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Capcom & Nintendo
Written By:
Siou Choy

Score one for the little guy: in this era of high tech, yet strangely unimpressive and unsatisfying home gaming (specifically Sony's dud PS2, and judging by advance screenshots, Microsoft's X-Box as well), former kiddie console maker Nintendo dropped the unlikeliest of bombs on the video game industry with the announcement that Capcom will henceforth publish its popular Resident Evil series exclusively for Nintendo's GameCube. Not only will Capcom be re-releasing and giving a graphical update to the entire Resident Evil series on the Gamecube, but the long awaited Resident Evil Zero which should be available next spring. If one truly views the releases of "next generation" consoles throughout this and the prior year to be a "video game war", then this is nothing less than a masterstroke on Nintendo's part. Not only does it give them an exclusive lien on the world's most popular and instantly recognizable survival horror series, but it finally provides Nintendo with a long-awaited opportunity to break free from their stigma as a Mario/Pokemon supported "kids system."
+   = BLISS

Having the Resident Evil series on the GameCube should provide a much needed sales boost for the system on its U.S. launch (currently scheduled for November). GameCube launch sales in Japan did not hold a candle to those of either it's own Game Boy Advance or Sony's Playstation 2: lines were short, and very few people spent the night camped out on the street waiting for stores to open to purchase a GameCube, as they had for the aforementioned systems. 

The bottom line is this: Nintendo is, and has always been known for being, a safe bet for kids. Marketed primarily as a family machine (at least since the days of the original Nintendo), they have built a reputation of putting out "safe", cartoonish games oriented to the preteen market. Further, they have been on a software release schedule of a far smaller scale than any of its competitors (including, given its brief lifespan, the late lamented Sega Dreamcast), choosing "quality" (within its given target audience) over quantity (note, according its fans, how few "dud" Nintendo games have been released, as opposed to the notedly high ratio of crap to gems in release for most other systems extant). 

Nintendo has been making several bold and unexpected moves as of late, such as the controversially sharp break with tradition in the cel shaded appearance of the new Zelda game. This can be seen two ways: on the downside, it could be a cynically desperate attempt to reach out to the market for its competitor next generation systems, with one eye backwards to the failure of the Sega Dreamcast; or more positively, it could be a sign of a new maturity, in abandoning its outmoded (and overpriced) cartridge based operations and sole concentration on the "family" market to reach out to fans of more discriminating taste. Either way, the end result will be the same: unlike its predecessor (the inexplicably popular, yet critically panned N64), the Gamecube should have a lot more to offer than the kiddie games Nintendo's made its stock in trade. And if nothing else, one prediction is sure: gamers who plan on getting a Gamecube this fall will have a lot more to smile about.

Posted: 10-1-01
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