Published on November 12th, 2010 | by admin1
Leave Luck To Heaven #1: From Love Hotel to Casual Games, Yet Never for the Hardcore
During the last two generations of consoles there have been many articles that made a big deal out of Nintendo’s focus on family friendly games. The main claim was that Nintendo was alienating hardcore gamers by pandering to casual gamers. Now when these articles were written I took immediate offense as a fangirl, but then I thought about it and I’m not sure they are wrong but at the same time not right.
Instead of saying that Nintendo panders to casual gamers, I’d instead like to point out that Nintendo never really focused on hardcore gamers. Thinking about the original Nintendo Entertainment System, the games were so simple you really had nothing more than casual games. Very few games could save and others simply implemented a password system. These games were rare to Nintendo and therefore really only left room for games that could be picked up and just as easily put down.
Next was the Game Boy. I’ll basically say that the portable systems are just that. They are made to go with you and not really meant for the hardcore games. Yes, some of the games, such as the RPGs can be time consuming and somewhat addictive, but I still wouldn’t consider them hardcore.
Now I could go on through every Nintendo console but instead let’s just look at their franchises. We have Pokémon and Mario which are clearly cartoony from day one and geared toward younger audiences. Now it’s not to say that there aren’t any hardcore franchises because of course they have Metroid. This especially became “hardcore” on the GameCube when it went from side-scroller to first- person shooter. There is also Legend of Zelda but they seem to bounce between being for children and more recently teenagers. These games are of course not for the casual gamer but at the same time they aren’t impossible for an average gamer.
Now where I think most hardcore games are coming from are actually third parties. Think GoldenEye, which was Rare, or Resident Evil, from Capcom. Yet since the other systems have become more and more prevalent, third-party support seems to have fallen at the wayside. Well, maybe not fallen at the wayside, but taken a cue from the current interests and also focused on family friendly casual games. Now there have been recent attempts to port some hardcore games to the Wii from the other consoles but this is difficult. The Wii’s control scheme is completely different from other systems. So this makes it expensive for companies to port hardcore games and instead they focus on the safe games such as the gimmicky mini-game filled ones that currently make up much of the Wii’s library.
I don’t actually mind casual games. The idea of having time for long games and work and social life seems a bit much. However if you want to complain about Nintendo’s lack of hardcore games maybe we should direct it at the third party companies that seem to have abandoned the company.
– Jasmine, founder of Super Happy Sparkle Onigiri Brigade.