Video game journalism is, by default, a very critical and vicious social sphere. Games and companies are criticized at a constant for little mistakes that, in the grand scheme of things, could most likely be overlooked. Its rare to see a writer properly show gratitude and respect for a studio or title that most likely means the world to someone. So, I’ve made it my personal mission to devote time out of my week to give thanks for everything video games and their creators have done for me. Welcome to “Thank you…”, a bi-weekly love letter to something or someone in the industry who has had a profound impact on my, and others, life in relation to video games. This isn’t about pointing out faults or giving something a numerical value of worth, but rather simply saying, thank you.
I found it fitting to kick things off with the literal foundation of modern gaming: Nintendo. Thank you Nintendo, for without you, I would have never known about video games in the first place. My father grew up as a huge Nintendo fanboy, and owned every console starting with the SNES. Games like The Legend of Zelda series, Metroid, and Mario Kart helped him through several trying times in his teenage years, and fueled his passion for the gaming industry. Because of Nintendo, my father was able to make life-long friends and create memories not soon forgotten. It’s because of this that my father still plays today, and why I’m such an avid gamer myself.
Thank you, Nintendo, for introducing me to video games. I vaguely remember the first time I got the chance to play a video game. I was probably four or five, and my dad was playing Super Mario 64. I was almost always in the room when he played, but this time I wanted to experience it firsthand. I remember how fascinating it was to watch the little plumber jump into paintings and collect coins. It was especially fun to watch the little handstand he would do when you climbed to the top of a tree. As I got older and my taste in games came into its maturity, I grew distant from Nintendo. Drawn more towards RPG’s and PC gaming, I lost touch with what drew me into the medium. However, I’ve never forgotten how a Nintendo game can make me feel. Despite the incredible amount of enjoyment I get out of exploring grand fantasy worlds or shooting my way through the latest FPS, there is still no greater feeling of joy and pure happiness than racing through a few tracks in Mario Kart, or just barely defeating your friends in Super Smash Bros.
Thank you, Nintendo, for saving the video game industry from the brink of collapse. If one were to examine the industry in its present state, they’d find a multi-million dollar entertainment empire that utilizes the best programmers, actors, and artists in the world. However, back in 1983 video games were almost wiped from existence. It’s a very long and complicated tale that deserves its own article, but the long and short of it was that the industry hit a massive recession due to the overpopulation of console games. The markets crashed and virtually everyone had given up on producing new content, until Nintendo came along. With the release of the NES in 1983 (Japan) and ‘85 (America) this one-time small company revolutionized video games with titles like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. While it took over a decade for the industry to fully recover, it’s because of Nintendo that we can still play video games today.
Thank you, Nintendo, for continuing to innovate and push the boundaries of gaming, even when everyone else chooses not to. Despite once being the king of the industry, Nintendo has fallen out of the public eye in recent years. Everyone’s been content to pawn the studio and their products as simply being “for children”. The fact of the matter is, the general consumer would more readily jump on purchasing a PS4 or Xbox One rather than a Wii U. Despite not having a horse in the console race, Nintendo still strives to provide new and exciting ways to experience games. The Wii, despite in lack of support during the end of its cycle, was a massive success garnering millions of sales across the world. What’s more, the Wii encourages the entire family to play video games, whether it was through a round of golf on Wii Sports or duking it out in Super Smash Bros. The 3DS has sold more units than any other handheld console, and offers amazing experiences for all ages. Even the Wii U, which was collectively dismissed by professional critics from almost every news outlet, still provided unique and addictively enjoyable games like Splatoon, Tokyo Mirage Sessions, and Hyrule Warriors. Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that Nintendo is an innovative company at heart, and will continue to bring us new and exciting consoles for years to come.
So, I offer you my deepest gratitude Nintendo, for you are the foundation for my, and countless others, passion for video games. Every day you inspire more and more kids to pursue a career in programming or design, and your work will continue to build the future of the industry. We are all immeasurably in your debt.