I’ve noticed something a little upsetting. Here’s a quick survey. Read the following name. What’s the first thing you think of?
Naturally, to many, this name means little. But I wonder, how many of you would immediately think of the Super Street Fighter II (and beyond) character of the same name, and how many would go back to that dreaded Nintendo E308 presentation, hosted by Cammie Dunaway? Until now, I considered myself to be in the former category, but apparently, I am in the latter.
Nintendo is arguable treading water at the moment. In the not too distant future, I see all too clearly Nintendo’s home-console success crashing to the ground like a lead balloon, held by a lead child… in a lead plane. So naturally, at times as troublesome as these, the fingers of blame are pointed wildly in all directions. But who exactly is to blame? Marketing surely needs a boot up the buttocks for what it’s done to the Wii’s image. But Nintendo is a company where people come first. More to the point, Nintendo is a company with its people on the firing line.
Among some of the more recognizable public faces of Nintendo are the aforementioned Cammie Dunaway and the terrifyingly huge Reggie Fils-Aime. Cammie has perhaps received the most flack of the two, somewhat unfairly, seeing as she has the daunting task of representing Nintendo’s entire female market. But man is she creepy. They both are. They’re like a couple of super-advanced R.O.B.’s, both verging on becoming self-aware and enslaving the entire human race. However, both of them are trained in the art of “bull”, regardless of whether it is bull-true or otherwise, so it’s more or less part of their job to be hated once in a while. I was pretty surprised by all this Star Fox business though:
“Whenever I speak to Miyamoto about Star Fox, he says it’s not meant to be just a flying, sci-fi shooting game. It’s meant to be anything we want to think up. But the core fans don’t want that, but Miyamoto doesn’t really care about that. He wants to make what he wants to make, so he just goes ahead and gets it done.” – Dylan Cuthbert
Cuthbert currently has three Star Fox games under his belt, and while his comments have since been proven to have been blown out of proportion, it made me think. I’ve always considered Miyamoto to be a great man. A genius if you want to go that far. But I’m also willing to admit that my praises may be no more than a knee-jerk reaction. Regardless of this legendary status, does Miyamoto really bypass the blame-game?
A healthy portion of Nintendo’s glory is undoubtedly down to Miyamoto, the man responsible for such staple Nintendo trademarks as Mario and Link. Recently, however, his name has been more synonymous with Wii Fit, which was a bit “hmm”, and Wii Music, which was a bit more “urghhh!”. The general concern seems to be that Miyamoto may be placing his own enjoyment of games before enjoyment of the general public. “Fit” was inspired by his own desire to get healthy, and “Music” was inspired similarly. I still don’t believe Wii Fit’s success is down to the quality of the actual game itself. It’s more of a lesson in the power of advertising… and fluke.
In short, Miyamoto’s relentless personal ambitions may be a little detrimental to a company that so desperately needs to listen to the desires of it’s customers. I’ve always admired the man, purely for the fact that he’s obviously a gamer and not just a glorified car-salesman [sinister glare towards Reggie]. But labours of love are a concept long lost at sea, thrashing amongst the waves of the corporate nightmare that is the modern games market. For a while yet, Nintendo and it’s Wii will remain bullet-proof. I’m just concerned the reigns aren’t being passed around enough. I want to see Cammie in charge – “It worked! Right! Let’s talk Carmageddon 4 guys.”
Survey number two – Shigeru Miyamoto. Yay or nay? Vote now.