Think Nintendo’s Gimmicky? Let’s Talk

Gimmicks make the gaming world go 'round.

Joey Davidsonby Joey Davidson

PS Vita

One of the most frustrating arguments I encounter on the internet in forums, on YouTube and in comment sections of websites is that people hate Nintendo because they make gimmick products. The Wii U is a gimmick, according to lots of "hardcore gamers." I have a counter to that point. Before I get there, I'd like to talk a little bit about Sony and their newest handheld.

Introducing the Gimmick Vita.

Sony went on a gimmick binge with the PS Vita. Let's talk first about the forgivable stuff. The tilt controls are acceptable. Sony's been using these for years now in all sorts of games. For the most part, they result in rather bogus gameplay tricks. How many times have you balanced on a beam while bridging a gap by tilting a Sony controller back and forth?

The front touchscreen is also forgivable, though I'm certainly not a fan. Sony claims that the PS Vita is a device meant to bring console gaming experiences to the portable gaming crowd. They succeed when developers elect to keep gamers' thumbs on the buttons. As soon as a game tells me to rub, swipe, tap to drag something on the touchscreen, the mechanics stop being "console-esque" and start mimicking smartphone gaming.

I'm not a fan of that on any platform. I hate smartphone gaming because of the lack of analog controls, and I hate it when Sony and Nintendo force gamers to only use touchscreen inputs.

But the clincher on Sony's attachment to gimmicks? The straw that breaks the camel's back? The god damn rear touchpad.

PS Vita

What the hell was Sony thinking with this one? Sure, it creates a different way to game, but I hate the rear touchpad. I especially hate it when it's an alternate control input for an in-game function. Look at FIFA for the PS Vita; that game let's players shoot on goal by touching the rear touchpad. Want to know how many possessions have been lost because my finger slips and I touch the rear touchpad? A crap load.

My point?

Before you start yelling about how I clearly hate Sony, let's get something straight: I hate gimmicks that don't work. I love Sony.

Face it. The gaming industry is an entire world of gimmicks. Some work, some don't. Nintendo's motion control was a gimmick, yet the Wii took off. The Kinect still feels like a gimmick, yet consumers buy it in droves. The PlayStation Move certainly feels like a "me too" gimmick, though Sony's shown that it can produce really cool games for the tech.

Every company does it. It's not just a Nintendo thing, every hardware manufacturer in gaming tries out gimmicks only constantly. Why? Because you never know when their "gimmick" will turn into the next big thing in gaming.