Nintendo: it's...you know, for kids!

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Heidegger

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#1  Edited By Heidegger

Or do yous disagree?

After a couple of years pause I've been enjoying a return to regular gaming these last coupla months: upgraded my 360/PS3 to ONE/PS4 and added a few new titles to my Steam. To add to the humongous backlog I decided to give Nintendo a chance.

Bit of gaming background: I've had in chronological order the Atari 2600, C64, Sega Megadrive, Amiga 500, PC and all the Playstations 'n Xboxes. Am currently enjoying my first playthrough of Fallout 3 while dipping into Metro 2033 as the russian counterpart to the western post-apocalypse.

So lots of gaming history in my 41 years on this planet, yet never had Nintendo. Even back in the NES/SNES/N64 days playing extensively on mates' nintendos I always found the games, even the most celebrated ones, either too childish or just plain 2nd-choice against what I had:

Mario: preferred Alex Kidd 'n Sonic.

F-Zero: preferred Road Rash 'n Rollcage.

Streetfighter 2: preferred Streets of Rage 'n Tekken 2.

Zelda: preferred Sword of Vermillion, Daggerfall 'n FFVII.

Goldeneye: preferred MGS 'n Tomb Raider.

So I ignored the Gamecube and Wiis.

But I'm enjoying gaming so much these days (not just the playing, also soaking up the culture and history of it) that I thought I should give Nintendo one last chance, I was at least intrigued by their unique controllers. So thanks to a bit of patient bargain-hunting on Ebay I bagged myself an original Wii (for eventual Gamecube-compatibility) and Wii U with some of their most celebrated and culty games...

...which merely confirmed that Nintendo is just not for me. It's for casuals, families, kids and the young-at-heart. The Wii's remote/nunchuk were very fun for select games for the first hour, thereafter just became tedious and even arduous. For other games it was just awkward from the off. U's big flat controller with an as-it-turned-out superfluous display wasn't greatly ergonomic.

Sure, you can get a normal controller but that relegates Nintendo's significant selling point of having unique controls. Then all you've got left is the games, and frankly they're not up to snuff. Dated graphics already at the time of their release wasn't the deal-breaker, it was often the immature presentation and limited gameplay. I tried:

Metroid Prime 3: it was alright, tho' in times of Half-Life 2, Bioshock etc it falls way short on fluidity, complexity and maturity.

Deadly Creatures/Endless Ocean: more edutainment than immersive thrills. Very simple all-round, which is a recurring theme for Nintendo games.

Sonic and the secret Rings: awful presentation and controls put this far behind peers like Ratchet 'n Clank and Rayman.

Mario Galaxy: it's Mario so it's cute and childish by default. Fun game if you're in the mood...nothing special, mind.

Red Steel 2/Goldeneye 007: the dearth of mature action games Nintendo has means average shooters get elevated to cult-status. In terms of overall impression/quality these two are about on par with a Call of Juarez or any of the other decent-ish fps's out there on rival consoles. They come nowhere near the cream of the crop.

Zelda - Twilight Princess: apparently one of the darker Zeldas and before BotW came out the most highly-rated. In practice it's a glorified fetch-'em-up, aimed at kids/teens.

plus various sports games which were limited cheap cheerful fun at best but nowhere near the deep addictive experiences you get with sport sims on the other consoles.

Resident Evil 4 didn't control too badly, tho' that alone isn't a selling point to own an entire system.

Spiderman 2 (GC): was probably grand at the time...hasn't dated well.

Mario Kart 8 (U): too simple, too silly, too cute.

Splatoon: ditto...and to think rival consoles have enjoyed the likes of Portal (which also had sections with paint-filling). Culturally, there's a world between them. One is grown-up and the other frankly is not.

ZombiU: had potential but personally I'm not a fan of hectic escape horror, and using the controller-display for the map was just awkward.

Bayonetta 2: even the 'mature' exclusive games are immature, you've got cheesy dialogue and teasing naked flashes, great if you're a hormonal teenager, I expect. Hack 'n slash action is formulaic, and the narrative can hardly compare with something like God of War.

And on the console operating systems we've got the übercute profile avatars (or Miis as I believe they're called), with the incessant high-pitched baby chatter, and horrid babymusik you can't even turn off in the settings (Nintendo is not one for giving you too many settings to configure...)

Compare and contrast with similarly-celebrated games on my Xbone/PS4: Halo and Shadow of the Colossus. Older games from the mid-2000's, remastered, otherwise unchanged. Both exclusive titles and both mature immersive experiences, loaded from operating systems that don't try to kill me with cuteness.

Nintendo are somewhere between the My Little Pony and Disney_Corp of the game world: focus on recognisable brand names; don't seek to challenge; go for the cute dollar. There is plainly a huge market for this, with as many adults as children interested. And I appreciate them existing to offer folk something else as Xbox/PS are almost interchangeable.

Saying that...plainly, Nintendo's market is not the mature & discerning one. If you are a mature discerning gamer, then I can't recommend Nintendo at all.

Do yous disagree? Alternative perspectives on this old famous name of gaming are welcome!

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Jesus_Phish

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Mario Galaxy: it's Mario so it's cute and childish by default.

This is an attitude I'll never understand.

horrid babymusik

This is absolutely anything but horrid babymusik.

Loading Video...



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Heidegger

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@jesus_phish: right at the beginning of Galaxy this supercute pre-school floating creature wants to play hide 'n seek with you, which as we all know is a game we play with small children. You have to play along as it's part of the tutorial. Before that in the opening sequence you've got smiling-face stars and a twee princess requiring saving after being abducted by a cartoon baddie haha

Mario's asthetics are objectively similar to Teletubbies, Sesame Street, He-Man and the like. What's not to understand?

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Zeik

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#4  Edited By Zeik

@heidegger: Mario is like He-Man? That's a first.

It would probably be better if he was though.

Anyway, sounds like you need to grow up a little and stop worrying so much about whether something is for children. Who cares? Just play what you find fun. If that's not Nintendo games that's fine, you don't need try so hard to act like you're too "mature" for those games. It just makes you seem immature.

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redwing42

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#5  Edited By redwing42

Yes, generally Nintendo's offerings are of a more upbeat and positive nature. Does that make them childish by default? Not necessarily. Can "discerning and mature gamers" enjoy taking a break from dark, brooding, and/or gory games? Absolutely. I would not recommend a Nintendo console as the sole option for someone who likes overly serious games, but I would absolutely recommend an Xbox or Playstation owner get a Switch as a second console over anything else. The convenience of third party games on Switch also cannot be overlooked, and that provides different options (Darkest Dungeon, for example).

Overall, though, people play games to enjoy playing games. Just like music, there are plenty of options available, and not everyone will like the same thing. That doesn't mean that anyone is wrong, it is just their preference.

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Heidegger

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@zeik: your post doesn't make sense, mate. It's Nintendo that's immature, not me for pointing it out.

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fasterblaster

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Mario games always start off very simple and easy and ramp up in difficulty / complexity as you go along. I guarantee if I dropped a controller in your hand right now on Champion's Road, the final level, you wouldn't be able to beat it. You would spend hours trying to beat just that one stage. I know, because I'm a seasoned Mario player and it took me several hours and several hundred attempts. It seems to me you did not give the games enough of a chance to speak intelligently about them.

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Heidegger

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@redwing42: good post, tho' i wouldn't say it's a case of upbeat positive vs dark brooding. It's more a case of cute casual vs mature depth. Each has its place in the universe, of course.

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liquiddragon

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#9  Edited By liquiddragon

??
TAKE

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Zeik

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@zeik: your post doesn't make sense, mate. It's Nintendo that's immature, not me for pointing it out.

Maturity is not what you seem to think it is. Among other things, it is being comfortable enough with yourself that you don't need to label yourself or things you like "mature". That's what kids do to seem more grown up than they are. If you're actually 41 you can stop caring so much, because other people don't.

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Heidegger

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@fasterblaster: i'm not denying Mario has challenging levels (the classic games did too), i'm saying the tone is aimed at children, teens and adult cute-fans.

Challenging games present no obstacles for young gamers, as the winner of Fortnite will tell us. Teenage gamers are probably the most skilled age-group, as their reflexes are at their peak.

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Heidegger

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@zeik: you do sound a little defensive, zeik. I'm not saying anything controversial, just interested in a mature discussion on the wider context of video game culture.

It's a modern phenomenon that products ostensibly aimed at children are being consumed by adults. One school of thought says that this new adult-infantilism is taking away the joys actual children traditionally would have as they no longer have exclusive enthusiasm for it.

Here's two pieces on this thinking, of which my mention of Nintendo's popularity with adults is related to. Also sort the reader comments via most-recommended and check out what folk are saying, it might put a different perspective to your current thinking:

https://theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/23/have-our-cultural-tastes-become-too-childish

https://theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/17/millennials-children-toys-films-kids-toy-story-david-bowie-barbie

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ripelivejam

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Hahahah... no.

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Hayt

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Okay I held my tongue for a bit but this is a truly awful take and I refuse to believe it was posted by a 41 year old.

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Zeik

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@heidegger: Oof, now you're peddling Guardian articles. I'm out.

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Heidegger

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#16  Edited By Heidegger

@hayt: google 'nintendo is for kids'...it's a known thing. i'm not saying anything remotely original or controversial.

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Wiseman4545

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#17  Edited By Wiseman4545

@heidegger said:

@hayt: google 'nintendo is for kids'...it's a known thing. i'm not saying anything remotely original or controversial.

Yeah, it's a common sentiment by 13 year olds who are trying to seem like they're "mature" because they play Call of Duty instead of Nintendo games like Mario.

It's not actually a thing among most grown ups. Grown ups don't care. Not the ones that actually take video games seriously anyway.

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Heidegger

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@wiseman4545: the hundreds of grown-ups commenting on the articles i linked care. The distinction between children's and grown-up entertainment has become blurred recently and Nintendo's popularity with adults despite childish asthetics is a good example of that.

I'm not judging personally, each to their own and all that. But many folk do judge, and going by some of the responses here it does seem to be a sore nerve topic.

One doth protest too much about not caring etc

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Wiseman4545

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#19  Edited By Wiseman4545

@wiseman4545: I think you misunderstand. I don't care about maturity of video games, I care about your ignorance. People spouting ignorance is never okay in my book.

But if ignoring you will prove my indifference to the subject matter I am more than willing to accommodate you there.

Although you do realize what website you're on, right? The one founded and run by a bunch of 30-40 year olds who almost universally adore Nintendo games? Just throwing that out there.

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FacelessVixen

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I mean... this isn't reddit or MAL, so I'm not entirely sure if it's an unpopular opinion or a shitpost.

@zeik said:

@heidegger: Oof, now you're peddling Guardian articles. I'm out.

Good catch.

This thread is a shitpost.

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VoleMaulder

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#21  Edited By VoleMaulder

OP, I'd be inclined, on the surface, to agree with you more than disagree. In my opinion, yes, there is an overly cutesy and babyish aesthetic to most of Nintendo's output, from OSes and sound effects/music (one needs to fire up the WiiU and just sit there for a minute) to their games (I may be wrong, but Mario seems like he's becoming more of a baby with every generation - also, all the baby versions of characters in Mario Kart, what's up with that?)

You did point out that something being for kids doesn't mean it's easy, that would be underpinned by a huge underestimation of what kids and teenagers are capable of. I would add to this that something being legitimately for kids is not a criticism, or shouldn't be anyway, nor it being easy. We were all kids once, there's a lot of kids around, and no one started playing video games like a pro on their first game.

However, and here I think is where it get a bit more complicated for me. I'm 34 now. I've been playing games since I was maybe 7 or 8? I started with sharing a GameBoy with schoolmates in primary school, then got one for myself, got a SNES, played a bunch on a friend's N64 and on another friend's PS, and then, when the time came for me to replace my SNES, I opted for a PS instead of a N64. The main thing I remember, and what drove me away from Nintendo and into Sony back then was that, as a kid, I never really liked any of N's games, the ones supposedly for kids. I was into cowboys, and Batman and Spiderman, and Judge Dredd (for some reason!), and car racing (there was plenty of that on the Playstation) and zombies and fascinated by horror stories and science fiction. Not by cutesy baby-faces and happy stars and hide 'n seek. I know I wasn't supposed to be playing or watching or reading such things at that age, but that was what I was genuinely interested in. As a kid, I found Nintendo games too childish! I wouldn't say that was because I was mature, because I certainly wasn't. As I wouldn't be able to claim with a straight face that Halo or God of War up until the last game on the PS4 were mature games either in anything but on the surface.

So yeah, I share some of your sentiment, maybe most of it, but maybe it's a different description or conceptualisation which captures what you're trying to get at. Just for some food for thought, about a month ago I got myself a WiiU to play, mostly, BotW. I got some other games, too, because I had a bunch of credit with CEX and I wanted some options to enjoy my newly acquired console. The first few hours with Zelda were a delight. Once I got into the double digits in my time with it, though, I started having a nagging feeling which is probably summarised as such (and I know that it may not be fair to the game, since I've probably only scratched just a little below the surface, we'll see, I reserve full judgement, this is just my impression about 23 hours in): it's too much of a game. And I think that's where the rub lies for me when it comes to why I've never finished any N game. They're more toys/playthings/GAMES than I'd like my games to be. I'd like to explore Hyrule, but I know that I'll mostly find nothing really intriguing other than another chest with a ruby in it, another play-area to solve for blinky thing, an enemy camp with cartoony enemies that feels like it's just placed there for me, the world doesn't feel the least bit convincing as a real world - despite it being the most alive one I've seen in a Zelda game - and there's nothing deeper for me to reflect on and feel. Not saying this is exclusive to Nintendo, a lot of games have this issue. But contrast that to, as you mentioned, Shadow of the Colossus and how sombre and lonely the world feels, and how the moral decision of the character looms like a shadow over the world and the gameplay, lending gravity to your actions and bittersweet elation at every win. That's where it is for me, for the medium. In the SotCs and the Soulsbornes. Not the Zeldas and not the Halos.

Then again, I should probably qualify all this by adding that I was a pretty lonely and sad kid, so maybe Nintendo is for happy, well-adjusted kids only, I don't know :P

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imhungry

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#22  Edited By imhungry

Machismo is a hell of a drug.

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The company has gotten far better at changing this image within the games space, with more AAA ports coming to the Switch, but in the overall mainstream gaming, their image has changed from childish to “getting in touch with your inner child.” In a way that can grab the families of the world, but for gaming families operating on the existing premium consoles, there remains little incentive to make the extra plunge, especially if you’re already struggling to pay bills. For those gamers, premium first party experiences are key, and I think the mainstream is hooked into Pokémon again. The switch lite will do gangbusters and it’ll be the next 3DS eventually, while the switch bigboi continues to be improved upon to create a stronger home experience.

Couple that with the upcoming Super Nintendo Lands at Universal parks across the globe, the future is bright for Nintendo and the system!

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NTM

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#24  Edited By NTM

From an artistic perspective? Maybe, but elsewhere not so much most of the time. When you get deep into some of the Mario games, for example, the game can get pretty challenging. Plus, Mario Galaxy is adorable and it's probably my favorite Mario game. It's the one I found most peaceful to play (other times, extremely frustrating). Mario Galaxy 2 was more of the same but slightly worse in my opinion, and Odyssey didn't live up to it. The image of Nintendo being childish and the reality of it is a little different in terms of their games (at least challenge, which is really where it counts in my opinion, as it's kind of deceptive). They seem to target kids for sure, but some of their products definitely aren't on the level that kids want to or should be able to play. I'm defending Nintendo because I do like Nintendo, but to be honest, I just don't play their consoles much.

The last Nintendo console I played just as much as the others was GameCube. The Wii, Wii U and Switch all (figuratively) gather dust from me. My issue with Nintendo, when it comes to its childish side is how they produce things like Labo, which is cool from the 'hey, my kid can create something, to play something' but I don't think it's made in a way that makes things exciting. If you've ever seen the video where John Carpenter tries to play the Halloween theme on the Labo and says 'this is fucked', then that's kind of what I'm talking about. If it's not cool for adults, it's not good enough for kids in my opinion.

I really do not care at all if their games come off as cute or childish; if a cute and childish game is good, it's a good game period. The thing I want Nintendo to do though (and I don't think it's a popular opinion) is get with current tech. You don't have to compete with Microsoft and/or Sony, but please get up to date with technology. I want to have games be 4k now and to be able to do surround sound. Their way of surround excludes a lot of peoples setups. Also, is it weird that I had to do a double-take to see if this thread was an old one bumped? As far as I know, we do not see threads like this on here that much.

Lastly, I'm not sure why it matters if a game is cutesy or seemingly childish. I think those that dislike them because they don't offer a realistic, deep, perhaps violent take on things may be immature. Just saying. It's okay to like kid things as an adult, especially as a parent or someone that has kids in their lives (although I'm not saying for them exclusively). Would you say parents that are excited about getting Lego's for their kids on Christmas are in the wrong because it's for kids? Lego's are as much for kids as Nintendo's products are. Parents get Nintendo systems and games for their kids and also enjoy playing with their kids or even on their own.

It's fine to say that what Nintendo makes is not for you, but you're basically saying people that like playing things on Nintendo consoles are not mature and are not discerning when I'd say that's just not true. In fact, I'd argue that if you're thinking that, you're perhaps not mature yourself. Sorry to say, but that's the vibe I'm getting.

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Drachmalius

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#25  Edited By Drachmalius

Hard to take this seriously when the opening salvo seems to be saying that Mario is somehow more childish than Sonic...but I'll take my best crack at it.

I think the simplest answer I can muster here, assuming this topic is in good faith, is that Nintendo is in the business of making "all ages" mass appeal type games. From what little I know about marketing, it's a common tactic to try to cast a wide net and make your product appealing to as wide an age group as possible. They don't target only the demographic of kids and teens, their first party output and exclusives are meant to be eye catching to a broad audience.

The lack of powerful hardware means they've leaned on distinct art styles that stand out and demand attention. I think there's a pretty big difference between that and being only for kids.

Also have to disagree with the assessment that something being too "childish" or "immature" is a meaningful criticism. What exactly does that even mean? The mechanics are too shallow, or you just don't like the art style? There's a better way to say whatever you're trying to say here. The reason you are seeing a lot of pushback is because your position is unclear and reductive.

Rather than trying to generalize an entire company's output to a reductive adjective (childish/immature), maybe try to figure out what it is that makes these games seem like they are just for kids. Then you might be able to work backwards and see why a lot of adults still play Nintendo games.

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glots

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The most shocking thing here is that this wasn’t a thread from 10 years ago that someone bumped up.

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Onemanarmyy

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#27  Edited By Onemanarmyy

haha yeah, i thought this was a 10 year old thread :D

but yeah, i don't know why you even bothered giving Nintendo a shot if colourful cartoony characters & characters playing hide & seek in the tutorial is a turn off already. I guess if portability is a huge thing for you, you could ignore Nintendo's output & go for indies & badly ported games like Wolfenstein & MKII, but that just seems like a bad experience to me. If you're not able to enjoy the Mario's, The Zelda's, the Smash Bros, the Animal Crossings, the Splatoons at some point you're probably better off with a different system.

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nutter

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#28  Edited By nutter

Nintendo stuff often has a child-like quality. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, or that it makes their games for children.

I’m not a huge Nintendo fan. I always preferred third-party games on their systems. I’m not really sure why, maybe it’s the lack of story, but I mostly fall off their games, so I don’t buy them.

The last Zelda I beat was Zelda 2. I haven’t gotten deep into a Metroid since...Metroid. I have Metroid Prime in my closet, but I didn’t play beyond the first stage. I’ll enjoy a Mario game each decade or so. Mario 2, Mario 64, and Mario Galaxy were a ton of fun. I loved Mario Odyssey until I just sort of stopped caring shortly after the amazing New Donk City.

I’ve played HOURS of Smash Bros with my son. I don’t get it. It’s not particularly enjoyable outside of it being time spent with him.

Oh, Mike Tyson’s PunchOut was great!

Anyhow, there’s Nintendo stuff I like, but most of their games aren’t for me. I think I’d be good with a new Mario once a decade.

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stantongrouse

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To a lot of people outside of playing games, all games are for kids - which for those of us who enjoy the pastime, is an arse as we spend most of our time justifying/explaining our hobby to these people when it comes up in conversation. So, having this discussion within the community just seems a bit like shutting your own fingers in a door. As some other duders have suggested, I think there is a huge difference between making a game for children and a game children can play and enjoy alongside adults. Nintendo are definitely more into the latter than say Microsoft and Sony who lean more towards publishing games for adults and games for kids (and arguably games for teens specifically too) mostly as separate IPs. If anything, I would suggest Nintendo is more inclusive, and a better all ages platform than any of the others. The explosion of older folks buying up Wiis when it was out really supports this.

Dude, you do you, play the games you like, but does it really matter what the platforms, games and publishers you like less seem like to you? All it does is create reaction, rather than discussion. You could have just said, "What draws you to Nintendo games/consoles from someone who's never been into them?", and you'd have got everyone's hot take without (perhaps unintentionally) stamping on peoples' things they love. You know why you don't like it, so surely it's more interesting find out what people do like about it?

FWIW - I have generally liked Nintendo stuff most of my life and, at 40, I can't see that changing in the same way that I have dropped off lots of games that try to aim for adult audiences but end up hitting teen white male instead. I'd go back and play a lot more older Nintendo games than contemporaneous games from the same period aimed at adults only - far more often the tone of these games (along with the graphical style) has dated to me more that the more universally marketed Nintendo ones. But hey, that's just me.

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VoleMaulder

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#30  Edited By VoleMaulder

@drachmalius: I think you made the point I tried to make, but more succinctly here. One can find the aesthetics childish, that's a legitimate opinion and position, I think, but maturity or lack thereof is a whole different issue and a weird criticism to base on just aesthetics.

As you said, figuring out what you don't like and breaking down the construct "just for kids" and working backwards will get one to a more accurate, regardless of subjectivity, description of their own position and understanding of the situation.

Thinking about what I wrote last night, I think a more succinct way to say what I meant to offer as a counter-suggestion to the OP's impression was this: I like my gameplay dressed in stories, preferably with some mystery or otherwordliness or emotional undertones. When I was a kid - therefore, technically, more immature than I am now - I was drawn to, undoubtedly, immature games despite their mature imagery (e.g. Resident Evil) because of those elements. This is still true for me, and this is why I keep bouncing off Nintendo games despite a lot of them being really good when it comes to gameplay. A present-day example perfectly encapsulating this difference would be if I compared BotW to HZD. I played the latter first, loved it. Playing BotW, one of my (and my partner's who was watching) reactions to the early plot-scenes was "huh this looks like HZD for kids!" (which, btw, was entirely in good-faith, without any undertone of machismo - that was an interesting take - or accusation of immaturity), because it appeared as a simplified variation of the HZD story in a way. This comparison would aptly apply to exploration and collectables, too: one game offering socioenvironmental and emotionally laden lore on top of gameplay as a reward for exploring and collecting things, the other offering puzzle rooms and rubies. So far into BotW, I think both games are on par gameplay-wise, but HZD would win any day for me, because of my personal preferences that call for what I mentioned previously.

I'm not sure if this conceptualisation is of any help to @heidegger or if it would offer inspiration for reconsideration of their perception of N games towards something more nuanced. At the end of the day, bouncing off the aesthetics of something so hard that you cannot see past it is, I think, a legitimate position, so there's no need to call anyone ignorant for that. Hell, I love the older Star Trek series, but I have friends who CANNOT stomach the aesthetics and the "laser guns" to enjoy the other elements in them. I'm not gonna call them ignorant for that, it's just personal preferences. Nor am I going to take personal offence because of that. Similarly, I have gaming friends who would skip everything to get to the gameplay and give zero fudges about aesthetics, who generally gravitate towards N way more than me. Again, not a question of maturity.

PS: On the topic of hide 'n seek, there's a certain mature-looking game of the previous generation which starts with a hide 'n seek tutorial. I'd be curious what @heidegger thought of that, especially if it didn't result in a similar reaction to Mario Galaxy.

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Being for all ages and being for children and/or kids are very different things here. Part of why I enjoy Nintendo and many of their games is they tend to put out more creative and games I find far more interesting and fun to play, unlike 90% of AAA games these days. Part of the reason I enjoy the Switch so much is there are so many indie games(even if they are expensive ports) I can take with me and there is no need for a internet connection if I want to play most of my games.

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cikame

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#32  Edited By cikame

I am overdue to return to a Nintendo system, my last one was the 64, i'd be getting a Switch primarily to play Bayonetta 2 and 3, but i also can't wait to finally play a Pikmin game when the new one finally comes out.
The reason i don't have one already is because i can't qualify the price for my use case, so much of the cost of a Switch is tied up with its screen, the joy cons, the battery and its ability to "Switch", there are no situations in my life where i need a portable system.
I'm pretty sure if Nintendo made a TV only version they could knock off up to £100, it feels absurd to pay so much for a feature i'd never use.
Unfortunately Nintendo are going the other direction, now there's a portable only version.

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Casepb

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Like others have said it's for everyone not just kids. Sure it does have a cute artstyle for most games like Mario, but stuff like Metroid is far from cute. But ultimately ALL video games are viewed as being for kids.

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I think my biggest surprise was that this wasn't written in the 90s. Is this kind of mentality still prevalent or is the author somehow trapped in a time bubble?

As someone that is not particularly a Nintendo fan and hasn't owned one of their consoles in over a decade, I can tell you are, at most, a 17 years old teenager (if you are not, please... don't correct me). If you are, I trust that you eventually grow out of that attitude that colorful and cute is only for small kids, enjoyment is not what games are about, and things have to be R rated, dark, bloody and broody to be mature.

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This does seem like something that was written 10 years ago!

I checked out when you said Mario Galaxy... nothing special.

Mario Galaxy is so good in it's execution that adults are the only ones that can even begin to aprechiate the craft behind it.

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#36  Edited By liquiddragon

"Saying that...plainly, Nintendo's market is not the mature or discerning one. If you are a mature discerning gamer, then I can't recommend Nintendo at all."

It’s ok to not like cute things but talk about being undiscerning. Most players can easily see there is more to Nintendo than just being cute.

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someoneproud

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@heidegger: Haha, wow you have bad taste and this is one of the more childish takes I've seen in a while. Fair enough not liking cute and colourful stuff but there is a whole lot of depth and challenge to be had with Nintendo games for the "discerning gamer". Just because they are (generally) well suited to children doesn't mean there isn't plenty there for grown ass grown ups too.

Honestly anyone that skips Nintendo games because they're "for kids" is missing out on some real gems. I like a dark and serious story/setting as much as the next guy but most of all I like great games and Nintendo makes some fucking spectacular games.

Still, thanks for the chuckle and you have fun being a big grown up boy and not playing baby games I guess :D

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Heidegger

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@wiseman4545: I think you misunderstand. I don't care about maturity of video games, I care about your ignorance. People spouting ignorance is never okay in my book.

But if ignoring you will prove my indifference to the subject matter I am more than willing to accommodate you there.

What am I ignorant about?

There is deffo some defensiveness going on here. I've also been told to 'grow up' on this thread, which is hilariously ironic!

I'm suggesting the Nintendo system is not aimed at mature gamers, and this is backed up by plentiful evidence like how the aesthetics of childrens'-entertainment are often used in their games, and how simple the stories & control schemes are (less buttons doing less things). It's also backed up by Nintendo's own ad campaigns over the years, which target the children and family demographic. As long ago as the 90's Nintendo's reputation as being more child-orientated was taken advantage of by Sega and later Sony who chose more edgy ad campaigns to target an older demografic who were looking for more mature experiences. Nintendo have arguably doubled-down on that reputation since then, as witnessed by the chattering Miis...

This is no problem, it's fine. Adults who like that are fine. I'm not keen myself as übercute aesthetics and immature presentation puts me off.

There is a school of thought which I've already linked but don't necessarily share that adults without children who enthusiastically partake in ostensibly childrens' culture are effectively taking away that culture from children.

It's interesting debate material. And while I don't wanna offend anyone, equally I expect folk not to take offence.

@wiseman4545:

Although you do realize what website you're on, right? The one founded and run by a bunch of 30-40 year olds who almost universally adore Nintendo games? Just throwing that out there.

I know it's called giantbomb. I've no idea who's behind it, but obviously he/they are passionate gamers, just like we all are. If he/they feel like piping into this thread as mega-nintendo-fans, then their perspective is very welcome :)

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I know it's called giantbomb. I've no idea who's behind it, but obviously he/they are passionate gamers, just like we all are. If he/they feel like piping into this thread as mega-nintendo-fans, then their perspective is very welcome :)

You don't know who's behind the site on a site that produces pretty much exclusively personality based video content featuring the very small group of editors who work at the site, and many of whom were part of the sites founding, which itself is extremely well documented and has been discussed several time in the past year due to it being the 10 year anniversary of the site being founded? In the words of the founder of this site, "Fucking what?"

I've you are going to go on random game forums and troll, you would do well not to openly admit that you have no fucking clue where you are posting or why.

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Heidegger

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OP, I'd be inclined, on the surface, to agree with you more than disagree. In my opinion, yes, there is an overly cutesy and babyish aesthetic to most of Nintendo's output, from OSes and sound effects/music (one needs to fire up the WiiU and just sit there for a minute) to their games (I may be wrong, but Mario seems like he's becoming more of a baby with every generation - also, all the baby versions of characters in Mario Kart, what's up with that?)

You did point out that something being for kids doesn't mean it's easy, that would be underpinned by a huge underestimation of what kids and teenagers are capable of. I would add to this that something being legitimately for kids is not a criticism, or shouldn't be anyway, nor it being easy. We were all kids once, there's a lot of kids around, and no one started playing video games like a pro on their first game.

However, and here I think is where it get a bit more complicated for me. I'm 34 now. I've been playing games since I was maybe 7 or 8? I started with sharing a GameBoy with schoolmates in primary school, then got one for myself, got a SNES, played a bunch on a friend's N64 and on another friend's PS, and then, when the time came for me to replace my SNES, I opted for a PS instead of a N64. The main thing I remember, and what drove me away from Nintendo and into Sony back then was that, as a kid, I never really liked any of N's games, the ones supposedly for kids. I was into cowboys, and Batman and Spiderman, and Judge Dredd (for some reason!), and car racing (there was plenty of that on the Playstation) and zombies and fascinated by horror stories and science fiction. Not by cutesy baby-faces and happy stars and hide 'n seek. I know I wasn't supposed to be playing or watching or reading such things at that age, but that was what I was genuinely interested in. As a kid, I found Nintendo games too childish! I wouldn't say that was because I was mature, because I certainly wasn't. As I wouldn't be able to claim with a straight face that Halo or God of War up until the last game on the PS4 were mature games either in anything but on the surface.

So yeah, I share some of your sentiment, maybe most of it, but maybe it's a different description or conceptualisation which captures what you're trying to get at. Just for some food for thought, about a month ago I got myself a WiiU to play, mostly, BotW. I got some other games, too, because I had a bunch of credit with CEX and I wanted some options to enjoy my newly acquired console. The first few hours with Zelda were a delight. Once I got into the double digits in my time with it, though, I started having a nagging feeling which is probably summarised as such (and I know that it may not be fair to the game, since I've probably only scratched just a little below the surface, we'll see, I reserve full judgement, this is just my impression about 23 hours in): it's too much of a game. And I think that's where the rub lies for me when it comes to why I've never finished any N game. They're more toys/playthings/GAMES than I'd like my games to be. I'd like to explore Hyrule, but I know that I'll mostly find nothing really intriguing other than another chest with a ruby in it, another play-area to solve for blinky thing, an enemy camp with cartoony enemies that feels like it's just placed there for me, the world doesn't feel the least bit convincing as a real world - despite it being the most alive one I've seen in a Zelda game - and there's nothing deeper for me to reflect on and feel. Not saying this is exclusive to Nintendo, a lot of games have this issue. But contrast that to, as you mentioned, Shadow of the Colossus and how sombre and lonely the world feels, and how the moral decision of the character looms like a shadow over the world and the gameplay, lending gravity to your actions and bittersweet elation at every win. That's where it is for me, for the medium. In the SotCs and the Soulsbornes. Not the Zeldas and not the Halos.

Excellent analysis. Yes, that weighty feeling of immersion we get from an epic story with deep characters, involving narrative, high-end atmospheres via music/presentation/graphics & believable worlds is missing from Nintendo titles.

That's why I rate games as on-par with books and films as part of our imaginative culture. Where Nintendo is Teletubbies-to-Disney, some of the titles we love from PS/XBox/PC are up there with any of the mature adult-orientated classics from Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Stephen King or Arthur C Clarke.

Adult-orientated imaginative works enrich our collective creative culture, to the point where they transcend their medium (be it film, literature or games). Nintendo's output, in my opinion, doesn't transcend in that way precisely because they limit themselves in how they focus their creativity (i.e. by mass-appealing to all ages, you end up limiting what you can produce).

Just to be clear, this isn't a problem or a criticism of fans of Nintendo. As I said in my OP: I support Nintendo for offering that niche.

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Heidegger

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@ntm said:
if a cute and childish game is good, it's a good game period.

From my perspective, it's more: if a cute and childish game is good, it's a good game that's cute and childish.

@ntm said:
you're basically saying people that like playing things on Nintendo consoles are not mature and are not discerning when I'd say that's just not true. In fact, I'd argue that if you're thinking that, you're perhaps not mature yourself. Sorry to say, but that's the vibe I'm getting.

I'm saying if you're a discerning gamer looking for mature experiences, I wouldn't recommend any Nintendo system as that caters more to childrens'-to-family entertainment. You can be a discerning gamer looking for family-friendly gaming, then I'd happily recommend Nintendo.

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Heidegger

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@simmant said:
@heidegger said:

I know it's called giantbomb. I've no idea who's behind it, but obviously he/they are passionate gamers, just like we all are. If he/they feel like piping into this thread as mega-nintendo-fans, then their perspective is very welcome :)

You don't know who's behind the site on a site that produces pretty much exclusively personality based video content featuring the very small group of editors who work at the site, and many of whom were part of the sites founding, which itself is extremely well documented and has been discussed several time in the past year due to it being the 10 year anniversary of the site being founded? In the words of the founder of this site, "Fucking what?"

I've you are going to go on random game forums and troll, you would do well not to openly admit that you have no fucking clue where you are posting or why.

Wow haha calm down...no one's under any obligation to know the history of websites they frequent. I invite those behind GB to partake in this discussion if they wish.

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Are you a teenager? You seem so worried about coming across as "grown-up" that your'e missing out on some fun games just because they don't feature Space Marines or something. I think even shitholes like 4chan or Reddit would have a laugh at a post like this.

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I thought this was a necro at first. Like, seriously, this is some original GB office nonsense.

Anyway, I have the luxury of tastes wide enough to enjoy the bright and sunshine-y joy of Mario as well as the dark and bloody horror of Resident Evil 2. Wouldn't want it any other way.

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Heidegger

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#45  Edited By Heidegger

@drachmalius said:

Hard to take this seriously when the opening salvo seems to be saying that Mario is somehow more childish than Sonic...

I didn't say that, drach. I said as a kid-gamer back in the day Mario games were 2nd-choice to Sonic games.

@drachmalius said:
assuming this topic is in good faith, is that Nintendo is in the business of making "all ages" mass appeal type games. From what little I know about marketing, it's a common tactic to try to cast a wide net and make your product appealing to as wide an age group as possible.

Of course it's in good faith.

I agree they are mass-appealing, but I would say this rather dilutes the cultural worth of what they are producing. It's the dilute-factor: by appealing to as many as possible, you dilute potential philosphical power, this kind of power develops culture. Nintendo, it can be argued, haven't really developed the culture they're creating since the NES days: they make cute games which have mass appeal. That's what they do, what they've always done. The Wii was an attempt at developing that but motion controls didn't take off culturally, and philsophically Nintendo have been plying the same message for decades. It's a nice message, especially for kids. It's just not very deep or...mature.

@drachmalius said:
The lack of powerful hardware means they've leaned on distinct art styles that stand out and demand attention. I think there's a pretty big difference between that and being only for kids.

Nintendo's art style is objectively childish. This isn't even an opinion. To objectively understand art we categorise, and Nintendo's art style is categorised thus: cartoony. Cartoons, as an artistic style, is traditionally aimed at children. There are many exceptions, of course, but generally cartoons are associated with childrens' entertainment. It's the exceptions which rather prove Nintendo is...you know, for kids:

South Park/Family Guy/Rick & Morty: cartoons, but include adult themes.

Compare and contrast with Nintendo: cartoons, no adult themes.

Both have the cartoon styles, the silliness, the anthropomorphic characters, but if one doesn't offer adult themes in the narrative, then the only conclusion left is that it's...you know, for kids!*

*This is a reference to Tim Robbins celebrating the pure joy of hulahooping in The Hudsucker's Proxy, that despite he aiming this for kids, he's having as much fun with it as any child would. People understood the Hulahoop to be a childish product, but also that it gave infectious joy to adults.

It's a lovely positive message, and it's why I support Nintendo in that respect, even if I don't partake myself. Hope that's clear.

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Heidegger

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@nutter said:

Nintendo stuff often has a child-like quality. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, or that it makes their games for children.

I’m not a huge Nintendo fan. I always preferred third-party games on their systems. I’m not really sure why, maybe it’s the lack of story, but I mostly fall off their games, so I don’t buy them.

The last Zelda I beat was Zelda 2. I haven’t gotten deep into a Metroid since...Metroid. I have Metroid Prime in my closet, but I didn’t play beyond the first stage. I’ll enjoy a Mario game each decade or so. Mario 2, Mario 64, and Mario Galaxy were a ton of fun. I loved Mario Odyssey until I just sort of stopped caring shortly after the amazing New Donk City.

I’ve played HOURS of Smash Bros with my son. I don’t get it. It’s not particularly enjoyable outside of it being time spent with him.

Oh, Mike Tyson’s PunchOut was great!

Anyhow, there’s Nintendo stuff I like, but most of their games aren’t for me. I think I’d be good with a new Mario once a decade.

Yeah I think you've identified one of the main differences between Nintendo and the rest: lack of story.

Still, I'm happy you and your boy have a game you play together! My boy is still too young as he's still a babe, but in a few years I would love to introduce him to games during those cold winter evenings, and Nintendo is to be honest a fitting candidate for that :)

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Heidegger

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#47  Edited By Heidegger

@stantongrouse said:

To a lot of people outside of playing games, all games are for kids - which for those of us who enjoy the pastime, is an arse as we spend most of our time justifying/explaining our hobby to these people when it comes up in conversation. So, having this discussion within the community just seems a bit like shutting your own fingers in a door.

You think there's still that stigma? I thought that died out during the first two Playstation generations. As I said earlier I rank the pinnacle of gaming up there with the pinnacle of films & books in cultural philosophical terms. There are works of art out there which transcend the medium, which enrich human understanding.

Within the film world, for example, we can have a discussion which critiques Disney alongside praising auteurs like PTA, Lynch, Coens et al. Of course there will be defensive responses from Disney fans, but that doesn't mean the discussion shouldn't take place.

@stantongrouse said: As some other duders have suggested, I think there is a huge difference between making a game for children and a game children can play and enjoy alongside adults. Nintendo are definitely more into the latter than say Microsoft and Sony who lean more towards publishing games for adults and games for kids (and arguably games for teens specifically too) mostly as separate IPs. If anything, I would suggest Nintendo is more inclusive, and a better all ages platform than any of the others.

Yes, but by being more inclusive in that way, they're actually limiting themselves because they're only (or mostly) creating content that must by definition of mass-appeal also appeal to kids.

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@heidegger: Oh, we’re a few years removed from playing Smash Bros...neither of us play a ton these days.

I’m too busy to get more than 1-3 hours in each week. He’s playing Fortnite when he has time, but spends most of his free time playing in football leagues with other 10 year olds.

We did play through Halo: CE earlier this year. That was fun. It’s cool playing games with your kid. Especially when they get better than you.

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VoleMaulder

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#49  Edited By VoleMaulder

@heidegger said:

Just to be clear, this isn't a problem or a criticism of fans of Nintendo. As I said in my OP: I support Nintendo for offering that niche.

Yeap, I never thought you were saying that. And I agree with the rest of your post (I didn't include it in the quote to save on screen space for readers), maybe with one asterisk, although this is a response to your later posts as well. I would pose a question about the cultural value of play in its pure form - which is what Nintendo seems to go for most of the time - and whether it might carry such value in spite of its lack of adult themes. If one looks at games people have played throughout history, there is insight to be found about each civilisation and culture in the games they played during past times or during hard times. A lot of times, those games lacked any sort of narrative or adult theme exploration. Of course, you could argue that the fact that games have evolved to what adult themed video games are now is a higher form and potentially worth more as an art form than games played in ancient Egypt or Greece, and I might agree, but my point is that play is not devoid of cultural value or worth if it's not aspiring to be art.

Also, for what it's worth, I think that talking about adult-themed narratives and settings vs family-friendly mass appeal games instead of mature vs immature is a more refined position, and I don't understand how this can be refuted or even called ignorant or shit-posting when it's as clear as day, with Nintendo and Sony themselves at time acknowledging this difference in their target markets, that Nintendo games, for the most part, are not the former kind.

Again, there's nothing wrong with mature adults liking kid-friendly and cute games. I consider Silent Hill 2 and Shadow of the Colossus on the same field as works by Lynch and Clarke, as you said (who both happen to be huge favourites of mine), yet I've put way more hours into Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 1&2 than I'd care to admit. And that is a series for kids, and I prefer it hands down over Modern Warfare :P That doesn't mean that we can't discuss it. Also, I'd think that the fact that a poster or user of this site doesn't agree on everything with the staff doesn't, and shouldn't, mean they can't post their opinions on the forums or discuss them. There's plenty of things the staff members disagree on amongst themselves and still manage to work well together, I'd hope the community can do the same without accusing others of shit-posting in fly-by posts of their own.

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Nintendo is not for kids. Nintendo is for people whose brains are not eternally wired to "bleak," "misery," and perhaps a dash of "severity and gravitas."