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January 25, 2013 1:55 pm

Eating Dust – How I learnt to use a duster and start playing Nintendo games again

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I asked Daniel late last year if he’d be up for a bit of column from me on Vooks. He agreed and liked the angle I wanted to take, and I said I’d get him something quick smart — then I never delivered.

This might sound like a dick move, but at this stage in my life time is actually a bit of a stre… oh, how rude of me, sorry, my name is Stephen Farrelly, and eons ago I was the editor of Australia’s only, premier, awesome and completely unofficial Nintendo magazine. Some of you may have heard of it: N64 Gamer.

That was a long time ago, and for those of you who remember, my reign came in after that of Narayan Pattison, where my team and I ushered in the GameCube and Game Boy Advance run and said a salty goodbye to the N64, renaming the magazine Nintendo Gamer.

So why should I put together a column for this awesome indie site? Well here’s the clincher. I’m not a Nintendo fanboy anymore, by any measure. I used to be. Seriously. I was a massive Nintendophile, in fact, but a while ago the fate of GameCube and the circulation of our magazine — as a result — waning, forcing us to close up shop, left me without much recourse than to start playing on other platforms to stay in the field. I’d always been open to other consoles and the PC, but for me, Nintendo was always best.

So when Wii emerged, with its funny name in tow, I gave all the support and fan passion I could. A few games into that machine’s life I felt like everything was peachy… you know, the same. Here we had the likes of Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Sword and, my favourite, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption among a handful of others and, of course, an arcade bowling game. But the more I had to look into the other machines, the more I realised — or at least felt — I was being duped by The Big-N. SD visuals, Wii Friend Codes, relatively few games offering traditional controller support, terrible online functionality, pricey classics via Virtual Console, and that feeling of “the same” (ie nothing had ultimately changed) — the list of annoyances just grew and grew until my Wii started gathering dust.

Steve

Steve

I’m not going to lie, I was all but done with Nintendo. 3DS had me for little bit, if only for Ocarina of Time, but I hadn’t even unwrapped my Skyward Sword copy more than a month after receiving it, and I fricking love that series, but the Wii just made me not care about playing Nintendo games anymore. So when all the rumours of their new console being more core-focused and more about their legions of loyal followers started, I felt a tingle inside.

I’ll fast-forward a bit. I was initially pretty unimpressed with my first hands-on with Wii U at E3, but tI was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt because of that tingle. And as the days neared to its release in Australia, despite a massive lack of launch games to really care about (that I hadn’t already smashed on other platforms, mind), I couldn’t help but to start to feel giddy, and then I received my advance machine from Nintendo.

So getting back to what I was originally talking about: time. I’m a Dad now, one whole year into it, in fact. He’s a smart cookie, too. Knows how to manipulate both touch-screen devices and traditional buttons and analogue sticks (I’m not kidding, he can already play games at one year-old). I watch him full-time at home while my partner, who works in the games industry also, is at work (being that I work from home) and that, coupled with being the senior editor over at Australia’s largest and oldest independent site, AusGamers, means my time is very, very limited.

ngamer_magazines

The good old days.

The reason I approached Daniel in the first place was his great work, but it was also because I still felt an obligation to both the company that pushed me into this industry in the first place, and other fans who are like I was all those years ago, because you see, I’m jaded by the whole thing now. I had fun with Wii U and Nintendo Land the first week I got my console, and Scribblenauts Unlimited was okay (only with a massive lack of proper use of the Wii U and its controller), hell, we even tried all the other party games that emerged, but nothing really took me as far as that initial wow factor from yesteryear.

HOWEVER, the overnight Nintendo Direct event has given me the *slightest* inkling of hope. I’m a sucker for nostalgia, and a HD Wind Waker game will likely get my gears grinding again, along with the new Fire Emblem (a favourite series of mine), and honestly most of what was revealed is coming relatively soon. Which makes me happy. I’m not sold yet, which was my original conversation with Daniel — that I’d be a slight voice of reasoning, reality or jadedness (whichever you prefer, really), but that I’d come in with my 15 years of experience in gaming, and my background as a Nintendo guy who maybe grew up, and out of, the company, or, maybe, is someone just waiting to be sucked back in, time permitting.

Magazine covers thanks to Retro Gaming Australia


About the Author

Stephen Farrelly
Stephen Farrelly was the editor of both N64 Gamer and Nintendo Gamer magazines here in Australia. He moved onto AusGamers, one of Australia’s oldest independent online publications and one of its largest, in 2005 and currently serves as its senior editor. 2013 will mark his 10th E3 and 36th birthday -- he wishes they could happen at the same time. You can find him on Twitter at @steve_farrelly.




10 Comments


  1. Leiigh

    Here here. My sabbatical took place during most of the Gamecube era. I didn’t buy any of the consoles from the early 00s period, I had my 64 and Age of Mythology on my PC to occupy my games time.

    The Cube and its starting lineup just didn’t set my world on fire. I wasn’t a Metroid guy, maybe the Zelda bait-and-switch affected me more than I let on, and let’s face it – new or lacklustre franchises (Pikmin/Luigi’s Mansion) weren’t quite what people wanted to see during this time.

    Now when Resi 4 dropped, I bought a second-hand console from ebay and probably ten games. I felt I was ready/that that generation was ready for me. For the time, the period I took out of games was a loooong time. But I enjoyed catching up.


  2. Nintendork

    Nintendo gamer was the first gaming magazine I bought religiously, and still one of my favourites. The reviews were great, and the articles and features were hilarious. Glad to know your still around.


  3. Leo

    I remember reading an old N64 gamer (I might still have it somewhere) and seeing Steve featured in the insult me hard section, where Sarge (I think) used to just insult readers. Then a short time later he was writing there. I always thought that was really awesome. Oh and he got me into AFI as well. :)


  4. Super interesting article, and great to hear from you again Mr. Farrelly. You along with most of the Nintenddo Gamer and Hyper teams were pretty much my source of information and opinion for most of my high school years.

    I can definitely relate to what you say. The 360/PS3/Wii generation was the first in which I had more than one console, and because of that the Wii felt outdated super quick, not just graphically but in it’s online services and other things the other consoles had done so much better. Not to say I regret buying the Wii, because it did have some fantastic games, but it did always feel outdated.


  5. Chris Casmenco

    Glad to see you are still alive and kicking!

    I had the privilege of writing a handful of reviews for you guys (N64 Gamer and Gameboy Magazine) back in the Gorman days. They were definitely some of the best and most memorable Nintendork years for me.

    Shout out to the old school members of #hyperactive and #nintendo IRC channels on Austnet!


  6. Aaron

    Stephen, you talk about being a ‘sucker for nostalgia’ and the sheer fact you remain happily and successfully writing in the games industry is nostalgic and inspiring for me. Like Steven said, we grew up following the Nintendo Gamer and Hyper writers words like gospel, and it was a great time to be a Nintendo gamer! The Wii felt outdated immediately due to its restrictive and limited functionality in terms of hardware and software. Like others, this was also my first generation of owning more than just a Nintendo console, and this has seen a huge shift in my gaming habits. However, like Leigh, I can see myself waiting and seeing on the Wii U front for the time being, with the hope that Nintendo manages to rediscover that magic they once had.


  7. Luminalace

    I was a huge fan of N64 gamer as a teen and remember when you took over from Narayan Pattison. I can’t remember what he moved onto but after reading his work later, I remember thinking to myself that maybe Editors of Nintendo magazines just fake their enthusiasm and talk the talk but don’t really walk tne walk. While I haven’t outgrown Nintendo into my 30`s, it’s nice to read why someone like you has. I do hope that the tingle reappears though.


  8. Taceus

    Thanks for a great read. I bought heaps of Ninty mags back in the day but unfortunately missed out on Nintendo Gamer. I gave up on gaming after MS bought Rare(rabid Rareware fan here). Nice to know I’m not alone in losing interest in Ninty through the years. As an avid column reader, I look forward to your realistic/jaded articles. Might disagree but will always enjoy a different perspective :)


  9. Nice article Steve!



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