Growing old is never fun, but it’s a hell of a thing to celebrate. Working your way up the chain of legalities is the sudden shift of independence people crave since they got their first pimple. Along with these liberties come the wearing down of the body and loss of memory, but hell, what do I know? I’m 19. Either way, Nintendo has made it a point to celebrate only certain characters that grow grey hairs, but not all. Franchises like StarFox and Metroid don’t get a birthday bash, but without a question deserve one, and it wouldn’t hurt Nintendo to profit off their roster a little more.
The end of 2013 saw Luigi party it up hard, even to first weeks of this year. By releasing games like Super Luigi Bros., Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, and Dr. Luigi, green fever was in a full effect. It was a relief to celebrate Luigi instead Mario for once, because Luigi is just as impactful on the gaming community as our red-caped plumber. But our heavy helping of Luigi lead to an overdose of the fast-paced Italian that could prevent further titles from featuring Luigi due to lack of excitement generated around the character. It was exciting to see Luigi come out on his own terms, but he still plays a vital role for Nintendo; so instead of releasing several titles for him in one year, Nintendo have had one compilation to show his impact on the industry, and stagger the releases to give Luigi time to breathe.
A year before that, Kirby had a small celebration, but one nonetheless. With the release of Kirby’s Dream Collection, compiling six classic Kirby games onto one disc. During a Nintendo Panel at PAX Prime, a Guinness World Record was made in honor of the pink little bubble by having 536 attendees simultaneously blowing chewing gum. As touching as it sounds, Kirby deserved more attention by how he originally managed to incorporate challenging platforms along with adorable settings that attracted both young and old gamers. Although, Kirby has been watered-down since his hay-day, and is still trying to rebound since the lackluster performance presented by Kirby’s Epic Yarn.
Even a year before Kirby, Samus was anticipating a celebration in 2011, but was left unmentioned. A first-person shooter that gave a mature audience reason to pick up a Nintendo title went unrecognized. You could argue that the compilation of the Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Wii was a nod to the anniversary, but that would be the equivalent of celebrating your birthday two years in advance. From the critical acclaim the trilogy received, you would think Nintendo would be more obliged to recognize a character that has helped build the infrastructure that allows them to continue, even if it’s not too pretty.
Another controversial character suffered the same fate on his birthday similar to the mistreatment of Metroid, that being StarFox. Fox McCloud had the same anniversary as Luigi, which could have been the reason to why we never saw a celebration because Nintendo placed all their eggs in one basket. But if we take into account the proper way Luigi should have had his anniversary managed, StarFox could’ve seen a re-release or a Nintendo eShop exclusive at the least. Many still quote from StarFox 64, showing that the want for a new StarFox title is there, just the question, is Nintendo’s devotion to the character there?
It seems like an all or nothing situation for Nintendo in how they approach their characters’ anniversaries. From Luigi receiving an admiring amount of attention to Fox McCloud having to use tears to put out his candles by the lack of attention he attained, Nintendo has yet to reach a middle ground in which to properly showcase their wide variety of franchises. With recent news of Nintendo taking big financial blows brought by the small sales numbers from the Wii U and 3DS, they could use characters like Samus and Fox McCloud now more than ever to expand their horizon for the gaming community.