Our Top 7 lists were an immediate hit, and with good reason – who doesn’t love reducing an entire topic to an easily digestible procession of numbered entries? But if you can pepper those bite-sized entries with a few controversial statements, then you’re really cooking with fire. That said, we’re not in the habit of writing flame bait unless we actually believe it. In this case, I pitched a Top 7 about Nintendo’s biggest follies (knowing full well it would incite fanboy rage) but firmly stood by every single entry in the list. And to kick it off, I took a swing at Nintendo’s newly launched Wii, which hundreds of thousands of people thought was unfair, reactionary and, well, plain ol’ trolling for page views.
I was hardly saying Wii was a failure. At number 7, it was the least damaging thing on the list. You could argue Wii’s immense success has been nothing but a boon for Nintendo, and that’s absolutely correct – Wii has made the company a ton of money and offset GameCube’s weak-ish performance. I’m not doubting how popular the system has been, or how much it’s helped re-affirm Nintendo as a household name.
But what about from a gamer’s perspective? Has anyone played more Wii than their SNES, N64 or Cube? My prediction in the article was that Wii’s headline-grabbing motion controls would run out of steam and dedicated players (you and me) would move on, and that’s more or less what happened. Even if the mainstream has gobbled up Wii Fit Plus and Just Dance, how many bought No More Heroes, Muramasa, Red Steel 2 or Dead Space Extraction? Where are the big third-party franchises like Final Fantasy, GTA, Metal Gear or Assassin’s Creed? Where is the online community?
Even with these strikes against it, Wii has plenty of great, exclusive games. But I still believe it’s the weakest Nintendo console, and that has to qualify as a mistake. Looking ahead, the prospect of a new Nintendo console next year, in HD and with a refined online structure, has me immensely excited. Zelda in 1080p? I’m there on day one.
Above: Worse than any Wii lifestyle shot
The rest of the entries are irrefutable. Nintendo was a bully in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. It ignored online gaming until it was dragged kicking and screaming, and even then imposed its own overbearing rules. The N64’s many (seemingly intentional) limitations allowed Sony to swoop in and dethrone Nintendo for a full 10 years as top dog. The “Play it Loud” ads were a painfully transparent attempt to out-Sega Sega, just as it started to eat at Nintendo’s market share. Virtual Boy is… well it’s Virtual Boy. This was an extremely easy Top 7 to write, as I adamantly believe each of these points, including Wii as number 7. But none of these are so damning I’d stop loving all the effort and creativity that comes out of Nintendo, and it’s certainly not the only company that’s made a handful of wrong turns. Hmm, maybe I can persuade Mikel to write a Top 7… Sony mistakes some day?
This wasn’t my first Top 7, this wasn’t my last Top 7 and this – sadly – wasn’t my most popular Top 7, but this is the Top 7 that perfectly encapsulates what I love about working at GamesRadar, and why I’m proud to be a part of GamesRadar’s five-year anniversary. How can a bunch of stupid puzzles from a bunch of old, forgotten games come to symbolize so much? Bear with me…
We indulge our passions, no matter how niche. If I pitched a feature that begins with 200 words on King’s Quest and ends with 400 words on Gabriel Knight to any other gaming website in the world, I imagine I’d be laughed out of the meeting room and forced to write a Farmville guide to unicorns as punishment. Six of the seven entries in this Top 7 are point-and-click adventures, four released in the 1990s – in other words, not at all what the average gamer is searching for and clicking on these days. I was excited about the subject matter, though, and that’s what mattered. A year later, when I suggested writing a Top 7 sexiest text adventures, my coworkers didn’t even blink an eye.
Above: SO SEXY
We take gaming seriously. I suppose I could have written a few silly jokes at the expense of each puzzle, slapped in a Googled screenshot or two and moved on to a Halo review. If these classics were going to be mocked, however, I felt they at least deserved to be mocked with respect – with real research – so I installed, played and captured dozens of images from each one. Sure, I lost most of a work week and an entire weekend, but now GamesRadar is the only place you can find a mathematical formula for creating your very own cat-fur mustache!
We never take gaming too seriously. Chris is a Disney expert. Chris is also an expert on shitty Mickey Mouse games. Brett’s childhood is the dictionary definition of “Nintendo”… yet, as you just saw above, Brett is not afraid to point out when Nintendo is wrong. And while point-and-click adventures were a huge part of my childhood, when I look back and realize that Sierra once asked me to kill a yeti with a custard pie, rest assured that I will throw nostalgia aside and give that moment the ridicule it deserves.
We are not alone. The biggest reason I cherish this Top 7 has nothing to do with me or my fellow editors – it has to do with you, the readers. I wrote a feature covering some of the oldest and obscurest of games, and to my surprise, you actually cared. Half the comments were genuinely interested in learning about this random piece of their hobby’s history. The other half not only cared, they remembered the puzzles I was writing about. The GamesRadar community cannot be categorized, stereotyped or underestimated – you guys are awesome.