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Editorial: The Nintendo Difference
posted by: Jason Frank
date posted: 09:10 AM Tue Jun 11th, 2002

I applaud my good and beneficent editor for playing out the console debate to its politically correct ends. He has listed all of the benefits of all the consoles without ever really leaning towards one in particular (although I did detect a little bit of an inclination towards Microsoft's X-Box), and it is true that all the systems are going to have really strong exclusive titles. But getting him to proclaim one system as a clear victor in this battle is akin to pulling teeth without novocaine. As a lowly staff writer, I really feel no need to exude an air of impartiality; let me go on the record as saying Nintendo's Gamecube will be the system to own come Christmas.

How can I be so bold? It's very simple you see; it's all about the games. It always has been. I guarantee that come June the game that everyone will be wanting to play will be Eternal Darkness; in August, it will be Mario Sunshine; in September, people will be having a hard time choosing between Wario and Starfox Adventures; in November, all gamers will be selling off their tired copies of Metal Gear Solid and GTA3 to put enough change together to get a copy of Metroid Prime; and in February, people will be giving blood for just a few minutes with Link in the new Zelda game. Virtually every other worthwhile game (Timesplitters 2, XIII, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4) coming out this year will also be available on the Gamecube. They also look substantially better than they do on the PS2.

Some may see this as a rash prediction. \"Weren't you burned by the N64 too?\" they might say to me. Yes, I made the mistake of believing that a cartridge-based system could survive the era of the little shiny disc. The third party support just wasn't what it needed to be. I believe that Nintendo has seen the error of their ways; after all, they're using really little shiny discs and developing some impressive relationships with third party developers. The fact that Sonic has already graced two of Nintendo's platforms is no small coup.

The hardest games to get playtime on at E3 were Metroid Prime, Mario Sunshine, and Legend of Zelda. If I had had any doubts about the Gamecubes viability as a system, they were put to rest any time I entered the Nintendo booth at E3. In today's video gaming market, you can't build a system on first party titles, but you can clearly edge out the competition systems with in-house product. Nintedo's edge was made pretty clear at their press briefing. Attendees just could not contain their enthusiasm for forthcoming games. Jaded members of the press are not supposed to cheer when they see shots of the world's most famous plumber, but they just couldn't help themselves. (For the record, I didn't participate in any of the cheering, but I couldn't keep a stupid grin off my face either.)

I admit that Nintendo may be a little behind the curve when it comes to on-line gaming, but I just don't believe that it will be all that decisive a factor in the console wars. When people want to go on line and play against people from around the country they go to the PC. When they want to kick the neighbor kid's butt, they invite him/her over and fire up the console.

I'm anticipating a lot of email with nasty name calling (PS2 owners are a very defensive bunch), and I'm willing to take it because I'm right. As far as consoles are concerned, the one with the first party games everybody will want to play (whether they will be able to admit it to themselves or not) will be Nintendo's Gamecube. And in the end, only the games matter.

Jason Frank