Console Anxiety: Mending my relationship with Nintendo

Nintendo

A couple weeks ago, the hard drive on my gaming laptop (also my work and school laptop) went bully-up.

Last week, my Xbox 360 began to randomly freeze after an hour or two of play. It’s still running fine, and certain game seem to do worse than others, but it’s made me apprehensive about even turning it on for fear that it, too, my be wearing out. Luckily, I’m home for the winter break so I can use the ol’ family PC to write and get in a little Street Fighter x Mega Man here and there. But it’s not a long-term solution. I still have a few weeks before I’ll be able to nab a new hard drive, and even if my Xbox wasn’t acting up, beating Dark Souls *again* or wandering ’round Skyrim a bit more isn’t really doing it for me. So instead, I turned to the tiny white rectangle inconspicuously plugged into the TV here at my family’s home.

I’ve been going back to the classics to bide my time when I need my gaming fix — Super Metroid, and Metroid Prime specifically. I’ve also popped in a Zelda game here and there when I have time. As much as it’s strange to say this, I’m reminded the Wii had some pretty cool games, some of which I’ve completely missed out on (Xenoblade: Chronicles, Monster Hunter Tri, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Skyward Sword) as I haven’t personally owned a Nintendo console since the GameCube/GBA.

Anyway, this got me thinking a lot about what I wanted from my games. I’ve said it time and time again on this blog, but I’m a fan of the kinds of experiences that are fun, imaginative, and gameplay driven; games that favor immersion and design over cinematic story; and games that allow me to explore, be it the the world or levels, or the very game mechanics themselves. Nintendo does that pretty damn well.

Similarly, I’ve been putting together my Best of 2012 list, and realizing my pickst are probably going to be a bit different than what other people will be picking. I like new and different; I like creativity; I like it when a game feel like a game, and not a movie, but not just a “toy” either. I feel like we’re finally at a place where there’s a split in the industry between these sorts of feelings and ideas, and the now-common tropes of AAA development, with it’s frankly insulting pandering to the lowest common denominator. I don’t dig that shit, yo. That’s become rather glaring in the types of game I gravitate towards.

But I digress. I had a much longer, much more in-depth post planned. One where I would plumb the depths of my own interests and passions, my own personal reasons for enjoying games. I was going to explore my feelings about Nintendo; my strange, almost apathy towards the deterioration of my current console. I was going to question this strange, nagging feeling in my stomach that the Wii U and 3DS might just be exactly what I want out of a console. That maybe, just maybe, despite all the waggling and partying, Nintendo may still yet be the very reason I play games at all — PC or console, indie or retail. But most importantly, I wanted to talk about how games are changing and I’m not really sure where they’re going, and why that’s okay — except someone beat me to it and did a far better job of it than I ever could. Instead, I’ll leave you with this excellent comic by Zac Gorman, perfectly capturing my own thoughts:

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I’m ready to bet on Nintendo again.

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