In Criticism of Nintendo Haters and Fanboys Alike

Some time in 2008 I wrote this in criticism both of Nintendo haters, and to irrational Nintendo zealots.

Arguably it started with Donkey Kong, but Nintendo's alleged "kiddy image" really kicked off when they censored Mortal Kombat for the Super NES, replacing the blood with sweat. Genesis offered players the chance to play games without the censorship, and many fans of the game flocked to it.

This earned Nintendo a reputation of censoring violence, profanity, and sexuality from their games. This carried on into the N64 era, when most third party support shifted to Playstation, Nintendo lost a lot of their variety, particularly third party games with more adult oriented themes. This was made worse by the fact that many of Nintendo 64's headline games (which ironically or not became highly popular) were based on cartoony franchise characters. A group of gamers came to associate Nintendo as being a company which caters only to children, and that their games lack any depth for anyone over a certain age limit.

Nintendo seemed to want to combat this with Gamecube, (yet they launched in purple), and belabored emphasis on the "darker" Gamecube titles such as RE4, Eternal Darkness, Geist, and Metroid Prime 1 and 2.

Yet, their selection in "mature" games had been significantly outclassed by Playstation 2 (with a huge library for gamers of all tastes) and the XBox, which gained a following with FPS and sim combat fans due to games like Halo and Full Spectrum Warrior. Nintendo’s ability to appeal to “mature” gamers who enjoyed what PS2 and XBox had to offer was perhaps damaged further by the fact that as always, Nintendo’s biggest guns lacked just that.

Many teens and adults who preferred grittier entertainment (and perhaps also enjoyed action packed comic books and thriller movies) found the Gamecube irrelevant to them, and instead focused their attention on buying more XBox or PS2 games.

Like fanatics of any hip and happening form of entertainment (comic books, music, exc.), sectionalism grew between fans of different companies, systems, and genres,a and the resulting debates are waged in Gamestop check out lines, high school cafeterias, message boards and school busses across the globe.

Finding logical or more often illogical defenses for their own tastes and choices and attacking those who disagree with them with logical or more often illogical reasons to discredit the tastes and choices of others, these debates all to often become “battles of honor” which some system fans take far too seriously and/or personally.

In an argument against Nintendo, proclaiming that their games are kiddy, novice oriented, or only enjoyable by small children is an easy way out for any Sony or Microsoft fan who doesn't feel like learning the facts or accepting the tastes and choices and others and embracing their common ties as enthusiasts of gaming.

To someone with a substandard understanding of computing, it may seem perfectly logical to say that the system which features Wind Waker is technologically inferior to the system which features Riddick, as it likely just as easy to crudely judge a person’s character based on the games they play, and on the surface its easy to reason that anyone of age who enjoys a game like Animal Crossing less mature than a person who plays Grand Theft Auto or Halo.

Equally ignorant however, is the attitude some Nintendo fans have towards players of other systems.

In a desperate longing for validation in the face of disappointing Gamecube sales, and disapproval from fans of other systems, some Nintendo fans have consciously or not chosen to fabricate for themselves a sensationalized, demonized image of PS2 and Xbox games and stereotype the people who enjoy them as depraved, demoralized and psychologically inferior individuals responsible for all the wrongs of Western civilization.

In the minds of these Nintendo fans, anyone who hijacks a fictional car in Grand Theft Auto is just as guilty as an actual car thief, and that anyone who plays games with any amount of sexual content is a dangerous pervert. Their fabricated “justification” for liking Nintendo games lies not in the satisfaction of playing games that they love, but in dehumanizing and vilifying anyone who does not share their tastes.

Many of these Nintendo zealots are also hypocritical to a level which would sicken even the most tainted Tammany Hall big shots. While “mature” games on other systems (or even just M rated games as a whole) are considered evil on PS2 or XBox, a M or T rating on a Nintendo game becomes almost like a badge of honor, something to brag about to their Nintendo hating peers or classmates to, a “proof” that Nintendo is not childish.

I’ve seen Nintendo fans hype, boast, and praise “dark” Nintendo games like Metroid Prime, Geist, F-Zero GX (I guess reject super-heroes in race cars are “mature” now), Zelda Twilight Princess, and Resident Evil  as proof that Nintendo is “mature” such a level that I get sick of it.

At the same time they boast and brag of how Nintendo supposedly banned “evil”  games like GTA from their systems (which is not true at all by the way), and come down on anyone who proposes a “evil” game on their system as though they disrespected Nintendo.

They praise Nintendo for making Wii “the system for everyone” and then getting upset when anyone mentions making games for violent game fans, claiming that violent games and the people who like them will “ruin Nintendo’s image”, and even go as far as to say that they would never play on the same system that a violent game fan likes.

At the end of the day, we are all in this hobby for the same reason, we all like video games. Whether you live for the visuals, the storylines, the action or the strategy, we all have common ground in our willingness to pick up the controller.

Isn’t that what “Wii” is all about?

Wii won’t become a success due to an imaginary moral highground among secluded sectors of overzealous Nintendo fanboys, Wii’s future depends on providing excitement (or relaxation) to everyone who touches it.

Of course, I’m not saying that we should all like the same types of games, but that if the more “dedicated” among us in the Nintendo community can’t learn to accept “outsiders” as gamers rather than judge their worth as gamers and as people by the types of games they like, than they will only alienate and frighten people from Wii and the Nintendo community rather than build it up into something stronger, better, and more enjoyable for all of us.

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