Nintendo is a company that everyone loves to hate. While they started out as a standard game company, they've since evolved into the "Option C" of video games, falling behind both Xbox and PlayStation. They place an emphasis on doing things differently rather than following the trends of the industry.
While that philosophy has merit for what it is, it has also led to many times where Nintendo made some extreme decisions that didn't sit well with fans or consumers. While their recent success with the Switch and the big games attached to it has won many people back, many of us still haven't forgotten the things they've done.
It's difficult to define which action constitutes as "going too far," but for the purpose of this list, I will address it as a product, decision, or presentation where a bit of an extreme took place, whether it be in how characters were designed, how they handled a console, or the kinds of games they developed.
Are we all on board? Now that we got that out of the way, let's get on to 15 times Nintendo went way too far.
15 Shutting Down Fan Games
This is the obvious choice for this list. Nintendo creates a lot of unique properties in their own home, so they make it a point to protect these creations so that others can't copy or rip them off. Unfortunately, as many of you know, the Big N has taken this way too far in terms of how they go about it.
A lot of people who play Nintendo games get inspired to create their own. This has led to projects like AM2R and Pokémon Uranium. Unfortunately, the company sees this as a breach of copyright and moves to shut down every kind of fan game based on their own properties. The worst part here is that it cuts away creativity from the fans who are inspired by Nintendo, and it taints their image as a company.
14 Wii Music Reveal
There are a lot of moments when a company reveals a game that overstays its welcome (probably because they're trying too hard to sell you the concept). Even Nintendo isn't immune to this trend, as they went way too far with trying to communicate the idea of Wii Music at E3.
The game puts players in a virtual band and has you using Wii remotes to try and replicate particular songs. The problem with how they went about it is by getting a drummer with crazy hair, giving him an actual drumset, and having him mindlessly mash on the instrument while a group pretended to play more music on the show floor. There comes a time when you need to just show off a game and move on, and Wii Music is proof of that.
13 Disabling Swapnote
When the Nintendo DS came out, there was a service called Pictochat where players could join various chat rooms to draw and type messages to each other. They decided to expand on this idea through Swapnote on the 3DS. The idea was being able to draw out special messages that you could send to any friend anywhere.
Unfortunately, with anything like this, there are people who will abuse it. Swapnote allows you to send pictures and draw whatever you want, and there were some users who... let their imaginations run wild (we'll call it that). As a result, Nintendo decided to shut down the whole app, thus punishing everybody who had it. It's like when one kid in school is acting out, and the whole class gets in trouble. It's just not fair.
12 Jynx (And Many Other Pokémon)
The Pokémon series captivates more fans each day. Whether it be the rock-solid RPG gameplay or the excellent design of the creatures themselves, there's a little something for everyone with the game. However, while Nintendo didn't design the Pokémon themselves, they sure approved a lot of designs that pushed the envelope a bit too far.
The obvious example is Jynx. Her black skin, pig lips, and wide stature made her a common stereotype for a certain demographic. Likewise, there were other Pokémon like Probopass (accused of making fun of Jewish people) who were criticized for similar reasons. It's a wonder how the Big N thought that these designs would fly, as they ended up stereotyping a lot of different people. No wonder so many parents hate Pokémon.
11 Punch-Out! Characters
It's one thing to make a cast of characters diverse, but it's another to create a wide cast based on many one-note stereotypes. Guess how far Nintendo took this when designing people for Punch-Out!?
Right off the bat, there are Dragon Chan and Von Kaiser that are both clearly inspired by specific races. Even Little Mac's trainer, Doc Louis, is portrayed as an overweight black man who loves eating candy. But the worst of the worst is Soda Popinski. He was originally going to be named Vodka Drunkinski and was a Russian fighter... see the connection? It's nice that Nintendo has since learned to create diverse rosters without playing into any stereotypes with games like ARMS, but we'll never forget the "unique" cast that came from Punch-Out!.
10 Metroid Ending Scene
When it came to females in video games back in the day, they were usually little more than damsels in distress. Then came Nintendo who said to themselves, probably, "we're going to change that," while saying in the next breath, "we're then also going to go too far in the other direction."
If you don't know what I'm talking about, let me explain. Throughout Metroid for the NES, you play as Samus, but it's never revealed who this character actually is until the end of the game. When you get there, you're shown that you've been playing as a woman the entire time. Pretty great, right? However, if you beat the game in under an hour, you're rewarded with a picture of Samus in a bikini. At least the Zero Suit, which she sometimes wears, covers her from head to toe. This was just a bad contradiction of motives.
9 Stabbing Ganon In The Head
The Legend of Zelda has almost always pitted Link against Ganon. Over the years, we've really grown to hate the Demon King and want him to meet a bitter end. Apparently, Nintendo did too, as they created a brutal way for the villain to go out in The Wind Waker, which is otherwise the most friendly-looking game in the entire series.
After Link and Zelda duel the sword-wielding villain, Link gets an opening, leaps in the air, and plunges the Master Sword through Ganon's head. Immediately, many jaws dropped to the floor, as no one expected that out of a Nintendo game, let alone the most cartoonish Zelda game to date. It's a scene that stands out in the history of the series to many fans.
8 Shooting Fire Flowers At Fans (E3 2014)
When Nintendo released the Wii U, there were a lot of people who hated it. While the Big N was announcing new Pikmin, Donkey Kong, and Mario games, there were many who were clamoring for Metroid, Star Fox, and F-Zero.
With this knowledge, the Big N prepared an excellent presentation for E3 2014. In it, they collaborated with Robot Chicken to have some fun skits that poked fun at themselves as well as the criticism. However, they took it a bit too far when a clay version of Reggie was on the stage talking about new games while one fan was begging for a new Star Fox game. Reggie simply blasted him with a fire flower and laser eyes. While it was funny, it did communicate the message that Nintendo wasn't really listening to fans, and as the life of the Wii U has proven, they really weren't.
7 "Family Friendly" Image
Many people avoid Nintendo consoles because they've branded themselves as a "family friendly" console. That's a fair argument, but not one that you hear a lot these days. That said, in the past, Nintendo took that image and ran with it, especially in the days of the Wii and the Wii U.
Because the Wii was so successful despite being "family friendly", Nintendo wanted to do it again with the Wii U, but worked that angle even harder than before. All of the commercials featured children playing the new console, and it was just bad marketing all around. It didn't help that many of the games themselves were created with this audience in mind, leading many to believe that "family friendly" perhaps wasn't the way to go. Who can blame them?
After the days of the N64, Nintendo focused on innovating rather than pushing for raw power. That's not to say that their consoles like the GameCube weren't powerful, it just wasn't their main focus, at least based on how they communicated.
However, they took the innovation a bit too far and learned more toward the direction of experimentation. The N64 stuck with cartridges when discs were becoming more popular. The GameCube didn't even use regular discs when it came out, and had a handle to make it more "portable". The Game Boy Advance SP brought the clamshell design to handheld gaming and the DS brought the second screen. Some of these innovations weren't bad, but they were trying too hard to recreate the successes they had when creating the NES and SNES.
5 SNES Classic
The NES Classic was a pretty big hit. For a mere $60, you would get around 30 games, 2 controllers, and a tiny console that plugged in through an HDMI port. It was a solid buy, if you could find it.
As many of us expected, Nintendo recently announced the SNES Classic. It contains around 20 games (including the never-released Star Fox 2), 2 controllers, and comes in at around $80. This price alone is taking things a bit far when it comes to nostalgia. This could be their way of making sure that people don't try and scalp this thing, but they're likely going to turn more people away. If the SNES Classic had more games to boot, the cost would be more worth it. As it stands now, it's not so good.
Remember just two years ago when it was a sad time to be a Nintendo fan? For some reason, they were focused on delivering spin-off titles for games that nobody asked for. We asked for a new Metroid game. Instead, we received Metroid Prime Federation Force. We wanted an HD Animal Crossing. What we got was Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival.
Nintendo was so focused on "diversifying" our gameplay experience that they lost their focus. They failed to deliver on giving us the experiences that we asked for and instead gave us what they thought we were into. They took it way too far. It's like when your grandmother gets you a kids' toy on your 16th birthday because you're still her little grandchild. Thankfully they've rectified this mistake, but there's always the fear that it could return.
This is something that Nintendo has done since the early days. They were so intent on giving us new ways to play that they took it to a terrifying extreme. For the NES, we had ROB, the Power Glove, the Zapper, etc. For the N64, we were given the Transfer Pak, which was really only good for Pokémon Stadium, and that microphone that was only useful for Hey You, Pikachu! For the Gamecube, we were given the Game Boy Player that only blew up the image on your TV. The list goes on and on.
It got so bad that they built the Wii U around a gimmicky peripheral that was never fully utilized. It's these kinds of peripherals that steer people away from Nintendo. They want more traditional experiences, which is why the Switch has been performing so well.
2 Casual Games
Have you ever seen a hardcore gamer pick up a Wii remote? How about a Wii U GamePad? You see, the reason for this goes beyond just the marketing and branding. A lot of it has to do with the games that Nintendo has put out in the past. They wanted to appeal to the casual demographic, but as everything else on this list, they took it too far.
A lot of the Wii U's games were side-scrollers. The only 3D platformer that they created for the system was Super Mario 3D World. If they just create games like this the entire time, it gives off the vibe that there's a lack of effort and imagination coming from their company. That's not to say that the games aren't well-designed, because a lot of them are. The problem here is that they're trying too hard to get all demographics invested in their games.
1 Remakes And Ports
For some reason, Nintendo loves their older games enough that they have remade and ported them time and time again. While some remakes like Ocarina of Time 3D and Wind Waker HD hit their mark, there is an argument to be made that the company has taken it too far.
A lot of their big titles on the Switch are ports themselves. Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Pokkén Tournament DX are all big examples. Then Nintendo also did an HD remake of Twilight Princess, which no one asked for. Their games are great, but when you put your only focus on nostalgia, you end up with games that have nothing new but slight texture improvements and better lighting. To many of us, that doesn't constitute putting an older game on newer hardware.