302: Who Cares About Mario?

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I still care about Mario and Nintendo in general. It might have a lot to do with the fact that Nintendo consoles made up a large portion of my childhood. I never really fell into a "hardcore manly M rated game ARRRRRRRRGH!" stage. Even when I got older I always kept a love for Nintendo games (particularly Kirby, Mario as well.) and I think a lot of other people still do too.
Nintendo's still as relevant now as they ever were and tons of kids are growing up with Mario and his crew on the Wii and when they grow up they'll likely go back to his games both old and new.
Nintendo hasn't changed in years (kind of) they still pump lifeblood into all their big franchises, while the trends in gaming may change, Nintendo shall remain ever constant. A lot of people might think this is a negative, but I see it as a positive aspect. Who knows what the next "it" genre will be in ten years, people could get lost in the storm, but you can pop in the newest Mario game and you know that you're gonna get some of that classic platforming action.

I think I may offer you an interesting take on the subject. You see, I live in Poland. Computers did not become widespread here until late 80's/early 90's - in 1992 still the most widely owned computer was C64. Consoles (initially NES clones) did not appear until around 1992 - the year that PC got Wolfenstein 3D.

The result? Instead of consoles, computers (mostly PC and for some time C64, Atari and Amiga) became the foundation of the gaming culture in Poland. We had our Wolfenstein, Doom, Mortal Kombat and so on.

Nintendo did not have a chance to develop such loyal following, almost a cult as it has in the USA. Without that nostalgia, it has been considered a "console for the kids" and "something you grow out of" for almost 20 years already. For example, I have played only one game with Mario - the first one on NES (was it Mario Bros?) - and never made it past second level. And I never really felt like I missed out on something - why would I want to play a kiddy game about an silly dressed plumber stomping on turtles, when I could play Fallout instead? I have played my first Zelda game 3 years ago, when I got the DS (and wasn't impressed).

Reassuming, I believe US gamers of your generation have a very strong nostalgia for Nintendo, which stops you from noticing that the company has very rapidly lost its relevancy to the hardcore gamers throughout the 90's. People who did not grow up in the 80's USA, like me or modern kids, haven't cared about the company for more then a decade already.

i'm 13, had a gameboy, DS and a wii. I now have an xbox. My sister is 10 and has a DS and plays it mainly for nintendogs. Coincidence?

Anyway, i still don't understand how anyone wouldn't know who mario is, and every one should experience the older mario games, such as super mario bros 3 and super mario world.

Your right about people being put off because nintendo are aiming much more to the younger demographic. That's what put me off. Guess it's the same over here in England :)

I'm glad that they have no brand loyalty; better to prevent this fanboy bullshit that takes hold over so many goddamn gamers.

This article was a great read, it really showed a side of Nintendo you don't see often: a side not tainted by nostalgia. And it's true, Nintendo has relegated itself to the "toy" business for non gamers. I agree on the DS, I haven't played mine in almost a year. Anytime I go to look at games, they seem to all be aimed at little kids (or are JRPGs, but I don't play them for different reasons).

Looking back, I never was all that attached to Nintendo. I grew up with a Playstation and a Gameboy, and I didn't have all that many games. All I had with Nintendo was the portable games, and while they were fun, they didn't blow me away. On the PS1 and PS2, I got the bulk of my gaming. The only time I had access to a Nintendo console was at a friend's house, so to this day I still haven't played through an entire Mario, Star Fox, Metroid or Zelda game. I even had a Wii for a year or two, and I tried to defend it. But they didn't give me much to work with, I only bought a few games before selling it in favor of an Xbox 360.

idk, nintendo is moving their focus to casual/young players, but the ds as a whole can have a much wider age range, I'd only agree with the wii being disappointing. the ds is not a one trick pony, companies big and small have given it an impressive library of games, that range from casually short to exceedingly long and intricate.

as far as iphones, I'm not likely to buy one until:

1. they have a significantly higher volume of games i want.

2. they cost less than the ds and games, including the amount required to keep the damn thing useable every month.

3. i have the funds and need for other things the phone offers.

so far, im pretty sure ds still stomps iphone in 1&2, and with the laptop im on now im not convinced enough to shell out money for a phone that could have sucessors every other year.

I think one of the reason for this is that kids these days have far more ways to get their video game entertainment from. 20 years ago more often than not we would have to settle with one system and it would usually be Nintendo. I grew up with every Nintendo system from the NES to the Wii as well as every handheld but even so I find myself playing the 360 more simply because its more fun. My nephew is only 8 and he grew up very much the same thanks to my brother but every time I go visit he is online playing CoD.

I know a lot of people say that Nintendo isn't coming out with any good games and I would have to slightly disagree on that. They do release some entertaining games but its often covered by a multitude of crap games that make a difficult for a child to distinguish the good from the bad.

My love for Nintendo was lost when they brought out the Wii. Well, when they got past the first few games actually. I still bought my copy of Twilight Princess for the GameCube and don't regret doing so. Once the first wave of Wii games came out I was glad not to have one after seeing they were marketed @ the family audience.

The Wii is a commercial success because of a product that ahs been marketed brilliantly. By targeting families it targets parents, the people in the family with the money to buy a console, smart move financially Nintendo. The Xbox and PS3 were not doing this and were typecast as the consoles of Halo, CoD, MGS and Uncharted. This led to trailers for these games being packed with gunfights and action, after all, with a 10 or 30 second advert slot the more deep and perhaps subtle elements of the game don't show.

Think more recently of the Dragon Age 2 trailer that (to the uninitiated eye) looks like a big beefy guy just hacking through loads of guys, none of the role playing parts of the games could be shown in the short time the trailer had to sell the game.

Think about the Animal Crossing trailer a few years ago for the Wii, it showed a family friendly type of game and that was the image of the Wii, something everyone could get off the sofa and take an ACTIVE part in. The Xbox and PS3 featured games where (from the trailers) games seemed to blow up your screen with blood, bullets and missiles while only one person takes an active role, everyone else is slumped on the sofa gawping at the screen.

Nowadays the Wii is is 68% of households in Great Britain. Thats two out of every three houses with potentially (using unresearched maths) 42,000,000 Brits with access to a Wii they own.

My Xbox is in my room of the family house, not in the living room. Only I use it so only I am interested in spending any money for it but if we had a Wii everyone would use it so everyone would spend money on it.

My point is that marketing to a family is a financial success but not a good choice in the long run. If we want games to be art (depends on your views) then a game such as Nintendogs or Cooking Mama are not a viable solution. Think about the greek tragedy-esque story in God of War 1 (the kind that, with a few tweaks, could have been a play: Kratos, the Ghost of Sparta) or the emotion felt at the end of Red Dead Redemption.

I dunno though, think about it for your self....

If I ever bother having children, I am giving them a 64.
My first game (unfortunately) was Gex 64 and while not horrible in terms of gameplay.....well, it just felt off; we would always rent Banjo-Kazooie and play that instead later we bought Banjo-Kazooie and eventually Ocarina of Time and Majora's mask.
I can go back to those games a decade later and still play the shit out of them there's just so much to be had and I think that Gamecube's pitful library was a sign of two things
1. Game development is too expensive these days and
2. Nintendo is on it's last legs unless it starts realising that digging through it's back catalogue to churn out hopeless games only hurts its profit margins in the long term, they need to go back to the 64 and think about what made those games so awesome. /Rant

Nintendo is now for little kids and girls (and maybe some people's parents)... I will argue this fact with ANYONE. Family friendly isn't fun for the WHOLE family. Just everyone who doesn't like mature games.

It USED to be fun.

I know there's been much raging about Nintendo shifting it's focus to the casual gaming market, but I've come to the conclusion that there really isn't much to be mad about - if they don't make actual games, I won't buy them. If they're not going to make anything interesting then they're not getting any money from me- simple as that. Besides, they seem to be doing perfectly well off the casual gaming market anyway; no need for pre-Wii gamers in their business plan.

I'd just like to say that as somebody who was introduced into video games through Nintendo (proud owner of a Nintendo 64 from 1994), and has continued to be a Nintendo soldier with the various Game Boy iterations, the ill-fated GameCube, the DS, and the Wii, i've lost faith in the company. I've hung up my colours; this is not the Nintendo i know, and as far as i am concerned, the true heart and soul died along with the end of the N64, or perhaps the early GameCube years.

It's the result of commercialism. Brand loyalty does not factor into economics any longer. It's about who can provide the best service at what price. To think a once mighty giant has had its throne threatened and arguably toppled by something as ridiculous as smartphone software is incredibly disheartening, but it does show that Nintendo has relied too heavily on brand loyalty and not seen the writing on the wall - they ignored the competition, and now it's come to bite them in the arse. Nostalgia is a finite resource. It can only last for so long, and while you may try to install these 'childhood heroes and mascots' in the next generation, it will never be successful as the generation that preceded them.

Innocence and seclusion are dead. Mario and friends are no longer the poster children for an underground culture that's socially rejected. It's being assimilated into the mainstream, facilitated to a great degree by the very smartphones that are ironically killing the aforementioned giant that's trying to gamble its very survival on the nostalgia and sheer faith of its followers. I think Nintendo have realised this, and now they're trying to appeal to everybody again instead of those who remember Nintendo's past glory fondly and trying to re-install that past glory in the younger generation who are just being introduced to gaming.

This new appeal has come in the form of the 3DS, and while i can't speak for everybody and haven't seen any sales figures, i haven't heard particularly favourable things, either. 'Oh, the battery life is atrocious', or 'the launch games are terrible and don't even look any more technically proficient than the original DS' right down to 'i've had to switch the 3D off because it gave me a headache'. If trying to re-release the Ocarina of Time, a game that's been re-released twice in the past already (once on the bonus Master Dungeons disc that came with Wind Waker and again on the Wii market place) doesn't smack of desperation, i don't know what does. The 3DS is trying to appeal to the more mature gamers who will appreciate greater technical proficiency and hopefully more mature games as a result (i'm sorry, but i can't imagine young children getting the angle *just* right for the 3D effect... so who else would it be marketed to?), but it's met with scorn. And that's exactly how i predict the Wii 2 will be met with - a torrent of discontent and rejection. Nintendo are claiming it's higher spec'd than the Xbox 360, but given how old the hardware is, is that really a selling point high in its favour? It seems to me the only ones who'd care about that are the more hardcore crowd; perhaps the disillusioned faithful like myself who want to give Nintendo one more shot, but simply can't, like a lover you're forced to leave because they're abusive and manipulative, and yet a large part of you still wants to overlook and ignore everything to try and relive the precious moments one last time. It's certainly not marketed towards the demographic that made the first wii so successful; it sold to non-gamers because it was relatively low cost and the basic nature of it worked in its favour. I doubt lower income families are going to drop 200 on the Wii 2 when they have a perfectly good Wii 1 in the front room, and i don't meant that in a derogatory manner; it's purely trying to look at it from an economically realistic perspective. If they're not primarily gamers, getting the next console isn't really going to be high on the priority list.

It's articles like these that make me think EC may have been right. What's happening to Nintendo may be the first signs of the death of The Big Three. Once Nintendo loses its power, Sony and Microsoft may inevitably follow suit. First, the world will forget about Mario, then Ratchet & Clank, then even the Master Chief. Such is the way of the world. Every great empire crumbles eventually.

C'est la vie.

Mario, Pokemon (Kind of) Zelda, Donkey Kong and Metroid can all go and FUCK OFF because all they survive of is nostalgia, which I view as a plague. Seriously, how many Mario games are there and how much variation is there between the 3 varieties? BUGGER ALL!!!!!

Jakub324:
Mario, Pokemon (Kind of) Zelda, Donkey Kong and Metroid can all go and FUCK OFF because all they survive of is nostalgia, which I view as a plague. Seriously, how many Mario games are there and how much variation is there between the 3 varieties? BUGGER ALL!!!!!

I really hate to use this image, but it encapsulates everything that i feel makes your stance null and void.

You're welcome to voice your opinion in that you're sick of mascots, or you were never a fan of any of Nintendo's mascots (or the idea of mascots in general as a premise for riding a franchise on), but don't mention the lack of innovation without giving credit where credit is due to others so guilty of the same crime. How much variation is there between these images? Not a whole lot, and if you were someone who didn't know that much about games i'd bet you sure as skippy couldn't tell what was really different between the three. I realise that's only the shooter genre, but what about sport? I don't think i even need to bring up the Madden argument; Moviebob has done that for me plenty enough.

Tiswas:
None of them probably had to spent a few minutes blowing into a cartridge to make the damn thing work.

Just thought you should know that you made my entire life with this line. I read this, and immediately was transported back in time, when just getting the game to go required the "blowing cartridge/wiggling switch/reset button mashing" method. But man, it was so satisfying when that game started going =)

That being said, I have to admit I wasn't an avid Nintendo fan. My friend had a 64, of which at the time I was very jealous, but the first system I ended up getting was the PS1, and since then I never looked back (except for maybe The Move ... I might not get that). However, I did religiously follow Nintendo with their handhelds, with Pokemon being my main poison, and any other games adding to the sweetness. Then the DS came out, and (here is where I feel I agree with most of what's already been said on the forum) the games started to feel more "kiddie-like". So I passed.

Still, I feel like Nintendo does serve an important purpose, though it's changed from what it used to be. Now, Nintendo is more like the entry-level for young gamers (parents probably feel a lot better buying their young children Wiis rather than Xbox 360s), who will probably look back fondly on their Nintendo memories just like older Nintendo fans do now. The memories will just differ is all.

I like the Wii. Others don't. That doesn't mean that I think the Wii is better, or that they are wrong, or that there is an inherently superior or inferior system. It just means I get enjoyment from it. And what I enjoy might not be what others enjoy.

Seriously, the internet need to grow the fuck up. The common mentality of hate against Nintendo can be summed up like this: "WAH WAH WAH! They aren't making game for ME! EVERYONE HATES NINTENDO BECAUSE THEY SUCK, BECAUSE THEY DON'T MAKE GAMES FOR ME!"

Wait, does this mean that "hardcore" just means "violent?"

Because that would be sad. I didn't think that games got more hardcore than Nintendo.

OT: I feel the slump in relevance is really more of an issue with both the Gamecube and Wii. While both are OK in their own right, Mario hasn't gotten his full amount of love, and has been used in a few too many less than interesting ventures.

I have to admit that the "kiddie game" has ridden Nintendo quite a bit. It was starting to appear during the GC's days when being compared with the PS2 and Xbox and by the time the third console generation came around... well... we already know what market gets the most attention with the Wii...

I for one LOVED my Gamecube. I'd call it my favorite console. The N64 is close... but the GC really made me a more invested gamer rather than seeing them as a fun distraction. Although I wasn't one of those kids who needed violence or anything like that to make me feel hardcore. Quite the opposite. Hell. I was pretty squeamish seeing blood in a game up til my early-mid teens.

I'll forever have respect for Nintendo for their past. I think the game me and my friends play the most when we're together is stuff like Mario Party or Mario Kart. Online we'll play Halo n' stuff which we have a blast in, but in person playing Mario Party is the most fun I ever have playing games.

Maybe it's because I've been playing Mario games since their inception, but Mario's old to me.

As is Nintendo. The type of game they THINK they're good at, they aren't. And that's the type of game I really want. I'm like a MovieBob that hasn't deluded himself. Yet.

Good article. I've always known that my love of older games was based purely nostalgia - most of the crap I played as a kid sucked, but I have fond memories of having fun and that's what counts. Although, until now, I never quite realized why I have a blast playing Mario Kart or Mario Galaxy and not really anything else on the Wii. Nintendo is the Toy Maker, and I now look at them through the window of the passing shop and my memories are what fuel my purchases and enjoyments.

If that is the case, they should probably consider their dilema - we are loyal because you were either a Nintendo or a Genesis kid when I was growing up, with all of the brand loyalty attached - there were no ipods, smart phones, xbox, playstations, mincraft, farmvilles to compete with. Sounds like Nintendo is in trouble if they can't find a way to hook the current generation and give them something fun to play and remember. After all, who will be around to buy the next Nintendo for their own kids if they can't be bothered to care?

Perhaps the most striking thing about my conversations with Caleb and Amanda was their lack of brand loyalty...

Thank goodness! Brand loyalty is a mental disease.

I think this article says more about the author than about the kids or Nintendo. Having been a Sega boy myself the just painful nostalgic *need* on display here to see the children mimic his own feelings for Nintendo is clearly distorting the otherwise anecdotal interview.

I have a 16 year old sister who had her first Gameboy as a kid. She still plays mostly on her DS, she has a Wii, she is quickly developing a near-obsessive infatuation with Zelda games, which for her are more iconic than Mario games, which require more pure skill. Her favourite Mario games, in fact, are the RPGs. She loves Paper Mario and the Mario & Luigi DS RPGs, for instance, but she hasn't finished Mario Galaxy, although she did play a lot of the Virtual Console copy of Mario 3 I bought her, despite finding it too frustrating at times.

Like the kid in the article, she spends more time than I would consider reasonable with the DSi's side tools. She makes complex animations in Flipnote, for instance. That seems like something she'll remember fondly for a while.

Now, not having owned a Game Boy or a SNES she is my prototype for Nintendo nostalgia. That's what it's going to look like in 20 years, and it's not a bad thing at all. It may not match the feelings of the NES crowd, but that's not something Nintendo created. I have those feelings, but they relate to the Spectrum, the MSX and the Mega Drive. That's just something that happens when you're a kid. My sis will remember Wind Waker, Paper Mario and Trauma Center. And that's fine.

The article disappointingly poorly constructed, and the content is anecdotal drivel leading into generalizations. It was so striking, that I wanted to see if this writer's other stuff is just as bad. The author has only been a member for nine days (being generous) and has only contributed one thing, and made one post on the site, ever. I tried researching him on the web, but there's nothing connecting someone of his name to The Escapist.

I used to think The Escapist vetted its writing staff, but it sure looks like anyone can become a staff writer if they are "edgy" enough. I put less stock in this article than the pathetic reviews pumped out by the user content section of The Escapist's forums.

Interesting, I'd always thought everyone loves playing SSB with their friends. If I had a Wii, that would be one of the things I'd do with people that came over for some gaming.

I recently got around to buying a DS, purely because I wanted to play pokemon. In the past the main games i've had on handhelds have been pokemon games, and i imagine in the future thats about all i'll get them for. To me thats about all thats worth playing. As for the Wii, i got pretty heavily in to mariokart but now that i've finished it all, it only comes out on occasion. If they brought out a half decent Zelda game then i'd probably get that too.

Point i'm stumbling towards is that the only thing that's worth my time are certain new versions of the old series, but also if they were available in any other way i wouldn't miss a beat in playing them on another console, or just my laptop.

I'm not loyal to nintendo, I'm loyal to Pokemon, Zelda, and Mario.

I am a Teenager and this is my memory of nintendo
Ever since I was five my brothers were all Pc gamers but my next door neighbour had a Gamecube I still remember going over there and playng super smash bros after going into the pool when I was 8 I went to my friends house and he had an N64 that was pretty old but I remember having more fun playong that than playing the Ps2 then the Wii and PS3 came along I had a wii before I got the Ps3 and played the Wii non stop for a year but then we got a Ps3 and I've been playing that non stop forever there was A break for 4 months of the PS3 mainly because of WoW

Jakub324:
Mario, Pokemon (Kind of) Zelda, Donkey Kong and Metroid can all go and FUCK OFF because all they survive of is nostalgia, which I view as a plague. Seriously, how many Mario games are there and how much variation is there between the 3 varieties? BUGGER ALL!!!!!

Me and the wife were talking about how insane Mario as a concept really was.... I said he was basically a Sexually Frustrated Man-Child (if you take his voice seriously) stuck into an Alice and Wonderland like world dominated by turtles and Reptile and with only one woman who tends to get abducted by the king Reptile...

I commented that the basic concept only works in Video Games where reality takes a backseat to novelty. As for variation... The concept itself is so CRAZY that you don't really need much more. More importantly the games play tightly and have wonderfully catchy and beautiful music. Besides I have never met anyone that ONLY plays Mario. If I want variety I own literally hundreds of games to choose from.

BTW I don't feel its a secret that a lot of the Mario Platforming games are purchased mainly by adults. Honestly they're probably too difficult for the molly coddled youth of today.

I find the idea that brand loyalty is dying somewhat heartening, actually. I'd grown very weary of the console wars back in the early aughties, particularly since I was (and am!) a poor, lower middle class (at best) student with very little income. I don't give a damn that the Xbox (or Xbox360) is TEH BEZT or about the PS3; I care about having games that appeal to me that I can play. In my case, that means well-written plot (which... tends to relegate me to indie games these days) and clever, unusual game mechanics that don't punish me for being curious (which... relegates me to puzzle games)

In some ways this suggests to me that kids, rather than falling pray to the supersaturation of marketing in our modern society, are in fact learning to ignore that, which is a good thing. They want games that are fun! They don't care if Mario is on the box.

I think perhaps we'd need a larger sample size to see if this holds true across the board though.

I had a Gameboy and Pokemon Red when I was little, but that's the extent of my affiliation with them. Apart from when they overcharged me by 180 for a Wii.

So yeah, my view of them isn't exactly stellar. Couple that with terrible 3rd party support, and the same fucking IPs for 30-odd years, and I must say, I don't really 'get it'.

As a twenty year old, I did not own a Nintendo system until the Wii. I respect Nintendo's amount of important franchises but I grew up with the PS1 and the Halo series.

I grew up with PC games and have to this day never finished a Nintendo game (though I have tried some), they just don't appeal to me, and I've never seen the appeal. I hypothesized that it was simply a lack of choice at the time - that people only had Nintendo so that's all they played, but gameboys and stuff were still around and popular when I was a kid, I just didn't have one and I had no trouble finding other games.

And I mean, their current catalogue is based on milking nostalgia from people or stupid casual games* so I couldn't be father from their target audiences. I even got a Wii as a gift at one point, but after playing through House of the Dead Overkill I was fairly sure there was nothing else the console could possibly offer. What I'm saying is it looks like everything they're doing is gimmicky, worthless and/or shallow, so frankly if they go under we're better off without them. Although admittedly much of that sentiment is because I find the business practice of remaking their old games constantly with practically no innovation to be detestable.

*I'm not saying they're stupid because they're casual - but that they are both.

really the thing nintendo needs to do is have at least a lil push into the older gamers market, doesnt need to be rated mature but it needs a few of its franchises to grow with the gamers, twilight princess did a good job with this.... at least I thought so, metroid has also been a good game for bigger "kids" but it still needs something that highschoolers can point to proudly, instead of just waiting for them to become college kids and then realize how awesome their previous shame was
image

Nintendo doesn't so why should they? Last thing I liked about Nintendo was i managed to sell my DS to some moron on craigs list for 200 bucks with all the shitty games in tow.

First console I ever played? Nintendo 64. Well, I lie, It was a Dreamcast, but it wasn't mine, and it wasn't exactly "playing", more helping out and taking over when things got tough and my family got desperate for people to ask, so they let a 5 and a half year old me try (Which worked on a couple of occasions.). I have to admit, my whole gaming life was built around Nintendo. I remember begging my sister to let me play on her Gamecube until I got one. I still say "Pokemon snap" and "Mario 64" are in my top 10 of games. I remember Pokemon stadium well too. Pokemon staduim was 'the' and still is 'the' best 3D pokemon game to date. Making a new Pokemon Staduim would be a good idea for nintendo, but I guess kids these days are too busy playing FPS games, and the magical "Xbox". See, until the Xbox 360, most parents would say "Oh, go and play Playstation" or "Go and play with your Nintendo". The Xbox was dead until the 360, and I had never heard of Xbox until so. I have to admit, all companies are trying too hard these days. I remember when games were poorly designed, but still exciting, and they sold! I would honest to god buy a Nintendo 64 if they released a new game for it, just because the limitations of it made it good. The limitations of the console make the creators use their brains to make decent gameplay. That's my opinion, and I was born in 1996, so I still count. (Also, the newer Pokemon games seem to be aimed at different people, and Pokemon is definitely Nintendo's shining star of games, so they're kinda messing it up, but still pulling people along through nostalgia, winning either way. Also, Mario has nothing against Fire-breathing foxes, water shooting pelicans, and dragons from different dimensions.)

I wish. Then Mario games that are used would go down in price.

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