302: Who Cares About Mario?

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Who Cares About Mario?

Kids used to consider "Nintendo" to be synonymous with "videogames," but the company's shifting priorities may have changed that forever.

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Really?
I find this hard to believe.

There is fact that Mario is more known than mickey mouse.

Now I feel old. I hold all kinds of retarded nostalgia for Nintendo and the NES >.>

Me and my sisters have a 12 & 13 year difference so we didn't talk much, my dad always worked nights and my mom usually slept in the afternoon so I simply played the NES in absurd amounts.

One of my earliest memories in regards to anything is constantly failing the first level of Contra yet still enjoying myself.

I really glad to see this article as its something I've been saying for a long time. However, it was hard to tell whether or not the author sees this as a good thing.

Personally, I do and have always defended Nintendo in their shift. Instead of trying to follow the players and keep the same player base, they are folowing the route toy makers have carved out and going for generational loyalty. They are something that a kid can play safely and will eventually grow out of. Then when that person has kids and looks around for something for them to introduce the kid to video games, the fun they had in their youth with Nintendo will resurface and then they'll buy it for their kids.

Its risky, but as long as they keep selling the hardware at a profit from launch, it should succeed.

Pretty interesting to get the insight of kids these days. I had a hunch it would turn out how it did. It is pretty sad that they are being introduced to Mario through these shovelware titles and not his core platforming games. But like you said, it is apparently what Nintendo wants, and they are doing well off it, for now.

Now for crotchety old man mode.
Man, kids are so spoiled these days. This kid is 13 and has an Xbox 360, Wii, DS, and an ipod. When I was 13 I think all I had was a SNES and maybe 3-4 games, and those were games I got like... once a year.

Also, can you punch your brother/sister in the face for naming their kid Caleb?

beema:
Pretty interesting to get the insight of kids these days. I had a hunch it would turn out how it did. It is pretty sad that they are being introduced to Mario through these shovelware titles and not his core platforming games. But like you said, it is apparently what Nintendo wants, and they are doing well off it, for now.

Now for crotchety old man mode.
Man, kids are so spoiled these days. This kid is 13 and has an Xbox 360, Wii, DS, and an ipod. When I was 13 I think all I had was a SNES and maybe 3-4 games, and those were games I got like... once a year.

Also, can you punch your brother/sister in the face for naming their kid Caleb?

Lol. Yeah, I know right? To even get an Snes I had to buy it with the pocket money I'd been saving for years.

But, that's actually completely wrong, because I also had several other computers around me.
For someone from that period, I actually had a huge amount of gadgets.

Oh well. Memory is what you make of it. XD

It feels like brand loyalty died with the dreamcast. It might be because games these days carry our interest for shorter periods of time, it feels like getting any game a couple game generations ago was a major decision (because if you didn't like the game, tough luck) and now it's just a trip to gamestop to trade and try something else.

Brand loyalty died with the Dreamcast and up from that grave rose the twisted, mangled and rotten to the core entity that is fanboys.

brand loyalty = an extreme preference to one brand.
fanboy = a condition where the subject feels that a particular brand is almost religiously sacred and must attack all possible slander, competition, and logic until all threats agree with their opinion.

I can't blame these kids for not having any brand loyalty. My loyalty to Nintendo was betrayed by their complete and utter lack of decent RPGs for the N64. Quest 64 was utter garbage and Paper Mario came out 5 years after the console was released. And yes, I am still a little bitter.

i'm never ashamed of liking and playing nintendo stuff. people who do have bigger problems in my opinion. as if somehow liking Twilight princess and mariokart are guilty pleasures no one else should know about. It the end, and i hate to say it this way, its just a game.

What we shouild have taken away from this is what Caleb said very pointedly "it just isn't fun." and that is where nintendo is going wrong. no matter who the game is targetted at if i can have fun playing backyardigans adventure awesome regardless of who the game targets. I don't think nintendo is making kids games i think nintendo is doing the sme thing it did back when me and my grandmother would play NES, making games for all ages. its just a shame developers have confused "for all ages" with "for kids".

NaramSuen, sounds like you could have used a copy of Ogre Battle 64.

I've been trying to introduce my niece to video games, who is going to be six this summer. She partially gets the concept of "download play" since one of her school friends must have one, but she doesn't grasp the idea that you can only use it for certain games.

What amazes me is how few games there are for someone her age that are good. My mom got her the Tangled game for the Wii, and the major issue is that the 3rd dimension is honestly rather complicated for a child. Swapping between characters and using specific abilities in certain sections is also more than some kids her age can handle. I'm having this trouble with her again after buying her LEGO Batman for the DS. Nintendogs was her first game, and holy crap did I not realize how much reading was required. Since she's not all that good with reading yet (getting better, but not good enough for Nintendogs) she doesn't have much of an idea on what to do. Even Castle Crashers is a bit complicated for her. The only game she can really play without my having to help her is New Super Mario Bros., where she excitedly jumped up, ran to me and showed me how the giant mushroom made Mario huge.

That these kids don't remember Mario much is surprising to me, as it seems to be the only game franchise to maintain a simplicity that even little kids can grasp (at least, the New Super Mario Bros. series. Galaxy would likely raise some issues).

I wonder if the best place for kids games might actually be in the digital downloads market, where you make smaller games like the old days. In fact, I should see how she likes World of Goo. Aside from Mario Bros. the only other game she can truly play is Castle Crashers, and that's not really meant for kids anyway.

The modern games industry seems built for kids 10 and up, which is a bit problematic. As for your 13 year old nephew, well, he's 13. He's entered that phase where...well, when I was that age I hated Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker because it looked like Blue's Clues.

He'll wise up and learn.

I think it doesn't help that what is 'cool' these days is different. A lot of the kids who bought a DS/Wii those years ago have grown up somewhat (if you can call it that.) they probably got bored of shovelware titles (or don't get magazines and find out about the likes of Okami or Little King's Story.) and the like and whenever they walked into the store the store was advertising Halo/Call Of Duty or another shooting game etc. Not to mention these games are also considered to be 'hardcore'

Few of these children have seen true 'hardcore' games. Few of them challenged Contra. Few of them wept as they were killed once again in Castlevania. I'm sure none of them even experienced the woes of a 16-letter password screen. None of them probably had to spent a few minutes blowing into a cartridge to make the damn thing work.

I actually shown one of my younger cousins my old N64. A few hours of playing on Blast Corps, F-Zero X, Goldeneye and Mario 64 he's like a born again gamer. Instead of asking for Homefront on his X-Box for his birthday he now wants an N64 and a few games. (Which in fact is significantly cheaper than buying Homefront)

I won't make any jabs about target audiences or appearances or whatever nintendo is deciding for themselves, I'm just going to say this: Bring back about half the franchises you dropped off the map, nintendo. Starfox, F-Zero, Custom Robo, all begging for console sequels. >_> short rant over

beema:
Pretty interesting to get the insight of kids these days. I had a hunch it would turn out how it did. It is pretty sad that they are being introduced to Mario through these shovelware titles and not his core platforming games. But like you said, it is apparently what Nintendo wants, and they are doing well off it, for now.

Now for crotchety old man mode.
Man, kids are so spoiled these days. This kid is 13 and has an Xbox 360, Wii, DS, and an ipod. When I was 13 I think all I had was a SNES and maybe 3-4 games, and those were games I got like... once a year.

Also, can you punch your brother/sister in the face for naming their kid Caleb?

I don't think so much spoiled as in better off, a sega master system cost $200 at release while a xbox 360 cost $280 (both from wikipedia). When I purchased a master system I earned 2 a week as a paper boy my nephew gets 30 a week for doing his paper round.

My love of Nintendo died a long time ago. Frankly, I despise Mario now and wouldn't be bothered at all if there were no more Mario games.

In fact, I wouldn't care if Nintendo pulled out of the console market altogether like Sega, because it would mean that the rare good game that Nintendo and its sidekicks make would be readily available on the consoles I do play.

Isn't that strange, I cared enough about Mario to click the article link but then I saw the Nintendogs image and any measly ounce of care I had left evaporated and I decided not to read the article after all.

There is a problem with the connotation of Nintendo. Kids don't want to admit they're Nintendo fans because Nintendo has a connotation of being "kiddie" and no kid wants to admit to being kiddie. Deep down, I'm a Nintendo fanboy, but it's in a way of a nostalgic childhood memory because while I've grown older, Nintendo hasn't. Still, playing kiddie games isn't the same as playing crappy games. Kiddie games can be very good sometimes, and mature games can be terrible sometimes.

I had a mega drive, streets of rage and all that jazz. I've never really been into Mario. my fave games on the sega involved coop play.

To be honest I'll play anything with decent coop.

The main reason I have a 360 and not a PS3 is the strong titles that include coop, The shape of the pads, and it wasn't ridiculously priced at launch.

think I paid 350 for mine with a number of games from HMV reasonably close to launch.

Nintendo used to be the best at universal appeal and accessability, they were first too, so they were seen as the original, now 30 years have passed and there are more consoles now than ever, all doing the same thing in their own way.

Wow. 100 mario games since 2000!? Thats insane!

A gaming system is simply used for enjoyment. Why should anyone care what system you have? As long as you're having fun, screw what everybody else thinks. Now, back to Pokemon White.

beema:
Pretty interesting to get the insight of kids these days. I had a hunch it would turn out how it did. It is pretty sad that they are being introduced to Mario through these shovelware titles and not his core platforming games. But like you said, it is apparently what Nintendo wants, and they are doing well off it, for now.

Now for crotchety old man mode.
Man, kids are so spoiled these days. This kid is 13 and has an Xbox 360, Wii, DS, and an ipod. When I was 13 I think all I had was a SNES and maybe 3-4 games, and those were games I got like... once a year.

Also, can you punch your brother/sister in the face for naming their kid Caleb?

This, a million times this, this, this. Man, I had a Super Nintendo for four years, I got a PS1 in Christmas 1997, and I was lucky to have fifteen games! I didn't get a Gamecube until 2003, and only got up to about 20 PS1 games. And I was one lucky bastard, too! Had a 19" CRT TV OF MY OWN! And stereo (although it wasn't really amazing)!

And these little fuckers have HDTV's, 360's, Wii's, iPod Touches, and cellphones. Damn it!

Anyway, Nintendo's fate is sad but they've brought it on themselves, releasing shit after shit after shit. Like the kid says, if they start releasing good stuff I'll buy it. When most of your games are not interesting to adults and can't hold the attention of kids for longer than 30 minutes, you aren't going to sell a whole lot.

Side note: I wish parents and ratings systems could get it through their thick skulls that a 13 year old can handle more mature content than someone 5 years his junior. There isn't one age "split" where you all of a sudden jump from childhood to adulthood, it's a gradual transition and a concept that seems to be lost on parents nowadays.

I would agree. Dispite my brother(13) being a COD adict, he was at the midnight launch of the 3DS and has one now.

I'm not gonna think about getting one till christmas.

While Mario certainly does get around, his dedicated adventures are still top-notch. SMG 1 and 2 are some of the best games I've played this generation. He still got it! ...but fewer people still want to see it, these days.

Really, when you look at Nintendo's situation aftet the 'Cube, positioning itself as kid-friendly was the only thing that made sense from a marketing perspective. I'm not sure it'll pay off in the long run, but it was that or bust.

What I always found strange is that, when Nintendo was pretty much the king of videogames, during the NES and SNES era, Nintendo of America would violently censor games (spoony bard, etc). Now that it's a small niche market and it wouldn't harm the industry as much to do it, they don't. While I'm usually against censorship in all forms a game system that you could buy for your children and not worry that they'll play MadWorld on it would be a powerful force for a medium that often forgets how to deal with any customer other than the hardcore. And if releasing a hardcore violent game to try to quell the thirst of the gamers that don't fit the profile worked, True Crime: New York City would be game of all years for the 'Cube.

believer258:

beema:

Now for crotchety old man mode.
Man, kids are so spoiled these days. This kid is 13 and has an Xbox 360, Wii, DS, and an ipod. When I was 13 I think all I had was a SNES and maybe 3-4 games, and those were games I got like... once a year.

Also, can you punch your brother/sister in the face for naming their kid Caleb?

This, a million times this, this, this. Man, I had a Super Nintendo for four years, I got a PS1 in Christmas 1997, and I was lucky to have fifteen games! I didn't get a Gamecube until 2003, and only got up to about 20 PS1 games. And I was one lucky bastard, too! Had a 19" CRT TV OF MY OWN! And stereo (although it wasn't really amazing)!

And these little fuckers have HDTV's, 360's, Wii's, iPod Touches, and cellphones. Damn it!

April is the month of the Yorkshiremen.

It's a nice theory but your sample size is to small.

um... think it's also a really bad situation of a throw away and instantly out of date way video games are sold.

No kid today cares about Nintendo and won't really have much nostalgia for anything cept for retarded cartoons when they get older because they have a million games.

I had the same collection of games for 12 years of my life.

The 13 year old kid in this article are actually much less biased than many other 13 year olds that I know. I know tons of kids that age that are simply devoted to Call of Duty and games like that and they pass off anything by Nintendo as awful (what makes me laugh is that these kids claim to be "hardcore" gamers, but when I asked them if they played God of War, they didn't know what I was talking about).

A lot of kids my age and younger these days have lost their interest in Nintendo and if Nintendo wants to stay a major contender, they have to start appealing towards these modern day tweens. But what scares me more than the fact that these kids have no appreciation for Nintendo anymore, is that it feels like I'm losing interest. I've always been a big Nintendo supporter, but I almost agreed with the kid in the interview. The only thing that is causing me to keep my Wii is Monster Hunter Tri, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and the fact that I don't have enough money to buy a PS3. The Wii successor better be killer.

NaramSuen:
I can't blame these kids for not having any brand loyalty. My loyalty to Nintendo was betrayed by their complete and utter lack of decent RPGs for the N64. Quest 64 was utter garbage and Paper Mario came out 5 years after the console was released. And yes, I am still a little bitter.

I thought Paper Mario was phenomenal. I only got to rent it back in the day, but it was only a three day rental and by the end of that rental period, I had exactly 34 hours and 34 minutes clocked. It was a long time ago of course, so I don't remember if I had beat it or not. I'm thinking not, because I do remember begging my mom to let me rent it for another three days, but she didn't let me.

It think the reason I loved it was because it was such a unique game. I do own the second one on for the Gamecube, I love that one as well. I need to get the Wii one, I rented it once, but I ended up not having the time to actually play it.

-----------

I still think brand loyalty still exists, but in a way that has been around since Nintendo and the first Sega console. Whatever one people decide the buy is the one they have loyalty to, because they don't have the money to buy one of the other systems to see what it is like. So, these people create an air about them, that their console is better.

I'm a little guilty of that, and I think most people are.

But if I truthfully had to state how I feel about gaming, all the consoles and the PCs. If I had the money to buy the me all, I would enjoy them all. I'm the type of gamer that would play it all if I could.

I have a PC that runs only old games(games before 2007).

I have every Nintendo console and device up to the Wii and the DS Lite.

I also have an old PSP(won that in a poker tournament a few years back, probably wouldn't have bought it on my limited funds.)

I also have an Xbox 360.

Right now I mostly into my 360 because that is what I'm interesting in at the moment, I'm a sucker for achievements. I'm doing my best get through Mass Effect then move on to two in preparation for three. I also still play on my DS Light daily, Pokemon White, and a few lost GBA games that I found recently(Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Wario Land 4, and Advanced Wars).

When I have the money I don't discriminate much on what games I play and what platforms I get them for.

I play games of just about every genre and type.

But I do have my old Nintendo nostalgia, and that will never go away. I'm also not the type of person to sell games and systems when they get old. When I have kids, I want them to see what their dad enjoyed back in the day. Or I could be like the cool grandpa that has fun things that seem like obscure pieces of history.(My grandpa has this weird, large, single game handheld that has a little joystick and it is like a weird version of Pac-man, but the mover is a green circle, that the player moves around and gets the little dots, no ghosts it is just timed. It has the graphics and sound effects of those old black screen computers that had just green or orange-yellow type. I don't remember what the game was called. It was addictive like pac-man.)

I lost my train of thought, so I will end this here. I will add that Nintendo does need to remember the people that grew up with them and start throwing us a few games of our liking.

Ah Nintendo. We have such a long history, NES: awesome, SNES: one of the best consoles ever, N64: awesome, Gamecube: pretty good, Wii: um... at least you tried?

vxicepickxv:
A gaming system is simply used for enjoyment. Why should anyone care what system you have? As long as you're having fun, screw what everybody else thinks. Now, back to Pokemon White.

Yes, Pokemon White is awesome. My first team is at my "take a break cap" of level 75(Back in the old days of Gen 1 and 2, I use to train to level 100, I had like 35 level 100's, but I don't have as much time as I did back then). I'm now training some new recruits to give me some more variety and versatility in my choices.

Very interesting, thank you for the article!

I'm willing to wager that Nintendo has intentionally carved itself this share of the market because they decided that they didn't want to compete with Microsoft and Sony directly, to the extent that maybe many of our perspectives on what Nintendo had been are no longer wholly valid today. By this, I mean that "true Mario games" don't really exist anymore in the eyes of Nintendo...every game featuring him is the real deal. Nintendo may be the one who has changed while we, the older gamers, still cling to old associations. Mario has supplanted even Nintendo as the representative brand just as much as the Wii and DS have in consumers' minds.

This is why kids, like the ones cited in this article, don't strongly identify with Nintendo* as much as specific games or devices under their label. Is this sustainable? Probably for some time as Nintendo continues their specific brand of innovation and, especially, as their older clients (us) begin to have children of their own. I daresay that, if/when I have kids, I'd want (regardless of my personal gaming preference) to start them out on Nintendo products long before either Microsoft or Sony. Bear in mind that I have not turned my Wii on in more than a year, but I'd prefer a younger child to catch Pokemon and play the horde of games featuring Mario rather than drive down a hooker in GTA for a refund on one of the other consoles.

Of course, this only remains true up until the point when Nintendo decides to reinvent itself once more :)

*I would also argue that this is caused, in part, by the altered way in which we learn and entertain ourselves today. So much of modern technology and services focus on instant gratification, which puts pressure on the market to continually come up with more products, to the point that our interest-spans have become much shorter. Kids get bored with Smash Bros. while we keep picking up every rehashed release of Mario 3. (Of course, we aren't immune either.)

I think the author over-projects on a very small sample (two children as evidence of majority is a bit risky as a stats method).

I would agree that Mario is still quite popular and known amongst children. If not my personal experience, then surelly sales figures for New Super Mario Bros. or Mario Kart DS, which still manage to sell strongly after so many years in the market, seem to show that the new generations are growing up with similar experiences like the ones we had as kids.

I really don't see the smartphone scene as a real threat to "traditional" portable gaming consoles. Nintendo has been setting it's "hooks" to youngsters for a very, very long time and it will be hard for parents to get rid of them. If all the kids at school are still playing Pokemon or Mario, then it's a bit difficult to convince your kid to "settle" with playing an app on your iphone.

On the other hand, I don't think the article is completely off the ball. Nintendo seems to be at the end of a "communications cicle". I will also agree with Herman Zindler, that the company has shown the talent to re-invent itself over the years, especially with recent examples like the Wii or Brain Training, or even Nintendo 3DS to some extent.

If anything, their sales figures overall should suggest that they are still on top of their game. Time will tell how many more times they can get away with re-inventing themselves Madonna-style.

Nintendo broke me with the DS. I, at the age of 19, switched to an iPod touch and have since sold my D.S They are no longer about games. It's a toy, a gimmick, and will be replaced in two years by a Lite version. The iPod has the Final Fantasy, it has the Street Fighter, It has what you want. The problem is the iPod and Apple don't invoke that same kind of loyalty that you speak of in the article.

I, like many of you I'm sure, feel that the greatest moment in my youth was when I slid my first game into my Gameboy (Bomberman Pocket). Or how about the hours I spent playing the first Pokemon? The problem is as I grew up more and more of the series I loved died by the hands of Nintendo (StarFox)or decided to become known as the most stagnant and unimaginative list of sequels in gaming (Pokemon).

I bought StarFox Command, I bought Pokemon Platinum, I bought the DS, DS Lite, AND DSi, all because I wanted to see Nintendo succeed as a game company. I wanted to play a good game on a good console and I wanted Nintendo to be able to do that, but they couldn't. I bought some of their DD titles. But everything came up short. StarFox Command was miserable, I beat half of Pokemon Platinum without realizing I'd gotten that far because I never had to work at it. I got bored. The DS Lite was a good console but didn't have games, and the DSi was shameless. Nowadays, if I'm going to buy a Nintendo console, It will be used and it will be for some game like SSFIV because a good game accidentally came out for it.

Nintendo has just lost that "new cartridge" smell for me.

What do you mean nostalgia? I never stoppd playing my NES on a semi-regular basis mainly owning to the fact that my library of NES games is pretty dammed huge (arround 80-100 at last count not including packages/duplicates) and yes a few of those are stinkers but there is still a great deal of fun to be had even with a BAD NES game, you can invite a few freinds over and watch them share your RAAAAGE over their oblique mechanics.

The NES has always done what Indie/portable games are now striving for; it distills games and gaming down to it's barest mechanics and then has to be held up by those basic mechanics. The fact that many gamer's first experiences of games will be simple, short but replayable games with 2d graphics is telling to the power the ideals of the old games still hold. They may no longer be as difficult but they still have the same spirit.

Also "New super mario bros Wii", "Super mario DS" and "Mario Galaxy 1&2" are flagship products with a HEAVY presenece both in terms of sales and advertising. Chances are if you live in the developed wirld you have seen mario on TV and proabaly seen one of his games in action. He is the mascot and flagship product of a multinational gaming giant, people know who the fuck he is.

It's just a shame kids these days wont have the nostalgia I have for great games like Mario 64. I grew up with that game and practically know that game like the back of my hand because of all of the hours I put into it. And really, 100 Mario games since 2000. No wonder these kids associate Mario with all of his ridiculous spin offs. I think what Nintendo is doing for it's brand right now is only gonna benefit them in the short run. All of the negative association they are getting for their current actions is not going to sustain them in the long run. I would hate to see Nintendo run itself into the ground like this but as of right now their digging their own grave.

but...IT PRINTS MONEY

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