The Top 7... Nintendo mistakes

How the videogame giant became the world's favorite underdog

2 - Pretty much everything involving the Nintendo 64

Remember those pricy cartridges we mentioned earlier? Imagine having to continue paying for them in a time when Sega and Sony both went to CD, an immensely cheaper medium that also allowed much greater storage capacity. That's what publishers had to deal with during the entire run of the N64 (1996 through 2001). As the rest of the gaming world switched to an established format, Nintendo stuck to its proprietary-formatted guns, ensuring slightly higher prices for games and lesser quality sound for an entire generation. Count how many memorable soundtracks there were on the PlayStation. Then look at the N64. Pretty grim, eh?

But it wasn't about sound, obviously. Developers wanted to use these fancy new 3D graphics to tell stories, to show players worlds that just weren't possible on the Genesis and SNES. The N64's power was fine, but the limited storage space and high price of an N64 cart prevented games like Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy VII from even being possible on the system. Squaresoft was once an all-Nintendo publisher, giving the company its valued Final Fantasy series exclusively. Once Square jumped ship and ran to Sony and its lovely CD format, the console war was already over. Hello cutscenes, hello CD-quality music, hello beautiful presentation.

But before the war had even begun, Nintendo was pissing people off. Instead of courting as many third party developers as possible, it tried to focus on a small number of hand-picked developers to keep its system afloat. Nintendo actually had the balls to call it a "dream team," basically saying to everyone else, "if you you're not part of our clique, oh well." As a result, the bountiful support Nintendo enjoyed on the SNES was drying up, and its own titles were trickling out too slow to pick up the slack.

We're still not done. The N64's controller was the most ghastly thing the world had seen since the Virtual Boy. Yeah, the analog stick was revolutionary, but did you look at the rest of this beast? Did you ever see a non-gamer or even a casual player try to hold it after playing a PlayStation game? It was painful. Hell, even us seasoned gamers couldn't get over the plastic trident, clearly designed to work with Mario and Zelda alone. Third parties had a constant battle to map controls that made sense onto the controller. It was especially unfriendly to fighting games, so no Tekken, Street Fighter or Soul Edge for us. Even more titles lost to Sony.

Then there's the 64DD, a laughable add-on that answered a question nobody ever asked. The re-writable discs were yet another Nintendo-owned property it could charge for, and its key titles were... wait a second, there were no key titles. Let's just move on. It's like Nintendo didn't watch add-ons kill Sega a few years earlier.

The N64 may have spawned some of the best games ever made, but honestly, how many systems can make the same claim? Sure we adore Ocarina of Time, Goldeneye 007 and Super Mario 64, but most of the other titles are crap. This entire console generation was like watching a king get quartered in front of the entire village. And you know what? Our number one mistake explains why it's all Nintendo's fault.

We're still not done. The N64's controller was the most ghastly thing the world had seen since the Virtual Boy. Yeah, the analog stick was revolutionary, but did you look at the rest of this beast? Did you ever see a non-gamer or even a casual player try to hold it after playing a PlayStation game? It was painful. Hell, even us seasoned gamers couldn't get over the plastic trident, clearly designed to work with Mario and Zelda alone. Third parties had a constant battle to map controls that made sense onto the controller. It was especially unfriendly to fighting games, so no Tekken, Street Fighter or Soul Edge for us. Even more titles lost to Sony.

Then there's the 64DD, a laughable add-on that answered a question nobody ever asked. The re-writable discs were yet another Nintendo-owned property it could charge for, and its key titles were... wait a second, there were no key titles. Let's just move on. It's like Nintendo didn't watch add-ons kill Sega a few years earlier.

The N64 may have spawned some of the best games ever made, but honestly, how many systems can make the same claim? Sure we adore Ocarina of Time, Goldeneye 007 and Super Mario 64, but most of the other titles are crap. This entire console generation was like watching a king get quartered in front of the entire village. And you know what? Our number one mistake explains why it's all Nintendo's fault.

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