During one of my all-too-frequent jaunts through the world of Reddit I stumbled across an article about Nintendo and their habitual re-releases of their major franchises and how they like to call them “sequels”. The author mentioned that each new Mario, Zelda or Pokémon game was a rehash of previous titles and they only upgraded what they needed to remain current. The author ended this notion by bringing up that Nintendo games are generational and they are meant for children of the time they are released.
I have been considering this idea and honestly I am kicking myself for not writing this sooner. I cannot count how many times I have seen the newest iteration of a popular franchise get lower marks for lack of innovation or change for fans of the series. While some franchises do have stories to follow and demand to be played through, a lot of franchises (especially Nintendo games) do not require you to play and previous game to enjoy the newest one. Like an episode of Seinfeld or Friends, some franchises require no context to enjoy a random episode (or iteration), you can simply enjoy it for what it is.
The reason I bring this up is that we are becoming increasingly bitter when it comes to our favorite franchises. Too little change and we complain, too much change we complain, just the right amount of change and we complain. As gamers we have incredibly compassionate connections with our games and we want that connection to remain strong each time a new edition comes out. What we need to realize though is the reason we are never fully satisfied with a new Zelda or Mario game is that these games are not meant for us anymore. Our generation has passed the franchises by and we need to learn how to let go.
Now, I am not telling you to avoid the newest Metroid or Pokémon title, far from it in fact. I personally cannot wait to see another 2D Metroid even though I have played all of them already. New games in classic franchises are not a bad thing, we simply cannot hold them to the same standard as newer IPs because the classic franchises are not for our generation. New Super Mario Brothers was made for your ten year old siblings, not you- the pushing 30 blogger. When I play Sonic All Stars Racing I know this is a game meant for kids and when I can acknowledge that fact the game almost becomes better.
My most recent article and love letter to Tale of Tales The Path discussed a lot of the darker and more sinister themes of that game. This title was made for me- an adult. My tastes in storytelling have changed and this was the sort of title that I needed. I cannot take that mentality and apply my opinion to how well the characters are developed in Sonic Colors, in fact if I was to do that you would probably laugh at me. Judging Sonic like I judge Skyrim is the same as critiquing the character development and societal themes of the newest Land Before Time movie.
If you are feeling particularly unsatisfied by the newest Pokémon or Final Fantasy game maybe you need to think about who these games are being made for. When we were 15 Final Fantasy VII was literally the most epic experience we have ever had in a game. Now we have Skyrim, Fallout and Grand Theft Auto to tickle our fancies. If we grow up with the games and embrace the new we will be much more satisfied overall.
I recently played an emulated copy of Ocarina of Time and I was hit with huge doses of nostalgia pretty much every second of my play time. I could not wait to re-experience the feeling of entering Hyrule Field for the first time and seeing a huge world ripe for the exploring. When I did make it to the field though I was shocked at how small everything was. The game was not as epic as I remembered. Neither was Twilight Princess. Neither was Skyward Sword. It was then that I knew my tastes had grown up. I was not bigger or better than these games but they would never impress me like they did when I was a kid. Not to worry though, someday my wife and I will have children and be able to see in their young eyes just how impressed they are. Then we will let them play Skyrim and have their minds blown.
Yea… I can’t wait to show my kids how cool I am.