Nintendo and The Hardcore Gamer: Who Abandoned Who?
By otakuman5000 On 26 Jul, 2012 At 10:49 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Nintendo Wii/Wii U, Old School Otaku | With 2 Comments

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A hardcore gamer used to mean someone who played a variety of games because the welcomed the challenge and different game play experiences that the world of gaming offers.  Today the so-called hardcore gamer is someone who is loyal to a gaming genre or franchise and doesn’t want to play anything that is not gritty and dirty. They are also people who are so loyal to their favorite consoles or gaming genre that everything that is not what they like, are regarded sub-par and not worthy of a single look. This contrast could be the fault of the game makers who are after the next big game or there is truly no creativity in gaming anymore.

Back during the mid 1980’s through the mid 1990’s Nintendo could basically do no wrong. Nintendo had some of the best companies in the world working on some of the best games in the history of video games. The Game Boy was the best-selling handheld gaming device in history. Most Hardcore gamers had the Nintendo Entertainment System, The Super Nintendo and a Game Boy and enjoyed the games on all three platforms.

Now in the mid 1990’s The Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation consoles were released and brought CD based Gaming to the mainstream. Those consoles changed the way video games looked and sounded with the advanced CD technology in the hardware. The hardcore gamers were seeing games in a whole new light. Then came the Nintendo 64 system, and that is the day the love died for most hardcore gamers.

Deny it if you want, but when Nintendo announced that they did not choose the CD format because of loading times and they were going to stick with cartridges some fans abandoned them. Some of the “hardcore” gamers never went back. In the eyes of the hardcore, Nintendo dropped the ball and they were from that day on, a generation behind. However, in the grand history of video games, the Nintendo 64 was a gaming marvel. If not for the N64, there would be no Goldeneye 007, Super Mario 64, Super Smash Brothers,  The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time or Mario Party. These are games that broke the mold as far as game design and game play mechanics.

Super Mario 64 is the blueprint for all modern platformers.

Super Mario 64 was the blueprint for the 3D platformer.  Goldeneye 007 single-handedly brought the first console first person shooter into the mainstream, until Halo on the original Xbox. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time helped mold the 3D action adventure genre into what it is today. Super Smash Brothers and Mario Party both were a phenomenon like no other and they have both spawned numerous clones. However some hardcore gamers couldn’t get past the cartridge hump. Which, in this writer’s opinion, doesn’t make them hardcore at all. With that being said, let’s move on.

Enter the GameCube. Now this was the last time that a Nintendo console was technically comparable or superior to the competing consoles. The PlayStation 2 and Xbox dominated that generation with the third party support. The GameCube had great games like Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil Zero and the remake of the first Resident Evil game. They also had Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, Killer 7, Skies of Arcadia Legends, Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes, and the Metroid Prime series.  Other games like Super Mario Sunshine and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess would have been included in that list, but those are not considered hardcore because they are not M-rated.

This is one of the best GameCube games you didn’t buy.

Next is the first lightning rod of all the hardcore Nintendo hate, The Nintendo Wii. Now it is a popular saying among gamers that the Wii console is for your grandmother, little kids or casual gamers. This author begs to differ. The Nintendo Wii DOES have some hardcore games, you just need to open your eyes and look. Games like Sin and Punishment: Star Successor, Madworld, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Donkey Kong Country Returns, No More Heroes, and many more. Most of these games were overlooked by the so-called “hardcore gamers” because these were franchises that were not established. That is the fault of the gamers not being willing to try anything new.

Another Wii game many of you slept on.

Let us turn to the Nintendo 3DS/DS.  This is one of the highest and fastest selling handhelds in history. With that being stated, The Sony PlayStation Portable was considered the handheld for hardcore gamers. The Nintendo DS outsold the PSP in the US at a ratio of 4 to 1. The thing about the DS/3DS was the fact that many of the classic gaming franchises we consider hardcore we released on the device.  Titles like Contra, Metroid, Castlevania, Chrono Trigger, and The Zelda and Mario series helps keep the DS/3DS in the hands of the hardcore gamer who likes true portable gaming. The unique game play styles the DS/3DS gives us is one of the main reasons the handheld does so well.

Now, the second lightning rod of Nintendo hate, the Wii U. A console that is not released yet, but already has the hardcore gamers generally dismissing Nintendo. Some gamers have even suggested that Nintendo set the gaming generation out because in their eyes Nintendo is dead and buried. More suggest that Nintendo go the route that Sega has gone, third-party developer. Both are nonsense, in this author’s opinion. What most of these gamers don’t realize is the Wii U is made for us core/hardcore gamers. It has HD graphics for the graphic whores and even a new pro controller for traditional game control. After Nintendo gave you all that now you are complaining about the games. Have we become a nation of whiny gamers? That is for another editorial by this same author.

Hardcore Gamers think this is the only cool game for the Wii U.

Now with all of that said, the hardcore gamer still questions the relevance of Nintendo. While their consoles and companies of choice have been playing catch up with the innovation of Nintendo, now the hardcore are throwing stones and the Wii U and now at the 3DS. This practice is sad by this author’s standard. While Nintendo is finally catching up to Microsoft and Sony on a graphical level, Sony and Microsoft have not caught up to Nintendo on an innovative level.  So is the Wii U the console that will both innovate and satisfy the graphic whores? It will probably not. One thing it will do is get even more people enjoying the gaming experience in other ways than currently available. As previously stated, the thing about the Wii U is that it was made with the hardcore gamer in mind. This is the Nintendo console for you. The fact the Nintendo made a Classic Controller Pro is proof of that.

Hopefully this editorial doesn’t come off as a fan-boy rant. It is not intended to seem that way. All companies and consoles deserve their shine and when a segment of society bashes them without an informed opinion, it is not fair. The bottom line is, Nintendo has always had the games and the audience. Many of you have grown up with Nintendo.  The problem is many of you are not growing with Nintendo.  Nintendo never abandoned the hardcore gamer, it is the other way around.

This game is not considered a hardcore game. Why not revisit it and see for yourself?

About - I am a 40 year old Gamer/Geek/Otaku who has been gaming and watching anime since the late 1970's. I am a passionate otaku who loves all types of games, anime and comics. I have been writing about games since I was a young man. I am an entertainment retail expert and an avid game collector. You can always find me playing or watching something geek related.

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  1. MukkineseNo Gravatar says:

    I’m really depressed by some of the comments and the attitudes of many calling themselves “hardcore”. They tend to come off more like spoilt brats. Sure it is legitimate to say one console has better graphics and power than another, but to dismiss a console on those grounds is not “hardcore”. Hardcore is about gameplay, not keeping up with the Jonses. Having said that, novelty is important, non of us want to keep doing the same things over and over, but, as you say, that should be more the area of game devs than console makers. Thankfully Nintendo see innovation as their “thing” and good luck to em.

    As a dedicated PS3 player, I did not turn away the Wii. It is a great machine, sure there are lots of mediocre games on it, but there are also gems, including some of the “party” games.Boom blox or Mario cart parties are a riot. With all the hours I have spent on the PS3, which I love, I have never had the same kind of social fun as on the Wii. In my house both are used regularly.

  2. I’d say the “hardcore gamer” truly abandoned the Nintendo market with the game cube. It forced Nintendo to do what it hadn’t done in decades, return to its roots of casual approaches.

  3. AndrewNo Gravatar says:

    I was one of those whose love affair with Nintendo ended with the Nintendo 64.

    However, in all fairness, it must be noted the SNES was the first home console I owned, and that was in 1994, right around the time the transition from 4th gen to 5th gen was going on. Before that I had to go over to friends’ houses to play the NES.

    I loved the SNES, but most of my games came from two companies: Nintendo (Zelda, Super Metroid) and Square (Final Fantasy VI). And when Square announced they were jumping ship, that kind of left me torn.

    I got a N64 the year it launched with Super Mario 64. The problem is, Nintendo had very little in follow-up for SM64, while the PlayStation was getting games right and left. Once FF7 came out on PS1, I jumped ship, and found so much more on the PS1 than the N64 ever had. I wasn’t a fan of Rare’s games, so once Ocarina of Time came out the N64 was pretty much finished as far as I was concerned.

    However, I loved the Gamecube. My favorite Zelda games are the Gamecube games. Tales of Symphonia was an RPG that I considered as high-quality as any PS2 RPG. Resident Evil 4 was incedible.

    I bought the Wii before I bought the PS3 or 360. The Wii had the same problem as the N64: It had little to interest me, and I did get games like Sin and Punishment. There was nothing that compared with Fallout 3, Tales of Vesperia/Tales of Graace, Valkyria Chronicles, Yakuza, or any number of other games I love on PS3/360. Nintendo is at least sending the Wii out with a bang with Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story, and I will be getting both of those, and that’s more than I can say about the whimper that the N64 died with.

  4. pocketpunkNo Gravatar says:

    Hi there, I’m a loyalist. It’s been Nintendo since the NES and the first Gameboy, which I still have. Our children have grown up with this company and I strongly believe that no other console supports my children’s entertainment or learning better than Nintendo. Their ideas take you away from day to day life which is what we are all after. I can’t imagine they’ll ever put a foot wrong, in my eyes.

  5. TOMNo Gravatar says:

    Thumbs up to you my friend. For me, No Nintendo No, Video Games.

  6. Great read Andre. I do agree that the hardcore gamer did abandon Nintendo, but I believe a number of them did it just from the simple act of growing up.

    Personally, I have a lot of respect for Nintendo because they dominated my childhood before I became a Playstation Fanboy lol. From an adult perspective however, their games don’t speak to me anymore. I will use Transformers for an example. I loved Transformers growing up, and recently I tried to watch some of the old-school shows on Netflix. I just couldn’t do it, I felt like I grew out of it even though I still like Transformers to this day. I feel that way about Nintendo but I don’t take it out on them like the jaded gamers this generation. I see the company like an old friend that I haven’t seen in a long time.

    Project P-100 on the other hand has caught my eye though…

  7. I’m one of those poor bastards that “abandoned” Nintendo (that didn’t stop me from buying a N64, a Wii, and to preorder a WiiU). The only problem is that I used to get over 50-60 titles per consoles back in the Colecovision, NES, and SNES times. After that, I was lucky to find 10 titles per console that held my interest.

    Most hardcore players today are “forced” to buy multiple consoles if they want to play all the top games available. Sticking to Nintendo alone is a good way to be disappointed. Nintendo still has a few top quality titles but more often than not it is just more of the same. They are big franchise names that failed to innovate with the time. Sure, you might get a Xenoblade Chronicles if you beg long enough but that doesn’t cut it for me.

    I’m tired of the Marios, Zeldas, and Pokemons of this world. Without brand loyalty and nostalgia, these games are not offering much. Don’t get me wrong, the same thing can be said about most FPS games and other genres that plague the other consoles.

    But what really gets me going is when I see weird titles that aren’t afraid to take risks and to being a new experience like World of Goo, Okami, Portal, Limbo, Journey, etc…

    And then you have the games that can only make your jaw drop like Uncharted 3, Batman: Arkham City, Red Dead Redemption, BioShock, Mass Effect 2, etc… the current Nintendo systems don’t have the capabilities to offer such grandiose experiences. Sure the WiiU will probably bring back Nintendo up to par, but for how long?

    Oh, btw… I’m also a huge sports fan… I play lots of sports both in real life and online. I would be really happy to just have to buy a Nintendo console for my sports gaming needs but it is just not there.

    And it might not be a hardcore vs casual argument but more because I’m old. I actually programmed home games in basic before I got a Colecovision. I’ve made my parents lives miserable by using the phone line to play online games on BBS using a 2400bps modem. I’m too old to look stupid while playing with all those new “improved controls” or “innovations”. Waggling is not my definition of having fun. Whistling in my 3DS isn’t either. I hate gimmicks… I just want to play games with the most effective control methods to be successful or else I’m annoyed. Just take PunchOut for the Wii for example. I’ve played the hell out of the game when I was a kid. I am very curious about how long people played with default controls before they switched to classic.

    I am also wondering how a company as big as Nintendo can release so many faulty products by design. Why don’t I have a second analog on my 3DS? My kids going to the daycare are smart enough to know that such a thing should never have been forgotten.

    But in the end, if you want to convince people that Nintendo is still for hardcore players, at least try not to insult people when you do.

    (P.S. Is it considered to be a graphic whore to ask for games to look better than the ones available back in the 20th century? God forbid that I ask for voice acting in my games… or a story, or for having access to more that 6 power ups in my games (that are always the same), anti-aliasing capabilities that would prevent me from getting seizures every time I see a set of stairs or just… a low rez texture…)

    Now try to explain to my two kids who is going to have the rights to use the WiiU pad and who is going to be stuck with a crappy WiiMote… The WiiU pad would have been revolutionary if it would have allowed four players to have one at once (thing about how racing and fps games would be insane with everybody using its own screen). But no… Nintendo will still deliver subpar hardware and miss a golden opportunity.

  8. MattNo Gravatar says:

    the reason the wiiu can’t do 4 players is because that would rase the costs sky high.

    I honestly never gave up hope on nintendo,they helped me feel great about myself

  9. Great Article. I’m a father of 4 and I have always considered myself a hardcore gamer. Mostly because of the variety of games that I was into.
    I’m one of those gamers that has been with Nintendo since the NES days. I didn’t abandon Nintendo when the N64 came out. I was fortunate to own both the N64 and a Playstation. The relationship has definitely been a love/hate relationship throughout the years. The have been plenty of times where I have been truly angry at how Nintendo had either dropped the ball or failed to keep up with Sony or Microsoft. Overall though, I feel that Nintendo has been the true innovators in the gaming industry. They have always tried to keep a family friendly image with regards to the company. This isn’t a bad thing. Not all gamers are teenagers or twenty-somethings who only want to play bloody First-person shooters. There is plenty of room for games of all types, and the real hard core gamer will play anything.

  10. ZrowNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve NEVER had the same amount of over the top, shouty, drinky fun on another consoles as I have with Nintendo consoles. From Bomberman 64 to Mario Kart, Starfox, Wii Sports – you name it! You lose – you drink LOL. I think the problem is more with Nintendos marketing than anything else. The marketing depts of Sony & Microsoft convinced a lot of easily impressionable people that gaming was all about style over substance and if the game didn’t contain boobs, gore or pretty graphics it wasn’t ‘hardcore’ – actual gameplay be damned. When you sit down and look at the amount of innovative ideas that other companies have flat out stolen off Nintendo (from shoulder buttons to thumb sticks to Rare itself etc etc etc)it’s absolutely shameful & just proves that the term ‘hardcore’ is for followers not leaders. (Then again, Nintendo’s 3rd part support has always been lousy)

  11. keltariNo Gravatar says:

    Honestly, Nintendo is a dying company. The Wii was a novelty which attracted new buyers and hard core Nintendo fans. As of today, I dont know anyone who still uses their Wii. Even the most harcore Nintendo fanboys I know have given up on them. I fully expect Wii U to be a disaster and for Nintendo to exit to console market.

  12. RedPandaNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, great topic and nicely done.

    I switched when the 3d games began too.. as of then to current, i’m on playstation for the games.. but with the upcoming bad news from console reports, i might soon just stay on pc

  13. Wow you are so lost son!! Nintendo a Hardcore machine? They are a company who is WHORING their poor helpless icons worse than a pimp in Las Vegas! They slut their precious characters out with fads like the “wand controller”, and “3-D” ability and “the stupid scale, workout crap” that all soccer moms bought into! Now they’re gonna pimp out Mario and Link along with all the others using a “High Def” and a controller with a screen! OOOooooohhh!! Where do I line up? I’m going to sum it up here…Hardcore Games live off of MultiPlayer. And where is Nintendos? Giving you codes and crap to input just to comment??? Nintendo is doing what they do best…slutting the crap out of children’s beloved little pink, red and blue characters using fads! I can’t hate em…they’ve made billions! But they are not catering to the Hardcore market whatsoever! If they even cared a fart in the wind about that market they would’ve given the Wii a descent controller to play such advanced games!

  14. ChiNo Gravatar says:

    “The problem is, Nintendo had very little in follow-up for SM64, while the PlayStation was getting games right and left.”

    Save for a few small, relatively unknown titles like Zelda (OoT & Majora’s Mask), Goldeneye, Banjo Kazooie, Donkey Kong,(I know you don’t like the Rare games) Bomberman, Mario Kart, Wave Race, Perfect Dark, Super Smash Brothers, 1080 Snowboarding, and the Mario Party, WCW, WWF, and Pokemon: Stadium franchises.

    The N64 was one of the best consoles ever.

  15. MorwaulNo Gravatar says:

    LoL, console junkies are so funny. Get a PC and play real games.

  16. Lev186211No Gravatar says:

    So you initially begin the article with an implied neutrality, only to reveal half way through that you are the counter of what you are complaining about.

    You are a Nintendo fan.

    I was sponsored to play StarCraft (on PC) from 1999 – 2002. I was playing Dune 2 when you were playing Super Mario Brothers. When I played consoles it was for a laugh (and it was usually a Sega)

    Almost two decades later I’m still laughing at the idea that console gamers call themselves “hardcore gamers” when I personally liken their platforms to pinball machines.

    A hardcore gamer in MY definition (which I do not pretend is unbiased) is someone who introduces gaming to every facet of their life, including their income source. The best multiplayer communities of any console are still far from comparable to what we in the PC world experienced in the early days of Battle.net.

    And this is without touching on games like Quake & Counter Strike.

    Your highest practical APM games amount to a mere fraction of our lower range competitive games (obviously not including games which require that you spam the same button over and over, this can hardly be rated).

    Your sponsorship opportunities are incredibly limited considering the vastness of console popularity, because no one in the corporate world rates your achievements. The reason for this is because given a relatively short period of time, say 4 months, a completely inexperienced gamer can potentially emulate the results of the highest tier gamers from your platform (if they were to spend the 8 hours a day required to hold a StarCraft sponsorship for example). Whereas in a game such as StarCraft, Quake 3 or Counter Strike, it takes years to reach the standards required to maintain a sponsorship.

    And before someone says “CONSOLE FPS”; just let me point out how quickly you hit the wall in the console versions of FP Shooters. We are talking months vs years.

    Don’t lend yourselves to our category of “gamer” by calling yourselves hardcore to compensate for the fact that your Nintendo scores are ultimately worthless and your time has been wasted.

    If you can play your game drunk, if a young child can play your game to a high standard, you are not hardcore, you just play games to pass time.

    The only exception to this rant is your sports genre including games such as FIFA. There is extraordinary skill required to master these games, which is reflected by the class of sponsorships available for these games and I have the fullest respect for anyone who is top tier in FIFA.

    If you read this far: I hope I didn’t give your nerd side a heart attack with rage… Actually, I kind of hope I did.

    P.S. Sonic the Hedgehog > Mario

  17. DruneNo Gravatar says:

    Heres why hardcore gamers hate Nintendo. Nintendo, while coming up with a console that was way different from the others of its generation, has not had a single new idea in their head when it comes to the games. Nintendo itself just releases what amount to remakes of the same games over and over. Add to that the gimmicky motion controls that they add to everything and it just makes me ill.

  18. GehennakatNo Gravatar says:

    I think some of the more current “hardcore” gamers are more fanboys. A gamer by definition is as follows:

    Definition of GAMER (Merriam Webster)

    1
    : a player who is game; especially : an athlete who relishes competition
    2
    : a person who plays games; especially : a person who regularly plays computer or video games.

    A hardcore (video) gamer should then be someone who plays video games regularly and relishes in the challenge/competition of it. Not who can bash the other camp. You’re a gamer so game. Who cares if it’s a Neo-Geo or an Atari 2600? I loved the first two GoW, AND Uncharted, AND Monster Hunter, AND Diablo 3. Follow your games where ever they may take you and if some troll is bashing you playing Killzone on PS3 instead of Halo… so what. I honestly can’t wait for the new Wii. If any one can revolutionize gaming it will be the company that brought it main stream originally.

  19. EdNo Gravatar says:

    I love Nintendo Wii because it caters more towards youth. Same with the DS3. My oldest twins are 11. I have 5 younger kids also. Right now we own 3 Wii’s & 7 DS3′s. Hardcore gamers tend to play M rated games which are too violent for kids. Nintendo knows it’s demographics. When my kids grow up they will be welcome to use my gaming rig – a multi monitor 8K PC with top of the line innards. I’ll probably have upgraded 2 or 3 times by then. My guilty pleasure is my still functioning Sega Genesis with all the Sonic carts plus a dozen others. My point is that each gamer bases their preferences at how old they are in life and their disposable income. Game on!

  20. Titan StarNo Gravatar says:

    “Hardcore Gamers” in my personal opinion are the worst type of gamers in the history of forever…
    They think that people who don’t play CoD and/or Halo are idiots, that is a horrible assumption.
    I play games like Monster Hunter 3 Tri and Xenoblade Chronicles, and think they are some of the coolest games around. Meanwhile, everyone else calls them crap just because they are Nintendo based (Xenoblade anyway)

    If it doesn’t have tons of F-bombs and blood and guns, Hardcores think it is a “Child’s game”
    “Pfft”
    Whatever.
    I love this Article, it shows the TRUTH!
    otakuman5000, You are awesome
    ‘Nuff said

  21. ArthurNo Gravatar says:

    All platforms have cool and challenging games. I thought that was the most important thing. Does it really matter if its on PC or console? Honestly I just kind of look at BOTH you PC and console fanboys to point and laugh at you guys every time you have to fight over nothing at all. A real hardcore gamer plays video games on all platforms indiscriminately because he/she has the confidence that the platform he/she is playing on has cool games to offer. All of you PC junkies and Console ass kissers ranting and saying “Oh go get a PC and play real games” or “PC sucks, console kicks ass because PC is gay” you ‘HARDCORE GAMERS’ who are like this are not real gamers, you are just a bunch of whiny little kids who wont shut up.

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