Kotaku recently had a candid interview with Reggie Fils-Aime where Reggie described the Nintendo gamer as “insatiable” because when you show them what they ask for, they keep asking for more. Read on for my thoughts and Reggie’s thoughts on the Nintendo gamer.
The quote I want to focus on the most is the one below…
Fils-Aime: One of the things that, on one hand, I love and, on the other hand, that troubles me tremendously about not only our fanbase but about the gaming community at large is that, whenever you share information, the perspective is, ‘Thank you, but I want more.’ ‘Thank you, but give me more.’ I mean, it is insatiable.
“And so for years this community has been asking, ‘Where’s Pikmin ?’ ‘Where’s Pikmin ?’ ‘Where’s Pikmin ?’ We give them Pikmin. And then they say, ‘What else?’
“For years, this community have said, ‘Damnit Reggie, when you launch, you better launch with a Mario game.’ So we launch with a Mario game, and they say, ‘So what’s more?’
“I have heard people say, ‘You know, you’ve got these fantastic franchises, beyond what you’re doing in Smash Bros. , isn’t there a way to leverage all these franchises?’ So we create Nintendo Land and they say, ‘Ho-hum, give me more.’ So it’s an interesting challenge.”
Now on one hand I agree with Reggie, people can’t get enough Nintendo but on the other hand I completely disagree with Reggie. While the Wii had a share of hardcore titles such as The Conduit, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor, Mario Galaxy 1/2, and others, the Wii also had tons of casual titles to try and lure in a new class of gaming fan. The hardcore fan is watching E3, not mom and dad but what do you show? Wii Fit U. Now don’t get me wrong, Wii Fit was a tremendous success but I’m not sure how many people are actually still using the game enough for them to buy Wii Fit U. Now since mom and dad aren’t watching E3 this would have been the ideal time to show progress on a little game called The Legend of Zelda HD (you know that little franchise with the guy with the sword). It’s not that Nintendo fans are insatiable, we just know what we want and when you tease us a year ago with The Legend of Zelda HD and get everyone in the media excited about it, then don’t show ANYTHING about it at your E3 press conference, it leaves the Nintendo fan wanting more. This may be your tactic but it leaves the fan “insatiable” because they don’t get what they were looking for and should have been provided instead of some guy sitting on a balance board pretending to bobsled. The hardcore Nintendo fan is looking for that title that makes them say “Nintendo is back to caring about me and won’t leave me ever again”, not Wii Fit U.
While it’s true that Nintendo fans want a Mario game at launch, they tend to want a NEW Mario game… and not a game like New Super Mario Bros. Wii U, a Super Mario 64 epic launch title. That’s what they are expecting and they will settle for nothing less. So to say “ok we did what you wanted, we launched with a Mario game”, you need to understand your core audience is looking for more than just a sequel to a title, we’re looking for something that is going to showcase the system. We want an HD Mario that is going to knock our socks off, not a game we could play on Wii. Know your audience.
Now the Nintendo Land comment has me intrigued a little because I actually think Nintendo Land is a good launch title for a Nintendo fan. It contains some games that only the hardcore would know (F-Zero anyone?) and it’s a Nintendo amusement park… what more do you need? The major problem, however, is that Nintendo Land is full of mini-games. While that may not be a bad thing necessarily, the hardcore Nintendo gamer that left Nintendo after the Wii left because of that magical word, “mini-game”. Mini-games are all over the Wii, whether it be Mario Party, Wii Fit, Wii Game Party, Big Brain Academy, Wii Party, Carnival Games, Pac-Man Party, and the list goes on and on. The amount of shovelware containing mini-games is enough to drive anyone crazy. Take me back to the days where the Nintendo seal of approval actually meant something. Nintendo fans cringe now at the mention of mini-games, and I can’t remember how many times I have read in the comments to an article “oh jeez, another mini-game title”. Mini-games are fine in small doses, but when the majority of the Wii titles have mini-games in them, it burns out the audience and people judge a title like Nintendo Land harshly (probably unjustifiably). However, it is Nintendo that has brought this upon themselves by creating a casual culture where so many mini-game titles can flood the marketplace and leave the “insatiable” Nintendo hardcore gamer wanting more.
So Reggie is correct, the hardcore Nintendo fan is “insatiable” but guess what? You made us this way.