Nintendo is one of the most iconic video game companies of all time. It brought home gaming back from the dead after the industry almost crashed in the '80s. Nintendo characters like Mario and Pikachu have introduced new generations to video games, ensuring gaming will be a thing for generations to come. Yes, there were slip-ups (looking at you Wii U) but the Nintendo brand has remained strong. In fact, the Switch seems to be making Nintendo stronger than ever.
Which is amazing, especially when you consider that Nintendo does some silly and downright stupid things. Yet, in the age of social media, Nintendo's flaws can make it just as endearing as its successes. We have memes to thank for that. Whenever people aren't celebrating their latest Mario speed runs or marveling at new discoveries in Zelda, they're laughing at what Nintendo thinks it can charge for a new accessory or how ridiculous some new Pokémon looks. Despite, or perhaps because of, the loyalty the brand inspires, mocking Nintendo is just as fun as hyping them up.
What follows are 25 of the fans' best reflections on Nintendo's odd ideas, seemingly insane business practices, and nonsensical game worlds. Being a Nintendo fan isn't always easy. But it sure can be funny.
As a kid, Pokémon seems like the greatest adventure. You mean you get to skip school to travel a fantastical world and have epic battles? Sign me up! As an adult, however, the whole concept seems ridiculously dangerous and irresponsible. You mean children are skipping school to go out by themselves and get attacked by dragons and ghosts? Get them away from that!
Not just that, but ten-year-olds can barely be trusted to heat up pizza rolls, let alone take care of a dragon.
And yet in the Pokémon world, preteens are apparently considered to be perfectly capable of fending for themselves in the wild. It's not even just in the original games. Every Pokémon region has professors sending children out to do their dirty work. Unova trainers are at least in their teens, so it's sort of like an internship. An internship that has you taking a sumo pig and fighting an extremist cult. I wonder what Poké-college is like...
The Zelda Timeline is one of the most confusing things in gaming. Even when it was finally outlined by Nintendo itself in an official book, it didn't last long before Breath Of The Wild came and messed it up again. Fans just have to accept that, like any good legend, Zelda's world will keep some things and discard others, with no logic governing what stays and what goes. Why does the green tunic get passed down through the ages, but not something useful like the hookshot? How did fish people evolve into bird people? And why does wood rot but milk remains perfectly good after seven years? Like most things in Hyrule, you just have to look at it and say, "It's magic. It's just magic."
23 The Real Fan Service
For years, there has been a huge pushback against how women are dressed in video games. The infamous bikini armor of fantasy RPGs is just one of the many examples of how female characters are dressed impractically just to appeal to an audience of young men. As more women became vocal about liking video games and wishing that the characters accurately reflected them, things got...better? We certainly saw more tough female protagonists. Some even had a full outfit on. Yet while gaming got more progressive, we still never saw men dressed the same way as Lara Croft or Cammy. Enter Nintendo. Ever since the Switch came out, Nintendo has spared no expense in dressing down its dudes. We got Mario and Link, the two icons, in their boxers! And you know the ladies are going crazy for that De...dede.
22 It Was Just A Prank Bro
Not that the Mario world is a land of tight and developed lore, but you'd expect for the good guy/bad guy relationship to make sense, no? No. Despite the fact that Bowser outright invades the Mushroom Kingdom and kidnaps its leader on a regular basis, Mario and Peach still happily invite him to various sporting events.
Let's just say Peach is very forgiving (and more than a little naive).
What about the hundreds of Toads Bowser terrorizes on his way in? Doesn't Peach care about the welfare of her citizens? Maybe she should be investing in the military or something. Build some airships of her own. Instead, she just puts the Kingdom's money into building huge stadiums and elaborate go-kart tracks that get used maybe twice before being abandoned for the next game. Toad revolution time?
21 The Greatest Teacher
You know, maybe there is something to the Pokémon world's tradition of throwing ten-year-olds out into the world on their own. When they come back home (if they come back home) they would return with a lot of practical knowledge that you just couldn't learn in school. Having to camp out every night, I'm sure Brock became a better cook than I am as a man in my 20s. The act of battling teaches critical and strategic thinking, and you quickly learn how to manage money when you realize one Poké Ball costs a hundred dollars.
Video games teach valuable life lessons.
Mario Kart teaches you that life isn't fair, Smash Bros. teaches you to take losses maturely or alienate your friends, and Cooking Mama teaches you that it's way easier to just order a pizza. Everything one needs to be a barely functional adult.
20 Only '90s Kids!...Sigh
One of the most frustrating things about being a Pokémon fan is the way most people think that it's just a '90s fad. But you know that every game in the series has been solid, and has strategy that goes so much deeper than "just use Charizard to beat everything." Still, you could enjoy being a fan in solitude while everyone else "grew out of it." Now, however, Pokémon Go and Sun and Moon's record sales brought a bunch of people back to the franchise. People who think that Pokémon is just a '90s fad brought back to life. And you want to scream whenever someone makes a reference to "being the very best, like no one ever was" because THERE'S MORE TO THE FRANCHISE THAN THE CARTOON! Or maybe that's just me. I don't know. At least we get yearly games, unlike Metroid fans.
19 That Nintendo Magic
Nintendo is probably best known for its attention to detail. Nintendo games always have a certain level of polish that an increasing amount of games today just seem to lack. While other companies are focused on hitting deadlines and sales goals, Nintendo seems to prefer that its developers take the time they need to make the best game they can.
Of course, Nintendo's love of detail sometimes comes off as insanity.
Sure the Switch is capable of the best graphics a Nintendo console has ever produced, but is individual hair on Mario's mustache really necessary? And did Breath Of The Wild really need to be delayed so that they could hide 900 Korok seeds? I'm no game design expert. And clearly, Nintendo's people are. But maybe lay off the crazy details a bit, guys. Those poor developers need to see their families sometimes.
18 Use What You Got
This is one of the oldest and most classic memes in the Fire Emblem community. The game itself is from several generations ago (the Game Boy Advance to be precise), a time when stories had to be told a lot more simply. There were no detailed cutscenes, at least not on handheld devices. So the stories of Fire Emblem were delivered via pixelated busts of the characters that spoke their lines. They even turned around occasionally when something dramatic happened! It's easy to make fun of such limited storytelling options, especially when they produce gold like this meme. But hey, Fire Emblem on the Game Boy Advance kickstarted the series in the West, and introduced some of its most beloved characters. So the storytelling, basic as it was, must have done something right.
Splatoon really broke the mold for shooting games with its unique approach to movement. Being able to travel on the very thing you're shooting opens up all sorts of odd possibilities, the sort of things that make an ambush all to easy. That is... unless you're too busy falling prey to your own clumsiness. Inking a wall and then climbing it is a great way to get the drop on your enemies. You'd be surprised how rarely people think to look up. That being said, a lot of the prime perches in Splatoon maps rest above a body of water or a deep fall. And nothing is more embarrassing than letting the control stick-slip for a moment, causing you to fall off your own ink to your doom. That said, why exactly do these squids dissolve in water? Didn't they evolve from sea life in the first place?
16 Laughs In Koopa
I never thought about it, but Mario does have some very selective weaknesses. Like how in the newer games he can jump off a building or a mountain and just take some fall damage. But in the old games, a drop down a two-foot high pit is instant death. And then there are the Koopas. How exactly do they hurt Mario? I can buy that they are dangerous in shell form. Heck, those shells are hard enough to crash a go-kart. But what about in the NES game when they're just walking around? Do they bite him or something? And how do Goombas even hurt anyone ever?
The rules of the Mario world are just all over the place.
But hey, if that's the price you have to pay for some of the most memorable gaming experiences of all time, I'll take it.
15 The Long Con
For the past 20 years or so, Sonic The Hedgehog games have gotten by on great concepts partnered with hilariously flawed gameplay (and a consistently hype soundtrack). Sonic's fans suffer through these games on the promise that the next one will finally capitalize on the unique but unrealized ideas. Sonic Adventure, for instance, introduced the idea of giving Sonic a hub world to play around in between levels. Which was fun, except for the fact that the actual levels were a messy chore.
Leave it to Mario to take the idea and do it right.
Part of Mario Odyssey's great success is that every world has some fun new puzzle or obstacle course to discover, as opposed to Sonic Adventure where the hub world always just leads to another disappointing level. Now all Mario needs to do is steal Crush 40 for the soundtracks, and he will truly have won.
14 More Pokémon Logic
As if the healthcare system and item economy of the Pokémon world didn't already make things crazy enough, the logic of the actual Pokémon themselves takes it up a notch. There are so many abilities that Pokémon should have just based on the animals they resemble. How does every Pokémon with teeth not know Bite? How does every winged creature not know how to Fly? But perhaps the most confusing thing is that many Pokémon learn moves that are physically impossible, such as the two guys up there that can punch moves despite their lack of arms. Unfortunately, the logic doesn't seem to be getting any better. With the competitive scene getting more of a focus in recent years, the number of Pokémon who get moves just to be tournament viable increases. Because that's how evolution works. As Darwin said, "It's survival of the top tier. Git gud kid."
13 That Was A Thing!?
This is definitely one of those "only '80s and '90s kids" type of things, but everyone I knew blew on their cartridges when they didn't work. I actually have no idea where the tradition started, but we all just accepted it as fact. And it certainly seemed to work. Although I'm sure if we had the internet back then there would've been a whole Tumblr post about why it doesn't work and how to actually fix your game instead. Then there would've been memes making fun of how stupid we were for thinking technology gets fixed because you puff air at it. But alas, we had no memes to tell us how to live our lives. So we continued to do foolish things, even though Nintendo itself was apparently telling us not to the entire time.
12 Again With The Rules
While it's well established that the Mario universe makes no sense, you would at least expect Hyrule to have more set world rules. After all, there's actually a set sequence of events and a collection of societies that function in specific ways. You can't just fudge your way through creating the history and rules of a legacy kingdom.
Unless you're Nintendo, that is.
Shigeru Miyamoto, Zelda and Mario's creator, himself is famously quoted as saying that he doesn't really cares about the story aspects of games. He just creates things as needed to justify gameplay elements. So with that, we end up with a world where logic is constantly defied, because magic. Sorry little fairy. I guess corked bottles are your weakness now. I hope you don't need oxygen to live or anything.
11 It's A Life
Being a Nintendo fan seems like such a simple thing as a kid. Do you like Mario Kart? Do you love Pokémon? Congratulations! You're a Nintendo fan! As you grow older and learn more about the gaming industry, however, you start to realize that loving Nintendo is a very odd thing to do. Sure, the games are still fun. But now you need to buy an overpriced dongle to play them. Oh, what's that? All the stores are sold out of the dongle? Guess you have to wait five months for it to be restocked, and that's only if Nintendo ever decides to make more. Oh well, at least there's still that new Zelda coming this year, and all the PlayStation and Xbox guys that make fun of you won't have that. Wait...what Nintendo? You're delaying Zelda until next year so it can be on your new console? Darn you! Sigh...well, back to playing through Pokémon again.
10 On These Empty Streets
The fun thing about this particular meme is that it was posted by Nintendo itself. Well, some meme-savvy intern probably. It's still fun to see an employee at a company be aware of the culture the company's product inspires. It makes me wonder how aware the designers of Mario Kart are that their tracks have a certain reputation. Like, It's obvious that Rainbow Road is made to be a challenging course full of places to drive off. But how devious do they get when they're planning it out? I just imagine a room full of dudes gathered around a computer and laughing manically as they insert insane twists and sharp turns onto the track. Maybe that other meme was onto something. Maybe Mario Kart really is made to teach us that life stinks sometimes.
9 Sound Business Plan
Not going to lie; I was never a big Metroid fan. It was just a game I didn't have growing up, so I never developed an attachment to it. I did really enjoy the Prime series but still, I'm never that hyped or enraged when Nintendo does or doesn't make a new Metroid announcement.
It must be a unique kind of suffering to be a hardcore Metriod fan.
Especially as Nintendo is starting to invest more in once-niche series like Fire Emblem. Fans got to watch Fire Emblem go from Japan-only series to smash hit with yearly games, more merchandise, and even a mobile game. But take heart, Metroid fans. Maybe Prime 4 will be the one to launch the series into the stratosphere. Then you too can have a mobile game featuring your favorite character in odd seasonal costumes.
8 That's Some Good Stuff
No one ever tried to claim that the Pokémon world makes sense. Because we all know that it obviously doesn't. As a video game, however, it does have to establish some rules so that the player knows what they can and cannot do. Unfortunately, these rules often serve to emphasize how little sense Pokémon makes. Why do regular sodas and bottled water heal more than actual medicine? Why do the expensive and essential capturing devices fail after one throw?
And why can't Pokémon use items?
The game says that, as animals, they can't comprehend human devices. Which makes sense until you consider that certain Pokémon like Alakazam are stated to be incredibly intelligent. You're telling me you can't at least teach them how to use a spray bottle?
7 Unexpected Hazards
Poor user manuals. They have to be the most forgotten thing in any box that contains a piece of technology. That's why publishers of the games themselves did away with manuals years ago, electing to instead put them on the disk or as a downloadable extra. Might as well save paper when you're delivering a bunch of legally required safety information. Which is a shame, because Nintendo manuals always had the same charming character as Nintendo's games. I still remember the manual to Pokémon Red and Blue that was written as though it was a field guide from Professor Oak. But even I never read the actual console user manuals. I apparently missed out on some very memeable material. Leave it to Nintendo to be silly even in their safety warnings.
6 Meme Queens
Despite belonging to the same company, Nintendo's different international branches actually operate independently in several aspects. As we can see here, Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe are given freedom to edit a game's presentation as they see fit. They use this power to remove certain racy themes that might be more okay in Japan than in other countries, as well as just translate the script into different languages.
They also use their powers to create some dank memes.
Or at least reference them, anyway. Nintendo of America is known to be pretty aware of the memes the community creates about their products, as well as meme culture in general. It's not unusual for them to sneak memes into game scripts. And by sneak I mean put them in as blatantly as possible. Such meme. So relevant. Wow.
5 It's All About The 'Stache
For a long time, Kirby has been the king of taking the abilities of his enemies. It's kind of his thing. Now it seems that Mario is encroaching on his territory in Super Mario Odyssey. The mechanic of possessing enemies using Cappy the cap is so fun that fans want to see Mario do it in the next Smash Bros. The only problem is that, when Mario does possess an enemy, they always end up wearing his cap. Which is, again, Kirby's thing. He wears hats themed after enemies once he's eaten them. So how do we differentiate Kirby's brand of identity theft from Mario's? The mustache of course! Turns out Mario's mustache isn't just a great aesthetic choice, it's also his only hope of avoiding a lawsuit from Kirby.
4 Mind Blowing Experience
Super Mario Galaxy seems to be a vastly underrated game outside of Nintendo fandom circles. People either worship the glory days of Super Mario 64 or the odd novelty of Super Mario Sunshine. Maybe people who aren't dedicated Nintendo fans bought the Wii and got sick of Wii Sports before Galaxy and Galaxy 2 were released.
Then, Mario Odyssey trailers dropped and people went nuts.
Granted, I was one of them. And New Donk City is probably my favorite kingdom. Still, it is funny to think about how excited we were that Mario was going to be in such a mundane, real-world setting. Don't people who live in the city end up sick of the city? Space is certainly a lot more imaginative and fantastical. That said, Nintendo please give me a New Donk City stage in Smash Bros, please and thanks.
3 No One Will Ever Know
We saw it first with the DS, and then again with Wii U. Nintendo really loves its double screen gaming. It also loves its sort of portable, sort of not consoles. Sadly, the average gaming consumer doesn't seem to. And I honestly don't understand why, because I really loved the Wii U. I thought it provided a rather novel approach to gameplay, particularly part gaming with friends. But I guess in the modern age, people don't want to play together.
They just want to be in a dark room by themselves, competing for chicken dinners because that's what their favorite Twitch streamer is doing.
Oh, well. Nintendo was able to redeem the Wii U with the Switch by taking its best features and giving it full portability and awesome controllers. The future certainly looks bright for Nintendo. Just don't mention Wii U, because they seem to want to forget it.
2 Never Underestimate Amiibros
A not-so-fun aspect of being a Nintendo fan is that Nintendo never seems to make enough of anything. Whenever a Nintendo product is highly desired, your only hope of getting it is to either camp out outside a store, pay ridiculous eBay scalper prices, or be online at 3AM when the pre-orders go up. It's a very frustrating way to buy a product, and yet Nintendo fans have just accepted it as a given. Nintendo will disappoint us, we will yell at them, they will promise to make appropriate stock for the next launch, they will disappoint us, and the cycle will continue. But what can we do? Just not give them money until they fix the problem? And miss out on buying a small figurine of Rosalina that unlocks a sweet costume in certain select games? Yeah right!
1 Tasty Memes
Nintendo certainly thinks of everything, and then some. Seriously, think about the fact that someone had to pitch this idea to a group. They had to stand up in from of their team and convince them that small children and animals might try to eat Switch games because they're so small. What's crazy is that the team agreed. What's even crazier is that they gave someone the job of making them taste bad enough to spit out.
And the craziest thing is that they actually succeeded in making Switch games taste a certain, awful way.
Finally, an equally insane fact is that I sort of want to lick one of my Switch cartridges. Just to see, you know? They say curiosity killed the cat, but the Nintendo fan should be fine, right?