Why I'd Feel Fine Playing Mario & Zelda On the Xbox

If you've followed my work here, you know that I've been a little tough on Nintendo as of late, saying that the game company is in deep trouble, and by the look of things, doesn't have a strategy in place to turn things around so quickly.Over the last several weeks, I've received some e-mails from folks about Nintendo and my comments on the company. Those folks say that Nintendo will always be a hardware-focused firm, and the very thought of playing its titles on other consoles is a joke.

Now, I would agree that Nintendo likely won't opt to go software-only at any point in the near future. And I would even say that the very idea of playing Mario or Zelda games on another console is laughable. But unlike far too many folks out there, I don't necessarily have a problem with it.

I absolutely love Nintendo games. I've always enjoyed playing Mario titles and I still look back fondly at the multiple times I played through The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I have the same love for the Metroid series, Donkey Kong, and all the other franchises that Nintendo has brought to us.

[aquote]The real magic that Nintendo brings is its games – hardware is secondary[/aquote]

However, all along, from the Nintendo Entertainment System to the Wii, I haven't thought twice about the hardware I'm playing it on. Sure, I knew that I needed a Nintendo console to play the company's games, but beyond that, I simply didn't care about the marriage between the two products. To me, it was all about the gameplay.

Unlike many Nintendo fans out there, I simply don't believe that the magic Nintendo brings to the gaming world is only possible by combining its hardware and software. Quite the contrary, I think the real magic that Nintendo brings to the space is its games — its hardware is secondary. Whether the next Super Mario title was on my iPad or the Wii, I simply wouldn't care. As long as I can get my hands on the latest and greatest title Nintendo has to offer, I'm happy.

So, no, I don't have a problem thinking about playing a Nintendo game on the Xbox 360. I also wouldn't mind playing them on the PlayStation 3. To me, the hardware means very little.

But it's not only Nintendo that I feel that way about.

I was a SEGA fan since the beginning. Many of the company's franchises, led by Sonic the Hedgehog, delivered hours of fun and excitement to me during the 1990s. But when SEGA decided to ditch its hardware business and become a third-party developer, I didn't flinch: whenever the companies games showed up on other consoles, I bought them just as I would have if they were exclusive to its own hardware.

Call me crazy, but I just don't see any reason to turn my back on Nintendo if it gets out of the hardware business.

Is anyone else with me?