Nintendo falls behind creative curve for video games

Nathan Mendelowitz

Revitalizing an industry that was less than a year from failing in the late 1980s, Nintendo ushered in a new age leading to great advances in video games.  

Then, Nintendo unveiled another groundbreaking console: the Wii, which utilizes motion-control technology. 

Unfortunately, since the release of the Wii, Nintendo has begun a downward spiral into mediocrity and has alienated hardcore gamers.

Nintendo is known for its mainstays like Mario, Zelda and Metroid. However, with the release of the Wii, Nintendo tapped into a market previously untapped: casual gamers.

This began a campaign of making games catering to the casual gamers. Simple puzzle games and games using motion-control like “Wii Fit.”

The franchise games took a hit, however, leaving hardcore gamers behind.

Take “The Legend of Zelda” series: There have been over a dozen entries in the series. One thing remains the same however, the game play and plot.

In the first Zelda game, players go through temples and save a princess from an evil being. 

Sure, each game has something different, like becoming a wolf or a world that is one big ocean.  However, the fact remains, the game play, items, weapons and even the method of killing the final boss are all the same.

I understand if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, but this is ridiculous. After 20 years, the same formula has become bland and unfulfilling.

The “Elder Scrolls” series, developed by American company Bethesda Game Studios, has games in the same genre as Zelda. The difference is they have been evolving and tweaking its gameplay.

In the latest release, “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” players can explore all they want and follow any path desired. Open-world gameplay is what is becoming the new norm for these types of games.

Nintendo needs to take a risk and do something different for hardcore gamers. Fellow Japanese developer Capcom changed one of its biggest games and it came away with great success.

The Resident Evil franchise had a string of games that were all similar in gameplay.

Then “Resident Evil 4” came out. It changed from a third person camera view to an over the shoulder view that changed the style and way to play the game. It still had the survival horror feel, but it was updated and new. The game received universal acclaim from all video game magazines, especially “Famitsu,” the top video game magazine in Japan. The advancement gave a rebirth to survival horror.

Hardcore gamers are an essential group in the gaming world.

By making franchise games safe and linear to play, hardcore gamers were alienated. Old favorites became tired old games that were not worthwhile.

It’s time Nintendo went back to creating great software to go with its amazing hardware. Nintendo created hardcore gamers by developing those great games in the 1980s and 90s. It’s only fitting Nintendo bring them back to where it all started.


Nathan Mendelowitz can be reached at [email protected]