Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunday Thoughts - Worked Up About The NX

The last issue of Gamesmaster 2015 had the typical "Games we're looking forward to" article, but also a short little tidbit about something that at least I found very interesting - rumours on the next console from Nintendo, currently dubbed the NX.

Eventhough I basically only play their 3DS nowadays, with short forays onto the N64 when the son feels up to it, I used to be all about Nintendo. I didn't get into PC gaming (which is what I mainly do nowadays) until I started playing WoW, and then I was pretty much only playing WoW for 8 years before I decided to check out other PC games. I definitely consider myself a PC gamer now, but it's a fairly recent thing. At the beginning it was almost exclusively Nintendo games (Mario Kart, Mario Party, Smash Bros, Yoshi's Story, Mario 64, Zelda OoT... and Golden Eye of course), sometimes rarely some Playstation game. My first console was the N64, it is what got me into gaming. So eventhough I don't play much of what they release nowadays, I'm still very curious about what they do. I've wanted to get a WiiU for ages, I just find the games too expensive... But back to the NX.

Probably not what it is going to look like -

There are several things about the rumours that have me excited, in fact pretty much everything. Unfortunately, being rumours it might of course be that none of it will actually be true, but one can dream. Let's take a closer look at some of them;

The fact that Nintendo are talking about NX as a "dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept" isn't what is getting my knickers in a twist. Anything else would've been more of a surprise really since this is the road Nintendo have been driving down very decisively since they started doing video games. Say what you want about Nintendos antics, they've had their ups and downs, their good decisions and their bad decisions. But they stick with their ideals and I admire them for it, mostly. I may not have been a massive fan of everything they've churned out (I really disliked the Wii for instance) but I think everyone can agree that the video game industry would be a much more boring place without Nintendo in it (and definitely a completely different place alltogether). So we know the next console is going to be more of what Nintendo has been doing the last 30 years - originality and stubborness married into a console. It's often very hit or miss. But I have some high hopes for this one because...

Nintendo filed patents for a console without a disk drive in 2014 and 2015.What does this mean? How would a console play games if not from disks!? Cartridges of course. And it makes perfect sense. Nintendo was, and seemingly is, never a fan of the disk system. It took them many years to adapt to it, and first introducing their own little mini-disks (as in little disks, not actual Mini-Disks) with the Gamecube (they were totally cute btw, I loved them) before they finally succumbed and went with regular disks. (Is it disc or disk btw? I'm not sure...) I'd like to say it's because of some sort of nostalgic love Nintendo harbours for the practical little things, but I am pretty sure it's just because cartridges are a lot harder to pirate than discs. Nintendo were always on the sterner side regarding pirating, and that is almost worthy of a post in itself (go read Game Over by David Sheff for a lot of information on this, it's truly a great book).

I on the other hand do harbour a nostalgic love for cartridges and if Nintendo could somehow overcome the old issue of cartridges not being able to hold as much memory as discs, then I am all for it. The major drawback and something that has always bothered me about Nintendo is that it would mean yet another console that isn't backwards compatible, but what the heck... I've gotten used to it by now and I don't own any Wii/WiiU games anyway (yet). I don't know how big the current gen games are and if it's even feasible to put that into a cartridge of some sort, but I do love the idea, especially since it seems like...

Nintendo might do a proper crossover between their stationary and handheld console. In fact, looking at the WiiU controller it looks a lot like a Gameboy already so it seems like another logical step on the Nintendo path to go the whole hog and make both their next consoles parts of eachother. Gameboy has been connectable to the stationary since its inception, but it's always been somewhat wonky and rarely worthwhile (except in games like Pokemon Stadium). Does this mean we can play the same games on the stationary and the handheld? I'm not sure where Nintendo could go with this, nor am I sure I want to use something similar to my 3DS as a controller for my stationary Nintendo console. I haven't really tried the WiiU controller, but it seems clunky. I am sure however that if anyone can find an interesting solution to both those problems, it'd be Nintendo. Yet again, I am loving the idea.

And finally, another thing that has been bothering me about Nintendo and that they might do away with - region locking their consoles. To me it was particularly annoying that they region locked the 3DS. But to be the only console maker to region lock your stationary console in a world that is increasingly global and increasiongly imports games from all over the place? That just tells people you are not reading the market, or don't care - both things Nintendo can be accused of on a regular basis. Sometimes it makes them a much needed and fresh breath of air in the industry, sometimes it just makes you facepalm and wonder if they even want you to buy their things. I feel like the NX will balance on the fine line between those two extremes, as pretty much every other stationary console Nintendo has created has.

Extra big thanks to Gamesmaster #299 for the info!


  1. Another possibility is that the NX isn't going to have a native drive because it's so cheap to simply add one yourself via USB.

    1. Don't crush my dreams for cartridges! No, you are probably right. They did something similar with not adding a charger with the 3DS after all.