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back to article Ageing Mario blamed for Nintendo's woes

Mario has been blamed for Nintendo's less-than satisfactory turnaround in 2011, after a Japanese newspaper claimed the mascot hampers the company's ability to evolve into the digital age. The "curse of Mario" has hindered Nintendo's progress into a new market of DLC and smaller indie games, Sankei News reports. "As the game …

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There are characters...

Donkey Kong, Link from Zelda and, for one generation of Nintendo console, Pierce Brosnan as 007.

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Ru
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Re: There are characters...

This is not a good thing. Arguably, the Zelda franchise is just as bad.

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Stop

Re: Re: There are characters...

Ahem. You forgot Samus of Metroid fame.

Very, very good games.

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Re: Re: Re: There are characters...

Pacman, surely must be top.

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@FartingHippo

Surely you're not including Other M?

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Alien

Re: @FartingHippo

Agree I couldn't stand more than 3 minutes of that game.

One of the worst games I've ever played

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Angel

Re: @FartingHippo

Good point. I never got a Wii - so my Metroid is on the SNES, Gamecube and DS. All of those games were sublime, especially Echoes.

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This has been the problem with Nintendo for years, but the fanboys refuse to admit or accept it. They just re-hash the same Mario and Zelda games every few years with very little in the way of actual innovation. (No, fanboys, gimmicky controllers and screens everyone stops using after they realise how much they suck do NOT count as gaming innovation.)

I have both console and handheld Nintendo platforms in my armoury, but finding decent games for them is a real challenge, wading through tides of shit and shovelware. That's why Mario games on the consoles continue to command insane prices years after release - because there's nothing else worth playing.

The Sony and MS consoles might have their own shitty "mainstream" titles that they roll out over and over, but at least the other developers are making enough of an effort that you can leave that well-trodden road and find the good stuff.

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Absolutely

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@Greg J Preece

Well there are 2 other issues I can say from what I seen

1) Forcing people to use the motion controls. I didn't buy the newest zelda game(along with A LOT of other games) even though I really wanted it strictly due to the motion controls. Nintendo has to learn hard core gamers don't like moving especially when the games going to take well over 5-8 hours to beat. I've talked to other people about this, and they are in the same boat. Now motion control for the party games, and multiplayer stuff like wii bowling fine, if they want to include motion controls in hardcore games at least give the option to disable it.

2) Lack of good games outside japan. There were literally at least 10-15 games I would have bought in a heartbeat that never left japan(I know this isn't nintendos fault but their 3rd party programmers)on the Wii(there have also been so far 6 3ds games that will NEVER come over here that I want). One that really irks me was Tales of Graces which came out on the Wii in japan, but only on the PS3 over here...

IMO Mario, and their other franchise characters are the least of the issues, and generally the games featuring them I find to be the best generally on the systems.

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Re: @Greg J Preece

"if they want to include motion controls in hardcore games at least give the option to disable it."

Agree 100%, and I was heartened to see several titles on the Vita that do exactly that.

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Stop

eeexcept

that they were 'rehashing the same Mario and Zelda games every few years', just as they are now, back about three years ago when they couldn't make Wiis fast enough to satisfy demand, and their profits and share price were going through the roof.

this theory is a nice one but it fails a basic test: the behaviour that's argued to be 'damaging' has not changed at all between the time when Nintendo was coining money hand over fist (three years ago) and the time when it isn't (now). It seems rather more likely that a factor which actually _did_ change during that time is to blame - viz. the Wii not getting replaced fast enough, and the 3DS not being terribly good.

(It's also worth noting that there is more or less universal agreement that the mainline Mario games are some of the best games ever made, and they sell by the bucketload. It's *also* worth noting that there's really no shortage of small downloadable games for either the Wii or the (3)DS).

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Re: eeexcept

It's *also* worth noting that there's really no shortage of small downloadable games for either the Wii or the (3)DS).

this is true on the 3ds at least there is a section highlighting $2 and under games some look decent. Then there are also a lot of $7 and under games too.

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Boffin

Re: @Greg J Preece

> There were literally at least 10-15 games I would have bought in a heartbeat that never left

> japan(I know this isn't nintendos fault but their 3rd party programmers)

It's not only that. The ESA and those crazy politically-correct demanders are also partially to blame for blocking games with contents it finds "offensive".

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WTF?

Analogue Mario?

So Mario "hampers the company's ability to evolve into the digital age"?

I hadn't even realised that there was an analogue Mario. I thought that he'd always been digital even if he was 8-bit to start with.

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Headmaster

Re: Analogue Mario?

Super Mario Bros first came out on the Slide Rule in the 1600's. It was easily the best version IMO.

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Re: Analogue Mario?

Unless you had a very unusual setup, he was at least output via analogue means.

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Pint

Re: Re: Analogue Mario?

My ancestors grew up using the Tally Stick version, but when tablets came out they switched to the ClayPad. Akkadian games for the win!

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Ru
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FAIL

Franchising is the death of creativity

If you can't create original, interesting content, what hope is there for you?

See also: hollywood and the pop music industry.

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Devil

Re: Franchising is the death of creativity

So you are suggesting they begin suing their own customers then?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Franchising is the death of creativity

A technical point: People who download without paying aren't your customers, they're the opposite of a customer.

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Re: Franchising is the death of creativity

One key difference franchised games(specially those with no real continuity like mario games) are still at least entertaining, and can show innovation.

Franchised movies are generally stuck in a universe, or are just completely rehashed re-imagines that are worst than the original.

Currently there are 2 games(on the 3ds) I want that just came out that 99% chance I'll get once they are back in stock(and both are from franchises that they are far up their in numbers). I wish I could say the same thing about wanting to see a hollywood movie that has been made in the past 6 years. Franchise or not the movies pretty much just suck that they been crapping out for a long time to the point looking at an actual turd in a toilet is more entertaining.

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Re: Re: Re: Franchising is the death of creativity

but it has been fairly consistently shown by studies that people who illegally download media _also_ tend to spend above the average on legal content.

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FAIL

it breaks my heart

But as i said before, they brought this on themselves. Their long term strategy is to get more casual gamers to opt for Nintendo (i don't know the exact quote anymore, but it was something like this). They also said they had less interest in hardcore gamers, as that market was saturated. In that they alienated many people, some of which where long time fans (me).

They chose the wrong path, simple as that.

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FAIL

Blaming Nintendo's woes on Mario...

...is like blaming RIM's woes on the fact that everyone's heard of BBM.

Mario is a brand with a pretty good reputation. Nintendo have never been particularly innovative and have had a couple of recent hardware flops, is all. They can either bet big on the next Wii (which looks a bit gimmicky from where I'm standing) or they can go down the Sega route and make Mario games for everything from rival consoles to your mobile phone. I know which choice I'd make, and neither involve getting rid of Mario.

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Headmaster

I think the recent losses are due to the Wii reaching the end of it's life, and the 3DS looking like nothing more than a minor upgrade for the DS.

Mario is not to blame. Although they do rehash the games every few years, I would argue that Nintendo are not alone in this.

To prove this point I give you some non-scientific, anecdotal evidence that may or may not be representative of the current situation for everyone else: on my X Box, I'm currently playing Skyrim, MW3 and Dirt 3. I sometimes revisit Fallout: New Vegas, NFS: Hot Pursuit, and Street Fighter 4.

All of those games are sequels and/or rehashes. (I could go on, but those are my favourites at the moment, and I have no reason to bore everyone with the rest of my collection).

On the other hand, I would argue that Nintendo have innovated over the last 5 years or so. They have bought games to markets that did not accept/care about games before. They have taken a completely different path to MS and Sony in this generation, and it worked for them... but all good things come to an end and Nintendo no "something else", and *that* is the cause Nintendo's problems right now. If they can innovate again in the next generation, then their current problems are temporary.

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Update: Ignore the icon on the above post, I clicked the wrong one

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What they need is their own COD or FIFA...

Nintendo are really stunted in the fact they are releasing original games featuring ageing mascots.

What they really need is the same game, every year, with a lick of paint.

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WTF?

Greg hit one part well on the head, shovelware. Many developers just changed a control or two to require a waggle and hey presto it must now be fun. Wii sports was brilliant for being able to pick up and play. my mother and aunt both love tennis and they took to it straight away, it was much easier for them than a tennis game on an xbox or ps3. Lazy game developers and a controller that doesn't always do what you tell it have combined to me only buying two games in the last 2 years on that platform.

As for their other cash cow, the handhelds, IOS has made a lot of people evaluate games differently. some of the games on the handhelds that you can pick up for £15 online for a ds i wouldnt even pay 69p for in the appstore.

I would not lay blame at Nintendos intellectual property, they have some of the strongest franchises in gaming. Mario, Zelda, Metroid et al are not to blame for poor sales. Gaming has changed, The online experience on any nintendo console is leagues behind microsoft, sony and even apple. The masses 3rd party shovelware make you weary of impluse buying, and compared to other platforms some games feel to expensive.

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Meh

There are some good indy games on the Nintendo eShop

...for example "Go! Go! Kokopolo" & "Mighty Milky Way". It's just no one I know, who has a 3DS / DSi, downloads games for it. Nintendo need to get their finger out and make the eShop more accessible and they might find they have their new "mascot" right under their nose already hidden in the depths of the eShop waiting to be found.

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Re: There are some good indy games on the Nintendo eShop

My first ever Wii points card came through the post today (Sin and Punishment the intended target), and I am <b>dreading</b> using it. For a start, it means having to use the bloody store with that bloody interface and that bloody elevator music.

Secondly, the card doesn't just come as a card, oh no. It comes with a DVD, and you just <b>know</b> that it'll be another patronising, repetitive for-fuckwits tutorial that you must watch to continue your task, a la Motion Plus. Five minute unskippable retard-guides, that's what my console was misssing...

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Curse? Really?

Looking at the reviews for Mario (and indeed Zelda) games they're almost always highly praised and in 'game of the year' short lists. Thinking about it, didn't the 3DS sales take a huge bump when Mario 3d & Mario Kart were released? (Although lets not discount the price cut).

There's a valid argument that Nintendo shoe-horn Mario et al into too many games (Mario & Sonic at the olympics? Really?), and imo they could also do with creating more varied games. But lets be honest here, they have a massive user base for their hardware, and their software is critically and comercially successful- I think they're doing something right.

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Joke

Re: Mario & Sonic at the olympics?

If you had told me twenty years ago that there would one day be a game staring both Sonic and Mario and it would be set in East London of all places, I would have literally spat on your back! What is this world coming too!

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Anonymous Coward

"As the game market evolves, Nintendo seems unable to move beyond creating games that rely on the image of Mario,"

WRONG!

My first though when I hear Nintendo is the Wii! Not mario. Their wildly broad claims are BUSTED.

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You say that like it's a good thing.

"The first thing that comes to mind when Nintendo are mentioned is possibly the shittiest thing they've ever made!"

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The mascots aren't the problem, and neither are the franchises

The problem Nintendo has is in moving past its comfort zone for gaming types.

Take New Super Mario Bros on the Wii at least - sure, it's got gimmicky controls (which quickly get tiresome). But the actual game is basically a remix of the NES Mario games, and whatever nostalgia I had for them having played them the first time around was insufficient to make me really want to play it all the way through. Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy show a good progression of new gameplay ideas to at least keep you engaged.

Blazing Angels is amazing in that it's one of the earliest Wii releases and yet one of the best demonstrations of an innovative control system that really adds to the game. Similarly House of the Dead and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories make use of the controls in ways that add to the game.

So the main issue here is that Nintendo's in-house franchise games didn't innovate anywhere near as much as they should have done. You've only got to look at the complete cackhandling on Metroid Other M to see this demonstrated. It might be good, the control scheme ensured that I didn't get more than 15 minutes into it before deciding I couldn't be arsed.

It doesn't help that Nintendo's approach to downloadable content and games is straight out of 1995. There are some great games on whatever they call the Wii shop interface, but there's no effort to promote it whatsoever. Even the VC, a great way to turn emulator-playing freetards into legal customers, isn't promoted much.

Of course, what we're really talking about is a large and occasionally very successful Japanese company being slow to innovate, and there are management issues at root there. If you disagree, you may want to read up about the numerous instances of dickery where Nintendo of Japan screws over Nintendo of America (or more commonly Nintendo Europe) just to make clear who's boss.

I hope they don't, but if they go the way of Sega they'll only have themselves to blame...

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Re: The mascots aren't the problem, and neither are the franchises

"Take New Super Mario Bros on the Wii at least - sure, it's got gimmicky controls (which quickly get tiresome). But the actual game is basically a remix of the NES Mario games, and whatever nostalgia I had for them having played them the first time around was insufficient to make me really want to play it all the way through. Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy show a good progression of new gameplay ideas to at least keep you engaged."

I won't knock SMG, it's a lot of fun, and unlike SMS, they tuned the difficulty curve just right to keep things from being too frustrating. But it's its own challenge.

As for the NSMB line, Nintendo has a lot of old-school fans (take a look at the hacks--RECENT hacks, I might add, for a game franchise that recently turned 25). Sometimes, there's no school like old school, and the returns they got on NSMB for the DS gave them the gumption to try it on the Wii. I personally find it a lot of fun because I grew up on the original, and while it has its own sense of variety, it keeps the 2D platforming core I grew to love.

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Happy

"Busted flush?"

:-) Sub-heading of the month!

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Anonymous Coward

Anyone got kids?

I've got kids of various ages, and I've noticed in the last two years everyone in the playground has moved to ipod touch.

They can buy the games themselves with the itunes vouchers, the games are cheap and varied, the platform is good enough to game on, they can message each other, the cameras are good.

if nintendo doesnt come up with something fast to compete with easy access 1.99 gaming, they're days as masters of the handheld market are numbered.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anyone got kids?

@AC 14:20 - spot on!

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2011/8/1/

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