Nintendo games featuring an acrobatic plumber, a go-kart-racing dinosaur or a bounty hunter are what is considered normal for the world's most successful video game company. Thank God, Nintendo regularly becomes much weirder than that.
I certainly enjoy playing new Zelda games and getting excited for the new Fire Emblem s, but the recent announcement of Nintendo Labo-a The system for slotting the Switch into bent pieces of cardboard to build a fishing rod, a car and other toy gadgets reminded me that what I like most about Nintendo is that people there regularly do strange and weird things. Or at least they used to, since I had started worrying about the slowdown in 2017.
Nintendo announces Nintendo Labo, a wild new experiment to change
Nintendo today announced Nintendo Labo , a wild new experiment for the Switch that will allow …
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As good as the year 2017 was for the Nintendo Switch, it was a relatively conservative year for the Nintendo software, with a focus on new releases in large franchises. These new games were largely excellent, but did not indicate, beyond the strange hardware with which they ran, that Nintendo was still involved in being strange. In previous consoles and handheld systems, Nintendo had adopted the peculiarity, and Labo is the first major signal that they will still do so with their Switch software. If they had not done it, it would have been a shame, because Weird Nintendo is, I realized, my favorite Nintendo.
In its first year, the Nintendo Switch had some signs of rarity. Launch of the mini-game collection 1 2 Switch was filled with an ironic real action video. Nintendo released the strange download-only multiplayer game Flip Wars in the middle of the year. Above all, however, Nintendo avoided putting peculiar software, focusing on the conventional.
I'll always want more from Weird Nintendo. I explain it in today's episode of TL; DR with Alex Bedder (included in this publication). I crave the weirdest Nintendo games.
- Take the Nintendo that created Rusty's Real Deal Baseball a great game that allows players to haggle with a depressed virtual dog to lower the real prices of the mini-games that players can buy and to play.
- Take the Nintendo that published the old Game Boy Advance games "Bit Generations" and their spiritual successors, the Art Style games, my favorite of which is called Boxlife and involves folding boxes in a factory . Believe me, it's excellent (and you can still download it to 3DS).
- Take the Nintendo that created the best-selling sports game in the world by realizing that it would be more fun for more people to play tennis or a bowl in a video game with just swinging their arm.
I do not love all the experiments. I prefer to play Metroid Prime or a new Mario & Luigi than Wii Sports and Nintendogs but I consider it vital that the latter comes from Nintendo or at least of the studies with which Nintendo works.
With each Nintendo Direct, I found myself waiting for the announcement of the Switch equivalent of the HAL-made platforms, black-and-white Box Boy or Game-Freak-developed mashed-up racing close-up of horses and the poker that was Pocket Card Jockey . These games were strange deviations from the studies behind the games Kirby and Pokemon and both, published by Nintendo, made the 3DS a more interesting system.
Weird Nintendo gets us a whole new genre of ghost and kitchen hunting and gaming games powered by the technical abilities of two 3DS players who passively exchange game data as they pass to each other. Weird Nintendo brings us things like the ridiculous Game & Wario on Wii U that includes a mini-game on how to hide the playing habits of a character from his mother and a special mode that allows him to see the house of a gnome – among many other very strange things.
There are times when it seems that Nintendo can calculate that it is too weird for the United States. Some of the company's strangest games have never reached these shores. Consider Newly chosen: Rosy Rupeeland from Tingle a game created by Nintendo and the frequent associate study Vanpool. It was released in Japan with the Nintendo DS in 2006, brought to Europe but never to the United States. I described it a decade ago as the "worst game" that Nintendo produced:
In most adventure games, the cost of the items is clearly established. Do you need to buy a shield? Any armor? A golden chicken? A merchant from the village or an elder of the town tells you what you should give to get what they have. In "Tingle", non-player characters will cheat you. Do you want a pot of 10 ingredients in "Tingle"? Do not know how much it costs, because the cook will not tell you? Well, make an offer. In a miserable turn to classic barter, most of the character in the game you make a lowball offer will pocket the money you offer them. And then the negotiations will start from scratch. So when I found a character who promised a big secret if I could only pay him "four figures", I made a mental note (he only had three rupees at that time). I came back to him later in the game when he was around 3000, I offered him 1000, I laughed and I left with only 2000. Did anyone else know that Nintendo's published games meant this?
In most adventure games, the rewards for their heroic deeds are predetermined. Save the princess or defeat the mini-boss, and you can trust that you will be rewarded with a number of gems, hearts or some other reward appropriate for your survival in the next stage of the game. In "Tingle", the guardians ask what their reward should be. In the game, I saved a dehydrated journalist by serving him some necessary drink. He asked me to name the figure for my reward. I did not write in my notes the amount I asked for, but I noticed that he laughed that I asked for so little. He gave me what he wanted, but it seems he could have accepted it for more. Did I just cost a little money that I would need to buy to go to the next level?
In most adventure games, you are given a map, or you can buy one. In "Tingle" you can risk navigating in ignorance by selling your maps back to the game. At the beginning of each chapter of "Tingle", an unfinished map is assigned. You can complete each one by circling areas where you find unusual land formations and monuments. While exploring the Lon Lon Meadow area of the game (reference to "Zelda", see?), I was suffering for money. So I went to the old lady of the city, I sold my map of Lon Lon for 1250 rupees, thus deactivating the reading of the map on the upper screen of my DS. What's next, sell your health bar or inventory screen for profit? What would you do without your hand in hand to earn more money and health for your character?
The game Tingle is wonderfully rare and a great example of how strange Nintendo is willing to be.
Weird Nintendo is not the only Nintendo I want, but Labo has helped me realize how much I missed it. I hope that Nintendo's cardboard creations are not the end of the streak. I hope that the creator of Mario remains weird for a long, long time.