I have officially changed my opinion of Nintendo; I officially hate them. At first I was a huge fan. I mean Nintendo really defined my coming of age with home gaming. More importantly they defined my social gaming life. I think I need to qualify this statement a little and give a history of gaming life:
It all started with my Atari 2600. It was cool and all but I was very young when we got it (remember now I was born in 1978). I like going back now and playing an Atari emulator and appreciate the impact Atari had on the industry, but really its impact on my gaming career is minimal. My second gaming system was our Apple II. Sure laugh and tell me that the Apple II isn’t a gaming system, but I’ll tell you what my brothers and I used to get in straight up fights to see who was next to play Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?. The Apple II was for me where the gaming rivalry began. This held my appetite for gaming for a good while until Nintendo NES was released.
I have to admit we were not the first house in the neighborhood to get the NES, but I do recall having it within the first year or so of its release. The NES went everywhere with us that had a TV. We used to play every opportunity we got. My brothers (Joe and Dan) and I would ask for games on every birthday, Christmas, every store visit, any new release. I don’t know how many total games we had, but it was a lot. Funny enough we each had games we were really good at. My favorites were Contra, World Class Track Meet, The Legend of Zelda, and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. The one issue with the NES (as everyone who is reading this should know or else your fired!) is the reliability of the stupid cartridges. How many stupid tricks did we used to use to get those things to work? Door flap open! Door flap closed only after turning the power on! BLOW cartridge! BLOOOW into the NES! SHAKE game violently! SHAKE NES violently! God the crap we would do to make that damn thing work. But eventually we outgrew the NES, but who was there to save us with a better, more expensive system? SUPER NINTENDO!!
Man the SNES was awesome! It was like all the same games, only cooler looking and more expensive…but did we care? Hell No! Oddly enough most of my memories of the SNES consist of lots and lots and lots and (are you getting the point?) lots of Super Mario World playing and a few random memories of SimCity. The SNES held us over for a good 4 or 5 years in the very early 90’s.
In the mid 90’s I went through several consoles including a Sega and a 3DO. Both systems were gotten second hand and ultimately I didn’t play them all that much. My last “great” console was the n64 (noticing the Nintendo influence??). The n64 will go down for me as one of those game-defining systems. Why you might ask? Well the n64 did something that until that time I thought was impossible; true multiplayer beyond 2 players (up to 4 in fact)! Most of my n64 multiplayer memories are of Golden Eye and Mario Kart. I spent many a nights trying to master every jump and cheat in Mario Kart, however I lost all the time at Golden Eye since my best friend Matt used to pwn my face.
Then in the mid to late 90’s something changed. Prices of PC’s were coming down and building your own was way cheaper then buying a pre-built. It was also around this time that some of the great first-person shooters became really popular and this led me to start playing more PC based games. Doom 2, Quake, Quake 2, and more… It was also around this time that I got a job with a bunch of uber nerds who loved to have 14-16 hour LAN parties about once a month. It was at one of these parties that I got introduced to Ultima Online and the EverQuest (EQ) beta. This started my love hate relationship with MMORPGs. I found the game very easy and sunk many many hours into it. Hell who am I kidding I had a total time that exceeds embarrassing. But something about this online world was amazing to me. While playing EverQuest I kept up with the on-goings of the console world and was first in line to get a Sega Dreamcast, I also had a Playstation 2 the week it came out (however I ended up selling this). So after tons of hours and dollars spent on every flavor of console, RPG, MMORPG, and FPS I was kind of burnt out on gaming. And then in 2005/2006 something happened….
I heard a rumor of a system that Nintendo was working on that would change the way we play games. Interested I read all the press releases and I watched the E3 demos and was amazed. Finally a system that would be truly interactive I thought. Then I tried to get one and failed because they were sold out everywhere. I eventually got one a few months after it was released and very much liked what I had. I also showed it off to everyone I knew, hell the night I got it I was bowling with my in-laws and my wife’s aunt Laura, all of who are over 50. I was blown away that a game console could be evolved enough to be enjoyable by all people. I even got my 79 year-old grandmother to play it when she came over. I’ve bought several games as they have come out; in fact I own 10 games. At least 5 people I introduced to the console have since bought one for themselves (most of them would have likely bought one anyways though).
Here we sit and I am pissed… so I am sure some of you are wondering why? Well for the last year I have had my eye on the Wii Fit, I have shared the demo video with many people and all have been equally as impressed. I was excited when they finally announced a USA release date (nice of them to release millions in Japan over a year ago and to Europe late last year). So I show up at the stores on Monday May 19 only to be told that was the USA release date at the Nintendo World Store in NY (I am in Wisconsin mind you) and the real release date is Wednesday May 21. So I go after work to 12 different stores (Game Stop, EB, Target, 2 walmarts, circuit city, best buy, 2 shopkos, and toy’s r us) on May 21 only to be told, “sorry we’re all sold out”. Before you say “Tenny! you’re a moron you should have just preordered one” I went to two stores on Monday and not a single one offered me the ability to pre-order my copy. So every day during lunch for the last week I have called and not a single store has gotten a second shipment (at least that they will tell me about) yet. I don’t mind waiting in a line, but I will not be an eBay whore for those assholes who got one early in an attempt to extort people who actually want the game. I know this may sound like I am just whining a bit, but here is what really pissed off about. The best selling game ever at launch is GTA4 (per http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3167805 at least), at every store I went to after being rejected for the Wii Fit I asked if they had GTA4. Every single store had copies, tons of them in fact. I realize GTA4 doesn’t have extra hardware, but come on Nintendo is artificially creating demand by making the supplies limited. There are still stores that cannot keep Wii’s in stock, don’t tell me that they didn’t anticipate the demand for Wii Fit. This is just plain crap that screws the customer and I think it sucks.
Let me know what you think, am I just being a whiny bitch or do I have merit for being pissed at Nintendo’s blatant willingness to screw it’s customers?