However, such is the nature of creativity that hitting the bullseye on a big, risky, idea like this means generating a lot of other ideas, many of which will be less-warmly received. Nobody's perfect, and Nintendo, despite its peerless reputation, has made many a wrong-headed move.
Here are ten of the company's biggest mess-ups.
Nintendo? More like BINtendo!!!!!!!!
Alas, at the time it was released, the Wii U simply appeared to be diluting the purity of the Wii concept with that horrible gamepad, an unpleasant design, and a tenacious lack of focus.
Developers struggled to utilise it, Nintendo itself never found a truly compelling way to get the best out of it, and the Wii U ended its life having sold a relatively useless 13.5 million units worldwide. That might sound like a lot, but next to the Wii's 101 million-plus sales, and the Switch having sold more in less than a year than the Wii U did across the entirety of its existence, it's hard to peg it as anything other than an "imbecile's folly".
Poorly realised from a design pitch that was a "bum-steer" from the outset, the Virtual Boy resembled a pair of goggles on a little tripod, thus requiring players to hunch over like they were suffering from postural kyphosis.
As if playing on the atrocity wasn't chronically graceless enough, the technology itself, frankly, couldn't even handle the task required of it. Given that it wasn't real VR, the stereoscopic 3D effect applied to its eye-straining red-and-black visuals was never more than a novelty. It remains Nintendo's worst-selling standalone console - an epithet which is truly deserved.
Admittedly, it has become somewhat iconic, in a semi-ironic way, but the basic concept - a joypad built into a sort of "rake's gauntlet" - was doomed to go down in legend as the gaming equivalent of attaching a tiny airfoil to the back of a slug, and painting go-faster stripes down its sides.
The main selling-point was the ability to control games by waving your hand around in the air like some massive fanny. Unfortunately, the controls were imprecise, which might be there were only two compatible games; Super Glove Ball and Bad Street Brawler. Two further games, Glove Pilot and the catchily-titled Manipulator Glove Adventure, were cancelled.
Reason? Seller's remorse.
Still a million kids were conned into buying one, and it has somehow endured in popular culture. With a little more support from Nintendo it might've suffered a less ignominious legacy...
Therefore, R.O.B. - the Robotic Operating Buddy - was intended to alleviate retailer fears, by offering something extra, something which made the NES more of a toy than a games console.
To wit: a robot friend who could play compatible games with you (by responding to flashes on old cathode ray tube TVs). However, like the Power Glove, R.O.B. sold poorly, and only two games were ever pumped out for it, like a pair of apologetic guffs. What's even worse is that several R.O.B. units malfunctioned, and began slashing at their human opponents with kitchen knives, while shouting "Squeal, piggy, squeal!"
Although there's no documentary evidence that this actually happened - indeed, I made it up just now - there's no smoke without fire, so we can't be sure that it never did.
R.O.B.? Should've called him N.O.B.
Supposedly, these rewritable disks allowed for bigger games and more creative experiences. In theory, players could create artwork and videos (a demo showed how players could map their own faces onto Mario 64 characters), which could then be shared with other players via online connectivity.
All good in theory, but with only 10 available titles for the expensive device, it shifted a mere 15,000 units - with another 85,000 clogging up warehouses like wisps in a plughole. Following lengthy delays, even Nintendo seemed to launch the device with a stark lack of confidence - selling it via mail-order in Japan only, before cramming the leftover stock into a millpond after scarcely a year.
Frustrated and losing patience with Nintendo's two-faced manipulation, Sony took what it had learned and reconfigured its "PlayStation" into a standalone console. The rest, as they say, was a bloody nose (for Nintendo). Sony's PlayStation became arguably the biggest console release of all time, and shamed the formerly market-leading Nintendo into second place behind the product it had inadvertently been responsible for.
You know: like Professor Frankenstein losing a game of shove ha'penny against his so-called "Modern Prometheus" - Creamy Eduardo.
A case of launching technology before it was ready, Satellaview for the most part offered an online radio station featuring music and audio dramas, and regular "Nintendo Hour" broadcasts, which granted users the opportunity to download games and add-on packs. There were also online magazines... you know: like the "websites" which were fast becoming popular on the so-called "internet".
At its peak, Satellaview had around 100,000 subscribers, though this wasn't enough to prevent tension between Nintendo and its partner St. GIGA - the patron Saint of Giggling - which was haemorrhaging money. In 1999, Nintendo refused a request to step in and support the business, and instead decided to stop supplying new content. Consequently, Satellaview and St. Giga entered a rapidly decaying orbit, and choked on each other's ulnas less than a year later.
Internet? More like "ain'ternet"!!!!!
The investment allowed Rare to expand significantly, leading to well-known classics such as Donkey Kong Country and Goldeneye. In 2002, Rare began shopping around for a partner to purchase its remaining shares - which Nintendo supposedly declined to do. Cue Microsoft, who - like a greedy boy at a birthday party buffet table - wasn't content with just a slice, and gobbled up the entirety of the cake (company) in a deal worth around $375 million.
Admittedly, Rare slid a number of semi-well-regarded games out from beneath Microsoft's frock, including Viva Piñata and Kameo: Elements of Power, but has - as yet - to land a massive iconic hit like it did during the Nintendo era.
There was something about working with Nintendo which seemed to bring out the best in Rare - perhaps thanks to complimentary philosophies - and it's fair to say that the Microsoft deal bruised the larynx of both Nintendo and Rare in the short-term. After releasing a number of titles for Microsoft's ill-considered Kinect peripheral, and developing the Xbox 360's Avatar system, it's fair to argue that Rare's biggest success in recent years has been Rare Replay, a compilation of its classic, non-Nintendo-owned, titles.
In the early-90s, Philips released the CD-i - spawned from the same Super NES CD-ROM project which ultimately gave birth to the PlayStation. Though Philips lost out to Sony on the soon-to-be-aborted deal, relations remained neighbourly enough that Nintendo loaned Philips its Mario and Zelda characters for a bunch of profoundly misguided CD-i games.
Hotel Mario and three Zelda-themed titles were released. All were considered deplorable horrors, and the low points in the respective franchises. Mistakenly on its part, Nintendo's sole input was to the look of the characters (though the misjudged backdrops were entirely Philips' doing). Which is a bit like lending someone your prize racehorse, and telling them you don't mind what they do with it; just make sure to brush its mane.
CUT TO: horse being dropped out of a helicopter.
Consequently, it sold far worse than the Nintendo 64 and Super NES - and finished its generation behind way behind the PlayStation 2.
Attempts to release more mature games, which fluttered appealingly in the prevailing winds, proved too little too late - and woefully out of place on the brightly-coloured Johnny. Though Nintendo has stuck to its guns in trying to make games accessible to all, it's fair to say that too few people were interested at the time to consider the GameCube anything other than some fake daddies (a faux pas).