Nintendo: Past, Present, and Future

Nintendo: Past, Present, and Future

Nintendo’s Wii-U wasn’t too hot. Everyone can agree. Nintendo’s prospects for the next generation of consoles took a poorly implemented idea in the Wii-U gamepad, and combined it with the widely popular and successful Nintendo DS/3DS model of portability that managed to keep Nintendo not only afloat, but relevant for many years amidst the Wii-U blunder.  

Where do we stand now? Well, the world’s most well-known console manufacturer has switched its way into the future, so to speak, and every developer under the sun wants to retroactively jimmy their old titles from the last decade as well as their new projects into the library of ever-growing Switch games. 

While the console lacks anywhere near the same “oomph” in processing power as the current generation of gaming consoles has (let alone the next generation coming later in 2020), the convenience of the Switch’s Hybrid as a traditional TV-based gaming console as well as a portable gaming marvel is loud enough to assert dominance over a sizable area of the console market. 

And even with the lack of power, Nintendo’s design sense remains impeccable. 

Nintendo Direct, a brief pre-scheduled online broadcast through various platforms such as Youtube and Twitch designed to showcase the ingenuity of Nintendo as a first-party software developer, as well as other third parties developing software for the Switch, is the number one source for Nintendo-related news nowadays. 

Since the information conveyed in these “Directs” is typically being revealed for the first time, “When is the Next Nintendo Direct?” is a question that always stirs in the back of any gaming enthusiast’s head. 

When we get to see the latest experiment brewing in Nintendo’s basement of unbridled creativity, the excitement is boisterous and the resulting hype for upcoming titles sends quakes through the entertainment industry as a whole.

Just when was Nintendo founded?

Nintendo’s legacy spans a period several times longer than even some of its most devoted fans realize. The average person who thinks they know of Nintendo’s history would likely be off by quite a large margin if asked about the company’s origins.

Nintendo was founded back in the late 1800s (yes, 18xx, not 19xx) by Fusajirō Yamauch as a store called “Nintendo Koppai” that sold hand-crafted Hanafuda cards, a type of stylized playing card popular in Japan. As the cards grew in popularity, the store and company passed the hands of succession several times. By the mid-1940s, Nintendo was Japan’s largest playing card manufacturer. 

Hiroshi Yamaguchi came to inherit the company in 1949, and over the next few decades would prove that his instincts as a leader could take Nintendo to new places. 

When it became apparent to Yamaguchi how limited the playing card business was as a global force, he pushed for Nintendo to expand towards electronic toys. When Arcades began to boom in the 1980s, he decided to pursue electronic-based entertainment ventures such as arcade titles like Donkey Kong, and ultimately, its first inhouse gaming console, the Nintendo Famicom or the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America. 

As the sole voice in which products, often including which specific games were released, his instinct proved to be sharp, and Nintendo suddenly became a name known throughout the world going into the 1990s. 

Nintendo Continues to Create New Franchises, Adding to Their Mountain of Classics

Some of Nintendo’s key franchises need little introduction. There are numerous legendary franchises within the world of gaming directly attributed to the Nintendo brand, such as Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid to name a few. While longtime fans await imaginative new titles from these iconic titles, Nintendo is constantly at work, testing out new visions from their pool of established game designers.

One of Nintendo’s most successful franchises right now is Animal Crossing, which started on the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube in 2001. 

The Gamecube version was localized for North America, and since then, subsequent sequels have been released for each new Nintendo Console to hit the market. The 3DS and Switch iterations in particular (Animal Crossing: New Leaf on 3DS, Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Switch)   have been attributed to explosive popularity growth for the series, and have been instrumental in selling large numbers of their respective consoles to fans of the series as well as new blood curious about the buzz.the series has stirred up.

Animal Crossing is no doubt Nintendo’s hot franchise over the last half-decade or so, but not the only head turner. The Wii-U brought life to the Splatoon franchise, a multiplayer shooter game that takes an innovative, non-violent approach to a genre which is oversaturated with realistic war sims, battle royales, and tactical shooters. It has created a loyal legion of squid-loving fans, and is likely to grow in popularity over the next decade.

While we wait to see what will happen to some of Nintendo’s other newer franchises like Pikmin and Arms, we can expect to see the return of some old ones in the next few years. Maybe even Kid Icarus will return to the spotlight in the near future.

Even Kids Today Should be Familiarized with Nintendo’s Golden Era of Consoles

Nintendo made available the Nintendo Classic (more appropriately, the NES Classic Edition) to impressive demand but limited supply just before the holiday season in 2016, making it one of the year’s hottest gifts. 

It continued to sell like hotcakes through the next year as a larger run was manufactured. The NES Classic Edition includes 30 of Nintendo’s most iconic games from the late 80s and early 90s. At its core, it is simply an emulator designed to emulate the NES hardware like many PC programs have been doing for decades, thus the tech-savvy DIYer can effortlessly rig it to run almost anything from the Nintendo library. 

Upon the tremendous success of the NES Classic Edition, Nintendo subsequently released the Super Nintendo classic, with a much better initial supply run to meet the demand. In the same way the NES Classic Edition is moddable, the SNES Classic Edition follows, offering old gamers and new gamers a way to play hundreds of retro titles from the 1990s. 

You can use either of these consoles to waste hundreds of hours with your loved ones, under the pretext of “teaching them about the history of consumer electronics and video games in the late 20th century”. It’s Educational, I swear. 

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