Nintendo is the company that enslaved the world to waving white magic sticks about, and then when they stopped making the money form this mind control, they did the socially responsible thing and slashed director pay, not worker’s jobs. Their ups and downs have ranged from world-control through Pokémon and Mario Kart to failing to let anyone know that the Gamecube even existed.
Where are they now?
The question isn’t how Nintendo have done it, because, arguably, they have not done it yet, but why Nintendo can’t quite be defeated. We love them, but for a few years there, we all must have been really quite worried. Nintendo appears to have saved itself thanks to a simple concept: squids shooting and travelling through ink at each other.
Splatoon has had a lot of hype surrounding it, and with good reason. In last year’s E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo, the gaming industry’s equivalent of the party political conference season where all the big announcements and keynotes for the year are made); Nintendo had one stand-out moment, the announcement of Splatoon. They had a plethora of interesting and unique things to say for the first time in years, but Splatoon was Nintendo’s important announcement that they had learnt their lesson.
You see, I was a Nintendo fanboy in my early exploration of some kind of gaming identity. You know that time period when most people define themselves with fashion corresponding to the music that they enjoy? I was doing something similar with Nintendo (and admittedly, Sega due to their creation of Sonic the Hedgehog). When the Wii came out and Nintendo became mainstream with their motion controls and Wii Fit style games: forgetting that the albums that sold well (games that sold to their core fanbase) during the Gamecube years.
Splatoon is a return to those games. It feels youthful, energetic, and innovative. It takes the pace of a Call of Duty battle and squishes it into a more welcoming and inviting setting. Its almost anarchic. I could sit here and review the game in more detail, but like a good game, I’m taking it slowly. If only I could tell you more about the single-player quest which Nintendo has made Bite-size like a Super Mario instalment, and just as challenging. I cannot tell you more however, as the online-multiplayer is simply too addictive, and Nintendo have really proven that the Wii U can provide a brilliantly simple and simply brilliant experience.
As the online isn’t just about shooting each other, but covering the field in more paint than your opponents, the strategies that we have all learnt from dragging ourselves through years of Call of Duty and Halo apply in a truly unique way. Your ink, ammo, and health are all one. Ink is also the objective and way of travelling around the field in cover. Therefore, you take cover by creating cover, but remain vulnerable and must be on the move, thinking ahead at all times. All you’re doing is trying to out-graffiti the other team with a colour, but you’re involved in three very-intense minutes. When the game works, it truly works. The maps are shuffled every time you play which creates even more reason to keep revisiting. The ranked-game matches are even more confined: you are trying to control specific bits of the maps.
This is an important moment. Nintendo have stuttered despite the 400% increase in 3DS sales thanks to Pokemon and Smash Bros by announcing a future-console. However, if Nintendo can create in-depth arcade glory like this more often, they can surely be the cool team again. It would be a shame if gaming was reduced to competing identical machines and freemium games on our phones.
Nintendo, keep going. Your efforts and warmly welcomed.