Nintendo is really losing the way

So let's get this out of the way - I agree with a lot of Nintendo's overall thrust about games getting too complicated and too hard. Having said that they have really started to foist off a bunch of crap on the consumers - tech demos with no lasting gameplay. Especially on the DS - a platform where they don't quite seem to know what they want to do with it. Let's look at a few Nintendo titles I've rented or bought lately.

Yoshi's Touch and Go - This is pretty neat when you first play it. It's at least ten minutes before you say "So are there only two different levels in the game?" It's probably another ten before you realize that yes - that is the case.

Polarium - This was at least a half hour before I was convinced I saw the entire game. Hey it's neat because you're drawing a line with the hand-crampy too small stylus! You couldn't possibly move from one tile to the next using a . . . dpad. Well. Moving on.

WarioWare Touched - OK these next two hurt the most. Wario Ware Touched is . . . OK, but a large part of the brilliance of the original WarioWare was the sheer variety of simple one button games. Everything in Touched is one of two games - connect two points with a line, or cut something into two pieces with a line. It was kind of neat but I don't think Karin or I played ever after the first week or so I owned it.

WarioWare Twisted - Hey look everyone! Nintendo can have experimental peripherals strapped onto old consoles. WarioWare Twisted continues to degrade the WarioWare franchise by A) severely cutting down the number of mini-games (each stage only has a handful - if you play a given stage twice you'll see about 90% repeats on the second playthrough) and B) making the games all very similar. You either rotate the console clockwise or counterclockwise to make something swing, or fall or whatever. And it's never clear or consistent whether you're rotating an object or the entire world. So the entire game amounts to "rotate one direction. If that doesn't fix the problem quickly rotate the other way and hope you have enough time." WarioWare was one of Karin's favorite games. It's taken three releases of steadily increasing mediocrity (The GameCube one was good, but it was just a rehash of the GBA version. It's not worth really owning both) but the next WarioWare isn't a must-buy, it's a rent-first.

Pac Pix - OK in all fairness this isn't Nintendo directly - this is Namco. I actually quite liked this the first time I played it. The second time I realized I was about halfway through the entire game. The third time was when I realized that the world progression was set up to make you play levels repeatedly. But it's another "neat" DS title with absolutely no staying power.

So now the hype train is pulling out of the station for Kirby DS (whatever cutesy name) - the one where you draw rainbows. From what I've read so far it's like Yoshi - but with more than two levels! Whatever. Nintendo officially has a "Pshaw" from me now. I'm not buying another DS game without having rented it first or a good review from a friend I trust. I've been burned enough on them passing off ten minutes of gameplay with no follow-through as an entire game.

Now we read that Nintendo doesn't even know what the Revolution controller is going to be. The internet is awash with gyroscopes and touch screens, and squeezable controls and all these crazy rumors but here's the deal - the only thing we know about the Revolution is that it can play NES, SNES, N64 and Gamecube games. That means it can't stray too far from the Gamecube or N64 controller - both of which are moderately sucky if we admit the truth. I'd take the GCN controller over Microsoft's gargantuan "Duke" original controller - but not over a Type S.

Nintendo - I'm all for new gameplay, but I'm tired of seeing your lab prototypes as full price games. I'd rather see a solid execution of basic gameplay than crazy ass gadgets. It's like Nintendo is trying to pack Kentia Hall into their handhelds. Just stop it and make another Zelda, OK?