Nintendo’s Waterloo

I got a letter in the mail from Japan, I wonder what it says…

So yeah, out of nowhere I got a letter in the mail from an anonymous member at Nintendo. It’s a pretty high ranking and prolific figure at the company, and I wanted to share it with you all, because I think it’s pretty important we send them some help. Things aren’t looking so hot, but I’ll let the note explain:

Dearest Jared,

Hearing that there is mail going out this afternoon, I thought I would risk the opportunity and write you a most urgent warning of our circumstance currently. Rumors are spreading like wildfire around the halls here, and morale is quite low. We all refuse to acknowledge it, but deep down we all know it to be true. Soon is to be the era of our demise, no matter how much it pains me to say, and therefore you are the only one I can confide in, a harbinger of truth and prosperity in these harsh waters we navigate through known as the world wide web. We live in deadly times, and I fear this is to be our last stand on the battlefield of technology. These are the most dire of circumstances, so I take my gamble writing to you behind the backs of my superiors.

With the launch of Arms around the corner there is no telling of the drought that is to come, and it will surely rob many at Nintendo their livelihoods as the company scales back, further and further, until it blinks out of existence, a wisp in the winds of history. Mario Kart 8 will begin the starvation, then weeks later Splatoon 2 will undoubtedly begin the conversation of panic. “Is this a real sequel, or an update to the original?” they will all ask, but from there it only gets worse for our plight. Months will pass, day by day the pressure will mount, and the only words on the tips of the blogger’s fingers will be about connectivity issues, the death of our 3rd party support, the original version of Skyrim being full price, screen scratches, and overpriced accessories. Soon, there will be no more good will or Mario trailers to quench the thirst of the diehards.

Do not get me started on our online experience, that is a dead end covered by hearsay and public relations gobbledygook. Our first major loss at the hands of the enemy came when people caught on to how abysmal friend codes are, and soon they will turn on us for the Switch’s online features, communication, reliability, and lack of virtual console support. It is the beginning of the end, I know this to be true as the day is long and the sky is blue.

What will happen to us when we delay Super Mario Odyssey out of 2017? We cannot afford to lose the momentum of our only real victory in years, Breath of the Wild. And once news breaks we have no intention of patching weapon durability, our oldest soldiers might turn to the other side, for good.

We have fought valiantly yet we cannot escape our mortality in an ever changing battlefield, a war that rages on faster than we can adapt to. The campaign plan frightens me, as it has been the same one written in crayon for decades, but the map has since transformed under our feet. We stand on quicksand, unable to claw out of the mud with precious oxygen disappearing. It is getting harder to breathe when you do not know what Retro Studios is working on. Is this not inhuman? Is it a Metroid or not? The silence is deafening, I expect some one cleaned house to rob the jewels and plate of the corpse.

I sometimes awaken from my slumber and clutch my Slippy doll in the face of nightmares. What have I done? What have I become? Where is the next idea for an F-Zero game, or will I have to bury Captain Falcon on the field of valor, tears and all? We have lost so many already: Paper Mario, Olimar, Samus, Pit, Ice Climbers, Chibi Robo, Little Mac, Captain Toad, Fox McCloud, I anticipate more will fall before the calendar ends. Is Tom Nook next? Yoshi? Donkey Kong? Kirby? I loathe to think of the dominoes that will tumble if we are not careful. Who made the decision to give the Paper Mario games a sticker battle system? With no experience to gain? How was that a good idea? And do NOT get me started on Star Fox Zero.

As I look into the future, I wonder about our strengths and weaknesses as an army that once conquered the entire world. Our name ruled this fine industry, but if Rome can fall so too can the Mushroom Kingdom. What will our power look like when Microsoft brings out the big guns? Scorpio is a cannon and we have no artillery strikes left in our possession. I am filled with dread that our time in the limelight is not only over, but is on the verge of oblivion. I am a ball of twisted steel and nerve thinking about my men, wretched inside when they ask me about the next Mario Party game. I look into those poor designers cold, dead eyes and ask myself, ‘what have we become?’, and then I hear news that we estimate to sell 100+ million Switches lifetime. We said something similar about the Wii U, and were off about 90 million give or take.

“Not good. Not good at all. Not smart. Failing Nintendo, sad!” That’s what they’ll tweet out at our funeral.

Our eulogy will be a tweet. God damnit, that is depressing.

The Switch is our waterloo, and if we do not capitalize on the small amount of momentum we have in this current moment in time it will evaporate before our very eyes. Then what next, a Switch XL? A New Switch? A Switch Lite? Where will we go from there? We have more questions internally at Nintendo then answers, and Reggie is too headstrong to notice the glaring Achilles’s Heel that is bleeding all over the place. I have never spoken to the new CEO, he never says anything, even when I meet him and try to pry some knowledge loose. Nothing. Stone faced, a man who knows the ship is sinking and the Universal Studios deal is not enough to attract new younger fans, and not enough to keep the old ones asking for Mother 3 and Netflix support. We are a company trapped in time, a standstill of innovation and desperation, longingly looking at competitors once so insignificant we never thought to prepare the defenses. Now, our guard is down and they have the upper hand. It is all but over, and the few titles we put out a year, regardless of their quality, is nowhere close to the quantity of Sony, or the genius of Apple. Skirmishes spark, casualties mount, hope sinks with each muster. Disillusion is profound and plentiful, something I never imagined would happen to us. We made the SNES and the Super Scope!

So I sit here, in my office, in hiding and retreat, while the NES Classic and Switch reinforcements get lost in the wind. They are never coming, like Godot, and our ability to manufacture and market is long perished. My insides ache and my mind is a trap, ready to slam shut on the world. Conflicting interests clash with proud tradition and stubbornness, there is no firm command of strategy anymore, and I grow fond of dreaming about a time once filled with R.O.B. the Robots flooding the shelves on toy stores. These philistines will never truly appreciate good ol’ Rob, long may he rest in peace.

Weary, disappointed, saddened, the weight of this loss is like a black hole of misery. It burdens my bones every time I make a sketch of Mario’s new hat with the eyeballs on them. Is that all I have left in me? Can I not salvage anymore ideas worthy of triumph? Nintendo is forever dampened with the brutal, harsh, cold winds of winter and the Switch will collect snow and dust and ridicule before you know it, I am sure of it.

You can smell the hostility in the air, and it is only a matter of seconds before fingers start getting pointed with reckless abandon. Tear filled eyes and pounded desks simply hail in comparison to master works like The Witcher 3. Nintendo can never have a game like that on our console, so what is even the point? Why bother creating years of anticipation and hype to have it boil over in turmoil and whatever the hell Federation Force turned out to be? Try as I might, the twinkle in our collective eyes have burnt out, and faced with the reality of a modern landscape that is ever adapting, advancing, open, honest, and becoming smarter, Nintendo is a stick in the mud in comparison. A swamp where no seeds can grow, a desert with a single Zelda oasis. I am humbled by this experience, and have found that video games, war, and women do strange things to mortal men. The brigade that marched onto prosperity with the Wii was a gold mine filled with fool’s gold. The Switch is going to be our last console, and we don’t have enough Pokemon games in the ammo clip to reload fast enough. Our outlook is grim, and the night is full of terrors yet to come…I see it coming from a mile away. Am I the only one who senses this? It must be, since I’m writing you in secret using candlelight.

Send my best to the diehards, and make sure I am not forgotten. May I be remembered as a leader of men, a creator of a great many things, and a stubborn detractor of Miis. I was never for them. They forced me to like them, twisted my arm into releasing Wii Music. May the gods have mercy on my soul.

S.M. (Please keep my identity a secret)