While Nintendo still enjoys plenty of success, it isn’t the cornerstone of kids’ gaming experience anymore.

For a lot of adult gamers, Nintendo played a big role in nurturing their love of gaming, and memories of whiling away Saturday afternoons playing Super Mario or Zelda are commonplace. But does Nintendo have the same cachet among younger gamers, or has its importance waned in a much more competitive market? That’s the question that Chris Chafin asks in Issue 302 of The Escapist, drawing upon both anecdotal and empirical data to try to find an answer.

it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking about Nintendo nostalgically – as if it hasn’t been relevant to anyone since the last time you played Super Mario Bros. 3, or Ninja Gaiden, or GoldenEye 007, or whatever your particular point of reference is. In reality, of course, young people continue to have their formative videogame experiences with Nintendo.

This isn’t by accident. While market research is jealously guarded in the gaming industry, the press is fond of suggesting that Nintendo focuses on young gamers, especially when it comes to handhelds (like the Nintendo DS and the recently-released 3DS). The age range routinely cited is 5 -17, putting both my niece and nephew firmly in Nintendo’s pixelated wheelhouse.

But with Nintendo stock falling the same day they released their much-touted 3DS in North America, and the anecdotal impression that they’re losing ground to a myriad of competitors, from iPhones to Xboxes, how successful is Nintendo these days? Do kids still spend hours trying to get Mario to jump over things? More broadly, what do they think about Nintendo? Is it fun? Is it lame? Is it for babies? Do they even know who Mario is?

Nintendo isn’t quite the same company as it was 20 years ago, so it’s only natural that the way that young people relate to it

. You can read about it in more detail in his article, “Who Cares About Mario?

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