I love being a Nintendo fan. I love the fact that there is such a diversity of first-party content that there really is something for everyone. It is impressive that, even after a lifetime of watching and playing Nintendo games, I can still find gems that I’ve never experienced before. I love how diverse the different Nintendo fandoms are. And I love how, even though all of these first-party games are very different and appeal to different communities, we all generally get along, like one big happy family.
Except during E3 time, as things get a little tense. Each Nintendo fandom obviously wants their franchise to get some attention. Like a lot of gamers, we’re incredibly passionate about the games we love. But Nintendo only has a finite amount of resources (despite how successful they are) and can only focus on a certain amount of the series at a time. And some of the series are definitely better sellers than others, and thus, get more of the focus. As a result of this, when we’re waiting for the big announcements, well, we go a little crazy. Feelings get bent out of shape. Things get a little heated. And to the rest of the gaming community at large, I imagine we look like a giant drunken brawl.
For example, take the Zelda Community. For those of you who have been under a rock, 2021 is Zelda’s 35th Birthday. So, Zelda fans are eager to see what Nintendo has in store. But they’re also a little worried. Of Nintendo’s Big Three, I feel like Zelda fans (myself included) tend to have the biggest martyr complex.
While Mario and Pokémon get pretty consistent releases, we can go quite a few years between mainline Zelda releases. As a result of this, there is a constant, nagging worry among the community that Zelda will be forgotten. That we won’t get any release this year aside from Skyward Sword HD, and that we’ll have to go another year without any news about the sequel to Breath of the Wild, is a little concerning. And, as a Zelda fan, I get it. I totally do.
Giving Metroid The Limelight
However, as a Metroid fan, I really wish the Zelda community would quit whining. Because it’s also Metroid’s birthday, and Metroid used to be one of Nintendo’s bigger franchises back in the day. And we’ve been waiting to hear about Metroid Prime 4 since 2017, and we go even longer between releases. Heck, Zelda has, in the past few years, gotten Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, Cadence of Hyrule and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. We also know that it’s going to get Skyward Sword this summer. And surely there is no way Nintendo is dropping the ball on Breath of the Wild 2. Metroid fans on the other hand?
Metroid fans are not even sure that they’re getting a game at this point. We’ve gotten no news aside from the update that development wasn’t going well back in 2019. So, much as I believe that Zelda deserves some limelight, and as much as I am hyped for the year of Zelda, I also want us Zelda fans to sit down, shut up, and let Metroid also get some of that attention.
The Pokémon Dilemma
The Zelda community isn’t the only one of the Big Three who are on edge. While a lot of the focus is on Zelda this year, it’s also Pokémon’s 25th Birthday. Sure, we’ve already got some games announced for the Pokémon franchise. These are Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl and Pokemon Legends: Arceus. But Pokémon fans are already worried about how these games are looking, that they won’t have the graphical and gameplay polishes that a full home console version of Pokémon deserves.
As someone who is a Pokémon fan, as someone who has been with the franchise since it began, I get it. I personally was underwhelmed by Pokémon Let’s Go and by Pokémon Sword and Shield. I really want these games to be the best that they can be, to be that home console Pokémon game that I always dreamed about as a kid.
Star Fox And The Art Of Being Forgotten
As a Star Fox fan, however, I find the whining about the games not being good enough a little annoying. As one of the tentpole franchises, Pokémon gets a release basically every year, and it’s guaranteed that it’s going to sell. Whether the game is amazing or mediocre, it’s going to be a blockbuster. The Pokéfans can complain all they want, but they’ll be getting more and more games.
Meanwhile, over in the land of space furries, it feels like any time we complain too loudly about the random gimmicks Nintendo puts into the franchise, Nintendo winds up concluding that we must hate the franchise and puts it on the back burner for another five years. So, while, as a Pokémon fan I can whine and cry as much as I want and still get games, as a Star Fox fan it feels like I have to tread on eggshells or else my franchise is going to get the axe. And it’s a little frustrating.
The Plummer And The Kong
But surely the Mario fans are happy, right? They just had their big celebration. Well, the answer to that is a little more complicated than you might think. Mario is so massive that it’s hard to think of it as just one unified fandom. It’s got a lot of subfandoms within it. And one of those subfandoms is the Donkey Kong fandom.
Wouldn’t you know it, the big gorilla turns forty this year. And, much like with all these other birthdays, people are wondering what Nintendo’s going to do to celebrate. And I’m right there with them. Without Donkey Kong, Nintendo wouldn’t be the titan in gaming that it is. Heck, it’s quite possible that gaming wouldn’t have become the force that it is without Donkey Kong. It deserves to be celebrated, at least a little bit.
Fire Emblem Lost Its Steam
But I could definitely see how this would ruffle the feathers of the Fire Emblem fandom. While we were all having the big Mario celebration, Fire Emblem’s birthday flew under the radar. The main celebration we got was the first Western release of the original game, and that was only for a limited time (much like several of the Mario releases). This wouldn’t be as irksome, except Fire Emblem has definitely been gaining in popularity in recent years, especially in the West.
The fandom was really hoping that Fire Emblem would become one of Nintendo’s big dogs. And then, just when Fire Emblem was on the edge of becoming part of the Nintendo mainstream, Nintendo lost momentum. And now that the Mario fandom is talking about a Donkey Kong birthday, it can almost feel like Mario’s getting two birthday celebrations at the expense of everyone else. While the Fire Emblem fandom is among one of the more patient Nintendo fandoms, I can certainly understand them feeling as if they were passed over.
You Literally Can’t Please Anyone
And that’s not even close to everyone. The Mother fandom are still foaming at the mouth, wondering if Mother 3 is ever going to get a Western release. This has only intensified since Reggie Fils-Aime made a cryptic tweet about wanting to play the game in English. The fans of Kid Icarus Uprising are hoping that Nintendo hasn’t forgotten them completely. The Bayonetta fans are desperately awaiting any signs of life from Bayonetta 3. And the poor F-Zero fandom is sitting there going, “Wait, you guys are actually getting games? Boy, that must be nice.”
So, yes, things are a bit stressful for Nintendo fans right now. We all have a bunch of different directions we want Nintendo to focus on. And clearly, we can get a little nuts about it (especially the ones of us who are fans of multiple franchises). So, to all of you non-Nintendo Gamers out there, and to all of you new Nintendo fans, I’d like to apologise on behalf of all of us in our little corner of gaming. Just be patient with us, and we’ll calm down.
To anyone from Nintendo who somehow happens to wind up reading this, I’m sorry your fans are crazy. Try to understand that it’s because we’re passionate about your games. And to all my fellow Nintendo fans out there, remember to breathe. No matter what happens during E3, it won’t be the end of the world. We might not get all of our favourites, but I’m sure we’ll get at least some of them. Try not to ruin it for anyone else.