I’m going to have a little fun today and make a totally off-topic post!
Throughout time and history, Nintendo has made some wonderful products. But at the same time, they’ve made some stuff that I’d question why they even bothered doing so. So in this somewhat off-topic post, I’m going to discuss 4 Nintendo video game accessories I absolutely hated while growing up as a gamer kid.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Nintendo and the products they’ve released have brought me lots of fun, memorable times throughout my life. But there were some products I genuinely disliked from them. Here are 4:
1. Game Boy Advance E-Reader
For those who don’t know, the Nintendo E-Reader was an accessory for the Game Boy Advance where you’d buy cards from the store and swipe it through the E-Reader in order to unlock content in various video games. For example, in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, one card would unlock these rare berries you couldn’t get in the original game.
To me, the E-Reader was glorified DLC for GBA games before DLC became mainstream (unfortunately). I was a dumb kid back in the day and spent all my money on video game stuff, so I ended up buying this thing. I paid a shit ton of money for the reader, and the cards themselves were not cheap either. For the first time in my young life back then, I really felt ripped off. Not only that, I ended up buying an Action Replay which not only was cheaper than the E-Reader, I got way more value from the Action Replay than I ever did from buying the cards. With the Action Replay, I could have as many berries as I want, as well as any Pokémon I wanted.
So I learned a hard lesson as a kid – never buy stupid gimmicks! That’s why I never liked any Amiibos, because it reminds me how the E-reader was for the GBA – very expensive DLC (only with the Amiibos, the DLCis inside figurines).
2. Nintendo 64 Controller Pak
The Nintendo 64 Controller Pak was basically a memory card for the system. But I never understood why the Nintendo 64 needed one in the first place. All the games are in cartridge format, meaning that you’re able to save the game on the cartridge itself. In fact, some games I had for the N64 required you to have a Controller Pak to save, which is really dumb. And yes you could argue that a Controller Pak is useful for bringing a save file with you to your friend’s place. But why not just bring the game cartridge itself? It’s the same thing.
The main advantages of cartridge vs. CD is that it’s more durable and more importantly, you can save on it. Having to use a Controller Pak defeats the whole purpose of sticking with cartridges. In fact, it’s probably why the PlayStation 1 was considered better than its rival the N64 -CDs at the time were just greatly superior to cartridges.
3. The Original GameCube Memory Card
Now with the GameCube, it made sense to use memory cards since the games were based off of mini discs. I bought the GameCube when it first came out, and the design of the card was not impressive because it the storage was so small. It could hold 59 “blocks,” which is okay if the game only takes 2-3 blocks for a save file. But some games take more than the entire memory card. For example, I remember buying NBA2K2 and because the save file was enormous, I had to go buy another memory card which wasn’t made from Nintendo. The third party manufacturer s made memory cards larger than the ones made by Nintendo. Now that’s just sad.
Funny enough when I bought Animal Crossing for the GameCube, a memory card was included with the game because it would take up the entire card. That’s how small the memory card was. Nintendo eventually made a bigger memory card. But I don’t understand why Nintendo would make a tiny memory card during the first days of its release. So short-sighted, like this next accessory…
4. GameCube – Game Boy Advance Link Cable
This is by far my least favourite Nintendo accessory of all time. The accessory itself is not bad; it was useful for some video games (e.g. Pokémon battling on the big screen in Pokémon Colosseum). But what this accessory stood for was ridiculous.
Because during the GameCube era, Nintendo promised online gaming for the console. As a Nintendo fanboy at the time, I was drooling at the thought of playing Mario Kart, F-Zero and Smash Bros online! But at around 2004 or so, Nintendo changed their mind and instead of announcing updates regarding online gaming for the GameCube, they decided to shift their focus away from that and onto GBA-GC connectivity instead. That’s right; Nintendo thought we rather would play 4-player Zelda with our Gameboys than take Nintendo gaming to the next level with online gaming.
At the time, I was incredibly disappointed. To me, it was a very stubborn decision by Nintendo that ensured the GameCube stayed in 3rd place in the console wars, behind the Xbox and PlayStation 2. While Microsoft was revolutionizing online console gaming and Sony was killing it with amazing games for the PS2, Nintendo was still stuck in its old ways. And that was more evident with this cable.
This moment was also the reason I stopped being a Nintendo fanboy when I was younger.
Sony and Microsoft were doing things on a whole different level than Nintendo was, and as a gamer, I couldn’t ignore it any longer. So I saw the light and decided to play some better games on other systems. Fortunately, Nintendo has improved recently and swung it out of the ball park with the Wii and DS. But this accessory was a reminder of some of the bad decisions they made during the GameCube era.
In another post, I’ll make a list of accessories I really like from Nintendo. But I first wanted to share the ones I hated!
Now back to my regular programming: https://rogersenpai.com/
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!
Ya those memory cards sure are weird, when I went to EGLX last year, at the Game Swap fair i bought a third party memory card that was cheaper then the official memory card but had like double the amt of blocks in it.
I know, it’s so funny how third parties make better memory cards. I don’t know why they don’t make them bigger from the start? Maybe to get more money down the road?
1) the e-reader was wasted potential. No one bought it so it wasn’t supported. I see how it was the precursor to amiibo, I don’t like dlc amiibo either it’s only useful in smash or splatoon where it can hold save data, and amiibo help collect items in smash just like how a gotcha helps in pogo.
2) n64 carts were pricey, I think they had 8,16,32,64,128 mb storage just for the game itself.
If it cost the developer $5 less to produce a 16mb cart and can help profits you best believe they will.
Hardly any first party games did this as it was a cost cutting measure to get cheaper carts for developers. The same thing happens with the switch, a company like Rockstar put LA NOIRE on a 16gb cart and requires you to download 20gb+ more.
3). GameCube memory cards, is like sd cards today Nintendo only has 128gb cards, Which holds only like 5-7 games, you best believe I got a 400gb card. It’s disappointing but if I recall the cost of memory cards was high a 59 blocks being $20, to release a 256 block card would be suicide at launch as it would go for the price of a game, and kill their rep, just look at the vita, their memory cards were nearly the cost of the system itself and look where the vita ended up.
4) the GameCube link cable was Nintendo trying something cheaper than online infrastructure, in hindsight it was a bad move but without it, it doesn’t help lead to further innovations, like the wii, wii u, switch. I’m a fan of something different and I don’t think gaming would be the same if Nintendo just decided to keep doing the same thing as Microsoft and Sony.
1) I think no one bought the E-Reader because it was so expensive. That and it really did seem like a cash-grab accessory. Why buy an E-Reader and cards when you can just buy a Gameshark/Action Replay to do the same for half the price? I was never a fan of the Amiibos for the same reason. Only if you like collecting figurines.
2) That makes more sense to use a cheaper cartridge and require someone to save on a Controller Pak. But you could argue that less people would buy the game if they don’t have a Controller Pak to save. Either way, this scenario shows why they should have switched to CDs for the N64; it made things difficult for third party developers and killed support for it.
3) True, a larger memory card would have made the system more expensive. Did it come with the memory card? I don’t remember. But they should have released a larger memory card separately. I remember having no choice but to buy a third party memory card for NBA 2K2, because Nintendo didn’t have the larger memory card available at the time.
4) I mean, when you look at the bottom of the GameCube, it was clearly intended to have online gaming at some point. Why would they backtrack in favour of GBA connectivity? I know it would costed them more for having a server, but they would also sold more GameCubes if they did. That being said, they killed it with the Wii. It was innovative at the time.
Thanks for your comment, it was well-written with good arguments for why Nintendo did what they did.
My Top 10 Snes games:
1. Super Mario World
2. Chrono Trigger
3. A Link to the Past
4. Super Metroid
6. Final Fantasy III
7. Super Castlevania IV
8. Megaman X
9. Donkey Kong Country
DKC is one of my favourite SNES games!
Glad to see many of my favorites on the list; Wario Land, Mole Mania, Final Fantasy Adventure, Pokemon, and of course Link’s Awakening: my favorite game of all time. Another game I would recommend if you can get a chance to play it is For the Frog the Bell Tolls. It was only released in Japan but I picked it up last year and it easily became one of my favorites on the system; super fun and full of charm.
Mariokart better than Chrono Trigger? No. Especially when you take into account that it hasn’t aged very well. Mario games are often overrated just because it’s Mario. Also, Zelda is great but a bit overrated. It’s not the best on the system. Doesn’t deserve to be #1 on so many lists. I think Super Metroid is probably .
Super Metroid and Chrono Trigger are definitely classics!