A thought has been rumbling around this writer's mind for the past few days - Nintendo is weird. It really is. Writing about the company on a daily basis brings on a permanent state of double taking, and it's when looking outside of the big N bubble it becomes clear how peculiar it is. It simply doesn't play the same tune as its rivals in the console space, and behaves rather more like a toy company - which it was in the past and, effectively, still is.
An example of Nintendo's quirkiness came in this week's Nintendo Direct Micro, which gave some localised information from a more typical Direct that had previously been broadcast in Japan. It was typical Nintendo in that it was happy to be ridiculous in a bid to amuse us and, perhaps, its own teams - in summary Bill Trinen became a 'micro' presenter, just because it was funny.
Yet that's not rare for the company, but common across its departments. We've seen Nintendo of Europe President Satoru Shibata dress up and pose as Ace Attorney, and we've seen Shigeru Miyamoto wandering around on screen - behind company President Satoru Iwata - with a Poltergust 5000.
As we approach E3, we're also reminded yet again that Nintendo has a policy of doing as it pleases, happier to forge its own path rather than try to out-do Sony or Microsoft. How many companies have built hype over two consecutive years with crazy E3 announcement videos, in which - at different points - they've had a leading executive pretend to be a robot or to train for a tournament by playing a Virtual Boy? How many companies even contemplate that level of goofiness?
Beyond that we have the games, of course, and in a marketplace full of experiences that - on opposite ends of the scale - are often mature or smart device free-to-play experiences, Nintendo still has a knack of producing its own blend of titles that can grab attention on a significant mainstream level. Look at the sales figures for Animal Crossing: New Leaf and what it did to boost the 3DS in a vital period, or the enduring power of any game with Mario Kart in the title. Irreverent, colourful fun, and it's typical that when Nintendo produces a new IP that's also a shooter it ends up being Splatoon - retina scorching in style and taking the genre back to a childish desire to cause a mess as opposed to achieving gory headshots.
For these reasons and many, many more, we certainly need Nintendo. Gaming is like any other creative medium in that it thrives only with variety, and the output from Kyoto and its global teams is integral to that. Gaming simply wouldn't be as vibrant as it is without the triple-A scene epitomised on PS4, Xbox One and PC, and it would feel lacking without the explosion of the download-only Indie scene. It'd also have less mainstream reach without smart devices and the games they can bring, including some that are high quality, impressive efforts.
Yet it's important that Nintendo finds a way to maintain itself and retain a leading role, too. Let's not forget that the big N has created and continued to forge the world's leading dedicated gaming handheld - the 3DS plays a vital role in the company's success but also in proving that portable gaming systems are still a valid part of the industry. Disappointments with the Wii U shouldn't crush Nintendo's spirit with that console or its willingness to be bold in the next generation, either; the admirable current-gen system may be languishing behind its rivals, but the last great idea - with the Wii - conquered all before it.
There was a time, up to the end of the SNES era, when Nintendo was in the position in which Sony and Microsoft find themselves - dominating the third-party scene. Yet those times are long gone, and may not come back in quite the same way; Nintendo will surely gain little by competing in a hardware arms race - all indications suggest it won't even try.
Nintendo's future will likely continue the quest for products that defy pigeon-holed focus group assessments, in that search for the 'blue ocean' that, in real terms, means "something so cool that everyone will want it". In that sense Nintendo's destined for boom and bust, as creativity and non-standard products either take off or struggle, with little room in the middle ground. While other projects may bore the pants off of established fans, it's that hot and cold reality that makes the expansion into smart device apps and 'Quality of Life' important. If Nintendo can make profits even when some systems struggle, that gives it the scope to continue its own merry way.
Nintendo will continue to infuriate with its peculiarity and strange priorities, too. It'll show a baffling lack of understanding when fans tear their hair out over the insanity that is amiibo stock levels, it'll likely make decisions and announcements that are at best flawed and at worst awful, and it'll continue to bemuse and confuse on a regular basis.
Yet when Nintendo runs its next humour-laden broadcast - likely to now be its E3 Digital Event - or unveils another game that's almost unbearably cute, colourful or creative, we should all be appreciative. Nintendo may not have all the games and genres we could want as it arguably did in the NES and SNES era, but it provides real value and variety in these most noisy and baffling times in the game industry.
Nintendo is weird, but that's not an entirely bad thing.