Nintendo has been going downhill for years. Always making underperforming consoles, alienating their third party partners, and failing to keep up with the constantly evolving principals of game design. For so long Nintendo has been faltering, and finally, they are making their way back to the top. I’m not talking about the Switch, which has all the aforementioned problems. I’m talking about their recent foray into mobile development.
Nintendo’s journey during the last decade has been an interesting one. It has been a long time since I have used a Nintendo console as my primary platform for gaming. It just hasn’t had the power to support the best games that are being made, and, while Nintendo does make good games, they don’t make good enough games to make them my primary console. And the recent release of the switch isn’t making them any more appealing to me. Since Breath of the Wild is on Wii u, until Mario Oddesy comes out this Holiday, there isn’t anything that I want to play, that I can’t play (or haven’t played) somewhere else. But despite Nintendo’s failing battle for my tv, they have almost completely won me over on my phone.
Right now, most of the games that I play on my phone are Nintendo, or Nintendo affiliated games, and there aren’t even that many of them out there. It all started with Pokemon Go last year. That is the mobile game that I have played the most by far, and it is the only mobile game that has actually affected my daily life. When Mario Run came out, it was always what I used to kill time, even being the cheapskate that I am, and not paying to unlock the full game. And now, my attention is completely diverted to Magikarp Jump. It is a silly game, but since I have slowed down on Pokemon Go Magikarp Jump has been a fun use of my time, and another outlet for pokemon.
It makes sense that Nintendo would take to the mobile environment well, having cornered the handheld market for years, but I am still surprised at how well they have captured my interest. When I was younger, I didn’t play a lot of Nintendo games. I started gaming later in life, on PlayStation and Xbox. I don’t have the nostalgic connection that many people do with Nintendo, but their mobile games are good. They do a good job making mobile games that are fun to play, without requiring microtransactions. So far, I haven’t spent a penny on any of Nintendo’s games, and I am still having a blast!
Nintendo has done something with their mobile games that they have had trouble doing anywhere else. They have adapted. Not only are these new Nintendo mobile games good Nintendo games, they are also good mobile games. This is great considering most Nintendo games still use game design principals from the 90’s. When these new games were made, there was a lot of thought put into them, making the moat of the platform they are on. Nintendo has had hit and miss success with this in the past, and these are certainly a hit. And the best part about it is that they didn’t take the annoying things from other mobile games too. No annoying ads. Microtransactions exist, but aren’t required to enjoy these games. It is the beginning of a new Nintendo.
I like the new direction Nintendo is taking. I hope they can soon separate themselves completely from consoles, and just focus on making great games, whether that is for PlayStation and Xbox, or android and iOS. Nintendo makes great games, and I would love them to be more accessible, instead of being trapped on their own devices. Zelda sold extraordinarily well considering it is only found on the two least popular devices on the market, imagine what would have happened if they had the power and install base of PlayStation, Xbox, or PC behind that game. Nintendo only has themselves to hurt if they don’t start broadening their horizons.
I like Nintendo’s games, and I am glad they are moving them out of the prison that they call consoles. Nintendo’s mobile titles have been some of the most fun I’ve had playing their games, and I hope they continue to expand. Getting their games into the hands of all gamers would be great for them. I hope they can move forward, and bring great games to everyone.