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The durability of Nintendo games


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12 minutes ago, Gotters said:

People keep pointing out the pricing and lack of discounting which are of course valid and I totally agree with.

 

The other big and significant thing they don't do is get involved in a tech or graphics arm race so their games just don't date as quickly. The other consoles and PC are involved in this battle to hit 120fps at 4k resolution in photo realistic worlds, Nintendo have a beautiful looking cartoon environment running at a rock solid 60fps in games like Splatoon and MK8 that will never look old or shonky compared to the latest flavour of the month on twitch, this also provides the games with massive lifespan. 

 

Yeah absolutely. N64 was maybe a bit of an exception (and maybe indicative of why Nintendo no longer get into technical arms races) but for most of the rest of their games and consoles, you can plug in everything from Gamecube onwards (and to be honest the SNES as well) and none of it has dated in the slightest really.

 

The one thing I do think is a shame is how this has led to the Disneyfication of their older back catalogue though. It feels like they could have a much fuller back catalogue service.

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It hasn't always been the case that first-party Nintendo titles retain their value on the second-hand market. I belatedly got my N64 in 2002, and Game and Gamestation were selling boxed copies of things like Ocarina of Time and F-Zero X for around £5-£10 - only slightly more than most common preowned Dreamcast and PS1 games.

 

But a few years later it had changed: in 2005 I belatedly got a Game Boy Advance, and spent about £25 for a copy of Mario Kart Super Circuit - which was about the same price as the handheld itself.

 

I wonder how much the price and availability of Nintendo games has been affected by backward-compatibility reducing the need to sell them at the end of each generation? 2002 was probably the ideal time to build up an N64 collection because a lot of people were getting rid of them because they couldn't be transferred to the GameCube. Whereas that copy of GBA Mario Kart Super Circuit was worth keeping to play on your Nintendo DS; that copy of GameCube Wind Waker was worth keeping to play on your Wii; that copy of Wii Mario Galaxy was worth keeping to play on your Wii U.

 

But that raises the question: why has BC affected Nintendo game prices like that, but not Xbox ones? 

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I reckon the two things that make Nintendo games keep their value is the retro market and Nintendo not cutting prices hard.

 

Up until the Wii era, retro wasn't really that big and you'd find it easy to pick up old consoles and collections, bar the really rare or in demand stuff like Panzer Dragoon Saga or Mega Man on the Mega Drive, for peanuts. I bought a whole bunch of retro stuff between 2002 and 2004 for not that much, especially considering I was still in school then.

 

Once retro became a 'thing' and people got it in their heads that anything retro must be worth something, the arse kinda fell out of the second hand market so your only real opportunity was towards the end of a generation when shops would clear out their inventory.

 

Now you have online merchants who don't have a problem carrying last gen stuff, especially for anything with BC and Nintendo rarely cutting the price of anything that smells of success and you're left with an economy that convinces people to pay full price for 4 year old games and people to buy them second half for more than a 3 month old Ubisoft game.

 

Once enough time passes for people who grew up on a platform to develop nostalgia for it, even the biggest failures end up finding a market of people with disposable income wanting to relive their childhood. Watch Wii U games shoot up in price for stuff that retailers struggled to give away while it was on the market.

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6 minutes ago, SMD said:

I reckon the two things that make Nintendo games keep their value is the retro market and Nintendo not cutting prices hard.

 

Up until the Wii era, retro wasn't really that big and you'd find it easy to pick up old consoles and collections, bar the really rare or in demand stuff like Panzer Dragoon Saga or Mega Man on the Mega Drive, for peanuts. I bought a whole bunch of retro stuff between 2002 and 2004 for not that much, especially considering I was still in school then.

 

Once retro became a 'thing' and people got it in their heads that anything retro must be worth something, the arse kinda fell out of the second hand market so your only real opportunity was towards the end of a generation when shops would clear out their inventory.

 

Now you have online merchants who don't have a problem carrying last gen stuff, especially for anything with BC and Nintendo rarely cutting the price of anything that smells of success and you're left with an economy that convinces people to pay full price for 4 year old games and people to buy them second half for more than a 3 month old Ubisoft game.

 

Once enough time passes for people who grew up on a platform to develop nostalgia for it, even the biggest failures end up finding a market of people with disposable income wanting to relive their childhood. Watch Wii U games shoot up in price for stuff that retailers struggled to give away while it was on the market.

 

Agree with most of this, but there is an implication here that paying full price for a 4 year old game is a rip-off somehow, as if games must be discounted after an arbitrary date. If a game was worth X in 2017 why is it no longer worth X in 2021? Why do people need to be "convinced" to part with their cash? It is the same game. We don't treat other cultural products like that do we?

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1 hour ago, ChewMagma said:

 

Yeah absolutely. N64 was maybe a bit of an exception (and maybe indicative of why Nintendo no longer get into technical arms races) but for most of the rest of their games and consoles, you can plug in everything from Gamecube onwards (and to be honest the SNES as well) and none of it has dated in the slightest really.

 

The one thing I do think is a shame is how this has led to the Disneyfication of their older back catalogue though. It feels like they could have a much fuller back catalogue service.


Definitely. I love the Switch but Nintendo’s first party releases are hugely Mario centric these days. Not that I don’t like those games, but after so many games centred around the Mario cast you do get tired of that vibe. It feels it’s Miyamoto’s influence there, the disneyfication of Nintendo’s output. With only a handful of big non Nintendo franchises that are outside the Mario cast they’ve lost the diversity in their catalogue that they used to have. 

Nintendo also have what I’d call a lack of big budget ambitious titles. Outside the launch period of Zelda and Odyssey most of their titles despite being extremely refined do feel like B releases. Even animal crossing which was a huge success feels like it was made on a very limited budget. If Nintendo are to continue to justify their prices on their own hardware I would hope that they start spending more on delivering bigger projects. 

 

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3 minutes ago, ChewMagma said:

 

Agree with most of this, but there is an implication here that paying full price for a 4 year old game is a rip-off somehow, as if games must be discounted after an arbitrary date. If a game was worth X in 2017 why is it no longer worth X in 2021? Why do people need to be "convinced" to part with their cash? It is the same game. We don't treat other cultural products like that do we?

Nah I didn't mean to infer that at all, just that after literal months you could buy the latest Ubisoft release for less than a second hand Nintendo game.

 

The only criticism I have of Nintendo is that a lot of Switch games are sold at prices that really aren't worth it, like 3D All Stars or a few of the Wii U ports but you can't argue with those numbers. I just won't buy them for the asking price, that's all.

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5 minutes ago, Oh Danny Boy said:


Definitely. I love the Switch but Nintendo’s first party releases are hugely Mario centric these days. Not that I don’t like those games, but after so many games centred around the Mario cast you do get tired of that vibe. It feels it’s Miyamoto’s influence there, the disneyfication of Nintendo’s output. With only a handful of big non Nintendo franchises that are outside the Mario cast they’ve lost the diversity in their catalogue that they used to have. 

Nintendo also have what I’d call a lack of big budget ambitious titles. Outside the launch period of Zelda and Odyssey most of their titles despite being extremely refined do feel like B releases. Even animal crossing which was a huge success feels like it was made on a very limited budget. If Nintendo are to continue to justify their prices on their own hardware I would hope that they start spending more on delivering bigger projects. 

 

 

I know where you are coming from but I can't agree on Animal Crossing. The sheer amount of loving attention to detail on every object in the game does not suggest to me at all that it was put together on a limited budget.

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10 minutes ago, Oh Danny Boy said:


Definitely. I love the Switch but Nintendo’s first party releases are hugely Mario centric these days. Not that I don’t like those games, but after so many games centred around the Mario cast you do get tired of that vibe. It feels it’s Miyamoto’s influence there, the disneyfication of Nintendo’s output. With only a handful of big non Nintendo franchises that are outside the Mario cast they’ve lost the diversity in their catalogue that they used to have. 

Nintendo also have what I’d call a lack of big budget ambitious titles. Outside the launch period of Zelda and Odyssey most of their titles despite being extremely refined do feel like B releases. Even animal crossing which was a huge success feels like it was made on a very limited budget. If Nintendo are to continue to justify their prices on their own hardware I would hope that they start spending more on delivering bigger projects. 

 

Bowser's Fury is one of the best things to come out in years and it's max 8 hours long.

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19 minutes ago, ChewMagma said:

 

I know where you are coming from but I can't agree on Animal Crossing. The sheer amount of loving attention to detail on every object in the game does not suggest to me at all that it was put together on a limited budget.


Usually the most expensive and time consuming stuff in a game is the stuff people don’t necessarily pick up on, like having 24 distinct hourly music themes, or so many hundred interactive objects and critters or whatever. That scope and cohesiveness isn’t cheap to put together.
 

Similarly I’m very curious as to what Ring Fit Adventure cost to make, more so the longer I spend with it. There are clearly big consultancy fees behind all of the exercise routines and the relevant safety and health advice, before they could even come up with the tracking algorithms and gameplay mechanics for each.

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43 minutes ago, ChewMagma said:

 

Agree with most of this, but there is an implication here that paying full price for a 4 year old game is a rip-off somehow, as if games must be discounted after an arbitrary date. If a game was worth X in 2017 why is it no longer worth X in 2021? Why do people need to be "convinced" to part with their cash? It is the same game. We don't treat other cultural products like that do we?


Id say mostly for two reasons...

 

1. The games themselves get replaced by their original creators. Yearly updates for sports and shooters. Ubisoft titles all following a very similar template. For the average games player I’m left with a choice... buy the latest at full (or closer to) full price or an older version for less. You cannot have FIFA 2020 and 2021 on the shelves at the same price (well you can but who buys the older one).

 

2. There are so many similar games. Maybe not for those playing a lot of titles but to many a good FPS is a good FPS. As above, I’m going to either buy the big new title because it’s currently being talked about and marketed (and therefore perceive its value as high) or I’m buying something cheeped because it’s less well known (or mostly just 6 months old and the buzz has gone).

 

if you want to play a platformer, a kart racer, animal crossing, a family friendly multiplayer FPS, or really most of what Nintendo make I’m not sure there are direct competitors. Even something closer to others like Paper Mario has Mario and isn’t some obscure Japanese RPG brand most will never heard of.

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Having played video games since the dawn of time (Pong 1976, Camber Sands Cafe on the beach), in my opinion, they simply make the best video games. People will pay the price if the games are that good. They are that good.

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It’s because their games are worth the cash and they have a steady stream of new players being conceived every day. 
 

They are able to reel in these players by being the best and most consistent game producer in the business by an absolute mile, by making the most fun games to play and by producing games that are the most beautiful in the industry. MK8 is still the prettiest video game ever made IMO. As well as being one of the best. 

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It's not just about the quality of the games though. TLOU2 is a high quality, high budget, highly popular game. But they (Sony) chose to crash the price after 6 months. It's a difference in company strategy. 

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A big difference with today vs 20 years ago (when you could still find plenty of Nintendo games at bargain bin prices) is that Nintendo is still making plenty of games in genres that the rest of the gaming industry has moved on from. Whilst we still have Crash Bandicoot, Ratchet and Clank and Spyro the Dragon coming out from time to time, the rest of the gaming industry has moved on from 3D platformers. Leaving Mario as the only 3D platformer with a significant effort behind it on the market.

 

Whilst you can get plenty of JRPG's on other systems, it's only on Nintendo systems that you get retro throwbacks pushed with a significant budget behind them such as Octopath Traveller, Bravely Default, etc.

 

A lot of what the gaming industry still makes today feels like it hits the same genres over and over again (Open World, Shooters, etc.) whereas a lot of what Nintendo produces in genres still feel like relatively 'pure' platformers, RPG's, Action Adventure, etc. A lot of what the gaming industry pushes also tend to suffer from heavy overlap in similar design decisions (RPG mechanics, Live Service elements, additional monetisation) whereas Nintendo still (largely) stays away from that sort of thing. Luigi's Mansion 3, Animal Crossing, Super Mario Oddysey, whilst all have certainly changed quite a bit since their Gamecube days, they still 'feel' like the games we played back then. That tends to set Nintendo apart in an industry that equates older games with 'outdated trash'.

 

Nintendo still sees the value in producing a 2D platformer with relative good budget and ask €60 for it. For plenty of people, that's taking the piss but it does communicate to consumers that the company behind such a game sees enough quality in it to justify that price. And guess what, when nobody else is offering a similar game in that genre, at a similar price, on a regular basis, it keeps prices up and makes Nintendo the only option.

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7 minutes ago, Hylian said:

It's not just about the quality of the games though. TLOU2 is a high quality, high budget, highly popular game. But they (Sony) chose to crash the price after 6 months. It's a difference in company strategy. 

 

I doubt Sony dropping the price was part of any strategy. I think you can look at something like the Witcher 3 and say that the pricing over time may well have been some sort of long term strategy, knowing that it could well have a long shelf life (although i'm sure it has exceeded expectations), but the Sony move looks like a reaction more than anything else. Nintendo did the same with consoles (the Gamecube and N64 price drops so soon after, or at, launch).

 

 

2 minutes ago, HarMGM said:

A big difference with today vs 20 years ago (when you could still find plenty of Nintendo games at bargain bin prices) 

 

I doubt this is anything other than stores clearing overstocks though, i'd be surprised if many bargain bin discounts were supported by Nintendo. Yes the games could be had cheaper but it was simply a function of how retail worked, rather than any particular strategy or pricing structure.

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34 minutes ago, Hylian said:

It's not just about the quality of the games though. TLOU2 is a high quality, high budget, highly popular game. But they (Sony) chose to crash the price after 6 months. It's a difference in company strategy. 

Sony don't see a lot of value in franchises though, they're more concerned about offering the kind of experiences people want at that specific moment in time. Their whole strategy is trying to capture the zeitgeist, which is why stuff like Crash and Spyro aren't Sony exclusive any more and Naughty Dog will move on from Uncharted and The Last of Us unto the next big thing that's dominating the media in a few years or so.

 

Nintendo aren't that concerned with it, in fact I'd argue their attempts at flirting with aiming their games at the kind of flavour of the month haven't been that successful (Super Mario Sunshine and Metroid Prime 3 are the two big ones off the top of my head). They're more a mechanics first company (though Skyward Sword still makes me go hmm).

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1 hour ago, SMD said:

They're more a mechanics first company (though Skyward Sword still makes me go hmm).

 

Skyward Sword is currently doing an amazing job of directly teaching my little boy (3) how not to wave the Wii remote around like a madman.

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3 hours ago, ChewMagma said:

 

We don't treat other cultural products like that do we?


clothes, books, CD’s, DVD’s all get discounted after a while (or did when people still bought them).

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It's a good question and I doubt if even Nintendo know exactly how it happened. I think in part it has something to do with the magic of intention.

Nintendo always wanted their games to hold value just like all the best toys -- Thomas trains, Monopoly, Legos. Whereas an entertaiment company seeks the most eyes, Nintendo is happy currating and growing a toy catalog. 

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1 hour ago, Strafe said:

clothes, books, CD’s, DVD’s all get discounted after a while (or did when people still bought them).

 

Physical stuff got churned out, there's only so much shelf space after all. I think part of the shift is we've switched to a digital model where stuff stays on the shelves forever, these games are always available.

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14 hours ago, RubberJohnny said:

I think part of the shift is we've switched to a digital model where stuff stays on the shelves forever, these games are always available.

Apart from Mario 3D Allstars which has about 2 weeks left :huh:

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Starting with N64, Nintendo has left Microsoft and Sony battling with each other in a 2 horse race.  Nintendo lets them get on with it, sitting at the side doing their own thing.

 

When everyone else was using CD, Nintendo brought out a cartridge based N64. But it was the analogue controller, paired with Mario 64 (which, let's be honest, were designed to work together and be sold with the console), that impressed people. 

 

When Nintendo brought out the GameCube it was already apparent that PS2 sales were driven by its DVD player capability and "cool" branding. At a the when some retailers were already bundling stand alone DVD players with the Dreamcast to try and compete, GameCube launched with tiny disks. It was purple, had a handle and a controller with the bright colours of a toddler toy.

 

The Wii had simple waggle controls aimed at the family audience to play together, where Sony launched with Killzone and Xbox 360 had new games in the Halo series.  The Wii Fit board showed that Nintendo were still doing their own thing. 

 

Wii-U w was all about thre touch screen controller. The Switch brought hybrid gaming, a handheld that connects to the TV.

 

Microsoft and Sony do the same thing each generation and their systems are much the same as each other. When one brings out PS Move the other launches Kinect. When Microsoft did Achievements Sony launched Trophies. GTA5 is much the same game whichever console you choose. The only real departure I can think of is PSVR. But Nintendo just continues to do their own thing for their own fanbase.  Sony / Microsoft won't launch an exercise ring, or a remote control car that drives around your living room. They'll make more first person shooters. 

 

Nintendo don't want to make a new Mario/Zelda every 6 months. They don't want  GTA, they don't want Call of Duty, they don't want to bring out a £50 game then knock it down to £14.99 after 8 months.  They just do their own thing, like David S. Pumpkins. 

 

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1 hour ago, Gabe said:

Man, that's a whole lot of words and yet manages to say so little. 

Thank you for your review. We take feedback very seriously here at Dumpster and we will take your criticism on board to improve our service to other clients.  We are sorry we did not meet our usual standards in this instance.

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