an open letter to nintendo

First off, let me congratulate you on still being around. As a company, I mean. You’ve been around since 1889, and that’s no small feat. Many companies have gone under or been bought-out or became subsidiaries of other companies in half the time you’ve been around. Yet you have escaped each of those fates, and fairly smoothly made the transition from a playing-card company to a hugely successful video-game company back in the 80s. Well done.

And even though I’m about get a bit unfriendly, I want you to know that I hope you’re around for a long time still. Playing The Legend of Zelda games has brought me many, many happy hours exploring nooks and crannies, chopping down the grass, and breaking people’s pottery. Thank you ever so much for that. Please keep it up.

Maybe, though, it’s time to cut the horse shit.

Back in 1996, you gave the world the Nintendo 64. It was great, or at least the games were. Mario 64? The Ocarina of Time? Still great games today, as evidenced by the fact that people are still buying them. The controller was a bit awkward, especially after having had the Playstation controller in my hands for the previous year, but it was functional. And again, the games, am I right? Great stuff.

But you did something then that, though at the time didn’t seem like a huge thing, signaled the world of Nintendo-to-come. Sony’s new console used CDs. Hell, even the Sega Genesis had a CD version. We, the consumers, liked CDs because they held more data and because they brought the promise of backward-compatibility. The load-times of CD-based games was considerably longer, but it was a trade-off. You, on the other hand, insisted that we, the consumers, preferred cartridges. Not true…but games on CD was still pretty new so hardly anyone took notice.

By the time the GameCube came out in 2001, though, CDs were the media of choice for video games. And yeah, you gave us a console that used CDs…sort of.

game discs

These little proprietary discs not only prevented the GameCube from playing DVDs and audio CDs – something the competitors could do – but they held less data. The GameCube discs held 1.5GB whereas the Playstation and Xbox discs held 8.5GB. This meant that GameCube games required higher compression, lower graphics, or sometimes even dropped features. Sometimes all three. It sucked to have a GameCube back then, though The Wind Waker was easily the best game of the generation in my opinion.

So then now let’s talk about the Wii. You did pretty well, sales-wise, with the Wii. I remember GameStop switching their stores around, from Xbox games at the front to Nintendo games. And yeah, you finally gave us straight-forward optical discs…though of course you still didn’t support DVDs. But still, good job catching on…some ten years later.

You also gave us motion-control in the form of the Wii Remote.

Now, I love Wii Tennis and Wii Bowling just as much as anyone. Furthermore, I’m not going to press you to be like the other guys. I like how you try to innovate and sometimes that innovation works really, really well. The New Nintendo 3DS XL, for example, is awesome. It’s a 3D experience the way it should truly be done, with no glasses and no razor-thin sweet spot. Good job.

When I sit down to play a real game, though, I want a real controller, something the Wii does not deliver.

I’ve spent the last three months logging roughly 80 hours on The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. What a great game. It has everything I’ve come to love from a Zelda game, some new things that made it better than my other favorite, and some really great characters and development…some of the best in the series, really. Great job. Love it. Keep it up.

Just please please please don’t make me cut through mobs of Moblins with a Wii remote again. Please don’t make me have to make a bow-and-arrow motion with the controller and Nunchuck. Please don’t make particular attack that requires the system to recognize that I am, in fact, holding the controller perpendicular to the ground.

Because the system is absolute shite at recognizing these things. Absolute. Shite.

For a while I just thought it was me. But then I noticed how frequently I had to re-center the controller whilst trying to sight-in the bow and arrow. Or the claw-shots. Or the Hook Beetle. And if it gets off-center with those things, it certainly gets off-center when I’m swinging it around trying to kill some Stalfos. I thought it might be my controller, but the second controller did the same thing. So, no.

The Wii Remote is great for party games. But for real games, give me a real controller. No more motion controller for me.

Now there’s this Wii U thing, which I’ve totally ignored because…why would I get it? But I hear that there’s a Zelda game coming out on it soonish, so I’d been thinking about getting one. After my experience with Skyward Sword, though, it’s not happening. I’m not buying another Nintendo console until you at least give me the option of a real controller. And I don’t know what that controller for the Wii U is, but it’s not a real controller.

Right now I’m looking forward to a GameBoy Advance game because I want to get back to good-old button-mashing. That should tell you something.

A fan


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