Nintendo is one of the oldest video game companies on the market, but that doesn’t mean that they are perfect. This list of the 12 Biggest Nintendo Fails shows off some of the company’s worst moments, from IP paranoia, to an inability to grow up, to a plain lack of adaptability in a growing technological environment. The following blunders set the company back in the past, and may even kill it going on to the future. These are the 12 Biggest Nintendo Fails.
While we may all love the Power Glove, it’s hard to deny that it was a cheap plastic piece of crap that didn’t work. Similarly, there were a ton of other Nintendo peripherals that were designed to be so small in scope that they worked for only one or two games and few people ever bought them. There was the GameBoy Advance link cable, the Wii gun holster, the Super Scope, R.O.B., the Nintendo Keyboard (both musical and computer), and much, much more. In fact, Nintendo is one of the only first party companies that has this many peripherals to sell, and they are all crap. Trashy controllers start off our list of the 12 Biggest Nintendo Fails.
The Wii U’s Name and Marketing Campaign
So, the Wii U isn’t selling, and one of the reasons is inherit in the name: The WII U. You see, Nintendo’s primary audience for the Wii was the casual gamer, the parents and grandparents and busy businessmen of the world who only purchased a console to see what was so hype about this “motion control” thing. This audience is not used to the idea of re-upping on consoles whenever a new generation comes around. They keep their electronics, like their computer, TV, radio, DVD players, etc. until they break, and it’s unlikely that most Wii’s have broken by now. So when the Wii U came out, most of these people said, “Why do I need a new Wii? I already have a Wii and it works fine.” Sorry Nintendo, but your assumption that you could catch lightning in a bottle twice is easily one of your biggest fails.
Attitudes Toward Third Parties
Third party developers have been complaining about Nintendo’s attitude toward them for some time now. Unlike Microsoft and Sony, who send test versions of their new hardware out to developers before they are even announced, Nintendo just sort of creates a new box and tells developers to go at it. It doesn’t help that Nintendo consoles are particularly difficult to design for, considering you’ll have to integrate motion controls, touch controls, and a non-standard controller into your game.
Back when the Wii game out, Nintendo said that HD was just a fad and that it wasn’t important to the common gamer. During the first half of the Wii’s life, this was totally true, and as a result Nintendo quickly solidified a powerful user base. However, during the second half of the last gaming generation, nearly every gamer had a HD TV, and at that point the Wii’s old-school analog outputs did nothing but contribute to screen lag. Now the Wii U finally is using HDMI to produce HD outputs, while Sony and Microsoft are looking into ultra high definition formats. Nintendo, you are always one step behind.
Censorship and the Family Friendly Image
Back in the days of Mortal Kombat 1, Nintendo made a decision. They were going to be the family friendly console. They censored the blood of MK1, while the Sega Genesis basically reveled in it, and this policy of censorship and shunning mature games has stuck with Nintendo to this day. In a way, Nintendo’s fan base grew up, but Nintendo never did. The guys who played Contra when they were five are now playing Call of Duty at 25, and they can’t get Call of Duty on a Nintendo console.
When the SNES era was coming to a close, Nintendo began talking with Sony in order to develop a CD based add-on for the Super Famicom, much like the Sega CD for the Genesis. Eventually, Nintendo decided to ditch the project, instead producing the N64 which used a proprietary cartridge based format. Meanwhile, Sony took their technology and made a whole console out of it, the PlayStation, and its CDs held far more information than the N64’s cartridges. In a way, it was Nintendo’s devotion to the outdated cartridge format that created the PlayStation itself! Aiding in the creation of your primary competition? That’s a huge one in our list of the 12 Biggest Nintendo Fails.
The Wii U’s Launch Lineup
Hey, everybody! The Wii U is out! What does Nintendo have for us today? Do we have a new 3D Mario game? No? What about a Zelda? Not that either, eh? How about a new Metroid that would be awesome!? No? Well, they could make a new Star Fox or F-Zero with the GamePad’s new touch controls? Seriously, not even Star Fox? Then what the heck DOES Nintendo have to offer? … Nintendoland and Sing: Party…. yay.
Not only is Nintendo one step behind in terms of graphics, it’s also one step behind in terms of internet capability. When the PS3 and Xbox 360 already had buddy lists, achievements, game invites, online lobbies, and leaderboards, Nintendo was still futzing around with “friend codes.” Their biggest games like Super Smash Bros. had some of the most abysmal netcode we have seen in the connected gaming age. Now, the Wii U is out and Nintendo has ditched friend codes, but they still haven’t allowed 3DS and Wii U accounts to synch. Also, they are just now understanding the importance of a buddy list while the PS4 and Xbox One are integrating with social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Nintendo has a strange habit of just denying its users access to capabilities its consoles already have. For example, the Wii was totally a DVD player. You couldn’t play DVDs on it because Nintendo never released a DVD playing program for the Wii, but it had a DVD drive that worked just fine. In fact, one of the first things homebrewers did was build a simple DVD playing program, as well as a CD playing program, internet radio program, and a program that lets you expand the memory of the Wii using external hard drives. All of this functionality was right there in the Wii hardware, and Nintendo just chose not to support it for some reason.
Nintendo didn’t have many consoles that were outright failures, but the Virtual Boy was the exception. This gigantic bulky headset was supposed to produce a stereoscopic 3D image, but what it really produced was eyestrain. It also produced neck strain as it was too heavy to actually be held on your face with a headstrap (unless you're Keith Apicary). Instead you had to bend down and look into the visor as it stood on a stand. It was, essentially, a portable gaming system that wasn’t portable, a huge Nintendo Fail.
The Phillips CD-I games sucked. This was one of the first, and only, times that Nintendo licensed its properties out to other developers and it was horrible. The Phillips CD-I totally trashed Nintendo’s image. Games like Hotel Mario and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon were completely uninspired, had horrendous controls, poorly thought out stages, MS Paint looking animated cutscenes, and the voice acting… oh god, the voice acting. They make “EXCUUUUUUSE ME PRINCESS!” look Oscar worthy. This is likely why Nintendo holds onto their IPs with an iron grip now, and strangely enough that iron grip has spawned many other Nintendo fails down the line. So in a way, these Phillips CD-I Games are a meta-fail!
Finally, we come to the Biggest Nintendo Fail of all. Rumors of Nintendo struggling have been circulating for a while now, but one way to guarantee mountains of cash for the company would be to put its games on iOS. Right now the only way to play NES or SNES classics is to jailbreak your device and download an emulator. Nintendo is missing out on some serious dough by ignoring the biggest growing gaming platform -- the App Store. Don't worry, Nintendo. We're still playing DS games. We just want to be able to play a little Mario on our iPhones too.