Round Table: A Year of Splatoon

The staff celebrate the first anniversary of one of Nintendo’s most surprising and refreshing new franchises.

By Nintendojo Staff. Posted 05/31/2016 01:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

One year ago, Nintendo released one of the boldest ventures in its history: Splatoon, a colorful, cooperative online shooter from a company long criticized for its lackluster online services (not to mention its almost complete inexperience with shooters). And yet, despite these apparent hurdles, the game became an instant hit thanks to its unique and refreshing take on the genre, propelling it into the upper echelon of Nintendo franchises almost overnight. In honor of Splatoon’s first anniversary, the staff reflect on their time with the colorful shooter and the impact it’s made.

Anthony Pelone

Wow, a year of Splatoon already! And even now, I’m still inking the battlegrounds of Inkopolis. It’s easily Nintendo’s most inspired concept in forever, and what a fun one at that. Even now, the thrill of splatting as much ink as possible never gets old, and I find my affinity with the Kraken Roller to be just as strong a year later. It’s not that great in head-to-head combat, sure, but I find rollers to be the most cathartic method of spreading ink. Of course, I do rotate between weapons, namely the NES Zapper.

I still believe the issues raised in my op-ed article from last year are still relevant, so there’s much room for improvement. At the same time, however, the constant influx of new stages and weapons have kept me coming back for, well, a year, and I can’t fault it for that. And on top of that, they were free! It’s one of Wii U’s many Nintendo classics, and I look forward to how the company will iterate upon the series.

Speaking of a potential sequel, I wonder if I can reach Level 50 by then? I’m only at 28…

Marc Deschamps

You’d think it would be hard for me to talk more about Splatoon this week, but it’s really not: I absolutely love this game, and could discuss it for hours. I’ll admit, I was skeptical last year. I’ve never been a big shooter fan, and I never really ventured much into online gaming, but Splatoon just eases you into its mechanics and world so easily. It’s nearly impossible to not find yourself sucked into it all.

I don’t quite play Splatoon as frequently as I used to, but I make an earnest effort to participate in every Splatfest that I can. I’ve only missed two or three so far, because I love the sense of competition they bring. I can go weeks without playing, and then sit engrossed for hours promising myself “just one more match before bed!” Before I know it, it’s 3 AM and I know my daughter is gonna wake up in a few hours so I force myself to go to bed.

A huge part of that appeal comes from the game’s fan base. One thing I distinctly remember about the debut of Pokémon was how the community aspect made it so much more fun. I can recall what a big deal Red and Blue were back in eighth grade, when you knew so many other kids on their own Pokémon journeys. I’m not in school anymore, but Splatoon’s devoted online community gives me a similar feeling. Splatoon fans are seriously passionate about the game, and whether it’s on Miiverse or social media, I love interacting with other players and seeing their passion for this franchise.

I might not have expected much, but one year later, I can honestly call Splatoon one of my favorite games I’ve ever played. I have so many games still shrink-wrapped, begging to be inserted into my Wii U, but Splatoon just keeps pulling me in. One more match before bed, I swear.

Andy Hoover

Splatoon was probably my biggest, most pleasant surprise of 2015 for a plethora of reasons. Of course it’s fun– it is a Nintendo game, after all– but the way in which it brought levity to what is often a far too serious genre while also innovating new and interesting gameplay ideas really made it amazing. Nintendo managed to simplify the shooter concept by making the whole stage a target, while also adding enough nuance to award players willing to delve deep into the surprisingly robust and diverse weapon set. Furthermore, Splatoon does a better job of rewarding objective based play better than just about any other shooter I’ve ever seen.

Aside from the the fantastic gameplay, Splatoon is encouraging as what I hope is a vision into Nintendo’s future. For years the company has been the subject of criticism for its slowness to react and adapt to a changing marketplace that is becoming increasingly more fluid thanks to the near ubiquity of online connections. With Splatoon, Nintendo proved it understood this concept better than anyone would have expected by keeping a consistent stream of quality content coming throughout the year. Yes, there was valid criticism that the game was a little light on content at launch, but the game we’re playing now more than makes up for it.

I might not put the same number of hours into Splatoon as I did a few months ago, but no matter what I know there is always fun to be had thanks to the games fantastic design, unique, and colorful world, and the dedicated and positive community that keeps it thriving. Splatoon has undoubtedly cemented itself in Nintendo’s already fantastic roster of hits, so I can’t wait to see what’s next for the franchise.

Robert Marrujo

Splatoon has really amazed me over the course of the past year. It started as a great, but flawed, experience. Now, it’s still flawed, but it is so much better than it was on launch day that it’s hard to believe it’s the same game. The free content updates are entirely to thank; the sheer volume of weapons and weapon combos that are available now make me do a double take every time I load up the title. In terms of value, Splatoon has surpassed just about any game I can think of since the advent of DLC. There’s a veritable metric ton of content to take advantage of, from the aforementioned weaponry to the new maps and game modes.

The latter are especially important, as they’re a big reason behind what has elevated Splatoon to being the more fully realized game that it now is. The limited selection of battle modes and arenas for online play was almost laughable at launch. While I would still like to see more of each, what’s present now is a marked improvement and a positive sign that Nintendo has been listening to its player community when it comes to making Splatoon better. While I’d love to see an expansion to what was offered for the offline single player mode, the meat and potatoes here is online, and Splatoon has risen to be one of the best multiplayer shooters on any console.

Were you as pleasantly surprised with Splatoon as the staff? Are you still regularly playing the game a year after its launch? Let us know in the comments!

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