OK, so Sony, who get a lot of flak for the kids who can’t bear the fact it’s not 1995 any more, have pulled a blatant copying stunt with the tilt-sensing Dual Shock 3. First of all, it appears to me that it’s far more of a copy of tilt-sensing games like the older GB games like Kirby’s Tilt and Tumble than the Wii-mote. But, fanboys and their short and selective memories will only go as far as the first thought that enters their head. So what’s new there eh?I applaud Sony for having the balls to do what they’re doing. It’s not particularly grown up or noble but, frankly, business doesn’t need to be. And kids, this is a business we’re talking about here. None of these companies love you, they all want your money. Yes, even Nintendo.
By the time we’re talking about boxes on shelves the overall impact of Nintendo’s vision will be vastly reduced. Sure, it’ll still have total freedom of movement and still look like a remote control but it won’t be the only thing out there that does that sort of thing. Frankly, it never was – only those fanboys too ignorant to believe that such a device could ever exist before Nintendo thought of it ever thought so. So, that leaves Nintendo with a lot less originality to take to the bank courtesy of Sony. You could argue that Microsoft do this to Apple a lot of the time actually. I don’t think Bill Gates is regretting those decisions, do you?
But this topic is about the noble art of plagarism. There’s copying ideas and then there’s copying of entire identities.
Allow me to elaborate. Apple ‘chic’ is the fashionable look. You can spot their style a mile off. Apple, perhaps more than any other manufacturer around, has made their technology fashionable. The Apple interface look and those damn glass buttons are still being copied on websites and operating systems all over the place. They’re trendsetters in technostyle and fair play to ’em!
Consoles don’t sell on their appearance. Gamers would never be so superficial! Who care’s what something looks like. It’s like caring about graphics over gameplay! The notion is ridiculous! Nintendo are, apparently, making this point very clear that we should not care about the superficiality of our hobby but care about what it feels like.
Well I’ll tell you this: when you touch a DS Lite or stroke a Nintendo Wii it’ll feel just like the Apple product that it so thinks it is.
This is no accident. Nintendo’s redesign of the DS and their overal design of the Wii is straight from Apple. I really don’t think anybody is going to argue that. Even Wii – a totally made up word makes you notice the ‘i’ more than any other letter. That same ‘i’ as in iPod or iMac. For a made up word it might as well be ‘Woo’ or ‘Wee’ – the latter being far more suited to the notion of “we” and “inclusive gaming” and far less like a mis-typing of Wi-Fi than Wii does. But if Nintendo did that then they wouldn’t share that all important ‘i’ that has seeped into the consumer consciousness of people with Apple products and those aware of iMac and iPod. Frankly, the only way Nintendo could be more blatant would have been to call it iRev.
But what am I going on about? I’m just making this up! Maybe the logic makes some sense but some of you simply must think I’m making too many assumptions in another critical review of Nintendo’s practices.
What if I told you they pulled this stunt over a decade ago?
What if I told you that the last time they did it they were latching onto Sony’s identity and not Apple’s?
“PREPOSTEROUS! YOU KNOW NOTHING!” comes the chants of the Nintendo supporters. I must be making it all up. Right?
Cast your mind back to the way the world was when Nintendo launched their astoundingly succesful Gameboy handheld. That was in 1989. If you weren’t around in 1989 or think I’m asking too much of you to think back that far because you were too young and your the sort of dweeb that happens to go around making “Sony copy Nintendo!” accusations then you can fuck off right now. You’re ignorant and narrow-minded and, most importantly, wrong.
So, 1989. What was big in 1989 around the time the original Gameboy launched? Well, I’ll tell you. It was small. It was portable. It ran on batteries. It was a global phenomenom and it was an entertainment device.
It was the Sony Walkman.
It’s not inaccurate in any way to say that the Sony Walkman was 1989’s cultural equivalent of the Apple iPod. Like the Apple and iPod, Sony and Walkman were synonymous with the ‘walkmans’ of every type and manufacture – even those countless Toshiba, Aiwa, Sanyo, Samsung, Philips and other makes. Sony was the name and Walkman was the brand.
Now, to make my point, say the word “Walkman” in your head at a moderate pace five times over.
Now, say the word “Gameboy” out loud.
Gee whizz! Did you notice that? Walk / Game, Man / Boy ??? There’s some pretty clear brand theft going on there wouldn’t you say?
Nintendo know what they’re doing and they’re happy to act the parasite and latch onto a popular cultural brand if it’s going to raise the profile of their product. They did it with Walkman and they’re currently doing it again, nearly 20 years later, with Apple.
Of course, to see this you need to stop gushing over ever word Nintendo say. You have to stop believing every false claim they make. You have to stop falling for the hype and look for the truth. The truth can be alarmingly obvious – as I’ve just demonstrated.
I wonder if Sony would bother to copy if Nintendo hadn’t been there to show them how to do it in the first place?