Wednesday, May 14, 2008

EPISODE SEVEN: "The Psychology of Nintendo Fans."

In the world of gaming and game-fandom, there's no insult that gets tossed around the forumscape with more vitriol than "Nintendo Fanboy." The Children of Miyamoto are legendary for the strength of their devotion and infamous for the creepiness of their occasional fanatacism - and both reputations are fairly well deserved. But what exactly makes them tick?

I'm not the first gaming culture-commentator to tackle this one... or the last... or even CLOSE to the best, but we all do our part. Part of what I realized putting this together is that most of us of the age to BE nostalgiac about this are ill-equipped to really get a handle on what it all really means: We're too close to be properly objective no matter how hard we try. EVERYONE knows or at least comprehends that "Nintendo Power" - just to use one example - was market-controlling corporate-propaganda of the first order. Everyone. But it doesn't matter. I remember getting my subscription and first issue as a Christmas present; you'll NEVER fully convince my brain to not hold some measure of fondness for it - any more than you'll convince Brits of certain generations that Golliwog was a cruel racist caricature.

Yeah, so... this one's a little on the sentimental side. More funny-business to come, I promise, but you gotta change it up here and there. I mean, the last installment was like ten solid minutes about BOOBS - I have to find the balance where I can ;)


Anonymous said...

This was truly an extraordinary video, Game Overthinker. It is fantastic assessment of the mindset of Nintendo fanatics, old and older, the world around. Your videos are just amazing, I feel the content of your videos is set in such a way that it transcends the usual rants and raves about a single item or group of items and discusses wholly the subjects most interesting to the gaming community at this present time. In this regard, I feel your videos are superior to the majority of the gaming nostalgia and devotion content on the internet. In any case, continue your exceptional work and good luck.

Alexander H. Langus said...

I shed a tear at the end, I truly did.

OmniGeno said...

Like your first six, this one was very well thought-out, and with a touch of heightened creativity, even. Fantastic job. I appreciated this even though I'm not a so-called Fanboy, because I was a kid of the late 80s/early 90s when Nintendo was king. I think the SNES is still my favorite console.

wandering_nomad said...

That house analogy was spot-on. ANd now I realize the reason that I bought my DS.

Gideon Delnath said...

I shed a tear at the end too Alexander... Well done G.O., well done.

Dan said...

I agree with a lot of it. But I do disagree with your perception that the Wii's success was a colossal surprise to the video game industry in general.

It's worth noting that Nintendo up until the GameCube had a history of doing innovative things with hardware (and usually control)

The original NES was the first console system to posses an actual D-pad which made the clunky control schemes of undersized for consumer product joysticks and strange push up top contraptions (see Colecovision controller) a thing of the past.

The innovation of the D-pad had a great deal to do with the NES's success. The Super NES controller made a few further innovations. The introduction of top trigger buttons along with a far more ergonomic corner design moved this forward.

The N64 controller was the first to have an analog 3D stick (yes, the Saturn UFO Nights into dreams pad made it to the market in the US first, but it was announced and conceived after the N64 controller was first shown off and for that matter made available in Japan).

Having worked in the video game industry for some years I recall when the GameCube was first unveiled. While I thought the system had great potential it's biggest innovation in terms of control was a clunky shared interface via a link cable with Nintendo's handheld at the time the Game Boy Advance.

The Wii was a step in the same direction of innovation as seen in the past for Nintendo consoles in terms of improving control and immediately upon the announcement of the at the time "Revolution" controller I realized Nintendo was on to something big.

While you're correct that Wall Street Analysts (who strictly follow the financial portion of the market and couldn't explain what makes a game good or bad besides features repeated off of a press release) and the "hardcore" crowd you've spoken of in earlier videos were taken by surprise by the Wii's tremendous success. I found it to be not at all of a surprise. This was especially apparent after having seen the mainstream success of the Nintendo DS during the period leading up to the Wii's release.

This wasn't a surprise.

Bob said...

That the Wii was a success isn't a surprise, that it's THE success story of this console generation so far is. Nintendo will almost ALWAYS have a successful console if they want to so long as said consoles continue to be the sole access fans have to new Mario/Zelda/Metroid/Pokemon titles.

The math was against them, or seemed to be, because it was (correctly) noted that the core game market hadn't really expanded or grown substantially in any direction other than "older." This favored the success of Sony and Microsoft's more M-rated centric systems. For the Wii to dominate, it would have to actually CREATE whole new market-segments of gamers; which everyone talks about but never manages to do.

But, this time, thats exactly what happened.

Dan said...

In response to
The math was against them, or seemed to be, because it was (correctly) noted that the core game market hadn't really expanded or grown substantially in any direction other than "older."

What I mentioned earlier was that the DS by that time had started to expand and grow the gaming market. You're right, what had been considered the "core" market hadn't grown. But what we now refer to as the "casual market" had.

The success seen on the DS on non-core titles like Nintendogs and Brain Training established that a market of untapped potential gamers was there and growing. And those are only examples by Nintendo that were leading up to the Wii's launch.

Nintendo's success with introducing the DS to a newer type of audience solidified their position and established their assured success with the Wii.

Due to its price and "all ages" (Literally) appeal even prior to the Wii's launch it seemed inevitable that it would be the market leader regardless of what its competitors did.

Safa Tharib said...

This is interesting stuff

jasmine.celion said...

tear comes sin my eyes at end

jasmine celion

liphautz said...

I have to admit, I teared up too. This is a fantastic video, sir, and from what I've seen so far, you are on an enlightened level of understanding for Video Games as a whole.

I honestly enjoy a good innane rant every once and a while, but it's overwhelmingly refreshing to hear some true THOUGHT about video games.

P.S. Fuck yeah, Nintendo!

Shaun said...

The music playing during the imagation part was really fiting

weirdaljedifan2 said...

Wow... I feel completely overcome with nostalgia. Thank you Nintendo. (sniff) Excuse me for a second. (starts crying)

(calms down)

I still remember playing Kirby Super Star with my brother. That was the first game I've ever played. (sigh)

Echo said...

Stop it.....I got Tears in my eyes for the back to the young Part, You ROCK.

Darq Anti Matter said...

well i was teary eyed at the end. thank you. I may have all 3 current systems and do not even discriminate between them, but my memories of what got me here in the first place and why despite everything nintendo is doing whether, I agree or not, I am glad they are on top right now.

~playing games since atari 2600 my first nintendo game was mario brothers/duck hunt, bases loaded, castlevania, and metal gear. I had no clue how to play the last two at the time. I was 6. I'm 25 now and I miss those gaming days.

squall lee said...

That was really meaningful, and I think more thought provoking and profound then any other game commentator I've ever come across. But I suppose that's what you do best.

It really best represents the psychology of any old school gamer. We're all so defensive of the things we love because they really meant something to us, and the characters, marketing schemes and images of the games of old are immensely memorable.

I mean, who doesn't remember the Sonic cartoons, or the Mario cartoons, the Earthworm Jim cartoon, and that hilariously bad Street Fighter movie? Or even those old marketing slogans like "Have you played Atari today" or "Play with power" or something as hilarious as "Sega does what nintendon't."

Being a gamer felt so fierce, alive, and powerful, even if the games were all in two dimensions.

I'd also like to point out that games weren't reviewed with scores, yays and nays, and tears and jeers. Everything wasn't measured by scores, and games featured in magazines were told the quality through creative wording. I think I might be naive but I really do think it was a simpler, more enjoyable time then.

Philippe said...

I just stumbled on your blog from a link on the Escapist. I'm catching up and I'm aware since this is such an old entry you probably won't read it, but heh, that was some really insightful stuff. I'm not really a Nintendo fanboy (my Wii is gathering dust as we speak), but I got teared up several time during this entry. uVery good work and very true.

erdraug said...

I'm afraid i have to point out that Disney's replaced Christopher Robin with some girl named "Darby" :_(

apple said...


imsmart said...

Two things. First Nintendo wasn't notable just for being the only game in town (so to speak) after the crash, but because of the extremely impressive standards of quality and innovation they upheld in spite of that (you should have seen the abuse my old Game Boy took); in other words they did good by us. And as long as Shigeru is at the helm I'm certain it will continue.
And another thing: any given group has a vocal minority of assholes, but I've always found the Nintendo assholes to be less vocal and more minority.

Jay said...

wow bob, i've been watching your videos, and have been bowled over by almost all of them so far, but the nostalgic sequence in this installment transported me back to those long nights playing pokemon on the gameboy color with a flashlight when i was supposed to be sleeping. Its sad to have seen so many giants fall(sega) but nintendo truly is the link to the past(pun intended)we all need. Nintendo is a big corporation and like any big corporation, it has its "evils", but do any of us honestly want to see it go? especially now that we are seeing a renaissance of 2d action platformers on the wii, in complete opposition of what has been popular since the release of Halo? no, we need nintendo because we need diversity and we need a reminder of what made video games such a powerful part of our childhoods.

A guy said...

I must say, I often have severe grievances with your opinions, but seeing pikachu on the SSBB screenshot and having that rush of my childhood? And after you having brought up that damn Kenny Loggins song? Well fuck. /hug