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Thoughts on how Nintendo’s been playing it safe the past few of years with remakes


I know this is probably an exhausted popular opinion, but I was talking to my brother earlier about this. He's pretty closed minded about the remakes (he hates them) and I wanted to hear some of your guys's thoughts, as I'm kind of 50/50.

I'll preface this by saying I love all of Nintendo's franchises. I've been playing since the Nintendo 64 up until the Switch, and have always had a great time. So many memories with me and my family, so I definitely understand and live the nostalgia.

Yes, it's easy to produce remakes. A little HD upgrade with some new controls/minimal content addition, but the whole thing just screams a lack of creativity. There are very talented teams getting paid to think of new ideas, content, possible additions to franchises, but it always goes back to the same thing: remaster a best-selling game. It's relatively easy, cost-effective, and most of all, safe. Nintendo knows it's going to strike that nostalgic chord in our hearts, and that most of us that grew up with those games will buy it. Me included.

There's also the argument that new gamers that haven't played Nintendo consoles might like to see those games on consoles they do play (Switch or 3DS). i.e: they haven't played it before; so they're recycling accessibility. Honestly, although it's valid, I think that's a small portion of what's going on. There are tons of amazing games that haven't been remastered. We don't need to 'refresh the library' so to speak every console generation for new players; I mean, that's what makes a console unique. Landmark games. To me, it seems like Nintendo clutches onto these landmark games of past consoles instead of creating more for the present generation of console(s). You could say that Nintendo lives in the past; but like anything and anyone, nostalgia has its limits before it becomes damaging.

Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild (although released on the Wii U as well) could be considered landmark games for the Switch. They were astronomically successful, and generally cherished. But why stop there? It's like Nintendo's hit this proverbial wall of creativity and is banking of its past for its business model. Yes, nostalgia is its business model, but the company's almost become too hyper-aware of its reputation and tries to live up to it without taking risks. Most of us find games nostalgic because we grew up with them and associate memories with said consoles and games. Not because Nintendo told us they're supposed to be nostalgic.

For example, I had a friend that I introduced to the Zelda franchise a couple years ago. She started playing BOTW and loved it, so we started playing older games. Twilight Princess is so sentimental to me just because my mom had bought it for me by accident back in 2007 (I'd asked for Ocarina of Time lol, but the store was only selling GC games at the time). She used sit with me as I played it and I associate the game with her and just growing up.When my friend played it however, she enjoyed it, but didn't really understand my hype. She grew up playing the Playstation, and to be honest, it was a reverse situation as I only grew up with Nintendo; while I thought the PS2 games were cool, I didn't associate anything nostalgic about them whereas she did.


I'm going off on a bit of a tangent, but the whole nostalgia argument is so subjective and special to the individual person. So my thoughts are: instead of trying to induce a game's nostalgia unto every upcoming generation, why not create something new that will most likely have the same effect?

There's also the problem with the gatekeeping of older games, maybe not so much online, but with some of my family members where it's the whole 'yeah, you've played it, but you didn't grow up with it so you'll never know its true experience'. Toxic af, but it just shows that a game can't be inherently nostalgic or branded as nostalgic for everyone: it's developed over time and experiences. I saw a review for 'Zelda OT+Master Quest' by a new player and it said 'I don't understand the nostalgic aspect of the game, but…' and it made me realize that Nintendo's nostalgic (I keep using that word lol) reputation is so ingrained in the gaming community that some people think playing an old game will make them feel a certain way automatically. It's true that graphics and OST can play a part in that vibe, but still, you'd need some background in gaming to understand that. Otherwise, it could just be any other game but 'objectively nostalgic' in its reflection of a certain time period. This is a pretty weak point, but I thought I'd mention it to get some thoughts on it too.

It's also kind of distressing, because the Switch has so much potential and technology to be able to develop and run new concepts. The Switch is best-selling. People will play games no matter what, so the 'safe' card seems redundant and unnecessary. I miss that excitement for a completely new concept, like when SM Galaxy and Sunshine came out. I hope that we see new games like this in the future, and honestly I'm not doubtful it'll happen. It's just really slow.

What I'm trying to say is (kind of a tl;dr) , remakes are definitely not bad. People will buy them and enjoy them all the same, but I think there also needs to be a balanced ratio between that and new game development. It just seems like all the energy goes into remasters, and by the time those games are released, Nintendo's tired and just wants to play it safe.

Turned out a lot longer than I anticipated. I know it's not that deep and my laments are pretty trivial lol, but just my 4am thoughts. What do you guys think?

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