[Editorial Tuesday] Why Nintendo Is the Pioneer of Gaming Today

Welcome to Nintendo, a company that has seen many eras of gaming whisk by and still continues to impress the world with their creative prowess. Starting out as a card game company back in the late 1800’s, Nintendo’s vision at the time wasn’t about games but rather “leaving luck to heaven”, as they vaguely put it. That slogan was developed to tie in with the company’s then criteria which was to create card games that were fun and entertaining for everyone. Now that very slogan seems to carry more meaning in current days because Nintendo has certainly dodged many a bullet in their illustrious history. From great world wide successes such as the NES and Super Nintendo, to market blunders like the Virtual Boy and the recent Wii U, Nintendo has definitely come a long way and have learned a lot from their hard lessons.

The one thing that Nintendo carries with them to the grave is their resilience and willingness to never give up despite any setbacks that stand in their way. The consoles may never sell the way they were intended, but it’s that inner drive and persistence to achieve greatness through innovation that garners Nintendo so much respect and admiration from everyone in the industry. So just why are Nintendo so revered in the industry? There must be more than just hard work and overcoming adversity that make Nintendo one of the greatest gaming companies (and longest running mind you) of all time. Well that is in their innovation and determination to revolutionize the way we play games, so let us dive a little deeper to know more.

Always Challenging Themselves

One striking difference that sets Nintendo apart from any other major company is that they’re always challenging themselves. This isn’t to say that other companies just sit around and twiddle their thumbs waiting for the next big announcement; It’s just that Nintendo really takes pride in their products and value the finer aspects of what gaming represents. Ever since the late 80’s when the NES was unveiled to the world, Nintendo’s passion was very apparent in the product and they always seemed to push the boundaries in terms of how a game would perform. Atari and Colecovision were the two consoles that helped pave the way for gaming to even exist, but they just didn’t seem to resonate well with buyers as much as these companies had anticipated.

It was only when Nintendo released the NES that this stigma pertaining to gaming was finally broken and people of various age groups would partake in all of the fun. Every console that Nintendo has released always came with something fresh and inspiring, helping to bridge the gap between art and entertainment. Their consoles were astonishing to look at because, they were like nothing we’ve ever laid eyes on before and they performed so brilliantly. This is because Nintendo prides themselves on ensuring that their hardware can perform at the level they desired, but more importantly making sure their gaming catalog catered to just about everyone. If you take a look at their catalog you can clearly see growth in their creation and that, almost always they seem to push the boundaries that eventually blow the world away when they see it all in action. This brings us to our next paragraph where we look at how Nintendo never likes to settle for less, and instead places heavy emphasis on quality more than quantity.

Never Settling for Less

While Nintendo is a powerhouse in the gaming industry, they’ve never settled for less whenever it came to their products. Quality is at the heart of everything they do, from the engineering all the way into the final development cycle. Of course they pride themselves on simplicity but they would never stoop so low as to creating faulty devices or mindlessly just creating something to appease the masses. Despite some of the said failures above, Nintendo is still very meticulous about how to release their console, when to release it but most importantly, why. They don’t just want to be the first out of the gate like most companies, but would rather sit back and let the competition go ahead of them while they come up with divisive plans to conjure up something better. Settling for less in Nintendo’s eyes would perhaps be the greatest failure for the company and so rather than trying to climb the mountain in a day, they’d rather explore new directions that can get them to the top their own way.

Simplicity is Luxury

When you observe a piece of Nintendo hardware you’re always blown away by just how compact it all is, and yet it still performs so brilliantly. Just what do these engineers do to create such a delicate yet powerful piece of hardware? Well, a lot of it has to do with being inspired, and having the luxury of being able to travel around the world and see different things. Japan in itself is an adventure waiting to be discovered, and with the Nintendo Headquarters situated in the heart of Kyoto you can see just why Nintendo is all about simplicity. Nintendo strives to achieve what no other company dares to touch and that’s because for years, Nintendo has been mastering the craft and putting together a team of artists who aspire to achieve. Whether it be something as simple as jumping over platforms to complete a stage like in Super Mario World, or chasing after princess Zelda to save Hyrule in the latest Breath of the Wild, Nintendo always makes sure to put the player first and to do so they would need to simplify their methods. It’s incredible to see a company that once focused solely on playing cards and small toys, now amass a global following based off creating luxury products from simple formulas. An example is of the Super Nintendo, a console that had been in direct competition with Sega, Nintendo’s rival at the time. If you look at the console itself, it’s not entirely complex at all, but even more fascinating is the controller. Ergonomically, it fits right into the palm of your hand, and the buttons are spaced well enough so that performing actions in game feel seamless.

Nintendo is the company to have revolutionized how we use controllers and was the first to introduce the extra shoulder buttons along with the X and Y buttons. After that, other companies took this concept and from that point going forward that very same simple design is now a staple in controller layout.You fast forward a generation later to the Nintendo 64 and again, Nintendo focused their product on simplicity rather than complexity. The N64 controller was the first of its kind to introduce the rumble feature and since that inception, every controller that we use today comes fully loaded with it. Mario 64 was the game helped to revolutionize sandbox titles, allowing for a more open world for players to play in and provided this unforgettable experience that still resonates in our hearts even today. Ocarina of Time is another concrete example of a simple concept yet taken far beyond our expectations, and is now widely regarded as one of the best games of all time. Pokemon opened the door for more of us to go outside and meet friends, as we run around collecting whatever we could to build a team to battle with. There are a plethora of examples that we could share with you, but Nintendo’s overall track record speaks for itself which brings us to the next point being competing.

Don’t Compete or Compare, Just Create.

Nintendo grew out of the competitive shell shortly after the success of the Nintendo 64 along with president Hiroshi Yamauchi stepping down, and started to place more of their attention towards wowing the audience with fresh new ideas, rather than the same repetitive concept. The Gamecube was one of those new concepts and while it didn’t necessarily become a bestseller like some of Nintendo’s other platforms, it certainly made headlines because of its unique approach to gaming. Instead of following the crowd by using a DVD format to upload games onto, Nintendo carved their own path and decided to go with their own optical disc which prevented piracy and to reduce loading times. This resulted of course in Nintendo losing a lot of support from third party developers because the capacity was just too small to fit their games, but it also became a headache in the long term since these developers had to often remove a hefty amount of features just to fit on the disc. So while their creation was a somewhat decent success, it still managed to turn heads which is perhaps what Nintendo wanted anyway.

Fast forward to the DS era when late president Satoru Iwata unveiled to the world the Nintendo DS, another simple concept that revolutionized the handheld gaming universe. This was of course right up Nintendo’s alley because creating successful handhelds have always been their trade, so seeing the enormous success of the DS up until now is just proof of their creative prowess. They weren’t trying to compete against other handhelds on the market but rather, create their own lane while paving a new direction for others to follow on and that they did. All they wanted to do was to create something profound, something with longevity, and the Nintendo DS including that of the 3DS and more, is arguably their longest and best selling system of all time. The Wii is yet again another successful console that went on to change the entire landscape of gaming, prompting other companies to start following suit. So Nintendo was never a competitor because quite frankly, they never needed to be. They were always at the forefront despite critics condemning them for their lack of support or library of titles, which of course carries some truth, but that shouldn’t take away from the contribution they’ve delivered on. Nintendo has always been the leader if you really look at the big picture, because every generation Nintendo has been a part of something incredibly huge happens, which results in a massive groundbreaking achievement that no one ever sees coming. If the Nintendo Switch is anything but a hint of things to come, we’ll be sure to see some more innovation coming from this one of a kind company.


Final Thoughts

There’s just so much to expand upon when it comes to Nintendo and their overall success, because they have released so much material that it’s hard to keep track of. Many of us like to place most of the attention on the failures and then overlook the big picture of things. Despite its many failures, Nintendo has been the pioneer of the gaming world and to be honest, without them perhaps the industry we know and love today just wouldn’t be the same. We do have to tip our hats off to Sega, as well, for being such a great competitor in the golden era, because that’s what really pushed Nintendo to deliver. The Dreamcast is still a console many people speak of, so showing respect to another innovator of the industry is worth nothing. What other things do you love (or dislike) about Nintendo? Let us know in the comments section below, and be sure to share our articles on social media to keep the community buzzing!

As always, if you want to know about all the latest buzz straight from the bee’s nest in Japan, be sure to keep it locked here at Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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