In an interview with Mashable (link), famed punk-style developer Suda 51 talked about the Nintendo Switch being “really punk”. The 128-year-old company (that just celebrated its birthday recently) is no stranger to innovation, and according to Suda 51, is the only console company that is constantly being punkish, and always changing the game.
“Nintendo and the Switch are really punk.”
“Nintendo have been making consoles for years,” Suda said. “With a lot of other companies, consoles evolve, but they kind of evolve in the most obvious ways. Graphics are better, OK now it has more memory. But with Nintendo’s consoles — they don’t just evolve in the most obvious ways to get better, but they provide new ways to play and enjoy games.”
“The stuff the Nintendo consoles allow me to do gives me new ideas,” he said. “The Switch in particular, but Nintendo in general — I’ve always been really excited about the kind of stuff that they do and allow gamers and creators to do. The Switch is a really punk piece of hardware. Doing things that others don’t try.”
Agreeing with him is Nintendo of America President, Reggie Fils-Aime.
“We’re constantly looking to disrupt the industry,” he said. “We’re constantly asking ourselves what can we do that’s differentiated, that the consumer wants but doesn’t know they want.”
It’s certainly a punk-like quality. And, really, can anyone or anything really be punk if they self-describe themselves as such?
The overall idea of disruption and innovation — of doing something new and against the mainstream — is at the heart of punk and, to Fils-Aime, the heart of Nintendo, too.
Reggie even cited old innovations, that were ahead of its time, returning as the foundations of current innovations in Nintendo consoles.
New ideas won’t always work or stick. Or maybe they become the backbone of a newer, better idea somewhere down the line.
“More often than not they work, sometimes they don’t,” he said. He brought up the Virtual Boy as an example. Back before VR was a thing, there was the headmounted, stereoscopic 3D Virtual Boy.
“Without that, we wouldn’t have learned about that particular space, about what you can do with VR and then AR,” he said. “And who knows? AR may not have ever been incorporated into the Nintendo 3DS if we hadn’t had that failed experiment 20 years prior.”
As a centenarian company, Nintendo knows for well that it is either innovate or die. Good to see that it still has that philosophy ironed in its head.