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