Violence in Video Games: Can we get real?

It’s a topic that gamers want to dismiss. “Not us!” We scream. After all, we just play games for fun. It’s just a hobby, one that has never influenced our behavior. But whether you or I are personally driven to violence by entertainment media consumption isn’t at issue here. I get it, 99.9% of all gamers are generally decent human beings. A small percent of the population, unfortunately, have a predisposition to violence, gamers included. And some of those people could be triggered by media influences. Yes, that includes video games.

The chicken or the egg

As America continues to face gun violence unparalleled to the rest of the world, the obvious culprit here is the extreme access to guns. Politicians are quick to point to ANY other reason besides the sheer number of guns, as well as the heavy artillery guns that are available for Americans to purchase without much resistance.

It’s a video game problem, a mental health problem, a parenting problem. Umm? What about the fact that guns outnumber people in the United States?

The truth is so simple, and I really have to question the common sense of elected officials. Remove the guns, remove the catastrophic injury.

Sadly, guns are deeply engrained in American culture, and they are pervasive. They helped us gain independence from England, gave us courage to pursue uncertain land wars, and even hold a prestigious place in our Constitution. Number 2 of the Amendments, not bad.

What our forefathers perhaps could not foresee, is that owning a gun isn’t a right, it is a privilege. And, I’d go so far as to say that just because someone is born in a certain country does not give that person right to carry a firearm! Seriously, this whole birthright bullshit needs to go. This is a fundamental flaw of our Constitution, an Amendment that needs amended. Here, I’ll do it.

“All (wo)men have the privilege to bear light arms, assuming they are mentally and physically capable of doing so. With annual checks on said health.”

Would any American in their right mind(funny, that’s what this boils down to,) give any pause to this phrase taking the place of our current 2nd Amendment? I don’t like the idea that anyone can buy a gun, and so easily. Neither should you. Show me a politician who opposes, and I’ll show you a politician no longer fit to serve office.

Yes, this is a gun problem, a clerical problem, even. Not an entertainment media problem, exclusively. But…

Entertainment Media should not be let off the hook.

The violence in video games IS REAL! It’s extravagant and over the top, feels real, and puts players in control of people firing weapons that also feel real. Many games are violent to a degree, but the level of realism and the mature nature of those shooting games cannot be dismissed, and they deserve scrunity. Not for the results of mass shooting, but because… And this might piss you off… They are completely unnecessary and have the potential to do more harm than good.

Seriously ask yourself, could you live without your Call of Duty or Battlefield? Odds are, yes. I enjoy a good realistic shooter from time to time, but I could easily go without.

Before you get up in arms completely, understand that I do not lump all violent games into the the same category. Not every game that’s a shooter is also realistically violent(Overwatch, Halo, Splatoon.) On the same hand, there are tons of over-the-top games that aren’t shooters that are excessively violent. (Devil May Cry, MadWorld, Ninja Gaiden.)

What’s the point? Leave the shooters that are clearly placed in fiction alone. And, since we are talking about gun violence, I think the realistic shooters should probably be getting some attention. After all, they are giving players control of wild, fantastical scenarios, but scenarios that feel very real. The truth is that these game companies are pandering to a deep belief by many Americans that guns are a right, and guns are awesome. I mean, what could be better than shooting a Nazi in the face point blank? The more gunfire there is, the more explosions, the more deaths, the better. Fantasy as it may be, if we don’t move away from glorifying gun violence in America, it will always be an uphill battle. Video games can help make that change by not pandering to those deep seeded beliefs.

Let’s Change the narrative

It isn’t just video games. Movies are perhaps the bigger culprit in the entertainment media realm, pumping out gun-toting hero movies for decades. Yeah, the movies are entertainment, I get it, but they only further embed in the minds of consumers that guns are cool or awesome. There’s a reason why movies, like Die Hard and Scarface are considered classics. A lot of it is because of the action and violence. A realistic war movie, which can definitely be done tastefully, and has been, still glorifies the hero with the gun. Even if that’s a faithful recreation of American history, it’s still furthering the idea that guns win.

I think it would be naive to suggest there isn’t a connection between gun violence in movies and video games and gun violence in real life. It’s hard to pinpoint where the violence comes from, or how much blame each deserves, but does it matter? No matter which is causing which, does it really matter? I quote a line from the new Avett Brothers song, Bang Bang: “If I never hear gunfire again, I’ll be fine.”

When I heard this line, I deeply agreed. My heart aches for a time where I don’t worry about something happening to me, or to ones I love. So I suggest, why can’t game developers and movie studios be some of the first to say no to guns in their medium? Would I miss it? I don’t think so. Like it or not, the entertainment industry, including video games, can easily help change the culture of guns in America. The only question becomes, who has the courage to balk at the money, to create new types of games and movies? Who will be the first to stand up and do it?

In Conclusion

Guns have a place in American history, and I’m not suggesting to take away your guns. What I’m suggesting is that entertainment media use its long, extended reach to consumers and be responsible. Be the change that this country seeks. We can’t rely on the slow moving political world, be we can invoke real change from the outside. I will do my part. I will not be purchasing a movie ticket for realistic violence films, or buying realistically violent video games. Can I live without them? If I never hear gunfire again, I’ll be fine. If the heads of these companies can’t see the influence they have, maybe we can speak with our wallets. Bless you all, and be well.

Reggie Fils-Aime’s lasting legacy: Does he have one?

I’m sure, by now, you’ve heard the news. Reggie Fils-Aime is retiring from Nintendo, and today is his last day. He even started a twitter account and somehow managed to get the @Reggie tag. Good for him, as he appears poised to have some fun in his next walk of life. As a fan of Nintendo, this day has little meaning to me, aside from seeing a lot of people talking about it, and maybe I am in the minority here. Reggie Fils-Aime, at least from an outsiders perspective, didn’t contribute much to Nintendo. That’s a sad fact that maybe today we don’t want to accept, but ultimately we have to live with as fans, as Nintendo of Japan has, for many years, stripped it’s other regions of most of it’s creative outlets. Today, it pains me to say that it appears Nintendo of America’s most creative impact on the industry is Nintendo Minute, a semi-weekly YouTube segment.

Not to say that there haven’t been significant contributions to Nintendo’s overall business from NoA. The language barrier between Nintendo of Japan and the rest of the world is indeed real, and Nintendo of America has been the bridge in the surge of western games, particularly indies, that have appeared on the 3DS, Wii, Wii U, and now the Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, without much transparency, it’s difficult to pinpoint just who is responsible for this progression. Damon Baker, now of Microsoft, was the face and spokesman for the Nindies movement on the Switch, and so, credit most likely would be given to him and his team, not the president, Reggie Fils-Aime. Though that fact is difficult to ascertain.

Maybe it’s ok if Reggie didn’t offer much, himself. Again, we aren’t exactly sure what his contributions were, aside from running a company, albeit to say that Nintendo of America is limited in what they are given as a company. I don’t want to unfairly criticize him, or the company, but what more can be said about what Nintendo of America’s job actually is? For a company that employees anywhere from 1000-1200 people in any given year since 2013, their creative contributions aren’t significant to the industry. Given the uncertain status of Nintendo Software Technology, the only internal game making studio, and the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, in 2019, it is unclear if any employees of NoA are still making video games. Long gone are the days of Nintendo of America making games like Waverace and 1080 Snowboarding, important releases for the N64 and GameCube. NoA appears to be caring for the brand more than anything else, and that’s fine, but it doesn’t make Reggie Fils-Aime, or anyone else at that company for that matter, a rock star of the industry. I guess my point is, this isn’t Shigeru Miyamoto(Zelda, Mario, Donkey Kong, etc.) or Keiji Inafune(Mega Man) or Masahiro Sakurai(Super Smash Bros.) retiring, or countless other developers, which would actually warrant a huge outreach of fan support and celebration of a career. The outreach of love for Reggie feels contrived, as his most endearing contributions have been memes, a few videos, and trying to convince the United States that the Wii U was actually, ya know, fun to play. Remember that novel idea of Asymmetric Gameplay?

To understand Reggie’s legacy and lasting impact on Nintendo, and gaming in general, one must put aside the idea that all things Nintendo does are inherently good. Reggie had fine moments with Nintendo. He acted mostly as the face, the spokesman, and the PR rep for Nintendo for many years since his hiring in 2003. Reggie came from a marketing background, where he found success with Pizza Hut, Guinness, and VH1 before coming to Nintendo. One thing I believe to be true about Reggie, is he has a good feel for how to sell things to people. Unfortunately, again, we simply can’t say with any degree of certainty that he was solely responsible for any marketing campaign for Nintendo during his employ, simply because we don’t know, though it can be assumed, Nintendo of Japan always has the final say. Wii U ads were…not great. Where does that blame fall?

Do you see a pattern here? It may seem like I am throwing Reggie to the wolves here, but I assure you, this isn’t a knock on Reggie. If anything, it is a knock on the structure of Nintendo and how Nintendo of Japan handles it’s other regional divisions. Nintendo of America is huge, but the amount of freedom given to the company is unclear, and in all likelihood they aren’t acting without permission from NoJ. Today, on the day of one man’s retirement, the face of NoA, I think it is fair to ask what contributions he, as president, made to Nintendo and to gaming. He was the face of Nintendo in America, and that is significant, at least somewhat. His memes add comedic value, and some of his videos were endearing, some were even awesome. Yeah, I’m looking at you Iwata vs. Reggie.

But, as I approach the end of this article, I have a thought crossing my mind that maybe my heart is just too cold. Am I missing something here? Reggie never struck me as anyone who actually did much of anything. In all my time following Nintendo news closely, I never understood, and still don’t, the love of Reggie from Nintendo fans. Notice I say love of Reggie, not for Reggie. Loving the man is different from loving the meme, and Reggie is a meme, something forum users turn to for a laugh or to express excitement for Nintendo news. My body is Ready, What’s Wrong With You, The Shrug. I guess in the time we live in, I shouldn’t be surprised that fame can be found in these ways, and I must admit I have even used these memes. Maybe I am nothing more than a hypocrite. As a man, I’ll remember him most as the bumbling spokesman trying to keep it together during the Wii U years. The used car salesman trying to sell uninterested buyers something that looks like a lemon, and failing and flailing miserably. That surely shouldn’t be placed on his shoulders. Just as the successes of Nintendo stem mostly from NoJ, so should the failures.

Does he have a legacy in the gaming world? Probably not, and probably not by any doing or undoing of his own. The circumstances of the job prevent any president of Nintendo of America from truly contributing much, creatively speaking. On the business end, it’s difficult to call Reggie’s time with Nintendo anything other than a success. How much of that success should be given to Reggie Fils-Aime? I don’t know, but Nintendo as a brand is healthy right now, so some of that is surely shared by all.

So, happy retirement, Mr. Fils-Aime. I write that, not as a fan of your work. You hold no special place in the history of gaming to me, and that’s ok. But you undoubtedly worked hard, probably harder than this article portrays. Probably harder than anyone realizes, and we all know how difficult work can be. Enjoy everything life has to offer, and I wish you all the best.

Super Rare Games has a niche.

Gaming is changing. Physical releases for AAA games is still prominent, but more and more often, publishers are pushing digital sales to their consumers. It’s not difficult to guess at the motives of the publisher. Fewer physical copies means the publishing costs lower. Bottom line is important for Nintendo, or any publisher, and the increase of digital sales through the years is indication of where the industry is heading. The PlayStation Network generated over $12.5 billion dollars in revenue in 2018, a number that dwarfs Microsoft’s entire gaming division and all of Nintendo1.

On top of this, there are new services on the way that will offer streaming of games, similar to the Netflix model. Google Stadia is not the first to try this approach, but they are the latest. Shout out to OnLive.

As the AA game is becoming a thing of the past, quietly, the void is being filled by small publishers. Most indie titles remain digital, but a few companies now offer a very limited number of physical releases for select games. In a digital world, these companies are finding success by taking risks and offering games people still want. And so, physical releases still flourish.

Somewhere in London, England, there sits one such company, still willing to find that gem to offer customers. Super Rare Games.

George Perkins is the owner, founder, and self proclaimed “Head of Doing Stuff,” at Super Rare Games. A testament to their success, in their brief, yet fruitful, time in this business, all of their releases have been on the Nintendo Switch, and all have completely sold out. In their 14 months in business, they have published 14 games.

Mutant Mudds Collection is #5 of 14 physical releases published by Super Rare Games

According to George, business is, in his words, “growing massively.” Super Rare Games sells between 3000 and 5000 copies of select physical games that is determined based on the game’s audience, the audience of SRG, and the genre/style of game. Super Rare is a pretty fitting term for these releases. 5000 copies of anything is a nice low number, and being forthrite with that number gives collectors confidence in their purchase. Not surprisingly, Ebay resellers are selling these games, with success, for up to 5 times, or more, of what the game initially sold for.

Business is good!

A fitting culmination to their success, Fairune Collection, the latest release from the company, completely sold out it’s pre-orders. The last 100 copies available for purchase after release sold out within minutes.

The latest release from SRG. But you can’t buy it, or any other previous release, sucka!

Based on this, as you might expect, George anticipates growth in 2019, pushing releases to 4000 to 6000 copies for each new release.

Of the fourteen games that have been published by Super Rare Games, about 80% of these were facilitated by George and his team, offering game developers a chance to see their game release physically. 20% of the games released have been prompted by contact by the developers themselves. The selection process can vary, but in general, Super Rare Games want people to have a chance to purchase physical copies of games that they themselves love. Games aren’t selected based on how well they have sold digitally, and they aren’t selected because George believes they will sell well. Games are selected based on quality. Basically, if Super Rare Games loves the game, there is a chance you’ll see it published, and based on history, it will be coming to the Switch.

The games themselves come packaged with some trading cards as extras. That perk, along with the physical, rare, nature of the games, allows Super Rare Games to charge up to 100% more than the game would cost to buy digitally from the eshop. That hasn’t deterred eager buyers.

On top of the games, the company has even begun selling vinyl records of select game soundtracks. I haven’t seen that anywhere else.

Getting back to the industry itself, Nintendo continues to push digital sales for the Switch, offering more Gold coins to My Nintendo members. Expect digital perks to continue as companies explore ways to entice buyers. This doesn’t seem to concern George Perkins much.

When I pressed George on whether limited physical releases of video games was a viable business model, he described his business as incredibly stable, thus making it viable for them. He is fully aware that the industry is ever moving towards digital, and admits to maybe not having put too much thought into other business strategies. George anticipates that within 10 years physical games could be a thing of the past, but he is emphatic that as long as there is a platform for physical games, Super Rare Games will release limited editions.

As a collector, as a fan, as a gamer, I hope physical games stick around a while longer. Companies like Super Rare Games could be the last standing relic of the physical game age, and business is booming. Best of luck to Super Rare Games, I’ll be watching…and probably buying, too!

Footnotes

1. PlayStation Network 2018 Revenue

Please source NintendoNation.net with any use of the above information.

https://superraregames.com

Nintendo Revisionist History: Episode 2 – Final Fantasy

Before reading Episode 2, why not watch Episode 1?

I grew up with Nintendo, as many people my age did. Video games were still pretty new to the market, but were growing increasingly popular. It’s hard to imagine a time with arcades in every town, cabinets in every bowling alley, but so it was during that period of gaming history. Nintendo was set to fill the home space void left by Atari.

As a kid, I played many, many games. First on the Nintendo Entertainment System(NES,) then the Sega Genesis. I can remember renting Super Tecmo Bowl from my local rental store over and over again so I could finish off my seasons. Why didn’t my parents just buy the game for me?!

Final Fantasy wasn’t released in the west until the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and I was a Genesis kid, so I had little knowledge of the series, and truthfully, many other SNES games and franchises. Luckily, the SNES was so prevalent in the homes of my friends that I do have some good memories with the console. I would often head to my buddies houses for games of Street Fighter 2 or Super Punch Out! or Super Mario World, or countless others. And one game in particular always stood out to me from the SNES, and I never even picked up the controller to play it.

Final Fantasy IV Logo
Final Fantasy IV re-release logo

A friend of mine, Brick, was obsessed with Final Fantasy IV, or II as it was known in North America, and this is where that interest originates. I would sit in his room and watch him play the game, meticulously leveling up all of his characters to level 99, and seeming to love every second of it. He would play for hours and grind, then hours more, and grind. Watching someone level grind a jrpg when you are 10 years old doesn’t seem like that much fun in retrospect, but I was happy to watch, and something was clicking.

Phantasy Star 2 Box art
Phantasy Star II box art, Sega Genesis jrpg


Soon I would join him in my own jrpg fix, with my still favorite game, Phantasy Star 2 for the Sega Genesis. My love of jrpgs hasn’t swayed since that time, but being a mostly Nintendo gamer through the years, I have never played a Final Fantasy game, not even through emulation or all the different platforms where it is now available. It is just one of those series I have avoided, for no good reason I can come up with. But despite that, for whatever reason, I can still go back to that bedroom, sitting cross legged on the floor and watching Brick playing Final Fantasy IV. I think I knew a special game when I saw it, even back then, 25 years ago.

The falling out between Square and Nintendo with the home console releases of The Sony Playstation and the Nintendo 64 is well documented. Nintendo misplayed the situation, and Square moved on to what they deemed more beneficial hardware for their business. Nintendo, though they aren’t likely to admit it, was left reeling.

Box art for Chrono trigger SNES
Chrono Trigger, another popular jrpg from Squaresoft

Squaresofts honey hole during the SNES years were jrpgs, led by Dragon Quest, the Chrono series, and of course Final Fantasy. Square also developed Super Mario RPG, so their relationship with Nintendo was strong. The developer was in a powerful position, relatively speaking, and had built a large audience with releases of Final Fantasy IV through VI on the console. What might the gaming landscape look like if VII had been released on the N64? I don’t think Nintendo ever considered the possibility that it wouldn’t happen, until it did.

When Nintendo was set to launch the N64, they had new competition. Not only were they going up against their console war opponent Sega, Sony Computer Entertainment had announced their intentions to join the video game market with new hardware of their own. Ultimately, Nintendo’s direction of using cartridges for the N64 proved to be the wrong decision, as many Japanese developers left Nintendo for Sony and their new CD-ROM format. Most prominent of these developers was Squaresoft, and others followed suit. It was probably difficult to quantify at the time, but history shows us that a rift grew that day between Square and Nintendo that has sent ripples through the industry for years.

Mega man Legends Playstation 1 Boxart
Mega Man was just one of many games to skip the N64 in favor of Sony’s PlayStation

As I said, it wasn’t just Square that Nintendo potentially missed business with. Konami supported the PlayStation with Castlevania and Metal Gear Solid. Capcom, with Mega Man and Resident Evil. Namco’s best offerings, amongst them, Tekken and Klonoa, skipped the N64. Others, like Tomb Raider, not yet a Square IP, also avoided the cartridge format, which cost more to put a game on, cutting into profits. There were 1300 PlayStation games released in North America. For comparisons sake, the Nintendo 64 had just under 300.

The relationship with some of these other Japanese companies was not strained in quite the same way, or for as long, but Nintendo was still missing out on popular game franchises and new and interesting ways to play. Perhaps most telling is the fact that the PlayStation shipped over 100 million units, while the Nintendo 64 only shipped about 1/3 of that total. It might sound hyperbolic, but Sonys success in the market can be traced to Squares support of the console. That’s a significant difference in hardware and software sales when comparing the N64 and PlayStation, and It can be argued that Nintendo is still recovering from that blow to some degree.

Squares decision not to use Nintendo as a home console platform for their games lasted for years. But, as does happen with the passage of time, that relationship began to mend around the release of the Gameboy Advance. Re-releases of Final Fantasy I and II and IV on the Gameboy Advance in the early 2000s, as well as some other titles, showed growth in the relationship, and Squares willingness to drop the grudge, but, still no home console support.

With the release of the Nintendo DS, and Squaresofts merge with publisher Eidos, the relationship between Nintendo and Square Enix soon began to show significant signs of improvement. Square Enix was a big proponent of the Nintendo DS, throwing title after title at the system. And, Nintendo even allowed Square Enix to work on a Mario Sports title: Mario Hoops 3 on 3, and later Mario Sports Mix on the Wii. But where were the home console games?

TWEWY Box Art Nintendo DS
Square Enix strongly supported the Nintendo DS

In total, Square Enix released about 50 games on the DS if we also include games only released in Japan. 8 of which were Final Fantasy re-releases or spinoffs of the franchise. During that same time period, they released 19 games for home console, including games only released in Japan, all of which were on the Wii. They did not release a single game for the N64 or the Nintendo GameCube. Six of the games released on Wii were Final Fantasy games, only 1 of which was a main entry to the series, a relaunch of IV on the Wiiware platform.

For 10 years the main series stuck to PlayStation consoles. Final Fantasy VII through XII were exclusive to the PS consoles, and it wasn’t until the release of Final Fantasy XIII that a main entry did appear on any other platform, but not Nintendo.

Box art for FF XII
FF VII through XII were exclusive to PlayStation

Meanwhile, Nintendo took a long route to recover from the blow that Square helped induce. While their business never appeared to be in serious jeopardy, there were mistakes and missteps that made the path to relevancy harder than maybe it would have been otherwise. The N64 and GameCube were not successes, at least by Nintendo’s lofty standards, but business was bouyed substantially by the Wiis and DSs success. Nintendo has now found their footing with the Nintendo Switch, and Square Enix has taken notice.

While all this was happening, and with such a strong IP library, you might expect Square Enix to be bountiful and quite healthy, in terms of their business. But at least to some degree, you’d be wrong. The company has had a history of missteps that has given fans cause for concern and hesitancy for investors.

Game delays became the norm for the company, and fans began to expect them, if not condone them. Final Fantasy X-2 had quite a few delays leading up, and the final release date wasn’t revealed until one week before the game released. Kingdom Hearts 2 was delayed multiple times. Tomb Raider sold over two million copies and was deemed a failure due to high development costs. Final Fantasy XV had large chunks of DLC canceled, and a remake of perhaps the most popular FF game, VII, was announced nearing on 4 years ago, with no footage shown, and no real update since. Square Enix has gone through some significant internal structure changes in the last year in order to limit some of these problems, and here’s hoping they can regain some trust they have lost.

FF XV artwork
FF XV DLC being cancelled was the latest in a long list of blunders for Square Enix

But really, This isn’t abnormal in the video game landscape. There is mismanagement, poor marketing strategies, bad public relations in every company, just like any other business. This problem isn’t exclusive to one company in Japan, let’s make that perfectly clear. But, perhaps now out of necessity, Square Enix is in a position where they are looking to expand their IP and reach new audiences. Since 2013 many of their games have been cross platform, and they have a large mobile gaming presence as well with original content. Nintendo home consoles are really that last tier where there is money to be made for Square Enix, and now, after a wait that seems like forever, Nintendo Switch players have begun to reap those rewards.


In April, just next month, Square Enix will finish its initiative of releasing main entry Final Fantasy games onto Nintendo platforms. And depending on how the games sell, they may not be done yet. By the end of April, this will be their list of all releases on the Nintendo Switch.

  • I am Setsuna
  • Lost Sphear
  • Octopath Traveler
  • Dragon Quest Builders/2
  • The World Ends With You: Final Remix
  • Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition
  • Final Fantasy IX
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • World of Final Fantasy Maxima
  • Chocobos Mystery Dungeon
  • Final Fantasy XII
  • Final Fantasy X/X-2
  • …and a handful of smaller titles.

Square Enix has dabbled in putting Final Fantasy games on Nintendo platforms before, but never to this degree, and never on a home console. To think, soon Switch players will be able to play many of these PlayStation exclusives for the first time on a Nintendo platform. It warms my heart. And selfishly, I am beyond excited, because now I have no excuse not to play the games. I’ll be starting with VII once it is released.

Final Fantasy 7 Seven art
Final Fantasy VII releases on a Nintendo console for the first time on March 26th.

I love the story of Square and Nintendo, because thankfully, there isn’t really a loser in this battle. What I find most interesting is that despite the hardships for both companies, they continued to plug along and make excellent video games, and that’s important. Since their falling out over the N64, it’s been a long, winding, often arduous road to this point for both companies. And though we can’t revise history to suit any specific narrative, there are lessons to be taken from this long journey. Back in 1996, money and pride changed the video game landscape in incalculable ways. Power shifted and swayed, it took unexpected turns. I’m sure both companies might do things differently, if they were given that chance.

But here we are, relationships seemingly mended, and the people that really matter, us as fans, are finally beneficiaries. I’ll soon be playing Final Fantasy on my Nintendo Switch, and I am legitimately excited. That’s a pretty sweet deal, and no change in history can replace a feeling of a new game on your favorite platform.

And, as you might expect, I am still holding out hope for Final Fantasy IV also being released on the Switch. It was the first jrpg I ever watched, but still haven’t played. And despite never playing the game, I know that some part of that game, no matter how small, helped cultivate my love of jrpgs. I would love to pay that forward some day, preferably on the Nintendo Switch.

Revising History from so long ago gets way too complicated, it just isn’t possible. But it’s fun to think how things might have changed had Square stuck with Nintendo and avoided the PlayStation. What would be different today? Would the PlayStation had had the same success? What about the PS2? Would there even be a PS2? Would grass be green?! Would anything be the same?!!!! Oh no…I’m down a rabbit hole. Send help.

The Nintendo Switch: Third party machine?

How Third parties have done their part in support of the Nintendo Switch.

If you followed Nintendo closely during the Wii and Wii U years, then you probably know just how barren software releases were. In the case of the Wii, it could be argued that many games were being developed for the console, but they weren’t necessarily of high quality. Third parties attempted to take advantage of the casual user base by offering family friendly options, or dumbed down versions of popular games.

In regards to Wii U, some third parties gave the console a legitimate chance. Ubisoft, for instance, released Rayman Legends, Assassin’s Creed III and IV, Splinter Cell, Just Dance, and Watch Dogs. Activision tried two Call of Duty games. Darksiders I and II were available. So it’s not like third parties completely ignored the platform. But it is certainly nothing like what’s happening right now with the Switch.

The support of third parties right now is the healthiest it has been for Nintendo in a long time. There are still a few big developers and publishers that haven’t made the switch(hehe), but the overwhelming support by a few developers have more than made up for the lack of games from Blizzard or Red Projekt.

Square Enix

When you talk third parties on the Switch, the logical place to start is with Square Enix. After testing the waters with RPGs I Am Setsuna, Lost Sphear, and Octopath Traveler, Square Enix has decided to dive in head first in 2019. Final Fantasy IX, World of Final Fantasy Maxima, and FF XV pocket edition are already available, and a slew of others from the series are on the way in the coming months. Soon Switch owners will be able to play some of the most beloved games, including VII and X/X-2. And Tokyo RPG Factory’s Oninaki was just announced in the last Nintendo Direct. It is a bit surreal seeing FF games on a Nintendo console, but surreal doesn’t trump reality. This doesn’t even take into account that Dragon Quest XI is still on the way or that Dragon Quest Builders 1 and 2 are already out.

Ubisoft

Ubisoft has been an incredible western partner thus far for Nintendo, with Mario + Rabbids and Starlink being two games where Nintendo has lent their IP. But the support doesn’t stop there. Just take a look at the content Ubisoft has brought to the console.

  • South Park: The Stick of Truth
  • South Park: Fractured But Whole
  • Child of Light
  • Rayman Legends
  • Monopoly

They have also announced Assassin’s Creed III for the Switch, and it’s reasonable to assume they will fill in plenty more in the years to come.

Capcom

Capcom tends to be one of those publishers that many people have a negative opinion of, but in the case of the Switch, it’s hard to argue with the support. Already we have seen Resident Evil Revelations 1 and 2, with 0, HD, and 4 on the way. They released Monster Hunter Generations last year, and have confirmed a new MH for Switch is in the works. They’ve also released Mega Man 11 and Mega Man Legacy Collections for the console. In April, they are releasing Dragon’s Dogma and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney trilogy. Just like Square Enix, Capcom is throwing all it can, essentially, at the Switch.

NIS America

You can’t mention third parties without mentioning NIS America, in my opinion. The publisher from the very start has committed to the Switch, showing near, though not complete(looking at you Dagonronpa) parity with the PS4 releases. When the Switch was revealed, I had a good feeling about NIS America, and their support has been steady. Here’s the list, and it’s impressive.

  • Disgaea 5
  • Disgaea 1 Complete
  • YS VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
  • Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle
  • The Longest Five Minutes
  • Penny Punching Princess
  • Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory
  • Happy Birthdays
  • Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded
  • SNK HEROINES ~Tag Team Frenzy~
  • Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk
  • Yomawari: The Long Night Collection
  • The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince

They also have plenty of games on the way, headlined by The Caligua Effect, which releases March 12, and RPG Maker. The Princess Guide is also on deck, releasing March 26th.

The type of support that NIS has shown, though not what many people consider AAA, is so important for a platform to have. These smaller, AA releases that NIS brings can help fill voids and provide variety in content.

Not even touching on indie games, which are also considered third parties, support is as strong as maybe it has ever been for a Nintendo platform. It’s just another example of how things can drastically change, and quickly in the video game industry. Just a few short years ago, this type of support for a Nintendo home console seemed impossible. And this isn’t even all of it! Now, it’s almost impossible to keep up with every new game that is announced, and the Switch continues to get content to fill out an already robust library. The turn around has been incredible, and we, as fans, and as gamers, are the benefactors.

10 Switch Rpgs Worth Your Time

The Nintendo Switch is quickly becoming a haven for rpg fans. As more and more games are released, the library becomes more and more robust with great content. Rpgs in general take a pretty big time investment. With that in mind, here are 10 Rpgs on the Switch that will be worth your time.

10. Child of Light Ultimate Edition

Ubisoft, Oct. 2018

Ubisoft re-released this turn based rpg late last year, and for those who missed it the first time, you can be thankful they did. Child of Light has a touching story, a great water color artstyle, and real time combat guaranteed to keep you satisfied through the 15 hour story. The dialogue, told through prose, is unique and entertaining. Child of Light is one that turn based rpg fans shouldn’t miss.

Child of Light

9. I Am Setsuna

Square Enix/Tokyo RPG Factory, Mar. 2017

I am Setsuna was a worldwide launch title for the Nintendo Switch, joining a short list of games released on March 3rd of 2017. A smaller title in the vein of old school rpgs, Setsuna is a throwback to simpler times. The game consolidates a modern rpg into an easily digestable, and ultimately quite satisfying experience. The story is exceptional, and the soundtrack which features a single piano is a significant achievement in modern gaming. Old school jrpg fans will be happy with this loving throwback.

I Am Setsuna

8. Valkyria Chronicles 4

Sega, Mar. 2018

Valkyria Chronicles 4 follows Claude and Squad E through a civil war that strategy rpg fans will likely enjoy. The character interaction is a highlight, as each member of the Squad has their own backstory, and the combat out on the field is very strategic as the player progresses. The story is one of the strongest in the series, a strong return to form after some complaints with the third entry. Strategy rpgs like these are becoming few and far between, so if you like the genre, do yourself a favor and check this one out.

Valkyria Chronicles 4

7. Golf Story

Sidebar Games, Sept. 2017

Sidebar Games released Golf Story for the Switch to high acclaim. The story follows an aspiring golfer trying to make it to the pro tour. Along the way, you’ll play tournaments, do skill challenges, and learn the ins and outs of becoming a professional. The dialogue in the game is so smart, and avid golfers will get a kick out of all the clever references to the sport. The golfing in the game even holds its own, with club selection, spin, and loft all available to the player. Golf Story is great!

Golf Story

6. South Park: The Stick of Truth

Ubisoft, Sept. 2018

Ubisoft has been supportive of the Switch with older releases, and they chose a good one with South Park: The Stick of Truth. Fans of the series will be elated with the nods to early seasons, with plenty of music and classic characters appearing throughout. What might be surprising is just how good this turn based rpg is as an actual video game. The combat is excellent, the questing, fun, and the story engaging as the boys go through an epic romp around town. Be warned, this game is rated M for mature, and for good reason. But if you don’t mind all that, and you are a South Park fan of any degree, you’ll love this game.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

5. YS VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana

Nihon Falcom/NIS America, June 2018

YS is back for the first release in 8 years, and the first time on a Nintendo platform since 2006. YS has a long and storied history in the rpg genre, but it’s one of the lesser known franchises, especially in the west. YS VIII is a beautiful game with a heartfelt story, and that alone would make it worthwhile. The real time, fast paced combat is where the game really shines though, and this one should bring in plenty of new fans to the series.

YS VIII

4. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

Ubisoft, Aug 2017

Ubisoft makes the list again, this time with the strategy rpg featuring Mario and… Rabbids? What seems at first as an odd pairing ends up meshing together surprisingly well. The Rabbids offer their own brand of humor, and are a perfect compliment to the comparatively blank slate of the Mario characters. The gameplay is incredibly fun and the strategy elements get quite challenging later in the game. This is one of the few times where Nintendo has lent their IP to a western studio, and Ubisoft absolutely held up their end of the bargain.

Mario +Rabbids

3. Octopath Traveler

Square Enix, July 2018

When Octopath Traveler was shown in an early Nintendo Switch Direct, there was intrigue surrounding the title, especially the artstyle. It’s a modern take on 16 bit rpgs, Square Enix even coined the phrase HD-2D to convey the message of HD graphics meeting 2D sprites. The game holds up to those lofty expectations very well. The game follows 8 heroes with 8 seperate stories, each with unique traits and fighting styles. To long time jrpg players, you’ll feel right at home, both with the style of game and the combat. It isn’t just a great throwback jrpg, it pushes the modern jrpg into uncharted waters, making us all question why it took so long for this type of game to happen. It’s easy to envision Square Enix continuing to make games in a similar style going forward.

Octopath Traveler

2. Pokémon Let’s Go!

Game Freak/Nintendo, Nov. 2018

Pokémon makes its first appearance on the Switch with a not-so-traditional approach. A merging of Pokémon Go and the traditional games comes together to form Let’s Go! A remake of Pokémon Yellow, but with some new changes and a fresh coat of paint. Gone are random battles, replaced instead with a new catching mechanic that Go players will find quite familiar. The games trainer and gym battles keep the old approach though, so there is plenty to love for fans of the series. Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee is a really good rpg, motion controls and all.

Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu

1. Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Monolithsoft/Nintendo, Dec. 2017

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the latest in the Xenoblade series, a story driven rpg with a sprawling world, great characters, and hundreds of hours of gameplay. The battle system is excellent, where the Driver uses their humanoid Blade as a weapon. This offers tons of variety with different combinations, and part of the fun of the game is trying to unlock all of the rare Blades. The story is heart wrenching as the main character Rex tries to beat the antagonist Malos and safely deliver his blade Pyra to Elysium. I don’t mean to oversell this game, but I think it is incredible, and certainly, right now, the best rpg available on the Switch.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

So what do you think? Did we miss any rpgs for the Switch that you think should have made the list? Sound off in the Comment section below. Do it. Do it.

My, how things have changed.

After a showcase of new content coming to the Nintendo Switch in the coming months, Nintendo continues the strong momentum that they have built ever since the Switch was first revealed. Worldwide hardware sales have almost tripled those of the Wii U in about half the time on market. And with more and more games coming that will excite fans, it’s not hyperbole to say that the Switch might be Nintendo’s most impressive home console to date.

It’s almost hard to remember how little software was being released for Wii U. When compared to Switch, the difference is staggering. At last check, the Switch has over 1200 games available to play, already surpassing the Wii Us pultry 750. A Nintendo Direct in the middle of the Wii Us life was much different than the one we witnessed yesterday, where the Switch had over 10 new game announcements.

A typical Wii U Direct might have three or four new game announcements, but perhaps the biggest difference is that those games would typically be months, or more likely, years, away. Nintendo doesn’t announce games that far in advance too often anymore, but they had to do that with Wii U due to the circumstances.

Third party support is as strong as it has been, dare I say, since the SNES? Square Enix has been the biggest supporter, with a slew of Final Fantasy games, an exclusive jrpg, and Dragon Quest games. They aren’t the only ones.

Nintendo has formed a pretty strong relationship with Platinum Games, first with Bayonetta, and now Astral Chain.

This budding relationship between Nintendo and P* has been really fruitful for fans.

Ubisoft has proven to be a big supporter of the Switch as well, as they have been given relative creative freedom with the Star Fox IP in Starlink: Battle for Atlas. What started with a very random and odd partnering of Mario + Rabbids has now blossomed into a trusting relationship involving one of Miyamoto’s most trusted IP.

There is still room for improvement too, regarding third parties, as there are still popular games that haven’t arrived. Still no Call of Duty, Madden, Robloxs, Overwatch, but that could change in the months ahead.

All that without touching on first party content, which is as strong as ever and as consistent as ever as well. 2019 is filled with varied and exclusive content.

It’s a different time for Nintendo, and there is excitement surrounding the company that hasn’t been felt by fans in what seems like a long time. As more and more games are released, there are more and more opportunities to jump in and play great content. The Wii U years were very dark, but the Switch has brought back the light, and the future seems very bright.

Video Game Collecting

Here at Nintendo Nation, we really want to promote the joy of video games. On top of playing games, I also really enjoy collecting games and collecting other video game memorabilia. You may notice from time to time I will include some high quality shots of some of my collection, and such is one occasion!

Here’s a shot of the Zero Suit Samus Figma by GoodSmile
Link from Breath of the Wild Statue, by First 4 Figures
Samus from Other M Figma, by GoodSmile

Are you a collector? Want to show it off? Sound off in the comments or post to our Twitter page. We’d love to see some of yours!

Hidden Gem? Why it’s OK for Nintendo to recycle every Wii U game.

Nintendo really did not do a good job selling Wii Us, and to a large extent that has put a low hanging cloud over their software during the console’s lifespan as well. What Switch owners have been finding out is that the software during the Wii U years was never the problem, it was just convincing people to buy the hardware to play it. Nintendo failed in that regard, but their software shined, just as always. The Switch already has a great list of Wii U ports:

  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
  • New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
  • Hyrule Warriors
  • Pokken Tournament
  • Bayonetta 2

It is wonderful that all of these games have found second life on the Switch, with the potential to reach a new audience. Nintendo could reach even further into their catalog to fill voids in their software release schedule. There is still a nice list of games waiting in the wings, with a reasonable probability of eventually joining the port party:

  • Pikmin 3
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
  • Super Mario 3D World
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X
  • Paper Mario Color Splash

And then there are those games that maybe we shouldn’t expect, but would really fill a nice niche for certain demographics.

  • The Wonderful 101
  • Tokyo Mirage Session #FE
  • Fatal Frame

The software output for the Wii U was slow, and often it was up to Nintendo alone to support the console. But these games were mostly excellent, and for Switch owners to get a chance to play them is also excellent for Nintendo’s business, as they sort of push the Wii U out of consumers minds with each release. These games aren’t intended for Wii U owners. They are aimed at their new audience, ones that missed them the first time. Keep those games coming, and I think we will all benefit from an ever growing, already robust game library.

Monday Report

Good morning! The weekend is over for most, but Nintendo Nation has reason to be happy. Since our inception on 1/17 we have seen growth throughout all of our media outlets. This is an encouraging sign for the future, and we’d like to thank everyone that has checked out the website, followed us on Twitter, and watched or Subscribed to our YouTube. It is humbling to get just one view or follower, so thank you so much for your support! We promise to continue offering giveaways and original content that will hopefully enstill trust as we move forward.

Going forward, Mondays will also be a day where we lay out what we hope to contribute throughout the week. This is tentative in most cases, but as we find our rhythm with our content and our execution gets better, it should be easier to stick to our schedule.

This week we will be flying by the seat of our pants again, but for certain, our amiibo giveaway will end on Friday morning at 9:30 EST. We also have another giveaway planned to begin Friday evening, so keep a lookout for that.

On top of that, we have a couple YouTube videos in the works, one involves Breath of the Wild, and the other involves The Wonderful 101. These in all likelihood won’t be ready this week, but you can look forward to them in the near future. I am also working on a series known as “Boss fights,” where I will be showing my plight against classic Final Bosses. Stay tuned…