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Nintendo Ruined Video Games

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I agree with this as well. Yes early consoles had too many 'space invader' clones and whatnot, but from around 1982 on there was a lot of innovative ideas tried in games, not all of them worked. But it's something I really didn't see on NES or any consoles of that era

 

 

 

Wasn't there a 5 -title per year limit imposed on developers on NES as well? If you are only allowed to publish 5 titles per year, you are going to pick your 5 that will sell the most, and that usually means whatever the hot genre of the moment is.

The second-string publishers like LJN, Tengen, Acclaim etc arose out of that restriction, they're "shadow developers"

 

I won't speak to the diversity or lack thereof in NES games, other than to say I'm sure the biggest fans would say there's a wide array of software on the thing.

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Well, NES got 3 (4 if you count Impossible Mission 2) out of that list.

I would say that there is no way the NES would have gotten those games if they hadn't been successes on other platforms first. However, I get the point you are trying to make. The NES has variety. I know that. I think I've explained why my impression is that it was mostly side-scrollers, and I think there is merit to my claim. Others have also made similar comments in the thread.

 

 

Posted by wongojack on Yesterday, 2:30 PM

 

I didn't say it was all platformers, but there were so many of them. My friends with NES's collections were at least 90% platformers.

And when you'd go to rent a NES game in the video store, it always seemed like 90% of the options were platformers.

There were a LOT of NES games in the "run to the right, shoot/hit all of the things" genre, though.

Yep - Contra, Mega Man, Castlevania

As soon as publisher A annouced an upcoming game based on the film or comic of...

 

You could expect it to be either a platformer of some kind or a beat em up..

 

It was hard for lesser names in terms of platform games to stand out,as the machine had so many,high quality platformers to choose from.

It is true that the NES library has many non-platformers, but these three comments convey pretty much what I mean when I characterize the NES as having mostly side-scrolling platformers.

 

I don't really know if I have much more to say on the topic. As always, nothing is ever 100% with these things. I will continue to happily play NES games the rest of my life and benefit from the good things Nintendo has done for gaming over the years.

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I wonder how much of the lack of creativity was the result of graphics becoming progressively more realistic and hence abstract ideas becoming less appealing?

 

And I know the titles per year limit was the reason for Konami's thinly veiled subsidary Ultra games. (Did anybody actually fall for that one? Even I figured it out as an eight-year old with minimal access to magazines and zero Internet.)

No one did, it’s just that there was a very obvious loophole that Konami was able to exploit. However, nobody else was stopped or told they couldn’t use this method as a means to get around the 5 games rule.

 

It should be noted that not even Nintendo themselves broke this rule as out side the first two years of the system’s life never really put out more than five games a year. According to sources, they believed that nobody was above the rule. Not even themselves.

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I've been keeping a list of games I've beaten since I first got a NES in 1988/1989 (not sure which). Just for the heck of it, I decided to look at the first 100 games I beat and see how many of them could be called side-scrollers. I used the term in a loose sense, with beat-'em-ups like Double Dragon included, but not horizontally-scrolling shooters like Gradius or free-roaming overhead games like Guerrilla War. In most cases platforming was involved, though there were a few exceptions (e.g. Kung Fu).

 

Anyway, it turns out that 50 -- exactly half -- of the first 100 NES games I beat were side-scrollers. The next largest category was shooters/shmups, with about 12 entries.

 

So, touché, the NES was indeed full of them -- but I also made time for games like Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the Lolo series, the Ultima ports, etc...

 

BTW the NES was an absolute revelation and a breath of fresh air for me. After years of living with the Atari 2600 and Tandy Color Computer as (basically) my only options, it was a treat to have smooth scrolling, bright colors, catchy music, detailed characters, and thoughtful stage design.

 

And multi-button controllers that actually worked and were responsive! -- unlike the amorphous Tandy joysticks (not fun with platformers like Downland), or my brand-new Atari 5200 with fire buttons so stiff out of the box that I literally had to press with all my strength to get them to respond (try playing Zaxxon that way).

 

Probably the biggest factor for me of all was that I'm just not a fan of high score chasing/gaming. I've always strongly preferred games with a concrete and final goal, and even on Atari and CoCo I preferred games that offered some kind of ending. Conversely when I rented an NES game that couldn't be beaten (like Seicross or Magmax), I felt cheated.

 

I would've loved to have a better computer in the 1980s, but it simply wasn't something my family could afford. Instead I tormented myself by reading about the Ultima games -- and other RPGs, adventures, etc. -- in magazines of the time like Electronic Games.

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Remember, the central premise to the article is not that NES games were bad; it's that the NES was marketed to kids, resulting in a limited market which would slowly rebuild itself with later systems.

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Remember, the central premise to the article is not that NES games were bad; it's that the NES was marketed to kids, resulting in a limited market which would slowly rebuild itself with later systems.

Remember, the article is actually an early review of the Wii U, with a brief introductory history lesson explaining how they got to that point. :-)

 

Wii U is the furthest thing from "rebuilt" as you can get compared to mainstream, popular NES.

 

NES was marketed to kids, but had a lot more adult appeal than anything from Atari consoles ever did, in my opinion.

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Remember, the central premise to the article is not that NES games were bad; it's that the NES was marketed to kids, resulting in a limited market which would slowly rebuild itself with later systems.

 

If I recall, it was marketed as a toy because of the disillusionment around the term "computer" after the crash.

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I've read a lot about ROB over the years, and it makes sense that it allowed the NES to gain distribution in the states through retailers that may have been burned by the game crash.

 

Thing is, I was working at a Circus World toy store at the time, and was still heavy into gaming, but mostly on the Coco. Our store was in the mall directly opposite the Radio Shack that ran demo disks I programmed for them on the computers in the front. I was probably spending most time programming stuff and dinking around with Compuserve in that period since PCs were still immature. I never once saw a ROB except in the flyer that came with the NES. The store never got one, and I never saw one anywhere else. If that gizmo helped them get the NES in stores, it was really quickly dropped. As with all successful consoles, all the attraction was on Super Mario Brothers. That was all over the news of the day. Never heard any talk of ROB and couldn't find one if I wanted it. I'm pretty sure we only ever had one version of the system in stock, the action set with two controllers, the zapper and the Super Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt game included. It sold decent at first, then was a pretty regular seller. Never caused a frenzy, but a consistent and reliable seller except for the usual xmas rush that saw mad demand for pretty much everything in those days. We used to add an extra register to get people out of the store in December. How things have changed for toy retailers now.

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...

 

BTW the NES was an absolute revelation and a breath of fresh air for me. After years of living with the Atari 2600 and Tandy Color Computer as (basically) my only options, it was a treat to have smooth scrolling, bright colors, catchy music, detailed characters, and thoughtful stage design.

 

And multi-button controllers that actually worked and were responsive! -- unlike the amorphous Tandy joysticks (not fun with platformers like Downland), or my brand-new Atari 5200 with fire buttons so stiff out of the box that I literally had to press with all my strength to get them to respond (try playing Zaxxon that way).

 

Probably the biggest factor for me of all was that I'm just not a fan of high score chasing/gaming. I've always strongly preferred games with a concrete and final goal, and even on Atari and CoCo I preferred games that offered some kind of ending. Conversely when I rented an NES game that couldn't be beaten (like Seicross or Magmax), I felt cheated.

 

...

There was a console that had all the elements described above well before the nes. Do realise, in 1979 the Intellivision running man was considered a highly detailed character.

 

I couldn't agree more about games with endings over arcade style high score games. It works in an arcade when I'm paying with quarters but at home it's very frustrating once your high score gets tough to beat. Then you have to go through all the easier levels again to get another chance at the challenging level that only lasts a moment. The games that had endings, win or lose, were the ones that I went back to and played again and again.

 

What I don't understand is the lack of randomness in some of the nes games. With zelda, everything is the same everytime you play. I figure this was by design so Nintendo can sell more cartridges. Then I learned that nes punch out similarly lacked randomness. You could memorise sequences and play it the same everytime. With Intellivision Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and Treasure of Tarmin, for example, the layouts, monsters, and items are different everytime you play. I can't complain too much, some Intellivision games couldn't be played at all without a second player.

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Yes, I remember playing a friend's Intellivision around 1987/88 and being very intrigued even though the games he had were underwhelming (Boxing was one). Later, another friend had Utopia, Sea Battle, and the one that made the biggest impression on me, Tower of Doom.

 

I don't remember whether I had the NES yet at that point, but I totally coveted Tower of Doom. It was one of the reasons I bought an Intellivision about 10 years ago, and ultimately I put 70+ hours into the game -- which, as a roguelike, has that randomness you describe. It's a great game.

 

For whatever reason Japanese developers of the era didn't seem to like procedurally-generated dungeons or game areas -- or chose not to export the games that did use them. Maybe they didn't mesh well with the auxiliary goal of selling magazines, strategy guides, and tip lines?

 

It's not trivial to design a game that feels tightly constructed but also includes substantial random elements; it's especially hard to combine that with puzzle or story elements. Oddly enough I just finished a game that does exactly that to some degree -- Virtual Hydlide on the Saturn -- but it's largely considered to be a laughable effort.

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Nintendo didn't ruin anything for me but my free time. :lol:

 

While we had a Colecovision in the house, my 1st console I could call my own was a NES. I got the Deluxe Set with R.O.B. for Xmas in '87. I loved it then, and I still do now.

 

Did I use R.O.B.? Yes, I did, when it was new. Like lots of other 80's kids, I was obsessed with robots. I used to build motorized ones out of Construx back then, and having one that played games (er... Gyromite) with me was the coolest thing ever. Now, R.O.B. sits proudly on top of my Vectrex, watching over my game room. And yes, he still works!

 

Did Nintendo corner the market with their third party practices in the US? They sure as hell tried. They were trying to make money, just like everyone else. But, necessity is the mother of invention, and companies found ways around this. See Tengen, Camerica, Konami/Ultra, etc. It didn't last long.

 

Were home computers superior? In some ways yes, and in some ways, no. I remember having a friend with an IBM PC clone, and he raved about how much better it was than my NES. He could copy games from other kids, play all sorts of adventure games non-existent on consoles, and play realistic flight simulators. BUT... he was relegated to keyboard controls and his clunky Kraft joystick. I had a game pad which was much easier to use, and a host of great games to play myself. Not to mention the vast price difference between the PC and the NES hardware. I found the NES titles easier to play.

 

Were things different outside of the US? Yes, yes they were. Nintendo didn't have the foothold the various 8 and 16-bit computers (and Sega for that matter) had in Europe and other areas of the world. In 1989, I visited family in Italy for a few weeks. I was missing my NES BIG TIME. My dad and I went to a local department store there and they were selling NES consoles! Problem was... they were really expensive compared to the states. They also had Sega stuff, but wanted the NES. I ended up just waiting until I got home and soldiered on with my Tiger LCD Double Dragon and Simon's Quest handhelds. I want to say that the one we saw in the store also came with Mike Tyson's Punch Out, which makes no sense to me now. Was that even a real bundle?

 

Were Nintendo's later consoles terrible? Not at all. The SNES ruled, and introduced some of my favorite games to the world. Game Boy revolutionized portable gaming. Virtual Boy is weird and headache-inducing, but kinda cool. N64's controller did suck, but they were trying new things, and there were some great games for it. GameCube was awesome, as was the Wii, DS, GBA, 3DS, and the Switch. The WiiU was a better Wii, so I'll give it a pass as well. All of these except the Virtual Boy and WiiU are in my collection, right next to all the Atari, Sega, and other brand consoles. I love them all. I also love old-school PC gaming, for that matter,

 

I still don't get hating on game consoles. I like video games, period. They are sprinkled about on all sorts of consoles and computers,and have been since the beginning. Yes, it's annoying to have to own a bunch of different ones to play the games I want to play, but I don't see the need to resent a particular company for trying to make their console successful. There are far better ways to waste time and energy than arguing about games, like playing them. ;-)

Good thing you didn't buy that overpriced italian nes. You would have super been pissed when you got home to the states only to find a grayscale rolling screen on your ntsc tv! :evil:

 

Italy is beautiful btw. I made a trip there in 2005.

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I've read a lot about ROB over the years, and it makes sense that it allowed the NES to gain distribution in the states through retailers that may have been burned by the game crash.

 

Thing is, I was working at a Circus World toy store at the time, and was still heavy into gaming, but mostly on the Coco. Our store was in the mall directly opposite the Radio Shack that ran demo disks I programmed for them on the computers in the front. I was probably spending most time programming stuff and dinking around with Compuserve in that period since PCs were still immature. I never once saw a ROB except in the flyer that came with the NES. The store never got one, and I never saw one anywhere else. If that gizmo helped them get the NES in stores, it was really quickly dropped. As with all successful consoles, all the attraction was on Super Mario Brothers. That was all over the news of the day. Never heard any talk of ROB and couldn't find one if I wanted it. I'm pretty sure we only ever had one version of the system in stock, the action set with two controllers, the zapper and the Super Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt game included. It sold decent at first, then was a pretty regular seller. Never caused a frenzy, but a consistent and reliable seller except for the usual xmas rush that saw mad demand for pretty much everything in those days. We used to add an extra register to get people out of the store in December. How things have changed for toy retailers now.

The action set with Mario/Duck Hunt pack in came well after launch. Gyromite was long run it's course before the 2-in-1 pack ins started showing up. The NES Action Set also had a reduced price tag: $109, or at least that's what the Kmart tag on my box reads.

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For whatever reason Japanese developers of the era didn't seem to like procedurally-generated dungeons or game areas -- or chose not to export the games that did use them. Maybe they didn't mesh well with the auxiliary goal of selling magazines, strategy guides, and tip lines?

 

It's not trivial to design a game that feels tightly constructed but also includes substantial random elements; it's especially hard to combine that with puzzle or story elements. Oddly enough I just finished a game that does exactly that to some degree -- Virtual Hydlide on the Saturn -- but it's largely considered to be a laughable effort.

 

I find that in some Japanese developed games, randomness is often implemented in enemy designs and actions. In the original Legend of Zelda for example, the layouts and dungeons are the same every time you play, but enemies spawn at different locations and have movement patterns that can be somewhat unpredictable (the knights within later dungeons are a perfect example of this). Ghosts 'n Goblins does this as well and it's where many of these games get their challenge from. Even Mike Tyson's Punch-Out in many cases is random in how opponents choose attack patterns or react to your blocked hits. You might not see it without thinking about it, it can be subtle. It's game design that is deliberate, yet manages to feel organic at the same time.

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Ha, good ol Seanbaby. That was a great site for my NES retro fix in the late 90s. Before him, I thought I was the only one who found so much of the 8 bit stuff genuinely funny, along with much of the accompanying 80s pop culture.

 

Funny that people can mention Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man and Castlevania as three side scrollers, but with something other than total respect: each game was so different than the other in theme and gameplay, each was its own empire.

 

Finally, only rich kids could afford ROB the robot, back in my day. It only came with the most expensive Nintendo box set, but nobody ever bothered with it once they actually hooked up Gyromite. I would love to own one now, though, the challenge was great in retrospect. And that it was a toy? Robots were huge in the 80s and Nintendo was wise to try to capitalize. From Transformers to Robotech to the insanely popular and out of reach Omnibot products, it was no different than trying to market something VR to kids in the 90s...much too early, give the state of the art at the time.

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The action set with Mario/Duck Hunt pack in came well after launch. Gyromite was long run it's course before the 2-in-1 pack ins started showing up. The NES Action Set also had a reduced price tag: $109, or at least that's what the Kmart tag on my box reads.

I don't think there was ever much demand by retailers or availability for the deluxe pack. My store was not able to ever get it, and at least in the southeast, the action set was the only thing we stocked. I remember looking at the warehouse manifest and there was only one skew ever available for our company. The action pack was much more widely supplied by Nintendo. The basic set without the pack in game started showing up at a lower price point later at our store. May be that many retailers didn't even order the thing until the action pack came out.

Edited by JBerel

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no different than trying to market something VR to kids in the 90s...much too early, give the state of the art at the time.

 

Or today ... prices for the non-toy VR setups remind me of the early days of multimedia like CD-I, 3DO, Sega CD. There's fun to be had, but at such a price premium.

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Initially, R.O.B. Deluxe units were to be found all around Chicagoland BITD. Bought mine from Highland Superstores and no, I wasn't "rich". Just a 15-16yo kid that worked two jobs and tried to save my money. Remembered getting a kick out of Gyromite at first, then getting bored with it soon after. Was a neat peripheral and something to show off to friends, but that was about it. Ended up trading my first NES system for a complete C64 setup with a disk drive and a bunch of games. Played and enjoyed the hell out of that, but a year or two later, bought another NES offering. Only this time, without the silly robot gimmick. R.O.B. was already discontinued by then anyway. Remember feeling glad I got rid of mine at a time somebody still wanted him. lol

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Remember, the central premise to the article is not that NES games were bad; it's that the NES was marketed to kids, resulting in a limited market which would slowly rebuild itself with later systems.

But why would somebody blame the company foe the taste of gamers at that time? They were responding to the market...and even so, the 3rd party developers made the vast majority of side sceollers. Its like blaming Magnavix for the sitcoms of the mid to late 80s, in a way.

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Nintendo controlled licensed developers like the mafia, eg. charging them unfair prices for cartridge roms which only Nintendo were allowed to manufacture. At times they even reduced the allotment of licenses at their discretion. They did similar things with retailers. Those that that did things Nintendo didn't agree with like selling at a lower price or selling unlicensed cartridges, seemed to receive less stock from Nintendo.

 

Edit:

If you were a TV show producer and felt NBC was treating you unfairly, you could go to ABC, CBS, or even PBS.

Edited by mr_me
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NES was marketed to kids, but had a lot more adult appeal than anything from Atari consoles ever did, in my opinion.

Perhaps being marketed at kids is part of the reason why I as a bratty teenager who was over that "kid stuff" found the NES so unappealing.

 

I'm not sure I agree about adults and the Atari, I knew plenty of adults who had them and liked them... INTV too.

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Nintendo controlled licensed developers like the mafia, eg. charging them unfair prices for cartridge roms which only Nintendo were allowed to manufacture. At times they even reduced the allotment of licenses at their discretion. They did similar things with retailers. Those that that did things Nintendo didn't agree with like selling at a lower price or selling unlicensed cartridges, seemed to receive less stock from Nintendo.

 

Edit:

If you were a TV show producer and felt NBC was treating you unfairly, you could go to ABC, CBS, or even PBS.

This was claimed by mostly by Namco through its subsidiary in Tengen/Atari Games. However, we know from court documents that Nintendo was indeed fair. It gave no developer any sort of special treatment with regards to the licensing fees or to the allocation of cartridges. If anything we know that Atari Games tried desperately to get special treatment from Nintendo over the other Third parties by saying its back catalog made them unique, therefore they should have exclusive rights to more cartridges on demand over other companies. Especially when there was a ROM shortage internationally.

 

If Nintendo had given in to the demands of Atari Games/Namco, Nintendo would have burned a lot of bridges with Japanese and American publishers.

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edited by empsolo

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Perhaps being marketed at kids is part of the reason why I as a bratty teenager who was over that "kid stuff" found the NES so unappealing.

 

I'm not sure I agree about adults and the Atari, I knew plenty of adults who had them and liked them... INTV too.

My Father played on the NES a lot when I was a kid. He specifically bought an NES Advantage so he could play space Shooters like Xevious and Gradius. Also, he loved playing Double Dragon II.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edited by empsolo

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re: side scrollers ... they were a major arcade fad first, no? Maybe NES reinforced the trend.

I feel like SMB redefined the genre. Before that there were a lot of platformers, but many of them didn't scroll. (well, Mappy, INTV Kool-Aid Man, Keystone Kapers) .. but I can't think of too many others

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