Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Nintendo and Fan Reactions

Posted by Sean Hull on February 27, 2017

For our Deepstream presentation, we have chosen to focus on the Japanese game company Nintendo, with an analysis that covers what we believe to be a wide range of issues relevant to the readings assigned in this class, such as issue of the monetization of co-creator products, and the issue of retro culture and the exploitation of nostalgia.

To do this, we have selected a series videos which depict fan reactions to three Nintendo-related phenomena: firstly, the monetization of Let’s Plays of Nintendo games, secondly, the release of the Nintendo Classic Mini, and finally, the DMCA request against Another Metroid 2 Remake.

In the first example, we show the reaction of gaming news and review channel kNIGHTWINGS01 to the Nintendo Creators Program, a system which allows Youtube content creators to receive a portion of ad revenue from videos featuring Nintendo content, on the condition that they limit themselves to a small list of games, a system which kNIGHTWINGS01 describes as a problematic and rarely beneficial to the video producer. This phenomenon goes hand in hand with the topic of copyright and the idea that companies may make claims on the value created by fan labor. Specific issues explored include the constraints that Nintendo places on streamers which limit not only the games they are permitted to record, as well as limitations on the time allotted (due to the constant rotation of games legalized) and the amount of revenue given to the submitter. Has Nintendo gone too far, and is their sparse list of allowed games against their best interest, cutting them off from potential ad revenue? Whatever may develop in the future, the Nintendo Creators Program has created distrust between Youtubers and Nintendo, leaving many to wonder what future modifications to the Creator Program will look like, should Nintendo respond to Youtuber reactions.

In the second example, we address the reaction to the Nintendo Classic Mini, which is self-evidently a miniaturized version of the classic NES. This device has garnered significant controversy for its questionable design choices and woefully limited release, as described by Youtuber Stuart Ashen’s cynical review.  This review highlights these issues by explaining that while the NES Classic Mini may be a very pretty little console it also contains some flaws, one being its woefully short USB cable which prevents easy connection to a television. Many consumers have complained that the cable is so short that to use the NES Classic Mini at all they would have to basically sit atop their televisions, and Ashen believes that this extreme inconvenience has caused the loss of many potential buyers. Another flaw the video points out is the pointlessness of having three different display settings. The first of these settings is a highly useable wide display, the second an attempt to replicate a retro aesthetic via blur and artificial scan lines, and the third a “pixel-perfect” variant of the first. Ashen seems to ask viewers why they would want to reverse time and have a crappier display screen, pointing out that the first setting is perfectly adequate, with the second being little more than an inept appeal to retro fanatics. Lastly, Ashen voices his disapproval of the 30 games included on the device, games Ashen has owned since their initial release. Ashen extends this frustration to re-releases of Nintendo games on other consoles, games which he is forced to buy multiple times. This tangentially relates to the article included in the video, which describes hacker efforts to allow games beyond the default 30 to be installed on the NES Classic Mini. While Ashen may consider the NES Classic Mini to be flawed, he does manage to throw in one complement, which is that the device supports both 1amp and 2amp charging, making it a little bit more adaptable.

For the final example, I personally decided to revisit the topic of Another Metroid 2 Remake —AM2R— because it really strikes a nerve with me, seeing Nintendo halting fan efforts to create a product they want, while also obstinately refusing to fill that niche themselves. To explore this topic I selected a brief video essay by Ryan Bloom —a fan of Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog games— in which Bloom compares Nintendo’s handling of AM2R with Sega’s kinder handling of Sonic fan products. In my annotations, I have attempted to contextualize some of the points raised within the framework of POP 201’s assigned readings, and have also offered further examples of game producer responses to fan adaptations of their products, with the aim of illustrating the diverse range of options available other than reactionary hostility.


We have included the links to our videos below:

Nintendo Creators Program — https://goo.gl/1SFGrM

The Nintendo NES Classic Mini — https://goo.gl/6amgFM

The Takedown of AM2R — https://goo.gl/nkG4gb


One Response to “Nintendo and Fan Reactions”

  1. kaufmansw said

    The only thing I could think about when reading this post was how irrelevant Nintendo is nowadays. I remember how it used to be The thing to do. The limited game options and relatively poor graphics compared to other systems hurt its popularity. While a comeback isn’t probable, there’s still always a chance.

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