Nintendo and I have a sordid history. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was the first console I owned, that was mine. My brother had an Atari 2600, but at that time I was too young to really appreciate a console. In 1988, my parents bought a NES system and this was my introduction into video games. I had this system well after the release of the SNES, as my parents were not paying full price for gaming systems. This afforded me many years to consume the portfolio of now classic games that appeared on that system. Super Mario Bros, of course, was my first game on the system. I also had Duck Hunt with the Zapper, which I dumped many hours in and so sorely wished I could shoot that damn dog! Following those experiences and as I honed my hand eye coordination and my reflexes, I started moving into other experiences like Paperboy and Double Dragon. Both were fun experiences and I have fond memories, but the NES didn’t cement its place in my heart until I played Metroid. It challenged my patience and fortitude and the feeling on exploration and world development just blew my mind and I’ve had a lifelong love affair with the series ever since, which you’ll hear more about as you read on.
Following my experience with the NES, came the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), which my parents bought years after its release. In 1994, I finally got my hands on a SNES, and it remains one of my favorite systems I have ever had. At this time, I was also sharing my console gaming time with PC, where I was exploring titles like DOOM, MYST and Diablo. The experiences I had on PC still stick with my and profoundly impacted the types of games I like today, but, the SNES provided me with amazing experiences that continued the lineage started by the NES. I jumped right into The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and the puzzles, exploration and word were captivating. I never did finish that game though, as other games just interrupted my time with it and spreading my time across two platforms. Titles like Mario Kart and Star Fox, which became neighborhood phenomenon’s and nightly experiences (I was the best at Kart), pulled at my time and quickly became the most fun I’d had gaming at that time. Shortly after that, Donkey Kong Country became one of my favorite games I’d played, quickly eclipsed shortly after when Super Metroid released, which remains one of the best games I’ve ever played today.
Following the experiences I had with the early Nintendo games is when the fall from grace laid its seed. I started gaming in PC more and more with ever more titles coming like DOOM II, Baldur’s Gate and Quake. New experiences I just wasn’t finding on Nintendo consoles. When the Nintendo 64 (N64) released, I again did not get one until years into its life cycle. The PlayStation had now hit the market offering a whole new world of gaming experiences like Tomb Raider and Silent Hill that were making strong bids for my gaming time. However, in 1997, a title based on a James Bond movie, Golden Eye 007 released. This game because a neighborhood phenomenon unlike anything I’d seen since Mario Kart and I had to have it to be able to keep up; that’s why I bought into the N64. It consumed my time with fierce matches with friends where hatred was cultivated and friendship destroyed (those damn cheapskates that used Oddjob)! Following that sensation, games like Perfect Dark, Donkey Kong 64 and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter made me ultimately very happy I dedicated time to the platform.
The GameCube came next and I held off on that console for a long time. It wasn’t intentional, and the GameCube ultimately became one of the most memorable consoles for me, but the original Xbox, and then subsequently getting the PS2, put strong breaks on picking up a GameCube. At this point in my gaming journey, I was deep in in the throes of Halo which completely changed my views on gaming and truly cemented me as a future lifelong gamer. PlayStation games like final Fantasy X-2 (I know, I KNOW), God of War and Star Wars Battlefront, couple with Xbox games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire, spawned a shift in the style of games I wanted to invest my time in, which moved me away from Nintendo. I stopped paying attention to the platform until one day I was shopping and discovered a display of GameCube’s on sale for FORTY bucks each! At that price point, it would have been straight stupid not to buy one. So I grabbed one and went over the games section to see what the system had to offer. Much to my delight, I discovered that a new Metroid game had arrived, Metroid Prime, furthermore there was also a Metroid Prime 2 that had JUST released. I impulsively snagged both of those and went home, hooked everything up and dived in. Thus became my adventure into possibly the best trilogy of games I have ever played. I couldn’t stop, I called in sick to work, I begged my then wife to play with the kids so that I didn’t have to stop, and I just consumed those two games. I then went on to play other quality titles like Super Smash Bros, Paper Mario, and Star Wars Rogue Squadron, but those Metroid games are what nailed the legacy for that system for me, and the best $40 dollars I ever spent in gaming.
What followed is what I would consider the dark ages of Nintendo, despite the monumental success of the Wii, it led to the abomination of a Wii U. But the Wii first. I bought it fair early in it’s life cycle for Wii Fit. I was looking for a fun way to exercise with the kids and that fit the bill perfectly (side note, I went on to loose 90LBS!). A year or so after its release, Metroid Prime 3 released, which I was obviously very excited about. I snagged it, one of my earliest day one purchases (Halo 2 beats it) and loved that game. I also tried Super Mario Galaxy, The Last Story (amazing game that I sadly never finished), and the obvious Wii Sports, but sadly did not play much outside of that due to the volume of shovel ware that system got which got my leery about buying games. The system quickly started collecting dust.
I completely skipped the Wii U. This was the true low point for me, as competing systems continually outdid Nintendo for the games that I had interest in, and with no Metroid to catch my eye, it was an afterthought pretty much the entire generation. The only game I truly wish I could have played, which isn’t even a Nintendo game, is Bayonetta 2. I played the first one on a competitors console and loved it very much. I mourned that it was a Wii U exclusive. I feel nothing about missing everything else it had to offer. Nintendo had lost me.
Then Nintendo released a couple minute teaser about what their next console would be. The Nintendo Switch, which looked like a hybrid system melding together the living room and handheld gaming, piqued my interest. I got caught up in excitement for a couple days, but then reality started setting in. “There’s no way this thing can compete with the power of PS4 and Xbox One” and “Third party isn’t going to support it” started placing doubts in my mind and I drank the “haterade” and my excitement was all but squelched. They showed it at E3 with Zelda and, while Zelda looked awesome, nothing else they had was of interest. Then third party developers started throwing in their hat with the system and rumors of games started coming and my interest was piqued yet again. The day to pre-order came, and I couldn’t secure a pre-order for the system. I eventually came to be truly appreciative of that, as there were no games I cared about, really, I was just swept up in some hype. I went back to not caring about Nintendo.
Then E3 2017 happens. Microsoft and Sony both have solid showings of games that got me excited, but nothing compared to a simple logo, one screen that showed a 4 followed by Metroid Prime. Such a feeling of elation coursed through me and the rest of the show I was jazzed. Mario Odyssey looked cool and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 had my genuine interest. So here I am again, completely sold on another Nintendo gaming system. I can’t wait to have my Switch, and my Metroid, and my Zelda, and all of the other great gaming experiences that I am going to have on it.