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Is more of the same ever good enough?

Written by FooFan on Tuesday, 23 June 20093 Comments

Written by MilkyMalky

If we had to pick one word that would describe Nintendo’s current console, most would choose the same word: Innovation. So it seems strange to me that the most of the excitement and anticipation amongst longer-serving Nintendo gamers comes not from the new and different games Nintendo brings out but more so from its well-established 20 year old franchises.

Franchises like The Legend of Zelda have been running for over 20 years.

Franchises like The Legend of Zelda have been running for over 20 years.

A case in point is this year’s E3, where the majority of expectation from Wii owners would have been a new chapter in Nintendo franchises, ones that have yet to grace the Wii. Franchises such as F-Zero, Donkey Kong and Starfox were among the favourites in most Wii owners’ minds. And those unfamiliar with these long-standing franchises wanted more of what they already had on Wii.

Needless to say Nintendo didn’t disappoint with their announcements at E3, although perhaps not in the way most gamers were expecting or hoping. With the announcement of Metroid: Other M, and New Super Mario Bros Wii other chapters in well-established franchises were born and with the announcement of Super Mario Galaxy 2 – we even had franchises within franchises on the same console. So something to appease the newcomers there then too. Making Super Mario Galaxy a franchise in its own right.

The question is, are we happy with age-old franchises rehashed again and again? Or does the real fun come from trying a brand new franchise and seeing Nintendo try their hand at something new? It seems that if the Wii is all about innovation, then where are the innovative new franchises? Where is the killer series that will go on into the future and stand up against the current great Nintendo franchises?

I suppose a lot of it is all to do with being risk-averse. The age old adage of “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” has never rung truer. Another relevant maxim is “give the people what they want” and as I said earlier considering all the buzz and hype surrounding the hopes for Nintendo at E3 focussed solely on reinventing franchises rather than creating new ones, there seems to be a lot of mileage in Nintendo doing what they are doing.

And I think Nintendo have it right because they have the ability to deliver the same franchise in unique ways to us as gamers time after time. Even though we’ve defeated Bowser and rescued Zelda countless times before, each new edition in the series is different and unique despite having the same characters and history.

It would seem then that the word Innovation can also be true for these franchises, because being able to consistently breathe life into the same sets of series again and again is itself truly innovative.

3 Comments »

  • biddenden_sue said:

    Amen to that. Excellent blog, Chris!

  • M_the_C said:

    Great blog.

    It might have something to do with the console, the Wii was a big risk for Nintendo so maybe they planned to only concentrate on the traditional franchises.

    The NES was the console to see the most innovation, most of the classic Nintendo series we think of were started there, but Nintendo have been innovating till quite recently. Pikmin was developed for the Gamecube and is a great series in my opinion, could that be the end or will it be in the last part of the Wiis life or the next console that we’ll see something new?

  • MilkyMalky said:

    Cheers guys,

    Whilst writing this, I was trying to think of “established” modern (i.e. the past two generations) franchises and the only one I came up with was Pikmin, which is a shame.

    Perhaps the Wii is so unique, that franchises created on its system perhaps wouldn’t travel to well onto the next machine which may not share as much similar characteristics with it.

    Who knows, but all I know is I still want a Starfox game on Wii!

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