Posted on June 06 2011 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
Night of The Second Day – 36 Hours Remain. To quote one of our recent commenters, who to be fair, just quoted a cliché – “E3 is so close now I can almost taste it”. How you taste E3 without going around licking booths is a mystery to me, but the sentiment holds true.
Back on track – today has been one full of heaps of Nintendo E3 rumors if you’ve been keeping up with all of our news. That makes this feature all the more well timed, because we’re taking a look at what Nintendo is all about. What does Nintendo stand for, and what are their philosophies? With all of these rumors, what we need to remember most is that Nintendo will stick with their values.
Graphics Aren’t The “Be All End All”
Graphics, or as Iwata commonly refers to them as – “photorealistic expression”, is not the focus of any game in Nintendo’s eyes. Now this philosophy doesn’t mean they stay away from games that look realistic. Nintendo EAD still makes games from time to time like Twilight Princess, and just last year, they gave Capcom’s Monster Hunter Tri a really big promotion.
Nintendo understands that while real graphics are stunning, they do not make a game. What matters is aesthetics. Nintendo knows the Scribblenauts has great graphics because it suits the game. That Skyward Sword has graphics that suits the comic exaggeration of enemies.
Look at Mario Galaxy or The Wind Waker – they show that great game experiences rely on graphics that are suitable, not that try to be as real as they can be. Last of all on this matter, Nintendo knows that The Wind Waker and Galaxy really haven’t aged yet. But more realistic ones like Twilight Princess are already showing their age. All of this is really common sense – but Nintendo sticks to their philosophy that graphics which are as realistic as photos are not necessary for a great game. Think of it this way – if a sequel to The Wind Waker was made, it could pretty much use the same graphics because they aren’t outdated, even eight years later.
Tech Specs Don’t Matter
This goes hand in hand with graphics, because Nintendo believes that you don’t need the best hardware to provide the best experiences and games. Looking at Mario Galaxy, you’d be pretty insane to not agree with them. When the Wii was announced Iwata said that although we’d all like the tech specs, he wouldn’t detail them because “they simply don’t matter!”.
This may get you thinking about Project Kafei. If the rumors are true and Kafei is a beast in the hardware department, is Nintendo going against their values? I don’t believe so. Nintendo is not all of a sudden going to be about making realistic games that use the hardware to the max. They will stick to their belief that a good game does not need all of the best tech specs. All that Kafei does is open up the console for third parties to be more attracted to developing for it. The winner there is us because we get a wider array of different games.
It is All About Experience
No, I don’t mean that being good at making games is all about experience. Well it is, but Nintendo having been in the business for so long does not automatically make them better. Experience in developing games does matter, but more important to Nintendo is the player’s experience.
Real graphics, the best hardware – none of that matters as much as the consumer getting a gaming experience that is fun, replayable, and every other word you could use to describe what you want in a game. Nintendo values the “fun” for us customers high in their priorities – whether we consider ourselves casual or hardcore gamers.
Customers Know Best
Anyone who is a member of Club Nintendo will be familiar with all of the customer experience and satisfaction surveys that Nintendo gather. What consumer’s think is important to them. In fact, this is taken directly from Nintendo’s corporate mission statement: “By listening closely to our customers, we constantly improve our products and services.”
It goes with wanting to enhance the player’s experience. Nintendo listens to what the players are saying so that they can provide the best experience. Still, you might hear Reggie going around saying that “we can’t please everyone” about the 3DS launch titles, but that just means they can’t this time around and have learned for next time. Nintendo is always learning and not shy about it. They learned from Mario’s 25th anniversary edition, and that is why they are making Zelda’s different.
Gaming is for Everyone
This point is where people will say things like Nintendo sold out, and Nintendo has deserted their “core” players. It is just not true. Nintendo aims to show that gaming is for everyone. The DS and Wii epitomized that value. There are so many new gamers thanks to those consoles. Gamers are now older than ever, younger than ever – and not at all intending to be sexist – but more comprised of females than ever.
The Wii and DS provided for everyone. Just like we were all once newbies in the online world, so called “casuals” are newbies to gaming, and Nintendo also has it as their mission to expose these gamers to what people would call more “core” titles. When Nintendo makes a product, they envision that it is for everyone and anyone.
Hardware and Software Must be Perfectly Married
Nintendo regularly uses the expression that hardware and software must be perfectly married. In many cases, along with experience, Nintendo has stated that this is one of the reasons why they think they are better than Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo has the perfect relationship as both a hardware and software developer. Games are tailored to the software, but even more importantly, consoles are tailored for the software.
I do believe this is a key point that helps Nintendo to stand above the crowd, and they know it is important. You have to be able to build both hardware and software together to fully realize both. In the end, only the creator can fully understand the potential of a console, and Nintendo knows that.
Leave Luck to Heaven
This is Nintendo’s oldest, and what I believe to be their most central value. For those of you who don’t know, or have simply forgotten, in Japanese the word Nintendo literally means “leave luck to heaven”. Well what does that mean as the name of a gaming company? It means don’t just sit around idle waiting for your chance – it means take chances.
Nintendo are known for taking chances, and of course, for innovating. They don’t leave things to chance or to luck. They don’t sit around and see where the industry goes and hope luck favors them. They drive the industry forward with innovation – some that succeeds and some that fails. That is who Nintendo is, it is what they always will be at heart.
Many of these values have been the reason that Nintendo receives so much criticism, but Nintendo will always stick to its values. As we approach E3 and look over all of these rumors and as we make our own predictions, remember that Nintendo keeps all of these philosophies at heart in all they do, and it becomes drastically easier to weed out the obviously fake rumors from the potentially real ones.