Nintendo and Hardcore Gamers: Who Abandoned Who?

I hear a lot of people say that Nintendo forgot the hardcore crowd. The Wii is majorly successful, and it is mostly attributed to their embracing the casual gamers. But the hardcore insist that they’ve been abandoned, that Nintendo forgot about, as one person put it, "who made them who they are." I have three major problems with this.

First, and this is the common retort, there are plenty of great games, either already out or on the way, that can appease the hardcore. Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles are all excellent examples of what’s already out, and House of the Dead: OVERKILL, MadWorld, and The Conduit are all on their way, loaded with hardcore-quality goodness. The games are there, and not only that, but the Virtual Console gives the option of vintage gaming from NES all the way up to N64. Being a self-proclaimed Nintendo fanboy myself, it bugs me when former fans of the big N don’t support the Wii because it’s "too kiddy" or "too family." Admittedly, there isn’t as many "hardcore" games on the Wii than the other systems, but the gems are there, so the argument doesn’t hold up.

Secondly, hardcore gamers are quick to associate Nintendo with the Wii automatically, completely forgetting about Nintendo’s other moneymaker, the DS. Any hardcore RPG fan can have a field day with the DS’s vast lineup of both remakes and original IPs. The World Ends With You, a Square Enix RPG exclusive to DS, is one of the best games I’ve ever played, let alone of the best on the system. I never played Chrono Trigger until the DS remake, and it is AWESOME. Fire Emblem is on its way, too. Aside from RPGs, games like Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and its great story, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin and its simplfied RTS style, and the remixed platforming of New Super Mario Bros should be enough to keep any gamer going while on the go. All those gamers crying for more hardcore Wii games should pay attention to the other system as well, because they’re missing out on some quality games.

Thirdly, and this is what really burns me the most, is that the hardcore crowd chastises Nintendo for their casual gamer approach and cries about being abandoned, when in reality, it was they who abandoned Nintendo in the first place! What do I mean? Just take a look at last generation! The GameCube was a distant third in terms of sales numbers, being shadowed by PS2 and Xbox alike. Where were the hardcore gamers then? Were they playing Wind Waker or Super Mario Sunshine? Were they reveling in their 100th match of Super Smash Bros. Melee? Were they traversing Brinstar in full 3D for the first time in Metroid Prime? Absolutely not! They were playing Halo and Killzone, abandoning Nintendo and the GameCube for games with flash and pizzazz, despite them all being virtually the same game. This disappointment in sales had to be a driving factor in Nintendo switching gears and focusing toward a more casual market. For all they knew, the gamers didn’t want to sit and play any more, they needed something new, so they delivered. That they are constantly criticized for their success is sad, considering those that criticize are the reason for Nintendo’s shift in the first place.

If you think I’m wrong, feel free to say so. I wrote this as my entry into the debate, so take it for what it is. However, the next time you bash Nintendo about their kiddie games and casual approach, think about how they got there in the first place. Maybe then it won’t seem so far-fetched. 


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.