Tom McShea has done it again. The GameSpot Editor became infamous back in 2011 for his botched review of Skyward Sword where he awarded the game a strong score of 7.5 out of ten, yet criticized the game’s control scheme due to nothing more than his own incompetence. A subsequent video review showcased McShea waggling and pointing his remote at the screen, obviously completely missing the gist of one-to-one motion controls.
Nevertheless he stubbornly stuck by his assertion that it was an issue with the game itself and not his own motor functions. In the years since, McShea’s generally ignorant articles have become the bait for trolls all around the Internet and his latest endeavor, “Is Nintendo Trapped by Its Legacy?”, does not disappoint.
It is never easy to know where to begin when rebutting McShea’s work as almost every sentence begs to be torn apart. Once readers manage to sift-through the questionably composed prose that is so full of imagery it is reminiscent of a failed creative writing career, only then will they eventually get to his core propositions.
McShea claims that Nintendo failed to impress with its latest Wii U specific Nintendo Direct announcements for several reasons. His first assertion is that the console lacks third-party support, but considering the increase of developer interest in the Wii U compared to its predecessor, things are actually steadily rising in that department.
Satoru Iwata did specifically note that the purpose of that individual Nintendo Direct was to highlight what software Nintendo is working on, yet it still contained content from third parties such as Platinum Games and Atlus.
In addition to that there is already plenty lined up for the Wii U from Capcom, EA, Square Enix and Ubisoft to just name a few. Although Sony and Microsoft are currently still seeing stronger support from third-party developers, Nintendo has only strengthened in that area with the Wii U.
Another of McShea’s premises is that Nintendo’s announcements were too predictable and so failed to glean any excitement. While it was obvious and logical that the Wii U would eventually contain franchises such as The Legend of Zelda, Mario Kart, a 3D Mario platformer and Super Smash Bros., these IPs with established names will always build hype and sell consoles.
According to McShea you could have learned of The Wind Waker HD and Yoshi’s Epic Yarn (or Yarn Yoshi) from your local fraudulent psychic weeks ago; however, both announcements still came as a complete and unpredictable surprise to the whole gaming industry other than McShea. Confusingly, McShea then goes on to cite Monolith Soft’s new title as surprising, despite how it has been known for months that development had begun on a Wii U title.
In addition to predictability and the lack of third party announcements, McShea’s biggest complaint is that Nintendo is clinging to the characters of the past and not moving forward. As Nintendo revealed new Zelda titles and new Marios to the gaming community’s pleasure, McShea sat there grumpily wishing for something that wasn’t a “rehash.”
McShea’s article dances a circle around the relevant topic that Nintendo needs some new IPs without actually properly making that point. Instead what we get is the rant of a man who has seemingly grown out of his ability to enjoy the franchises that he once loved as a child.
What McShea fails to realize is simple business. Names like Mario and Zelda sell software, and it is not clinging to the past to utilize those assets. Continuing franchises does not innately involve becoming stagnant, because franchises evolve over time. With Skyward Sword Zelda evolved into one-to-one motion controls.
McShea’s failures with the control scheme of Skyward Sword seem to imply it is McShea himself who is unwilling to accept progression. He claims Skyward Sword is a rehash that hasn’t moved forward and yet it is he who continued to waggle the remote as if he was still playing Twilight Princess on the Wii.
What the future of Nintendo truly involves is the classic core franchises like Mario and Zelda moving forward with the newer casual franchises such as Wii Fit. It is moving forward hand-in-hand with third parties and new IPs yet to be discovered.
McShea would have Nintendo forget about Mario for Non Specific Action Figure in an attempt to usher in change. He would shelve The Legend of Zelda for some random new IP that probably wouldn’t sell. What McShea calls Nintendo being trapped by its legacy is in reality his own reluctance to allow Nintendo to use the assets and legacies that they have built.
There is no question that many aspects of Nintendo’s titles have become stale and third-parties are not the company’s forte, but that does not mean its all doom and gloom for Nintendo and the Wii U. Fans will always get excited for new iterations of their favorite franchises and the Wii U will sell. McShea’s cynicism is what we’ve come to expect from the industry analyst Michael Pachter, who also can never give Nintendo props when they get something right.
It’s true that the Wii U’s first few months have not appealed to all gamers with Nintendo Land, ZombiU and New Super Mario Bros. U heading the software charge, but this week’s Nintendo direct is precisely what the console needed. The Wii U has had a slow start, but what McShea calls an unexciting bunch of announcements is the very thing that will start to move some consoles into 2013.
Nintendo has had critical and commercial success for decades now, and they know full well that when something isn’t broken there is no need to fix it, but when it is broken then some changes need to be made. So it is that here we are all wondering, yet again, if someone will ever fix Tom McShea, because if it’s a competition between Nintendo and McShea we all know who is truly trapped by the legacy of their past.
To keep up to date with all of Dathen’s work you can follow him on Twitter @dathboc where he’ll be giving away your choice of a free Wii or Wii U game at 1000 followers.