I’m sure Zelda, Mario, Pokemon and the rest are all great if you like that kind of thing, but on the whole, they’re not for me. Many of my friends are aware of my stance on Nintendo, although it is mostly tongue-in-cheek. In an era of micro-transactions, voice commands, draconian DRM policies and ‘essential’ second screens, I find myself wishing for a simpler time. When the only console rivalry that mattered was which was cooler, a blue super-fast hedgehog or an odd plumber with a pornstar tache. (It’s the hedgehog, hence SEGA boy.)
In updating this post this is a great place to plug Blake J Harris excellent book Console Wars*, which gives a great insight into that rivalry from inside the companies.
At least with SEGA vs Nintendo it always felt like it was about the games. I know this is all perception, but I find it much harder to care about SONY vs Microsoft as it feels more like Stereos and Televisions vs Windows and Office, all a bit abstract. My console gaming route growing up was Master System, Mega Drive, Saturn, PSX, Dreamcast. After the Dreamcast I was old enough to just waste my money buying all the consoles. (Real gamers are platform agnostic of course…) For each generation where it was a choice, I felt I completely made the right one, and that list contains 4 of my top 5 consoles of all time. The PSX is obviously the odd one out, and if it wasn’t for NAMCO, I would have probably skipped that too.
I’m not entirely anti-Nintendo either, Mario Kart and Animal Crossing are amongst my favourite games series. I am likely to cave and buy a Wii U once Mario Kart 8 drops, although I’d really appreciate them releasing one without the heinous gamepad at a price that reflects the fact that I only really want to play one game…
A significant amount of my preference is simply down to the sorts of games available. I prefer arcade style console games. Shmups are pretty much my fave genre, followed by beat ’em ups and arcadey racers. There are games in pretty much every genre that I do like, but not to this extent. While I am aware that all the big Nintendo games I dismiss out of hand are technically very good, and I understand their appeal, they just don’t grab me, no matter how many times I try to play Zelda. Oh this doesn’t apply to the Smash Bros. games, they simply are dross. Floaty physics nonsense. 😉
Given the above, it’s easy to see how my favourite N64 games are an unusual selection. My current collection is below, loosely ranked top-to-bottom in order of preference, and I own almost all of the games I actually want for the system. Even of these I don’t really like Goldeneye or F-Zero, and I haven’t played France 98 although I’m assured it’s good for a football game. (I’m suspicious, it doesn’t even look like sensible soccer…)
At least it is obviously about the games. Team SEGA because I wanted to play Sonic and awesome arcade titles like Golden Axe, Fantasy Zone, Streets of Rage etc. The Saturn and Dreamcast libraries of shmups and beat ’em ups ensure that they’re still my most played systems today.
I suppose the XBOX vs PS debate has some games related rivalry too. Which generic FPS would I prefer to play? Actually I’ll stick to my PC thanks, and play them properly…
Now I’m just off to pick up a Mega Drive, to sit next to my Saturn and Dreamcast.
*as I’m refreshing old posts for layout etc, I’ve also taken the liberty of shoehorning in the occasional affiliate link. As usual, if you use these I’ll get a bit of commission, and be grateful.