Monday, September 20th, 2021

Soapbox: Without a dedicated handheld department, would Nintendo be less weird?


©Nintendo Life

The Soapbox feature allows our individual writers and contributors to express their opinions on popular topics or random questions they have been thinking about. These opinions are not necessarily the opinions of the website. Today, Nathan discussed how the handheld hybrid method of Nintendo and Switch led to a decrease in experimental antiques…


As early as January 2013, the seeds of Nintendo Switch were sown without our knowledge, because Nintendo announced plans to merge their previously independent handheld console and console game development studios. This idea of ​​unified development symbolizes the final received hybrid console fans. Handheld and home consoles are now just two aspects of the Switch coin, rather than separate entities. This means that consumers no longer need to buy two game consoles. Nintendo’s many talented development studios are now working together to produce a steady stream of content for a single system.

The success of Switch sales and the record-breaking sales of many Nintendo series show objectively that this is a very wise move. Nintendo’s recent sales data shows that the sales of several Nintendo series are the highest in the history of each series. At the same time, the sales of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe even surpassed the incredible sales of Mario Kart Wii. The merger of Nintendo’s studios allowed them to produce grand and ambitious versions of their classic franchise, so fans were fortunate enough to get some of the best Nintendo games in recent memory. however…

Nintendo has cleverly integrated all its employees into large-scale projects aimed at reshaping and revitalizing their largest series, feeling that this might lead to the loss of opportunities to make smaller, higher-risk games. This is the right decision-review scores and game sales data certainly agree that most players may not cut an inch of Breath of the Wild for another Dillon’s western scroll-but these smaller games sometimes do Sprout and grow into bigger ideas and games. Nintendo’s growing demand for first-party products seems to be at the expense of a fertile hotbed of smaller, newer, and more interesting ideas.

Nintendo’s growing demand for first-party products seems to be at the expense of a fertile hotbed of smaller, newer, and more interesting ideas.

When the gap between handheld game consoles and home consoles is still a gap, Nintendo and other developers have to be creative in how to narrow the franchise, or how to reinvent a series for a smaller form factor and different controls.

Although Gamecube made bold changes to the Metroid series through Metroid Prime, GBA got a pixel-perfect title in Metroid Fusion, which uses all Nintendo’s knowledge of 2D Metroid games and some great new idea. Publishing on a handheld platform with relatively outdated technology (compared to the box under the TV) allows to release brand new “outdated” 2D Metroid games when 3D is all the rage, and it is one of the very good.

We all desire more Metroid Prime, but we are also excited about the
We all desire more Metroid Prime, but we are also excited about the “classic style” 2D Metroid. (Photo: Nintendo)

Pocket PCs are not just an excuse to use 2D graphics, it is also an opportunity to make smaller and stranger games on a lower budget. WarioWare on GBA was a crazy propaganda, but somehow it worked, but in the end it also made us use WarioWare Smooth Moves on Wii, which is a crazy party game that even my parents have played, not to mention the additions it added Many characters and personalities acquired by Wario.The toy nature of handheld devices allows developers to obtain Really Creative peripherals, such as WarioWare: Twisted gyroscope and similar additional functions of Yoshi Topsy-Turvy.

A failed home console game can be disastrous for the company. Although a failed handheld game still costs time and money, if it ultimately leads to commercial disappointment, it may not hurt developers so much. Big.

Because of the low price, handheld devices are usually designed for young children to play, just like 2DS. This is when some of the strangest but most creative Nintendo ideas have surfaced. A failed home console game can be disastrous for the company. Although a failed handheld game still costs time and money, if it ultimately leads to commercial disappointment, it may not hurt developers so much. Big. Hand-held systems traditionally mean strict technical constraints, but it also means that smaller teams are free to try unusual ideas. For example, will Nintendo launch a home game console with an interactive dog simulator?

Furthermore, DSi and 3DS eShop digital storefronts provide another opportunity to make weird games that are not subject to normal genre or pricing rules. Here, we saw some really weird products offered by Nintendo and its partners, including opportunities for major studios to get rid of the usual development and make passion projects a reality. Titles like Harmoknight, Pocket Card Jockey, and Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball are some of the better and stranger titles that fans are fortunate to have. A purely digital game for handheld computers may be a very small project, so for some Nintendo developers, this may be a great opportunity to finally realize the weird late-night game promotion that they could not do in other situations. These may not exist as mature physical retail versions, and there is almost no room for such games to exist on the Switch-weird little games are increasingly lost in the ocean of eShop releases, and there is almost no organization or celebration of the current platform Many great games on the Internet.

Pocket Card Jockey: The best game on 3DS, by miles-Ed.
Pocket Card Jockey: The best game on 3DS, by miles-Ed. (Image: Game Freak)

The Switch is now an assembly line for the large, rich, and often feature-rich items in many of Nintendo’s franchises. Smaller games are still emerging, such as “Stretcher” and “Good job!” It shows that Nintendo still has a smaller and more interesting development aspect, but this is rare, and both examples are developed by an external studio that Nintendo is responsible for publishing.

This is really a shame, because many of my favorite moments are in the era of 3DS and Wii U putting smart ideas into Nintendo’s mini games. Nintendo developed or released many smaller games at this time. Hana Samurai: Art Of The Sword, code name: STEAM, Boxboy series (appearing on Switch thankfully), FreakyForms and even 3D Classics series of strange experiments.

Recent games feel like they are getting rid of this energy to provide a huge blockbuster-but more “safe”-title

Platform puzzle elements in Pushmo (or Rally Brooks In Europe) I am very happy to surround your head and provide us with the sequel to 3DS and Wii U. The aforementioned Dillon’s Western Scroll may not set the world on fire, but in a tower defense game made by Nintendo, in which you can control the spinning armadillo in the Wild West? That is pure Nintendo creativity and happy creation. This is crazy, and recent games feel like they are getting rid of this energy in order to provide a huge blockbuster-but more “safe”-title.

This is not to say that the old “funny” Nintendo has disappeared, to be precise, it’s just that the company’s development team seems to have fewer opportunities to get rid of and go crazy. We already have Labo (and its upcoming Game Builder Garage’spin-off’), and Evergreen ARMS in 2017 is also a good example of experimental new IP (and some games that Nintendo Life employees like). Although the game is called “Run too” or “loser” compared to other blockbuster first-party games, it has sold more than 2 million copies so far. A large-scale experiment of a very successful new IP, a fighting game, the same is true. Some small first-party games with this spirit will be nice to see.

We would love to see Marlowe back on the Switch.
We would love to see Marlowe back on the Switch. (Photo: Nintendo)

Is there any solution? Well, Nintendo is currently enjoying its best success ever. More than four years after its launch, the Switch has been delisted faster than Nintendo, and the rumored arrival of a more powerful Switch means that we may only be looking for larger and more graphics-demanding games to play. If we do get new hardware, players will definitely only look forward to upcoming games, such as Metroid Prime 4 and Bayonetta 3, which provide AAA action and dazzling graphics to justify buying a console and a long development cycle. of. When everyone’s hands are needed, how do you give some of these developers time to turn smaller ideas into reality?

Mario + Rabbids may not be the first thing people think of, but it shows that Nintendo is relaxing its previous strict control over IP.

Cooperating with independent studios may be the answer we need. Nintendo wants to use all the assets they have to create the next big game for Switch, so licensing their IP to a smaller studio seems to be our best opportunity to see more classic Nintendo weird. Cadence Of Hyrule is a wonderful example. It may be a crazy surprise that Nintendo itself can never provide time or the developers made, but it is a popular and popular game, and fans are grateful for its existence.The Internet is full of hopeful wish lists, similar to “What if X developer obtains Y franchise rights?” Over the years, but it feels like this really happened. Mario + Rabbids may not be the first thing people think of, but it shows that Nintendo is relaxing its previous control over its IP.

Nintendo is a company with a stupid side in history. It makes games for people of all ages. Its philosophy has always been about the fun of games.Its flagship store saw an Italian plumber put on a catsuit with Shot into space; stupidity is Nintendo’s DNA. However, the current business-centric strategy and lack of dedicated handheld devices, although successful, seem to have squeezed out space for smaller experiments, which usually lead to bigger and better things.

I don’t want Nintendo to change their current plans. I remember the Wii U days, and I won’t go back…but I do hope that Nintendo will seize this opportunity to let independent developers learn about their classic franchise and be a little weird. And wonderful new ideas surprise us, or they create new experiences with them. If Nintendo is busy making the next AAA experience and not making another tengu, then why not let some new talent pick up the stranger side of their franchise and work with it?

Mario + Crazy Rabbit© Nintendo/Ubisoft