Hey, Nintendo launched the opening "fuck you" in this shouting match.It's not cool to like Microsoft and their Xbox System, at least not among gamer nerds and anime freaks like we tend to attract for some reason here at Something Awful. Micro$oft, as it is known by uncreative Linux proponents and people on IGN's Gamecube forum, has an often (not always) unwarranted reputation for screwing over customers and business competitors. This opinion is even more mystifying when you examine the Xbox. In an industry where Nintendo used to exert a vice like grip that would make Microsoft look like it sends bottles of gold-plated champagne to its competitors, the perception that Microsoft is "dicking over" anyone is completely unreasonable, considering Nintendo's business policies. However, this update isn't about Microsoft or lavishing praise on a giant corporate entity (WindowsME fucking sucks), it's about how much I hate Nintendo's recent business practices.

Once Sony completely corn-holed Nintendo out of the number one spot of console dominance, Nintendo could no longer exert its influence over developers, retailers, and customers to the strong-armed extent it once did. Nintendo instead turned to some of the most annoying and vile sales practices I have ever had the displeasure of witnessing. A shining example of the company's greed and apathy to consumers (as it once was in the console market) can be found in their most recent Game Boy Advance release announcemt. The only real choice for people who want a handheld video game system these days, the Game Boy Advance is a powerful and attractive system, with a massive flaw; you can't see the screen unless you're sitting on top of the goddamn sun. The lack of back-lighting was a major complaint amongst gamers, one that seemed fairly ridiculous given the leaps in technology that had come since the last iteration of the original Game Boy.

Having Mario do the same shit over and over again - or even better; sticking him into a game for no reason whatsoever - is the best idea Nintendo has ever had.Instead of immediately addressing the concerns of thousands of customers who were dissatisfied with constantly squinting and losing their eyesight, Nintendo pretended to place a pot over its head and repeatedly bang the pot with a wooden spoon. Despite appearances, Nintendo wasn't ignoring consumers at all; it was simply milking them for all their cash. It absolutely saturated the market with its flawed handhelds... after all, there wasn't (and still aren't) any alternative unless you wanted to import poorly supported Asian handhelds like the Wonderswan and the twelve incoherent Japanese games currently available for it. In fairly thick secrecy (for the gaming industry), Nintendo had developed a version of the Game Boy Advance that was backlit. Naturally it would cost more and naturally it had to be tested through yet another Christmas shopping season. Only days after children unwrapped their mysteriously shadowy Game Boy Advances did Nintendo appear on high with the announcement of the Game Boy Advance SP, a version of the Game Boy Advance that was actually viewable by normal human beings. And Nintendo laughed heartily, all the way to the bank.

This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't coupled with Nintendo's fucking insanely annoying passive-aggressive sales strategy. This strategy boils down to if you buy a game for your Gamecube, you will be instantly bombarded with prompts to buy Game Boy Advances, E-Card Readers, Link Cables, Nintendo Glow Hats, CowCube, and CowCube Jr. Advance. If that's not enough, Nintendo will dangle the carrot of dubious value-adds like ancient NES games that you already beat hundreds of times on emulators, which you can only unlock if you own the ten pieces of the electronic tri-force that Nintendo insists you must collect. You can also purchase "E-Cards," the stupidest fucking idea ever, and play "awesome" games like "Dr. Mario's Hula-Hoop" for only five dollars on your Game Boy Advance that you have to use under the intense glare of police spotlights. But hey, who cares if Luigi's Mansion had a total of two hours of generic game play?!? YOU COULD UNLOCK THE ORIGINAL MARIO BROTHERS IF YOU HOOKED YOUR GAME BOY ADVANCE UP TO YOUR GAMECUBE AND TAPED MONEY TO A PHOTOGRAPH OF NINTENDO CHAIRMAN HIROSHI YAMAUCHI!

If you can't tell by now, I'm just a little worked up about Nintendo and how I feel they're shitting all over people who try to enjoy their products. I own a Gamecube, an Xbox, and a PS2, so I feel I'm normally pretty reasonable when it comes to this sort of thing. To make things fair, I am going to devote the rest of my article to some insider info I've managed to scrabble together on upcoming Nintendo releases. While you're reading it I'll be over in the corner playing Super Monkey Ball 2, thankful that Sega made the game and not Nintendo.

On whatever crack-smoking moon planet the Nintendo people live, old as fuck NES games are the most hotly anticipated titles of 2004. Hurry up and make us hate you before we stop spending money! Phantasy Star Online 3: Offline
Platform: Nintendo Gamecube
Release Date: 3rd Quarter 2003
Description: Phatasy Star Online was re-released for the Nintendo Gamecube under the pretext that Nintendo's online adapter would be available for playing with your friends over the power of the Internet. Unfortunately Nintendo only made five of these adaptors for North American distribution and when they failed to somehow sell ten thousand of them instead of just the five they released, they suddenly decided they didn't care about supporting the people who bought Phantasy Star Online. With Phantasy Star Online 3: Offline, Nintendo is planning on remedying that situation by releasing a new installment of the popular franchise that promises to be playable over the Internet. On the back of the box, however, will be a message that Nintendo has no intention of ever releasing any more adapters for connecting to the Internet. In the eternity spent waiting for the adapters to hit store shelves, players are invited to endlessly and slowly level up by fighting generic monsters and wandering around in very grassy areas. Nintendo has assured players that if they do somehow get a connection adapter, when they try to log on they will receive a "routine maintenance" login error that never goes away. This is considered "a feature."

Game Boy REALLY (we mean it) Advance
Platform: N/A
Release Date: 1st Quarter 2004
Description: Nintendo might not want you to know this, but the Game Boy SP is going to suck really hard. The controller area is going to be awkward to use and the screens are going to have a coating intentionally added to increase glare and blindness. Luckily, just after Christmas next year, Nintendo will announce the GBRwmiA. This latest and most expensive version of the Game Boy Advance will include features like "useable controllers" and "a screen that can't double as a shaving mirror." It is rumored by industry insiders that the handheld will include a new feature from Nintendo called "battery malfunction" that causes the GBRwmiA's batteries to drain after only a few seconds of use. Luckily Nintendo already has tentative plans to release either a whole new version of the GBA in 2005 or possibly a 60 dollar battery add-on that's nothing more than a few batteries and a wire that overrides the "battery malfunction" feature.

Dr. Mario's Arcade of a Few of Our Old Games
Platform: Gamecube (requires Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP to play most of the old games)
Release Date: 4th Quarter 2003
Description: Dr. Mario is taking you on a fun-filled adventure down memory lane to relive some of the great Nintendo gaming moments of past. Okay, the games aren't all that great and there really aren't many of them you can play without using both the Game Boy Advance and the GBA SP, but hey - they are old! Remember games like "Mario's Workshop," "Yoshi Puzzle Magnet 2," and "Mario and Luigi's Maze Mania?" No? That's okay, neither did Nintendo until a janitor cleaning a locked closet on the third sub-basement of their offices in Tokyo discovered a stack of these games. Rushing to cash in on ancient shitty spin-offs of horribly diluted franchise characters, Nintendo created a spin-off of a horribly diluted franchise character and stuck all of these games on one disc! It's amazing how much fun you can pretend to have by daisy-chaining all of your accessories together just so you can play a game you never would have bought for your NES even when you were 12!

Enjoy the cute serenity while it lasts. Chances are Animal Crossing 2 will be the first console game ever to feature pop-up Macromedia Flash ads. Animal Crossing 2: The Animals Still Don't Understand Any of Your Letters
Platform: Gamecube (requires Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance Backlit and Game Boy REALLY [we mean it] Advance to gain access to the magical island where the dragon will give you a copy of Superman64 for the Nintendo 64 that you can play one stage of).
Release Date: 4th Quarter 2003
Description: One of Nintendo's newest and most successful franchises, one that has yet to be ruined by a long series of shitty games and spin-offs, is Animal Crossing. Everyone had fun sending the letters to all of their animal neighbors in Animal Crossing! It was even more fun to read them reply in their adorable way that they didn't understand a single word you wrote even though your cocksucking letter consisted solely of "you are nice." In Animal Crossing 2, Nintendo promises that the text parser will be so advanced that each animal will have over five letters they can reply with to inform you that they didn't understand a single one of your three words. As an added bonus, if you connect a whole bunch of useless Nintendo equipment to your Gamecube you can actually play the entire first level of Superman64, one of the most reviled games in the history of gaming! Not satisfied with that? Nintendo has big plans for Animal Crossing fans in the form of a series of spin-off games that promise to completely disintegrate any interest you had in the franchise in under a year! Look forward to titles like Animal Crossing 2 Advance (it's a sidescroller), Animal Crossing 2 Advance SP Kart (it's a kart racer), and Animal Crossing 2 Advance SP Tennis Mr. Reversi Kart Cookie (it's a sidescroller).

The Legend of Zelda: The Coins of Gannon
Platform: Gamecube and Nintendo E-Money Reader
Release Date: 2nd Quarter 2004
Description: Plans are already in the works to develop a sequel for the upcoming Zelda game "The Legend of Zelda: Some Gay Reference to An Item," and while Nintendo is remaining pretty tight-lipped, we've managed to discover at least one key feature of the game. It will utilize Nintendo's most advanced new peripheral known tentatively as the E-Money Reader. Apparently, to move from one section of the story to the next, you will have to collect 99 coins and then fight a boss. To gain access to the boss you must purchase a key to unlock the door to his lair. These keys can only be bought by swiping your credit or debit card across the E-Money Reader, at which point a dollar is deducted from your bank account. If you fail to defeat the boss you will have to buy another key. Don't forget that this game's plot is just like all of the other Zelda games, only they get more homoerotic with each year so expect at least two male-on-male sex scenes that would make Legolas blush. The Nintendo 64 Zelda game "Ocarina of Time" is rumored be available within the game if you purchase an as-yet unnamed piece of Nintendo hardware which connects to space satellites (which you must purchase as well). If you buy another unnamed add-on peripheral for that piece of hardware then you can unlock the original "Legend of Zelda" inside "Ocarina of Time".

I hope you are as excited as I am about what the future holds for fans of Nintendo. I wish I could say I will be right next to you, waiting in line to buy yet another Zelda game from a clerk who laughs at me while I grit my teeth through one product plug after another. Both fortunately and unfortunately I will probably be playing the latest release for Xbox Live or driving my heart out in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I wish you well Nintendo fans, you are a dwindling and abused breed, but at least note that the company doing you the greatest injustice is the very one you slavish with devotion. As long as you continue to attach your ego and, more importantly, your pocketbook to companies with business practices like this, the more you'll reinforce their shitty business policies and disgusting treatment of their fans.

Photoshop Cripples

Josh "Love Steak" Boruff and the Something Awful Forums crew have teamed up to bring us all a new installment of the fan-favorite Photoshop Phriday. This week's theme is "Handicap Accessible".

Power up your electric wheelchair and roll on over to check this one out!

– Zack "Geist Editor" Parsons (@sexyfacts4u)

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