SNES it still outsold the Genesis/Megadrive and is one of the most successful consoles of all time. However, Mortal Kombat was irrelevant to that success, had both systems had launched at the same time and if Mortal Kombat had been a launch game then it could have had an effect on the console sales; but it didn't because it was too late in their lifespans (and the SNES had an awesome version of Street Fighter 2). While it didn't effect sales it did give people the perception that Nintendo was more kiddy though and that has followed them through the years.

As for the Wii/360/PS3, yes the majority of people may think that the 360/PS3 has better games, but I think that is partly due to them either not actually knowing how good the Wii games are or not even knowing that games even exist. I really don't think that the 360/PS3 has 'better games' than the Wii at all, they just have a larger percentage of good games. As an owner of all 3 systems, my top games of this gen have mostly been on the Wii, so there might be 7 or 8 Wii games in my top 10 (Skyward Sword, Metroid Prime Trilogy and SMG2 are definitely my top 3 with Mass Effect probably battling for 4th place with MH3) but then a large percentage of the rest of my top 100 would be made up of 360/PS3 games.

Noire

#50

Noire said:

Whether it be the 7, soon to be 8, Call of Duty's, the 3 Gears of Wars, or 4 Halo's, they tend to put out more and more of the same. The only major 1st party game to do anything like that on Wii was Mario Galaxy, and it only had one sequel.

Metroid Prime 3?
New Super Mario Bros. Wii?
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess?
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword?
Mario Kart Wii?

... do you want me to go on?

TrueWiiMaster

#51

TrueWiiMaster said:

@Phoenixborn
Metroid Prime 3: the only Metroid Prime new to the Wii, 1 of 2 total new Metroids, with the second perhaps being an entirely different genre
New Super Mario Bros. Wii: the only side-scrolling Mario on Wii
Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword: only 2 Zeldas on the Wii (sorry, I forgot that Nintendo had one other major franchise on Wii with 2 installments)
Mario Kart Wii: the only Mario Kart on the Wii

There have been 7 CODs in the last 6.5 years (roughly), 3 GOWs in about 6 years, and 4 Halos in less than 5 years. Do you see the difference? It took Mario Kart about 9 years to hit 7 entries, counting 3 portables. Zelda has only had 9 home console games in 25 years, counting Four Swords. There have only been 8 side-scrolling Marios in 26 years, counting portable entries, and only 5 3D Mario adventures in about 15 years (since Mario 64) counting Mario 3D Land. Metroid has only seen 10 releases since 1986, about 25 years ago, not counting Metroid Prime Pinball. Am I forgetting any?

Noire

#52

Noire said:

It takes Nintendo longer to do it, but how is that a good thing? When you boil it down, it's the same thing. Sony and Microsoft see what sells the most and they make more of it. Nintendo sees what sells the most and they make more of it.

Min

#53

Min said:

@TrueWiiMaster
You mean "Only current-gen [insert series here] on the Wii" right?
Because (A) NSMBW is not the only side-scrolling Mario on the Wii, (B) Skyward and Twilight Princess are not the only Zeldas on the Wii, and (C) Mario Kart Wii is not the only Mario Kart on the Wii.

And really, it doesn't really depend on the companies, they're still selling tons, regardless of the series.

TrueWiiMaster

#54

TrueWiiMaster said:

@phoenixborn
Sony and Microsoft don't make any of those titles (unless Microsoft bought Bungie and Epic).

All I was saying was that many of the "great" games on the HD systems are from the same handful of franchises, often with extremely similar gameplay to the other games in the franchises, whereas most of the Wii's best franchises only have 1 or 2 entries on the system. Some of the franchises might have been around since the NES, but they haven't been squeezed dry by releasing a game almost every year. Imagine if there had been 4 or more Zeldas or 3D Marios on the Wii. Not only would it be difficult to keep up with them, but their quality would most likely suffer from rushed development, and they would inevitably become boring.

Do I think Call Of Duty can be considered great? Sure. Do I think it should be counted as a great game for the HD consoles SEVEN times? Absolutely not. Once, maybe twice, max. When counted like this, the libraries of the HD systems begin to wither down to what they are: a small number of franchises each releasing a large number of games.

TheChosen

#55

TheChosen said:

I wouldnt really call censorship being a big blunder. What did it really affect in the end? Few words, some graphical changes. Loss of sales? Nope. Sucked for Mortal Kombat (even though SNES version was more playable), but after that Mortal Kombat 2, 3 and so on had the violence, Nintendo and Rare stroke back with Killer Instinct, N64 was pretty much a heaven for fps games and so on and so on.

People back then probably didnt even realize that their games had some kind of censorship and even if they did, would small changes like "holy to pearl" really hamper the gameplay that much? It did for some games like Ultima VII, but there arent much of those games where gameplay actually suffered because of censorship (and Ultima VII had several other problems to begin with and no, Im not counting Wolfenstein 3D. Just because there's no blood or swastikas doesnt mean game is bad.).

Sega games werent that different either. They were just "edgy and cool", not hardcore.

And finally, before Playstation broke out, consoles were mostly considered as something kids would play, at least in America. It was the 80/early 90's with moral guardians and such and it was easier time for them to spread fear and paranoia.

Now, out of those blunders, I'd say only the CD-addon and Virtual Boy were the only real blunders. Sony would have gotten the control of Nintendo's IPs per the contract (or something like that), but the outcome took a huge bite out of Nintendo's market. And Virtual Boy was just so bad and rushed. Your mileage may vary with the Wii, but before that, it was the both Playstation consoles who got loads and loads of shovelware. Im not saying Wii isnt any better, but if someone's gonna start pointing and blaming, Wii's wasnt the first console to have shovelware.

And I love those cartridges. Like said, they do things CD's cant and just because you cant do cool CG, orchestrated music or spread game into 4 cd's doesnt mean you cant make memorable masterpieces.

TrueWiiMaster

#56

TrueWiiMaster said:

@Min
I was referring to Wii games, not GC/N64/SNES/NES games that are playable on the Wii. I thought that was pretty obvious...

Gioku

#57

Gioku said:

The DS seemed like it was gonna suck when it was first announced and when it was launched...

BulbasaurusRex

#58

BulbasaurusRex said:

@The_Fox Maybe they were on a disappointing streak with the consoles, but they've always been on top with their handhelds. If the Wii had also fallen behind the competition in sales like the N64 and GameCube, the success of the DS handheld line would've still kept Nintendo afloat.

Noire

#59

Noire said:

@TrueWiiMaster: There have been 5 brand-new main-series Mario games, 4 brand-new Legend of Zelda games, 4 brand-new Metroid games, 5 brand-new Pokemon games, and 4 brand-new Kirby games between the years of 2006-2011. That's cutting close to a game a year right there. If you're just counting Wii by itself then you're cutting Nintendo's output in half, and I don't believe that's fair. This isn't even counting all the remakes of games Nintendo has made.

BulbasaurusRex

#60

BulbasaurusRex said:

@Phoenixborn Even if you're counting the console and handheld games together, many of those games play completely differently. Mario games play quite differently between their 2D and 3D games; the same is also true of 2D and 3D Zelda games (not to mention that Skyward Sword revolutionized the 3D Zelda control scheme); the Metroid Prime games, Other M, and Zero Mission all play differently; Pokémon has its proven multiple versions per generation and remake strategy as well as various spin-offs like Battle Revolution and PokéPark; and you'd never be able to tell that Epic Yarn, Mass Attack, and Return to Dreamland are from the same franchise other than starring Kirby and some other reoccuring characters and enemies.

ChrisHoi

#61

ChrisHoi said:

I paid fl.229,- for Mortal Kombat Trilogy for the N64.
Which is about €105,- Euro's.
Which is about 135 U.S. dollars.
Shame on me.

TrueWiiMaster

#62

TrueWiiMaster said:

@phoenixborn
I can only assume your counting the Metroid Prime Trilogy as different games to get that number, because since 2006 Corruption, Other M, and Hunters were the only releases, unless you count Pinball, which is kind of out of place.

Those 5 Marios were spread over 3 platforms, and you say it's not fair to not count all of them? Besides that, 3 are 3D and 2 are side-scrolling. They might both star Mario, but they're basically 2 franchises. I mean, if you count those together you might as well add Mario and Luigi and Paper Mario. Likewise with Zelda. Not only are they split evenly between 2 platforms, but the 2 on the DS are of a completely different breed, with a top-down view favored. Counting those Pokemon games like that is almost like cheating. There were 2 new Pokemon adventures, each with multiple but nearly identical versions. Kirby is a weird situation because his appearance in Epic Yarn was just to move more copies; it wasn't a real Kirby game, though it could be counted if you want. Mass Attack was unlike any Kirby game before it, and could probably be called a Kirby spin-off rather than a full game. The other 2 Kirbys were each on different platforms.

It may sound like I'm making up overly specific excuses, but Nintendo's franchises often spawn more franchises, starring the same characters but being completely different games. Most other companies don't do that. COD might be made up of Modern Warfare, World at War, Black Ops, and earlier entries, but the games aren't really that different from one another. Every game is an fps with a huge focus on multiplayer. The only changes are more/different weapons, better graphics, and more/different perks. Hard to compare that to the extreme differences between how you play Mass Attack and how you play Return to Dreamland; if not for the shared main character they wouldn't have any relation at all.

Noire

#63

Noire said:

It may sound like I'm making up overly specific excuses

You are, and this discussion isn't going anywhere, so I think I'd just like to drop it if it's all the same to you.

I did miscount the number of Metroid games, so I'll give you that.

Yanchamaru

#64

Yanchamaru said:

What a great article. I remember Time listing the Virtual Boy as one of the worst inventions ever made by humans. That might have been a little harsh since we have been around for 50,000 years, but I agree that this was a horribly designed product. Nintendo could have spend millions marketing the Virtual Boy and it would have still failed. Taking this piece of junk back behind the barn for a mercy killing was one of the best financial decisions Nintendo has ever made.

MagicEmperor

#65

MagicEmperor said:

MAH BOI, this peace is what all true warriors strive for! I have never, ever, ever in my life ever met anyone who owned a CD-i.

GamerZack87

#66

GamerZack87 said:

This article is missing one of the hugest incidents of all. Namely, the time Nintendo nearly went the way of the SEGA when its GameCube console very nearly flopped. I don't see how, though, since I think the GCN is awesome! :D

Neram

#67

Neram said:

Forgot about the cartoon style for Wind Waker, that disappointed a lot of people. Also the purple color theme for GameCube, which helped cement the misconception that Nintendo is strictly for children. The Wii is a bit sketchy because ultimately it was the best selling Nintendo home console ever, but it's also one of the least liked by the gaming community. It's hard to say if that qualifies for a 'colossal' blunder.

RR529

#71

RR529 said:

Very interesting article. The only one I kind of disagree with is the Wii one (99% of the shovelware was from 3rd party devs), but awesome article nonetheless.

BTW, stop citing "the Binding of Issac" incident as a return to censorship. I've watched many trailers of it, and it's more crude than any of the M rated games I've played on ANY platform. Chances are it's AO material (not M), and Nintendo, Sony, and MS don't allow AO software on their systems. If Sony or MS ok's it, you can complain, but I have a feeling it won't see the light of day on their online stores either.

KeeperBvK

#73

KeeperBvK said:

What about the Cube hate in here? The Cube was great and easily surpasses the Wii's games library in my opinion...

LeonardoDaVinci

#76

LeonardoDaVinci said:

Nintendos biggest blunder so far in my opinion...
the Wii's third party games.
they just let anything be published... especially crappy party games.

LeonardoDaVinci

#77

LeonardoDaVinci said:

@Gioku
The DS was their best handheld in my opinion, but the DSi sucks because its just a few extra built in features the ds doesnt have, and they took away the GBA slot which makes Guitar Hero on tour impossible to play, and ruins the system in my opinion.

ThreadShadow

#82

ThreadShadow said:

For everyones information, Nintendo hasn't "censored" crud game Binding of Isaac. They refused it. This isn't censorship, this is a company exercising its right to allow/disallow anything they want. Just because they don't "censor" anymore doesn't mean they are bound to open the floodgates to any and all garbage that wants in.

Regarding censorship this article plays the same old cliches. "Nintendo isn't cool because they took away my strippers! They changed Holy to Pearl!" I'm sorry it's just very sad. They have every right to say, you want on our systems then you conform to these rules, don't like it, then go somewhere else! And guess what, NES and SNES and GB won the 8bit and 16bit wars. Sega is practically dead and oh look, Nintendo is still around.

The Sony/Philips debacle was bad, but guess what. With the contract Sony was trying to get with Nintendo, Nintendo wouldn't exist anymore! It was a stranglehold Nintendo had to get out of or be wholey consumed by Sony.

Why does this article have the need to make fun of "family friendly", and the elderly? This comes from the same immaturity that thinks blood, boobs, beer, and swears make a good game.

I don't see any "colossal foul-ups". Mistakes, yes a couple. Business tactics to get their head out of a few nooses? Yes. But you want colossal mistakes look at Sega.

ToxieDogg

#83

ToxieDogg said:

I like how people complain that the Wii lacked decent third party support, but then numerous fantastic third party games like Rabbids Go Home, Little King's Story, A Boy & His Blob, De Blob, Madworld and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, along with numerous others I could mention, failed to sell in any great numbers. When I look at the 100 or so Wii games I have on my shelf (need to count them to get an exact number), I see a selection of games that easily matches anything I've got on the Xbox 360 or PS3 for entertainment value, and only around a quarter of them (or slightly less) are actually first party games.

theblackdragonAdmin

#84

theblackdragon said:

@ThreadShadow: Regarding the SNES-CD, Sony wasn't 'trying to get' the contract — Nintendo had already signed it, lol. They only realized a few years later (when they were about to announce the partnership and introduce the device) exactly how much of their rights they'd given up in the original contract. Considering we got the PlayStation and the Nintendo CD-i games out of that mess, it's quite the blunder on their part if you ask me! :3

WaveyChristmas

#87

WaveyChristmas said:

@Wariowoods.
Agreed!

As for me, the Wii has been thee' greatest console since the SNES. It completely destroys the N64 and GCN as far as Nintendo Exclusives go and
It actually sucked me back into gaming head on, where as the N64 and GCN were usually on and off with me.

The biggest blunder i found with the N64 was the complete lack of 64 bit 'sprite' based games. Ya...Fully 3D worlds was exciting and amazing in the beginning, but it got old after a while....At least have some flippin variety! :p

SomeBitTripFan

#88

SomeBitTripFan said:

I agree that the Virtual Boy was a blunder, but the stuff about censorship and all is crap. Games don't need gore and sexual themes. The Binding of Issac was just sick and twisted. I'll be quoting Cranky Kong here but graphics or whatnot don't make the game. They are enjoyable and all but do we need them? NO! The thing I find great about Nintendo is that they do make good games.I consider the Gamecube a success(it has some of the greatest games ever). Just because a system has shovelware doesn't mean it is a fail(please remember the app store is a MAJOR exception). You can AVOID shovelware. Nintendo has provided great games (DKCR, LoZ:SS, FE:RD, SSBB, MPT, SMG1&2, S&P:SS, MKW,and many others). Now that I have finished my "nerd rant" feel free to troll.

mikeman-m

#89

mikeman-m said:

i thought their biggest blunder is when they agreed to put a game about fireplaces on wiiware

kdognumba1

#91

kdognumba1 said:

The Wii U seems to be getting a lot of stuff right, however I really do hope they have an account system up and running that digital games can be linked to, better online game stability, full on voice chat/group chat support from day 1, and the ability to send out game invites to all online games. These are the areas imo that all Nintendo systems are lacking. Even with HD, high powered consoles and a super amazing controller, all of that doesn't mean anything without these basic functions. Get online right and you can win over millions of gamers, do it wrong and well.... the ocean isn't blue anymore.

Mahe

#92

Mahe said:

The last point is completely idiotic. What would you have had Nintendo do, another Gamecube? Now that was a blunder.

KeeperBvK

#93

KeeperBvK said:

@ThreadShadow: Now for YOUR information, you just misinterpreted everyone's comment. Nintendo surely hasn't censored Binding of Isaac, but in not allownig the game to appear on 3DS they censored the 3DS's games library. And this doesn't have anything to do with not allowing bad games to be released, since they allow them to come in all the time. That decision was purely out of fear of having content inapproriate for some feeble-mindeds. This is pure censorship, just like a newspaper not publishing certain articles or a TV station not airing content they simply disagree with.

Usagi-san

#94

Usagi-san said:

@KeeperBvk: Censorship happens. Live with it.

The next feature should be "Nintendo's Greatest Successes". It wouldn't be fair to examine Nintendo's blunders in depth without looking at their triumphs as well.

Slapshot

#95

Slapshot said:

Great article @jspanero!

I've been there through all of these blunders and it never ceases to amaze me how Nintendo can ignore their mistake and keep on tugging like it's nothing.

Like a few others have stated before me, I do think that one of Nintendo's blunders that is still causing issues today is its Friend Codes. If these annoyances make their way into Wii U, I don't think that it will ever gain the mass market appeal they desire to gain back so badly.

Kage_88

#96

Kage_88 said:

@8 - I really wouldn't consider those games 'shovelware'. IMO, Wii Music was a misunderstood game, and was a real experiment for Miyamoto, who wanted to shed the image of a 'traditional' videogame. As for Wii Play: just because it was minigame-based doesn't mean it was a cynical cash-in. For only $5 - $10, it was a great little extra for the Wii Remote.

@18 - Yeah, I was gonna say that :) Sony's PSN hack alone far outweighs most 'mistakes' committed by Nintendo.

@68 - The art style for Wind Waker was ANYTHING but a mistake.

Nintendo has made many mistakes, sure, but they pale in comparison to all the joy they have brought to gamers. As warioswoods has so expertly identified; the N64 catridges weren't a flat out blunder on Nintendo's part - they had pros as well as cons. Yes, they quite possibly led to a decreased market share as well as the abandonment of many 3rd parties; but they also provided streamlined game experiences such as Mario 64, Zelda: Ocarina of Time & Majora's Mask, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Turok 1 2 & 3, Perfect Dark, Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo Kazooie & Tooie (can you imagine large & graphically detailed games like them running load-free on a single PSOne disc?) Besides, I've always preferred real-time cutscenes to FMV...

@84 - Tell me about it. Time and time again, I highlight the sheer amount of great games on the Wii - yet people continue to spew the "Wii = no games" line. Sigh...

Regarding the 'Wii Wasteland' bit - yes, it was unfortunate that Nintendo gained the 'casual' stigma; but was it THEIR mistake? No, it was mainly the 3rd parties. Yes, Nintendo did release faminly friendly software such as Wii Fit & Wii Sports - but they also released masterpieces such as Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, Zelda: Twilight Princess & Skyward Sword, Smash Bros Brawl, Mario Kart Wii, Kirby's Epic Yarn, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Wario Land: Shake It!, Punch Out!!, Metroid Prime Trilogy & Metroid: Other M.

The Virtual Boy? Yeah, that was a hell of a doozy...Though it should be noted that Gunpei Yokoi never actually finished it properly; but the greedy Nintendo execs released it anyway before having the gall to blame its failure on him...that, in my opinion, was Nintendo's biggest (and most shameful) mistake ever.

Other big mistakes by Nintendo (IMHO) are:

GCN/GBA Connectivity
Censoring of certain titles (notably Devil World & Mortal Kombat)
3DS Launch
Original GBA screen not having a backlight
Not making Wii HD (though I can certainly see their reasons, citing extra cost, etc.)
Mario Party/N64 joystick destruction
Power Glove
Region Locking (though there are both pros & cons for this)

Tare

#97

Tare said:

Not accepting anything that had to do with online was a mistake. Missed out on a major market.

They are slowly correcting this with the 3DS E-shop but they've got a long way to go.

SilentJ

#98

SilentJ said:

Great article! I'll always love Nintendo but the Wii is the reason I finally strayed from them and got a PS3.

sdcazares1980

#99

sdcazares1980 said:

@CaPPa I think the vast majority of people who view the 360/PS3 games as better than the Wii games is because of marketing and demographics. Sure, there are great Wii games (I own the 360, PC and Wii, BTW), but take a look at how the Nintendo markets the Wii games. Do you really believe that it's "cool factor" is just as good as the ones on the 360 and the PS3? I doubt it. I'm sorry, but you can't blame the consumers for turning its back on Nintendo when, in the eyes of many, it's the other way around. If Nintendo had jumped on the HD race with the Wii, it would've won in a landslide. And with the Wii U coming up, I'm a bit worried that it might be too late for Nintendo.

sdcazares1980

#100

sdcazares1980 said:

@TrueWiiMaster Yes, the Super Nintendo was a great system, but Nintendo's "kid friendly" image did not end there. I think they let that philosophy got in over their heads for a long time, perhaps until recently with the Wii U. But I fear that it might be too late to catch up with their HD counterparts.

I might agree with you on Iwata's take on the GameCube, but that's Nintendo's problem. If they expect it to be a "toy" and not a competitor in the games business, then people will treat it as such... and they now are paying for it.

It is of course a matter of opinion about which system has the better games, but it's not just the sales, it's also who is still playing them. Nintendo has great first party games, but the third party support is much more critical, and MS/Sony have the edge.

Kirk

#101

Kirk said:

Indeed Javier.

It's because of all the great things Nintendo has done in the past, and how much of an influence those things had on creating many happy childhood memories, that I actually put up with a lot of the stupid things Nintendo has done in recent times imo.

I really hope the Wii U is one of their great moments again...

TrueWiiMaster

#102

TrueWiiMaster said:

@sdcazares1980
Catch up with their HD counterparts in what way? M games? Certainly not in sales.

Actually, I was referring to the Virtual Boy, not the Gamecube. The Gamecube was a great new console, and far from a mistake.

Which party makes the games being critical is relative. For Nintendo, 1st party games are far more critical to success, while for the HD systems 3rd parties are most important. Of course, 3rd party content is the vast, and I mean VAST, majority of what they offer. The Wii had a fair amount of 3rd party support too, including quite a few real gems, but many of those games sold poorly simply because many consumers want 1st party games for their Nintendo platform(s) of choice. I'd hate to see Nintendo lessen 1st party support to strengthen confidence of 3rd parties.

Also, what do you mean by "who is still playing them"?

sdcazares1980

#103

sdcazares1980 said:

Catching up with HD in terms of third party games. I never said anything about M rated games, but I'm sure they also sell.

Nor did I say the GameCube was a mistake, just the company's approach to it.

Nintendo's greatest strength is in the first party, but it can't do it alone, hence that's why we have third party games. It's like over-relying on a "franchise" player in sports. Sure, we'd like to keep that player, but if others' support is piss poor, then they won't win a championship. Same goes for Nintendo. And 3rd party sales were poor because those are the watered down versions of the HD games.

By "who's still playing them", I mean long after the debut of it's sales, are people still playing these games? Are people playing the sequels?

Don't get me wrong, I still play with the Wii, but with the functions of the Xbox 360 (a system that I also own with the Wii), and the content of the games, I can see why people are looking towards the HD systems rather than the Wii.

WaLzgiStaff

#104

WaLzgi said:

@sdcazares: I believe your point is moot because many of the popular 3rd party "HD" games were actually released for the Wii too. It had plenty of 3rd party support.

sdcazares1980

#105

sdcazares1980 said:

@Lordlz Plenty of 3rd party support, meaning what? The Modern Warfare games? The 2K Sports series? I can't recall the Wii version of those games selling like hotcakes.

Birthday_Boy

#106

Birthday_Boy said:

The Wii was no faliure, it had alot of great titles, 3rd party, and Nintendo alike. From simple games like Just Dance, to downloadable games like World of Goo.
The 3DS launch was more of a blunder, I played AR games for a few good hours, same with Face Raiders, the Streetpass Puzzle games were come in and come out. But the Shop never came til May, (Immense Blunder) and the only launch games worth buying were Super Street Fighter IV, and Ridge Racer. We didn't get anything great until Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D came out. The worse part was that the Shop even had a drought, until months later. Sales numbers dropped greatly, forcing Nintendo to drop the price by a third. ($80) However, even though it was a great blunder, it made a great redemption, which is still going on.
In other news: It's my second year anniversary of being a NL user.

TrueWiiMaster

#107

TrueWiiMaster said:

@sdcazares1980
The context of your original post doesn't match your response. You say Nintendo has a "kid friendly" image, and then that it might be too late for them to catch up to the competition after getting in too deep with that philosophy. Yet in your response you say you were referring to 3rd party games? I was just clearing up a misunderstanding about the Gamecube. My earlier post was referring to the Virtual Boy.

Though Nintendo lives and dies on its 1st party software, it does maintain 3rd party support. There were many excellent 3rd party titles on the Wii, but like I said, many of them sold poorly in the shadow of the even more excellent 1st party games. I wouldn't say the Wii had as many 3rd party games as the competition, but the competition had virtually no 1st party games.

I'm afraid Nintendo would win the "who's still playing them" category as defined by your post. Unlike the HD games, which are often made obsolete by frequent sequels and similar competition, it is common for Nintendo's games to continue to sell well for years after their release. For example, Mario Kart Wii has been out for about 4 years and sold almost 32 million copies worldwide, without a price drop (at least not in America). Modern Warfare 2, out for about a year and a half less, sold about 22 million copies worldwide cross-platform, and has had price drops. It might sound like Modern Warfare did as well as Mario Kart given the time difference, but it was available on the 360, PS3, and PC, and had price drops. On top of that, its sales period is basically over. It was replaced by Black Ops, and then Black Ops was replaced by Modern Warfare 3, and as such few people would opt to buy it over its successors. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear they stopped making new copies of it all together. Nintendo games tend to continue selling throughout the life of the system, whereas most HD games seem to sell well, but have an invisible expiration date. As for people buying the sequels, the HD games would have to win because 1. they have WAY more sequels to sell, 2. they have an expiration date; if you don't buy the sequels you lose that "robust" online multiplayer, because everyone else moves on to the next game, and 3. they have the multiplatform advantage that 1st party Nintendo games lack.

sdcazares1980

#108

sdcazares1980 said:

@TrueWiiMaster:

Let me clarify then:

When you said that the most censored games are the most successful, then why did Nintendo decide to abandon the "no blood" policy after the Mortal Kombat fiasco? It is of course your opinion that you don't want or need blood in the games, but that's what people (myself included) want.

The decision for Nintendo to not keep up with the technology of its competitors since the days of the N64, is the reason, in my opinion, on why they've decided to release many games that are considered to be "kid friendly.". Look at the vast majority of the games (whether they are first or third party) in the Wii department. How many Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, Arkham Asylum/City, Portal, GTA, etc. games do you see on the Wii? Compare the graphics of the Wii to the HD systems on Ghostbusters and Madden, and you'll see my point.

I wish I can define the "who's still playing them" term a little more clearly, but the more third party games are releasing triple A titles for the HD systems, the more I believe that Nintendo missed an opportunity to make their system truly competitive. It is of course Nintendo's right on what kind of system they want to create, but even Nintendo itself is starting to feel the heat on missing out. Nintendo's first party games are awesome, but let's give third-party developers the kind of hardware to work on so they can release all their games in the (almost) same exact way, not just the 360/PS3/PC versions, and have a watered-down version on the Wii.

lonlon-milker

#109

lonlon-milker said:

Wait a minute the first picture with the family and the nes is wrong. You can only play as one person at a time on super Mario bros and there are two kids pressing buttons.

lonlon-milker

#110

lonlon-milker said:

The Cdi was a failure nonsense . Just look at all the YouTube poop's that include "speghettie" and "dinner"

lonlon-milker

#111

lonlon-milker said:

The Cdi was a failure nonsense . Just look at all the YouTube poop's that include "speghettie" and "dinner"

WaLzgiStaff

#112

WaLzgi said:

@sdcazares: Your argument is so ignorant, so I'm gonna clear up a few things. Nintendo adopted a "no-blood" policy because at the time, there was no rating system for games (ESRB started in 1994). After the ESRB was founded, they were more lenient thanks to the M-rating even though they were still hesitant on releasing more "mature" games. They wanted to protect their family-friendly image so that their success can continue, which it has.

On the topic of technology, you do realize that both the N64 and Gamecube were technologically superior to the PS1 and PS2 in certain categories. For instance, Gamecube's loading times were far less than PS2's due to the smaller discs. I do not understand the relation between the tech and the "kid friendly" games that you speak of. Those games have to do with the image that Nintendo wanted to maintain. And why should they stop? Mario games have sold millions because they catered to a wide variety of audiences. They have no need for other titles like Assassin's Creed to be successful.

If you wanna compare success stories between the Wii and HD systems, count the number of million+ sellers on each. The results may surprise you.

Nintendo took their own strategy this past generation that worked. The Wii outsold the PS3 and 360 by a long shot. Unfortunately, 3rd parties apparently didn't understand that the Wii was a different system than the PS3 and 360. They assumed that they could just port everything over to the Wii and expect the same success, which certainly was not the case. Ubisoft knew this eventually and released Just Dance on the Wii and made a killing on the franchise.

lonlon-milker

#113

lonlon-milker said:

Another thing to add on to the whole Nintendo censorship thing is that Nintendo might have made a good decision with that. I mean consider this when in nintendo power magazine released an issue with a cover of dracula's head in simons quest parents freaked and got mad so I really don't blame Nintendo.

KeeperBvK

#114

KeeperBvK said:

@Usagi-san: That has to be worst comment I've read in a long while. "Something bad happens, it's happening often, so just let it happen and never mind." Wow. Can I come around and kick you in the nuts? This kind of stuff happens, so deal with it.

sdcazares1980

#116

sdcazares1980 said:

@Lordlz And the Sega Genesis did what with Mortal Kombat? Sit on it's rear end and kow tow to the parents? Nope, they basically knew that's what the consumer wanted and it is because of that, the ESRB rating was born. FYI, Mortal Kombat was released in 1993, a year before the ESRB. Yet my argument is ignorant?

And it is because of the size of the disc that the GameCube was at a disadvantage. It had 1.4 GB capacity compared to 4.7 GB of the PS2. Why do you think Twin Snakes required two discs to play? I'm only seeing the correlation between the technology and the "kid-friendly" image Nintendo has, and I believe it's no coincidence. Mario games are great, but they can only do so much for Nintendo.

It's no secret that the Wii has "outsold" the PS3 and the 360 systems, but not combined. The HD systems have a combined of 130 million units sold compared to the Wii's 94 million. Had the PS3 and 360 been just one system, well, I hate to say this, but the HD system would've won.

3rd parties may not have understood on how the Wii works, but why should they now? It's a moot point now since the Wii is getting phased out.

The reason why Nintendo has survived this long is because of its history with gamers (and I'm all for it), but the way things are going, I fear that it might go in the way of Sega. Maybe not soon, but it will eventually if the Big N doesn't wise up.

SkywardLink98

#117

SkywardLink98 said:

Personally I don't think Nintendo went wrong with Wii Sports. It showcased how the Wii's motion could be used and as a free bonus you can't really argue. As the $20 "Nintendo Select" though, I wouldn't suggest buying it as it's really just a party game.

Malkeor

#118

Malkeor said:

To everyone goin' on about 3rd party support and the like, and all these problems in their head....
The Wii- U with an already impressive 3rd party roster says, "Howdy".

We still don't know the finer details of the Wii-U but it's not exaggerations that everyone today is looking for an entertainment hub of some kind in their household. They want to be connected, and hoping the Wii-U can deliver fairly well.
Things aren't looking grim....but because ti's such a new take on design investors (and potential consumers) are scared and that's not surprising. But innovation is what makes Nintendo...Nintendo.
I'm not really worried.

There's the question weather Nintendo can hold outside developer interest, but that depends on how they can get them to say "wow that would be different, the definitive version of my game on their console even!"
Maybe an exaggeration but the way the Wii U can do things, it would be quite something to see how different these games are gonna be played on Wii U compared to other consoles.

They learn from their mistakes, and the build about their strengths. That's basically the jist of it.

Usagi-san

#119

Usagi-san said:

@KeeperBvK: No need to get exasperated. Perhaps my reply was a little harsh, but the kind of censorship your'e talking about has been going on for years and it isn't about to go anywhere. There's not a book, website or store that won't be selective about it's content. I assure you there are articles that would not appear on Nintendo life and whether this is a good or a bad thing is really a matter of perspective.

There are times when I wish some things weren't censored myself but you cannot expect businesses to allow content just because it's something you want. It is Nintendo's prerogative to decide what is and isn't on their eshop and in the case of The Binding of Isaac they decided that it wasn't appropriate.

Gamesake

#120

Gamesake said:

@theblackdragon I agree with your previous comment. The PlayStation was quite the blunder on Nintendo's part. But even if the PSX had never happened, how can we be sure that cancerous games like Ape Escape wouldn't have poisoned the industry anyway? Sony was already publishing lackluster games before they were bilking consumers into buying PlayStations.

theblackdragonAdmin

#122

theblackdragon said:

@gamesake: I believe you missed my first comment to this thread (#12), lol. In no way do I think the PlayStation itself is a blunder, as I certainly had a lot of fun with mine — it had some amazing games, and Square really bloomed during that period. Competition in the marketplace can only benefit us, the consumer, y'know? What I was trying to say that the way the SNES-CD situation was handled (resulting in the rise of one of Nintendo's staunchest competitors as well as those horrible CD-i titles) was a pretty horrendous blunder on Nintendo's part, and I bet some of those guys from that era are still kicking themselves over it today. Gotta make sure to read all the fine print before signing anything, haha :3

Buob

#123

Buob said:

@sdcazeres1980 - You're getting too worked up to read the posts right. Lordlz was never said that it was the ESRB that allowed Nintendo to pick up Mortal Kombat. He said, and I quote "Nintendo adopted a "no-blood" policy because at the time, there was no rating system for games." If you'll notice, the blood in Mortal Kombat was edited out.

In what way does technology = kid friendly? Are you trying to say that primitive technology is only for children? With that kind of logic, you're saying that a Kindle Fire is better than an iPad (as a tablet). The thing with technology is that there really is no "bad technology;" it will do what it was meant for. For the Wii, that's play games that may focus more on storyline than graphics.

As for putting the numbers together, that's cheating. You can't say that the 130 number would stay there if the console was " just one system," due to people buying multiple systems. However, to entertain you, say the HD consoles WERE one system, that would cut the number to approximately 75 million, making the HD consoles lose to the Wii.

Sure, the Wii is at the end of it's life span, so maybe the 3rd Party companies should start understanding NINTENDO instead of their System.

Nintendo going the route of Sega? Not when Wii Sports Resort can outsell both Skyrim and Modern Warfare 3.

WaveyChristmas

#124

WaveyChristmas said:

Two words....Cathy Dunaway. The only real Blunder i had with the wii was that lack luster & extremely casual E3 Showing with Wii Music. I remember so many people being utterly upset with Nintendo at that point, thinking that they abandonded the core audience. While Nintendo E32010 was absolutely phenomenal. :D The 3DS unvieleing, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Zelda Skyward Sword, Donkey Kong Country returns, Luigi's Mansion 2 ect ect.

warioswoods

#125

warioswoods said:

Wii Music's e3 presentation was a huge miscalculation, as WaveBoy noted, but the game itself was bizarrely wonderful. I'm the sometimes-captain of the Wii Music Defense Force, so I should know.

Buob

#126

Buob said:

@Gamesake Why are you so opposed to the Binding of Isaac? I'm just curious because you seem to be very outspoken that it is shovelware.

AVahne

#128

AVahne said:

All the companies make mistakes. Heck, Sony and Microsoft have been in the video game business for much shorter times, yet I find their mistakes to be funnier and more embarrassing than Nintendo's. (I'm still waiting for the day when Sony makes a Dual Shock whose face buttons don't break so easily and whose sticks are as comfy as Nintendo's.)

AVahne

#129

AVahne said:

@sdcazares1980
I can see why people would like the HD consoles, too. Yet, for me, there's absolutely no difference between PS3 and Wii when it comes to just playing games. Both have their own features, however past all those features, there's still the core gaming experience that I say both deliver pretty well in. Both have games that would be fun to replay and games that would be fun or sorta fun to play the first time (though so far, I don't have any PS3 games worth coming back to after completion IMO, maybe I'm just not too interested in them. The Wii on the other hand, had several games I would keep playing and playing like Fire Emblem and Monster Hunter. I say had, because my dear little Wii was kidnapped.).

RantingThespian

#130

RantingThespian said:

Well, I have only owned PC computers and Nintendo systems. I don't see that changing at all in the future. I stay with my Italian plumbers, my green Dinosaur, my Elf in a green tunic, my kick female galactic bounty hunter, my rather large Ape and his primate friends, and my extremely hungry pink marshmallow.

I really have no desire to get a Playstation or XBox (or the possible Valve/Steam console), and I also never felt the desire to own a Saturn, Dreamcast, 3DO, Gamegear, PSP, Vita, or almost every other non-Nintendo consoles. I only wanted a Sega Genesis to play the early Sonic games (but thanks to Virtual Consoles, I can play them on current Nintendo systems)..

TrueWiiMaster

#132

TrueWiiMaster said:

@sdcazares1980
Again, I never said the censored GAMES were particularly successful. I said the systems that had those games were successful, enough so to be called the "winners" of their respective generations. In other words, the censorship didn't hurt Nintendo.

Actually, I think the reason Nintendo has continued to release games that are "kid friendly" is because that's their specialty. I don't recall a time when Nintendo ever made M-level games. If you think violent, bloody games can't/won't exist on the Wii, look no further than Madworld, No More Heroes, and Resident Evil. Though it's true 3rd parties couldn't just port every game they made to the Wii due to the power difference between it and the HD systems, I'd rather Nintendo make a system the way they want to make it than have them cater to the 3rd parties. I'd also argue that having a system that is so port-friendly undermines the uniqueness of the system. Though both HD systems have exclusives, neither have many that are truly unique to their console. Halo and Gears of War might be Xbox-only, but PS3 players can just play Resistance and Killzone instead. I'm not saying these games are the same, or even necessarily equivalent, but that they are all similar. Other than exclusives like these, and a few excellent exceptions, most of the biggest HD games are available on both platforms. You could get either system and get almost identical experiences. That said, where else but the Wii can one experience games like Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Smash Bros? They have no true counterparts for the HD systems.

If the PS3 and 360 had been one system, the PS360 if you will, they wouldn't have sold as many units either. Believe it or not, some people buy both. There's also the console upgrades to consider. The Wii sold that many without ever releasing Wii+, while both HD systems put out fancier, upgraded models. That would certainly contribute to those sales numbers.

The tech of the Gamecube in no way caused it to release an onslaught of "kid friendly" games. Not only did it have Metroid Prime from Nintendo, but is also considered by many to be the best platform to pay Resident Evil 1 and 4, arguably the latter being the number 1 M game of the generation. The fact that some games were released as 2 discs has no relevance on the game quality or maturity. In fact, I prefer 2 discs on a handful of games (because most games were ported easily on 1 disc) than the long load times of their PS2 versions. That you would even say the Gamecube was particularly "kid friendly" because of its tech makes me wonder if you ever really played it. There were various challenging and/or mature games, both exclusive and multiplatform.

Phew. That was long.

SparkOfSpirit

#133

SparkOfSpirit said:

ToxieDog has it right. There are a lot of great third party Wii games that would probably not even exist without the Wii. While it's a shame that it didn't get all the HD games as well, it has its own unique library that is pretty darn good on its own.

TheGreenSpiny

#135

TheGreenSpiny said:

@117 SDcazares1980: The Gamecube disc size wasn't a disadvantage. Just compare RE4 on the Cube to the PS2 game. Besides the extra content made for the PS2 game the GC version was superior in every respect. As your own MGS example points out the smaller disc size meant they simply used more discs when needed. The GC had tons of AAA 3rd party games that just didn't sell well. And they were not watered down and broken HD ports like the Wii often gets. Many multi-platform owners simply buy 1st party titles or exclusives for Nintendo systems which is why they have become increasingly reliant on 1st party support over the years.

@TruWiiMaster: I agree that having a port-friendly system undermines the uniqueness of the system, it also means that system will get more quick and dirty ports. (see also: PS2) I don't believe that Nintendo ever made "M-level" games but they have published a few "M-rated" games made by second party developers. (See also: Perfect Dark, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Eternal Darkness, Geist)

On a side note... you should change your name to TruNintendoMaster since you seem to understand the company so well. :D

ThreadShadow

#136

ThreadShadow said:

@theBlackDragon
Sorry, that's what I was meaning. Thanks for clarifing my point.

As for "censorship", Nintendo owes no consumer or developer to release any and every game on their systems. Heaven help us if companies should try, even poorly, to have some shadow of principle or standard other then making money or appealing to the lowest common denominator.

TrueWiiMaster

#137

TrueWiiMaster said:

@TheDarkness
I think Rare published Perfect Dark and Conker's Bad Fur Day themsleves, though I could be mistaken.

I've thought about changing my name to something like that, especially with the Wii U coming up, but it just doesn't seem to roll off the tongue as well, ya know? Too many syllables maybe?

ThreadShadow

#138

ThreadShadow said:

Virtual Boy failed as a Nintendo console, but succeeded as a Nintendo novelty "toy". And Nintendo has made a few toys aswell.

Gamecube wasn't a failure either. It featured two great Zelda games, two great Metroid games, The very popular Smash Bros. Star Fox games, The Pikmin series, and it did bring third-parties back to Nintendo.

GC/GBA connectivity imo wasn't a failure, just difficult to execute, and it lead to all the great connectivity we haave today with systems, plus looks to be an ingredient in the idea of the Wii U. Pac-man VS. was great and Four Swords Adventure was brilliant...the difficulty was the wires...Nintendo should have gone wireless then, but everything needs to start somewhere. It's kinda like saying the NES failed because it wasn't the SNES.

SmaMan

#139

SmaMan said:

And despite N64 using cartridges, I know of many people who owned an N64 and not a Playstation. Granted a lot of these people were the "casual gamers" of today and own a Wii and only owned those four games seen in the N64 picture. But still, they hold the N64 to such high echelons that there's no way it could have been a failure.

Retrogamer88

#141

Retrogamer88 said:

great article,i hope nintendo puts an end to shovelware this time on the wii U because i want to see the wii U go above and beyond

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