Nintendo's best selling point is the fact that it's built such a huge fan base since its days with the Famicom/NES. People fell in love with characters and franchises like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid. But if the present is any indication, it's that Nintendo doesn't need its longtime, hardcore fans anymore. When it comes right down to it, Nintendo's a business and business is good. As far as I know as a gamer though, business is slow and about to close down. In all objectivity, there are two terms video game journalists are batting around: Casual gamers and hardcore gamers.
Casual is a term we like to use to describe the new demographic Nintendo has successfully targeted: the 30-somethings and up, the elderly, the female population, the non-gamer. Hardcore loosely defines a person who plays games on a usual basis. They're usually long time fans, but can also be new. And if there's a game they like, they'll recognize future sequels and other games similar to it.
As a kid, the SNES was my golden era of games. Nintendo's own games have a rigorous standard of quality, but other games that came in shown just as brilliantly. Street Fighter II and all of its iterations, Earthworm Jim, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Time, and Gradius III were all great games of varied developers. The Wii however has been buried in an avalanche of shovelware (games that are usually universally panned by critics and make it difficult to find new, good games) aimed for the casual, even uninformed consumer. There's been a stark lack of high quality games for the Wii. Most of them are pretty much quick cash-ins, that put as little effort and money into them as possible and get as much profit as you can from people uninformed about the nature of being a consumer on the video game market. The Wii suffers from less performance compared to the 360 and PS3 and gimmicky controls that developers shoe horn in to make it feel like a Wii game. Not that these problems are crippling; Super Mario Galaxy was a great game despite these problems on the Wii.
Is it so hard to ask?
As a loyal consumer of Nintendo for nearly 15 years of my life, things just feel different for me now. There aren't any promises because all the AAA games have already been released. This holiday season is the equivalent of running out of ammo, with just Animal Crossing to rehash for Christmas with their touted microphone. In the meantime, I've moved onto the Xbox 360 and it's had waves of hyped games. Granted, not all are incredible, but most of them at least had exciting premises or good advertising to get the word out. Meanwhile, Nintendo remains silent but for the commercials that are still talking about Wii Fit or even Nintendogs and Mario Kart DS.
When most of your advertising is stuck in a time warp, it's a sign that there isn't anything worth mentioning in your calendar of releases. I lost my confidence in Nintendo after realizing that I stopped playing Smash Brothers Brawl and there was nothing left on my Wii to play. The games I look forward to have stopped and all I have now are games acting as collections of mini games or rereleases of previous games. Nintendo's next year isn't promising at all. The only game to receiving some favorably hype is Sega's Madworld, and that's March.
But the worst part is that Nintendo grown cold towards gamers like me. The faithful since the 80s and 90s. Nobody can say Nintendo is doing something wrong, because Nintendo is still making money. Money they can brag about in front of Microsoft and Sony. And yet the average score of Wii games puts it in 3rd place in the console competition. It's become a sad year for me to realize where the priorities over at Nintendo HQ have become.