Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 6, 2014

Aonuma is surprised people love Hyrule Warriors’ cinematics

Poor Aonuma!

But one of the things that leaves me with rather complicated feelings is that people are saying, “Oh wow, I really love the cutscenes in this game! This is better than the stuff Nintendo does!” Of course, that leaves me a little conflicted, and gives me a mission now to make sure that the new Zelda game that I’m working on can hold its own in that aspect against Hyrule Warriors!

What are the cinematics? Reader, let us take a look!

That is just the opening cinematic. 

So why are people responding so well to the cutscenes? This is easy.

1) They are all depictions of high fantasy. No tropical island funky bullshit stuff here.

2) The characters all look cool.

3) Link has a sword.

4) Villains are highlighted. They are marching and are portrayed as evil.

5) War is showcased which allows heroism to bubble forth. The player wishes to be a hero, hence the necessity of combat and war.

I am really digging the art style for this game. It is so much better than Aonuma’s crap.

Hyrule Warriors

Above: This is what I’m talking about! Link looks bad ass. Zelda looks bad ass. We can even see evil dragon and other nasties to slay. This is the spirit of how Zelda actually is, not this.

I want to hear reviews of the game, obviously, but I’m pretty impressed by this. If it is considered fun and replayable, I’m interested in buying it. I’m more interested in it than Aonuma’s Zelda U trainwreck (as probability is concerned he will make a trainwreck. Spirit tracks was trainwreck literally).

BTW, the below is very cool. It makes me want to buy Hyrule Warriors, and I don’t own a Wii U!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 6, 2014

Email: Miyamoto’s Selfishness Protects Aonuma Zelda

Greetings Master Malstrom,

I’m not sure if you’ve seen this yet, but apparently, Zelda Warriors was to be a completely different game before Miyamoto demanded they change it. A quote:

“At first, when Hayashi-san approached me, he wanted to make this title closer to a Zelda game than a Dynasty Warriors game — that extended to having boss battles in the dungeons and [having] certain characters in the game. However, Mr. Miyamoto came along and up-ended the tea table, saying, “No, that should not be the case. What we’re doing here is grafting Zelda onto the Dynasty Warriors experience.” It was a reversal of the original proposal from Hayashi-san, which was adding elements of Dynasty Warriors onto the Zelda franchise. It ended up being the other way around based on Miyamoto’s direction.”

…it sounds like the team wanted to deliver a more action-packed, traditional Zelda game, only to be shut down by Miyamoto, who demanded that it be just a reskin of Dynasty Warriors (with grass cutting! Can’t forget that, Aonuma!).

In other words, it would have been an actual, potentially -fun- Zelda game… but we apparently can’t have that now, can we? We have to be stuck with Aonuma’s “vision” of cheesy anime tropes, choo choo trains, or whatever other stupid things his kid wants in the game.

>Seriously, the more that comes out about Miyamoto, the more I hope he retires soon.

I’ve gotten several emails on this. Looking at this from the context of Miyamoto protecting Aonuma is very interesting. Nintendo does seem to be circling the wagons around him. Remember Nintendo also fiercely tried to circle the wagons around Sakamoto when Metroid: Other M came out. But nothing could stop people from realizing that it was a turd.
To those who have seen Zelda since the beginning, you know Zelda did big changes throughout the games. Then, with Wind Waker it seems like everything froze into place. The ‘change’ is something like trains or flying but the formula is the same. You can be in love with Aonuma Zelda and still see the need for *SOME* sort of change. Now, maybe Nintendo is being conservative because of rising costs. But this isn’t the case here.
No one is saying for this to have been an ‘official Zelda’. It could have been seen like Four Swords.
From a business point of view, it is interesting to note that Nintendo is willing to let third parties play with their IPs but not with the IP’s gameplay. Isn’t that the point of the IP in the first place, the gameplay? If Hayashi got what he wanted, we would have had a direct competitor to Aonuma Zelda. It would have been Hayashi Zelda. Whether Hayashi Zelda would have been good or not remains a mystery. What isn’t is that Aonuma Zelda exists only because Aonuma is given a monopoly on Zelda,
Why not have Aonuma wow us with his brilliance by making a brand NEW game while letting a third party make a Zelda game in their way? It’s been done before as Capcom made a couple of Zelda games. How could it be any worse than Skyward Sword or Spirit Tracks? Nintendo is not going to let that happen. Aonuma was placed in charge of Zelda because of Miyamoto. Miyamoto protecting Aonuma is really Miyamoto protecting himself and his ‘legacy’. Miyamoto may be a brilliant game designer, but he is not a brilliant business manager. Yamauchi was the brilliant business manager.

Really long, but I figured you’d appreciate this:

Hahaha, nice.

Way back when this blog started, I criticized a 1up piece that was showcasing ‘women in gaming’. I said they were picking mediocre examples and offered better examples such as the creator of Kings Quest series (a woman). The programmer of Electronic Arts first game, Archon, was a woman. The maker of Gabriel Knight series was a woman. The list goes on. Feminists decided to attack that post claiming I was being misogynistic. I remember showing them examples of how gamers say crazy things to everyone including male game executives such as Reggie Fils-Aime. There was no discussion. They just kept beating their drum. This is what caused me to turn off comments for this site.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 6, 2014

Email: Gamergate

I’m gonna assume you know about that #gamergate thing going on, and if not you can find a good summation here

Isn’t it nice to see, what I believe is the 5th time so far, gamrs taking their well-trained thumbs and biting them at the industry. I hold not a shred of guilt or regret when I say I hope that every single professional video game journalist and industry member loses their jobs. All of them. If they were any good then they wouldn’t need to stand behind an “industry” anyway.

Also, notice how nearly every person against it is from the California bay area and that big list of “game developers”, who were proven to be nobodies by some guy here ,are all from San Fransisco. Can’t these assholes at least try to not be such embarrassing stereotypes?

What game will you play to celebrate the death of the current games industry, Malstrom? I was thinking of marathoning the old Sonics.

I think this guy nailed it. We watched how the online press celebrated the death of print journalism. But now the online press has become irrelevant. Game journalists used to have early access and told us about games that were not out yet. Today, none of that matters as we can buy ‘Early Access’. Some companies like Nintendo go over journalists’ heads and speak directly to the audience. Even E3 demos have become less relevant as such demos can now be streamed to our game consoles via the Internet or as a special in Best Buy and Gamestop stores. There has been a rise of ‘amateur game journalism’. I suppose I was doing something like that when the Wii launched. Today, we have Twitch streams and Youtube channels.

Right, I’ve long pointed out that all the game journalists are cut from the same geographical cloth of the SF Bay area. Do such people represent the gamers of Nebraska or South Dakota or Texas or other areas? We have this thing called ‘Internet’ so why does geography matter anymore?

There is a lot of ‘group think’ with these journalists too. There’s no differentiation. If you missed Kotaku, Escapist will have similar content. If you missed Escapist, Giant Bomb will have similar content. Missed that, Rock Scissors Paper will have similar content. It all reads the same. (Of course, if you miss Malstrom, there are no substitutes!)

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 6, 2014

Email: Gamergate and politics

Dear Master Malstrom,

I really, really know that you don’t like to talk about politics here, but unfortunately it’s not possible to avoid this time.
I believe we are seeing two things on this Gamergate:
1) it’s clear to me that gaming “journalism” is trying to make a kind of sustained inovation, thinking that attracting SJWs and making controversial articles will improve their traffic and generates more money. I believe that gamers are smart enough to raise the middle fingers to those sites, boycott them and send messagers to advertisers that they will boycott them either unless if stop to support those sites.
2) The second issue is far more serious: this is neo-Marxism garbage (this term encompasses many currents, but the main currents are Gramscianism and Frankfurt School). What is this essentialy? While Marx believed that socialist revolution would happen taking the means of production, neo-Marxists believe that superstructure (including media, culture and art) should be taken first. What are those gaming “journalists”? Essentially, “journalists”. What do they learn on colleges? Probably that they must have a “critic” counscience and help to “transform” society (pursuit the truth!? BS, this is too dominant class conscience).
The good news is that they will fail. Now because I believe they are wrong (they are), but we can see what happened with printed media, where this “journalism” is rampant. We can see this in humanities too: they learn to make a revolution, but nothing relevant to apply on a job (unless if it is in a NGO, UN system, government, etc.).
The bad news is that this issue is entering with low-tier programmers (high tier ones just want to learn programming, which is bad by one hand because they don’t develop more competencies, but is good by other hand because they can avoid this bs) and can achieve to the top tier ones, transforming them in radical chics, which would ruin western gaming (Westrern Europe – you can see this in the French news about Quinn in google news – and Canada are in a worse state). Eastern countries, for an unknown reason, are still immune to this – and I do prefer kiddie games than SJW ones.
PS: “journalism” are between quotes because if they want to declare the death of gamers, I can declare the death of journalism and journalists. What are they? For me they look like apparatchiks, touton macoutes, whatever, but not real journalists. Not anymore – if they ever were.
Eisenhower mentioned a book called “True Believer: The Psychology of Mass Movements” by Eric Hoffer which made Hoffer and the book famous. Hoffer was a longshoreman who was blind and regained his sight later in life. Once he had his sight, he read everything he could. He wrote in a way that deals heavy in aphorisms. The book attempts to explain the mass movements from everything from religions to political movements. He effectively explains why the same group of people could be Nazis one day, Communists the next day, then Anti-Communists the following day.
[The true believer’s] innermost craving is for a new life – a rebirth – or, failing this, a chance to acquire new elements of pride, confidence, hope, a sense of purpose and worth by identification with a holy cause. An active mass-movement offers them opportunities for both. If they join the movement as full converts they are reborn to a new life in its close-knit collective body, or if attracted as sympathizers they find elements of pride, confidence, and purpose by identifying with the efforts, achievements, and prospects of the movement. (p. 12-13)
It is impressive to observe how with a fading of the individual’s creative powers there appears a pronounced inclination toward joining a mass movement. (p. 34)
But the true believer who is wholly assimilated into a compact collective body is no longer frustrated. He has found a new identity and a new life. He is one of the chosen, bolstered and protected by invincible powers, and destined to inherit the earth. His is a state of mind the very opposite of that of the frustrated individual; yet he displays, with increased intensity, all the reactions which are symptomatic of inner tension and insecurity. (p. 126)
All active mass movements strive, therefore, to interpose a fact-proof screen between the faithful and the realities of the world. They do this by claiming that the ultimate and absolute truth is already embodied in their doctrine and that there is no truth or certitude outside it. The facts on which the true believer bases his conclusions must not be derived from his experience or observation but from holy writ. (p. 79)
Find more quotes here.
The ‘game journalists’ taking off their masks and showing they want to be political hacks (which is what ‘culture commentary’ really is) is stupid. But making a mass movement to counter them isn’t the long-term solution. The long-term solution is gaming itself.
The ‘game journalists’ are nothing new. Zoe Quinn is nothing new. These people have been around for a long time. What is destroying them isn’t so much as opposition as it is enthusiast gamers taking their audience away with Twitch and Youtube channels. It is passionate customers that are ruining Social Justice Warrior’s plans. Gaming is a flag people will rally around. People are lining up against game journalists in GamerGate because game journalists are coming across as anti-gaming. The Social Justice Warriors will return and will adopt new tactics. They will attempt to say they are the true ‘passionate gamers’ and point to the GamerGate’s mass movement elements as evidence that it is not about gaming. This is why it is important that passionate gaming customers be the foundation for everything and not ‘mass movements’ or dogma. No one comes to gaming for dogma.
From my years experience with this site, what inoculates one from Social Justice Warriors and their insanity is just being passionate about gaming. If I spent all my time doing political screeds against these turds, who would want to read it? I don’t even want to write it. Life is too short.
I do not think SJW will succeed in gaming. Game creation requires hardcore technical skills from everyone involved. Designers have to know all the technical stuff. Movies, television, art, music, and books do not require the content creators to be extreme technically savvy. Games are not programmed based on one’s ‘feelings’. There may be ‘modern art’, but there can never be ‘modern gaming’ in the sense of all loss of technical discipline. Even the game experience itself, gameplay, has the player utilize logic and technical thinking to play the game.
That said, I am enjoying watching the SJW be burned to a crisp. Politics in gaming is like a fly in my soup. Get it out!
Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 4, 2014

Email: top 30 NES

The tier rankings are based on what I would most prefer to play today, not the ones I enjoyed most at time of release.
Tier 1
Castlevania 3
Double Dragon 2
Legend of Zelda
Blaster Master
Legacy of the Wizard
Maniac Mansion
Tier 2
Final Fantasy
Adventure of Link
Bionic Commando
Metal Gear
Gargoyle’s Quest 2
Tier 3
G.I. Joe
Mega Man 2
Clash at Demonhead
A Boy and His Blob
Ninja Gaiden 2
Baseball Stars
Double Dragon
Tiers 1 and 2 are very, very close. Adventure of Link, Metroid, and Bionic Commando could easily slot in among the Tier 1 games, maybe Contra as well, but I haven’t played it since it was released. Ninja Gaiden 2 and TMNT 2 are almost Tier 2 material.
Note the absence of Ducktales, which I didn’t find interesting then, and it was news to me when I recently found out that it’s considered a classic NES game; I never heard anyone talk about it back then. Also note Mega Man 2 in tier 3; another overrated series to me. I always hated MM’s jump and the small boss arenas, but that music…
30 is not nearly enough to list all the NES games I consider significant. Some I wanted ot find a spot for, but they were games I only played briefly, such as DQ4, Super Dodgeball, Battle of Olympus, GunNac, Tecmo Bowl, Little Nemo. Recent reading leads me to believe that DQ3 and 4 may be better NES RPGs than Final Fantasy, but I’ll have to play them seriously to see whether they deserve to replace it in Tier 2.But your recent NES kick has me wanting to go back and dig into stuff I skipped or only spent a little bit of time on.. Magic of Scheherazade looks very interesting. I always liked the name ‘Shatterhand,’ so I’ll have to investigate that one. This will be good because I’m sick of current Industry bloat and sloppy,
kitchen-sink design.  Your point about beiing able to play multiple NES carts in a few hours and be satisfied is spot on. Now it’s sit through updates, installs, loading, cinematics, exposition dumps, tutorials, traveling across maps, pressing forward while listening to conversations you’ve heard in a hundred movies and TV shows.  Do people not have anything else to do with their time besides sit in front of one game for hours (only acceptible for deep strategy games like Alpha Centauri)?
I do not understand the Modern Gamer in that context. At times, NES games can be too stubbornly challenging and short. There are times I do not want the frustration during my gaming session. I find SNES to be a good ‘other coin’ in that respect. To me, an epic game experience is something like Final Fantasy 6. The game takes 30 hours to do everything which is long enough. Anything longer than that is just…. ugh. I began to become disenchanted with console gaming during the 16-bit era (I wasn’t digging the Nintendo 16-bit games. They all felt like disappointments and ‘repeats’ from their 8-bit years). The move to ‘omg 3d’ and Game Industry gaming just pushed me out completely.
I can say that Ducktales was legitimately considered amazing back then as was Rescue Rangers. They both sold well enough for Capcom to make sequels.
Contra is commanding at least $40 which is pretty high for a NES game. I knew the game was popular back then so there is a large supply of Contras out there, but I think the demand is just eating it up. From some collectors who actually play their games, they keep saying Contra is the best one to keep replaying over the many years because it is so hard and loops over after you win.
Everyone keeps putting G.I. Joe so I’ll have to check that one out. A Boy and his Blob? Really?
Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 3, 2014

Email: Co-op Shmups

“were there any co-op shmups for the SNES?”

Aero Fighters (already covered that one) and Firepower 2000.  Firepower is one of my favorite SNES games, and it should still be very affordable.  Also, it has great content (every level is diverse and introduces new weapons and whatnot) and there’s a dual-layer mechanic of ground/air combat.  You can use either the Jeep (stays on the ground) or Helicopter (stays in the air).  When on the ground, planes can’t crash into you and vice versa.  It’s a very fun game.


Yeah, Firepower 2000 is in my list of games to get.


Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 3, 2014

Email: Prager University

Seems that lecturer cares about an “Universal Standard of Quality” for art, but not for education, from the YT account’s homepage:

“Prager University is not an accredited academic institution and does not offer certifications or diplomas. But it is a place where you are free to learn.”

Great, right.
Nearly all of the art discoveries of the last century have come outside of academia.
Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 3, 2014

Why is Modern Art so bad?

This guy is saying what I believe especially when resorting to discipline. Great art takes discipline. Today, people focus entirely on self-expression (i.e. creativity).

The comments are hilarious because all these art degree people going bonkers over the video.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 3, 2014

Email: Challenge accepted + a few other things

Master Malstrom -

Since you called me out on my last e-mail, I’d be remiss if I didn’t respond. Here are 30 NES games, that I’ve actually played, tiered by how much I like them in descending order:

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!
Zelda II
Life Force
Blaster Master
Mega Man 2
Mega Man 3
Super Mario 2/USA

Super Mario Bros. 3
Spy Hunter
Bubble Bobble
Balloon Fight
RC Pro-Am
TMNT 2: The Arcade Game
Ninja Gaiden
Dragon Warrior

Clu Clu Land
Double Dragon II
Kung Fu
MagMax (obscure but fun shmup where you start as a little ship that turns into a big honking robot)
Legendary Wings
Anticipation (this is a GREAT party/drinking game)
Snake Rattle ‘n Roll
After Burner (Tengen – a better Top Gun experience than the Top Gun game)

On a different note…if you want to make people sweat with an SNES list, you should limit it to 5 games. I’d definitely agonize over having to pick that few.

Finally, I saw your post wondering what killed the shmups. As a huge shmup fan, I’d posit that the answer is catering to the hardcore – what else? Before the mid-90s, you could drop a quarter into a shmup, blast a bunch of enemy ships with a friend, and have a great time. Then the hardcore moved in and demanded that shmups turn into the kind of video game d!ck-measuring contest that they love. The result was the bullet-hell shooter, where the entire point of playing them is to show off, and having fun is incidental. Most of them reward skirting as close to the edge of death as possible and require extensive memorization to have even a slight chance of not being killed instantly. They’re the shmup equivalent of that DragonForce song from Guitar Hero III.

Shmups are dead because bullet-hell shooters are basically the only kind of shmups that are still made today, and even though the hardcore eat them up, they’re completely repellent to regular people.

Clu clu land? Really?

One thing about Dragon Warrior 1 is that it is very cheap. Thank you Nintendo Power for giving them away. I might pick it up. I tried playing Dragon Warrior II, and it felt like the game overshot it for me. However, that was on emulator.

Shmups used to be fun. Life Force is great fun. I noticed in the 16-bit generation that shmups stopped being fun. I loved the arcade ports of R-Type, for example. R-Type 3 is very impressive game, but it isn’t that much fun. It isn’t as fun as Gradius was, for example.


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