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Nintendo - What keeps them afloat, nostalgia or newbies?


I post this to get people's opinions after a recent discussion with a friend. Often Nintendo get typecast as a company that caters only for kids - we have the bright palettes of the Mario series, the cutesy Toad and Kirby models and the preference to cartoony stylings over the hyper-realistic bent followed by Sony and Microsoft. My friend is strongly of the belief that this point of view is perfectly correct. I, on the other hand, disagree with him. While it's undeniable that on the surface their games appear more kid-friendly than most offerings from their rivals, on the flipside, the majority of their games offer a stern challenge past the first few stages that require some perseverence on the part of the player - not exactly a trait that is prevalent in the young 'uns I know.

I work in a UK school and as such get to hear a lot of youngster's opinions on video games. I teach kids aged from 11-18 and I can count on one hand the number of times kids mention good 'ole Ninty. From what I've experienced - and I often engage the kids in video game chatter during less busier parts of my day - their focus seem mainly to levitate towards the Call of Dutys and FIFAs of the gaming world with the odd mention of more mature games they shouldn't even be playing such as the Last of Us, Dying Light and Left 4 Dead.

So, for all Nintendo gets labelled as 'for kids', who really keeps them afloat? From my perusing of gaming sites across the net it seems, to me at least, that Nintendo get most of their revenue from us older gamers; people who hold the nostalgia of growing up with SNESes and NESes as their main consoles and playing Mario and Zelda titles throughout their formative years close to their hearts. Case in point the amiibo craze. I have yet to notice any mention from the kids at my workplace about any desire to own these highly sought after figurines and from my observations online and in gaming stores in my local city centre, all the furore around them seems to be from adults in or around my age range of 30 years old.

Are we, as nostalgic adults, the main reason Nintendo continue to do well or does some truth lie in the insinutation that all their recent game and console offerings are 'only for kids'? Once our generation (I grew up an avid Nintendo fan and still class the SNES as my favourite ever console) fizzles out will Nintendo begin to lose fan base and struggle? Or are they a timeless brand? There is little doubt they produce games of exceptional quality for the most part and that they have a strong catalogue of franchises that they rely on to keep fans coming back for more, but is that enough to draw in the majority of kids these days who seemingly get their kicks out of headshots and graphic violence?

I'm intrigued to hear people's viewpoints on this so I can take some of the opinions of others into round two of the discussion with my mate!

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About Lexingtongueone of us since 1:36 PM on 02.03.2014

Gamer for 20+ years, big fiction reader, prolific reviewer. Lover of the shmup and rhythm genre.

Author of one post-apocalyptic novel (The Wanderer) and one collection of horror short stories (Wither).