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The Top 7... Nintendo mistakes

1 - Opening the doors to PlayStation

If there's one moment in time that forever changed the videogame world, it's the day Nintendo stabbed Sony in the back in front of the whole world.

Multimedia isn't much of a buzzword these days, but back in the early '90s, it was everything. Entire libraries could fit on a disc, symphonies could finally sound crystal clear and even educational games could be played all off of one disc. CD-ROM supporters wanted this medium in as many hands as possible, and Nintendo was the best possible way to get it there.

Electronics superstar Philips decided to ally itself with Nintendo and bring a CD attachment to the Super NES. With Nintendo's clout, Philips' CD tech could reach millions in record time. It seemed like a mutually beneficial setup - except for the fact that Nintendo had already signed a contract with Sony in 1988 for pretty much the exact same thing.

This contract had Sony creating a "Play Station" that would feature an SNES cartridge port and a CD slot for new, enhanced games. Problem was, this contract gave Sony complete control over any CD-based games that touched the system, Mario included. Once Nintendo's president, Hiroshi Yamauchi, realized that he would not have the final say on something with Nintendo's name on it, he demanded a solution that put Nintendo back in the saddle. The result was announcing the new partnership with Phillips during the 1991 CES trade show, despite the fact that Sony had just announced the Nintendo-powered Play Station the night before.



This slap in the face was unheard of for several reasons. First, a Japanese company ditching another for a foreign rival was unspeakable. Second, such blatant disregard for contracts made the company appear like a power-hungry monster, always trying to get its way regardless of who it has to humiliate or crush. Third, how the hell did Yamauchi's signature get on that Sony contract in the first place? Nintendo had made its vast fortune on licensing games, so hearing that it gave Sony the rights to any and all future CD titles was appalling.

The three giant companies did finally work out a crazy ménage a trios agreement, but wouldn't you know it, the whole deal fell apart. Nintendo went its own way, Philips carried on with its terrible CD-I system and Sony, while briefly considering abandoning the venture altogether, decided to make the Play Station a standalone system that played Sony-branded games. Thus, the PlayStation was born. Nintendo effectively created its own worst enemy.

Sony's CD resources led to the defection of Square, countless exclusives that Nintendo never saw and for the first time ever, a sound beating at retail. Sega's own inept ability to provide gamers with quality products essentially left the whole industry open to Sony's powerful charge. After a bit of back-and-forth in 1995 and 1996, the PlayStation jumped ahead in 1997 and has been on top ever since. It's crushing blitz forever buried Sega and put Nintendo on perpetual defense, a position it never once had to consider.

So now, the publishers and developers of the world had a viable alternative to consider. No more expensive cartridges, no more Sega bumbling its tacky add-ons, no more insane restrictions. Games became part of pop culture, and the PlayStation went on to become one of the best-selling objects in electronics history. If Nintendo had merely tried to rework that original Sony contract (something Sony probably wouldn't have gone for anyway), things could have been much different.

But, after all the ludicrous profits of the '80s, the slow and steady downfall of the '90s, and the gradual regaining of trust and cool factor going on today, the company is poised to be back on top again. The DS, a seemingly mental design decision, turned out to be the clear winner of the current systems. And Wii, well, if the momentum lasts, Nintendo's got nothing to worry about. Let's just hope it remembers its own history and steers clear of any more jerkholish moves.

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23 comments

  • OmgBBQ - August 2, 2011 4:54 p.m.

    Heh... Virtual boy. XD
  • thefreakysurgeon - November 24, 2010 2:42 a.m.

    No matter how you look at it, Nintendo will always be at the top, maybe not at #1. and even with some things that aren't that good, they can still make something that has casual gamers and fanboys pulling money from their wallets every time!
  • Hayroon1 - October 28, 2010 2:37 p.m.

    @GeneralTickTock You're truelly understating the capability of yhe wii's graphics, sure they're not as good as the 360's or PS3's but there 1.5 generations better than the ps1's fugly blocks. For example compar Final Fantasy Chrystal Chronicles: The Chrystal Bearer's t Final Fantasy VII (not the pre-rendered cutscenes, which were obsolet "1" year later)
  • radishboy - June 3, 2010 4:30 a.m.

    It's fun to read all the old comments, saying how badly the Wii is going to bomb, and how the PS3 is going to dominate everything. hehehe. The Wii is huge. right now, yes, the Wii looks like a great idea, because for now it is. The things sells like crazy, it's a much needed money maker for Nintendo. I'm not a fan boy of anything really, I own all three systems. I was originally skeptical about how well the 360 was going to do, based on the fact that, well, the original Xbox was massive turd, a $200 ticket to play Halo. Yes, Halo's good, but It's not worth buying a system for. last generation, the PS2 was the obvious winner, having the best games library and great hardware. (Though LIVE blew PS2 out of the water when it comes to online.) Really, the original Xbox didn't have to be good, it was just a test run for Microsoft to get it's feet wet and learn the ropes of the console gaming world to get ready for the 360. Another big reason I was alittle skeptical about the 360 was it's early launch, way ahead of the competition; we all saw what happened to the Dreamcast. But actually, it was perfect; By the time the PS3 and Wii launched, the 360 had already passed it's awkward, "trying to find my identity/Figuring out what my hardware is actually capable of/working the bugs out" phase. Comparing a Just Launched PS3 to an already relatively matured 360 made the 360 automatically look better, even though the Ps3 is the better machine. It's got more games by now, It's online service is amazing, It's had plenty of time to fine tune itself. plus, by the time the PS3 was out, the 360 was easily available; just walk to the store and buy one. PS3 was near impossible to find: "Well, little johnny wants a PS3 for Christmas, but we looked everywhere and can't find any! But look, they have these in stock, We'll get him a 360 instead!" The PS3 was too costly and not really worth it for quite awhile after it launched. These days, It's definitely worth owning, It's worked out it's kinks, It's starting to harness its true power, and has amassed a nice library. This generation of consoles are a lot different than any before it. Especially between the PS3 and 360; There is far less emphasis on exclusive titles. Sony used to have some really great exclusives; Devil may cry series, Final fantasy, and many more. and Xbox had Halo and, I don't know maybe some other ones. but the PS2 definitely had an edge over the Xbox when it came to their game libraries. This generation, fewer and fewer companies are going platform exclusive. going multi-platform makes a lot of sense right now: games are starting to have much larger budgets than ever before, they cost much more to make these days. why limit your self to one console? going multi platform lets you sell more copies, which makes you more money, which gives you a better chance of making up your production costs as well as making a larger profit. Now that exclusive titles are less important than ever, I really don't see any clear winner right now. (between 360 and PS3) 360 has much better online service, but PS3 has bluray, 360 has this, but PS3 has that. The wii one the other hand.hard to tell. Regardless of what the fanboys say, wii obviously lacks the graphical prowess of the 360 and PS3. now, It's obviously not about just graphics, but they do help. my biggest thing with the wii is the massive pile of shovel ware that gets dumped onto it. third party developers use the motion control more as a gimmick to make alittle cash instead of using it to make a great game. there are some good wii games, sure. some fantastic ones. but you have to swim through so much BS it's kind of frustrating if you're more than just a casual "wii bowling" lover...
  • AlexMercer1337 - February 9, 2010 9:43 a.m.

    Wow, those Nintendo bastards have got it in for them. reCAPTCHA: Will Meredith. Omg married couple on spam filterz!
  • TestDDs - October 24, 2009 1:14 a.m.

    Nintendo's biggest mistake is its self And Cwf2008's is a ass hole
  • Cwf2008 - October 19, 2009 5:52 a.m.

    The mighty United States Congress at work: Not settling foreign affairs, wars, economy, or the needs of the people, but regulating a video game company. Wtf.
  • thephntm - October 15, 2008 12:23 a.m.

    I clicked on this thinking that "Spam GamesRadar" would be on my to-do list (go ahead, call me a fanboy), but now I think different. Nintendo (should've been called "No-Fun-Do" or "Nincompoop" back then) was a complete jerk. Oh, and btw, the Wii, as childish as it is, was definitely NOT a mistake, even if Nintendo did literally bet everything on it which was the gayest decision to ever come from the depths of hell.
  • Nintendroid426 - August 21, 2009 1:07 a.m.

    did any game actually use the N64 d-pad without the use of the analog stick?
  • Mechamorbo - July 13, 2009 5 p.m.

    Kytl, no one forced Nintendo to sign that contract or to go ahead with the design and construction of it, to the point where they were ready to announce it. If they weren't happy with the terms, no one was forcing their hand to forge the partnership. It's not Sony's fault, it's all on Nintendo. They AGREED to the agreement. I've never been a real Nintendo fan. I started gaming with the Genesis, then moved to PC. Sure, I had a Gameboy, and later a DS, but I've played very few exclusive Nintendo games to feel any special affinity towards them.
  • RickyV300 - July 10, 2009 6:30 a.m.

    wow nintendo got pwned by sony big time
  • GeneralTickTock - July 9, 2009 12:59 a.m.

    i have a wii and its alright but it just cant compare with the 360 or ps3. it has ps1 graphics and its games are just stupid. its like comparing a N64 to a 360. which would YOU buy???
  • Superdude576 - May 29, 2009 7:49 p.m.

    Yea, this is definitely NINTENDO, aka Losers Incorporated. They always made those kind of games when I was a kid, and the 64 was cool until I got a PS2. Then everything but my Game boy and my Game Boy color (before SP and DS) got ignored. I defintely put my money on Sony and Microsoft as the permanent gaming learders. Unless Nintendo gets a miracle on its hands, the rag-tag Wii and the pretty DS are not gonna cover the slack they've lost over the years. Gooo Sony!
  • MyGameName - May 25, 2009 3:44 a.m.

    When you mentioned the N64, Nintendo actually allowed the technological miracle that was Conker's Bad Fur Day on to their HORRID system. Unfortunatly, not many people played it(I'm just now playing it off a ROM).
  • mjmont92 - May 24, 2009 5:02 a.m.

    Nintendo shot itself in the foot, numerous times. Sony just decided to save them some trouble and chopped the foot off. I have been a huge nintendo fan for a long time. But seriously, I can only put up with so much shit. F**K Nintendo in it's stupid face!
  • zeldagirl64 - January 8, 2009 1:59 a.m.

    *reads 3* I wonder what the original idea for Zelda would have been as a game... More catering to fan wants in the later games? Link was surrounded in girls in Ocarina yet even as a teenager he ran away or IGNORED. Nintendo for SURE! But Nintendo still has it's good games.
  • Kytl - July 10, 2009 3:53 a.m.

    Even after reading this article,even though it was pretty honest,i would say that some of it is also exaggerated.if the Wii was a mistake how come the other 2 companies are just now starting to copy Nintendo?and the reason for Nintendo betraying Sony and creating one of their biggest rivals is that the contract Sony created for the deal was just unfair.Sony would get most of the profits and while Nintendo would still be making money,Sony would be making more of it.and while the N64 controller was a bit weird it felt more comfortable since i KNEW that it would never fall out of my hands or any of my friends hands when we celebrate a victory in a game like,oh lets say, Super Smash Bros. oh and GeneralTickTock, if you think the Wii has graphics that old,then may i just suggest getting glasses or perhaps eye surgery? if anyone is reading this and you instantly think "fanboy",perhaps you're right but know this,i'm not blind. i may one day get one of the other systems just to play the exclusive games that didn't reach Nintendo but Ninty will always be my favorite,and I'm confident that that was a good choice.
  • DRILLERDUD - July 8, 2009 10:59 p.m.

    i offically hate nintendo now
  • Icehearted - May 26, 2009 11:35 p.m.

    I loved this piece! It was deeply reflective and honest, quite a few times it even had me feeling a little nostalgic for those bygone days of "Genesis does what Nintendon't!" I feel that for so many reasons the Wii is truly contributing to gaming decline. It's been said often for a while now that this "casual gamer" appeal is hurting the industry, but more than that I thin it's a lack of quality and innovation in gaming design that is hurting us all the most. Releasing a system that dares to be different only to see it bogged by a glut of poor lookalike shovelware seems back assward in every way. There will always be a place in my fondest childhood memories for the old NES and SNES, long nights with friends playing those classic gray carts and such. Nintendo as it is now appears to be little more than a company of cheap cash grabs and poorly thought out doodads. The DS is neat, but Zelda with a stylus? That hurt, guys, it really hurt.
  • noobeater - May 26, 2009 11:33 a.m.

    (deep breath) i must say id choose the retro nintendo games over anything on the wii and most probably the 360...i sold my wii after 4 months because it was aweful ye zelda may have been the best yet and galaxy took mario 64 and changed it to be impressive twist but i just think with the exception of a minority of their games, that nintendo do not care for their fans like they used to, and i could really see microsoft with its so successful and superior online communtiy as being the main console for years to come.

Showing 1-20 of 23 comments

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