Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 1, 2014

Hate Mail: Zelda Densetsu on the SNES

First, I lost any faith I had in your credibility as a real, hardcore NES gamer, when you revealed that you hadn’t even played an actual NES in 20 years, and you did not even own a dozen games. Even worse was your proclamation that the NES “collectors” were the ones spending exorbitant amounts on, going by the examples you listed, really common games. It’s clear that you’ve ever actually been on an NES collector forum such such as Nintendoage, much less looked at some of the more famous NES collectors such as Pat the NES Punk (who actually had that huge ass collection *before* he started his video series, unlike the Angry Videogame Nerd) to see what kind of games they even play.

But on this last post you crossed the line. If you would have just ended it with “I suspect you Famicom users to be putting up games like Gimmick! and Over Horizon not just because they might be good but because they weren’t localized in other parts of the world.”, it might have been just chalked up as  just another crazy, baseless thing you say on your blog. But then you utter what is just the most hilariously ignorant factoid: “Unfortunately for you, Zelda no Densetsu is a SNES game and not a NES game. Whoops! :)”

Oh really? Someone must edit all the Zelda wiki articles in existence, because clearly you’ve redefined the Japanese language so that “Zelda no Densetsu” doesn’t translate, *very simply* to “Legend of Zelda”.

So go on, don’t post this you smug bastard. Continue to act smart, continue to act you’re damn cool that you really did, after all, play every NES game in existence (at one point or another, presumably rented from a nearby store which magically carried all 709 of them.). Who can argue with someone who thinks “The Legend of Zelda” is a SNES game?

Whoever said I was a hardcore gamer? I mock hardcore gamers including TODAY and THEN. I mock people who have to get a NES (or other console) collection full of games they never play. In my original NES game collection, I kept selling and trading games on and on and at the end had what I had. I mostly rented because the majority of NES games weren’t worth $50 (most aren’t worth $50 today. $5? $10? $15? Sure. $50? Bah hahaha no).

Gimmick! and Over Horizon are good games, but I suspect their exclusiveness might be propping them up some. There’s a reason why they weren’t localized.

Zelda no Densetsu is the SNES BS Zelda. Rereading his email, it appears he was referring to the FDS system so why was he using no Densetsu to describe it on an English blog? Why didn’t the emailer just write Legend of Zelda? He didn’t write japanese names of the other games.

Zelda no Densetsu is most commonly associated with the BS Zelda on the SNES in the English language. Sorry, emailer. When I hear no Densetsu, I am thinking of the BS version. So are most people.

Above: Legend of Zelda on the SNES. It is BS Zelda.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 1, 2014

Email: the definitive greatest 30-game nes tier list

I’m trying to limit these NES lists to one a day so they can be absorbed. If I hadn’t put yours up yet, it is still likely in the hopper.

well ok maybe not but i’m pretty pleased with itTier 1
Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Zelda no Densetsu
Kickle Cubicle
Kirby’s Adventure
Mega Man
Over Horizon

smb1 is still contender for the finest high-speed platformer, built for speedruns. smb3 is gigantic, decadent, and near-flawless. cv1 is smaller than cv3 but the multiple characters just make 3’s design sloppy where 1 is laser-focused. kirby is too easy but makes up for it by being a huge adorable fun toybox. gimmick! is a tragically under-appreciated masterpiece; amazing music and animation, tough as nails, rewarding to master. zelda no densetsu because once you get used to the extra audio and sound effects on the FDS version it’s hard to go back. kickle cubicle is the perfect arcade-style puzzle game, with static puzzles like lolo but also enemies that serve as dynamic and hostile puzzle pieces. zanac is compile doing a victory lap around the other nes shooters. over horizon is a too easy but awesome music and impressive stage effects lets it hit far above its weight class. and yes, the first mega man, the hardest and coolest one. come at me haters, i’ll be on the other side of the gutsman platforms so i don’t expect to see many of you get here. B)

Tier 2
Bionic Commando
Mega Man 2
Mega Man 4
Moon Crystal
Esper Dream
Crisis Force

contra and bionic commando are rock-solid action titles but get too easy if you play them often. mm2 is really well made but too easy even on difficult with no metal blade, and wily stages are full of dumb puzzle nonsense. mm4 is even easier, but is long without reusing stuff and has the best weapon selection in the classic series. shatterhand and batman are both excellent games brought down by some occasional bullshit difficulty spikes, moon crystal is no masterpiece and kind of awkward but there’s not really anything else like it. hebereke is like blaster master’s fun exploration side-view parts without garbage like its gun powerup system. esper dream could be more robust but it’s a very solid action rpg, and crisis force is not my favorite shmup but it’s an amazing show of skill from konami – real vertical parallax on the famicom hardware, holy hell.

Tier 3
Double Dragon 2
Gradius 2
Duck Tales
Metal Storm
Robocco Wars
Yume Penguin Monogatari
Vice: Project Doom
Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa
Seirei Densetsu Lickle
Adventures of Tom Sawyer

six games that are too easy but still tons of fun, three games that are too unbalanced but still enjoyable, and one game that i just rented too much as a kid you can’t judge me for that NOBODY CAN

Possible Inductees
Darkwing Duck
Power Blade
Guardian Legend
Grand Master
Isolated Warrior
Life Force
Radia Senki
Terra Cresta
Bucky O’Hare

finally a bunch of games that are probably cool but that i either don’t own or haven’t spent enough time playing to be confident in an opinion of them.

you know what i changed my mind my list is the best i am the greatest wah haaah hah hah


What is with the Mega Man 4 love and no Mega Man 3 love? Is this a Japanese thing? I loved 3 but 4 made me stop buying Mega Man games.

I suspect you Famicom users to be putting up games like Gimmick! and Over Horizon not just because they might be good but because they weren’t localized in other parts of the world. For the same reason you put up Zelda no Densetsu.

Unfortunately for you, Zelda no Densetsu is a SNES game and not a NES game. Whoops! :)



Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 1, 2014

Email: Double Dragon III was awesome Malstrom!

Well at least it was the way I remember it as a kid anyway.

Somehow as a kid Malstrom my buddy and I were able to master most of the games moves in particular the co-operative fancy and flashy flying karate kick that you can do by jumping on to your friend’s character and then spring boarding off into the opponent.

Awesome stuff!

As was being able to do similar via jumping against certain walls and being able to do the same.

Double Dragon III was also where I experienced one of my most hilarious ever videogame glitches.

So anyway as I was walking along in the game searching for the next series of enemies I had a bottle in my hand and once an enemy character appeared who was one of those bald guy baddies I let forth and smacked that sucker on the head for all it was worth and do you know what happened next Malstrom?

His head randomly exploded into a million pixelated pieces hahahahahhahaha!!

As far as I remember this didn’t even crash the game, I just continued on as though that didn’t happen but it was awesome I can assure you.


Wish I had it on tape for youtube posterity but this occured during my childhood and I’m probably your age if not slightly older (early 30’s) so I’m sure you can infer that at that point in my life my income was well “limited” to put it midly heh heh so no video recording devices for me.

Hell I’m lucky my parents got me that NES which for the life of me I don’t know if it was brand new or my cousin’s hand me down when he moved onto the 16 bit generation via the Sega Genesis.

Oh well.

So anyway Malstrom before I digress further I just want to say that through practice and dedication that as a little tyke I made Double Dragon III my bitch. Basically I was so awesome and masterly at that game at that time I was probably like how you say that you are these days with Super Mario Brothers 3 ie zen like in your mastery of the game on the original hardware.

This got me to re-evaluating my position on that during my current rom sessions with Double Dragon III via emulation after not having played the game on the original console after all this time.

The game is uh…considerably harder for me these days..I mean I can still kick ass but not as fluidly as in the past (can’t pull off all the moves anymore) and I don’t think its necessarily my skills that are the problem (since I dominate at all other beat em ups still).

I’m thinking that maybe either you are right in one of the things you’ve said ie A. Emulated games on the PC don’t control as well as on the original hardware or B. Double Dragon III among other NES games was simply badly programmed.

At this point I’m sort of leaning towards option A. as even though I’ve used some excellent third party NES recreation controllers to play Double Dragon III again, the fact still remains that these are NOT Nintendo OEM controllers and thus open to the subtlest of flaws and imperfections where control is concerned.

Well anyway to conclude this email I just want to say that Double Dragon III was fun at least as a kid at least (and the playable boss characters of Chin and Ranzou totally rocked) but if you or whoever was right that said certain games including this one were badly programmed then all I can say is its a shame as if this game could be reprogrammed so that all the moves would register easily with the correct button presses it’d easily rival Super Double Dragon on the SNES as my personal pick for the greatest beat em up game of all time and the greatest Double Dragon game of all time.


I remember Double Dragon 3 being solid in controls. Perhaps more solid than the other 2 DDs. But the game was SO HARD. You had one life! The new guys (like the guy with the belly flop) just sucked. The mythos of the game I disliked (at least the beginning parts). Double Dragon 1 was street fighting and got crazy as it went into the forest and into caves. Double Dragon 2 was really dark and very varied. Double Dragon 3 had that old woman and didn’t seem as much as a street fight. But that is just my recollection. There are many people like yourself who loved Double Dragon 3. It is easily the hardest of the three NES DD games.

I think II is the most fun (especially with co-op) and I is still fun too. III is going to take lots of dedication to make it fun. Much more dedication than the average NES game and we know the average NES game took plenty of dedication!


Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 1, 2014

Email: Double Dragon 3 Arcade

If you though Double Dragon 3 on NES wasn’t good. Check this out.

About a minute in there’s a store that sells things using the actual arcade cabinet coin op, which could mark this game as the origin of in-game microstransactions. It’s funny how so much changes after 25 years yet everything stays the same.

Wow! I never saw that in the arcades. Note that this was due to DD 3 being broken on release. It couldn’t be beaten normally so they had to let the player buy those cheats. Perhaps this explains the Free-to-play and mobile games. Most of them are ‘broken’ so they make you buy stuff in order to beat it.


Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 1, 2014

Email: Giving gamers a choice

I agree wholeheartedly with giving gamers a choice and you’re spot on in saying that Starcraft 2 ‘skill’ is based almost purely on speed. About Smash though, you see people bashing Brawl because of the random tripping which everyone with no exception agrees, but the speed is something not as simple, melee introduced such a high speed to the game that the difference between a low level player and a high level one is execution, same thing as Starcraft 1/2, it’s what I dislike so much about fighting games nowadays. Being a very enthusiast fighting game fan, I really dislike the walls of execution games put between the player and the game, Street Fighter IV is a very good example, while on the surface it seems like a return to basics because other games were being ridiculous with the amount of execution required to actually play the game on a competitive level; it’s actually plagued with execution walls and needless overcomplexity, 2 meters, EX moves, 3-stage focus attacks all seem to fly in the face of how “simple and elegant” they industry claimed it was. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like SFIV, it’s just that I can see right through its flaws.

The people crying that Brawl is not better than melee are the high level tournament players, not your average Joe who actually is the bulk of the people who buy the game. I was really glad in brawl they removed bullshit like L canceling, wave-dashing etc. among other things that are aimed too much for high level play execution.

The difference between the high level player and the low level one should not be a dexterity wall but the strategy itself. I agree with you in giving the players a choice, if SFIV had done that, I would have turned the damage up on that game so that I would not need to execute a very difficult combo to actually do good damage, part of the reason why I love Super Street Fighter 2 is the damage output is high, comebacks are common and you don’t have to do a million and one things to play the game.

I only want to give an example before I finish this:

Let’s grab a game, say Chess, and I’ll make an addition to this game where after you make your move you get to juggle 5 tennis balls and if you do, you get some sort of advantage. You might say, that’s really stupid, Chess is already good, it doesn’t need this juggling component. Also, juggling 5 tennis balls is really hard. Juggling 5 tennis balls is really hard, so this game is only for “skilled” players. What I’m trying to prove is that this skill is not interesting to test in chess; who cares if you can juggle 5 tennis balls? The actual strategy is what matters. So I ask to developers, stop making us master irrelevant skills in a competitive game when the actual strategy is what matters in the end. Also don’t dumb it down, I dunno why game developers only have 2 settings on this, extremely complex and pointless execution, or extremely simple and brainless for ‘da casuals’.


Can you imagine if the Game Industry made Chess? Half the pieces would only be available due to DLC. They’d turn it into a RPG where the Pawn can upgrade in levels. The King and Queen would give irrelevant dialogue. Rook wouldn’t be a castle but a babe (something like this). Then the game would only be available online where you had to connect to servers to play a game.



Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 1, 2014

When in doubt, give gamers a choice

Above: You can set the population in Age of Empires. You can’t do that in Blizzard RTSes!

When the original Age of Empires was being made, the development team revealed an argument going on to the fans. There were really two RTS game standards then: Warcraft 2 and Command and Conquer/Red Alert. Command and Conquer did not have ‘farms’ while Warcraft 2 did. Farms were buildings you built to increase a ‘supply’ so you can build more units. More importantly, what should the unit cap be? If the unit cap was high, then people would build large armies and overwhelm one another with vast numbers. But if the unit cap was low, then people would build smaller armies and use them in more strategic and tactical ways. Which to choose? Which to choose?

I thought this argument was nonsense and expressed as much so when I wrote in. “Why do the developers have to choose one or the other? Give the option to the gamers. Let the gamer decide how the game should be played!” A couple days later, the team announced the resolution was to allow the game creator to set the supply limit. A game could have high supply or low supply. Everyone was happy. Everyone.

I had no idea what made the Age of Empire team decide what they did. For all I know, what I wrote wasn’t even read. Regardless, the team did the right thing. Give gamers the choice.

Above: Starcraft 2 is much faster than the original Starcraft.

My complaint about speed is with Starcraft 2. Starcraft 2’s multiplayer is primarily online (it CAN’T be local because there is no LAN!). While you can create custom melee games, no one really plays those. It is all in the ladder. Because Starcraft 2 was designed around high end Starcraft 1 players, you end up with a game that is way too fast for the average gamer. The difference between a low level player and a higher level player has NOTHING to do with strategy and tactics. It has everything to do with being fast. Due to the high speed, the faster you are, the more commands you can issue. You can literally beat the early ladder players in Starcraft 2 by making just ONE MILITARY UNIT if you are very fast and good with your micro and macro-management. Starcrat 2’s strategy and tactical nuances don’t get experienced by the players until they reach the high end of Diamond and Master leagues.

That’s pretty fucked up. It is why Starcraft 2 never caught on while the MOBAs did. A low level MOBA player is differed from a high level MOBA player by far more than just raw speed.

Now look at what Sakurai is saying about Smash 4. He is saying that Smash 4 will be lower speed than Melee but faster than Brawl. He admits Brawl was a rather tame game.

Above: Sakurai is just fiction. The above is how Smash 4’s roster was REALLY set up!

I haven’t heard much about Smash 4’s online, but I know Smash 4 isn’t going to be primarily played online. It will be played primarily offline in local multiplayer. Why not offer gamers the choice of setting the game speed? They can choose to turn off items, smash balls, and other things. Why not allow gamers to control the game speed as well?

Speaking of Brawl’s lameness from Melee, I do agree that the maps play a huge factor. In melee, you could easily fall off the edge in the maps. In Brawl, the map design didn’t really allow that. Worse, Brawl had characters that could FLY. Part of the excitement of Melee was how the stages would just dump you to death. Level design always matters even for fighting games like Smash. Yet, you never hear about level design in Smash discussions because they think the characters are the only variables. The maps are an extremely important variable.

Above: The above are Melee’s maps. Maps matter in Smash. It isn’t just game balance and speed!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 30, 2014

Email: My top 30 NES games

Now, unlike some other people, I didn’t start playing NES games until years after it was discontinued since I was way too young.  Hell, I was only a baby when Wario’s Woods, the last official NES game in North America, first came out. Although my older brother did have a NES at one point, my mom gave it away since he didn’t want it anymore. Oh well. At least I did manage to play a lot of NES games thanks to the E-Reader, Mega Man Anniversary Collection, & the vNES website.

Anyways, here’s my top 30 NES games. This was a pretty hard list to make, but here it is:

Tier 1:
Super Mario Bros. 3
Ninja Gaiden
Mega Man
Mega Man 2
Mega Man 3
Super C
Kirby’s Adventure
Double Dragon 2
Tier 2:
Power Blade
Fire ‘n Ice
Mega Man 4
Mega Man 5
Captain America & the Avengers
Tier 3:
Karate Kid
Mega Man 6
Godzilla: Monster of Monsters
Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle.
Someone likes his Mega Man!
It is a hard list to make. With gamers of newer consoles, including 16 bit, 30 seems like a large number. But anyone familiar with the NES library knows that the games don’t drag themselves. Many are arcade-like. You pop them in and out. In a single gaming session, you can easily go through ten NES games. It’s interesting to see just how varied the NES library could be when it came to excellent games.
I have been playing Millipede a ton. Solid, solid game. Damn that programmer who cropped it!
Popeye is an interesting one for your Tier 1. It is a black box game. It came out in 1983 I believe. Due to licensing, you will never see it on Virtual Console.




Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 30, 2014

Email: Double Dragon III — not good

I agree I was not impressed with Double Dragon 3 so it didn’t make it into my list (gimmicky attacks and uneven difficulty)… similar thing happened with turtles 3 compared to turtles 2… although the original DD was good I should have found a way to sneak that in… if you wanted 50 games, you should have allowed us to make up to 5 tiers!

Double Dragon 3 was HARD. Here is the Angry Video Game Nerd on it expressing my reactions when it came out.

Double Dragon 1 was excellent. Double Dragon 2 was soooo good. 3 was a huge disappointment.

However, some people stuck through the game and found it to be very worthy. If this is the case, then let us say Double Dragon 3 is extremely inaccessible.

50 games? I can’t get people to fill up 30 games. They keep saying how they want to do SNES games (and we know what the SNES game lists will look like). Someone decided to break up their list and send me three emails divided by tiers on different days. Others just plop down 30 games without the tiers.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 30, 2014

Email: Response to Media turning on Gamers

Master Malstrom,
This is in response to the email about all the articles regarding “Destroying the Gamer”.
I picked up a couple of those articles, including the one from Gamasutra, and read through them. What I can conclude is that it’s an ugly mixed bag of political rhetoric based on a few high profile cases of female developers in the Industry. Great, more politics is what we needed, yes?
On the one hand you’ve got the Gamasutra article decrying the hardcore lifestyle and basically telling the no-lifers to get more sunshine and real social interaction, which is a valid accusation. You’ve even got them mentioning “pulling down the Industry’s tent poles” and even turning on the viral marketers “dictating the kinds of games we want to play”. So that’s a good thing, at least on that side.
But on the other you’ve got evidence of cultural rot upholding modern pop political values on “inclusivism,” whatever that means for any given author. Notice that at least the BuzzFeed News article once again posits the acceptable target of “the white suburban male dork” (notice that it’s always males on the short end of the stick, there). You’ve got them elevating the concept of philosophical “art games” that “get us to think more about the world around us” and even demonizing the notion that games “are only supposed to be fun”.
Mind you, but I don’t remember playing Hide and Seek just so I could reflect on the existential burden of loneliness. Or marbles just so I could discern the nature of causality and its weight on our everyday choices, for that matter. If this is what they mean by “pulling down the Industry’s tent poles” and replacing them with their brand of trite mediocrity, then I say to my gamer friends that you’d better get the blazes out of dodge because it’s all gonna come crashing down at incredible speeds when they do.
You’ve got these politico journalists celebrating the notion of “returning to reality” but you’ve got to wonder just what kind of reality they’re referring to. I keep waiting for the Industry to simply lay down and die but it seems that like any one of those zombie games they keep making you have to take it down with a nice, juicy headshot to make it STAY down for good, and that ain’t gonna be a pretty sight.
(Sorry for emailing when I said before that I probably wouldn’t be emailing in a long while. Got a huge project to be released at the end of September hopefully, and speaking my mind takes off a bit of the stress)

I really liked your saying on hide and go seek and marbles. Excellent stuff!

I heard someone say that the reason for all this Social Justice Warrior crap occurring is because the Game Industry is financially weak. Before, they could tell these people to go away. Now with the economy the way it is, they are scared to resist. Unfortunately for them, gaming isn’t defined by the Game Industry. Gaming is defined by gamers. Hence, the attacks on the gamer.

You’re going to see a HUGE SURGE in retro game collecting if companies go along with the Social Justice Warriors.

The reader might ask, “Why are Social Justice Warriors interested in gaming?” The most effective tactic of politics is to make it appear non-political. The best way to make something political into something non-political is to insert it into non-political media. People will consume this media and think it is ‘normal’. They want to turn gaming into ‘political correctness’. It’ll be fun to watch them try. Gaming, outside mobile gaming, is dominated by young men. The reason why young men are gaming is because they fled the television, books, and other media. The young men will either give extreme resistance or they will flee to create a new media. Either way is a win-win.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 30, 2014

Did Anita Sarkeesian Fake her own death threat?

While I’m trying to limit myself to gaming here, I only link to this article (NSFW) because its evidence is so damning.

First thing I heard about Sarkeesian saying she had been ‘threatened’ was ‘Did she call the police?’ OF COURSE NOT. She left to be at a friend’s house, but the police were not contacted.

The Social Justice Warrriors always have to lie.

Social Justice Warriors are presenting themselves as a new threat to gaming. In this, we must ally with the hardcore gamers and every other gamer to stand against this political onslaught. Imagine it like Warcraft 3 as all the races combine to stop the demonic horde.

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