N’Gai Croal of Newsweek was exchanging emails with GoNintendo’s Kevin Cassidy recently, and eventually it resulted in a column on third party rejection from the Nintendo faithful. Cassidy asks why Nintendo fans ask for third party support, but then get it and turn their backs. Is it because games are E for Everyone? Do they want more GTA violence? He seems to think that they do, but I’m not so sure.
Over the past several weeks we have seen a huge amount of external support for the Wii in all categories, and I can’t think of one title in particular that fans are really excited about. Is this the product of a mentality that says games aren’t fun unless they are violent? Or are Nintendo fans being too picky for their own good? If their current opinion of these games carries over to the final sales tally, it looks like Nintendo will once again lose the third party support they have been working so hard to regain. Here I thought things were finally going the Big N’s way, and now, because of the fickle tastes of my fellow Wii-philes, I am left worrying that Mario and friends will once again be left to carry the console end of Nintendo on their shoulders, all by their lonesome.
To me this is all just a case of the Internet at its worst. The only “backlash” against Nintendo’s new system right now is from the vocal minority of gamers that crave violent, mature titles (or those experiencing a case of buyer’s remorse about something else entirely). You know what the truth is? The truth is that for a majority of the gamers buying Wii right now, games like Wii Sports are the “best” game for their money. And Wario. You don’t hear from these gamers because they’re probably too busy having fun and don’t have time to insecurely bitch about a lack of manly titles on their Nintendo system. Seriously, what’s the deal with killing things?
Then when an Elebits comes along and people complain, it’s not these gamers that are rejecting third party support as Rawmeat puts it, it is the smaller percentage of gamers that are constantly online making the huge page long rants on message boards and blog comment threads (like me). In my opinion, when a developer sees Elebits today, they probably notice the flaws, yes, but they also notice the potential — same with those mini games in Wario — for a better game down the road. What they see are potential sales, not some L33tspeak rant at Kotaku.
Cassidy may be guilty of remaining in the GoNintendo echo chamber for too long. His audience, a sizeable one, is on Internet time with an Internet attention span. Many probably own two of the three systems out right now, and have game tastes that reflect that. But outside the illogic and console zealotry (guilty) that dominates many Internet forums, Wii third party support is ramping up, Nintendo is quietly maturing its online features (yes, amazing isn’t it? That a system can sell without online gaming in this day and age?), and games are selling well (yup, even the crap from Ubisoft). So are the systems themselves, don’t forget. Is making a better game than a Nintendo first party title a daunting task? Obviously, yes. But for every Far Cry there is an Elebits or Madden. Even a game about a marble is getting good press (review is in current issue of EGM). That’s going to continue in the future,
violent mature games be damned.