I'm the first to admit that I don't have a hugely wide breadth of gaming experience outside of Nintendo. In fact, aside from a few PC games, I have very little experience of games not on Nintendo consoles. There are two good reasons for that...
Firstly, the game that started me gaming was Pokemon. I received a Game Boy Color and a copy of Pokemon Yellow for my seventh birthday, and since then I've been hooked on Nintendo handheld consoles.
The second reason is more significant. You see, there was nothing stopping me from picking up a PSP, or a PS3 or Xbox 360 even after I'd bought my Wii. The crucial thing for me was the style of games that are available on each console.
I was discussing this with one of my good friends a few weeks ago, who challenged me on whether I'd consider buying the PS4 or the new Xbox when they come out. That question led to a discussion about what we're really looking for from games.
To me, games with huge amounts of realistic violence or bloody scenarios simply aren't fun. To me, gaming is an opportunity to experience stories that can't be told through books or films, and add an extra layer of immersion by letting the player interact with the characters. I find this is best represented through games that take a very fantastical angle on the normal and mundane, or when developers really let their imaginations run wild.
I'm sure these sorts of games are available on other consoles but most of the biggest games on other platforms (or, at least, the ones that generate the most headlines and magazine front covers) involve men with guns.
I was acutely aware of this during the PS4 launch event this week. I was watching, and instead of finding myself excited, or even curious, about the new console, I found myself getting intensely bored.
It felt like they were showing one first-person shooter after another, with very little difference in the core gameplay and game style. To me, that's what makes Nintendo different: while those games can and have been made on Nintendo consoles, the Wii and DS are home to a great deal of really original, fantasy, and fun content. The sort of games that put a smile on your face. I'm thinking Ace Attorney, Mario Galaxy and Animal Crossing.
And while there's nothing wrong with the games shown at the PS4 event, for me, Nintendo embodies the spirit of those core values of fun, entertainment, and escapism better than any other.
So let me know what attracts you to Nintendo, or to other game companies for that matter? I don't want this to become a slanging match between fans of rival consoles so if you are planning on buying a PS4 as well as Wii U, feel free to post your thoughts...