Meet Satoru Iwata, the chief executive officer of Nintendo. You could call him Nintendo’s top banana. (I’m sorry; I couldn’t resist.) The image above is taken from one of Nintendo’s official press conferences. It was a serious event involving journalists, executives and software developers… and tropical fruit, apparently.
Nintendo is a video game developer, the creator of Mario and Zelda and many other famous franchises. It is also my favorite company, surpassing even Pixar and Studio Ghibli in my esteem.
Why is Nintendo a good company? Let me count the ways.
Nintendo has a great heritage
This company saved the entire industry from the video game crash of 1983, which nearly killed video games as a medium. The popularity of the Nintendo Entertainment System and its classic games allowed the video game industry to recover and advance. It could be argued we have video games today because of Nintendo. Moreover, the company’s older games set all kinds of standards for the industry and helped define game design in general. Heck, Nintendo’s history has even been immortalized in song.
Nintendo keeps making excellent games
The company has never rested on its laurels. Twenty-five years after its first masterpieces, Nintendo’s latest games are really, really fun.
While Sony and Microsoft have tried for the past decade to outdo each other with consoles that do pretty much all the same things, Nintendo has innovated with motion controls, touch screens, asymmetrical gameplay and other creative concepts… which Sony and Microsoft have shamelessly copied. Not all of Nintendo’s innovations have been wildly successful—I’m looking at you, Virtual Boy—but at least it’s trying!
Nintendo cares for its employees
Through financial crises, the company’s top executives have repeatedly taken salary cuts to save money instead of firing employees. I admire that.
Nintendo appreciates families
Sony and Microsoft showcase most of the really gory, raunchy, edgy video game franchises: God of War, Gears of War, Grand Theft Auto, etc. ad nauseum. By contrast, Nintendo games star goofy apes, portly plumbers and noble swordsmen. If I ever have kids (a frightening thought, to be sure) I’ll feel comfortable letting them enjoy classics like Zelda and Mario Kart.
Nintendo has a sense of humor
Bananas. That is all.
In conclusion: Bravo, Nintendo. Bravo.