One thing widely said about Nintendo is that the company never does what everyone else is doing -- an inclination just as likely to change the industry, as with the revolutionary Wii, as it is to sometimes frustrate and baffle gamers.
When comparing Nintendo's console to its rivals in both the home and portable spaces, the familiar complaint is that Nintendo has been less attentive to the demands of gamers who've come to expect certain online and social features for their experience that have virtually become standard in the core market.
For example, the Xbox Live or PlayStation Network player expects to be able to use connected consoles to maintain lists of friends and compare scores and achievements, but Nintendo hasn't shown much interest in giving players trophies and achievement lists.
That's just not part of its design philosophy, Nintendo of America's Bill Trinen told consumer weblog Kotaku
. The company believes that allowing players to explore more openly creates a better experience than encouraging them to be so focused on extrinsic rewards.
"When they create their games, [Nintendo's designers] don't tell you how to play their game in order to achieve some kind of mythical reward," Trinen said. "Basically, the way the games are designed is they're designed for you to explore the game yourself and have this sense of discovery."
Under the design methods pioneered by Shigeru Miyamoto, Trinen explains, players are naturally encouraged to seek out interactions and surprises in the environment, as opposed to entering the game with some kind of to-do list.
"In my mind, that really encourages the sense of exploration rather than the sense of 'If I do that, I'm going to get some sort of artificial point or score that's going to make me feel better that I got this.' And that, to me, is I think more compelling," says Trinen.