What makes Nintendo so unique? Why is is that out of all the big three console manufacturers, Nintendo is the only one with a true cult following? I attribute it to two things: great design and the creative risk taking.
First, Nintendo always makes sure they design a great product. Be it the ergonomic GameCube controller, the amazing packaging behind Wario Ware, or minimal if any load times, the company always make sure it’s products are top notch and ready for market. I’ll admit, they’ve blown some releases in the past, but so has other great design companies such as Apple. Live and learn.
Second, Nintendo isn’t afraid to take risks. Some have been good, others bad. Analog joystick? Sticking with cartridges for so long? Innovative games that try to create a new genre? I can’t honestly think of the last time that Sony or Microsoft has really done anything innovative or new for the industry. While they stick to the same formula of shooters and mature themed games, they definitely can attract mainstream attention. But for how long? The game industry is becoming bloated like the current movie industry. Big money has been spent and profits rule. It takes innovative companies such as Nintendo to keep gamers interested and define the future of gaming.
I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes the Big N doesn’t listen to it’s fan base. And that’s sad. I earnestly hope they can learn from their mistakes though to ensure they’ll be around for a long time. I don’t even care if they become a niche player, only that they can keep inspiring and creating fun games without skimping on innovation.