Tonawanda News

Breaking News

Features

October 23, 2012

Slate: How Nintendo saved itself from irrelevance

Imagine that Apple released a new iPhone not once a year but once every six years. Apple's press conference would get higher ratings than the Oscars. Users wouldn't just complain about the terrible new map app. They would riot about it. It would be, in short, unbelievably exciting.

That's kind of what it's like to be a gamer.

Gamers wait six years between new consoles, and they're going to get another one, finally, on Nov. 18, when Nintendo will release the Wii U. What's different this time is that the hungry masses of the Nintendo tribe include the old as well as the young, girls as well as boys, and extroverts as well as recluses. Gaming has not only grown larger, it has grown diverse in its players and its forms and its functions. And that's thanks, in large part, to a phenomenal turnaround by Nintendo.

The Nintendo brand name evokes a cast of gaming characters widely known and widely loved: Mario, Princess Peach, Donkey Kong. It conjures up for men of a certain age fond memories of collecting coins and shooting fireballs and breaking barrels. But by 2006, the company virtually synonymous with gaming found its relevance fading.

After introducing the Nintendo Entertainment System to the United States in 1985, Nintendo spent the next 10 years virtually dominating the video-game console market. Other consoles came and went, but few approached Nintendo's popularity. Nintendo met its match when Japanese entertainment giant Sony entered the field in 1994 with the PlayStation. The Nintendo 64, released two years later, would never outsell the PlayStation. Still, Nintendo's popular games bolstered the console's success, and it sold well in the United States. Despite the new competition, Nintendo held strong.

But Sony and American tech behemoth Microsoft, which eyed the market, belonged to a different weight class. They had more resources than little Nintendo could ever dream of. They could draw knowledge and resources from their other lines of business to produce technologically advanced devices. Sony's PlayStation 2, released in 2000, and Microsoft's Xbox, released in 2001, had great processing power, spiffy graphics, sleek design and inbuilt memory. Although more expensive, they doubled as DVD players. They included online play. Microsoft spent a billion dollars on Xbox Live, an online service for multiplayer gaming and digital content delivery.

Text Only
Features
  • SUN LIFE Open gardens 1 072014.jpg Stop and smell the flowers

    More than 90 private gardens throughout Western New York, and a number of public ones, are open to the public for select hours Thursdays and/or Fridays during July as part of the National Garden Festival’s Open Gardens program, now in its fifth year. The program is separate and distinct from local garden walks, and the gardens range from Gasport to Holland. They’re organized into districts of about five to eight gardens each, including Northtowns West (which includes gardens in Kenmore and the Town of Tonawanda) and Niagara Trail (which includes gardens in Lockport, Gasport and Lewiston).

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE terrariums 1 072014.jpg For the love of nature

    Sara Johnson lives surrounded by green and growing things. Showing a visitor around her apartment in North Buffalo, she pointed out the plants in every room, the balcony and even in two small greenhouses — houseplants, flowers, vegetables, even carnivorous plants.

    "I try to keep as much growing in the house as I can," she said.

    Another goal of hers is to show others how to do the same — and to that end, Johnson is offering a series of workshops this summer in connection with her business, Sylvatica Terrariums, and Project 308 Gallery in North Tonawanda, teaching people how to bring a piece of the outdoors into their homes in the form of a terrarium or other greenery.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE fresh air 1 072014.JPG Getting some fresh air

    As an effort to get children out of the big city and give them a chance to spend part of their summer playing outside, the Fresh Air Fund brings New York City kids to stay with host families for a 10-day trip to a place which is vastly different from their usually surroundings.

    “They will be running outside and playing in the grass and going swimming,” said Cheryl Flick, a fund representative of the Northern Erie and Niagara Counties chapter of the Fresh Air Fund at a picnic for the host families and kids. “They won’t be cooped up inside, they’ll be outside, getting fresh air and being active.”

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - SUN LIFE double trouble 2014.jpg Still waiting for that letter from Hogwarts

    I think it’s true of many parents, that amidst the many challenges and hard work of parenting, we anticipate the day our children grow up just enough ... to like the same things we like, whether it’s as an ongoing phenomenon or a fond childhood memory.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB Calling all the basic locavores!

    Did you know that the suffix “vore” comes from the Latin word “voro,” which means to devour? I probably knew that once, but I should have paid better attention in my Latin class. “Vore” is used to form nouns indicating what kind of a diet an animal has, such as omnivore, carnivore and herbivore.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE NT tours 071314.jpg A closer look at NT

    When Explore Buffalo Tours got started about eight months ago, the business concentrated on specialized tours designed to showcase specific aspects of the City of Buffalo’s history, architecture and culture.

    Now the organization is looking to the future and trying out ways to highlight the other unique aspects of the Western New York region. The tours change out each month, but the more popular ones will circulate back in, according to Explore Buffalo Executive Director Brad Hahn. This month it’s test-driving its “North Tonawanda: Lumber City” tour, one of only a few to take place outside the City of Buffalo. (Although a Lockport tour is in the works.)

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFEe exercise 2 071314.jpg Fitness in the sun

     Following a trend of public, outdoor exercise programs, a number of local venues are offering their own free events aiming to get residents outside and active during the summer.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE muscoreils 1 071314.jpg Beyond the bakery

    For years, Muscoreil’s Fine Desserts & Gourmet Cakes has been a go-to location for desserts and wedding and occasion cakes in Western New York.

    This summer, even as the bakery deals with the rush of wedding season, changes at its associated bistro aim to create a revitalized focus on that side of the business, as well.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - Crib Notes 2014 RGB.jpg Figuring out the birthday-party rules

    The options when you escort your child to a birthday party are endless, really. Everywhere you turn, there’s another thrill to uncover.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB The tail of two books

    As promised, here are some more new summer reads that are all about our critter companions. Both books were released mid-June, and although they are quite different from one another, both would be valuable assets for your in-house library.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo