Nintendo and I have an estranged relationship. Once upon a time, we were inseparable. For most of my life, in fact. I had always been a dyed in the wool Nintendo fan. For the longest time, I’d only owned Nintendo consoles, bought all of their major releases, subscribed to their magazine, made stupid arguments on their behalf in forums, all that sort of thing. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the original NES right about the time I was learning to read, and my loyalty to the company was kept strong throughout the years that followed.
I had even been one of those guys that always seem to get shown on local news at console launches, waiting around well in advance for the release of the Wii. It seems kind of silly now, but once upon a time I was so excited for a console launch I spent six hours sitting next to an ex-girlfriend in the gardening section of Wal-mart impressing my fellow nerds with my knowledge of how the Nintendo Zapper while waiting for midnight to strike so I could be one of the first in town with the system. For a while after the release of the Wii, things were good.
Yet slowly, surely, I started to grow apart from the company. I’m not going to be one of those consumers who claims the Wii has no good games, and that Nintendo’s abandoned their core market, because that’s not quite true. The Wii has plenty of quality games, and Nintendo’s efforts on the DS at least show that they’ve still got the dedicated game player in mind. It was true, however, that the frequency of game releases on the Wii that delivered the experience I was wanting was pretty low. I started to dally in other consoles. First, I took a PS2 off a friend’s hands, then I bought an Xbox 360. Meanwhile, I slowly started to use my Wii more for its backwards compatibility than anything else, with only the most significant Wii releases finding a spot in my library. I did have some really good times with my Wii, but those times were fewer than I would have liked, and as a result, Nintendo and I just grew apart.
And so it was for a fair while, Nintendo becoming just a footnote in my gaming life, rather than holding the amount of brainspace it had earlier. But something has given me cause to review that relationship. Recently, I finally got myself a 3DS as an early birthday present, and with it, a small collection of some of Nintendo’s recent offerings. And it feels just like old times. Nintendo was such a large part of my childhood, and this new console is fulfilling that old nostalgia while still offering new experiences. It feels like I’ve been welcomed back as if I’d never parted ways with the company that made up so much of my gaming history. Even in my brief return to Nintendo’s worlds, their games on the 3DS has been offering me the exact experiences I was hoping for from the Wii.
It remains to be seen if Nintendo and I can build the bridges we had once burned, but with my new 3DS, I’ve got more hope in my once favorite company than I have in half a decade. May this be the renewal of the treasured experiences Nintendo once offered me, and beyond.