Getting in to Nintendo without nostalgia

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TrueHeresy

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Hi everyone.

Got a 3DS XL recently with Pokemon X and Super Mario 3D World. Played about twenty hours of Pokemon before I kind of lost interest and am now enjoying Mario. But it got me to thinking that I'm just liking some design stuff, I don't have the deep adoration people seem to have for Nintendo's properties and the games from them. I just think it's pretty cool so far.

My question is do I need to get into the backlog of Nintendo to 'get' why people love the games so much? If so, what are the best games to do that? Also looking for 3DS recommendations too please...

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mwng

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There must be some way to develop nostalgia retroactively!

Sure it's part of the reason I like Nintendo stuff, but a lot of it comes down to first party stuff being really well polished, and fun to play. Like you, I kinda lost interest in Pokemon X, despite adoring Red and Blue when they came out, so I'm not sure if it is the love of the series that carries those games. I'll probably try and pick it up again at some point.

As for going back, I'm not sure, maybe? You could cheat by picking up some of the re-releases of older Nintendo properties I suppose, like the Ocarina of Time remake (though this one was carried pretty hard by nostalgia for me).

As for recommendations, what sort of stuff do you like?

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TrueHeresy

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@mwng: I play a lot of RPG's, some FPS and general open world games. Favourite games are The Last of Us, Mass Effect 2 and Bioshock. Halo is my nostalgia beast (not enough get an Xbone though.)

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mwng

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#4  Edited By mwng

The 3DS has a number of RPGs to look into, my favorite game on the system is an SRPG: Fire Emblem Awakening.

Might also be worth checking:

I've only listed stuff I've actually played, there are some shooters and stuff that other people seem to have enjoyed in the form of Resident Evil Revelations. I also have a lot of love for the Phoenix Wright series, as well as the Zero Escape puzzle/choose your own adventure game, but I understand they're not going to appeal to everyone.

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Sinusoidal

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If you're nostalgic about Halo, there's not much anyone can do to make you nostalgic about Super Mario. It's cliché but true: you had to be there.

The best older games can do is hold up. They'll never match the spectacle or production values of anything from the last couple of generations.

However, if you really want to see what was so special about those older games, I'd advise you to not go too far back. NES games are great and all, but it's hard to recognize the appeal if you didn't have to spend $60 on one, and then only had that one for months on end. They don't hold up so well. Now, Super Mario World, Super Metroid and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past are probably the holy triumvirate of 2D, cartridge-based nostalgia (with possibly a Final Fantasy in there if you've got the patience and a good imagination.) Try those out, and if you're not impressed, give up.

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SchrodngrsFalco

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@sinusoidal: I don't know, I'm playing the original Zelda on a NES emulator, and I'm loving it. The world is open and huge, and just asks you to go out, find some sweet items, find dungeons, go the way you feel. I'm playing it by drawing my own map, and it is fun planning routes and keeping track of where to go and what not!

OP, if you have a PC, i'd recommend getting a NES emulator, and playing the OG Zelda... it's okay to suggest that, right? It's been like 20+ years now... lol

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Pepsiman

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Personally, I'd say if you don't have that history with Nintendo's long-running franchises that you might actually be better off checking out some of their completely fresh stuff from the last decade or so. There's still a certain philosophical lineage to their non-Mario and Zelda stuff, but I think they're a really solid way of acquainting with the sort of abstract trademarks people have come to really appreciate about their games. To that end, my picks:

  • The Rhythm Heaven games. There are three of them, one for the GBA, DS, and Wii each. The latter two are the only ones that got localized, although the general consensus is that the GBA and Wii ones are the essential ones. If you don't feel like dealing with Japanese menus (though it's a really non-Japanese speaker friendly game!), then definitely pick up the Wii one, especially since it doesn't have any motion controls, in case those turn you off.
  • The WarioWare series. There's some shared ideas and people behind these games and Rhythm Heaven, but they're different enough beasts that they can be more or less enjoyed as separate and distinct things. Two GBA games, two DS games, a Wii game, and I think some weird 3DS spinoff stuff that everybody's forgotten about mostly. Both of the GBA games, which are the original WarioWare and WarioWare: Twisted (which has motion controls in that you tilt the system side to side), and the Wii one, Smooth Moves are very widely regarded to be really original, unique playing games because of their tone, controls, and swiftness for each "microgame" you play. Personally, I love Twisted the best.
  • The Pushmo series. Haven't actually played any of these, but these are basically downloadable platform puzzlers where you have to pull out chunks of three-dimensional pictures in such a way that you can make it to the finish line. Apparently gets fiendish fast. Two 3DS entries and a Wii U one, all beloved to my knowledge.
  • The Pikmin games. Basically console RTS games with controls done right masquerading as action adventure games. Two GameCube installments, both with solid Wii ports, and a Wii U game. The first two games on the GameCube, I believe, are the most highly regarded, but the Wii U game hardly got bad reception, either. If you only have to go for one of them, pick up either version of 2, though I'm of the opinion that 1 is an equally excellent game, albeit for different and, more controversial reasons that ultimately make it the less accessible game.

I think also playing some of the more unusual spinoffs in Nintendo's more venerable lines is a good way of familiarizing yourself with the design philosophies people love without having to dive way back into their main catalog. On that front, I'd suggest:

  • Picross 3D. Fantastic DS puzzler where you carve out pictures in a three-dimensional space based on interpreting numbers and shapes on each block. Takes a good while for the difficulty to really rev up, but if you're known to enjoy puzzle games to any degree, you'll likely find yourself falling for this one hard.
  • The first two Paper Mario games. Neat, accessible RPGs for the N64 and GameCube that are simple and free of pretentious mechanical clutter without feeling condescending. Also just really charming writing and they feature a still relatively unique battle system that's a hybrid of turn-based with quasi-QTE/real time action segments. Works a lot better than you might think.

I thought I had more games, but it's been a long night, so we'll call it good at that. I know not a lot of 3DS specific suggestions in here (there is a 3DS Paper Mario game, but it's not really all that well liked compared to the others), but there is a good amount of original stuff that Nintendo still produces as either spinoffs or in a one-off capacity that I think can be very easily appreciated without having any history with them. Hope it helps!

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TrueHeresy

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#8  Edited By TrueHeresy

@pepsiman: A LIST OF THINGS TO PLAY :) very excited honestly. Saw the Quick Look for Pushmo on Wii U and it looked fucking great. In fact almost everything I've seen on Wii U Quick Look's makes me want one of them. Damn money needing and great games. I'll definitely check out your suggestions though, thank you.

@hurricaneivan29: I have a Mac. I believe we have a thing called OpenEmu... ?

@sinusoidal: I've always heard people talk about those games so I'll find a way to play them just to see how it goes. It's weird that for such a young medium the rate of decay on what's acceptable or palatable to a player (if that makes sense?)

@mwng: A lot of good stuff here thank you I'll definitely check most of them out, quick looks and actual carts :) I'm also happy to try other genre's too, new XCOM blew my mind as a thing that I actually loved having never played anything like it before.

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mwng

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@trueheresy: Anytime! A lot of those games have demos available on the Nintendo eShop as far as I'm aware.

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Justin258

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Super Metroid is pretty fucking great.

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Sinusoidal

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@sinusoidal: I don't know, I'm playing the original Zelda on a NES emulator, and I'm loving it. The world is open and huge, and just asks you to go out, find some sweet items, find dungeons, go the way you feel. I'm playing it by drawing my own map, and it is fun planning routes and keeping track of where to go and what not!

OP, if you have a PC, i'd recommend getting a NES emulator, and playing the OG Zelda... it's okay to suggest that, right? It's been like 20+ years now... lol

Yeah, the original Zelda probably holds up better than any other NES game, though it is a bit less accessible than the SNES games I mentioned above. It's sometimes hard to know where to go next. Back in the 80s, not knowing what to do was a plus, it meant the one game you had to play for months had a bit more play value. Its new game plus mode was mind-bogglingly awesome back then!

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@sinusoidal: That's what's awesome about drawing your map, is that you have to keep track of where you've gone. I love that kind of interaction with a game.

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mosespippy

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This is something I struggle with for Nintendo as well as Blizzard games. Never had a Nintendo system till I bought a 3DS this year. So I've never played a Zelda or Pokemon or Metroid Smash or many other franchises. Played various Mario and Mario Kart games at friends from time to time but never sunk any real time into any of them. Now that I've played Fire Emblem Awakening it feels antiquated and I wonder if people have been drinking the kool-aid for too long to notice.

With Blizzard I never played a Warcraft, Starcraft or Diablo game. Now they've got a card game and a moba full of characters from those franchises. None of that is for me, it's for fans of those old games. So what do those games have to offer for me? I don't know; I've never had a reason to start them.

@sinusoidal: I don't know, I'm playing the original Zelda on a NES emulator, and I'm loving it. The world is open and huge, and just asks you to go out, find some sweet items, find dungeons, go the way you feel. I'm playing it by drawing my own map, and it is fun planning routes and keeping track of where to go and what not!

OP, if you have a PC, i'd recommend getting a NES emulator, and playing the OG Zelda... it's okay to suggest that, right? It's been like 20+ years now... lol

It's worth pointing out that the original Zelda (and like 6 other Zelda games) are available on the 3DS eshop, so he should probably go that route instead.