Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

October 23, 2012

Slate: How Nintendo saved itself from irrelevance

Imagine that Apple released a new iPhone not once a year but once every six years. Apple's press conference would get higher ratings than the Oscars. Users wouldn't just complain about the terrible new map app. They would riot about it. It would be, in short, unbelievably exciting.

That's kind of what it's like to be a gamer.

Gamers wait six years between new consoles, and they're going to get another one, finally, on Nov. 18, when Nintendo will release the Wii U. What's different this time is that the hungry masses of the Nintendo tribe include the old as well as the young, girls as well as boys, and extroverts as well as recluses. Gaming has not only grown larger, it has grown diverse in its players and its forms and its functions. And that's thanks, in large part, to a phenomenal turnaround by Nintendo.

The Nintendo brand name evokes a cast of gaming characters widely known and widely loved: Mario, Princess Peach, Donkey Kong. It conjures up for men of a certain age fond memories of collecting coins and shooting fireballs and breaking barrels. But by 2006, the company virtually synonymous with gaming found its relevance fading.

After introducing the Nintendo Entertainment System to the United States in 1985, Nintendo spent the next 10 years virtually dominating the video-game console market. Other consoles came and went, but few approached Nintendo's popularity. Nintendo met its match when Japanese entertainment giant Sony entered the field in 1994 with the PlayStation. The Nintendo 64, released two years later, would never outsell the PlayStation. Still, Nintendo's popular games bolstered the console's success, and it sold well in the United States. Despite the new competition, Nintendo held strong.

But Sony and American tech behemoth Microsoft, which eyed the market, belonged to a different weight class. They had more resources than little Nintendo could ever dream of. They could draw knowledge and resources from their other lines of business to produce technologically advanced devices. Sony's PlayStation 2, released in 2000, and Microsoft's Xbox, released in 2001, had great processing power, spiffy graphics, sleek design and inbuilt memory. Although more expensive, they doubled as DVD players. They included online play. Microsoft spent a billion dollars on Xbox Live, an online service for multiplayer gaming and digital content delivery.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Night & Day
  • Fair 2014 Niagara County Fair sticks with tried-and-true attractions

    The 2014 Niagara County Fair will be held Wednesday through Sunday at the county fairgrounds, Lake Avenue.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Hagar preview art 072414 Former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony talks Sammy Hagar and fast cars Claudio Zampolli is the person that can be credited with making Tuesday's show at Artpark possible. Billed as "A Journey Through the History of Rock, " the show features what some rock fans may call the better half of Van Halen, or at least the better half of what has been dubbed as "Van Hagar," the temporary marriage of two rock giants of the 1980s that resulted in some amazing music.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NAD Jennings column art 072414 Trio of acts make their triumphant returns They say all good things come in threes so we will be looking at three shows coming to the region this weekend, including a supergroup trio, a band out of Denver and a guy that has Carolina on his mind.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NAD temptations 072414 art 1 Temptations set to play Riviera Theatre Even those who are young enough to not have grown up in the Temptations' heyday are still likely to be able to identify one of their hits. Even if they can't say that it was the Temptations who wrote the song, most people know at least some of the words to "My Girl."

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Early tickets for Buffalo Philharmonic concerts now available The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is offering a chance to lock in your favorite seats to six of the season's highlights.

    July 24, 2014

  • NAD Calleri review art 072414 CALLERI: Two new films highlight the merits of movie stars

    In the truly great classic "Sunset Boulevard," the character of Norma Desmond, a faded silent film star, says in reference to her former fame: "I am big, it's the pictures that got small."

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Artpark advance art 072114 3 Doors Down close out Wednesday series at Artpark Wednesday Night's 3 Doors Down concert is the final in the 2014 Coors Light Wednesday series, the younger counterpart to the popular Tuesday night series that continues through August.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NAD Artpark review art 071714 Megadeth brings the metal to fans at Artpark It was mega-loud and mega-fast at Artpark Tuesday night as soon as thrash metal pioneers Megadeth hit the stage for a 90-minute set. Dave Mustaine and crew performed to an enthusiastic albeit smaller than usual crowd mostly clad in black clothing.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sara Bareilles 1 SLIDESHOW: Sara Bareilles takes the Artpark stage

    Pop diva Sara Bareilles was so good that even an hour long rainstorm couldn't drive her fans away. 

    July 17, 2014 6 Photos

  • NAD Jennings column art 071714 JENNINGS: Aretha Franklin, Tom Cochrane coming to town this week This week's column will focus on three shows coming to the Niagara region this week, all artists I am very familiar with so this offering will be a bit more on the personal side than usual. Those three shows are, Tom Cochrane with Kim Mitchell, Aretha Franklin and Theory of a Deadman.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page