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Old enough for cartridges: RIP the Nintendo console

Old enough for cartridges: RIP the Nintendo console

Nintendo is a central part of my childhood. Some of my earliest memories in technology revolve around the Japanese firm - the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and N64 will be locked into my psyche forever.

As I played games in Southeast Asia , I also have fond memories of the Famicomsystems. I'm of the age where it was the humble cartridge, rather than CD or DVD, which was my reality. Who can forget having to desperately blow into the cartridge once you've played the same game a little too much?

I grew up with Mario. Although I spent more time than I should have jumping on turtles and guzzling plants that turned turning my character into a fireball throwing machine, I think it was vital in me turning into the well-adjusted character I am today (ha!).

Mario was my Minecraft - and to many writers and developers a launchpad into the wonderful world of technology.

So it saddens me to see the struggles of Nintendo, facing difficulties in the battle with Microsoft and Sony, with the failure of its latest console - the Wii U. It has struggled to compete with high-powered machines that also act as media hubs, and hasn't captured the imagination of users in the same way the original Wii did.

But perhaps Nintendo's biggest problem right now is smartphones and tablets, with the rise of the app eating into the handheld and console gaming market Nintendo's business model revolves around.

Why buy a console when you can use your smartphone to buy and play games which are much cheaper? So Nintendo has to make some choices. This Guardian article has a few possible strategies for Nintendo moving forward, such as creating its own smartphone/tablet or moving its games to other platforms.

It may be that the company will have to take the same route as Sega and turn into a platform-neutral third-party software company.

It's difficult. Quality is a byword when it comes to creating a game like Mario and Zelda, and it's hard to imagine you'll get the same magical gameplay squeezed onto a smartphone or tablet device if ported.

But with technology becoming more powerful the time could be soon where it could do justice to a five-star game if Nintendo developed for devices specifically.

A friend of mine recently got out his N64 to specifically play Zelda: Ocarina of Time, a classic, classic game. Sad to say, the days of buying a pristine new Nintendo console machine may be long gone.

Hopefully though, the magic of Nintendo will continue in some form to capture the imagination of children and adults.