Nintendo, the only company to consistently be the front-runner in the unplugged video game market, has always had resounding success with its handheld gaming devices. From the original cinder block known as a Game Boy to the DS/3DS family and now even its current “home” console, Nintendo has almost never failed to create a viable and wildly popular mobile gaming experience. In fact, they were so good at it that for a long time they did not feel the need to extend its software development to mobile phones.
Well so much for that. Now we have some great software from Nintendo on the same device we use to swipe left on Tinder! (and maybe use it to call people, too) Technology sure has come a long way!
However, like any game, eventually people stop playing. Maybe they get bored of it, maybe it isn’t what they thought it would be, or maybe it’s just like any non-eSport/MMO game that isn’t meant to be played forever. So why are these games such major successes and why are they suddenly forgotten?
Here, I’m going to get into detail about three Nintendo games already available on all smart phones: Miitomo, Pokemon Go, and Fire Emblem Heroes. (Unfortunately I can’t review Super Mario Run yet because I own an Android…) I will tell you what the hype is around each game, why people stopped playing them, and give a general rating of each one.
Miitomo was Nintendo’s first dive into smart phone games. When it came out, the hype was incredible! Everyone I knew was posting screenshots of the outrageous outfits their characters were wearing and their poses. Even people I knew who didn’t play any games were trying it out! And who can blame them? Miis by nature are comically wacky, and now you can share their wackiness on social media. Miis and phones were a perfect combination!
I should say that they still are a perfect combination, but unfortunately the hype jumped right off a cliff out of nowhere. Why is nobody using it anymore? It’s simple to figure out, really. Miitomo is great for taking crazy screenshots, making your Mii say and wear interesting things, and….. nothing else. It’s not really a game, either. I found that it’s similar to Tomodachi Life on the 3DS in that you get to interact with Miis in a Sims-esque way, but at least there’s a few things to do in that game other than answer questions and try to get tickets to get new outfits. Nobody wants to keep doing the same thing over and over again, especially when the app’s load times take longer than a real-life selfie.
The game’s appeal is based around the Mii gimmick. Once that gimmick loses its appeal, so does everything about this game. Also, the load time at the beginning is ridiculous for a game that’s usually played for less than a minute at a time, which has deterred me from keeping up with it more than anything. I loaded it up while writing this and between the regular load time and updates, it took over 3 minutes before I could interact with my Mii. That is not okay.
If the hype from Miitomo was enough to catch the attention of social media, I wouldn’t be surprised if isolated tribes in the Amazon know about Pokemon Go. This game inspired real actions in the real world, from disregarding traffic safety to a Hillary Clinton speech. There were literally crowds of people in Central Park hunting for rare Pokemon. Even my mom caught a Snorlax! And if you were on Team Mystic, you were my sworn enemy and I hated you (Team Instinct is cool though).
Honestly, I can’t say for sure. We just kind of… stopped. First the people who never played Pokemon except for this game got their fill of it and decided they had enough, then the rest of us just phased out slowly once we got sick of hatching eggs. I still play once in a while, but getting kicked out of gyms two seconds after capturing them gets on my nerves too much to enjoy everything this game has to offer.
For most, it was when Niantic started losing its mind. They started banning people who used tracking apps and GPS hacking, and rightly so. But they went overboard in some cases. For example, an entire cell service was banned thanks to a hacker in Europe that wanted to test them. Although it wasn’t Niantic’s fault entirely, it shouldn’t have ever gotten to the point where they had to fix something so massively messed up. As the game continues to exist, Niantic continues to do things incorrectly. It took entirely too long for the Gen II Pokemon to become available, and on their way to doing it they teased us with a potential release only to let loose just a few of the baby forms. It was like when your longtime lover makes you think he’s ready to pop the question but is actually asking you to try this weird thing he saw online.
Despite its obvious flaws and Niantic’s antics (Hey that rhymed!), Pokemon Go does exactly what it intends to do. People still get out and walk a ridiculous distance to hatch eggs and catch a Jynx, even if it’s not as many of us as in the Summer of 2016. I actually got back into it very enthusiastically when the Gen II Pokemon were introduced last month, and will definitely do it again when Gen III comes out. If Niantic can keep introducing new things consistently (and not being dicks about it), this game will be around for a long time.
Fire Emblem Heroes
Downloading this was a no-brainer for any diehard Fire Emblem fan. I’ve only played Awakening and Fates and even I was excited. And guess what? It doesn’t disappoint! It can best be described as “Fire Emblem Lite.” It has the essential gameplay elements of any recent Fire Emblem game, but no more than that. This makes it ideal for beginners and veterans of the series alike. Its appeal also comes from the presence of many characters from throughout the history of the series that can be collected and used in battle.
Nothing, really. The game is still played almost as much as it was when it came out. The problem is that Fire Emblem is still a relatively niche series, even after the exposure it got from Super Smash Bros. (In fact, the only reason people can play it in America is because of that exposure). Fire Emblem is a great series with interesting characters and immersive gameplay, but it’s not Pokemon or Mario. Few people outside of Fire Emblem’s core fanbase ever played this game, despite it being free.
Even though few people outside of Fire Emblem’s core fanbase ever played this game, it’s still amazing. Consider this an endorsement: Download and play this! If you’re not a fan of Fire Emblem, you will become one at no cost.
But if I have one complaint, it’s that I’m sick of summoning the same heroes over and over again. I spent real money to get more orbs and still keep getting the same ones again and again. Oh well, at least I have Camila.
JD Case, aka JiggsDixon, is a lifelong Nintendo fan. Stay tuned for more Nintendo-related content here at All Things Quite Nerdy Entertainment. Feel free to add him on your Switch with his friend code: SW-3930-7723-0901