There is a feeling you get, walking into the Nintendo NY Store over by the Rock. You forget about the Wii, and even the Wii U, and it is as if you’ve entered a temple dedicated to all of your childhood memories and fantasies. While Nintendo has often been a pioneer in the industry, laying the foundations for many popular genres, mechanics, and design philosophies that are staples today, it’s hard to argue that they haven’t also made a fortune off of nostalgia. But, at the end of the day, is that so bad?
Let’s take a step back and look at the history: Nintendo saved the gaming industry as we know it, pure and simple. Our hobby would not be the same if not for the NES. After the crash of the early 80’s, referred to as “Atari Shock”, industry revenues fell by almost 97%. An over-saturation of, well, shitty games and false advertising led to drops in sales and a lack of trust in the big brands.
But never fear, for Hiroshi Yamauchi gave us the Famicom…er, I mean the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). More importantly, to regain the trust of consumers, Nintendo labeled all of their licensed games with their now-famous seal of quality, denoting that, in theory, the game had been pre-tested and approved by Nintendo itself. Additionally, they limited the amount of games published to avoid over-saturation. The rest is history.
Nowadays, many are upset with Nintendo. Others don’t care, and actually bought a Donkey Kong, Kirby and Yoshi game that were all Super Mario with a different coat of paint. Some still insist that the Wii U is like the Dreamcast, a fantastic console that the public “doesn’t understand”…I won’t even go into that one. I suppose the point I’m getting at, though, is that everybody likes Nintendo. We don’t get angry, we’re upset or disappointed. Everyone wants them to win. Even those poor kids who were stuck with a Sega Genesis (I was one of them) have moved on from the wounds of the original “console war”.
Just look at this line;
Those folks had been waiting for the public opening, which was at noon, since before I had arrived (shortly before 9:00 AM) for the ceremony. Nintendo brings with it a culture of excitement that I think few other brands can. Some company executives were present, including Scott Moffitt, Executive VP of Sales and Marketing, David Young, Assistant PR Manager, Rick Lessley, VP of the Supply Chain Group, and Doug Bowser, VP of Sales. But it was Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario, that really stirred the crowd. In between interviews with various outlets, I watched fans thank him with the utmost reverence for his contribution to our hobby.
It was oddly religious, in a way, and made me think a bit about a character like Mario, now 30 years old, and how he has gone from being something that a few geeks talk about at the lunch table to a pop-culture icon. Like it or not, that is Nintendo’s legacy. No matter what the future has in store for the company, they brought gaming back from the grave and laid the foundations for what is today an industry that rakes in about a hundred billion dollars per year.
Fortunately, Charles was kind enough to record this little diddy for us:
So indeed, the newly designed Nintendo NY Store is a lot like a temple. Its pantheon has been a part of our lives since we were old enough to pick up a controller and play. Just keep in mind, it is a store where they’re going to charge you thirty dollars for a novelty t-shirt and other little doodads. But hey, who doesn’t want a copy of the Hyrule Historia, am I right?