Monday, November 3, 2008

The Kirby company

Mario has been Nintendo's mascot since the 80's but perhaps the Nintendo character that best characterizes the companies current nature would be the pink blob known as Kirby.

Nintendo has under the new leadership of Satoru Iwata transformed in to a company targeting a wider range of consumers. Aiming it's products at not only traditional gamers but also casual gamers and even non-gamers. To achieve this they have sought to simplify their games and make them more approachable.

Satoru Iwata prior to his relatively new position as the president of Nintendo, had spent his entire professional life working for HAL Laboratory. A Nintendo 2nd party developer responsible for among others the Kirby games. A platforming series built with the ambition of making a game that all players would be able to finish. Putting it in stark contrast to other games of the 8-bit generation which were characterized by high difficulty, games that only more skilled players could hope to finish.

I would argue that Iwata's vision for Nintendo and his view of what games should offer can be traced back to HAL and maybe the Kirby series in particular. That the Kirby games embodies what would come to be the new company philosophy.

Simple and
accessible games designed with a broader demographic in mind. Mario might be a far more popular character and one more closely linked to Nintendo in the minds of the consumers, but the new generation of Nintendo games have more in common with the fundamentals of the Kirby series then those of any Mario game.


Leon said...

this kinda puts you in a conundrum doesn't it? for future generation of consoles at least. you're a hardcore gamer with a very soft spot for nintendo, so should you follow the love or the challenge? the the style of nintendo or the gameplay of the contenders with tougher gameplay to offer.
well, of course you can have both, but it's not really what you own that matters, it's what you play. in your case it's the wii, mostly the VC games i guess. in my case the xbox and the triple a titles, or other rather high end productions. mostly, of course.

i didn't include the handhelds because the psp isn't much to mention, except maybe the megaman game i've been giving some thoughts on recently.
well i made my point and forgot about it, but it will be interesting to see which way your nose will pint in the future.

obviously one reason you don't go to the americano style hardcore games is that you like your games a little spriteier than the new generation offers. and of course, you have a love affair with japan, with also comes into play. but still, the only hardcore games comming from japan these days are the occational shmup, capcom sequels like dmc3 or megaman9 (not that they're the same) and maybe some arcade games i can't generalise as easily.

meanwhile all the american fps games nowadays can be viewed as hardcore games, either online or if you crank up the difficulty...

but i digress, comments aren't supposed to be like this, long and off topic. you see my point though

lx4 said...

Japan over all has been slow and hasnt really moved in to the next generation yet, except for maybe Capcom and the studios payed for by Microsoft.

Since I generally dont play FPS games I end up not playing my 360 much.

The Nintendo games still offer me an experience that I can appreciate, easy and simple but still very enjoyable (like a Kirby game).

But yea, Im mostly stuck playing remakes of old games and games I missed out on from last generation. But dont feel sorry for me, I love playing those games.

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