Update: Don't feel like reading? Here's a handy chart!
|I don't want to own current Nintendo Hardware||Is fine. Not my point.|
|I don't like current or any Nintendo Hardware||Is fine. Not my point.|
|I don't care if Nintendo ever makes hardware again||Is what this post is about.|
Jeff made a brief comment recently about how he has no attachment to Nintendo's hardware.
While I don't think anyone will argue that Nintendo is currently doing much other than churning out gimmicks at the moment, it's really narrow-minded to say you don't care if they make hardware anymore.
Focusing on ideas that were iterated immediately, you can actually put forth a case for Nintendo being the vanguard of video game technology. I'm not going to go "Famicom had a microphone in one of the controllers, so Nintendo invented voice control". The Gameboy Camera has no relation to the Kinect. I don't like motion controls, I'm not going to even get into that stuff. If anyone thinks I'm stretching, let me know.
To start, while it's fallen out of favor for dual-analog sticks, Nintendo is primarily responsible for what we know as 'joypad' controls. Prior to the Game And Watch controls, home consoles would just try to mimic the microswitch joystick of arcades. However they'd usually use cheap pressure contacts. It's like saying "A Car is a box with 4 shapes for wheels... We'll use squares cause circles cost too much". Players in the UK will attest that a shitty joystick is one of the worst things you can try to use. Quality, and expensive, joysticks work great! Go grab an Atari 2600 stick and call me in a hour. It's a nightmare knowing what we now know.
Speaking of analog sticks, the Nintendo 64 was a return of technology you had in the Bally's Astrocade, but applying it to 3D gaming was really monumental. In some regards the Nintendo 64 having two control inputs (granted usually the Analog and the C - Buttons) was the fore-runner for what is now the universal way of controlling modern games. Move with one, camera with the other.
I don't think anyone here would need to be reminded that the Playstation did not ship with analog controls. Only after the Nintendo 64 did Sony release the Dualshock, the structure of which is still used to this day on the PS4. And the 4 button face with shoulder buttons? That's Nintendo.
Sticking with the Nintendo 64, what about the Rumble Pak? Personally I can take or leave force feedback...I don't think it's very important, but it was rapidly and readily emulated.
There was a period of time where the defacto standard was two players for a console. You had multi-taps, sure, and again the Bally's Astrocade was there first, but from the Nintendo 64 until the wireless revolution, your video game console was probably going to have 4 controller ports.
Speaking of wireless, the first wireless controller that was worth a god damned was the Wavebird on the Gamecube. In no uncertain terms.
These are all, good and in many ways now the standard, ideas for game hardware.
Nintendo is FAR from perfect. Failing miserably at 3D once and then foundering the second time. Taking a not-really-useful two screen touch screen from the handheld to the console.
And dragging their feet into optical media and online gaming.
However, Nintendo innovates hardware in a meaningful way that is adapted by the industry. Perhaps more than anyone else.