Nintendo FranchisesWritten by:
What is it that keeps a franchise going? Why do some people eagerly await the new Zelda game, but dread Mario Party 7? What are the necessary elements to keep a franchise interesting?
No one can deny that Nintendo has the strongest franchises. Pokemon, Mario, Metroid, and Zelda have all been seen spanning multiple generations of systems successfully. However, I constantly hear people say that Pokemon has lost its spark. Though I have never heard someone say they should have stopped making Mario platformers after Super Mario Bros. 2. Pokemon is a great RPG series. However, it has gotten a reputation for being kiddy, so many gamers, especially between the ages of 12-16, are embarrassed to play it. The game's bright colors and cute characters can work against its appeal for many gamers. Despite the lack of older audience members, Pokemon is very successful and recently sold 100,000,000 copies. And yet another title, Pokemon XD is in the works for Gamecube. This franchise looks as if it will survive to see many more generations of Pokemon fans.
Mario has been starring in games on every console Nintendo has released. His popularity as a franchise has lead to spin offs such as Mario Party, Mario DDR, and an array of different Mario sports titles. Whether he is racing, dancing, on the court, on the green, or saving the Princess; Mario is an extremely successful character. I think it is safe to call Mario the most popular franchise on any system. However, what is it that makes Mario so popular and able to successfully continue making titles after 2o years? This is a very impressive feat by any character. With just one franchise Nintendo was able to create such a wide variety of games to appeal to so many different gamers. It is amazing how many characters emerged from the Mario franchise to gain their own popularity, and in some cases their own games.
When The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was announced at E3 2004, grown men in business suits cried. Link and Zelda have grown to such esteemed statuses since they were introduced on the NES. The huge fandom for the Legend of Zelda reached its peak during the N64 days. Ocarina of Time was the title that really began attracting gamers to the series. The Zelda Collector's Edition that Nintendo released several years ago was a huge hit. People were frantically subscribing to Nintendo Power and registering games just to get the highly coveted disc containing classic Zelda titles. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is anticipated to be the best game of 2005. I have heard people in EB Games talking about buying a Gamecube just to be able to play Twilight Princess. There is so much hype surrounding this title. However, if it were not part of the Zelda franchise would the anticipation still be so great?
Metroid is another one of Nintendo's fabulous franchises. Samus originated on NES and has made her way through SNES, Game Boy, and Gamecube games and has done extremely well along the way. People are eagerly awaiting the release of Metroid Hunters for the DS. The demo included with the release of the Nintendo DS sparked people's interest. It was a very wise decision on Nintendo’s part to include a demo for a well-known franchise. The more mature shooter demo made people interested in an upcoming game through the use of one of Nintendo's major characters.
Nintendo has so many esteemed franchises and has caused many games to come from these. The most popular would definitely be Super Smash Bros. Nintendo has created a fighting game of such magnitude it includes all of Nintendo's famous franchises. This title is not just an addition to a franchise, but rather it is an inclusion of all the different characters. However, Nintendo has had other titles that stray away from the franchises original intent. Donkey Konga is a great example. While this title features Donkey Kong, it is definitely not a traditional Donkey Kong title. This music title utilizes a franchise character to market this game to Nintendo fans. Mario titles are famous for straying from the original platformer genre and branching out. Mario has expanded out in RPGs, sports titles, and soon music titles. Even Samus is looking to branch out into a different genre with the new Metroid Pinball title. These characters have gained such popularity that it is no longer the genre of the game that matters. Rather, it is just about the presence of the particular character that sells the game.
Other companies may have franchises, but none have succeeded at being as successful as Nintendo's franchises. No character has become as esteemed and well-known as Nintendo characters. Nintendo has the advantage of nostalgia on its side; people have been playing games with these characters for nearly two decades. As long as Nintendo continues to make titles starring their popular characters, people will continue to purchase these games.
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