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5 Reasons that Nintendo Has Become a Cult

5 Reasons that Nintendo Has Become a Cult

Note: Anything I write in my articles are only my own opinion and do not necessarily reflect the ideas of Gaming Symmetry staff as a whole. We all have a passion for video games and intelligent discussion of them but we also disagree a lot and pride ourselves over the variety of the views among our staff. Of course we still love each other, and I’m not responsible if Ethan Sheaffer is found dead in the near or the far future.

Nintendo was once a great gaming company, and it was best at what it did: it created great games. They saved the entire industry from going bankrupt, they created beloved characters like Mario, Kirby, Samus and Link, and great classics. But then it seems that there’s something missing from the invention of GameCube. It seems that I can no longer connect to the company or its fans. It is now something alien, scary, and sinister to me. Every time that now I watch Miyamoto taking stage I feel frightened, I see no real humanity behind his smiles. Where have I seen this smile?

Oh, I have seen it in the radical Evangelicals who take the stage, and they too are about songs and smiles and community and love, but they too are the scariest thing humanity has to offer. You know that they want your soul- they are the true Mephistopheles. Every time that I watch Satoru Iwata taking the stage I know in reality a he is a Mormon knocking at your door and saying “Can I talk to you about God?” with a wry smile. And every time I hear Reginald Fils-Aime speak I’m half expecting him to come out and ask us to apply for auditing. This is what Nintendo has become- a cult.

Wikipedia defines “cult” as such: “The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a new religious movement or other group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre”. Nintendo is such a thing now. Let me present you the reasons.

1) It has lost it touch with the rest of the world.

Whether you take some time with an Amish community or take a trip to Salt Lake City you cannot fail to notice something about these communities. They seem alien, as if they live in an another planet, and they don’t see the world and don’t understand things the way the rest of us do. Their temporality is anachronistic. An atheist and a Christian may vehemently disagree but they ultimately live in the same world and share the same destiny to a large degree but a cultist is an entirely alien creature. How does that apply to Nintendo? Take a look at this photo:

That’s Batman: Arkham City, a game which came out in 2011. That image is from the E3 Nintendo press conference. Not in the year 2010. Not even 2011. 2012. This year. Last week. And this was a show about Wii U, their next generation console. It is safe to say that by the time that Wii U hits the markets humanity is done with B:AC. We have played it, and we also have played its first DLC. The game is not profitable anymore. Plus, it’s freaking current generation. Why the hell Nintendo thinks selling an old game as next generation is a good idea? Isn’t that because the Nintendo so detached from the rest of the gaming world that they can’t tell? A bicycle is the latest for an Amish anyway.

2) It adds nothing new to the scripture.

Usually, things evolve. New advancements are made in science. New authors write new novels. The canons are expanding in every field. But no cult, mainstream or otherwise, will do such a thing. There will never be a second volume of Koran, nor a fifth Gospel. All innovation must be restricted within the same system, the unchanging scripture.

Now tell me, what was the newest Nintendo franchise? Tell me one which debuted after GameCube. You can’t think of any? It’s because there is none. For years Nintendo has remained true to its franchises. Mario may go to space or come back to earth, Kirby and Kid Icarus may be revived, Samus may become an FPS hero, but the titles are the old ones, revived and recycled again and again, until they lose their original meaning, but by God they are not trespassed or expanded. This is what happens to religion.

3) It revels in its own eccentricity.

Usually the first thing that everyone notices about a cult is its strange aspects. But a true occultists knows that choosing a cult is never a rational decision and far from trying to rationalize it, they have to exaggerate and revel in it. Again, the Mormon who comes at your door begins with Joseph Smith story, and not the more rational part of their beliefs. The reason for this choice is that it gives an illusion of identity to their followers. It is what separates the cultists from the rest of the world and other cults. It’s attention-whoring but more subtle and more existential, it’s an assurance that you’re “special”. It’s the same instinct which moves hipsters and goths to wear stupid clothes. It’s the same instinct which causes the political parties to get more and more radicalized in the most alien aspect of their ideology.

Looking back at the illustrious introduction of Wii, the (sane) reaction of the whole world was a collective “What the f***” at the prospect of phallic controller and outdated graphics. But then a month later they were all sold. Nintendo did not try to make its idea appeal to sane people, it started a marketing which emphasized on the strangeness of its idea. They changed the name of the console to Wii, which is a deliberate misspelling, a stupid name for a console, and a slang for penis. They created retarded looking avatars and called them Mii. They knew that idiocy is much more appealing to the masses. PS3 and X360 offered the best graphics and hardware of the time, the best games, and a real progress, but Wii offered the chance to be an eccentric idiot who plays outdated casual games and is cut off from the rest of the gaming world. PS3 almost lost the war of the consoles because of its price, while most people didn’t notice that Wii was equally expensive if we compare not only the price tag but also what each console had to offer.

4) It profits.

You might say: “Come on Ali, you idiot! There are MANY things in the world which make a profit!” To this I answer, first off, who are you calling an idiot? And secondly, you might have a profit without a cult, but you can’t have a cult without a profit. Many things are expensive without reason and I think the reason is the same irrational instinct behind occultism. Rolex Watch shows time like any other watch and Adidas and Nike are just shoes, but these products rely on mass brainwashing and mental rape as much as politicians and cultists to sell their crap and I think they underlying motive of all of them is the same thing- distract people from some annoying things called their “rights”, opiate them and let them sleep. Nintendo is that in the gaming world.

Let me use an example of another closely related product. Most people think Apple and Dell monitors are the best ones. They are certainly better than LG, aren’t they? Well, newsflash: the display panel, which is the heart of the monitor and its only important part, is not made by Apple or Dell. They buy it from LG. That is why you encounter a monitor like Yamasaki Catleap which is FAR better than Apple and/or Dell monitors (check for yourself in the link) but it’s priced at freaking 300 dollars. Let that sink in. A $300 Korean monitor is better than a $2000 one. That is the proof that free market in our today world is an illusion.Then why people continue to buy the same monitor for such a price? Because it’s APPLE. Because that’s their cult. (I personally think if we can compare Nintendo to Mormonism and Scientology, we have to compare Apple to Al-Qaeda).

Now, I have my own grips with PS3 and X360, but at least they are genuine gaming consoles. Wii is merely an altar that people buy for no other reason that it’s Nintendo. It returns a profit because it does. Because of its name.

5) You can’t insult it.

This is the ultimate sign. A political ideology might meet all the above four condition. But only a religion is so irrational and so entangled in the web of primal emotions that people simply come out and say “You can’t insult it because it’s offensive and that’s all the reasoning I will do in retaliation to your attack.” It’s begging the question at its finest: You can’t insult religion because you can’t insult religion. They might do that in two ways, violence and self-pity. Violent way is to sanction death sentences and fatwas and the self-pity way is wailing and moaning that “You hurt people’s feelings, religion brings meaning to people’s lives, you have to be sensitive and not offensive”. These people do not notice that you can insult almost anything else and no one would care. Insult people’s political party, and they will defend it. Insult their favorite TV show or game and they will shrug it off. Insult their cult and/or Nintendo and there will be hell to pay.

The most famous example is Chris Hecker who was a member of Spore team. He called Wii a piece of shit. But then he went on and apologized. That is stupid, and preposterous. But care to drop in to any discussion on Wii and you will see how it is defended: “Nintendo brings joy to many people’s lives! You can’t insult it! You will offend its fans whose hearts are as soft as the hair of an angel!”

That is divinity.

Nintendo, again, has been a great company. I wouldn’t like to even imagine how the gaming world would be without it. But it’s a company, and does not deserve divine status. Maybe the fans are responsible for its downfall in quality. Maybe if we preserved our critical thinking Nintendo would be the company it was in the 80s and 90s, and not a sorry parody of itself.

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