Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 15, 2014

Email: The Puzzle Plague

In particular, I’d like to mention my thoughts on the Zelda series and
how far it has fallen from its original premise.

The two NES games, A Link to the Past and Link’s Awakening all had a
heavy action focus at its core, and it’s little wonder why these games
are among the fondest remembered. The latter two games did have a
scattering of switch and block puzzles, and fetch quests, but it
didn’t detract from the main focus: Link wandering around and using
his sword to fight enemies.

Ocarina of Time was the first 3D Zelda, but for the most part stayed
true to the Zelda core formula. There were still lots of things
scattered about that you needed to fight and destroy. Compared to the
earlier games, there was much more dialogue and a focus on story, but
this was the last Zelda game to really do everything right. It was the
last “great” Zelda game.

And then Majora’s Mask came. This is where the big changes gradually started.

Sure, it uses the OoT engine and in some places (mostly the dungeons)
feels like OoT, but it really isn’t. It had a long, un-skippable
prologue when you started a new game that trapped you as a Deku Scrub
and forced you to wander around town for about an hour of real time
before you could really start the game.

The number of main dungeons is cut down to just four, and the main
focus of the game is to stop the moon… mostly by doing massive
amounts of fetch quests and listening to people’s problems. This isn’t
Zelda. It’s an RPG. And the dungeons themselves are much more
puzzle-focused than OoT’s. I don’t know why everyone says the Water
Temple in OoT is that bad… MM’s Great Bay Temple is much worse.

Yet, compared to what was to come in the later 3D games, Majora’s Mask
was still pretty decent, mostly due to the high difficulty level.

The two Oracle games were also alright, but both had many more puzzles
than Link’s Awakening and neither are as enjoyable or memorable.

I have no need to discuss Wind Waker since you have already at length,
many times, and I’ve actually never played it. I haven’t played any of
the DS ones or A Link Between Worlds (yet) so I have nothing to say
about those either.

Aside for the graphics style being a step in the right direction,
Twilight Princess was a step even further downward. A horribly
dumbed-down difficulty level, even more puzzles, and an annoyingly
long prologue (Feeding cats! Rescuing children! Sneaking around as a
wolf without anyone seeing you!) that makes the one in Majora’s Mask
look short.

And Skyward Sword was even worse. A mix of TP’s and Wind Waker’s
graphics and even more puzzles, and yet another long prologue before
you can really do anything. The amount of puzzles, stealth sections
and the like is so great in this game that many areas just feel empty,
because you spend much more time doing stuff like using a magic beetle
to hit switches or blowing away sand with a magic dust blower than
actually fighting. The challenge level was much higher than TP though,
to the point where I was actually in danger many times through the
game. It was the one thing is got right.

Ever since Majora’s Mask, every single Zelda game (2D and 3D alike)
has gradually been getting more puzzles and less monsters. The biggest
reason why the older games are more liked is because fighting monsters
is fun. Solving puzzles is not. Once you’ve done it once (even if it’s
an easy puzzle), why would you want to do the same puzzle over again
in the future?

Starting with Majora’s Mask, Zelda got a new director. Who could that be, reader?

And yes, he did actually dress like that… in public.

Above: Aonuma somehow made J. Allard’s hoodie wearing look good.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 15, 2014

Email: About that Captain Toad game

Hey Master Malstrom,

just a quick opinion on that (underwhelming) Toad game: I think Nintendo did it due to the positive hardcore reaction on the Toad puzzles on the Mario 3D world game, which is unsurprising. They must think the game is gonna be some sort of cult hit, I guess.
Also, they have the assets/engine already in place from that previous game, so it must be a cheap game to make, I suppose.
So where is my Twilight Princess sequel? That was an expensive game engine too.
NSMB engine took some work. Where is my Return to Sub-Con game where I can choose four characters like in Super Mario Brothers 2? Oh, that’s right. Nintendo deliberately prevented 2d Mario from having the feature it originally made to put it in 3d Mario.
Nintendo simply doesn’t want to do those games. Why is it that Nintendo wanted to make the games we did back during the 80s and 90s and now keeps wanting to make games most people do not care for? It is one thing for a game to be 3d and puzzles, but why does EVERY Nintendo game have to be 3d puzzles? At the rate Nintendo is going, somehow they are going to convert Mario Kart and Smash Brothers into 3d puzzles because that is the only thing Nintendo wants to make.
Most hardcore gamers I hear from thought the Toad levels from Mario 3d World were meh. There is no real excitement over Captain Toad.
“But Malstrom! But Malstrom! Nintendo needs to pump out a game quick because of the empty release schedule.”
Why not make a new classic Zelda game? Using modern technology, it shouldn’t take that long. It’d sell much better than Captain Turd: Treasure Seeker anyway. Hell, do a Super Mario All-Stars out of the early Zelda games. That would sell better than Captain Turd: Treasure Seeker.
But you see, Nintendo doesn’t want to make those games. Nintendo is not being motivated by costs, market demand, or even creativity. Nintendo is motivated by ideology. And the ideology Nintendo is consumed about is 3d gaming and, to a lesser extent, puzzles. They keep trying to ram 3d gaming down our throats. By 3d gaming, I don’t mean a game that is 3d. I mean 3d gaming is ‘pushing for MORE 3d’. It would be 3DS. It would be Gamecube-esque games like Pikmin 3 and Wind Waker Hd.
How come you don’t hear more about games like Wii Sports Club? It’s a sequel to the best selling game ever made. Yet, Nintendo acts like it wants the game to fail.
It was over 16 years (!) before a new 2d Mario was released since Super Mario World. No one is this stupid. Nintendo did it on purpose.
There are two types of Nintendo audiences. There is the audience that likes the games Nintendo wants to make (you N64 and Gamecube fans out there). Then there is the audience that likes the games Nintendo doesn’t want to make (you NES/SNES/Wii fans out there).
They keep saying, “Those classic games? It is time to make something new.” And what is new is ALWAYS a sequel to a N64 or Gamecube game. ALWAYS. I just wish Nintendo would be public about how there are games they don’t want to make and games they do want to make… market be damned. If I see Aonuma mention how he ‘wants to get back to the spirit of NES Legend of Zelda’, I am going to SCREAM! He HATES Legend of Zelda which he said so with his own words!
I’m tired of the lies. If Nintendo doesn’t want us to be their customers, then they should say so. Otherwise, I assume they want us to be their customer yet they keep making games no one cares about. Captain Turd: Treasure Seeker looks like some indie game crap. No offense to you indie developers, but you guys know that ‘puzzles’ are the home of indie games, not AAA game companies like Nintendo. What’s next? An 8-bit retro game challenge? Whoops, Nintendo did that too.
Why is Nintendo acting like a big budget indie developer?
Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 14, 2014

Email: Classic Game Room – Metroid

Good old Lord Karnage does a great job talking about NES Metroid and what made it so special back in the day:


He’s right on with how special it is. Two great points he makes is:

1) The game is about surviving.  Isn’t that the truth. You try to see how far you can go before you die. It was so easy to die too! You’d play for hours and hours and then you’d find a ‘secret’ which was very exciting.

2) Samus is constantly outgunned. You never feel like a ‘death ball of destruction’ in Metroid. This is why the game kept being scary is that everything is so hazardous in the game.

Super Metroid was a huge disappointment to many Metroid fans such as myself. I held off buying the game forever since I nearly finished it in one rental. The value of Metroid, to me, was a giant block of hardness that would take you months to chip away and finish. Super Metroid got the atmosphere right but the ‘quest for survival’ isn’t there and all the enemies are wimps in the game. Samus outguns everyone. So lame.

The hatred of so-called Metroid fans at the original Metroid is to deny the realization that they suck at video games. Metroid was considered an ‘advanced gamer’ game back when it was released. Games like Super Mario Brothers, Legend of Zelda, Ducktales, and Mega Man were for ‘normal gamers’ or children. Not Metroid. Metroid was the non-child, non-noob game. I laugh at these so called hardcore gamers who can’t handle Metroid. “The game is cheap!” No, you just suck. “There is no map!” No, you just suck.

Metroid has two big flaws in it: 1) the password system which sucks. 2) Grinding to replenish health (especially when you start the game). Other than that, the game is perfect.

Back during the Golden Age of the Arcades, game makers learned that games should be accessible and even cute to attract large audiences. One game went against that grain of thought and was super-difficult, not cute, and the opposite of accessible. That game was Defender. And Defender was a massive hit because it gave experienced gamers something to play. Not every game can be ‘for new gamers’. Games like Defender also sealed the deal with the arcades being a pastime for everyone.

This is what Metroid did for the NES as well. NES had three types of ‘gamers’ it attracted. The first were older adults who enjoyed the NES sports games (this phenomenon would be replicated with Wii Sports). The second group were young boys who grew up with the machine (this is where most NES fans from the Internet were). The third group, which no one mentions, was little girls at the tail end of the NES who got into gaming due to their older brothers or fathers. It is not an accident that the last third party games on the NES were girl games (such as Barbie or Cinderella).

The NES had many things going for it. It had cool new games like Super Mario Brothers and Zelda. It had Atari, arcade, and computer ports such as Pac-Man to Gyruss to Archon to Ultima. But for the experienced gamer of the mid 1980s, the NES was just a child’s toy. Then came Metroid. Metroid was not for young kids who struggled with Super Mario Brothers. Metroid was for the advanced gamers. Metroid was not ‘cute’ but very ominous. Metroid was a very dangerous game. It was also a very mysterious game. What was with those pyramids on the title screen? The game world seemed endless.

The video talks of Metroid from the perspective of an experienced gamer. He says he wasn’t jealous of the NES until Metroid came out.

If you look at the big classics of the NES, the reason why Metroid gets placed beside Zelda and Mario in the triumvirate is that each game performs a different job. Mario experience is very different from the Zelda experience.  And Metroid performs a different job than Mario and Zelda. This is why Luigi U is a waste of time for Nintendo because people do not want Mario to perform the job for experienced gamers.

Metroid should be developed for experienced gamers. Metroid is not a child’s game. When Nintendo reveals their latest Metroid games, if they ever say how the game is being developed for the ‘new gamer’ or even ‘all gamers’, then that Metroid will fail.

Metroid should be mysterious (should excite the imagination).

Metroid should have the player constantly outgunned (the game is about tapping into one’s survival instinct).

Metroid should rely on the tricks and tactics experienced gamers have learned.

One of the reasons why Super Metroid has been popular with the Fifth Generation onward crowd is that the game imposes no effort on the gamer. It’s difficulty is a nature walk in 16-bit aesthetics. I still think games like Contra 3 are more fun than Super Metroid because at least you have to have some skill at the game.

Kids couldn’t beat Metroid until they were a little harder. The game was that difficult. What people need to get in their heads is that Third Generation gamers did not feel entitled to finish every single video game. Beating a game was bragging rights because 90% of people couldn’t do it. Instead, the joy was simply PLAYING the game. I think everyone, especially the so-called Metroid fans, play Metroid incorrectly. They keep assuming they are entitled to beat the game. They aren’t. The joy is actually just in playing the game, surviving as long as possible, and seeing if you can get further than you did or crack open a new secret. Metroid is not Ninja Gaiden (which came out at the same time) which was about story cutscenes where you do ninja moves (epitomized in the atrocious Metroid: Zero Mission whose sales were very lacking).

Survival mode on Minecraft has more in common with Metroid than any other game I’ve seen recently. In fact, I believe I said as much on this blog when I first played Minecraft.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 14, 2014

Email: Super Smash Brothers

Hi Malstrom,

A little while back you mentioned how Nintendo is done with the 3DS now, and are unlikely to spend efforts developing more games for it. While this makes sense, I was wondering why it is that the 3DS version of smash brothers has been getting more focus.

I would have thought that Nintendo would have wanted to use the new Super Smash Bros. (as an aside, why have we gone back to the name of the first game? It’s annoying when companies do this) to sell as many Win Us as possible, but the big draw to Smash Bros. Is the character roster. Having confirmed that both the 3DS and the Wii U will have the same characters, people will find our the entire roster when the 3DS copy is released a couple of months earlier, including the hidden characters which people are usually desperate to find out about. Removing this excitement from the Wii U version seems like an odd choice.

As well as this, there has even been an exclusive play mode revealed for the 3DS, which has actually Nintendo enemies like Goombas to fight (unlike the subspace emissary of Brawl, which had Sakurai “exercising his creativity” to create goofy looking enemies). While the Wii U may also have exclusive modes, we haven’t heard of any and it’s not that long until the 3DS version is released. People who don’t have a Wii U need to start being shown reasons to get it over the 3DS version (anyone who would buy both versions already has a Wii U, showing new features after the 3ds version comes out won’t cause more Wii Us to be sold). At the moment, the main things that the Wii U has over the 3DS version is better graphics (matters very little), the “console experience” (can be gained from Brawl, which I saw in a GAME store for £5), and different stages (which doesn’t matter much as all the stages tend to be the same with different skins on them).

So what exactly is the plan with this new Smash brothers?

I think Smash Brothers for both 3DS and Wii U is Nintendo wanting to share development assets between the two platforms. From the el cheapo Nintendo, this is like getting two games for one development budget. 3DS may be getting more attention because it is coming out first.

It’ll be interesting to see how Smash does on the 3DS (which has a larger install base). It could likely sell much better on the 3DS than on Wii U which means, like Animal Crossing, the future of Smash would always be on the handheld. 3DS Smash sales will be pivotal in Japan where the Japanese are more handheld centric.

One voice in my head keeps asking, “What if they release Smash and no one buys it?” What if the game doesn’t end up being a blockbuster? Look at the insane sales projections Nintendo had for Super Mario 3d World. High excitement on the Internet doesn’t translate to real world sales. Smash Brothers Melee, as good as it was, still made the Gamecube sell like the Gamecube.  I think Smash’s momentum projections are being overestimated.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 14, 2014

Captain Toad is looking like the Worst Game Ever Made

It is like all my nightmares have been combined, Voltron-like, into one game: Captain Toad Treasure Seeker.

The game is nothing but puzzles, puzzles, puzzles. And in addition to that, the game is 3d, 3d, 3d. 3d puzzles! No, it is not enough we have Aonuma Zelda and 3d Mario for their goddamn 3d puzzles. No, they had to dedicate a new spin-off to MORE 3D PUZZLES. Nintendo only makes one type of game anymore and that is ‘3d puzzles’. They don’t want to make anything else!

“But it is cute.”

No. It is vile and demonic. Captain Toad Treasure Seeker is the pinnacle of all that is wrong at Nintendo.

“But what about Lolo?”

Lolo was actually fun. Lolo was heroic. Lolo went through dungeons. There was actually maps in Lolo. Captain Toad won’t do any of that. It is just floating 3d puzzles. Nintendo won’t even charge full price for the game because they know how crappy it is.

Lolo 3 actually had a WORLD that helped with progression. Even Mario 64 has the palace hub where it felt like you had progression. Now Nintendo has gone anti-maps and anti-world. Nothing is integrated into the game. Everything is floating around as ‘space puzzles in 3d’.

Very clean gameplay. Heroic music. So much better than the Captain Turd: Treasure Seeker theme. A new Lolo game would be better than this junk.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 14, 2014

Email: Thanks For the Shovel Knight Review

I got a chance to play Shovel Knight about a week back and I have to thank you for your review. I felt like I was taking crazy pills or something because every single person on the internet was heralding this game as some kind of “kickstarter savior” and proof that indie games are anything but a crock pot of shit with some diamonds bubbling towards the surface. Thank you for reassuring me that there was at least one person out there that shared my views.

It reminds me of when Cave Story, Braid and Bioshock came out. I was told these games were masterpieces yet I couldn’t finish a single one of them. I was told Cave Story was “like Super Metroid”, so I turned it off and played Super Metroid instead. I was told Braid was “like Yoshi’s Island”(which was honestly bullshit but I can sort of see the relation) so I turned it off and played Yoshi’s Island instead. I was told Bioshock was “like System Shock” so I turned it off and played System Shock instead. I at least feel vindicated with these three games because no one gives a shit about them anymore yet Yoshi’s Island, System Shock and Super Metroid seem more popular and relevant now than they ever were. I suppose that’s a consequence of making a game that superficially imitates an older game. I can’t think of any particular game Shovel Knight is trying to be, but I did get an itch to play Rygar afterwords. Throwing a shield like Captain America is way more heroic than fighting with a shovel.

Did Super Mario Bros. need to remind anyone of older games to succeed? What about Minecraft, Zelda, Warcraft or Tetris? These “retro games” shouldn’t “harken back to the old days” so much as they should harken back to QUALITY. If these game makers keep getting the idea that “old is better”, whether or not it’s true, they’ll get a poisoned perspective and fuck it up. I can’t think of a single time this hasn’t been the case with maybe the exception of Street Fighter 4, but that was more of a “okay guys fighting games getting ridiculous here let’s go back to basics”.

If this email is reading more like a rant, then that’s honestly because it pretty much is.

Have a nice summer and long live the true classics.

It is shocking how strong the herd mentality is even anonymously on the Internet. I thought I was the one taking crazy pills many years ago when everyone was saying that Zelda 2 was the ‘black sheep of Zelda’ which didn’t match the sales or consumer reaction back when the game was released. And yet Wind Waker keeps being talked about as if it is some ‘misunderstood classic’ despite its sad sales and HOSTILE reaction from Zelda fans. What I discovered was that game journalists were lazy and asserted Miyamoto or someone else at Nintendo’s opinion as fact. Just because Miyamoto’s opinion is one way doesn’t mean it is correct. Miyamoto has been wrong on MANY things (Virtual Boy, 3d Mario, 3DS, Wii Music, etc).

You are so correct on Cave Story, Bioshock, and Braid. And you’re correct that no one talks about those games anymore.


Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 11, 2014

Rob Fahey the Cherry Picker

This article is sublime!” The hardcore are gushing all over themselves about it.

But why is Rob Fahey only comparing game data of 2014 to 2013? Gaming is a generational business. Why not try 5/10/15/20 years? It is because Fahey is cherry picking the data.

Is mobile actually getting ‘popular’ or is it because that is the only games people can afford? In the United States, less and less people can afford things like video games and have to resort to free-to-play or mobile. The disastrous drop in retail market in the United States points that something is amiss.

As Clayton Christensen explains, Japan’s economic growth was due to disruptive innovations. Since the 1990s, Japan has been focusing on efficiency innovations which is where the US is heading to now. Think automation. No mention of this from Fahey.

The people decline in Japan is very real and very troubling. A nation not making babies is going to shrink painfully. If everything was so peachy, why is Nintendo making ‘Quality of Life’? Nintendo doesn’t see a future except by selling health products to the old.

What about qualitative? When was the last big influential Japanese video game? Wii Sports was huge. As was Wii Fit. Since then? You might say Dark Souls, but I mean a game that actually sells.

People don’t like hearing talk of commercial and cultural decline but that is exactly what Japan is going through (and the United States soon as well).

How’s that Fukashima radiation working out for them? What a disaster!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 11, 2014

Email: Shovel Knight

Thanks Master Malstrom for your Shovel Knight review. I was in a fence about getting or not this game for my wii u but now I wont. The trailers make it look fun but all these “indie” games with 8-bit graphics are either  boring full of puzzles and “CREATIVE!” stuff or stupidly idiotically hard and obnoxious to play.

And I am glad to know I didn’t get it. I rather get a VC game. At least those games were fun. Hard yes but darn fun.

I wonder why all these indie games are like this? it seems that they truly want to go back to the NES games which were fun and hard but they always get it wrong. Like you said they get the bad parts and never the good ones. And between you and me, I am tired of “8 bit graphics” games. NES games were great not because of pixel art but because of solid gameplay and rich content. You could beat those games in half and hour and yet keep coming back. But no. It seems that they rather make long games that make you feel away from them when you are done. That’s the complete opposite of “NES-style games”.

Have a nice day!


You are welcome! Shovel Knight is a very frustrating game. It is not that it is hard. It is that it is annoying. The stages are way too long.

It’s a shame because Shovel Knight does many things right. The game mechanics are cool. The ‘knights’ as robo-masters is very cool. Getting money to upgrade yourself is cool. (BTW, I hate how they won’t give you an item in the dungeon. Now, you get a merchant from the chest, and he SELLS you the item. So lame). The overhead map is cool.

The long stages are not cool. The annoying platform mechanics aren’t cool. The boss fights can become very annoying very fast.

There is an area where a Big Fish lives, and he will talk to you. You bring him an empty chalice, and he will fill it up. The problem is that in order to do that, you have to wait a minute or two of 8-bit animation of the Big Fish *dancing*. You cannot do anything during this time. You must watch the Big Fish *dance*. I can’t remember any NES game doing ANYTHING remotely like that. Shovel Knight has a ton of talent in it, but scenes like that reveals the immaturity.

I’d say my game skill ability is above average. I’m not going to lie and say that “Yeah, I beat Silver Surfer NES with my eyes closed”. I hate that game. In fact, I don’t even like the original Gradius because I thought many things made that game annoying. Life Force I had much more fun with since when you died, you didn’t have to restart the stage, and you had a chance to save your options. Both are classics with Gradius coming out during the earlier time of the NES. Both were big sellers I believe. But when you look at how NES games progressed from Early NES to Later NES, you can see some huge progress.

I think indie game makers would benefit greatly by increasing the circle of people who try out their games. I suspect the Shovel Knight developers were all experienced gamers and had testers who were experienced gamers.

Is Ducktales hard? No. Is it frustrating? Only in some parts. For all the hoopla Ducktales gets, as does Super Mario Brothers and other NES games, these games were designed for children. Children picked up Ducktales and could play it fine right away. I am telling you that kids will not be able to pick up Shovel Knight and get into it. They’ll stop very fast.

Indie game makers would benefit greatly by designing their games for children. This does not mean making childish games. Look at the success Minecraft had. I don’t think Notch intended children to play his game, but the paid alpha opened up floodgates of larger pool of people playing his game. Many of them had children.

Excuse my bad mood. I recently returned from the beach, and I’m sunburned. So all I can do is sit inside for the sunburn to stop hurting (when it will then start itching). Perhaps it is time for a game like Civilization to pass the time.

If combat in Zelda is the primary missing link and 3D Zeldas don’t have near as fun combat as in 2D Zeldas, then why waste time trying to make a square peg fit through a round hole? 3D fantasy games in general don’t have as engaging combat as their 2d counterparts. I would love to see Nintendo make a system that I never thought of to work for 3D-oriented sword combat, but now I’m wondering if that sort of combat is possible without some hardcore immersion devices like Natal.

Maybe the combat system in Skyward Sword is what they need but they just need to make the AI enemies for it properly. The problem with the AI was, after all, making every enemy a ‘puzzle.’ What if they had taken the same controls and system, and only made the enemies numerous and intriguing to battle, giving us many ways to defeat them (some ways they may not have even thought of) instead of making it “slice this way to win.” Emergent gameplay is what the sword combat needs.
Whether that requires the abandonment of Z-targeting, I’m not sure, and I’m having an issue thinking of a way to fix the camera without making it too complicated for the player. With the current system, sword is controlled with motion in the right hand, movement is controlled by the analog stick, and the camera is controlled by a simple button press. It’s impossible for the camera to be controlled by a second analog stick while your right hand is in motion. It’d be a ridiculous juggling act.
I can’t think of a better way than to make the camera glued on your head, the movement glued to your feet and the sword glued to your arm. But that breaks with reality too much. I would rather not be glued to a device just to have smoother gameplay.
What could be done is remove the motion-control aspect for the sword and assign the camera to the right analog. It would have a system like Kingdom Hearts, only it must be more involved and arcadey. That’s the problem though, because it may not be possible to capture that exciting arcadey action perfectly with this control scheme. If Hyrule Warriors does this I will be very surprised. What we’ve seen of it has very little rhyme or reason, just pile-drive hordes of enemies with no effort but maybe a shift here and a bomb there. If this is how it is throughout, it would be too unlike the NES and SNES Zeldas, not enough critical action.
Another method is turning the 3D Zeldas into first person games. This was what was originally planned for Ocarina of Time, but they changed it because of the Young Link character. Skyrim is a good first-person fantasy game. I’m not sure how the sword combat is, but the bow combat is great in Skyrim. With first-person games, the weapons that are the funnest and most complex to use are the ones where all you do is point and click. Meaning guns and bows work really well in first person games. Zelda is known for the sword, though. It may be over-simplified or simply not as fun to play Zelda first-person with a sword. (Side-note: Expect Zelda U to have third-person camera bow puzzles. They will likely avoid or even cancel the first person view in the next Zelda)
All that said, I’d like to see Skyward Sword’s system paired with really good AI fights that aren’t puzzles. Maybe even multiplayer. The possibilities of it seem the greatest and make me want a real Zelda with motion controlled sword if we’re going to have any 3D Zelda. They could even make their team try fencing in order to learn the finesse of real sword fighting so they can transfer that knowledge to motion-controlled sword fighting.
If 3D Zelda combat is irredeemable at this point, then I’d rather see them 2d-ify the series on console so they can simply continue the direction of A Link to the Past and make it an awesome, arcade-action-packed, huge, content-rich-world, local multiplayer game. I can see the revival of 2D Zelda starting a phenomenon that grows Zelda to almost 2D Mario levels if Nintendo would get it right.


Why do you ask such useless questions? You might as well ask ‘How deep is the ocean?’ ‘How high is the sky?’ or ‘Who is Sean Malsrom?’

Nintendo does not CARE if their games are fun for the players. If they were, they wouldn’t have made a gazillion number of 3d Marios or Aonuma Zeldas. They would not have made Metroid: Other M. What Nintendo cares about is if the games are FUN for the developers. Nintendo is a developer centric company, not a gamer centric company. This is why their sales are in the toilet.

Why is Nintendo making a ‘Captain Toad’ 3d game. Did anyone ASK for this? Why was it being made? It is because the developers felt like it.

Why did Nintendo make a Tingle game? NO ONE likes Tingle. But Nintendo developers aren’t interested in making games people want to play.

If you like games like Zelda 1 and 2, Nintendo hates you. If you like games like Super Mario Brothers 3, Nintendo hates you. If you like games like Metroid or Super Metroid, Nintendo hates you. After all the DECADES that have passed and the massive wealth Nintendo has, it cannot be ‘ignorance’ that Nintendo does not make the games you or I want to play. Look at 2d Mario. Super Mario Brothers was the most popular game EVER. Yet, at the start of the Wii Era, Nintendo actually thought Super Mario Galaxy was the successor to Super Mario World. This is how OUT OF TOUCH they are. When NSMB DS and Wii came it, they blew up the sales charts and Nintendo was struck dumb. Miyamoto has said that much bitterness has come in due to people not wanting the 3d Mario.

So does Nintendo give up on 3d Mario and focus on 2d Mario? No! 2d Mario gets intentionally sabotaged with DLC, with a C team, with Wario-like gameplay (as done for NSMB 2), and the flagship Mario still is 3d Mario. The difference is that 3d Mario will keep being re-designed until it appeals.

Did Nintendo give up on 3d, the Gamecube, or the Virtual Boy? No. The 3DS is a Virtual Boy Reloaded, and I’m not sure if the 3DS has outsold the PSP in the United States. Wii U is chock full of Gamecube-esque games and the sales are beyond a disaster.

Nintendo is not interested in getting 3d Zelda combat to be as fun as 2d Zelda combat. What Nintendo’s thinking is about is ‘How do we get Aonuma’s puzzles to appeal to everyone?’ I swear to you that is their thought process. This is why Aonuma said ‘we are rethinking how we do Zelda’s puzzles’ for Zelda Wii U. Aonuma Zelda is like 3d Mario in that Nintendo is never going to give it up. They will ALWAYS put in the big budget production effects in it and keep trying to ‘tweak it’ to success.

Notice how none of this occurred with Nintendo’s actual blockbusters. Donkey Kong did not have prior versions that needed ‘tweaking’. Super Mario Brothers didn’t have prior versions that needed ‘tweaking’ for it to become a huge success. Legend of Zelda and Metroid didn’t have prior versions that needed ‘tweaking’ for it to become successful. Kirby didn’t need it. Super Mario Kart was the best selling SNES games in many markets such as Japan.

Modern Nintendo is about the attitude of ‘let us keep tweaking the game we enjoy developing’. Nintendo is about making their developers feel fulfilled FIRST and THEN making their customers feel fulfilled. But it doesn’t work. The masses still aren’t embracing 3d Mario or Aonuma Zelda. The masses are not embracing Crazy Sakamoto Metroid. “Doesn’t matter,” Nintendo says. “We will make it again and this time do it right!”

Imagine Donkey Kong 3. Nintendo responds to its poor sales as “We need to tweak it so people learn to love it.” Instead, Nintendo just abandoned it and made completely new games. Modern Nintendo doesn’t do that because Modern Nintendo isn’t about gamers, it is about developers. Even the president of Nintendo is a developer so they all think their socks don’t stink.

After all this time and with the money Nintendo has, no one is this stupid. Nintendo is INTENTIONALLY doing what it does. The question is why? The only answer that I see fits is because the people running Nintendo are extremely narcissistic. “But they are Board Members and executives. That must mean they are smarter and better than us.” No, it doesn’t. Look at the whole of Japanese society. Will Japan even exist in 50 years by the rate it is going? Serious question. The people aren’t making babies. The Japanese society is being crushed by bad macro-economics. Anyone observing the Japanese game market knows that the market is whimpering and that everyone is doing badly.

Any how is it that everywhere… all at once, we all started to hear the narrative of a ‘Wii U Comeback’. Is that reflected in the sales charts? NO! Do you know why? It is because WE HAVE HAD NO SALES CHARTS SINCE E3. So how did this story get out? Not even game journalism would report of the ‘popularity’ or ‘comeback’ nature without any actual data. It is because of Nintendo’s marketing.

Wii U may have gotten a meaningful momentum boost from E3 and Mario Kart 8. However, you have to have sales beyond the Gamecube to even be remotely considered a serious game console. Having a ‘comeback’ and still selling less than Gamecube is still massive failure. How stupid does Nintendo think we are?

With ‘Quality of Life’, I expect Nintendo gaming to exit the commercial market. What that means is that ‘Quality of Life’ is to provide the ‘Nintendo profits’ while Nintendo keeps making Virtual Boys and Gamecubes. Nintendo will declare Nintendo ‘changed due to changing market conditions’, but it will all be bullshit. The truth is that Nintendo only wants to make the games the developers wish to make. When Nintendo stopped making games for themselves, they made the DS and Wii and look how that ended up.

People often wonder what would it be like if Nintendo exited the gaming market. To me, Nintendo has already exited the gaming market. They are not interested in commercial sales anymore for gaming. They’d be happy if the gaming side breaks even while they make their profit with QoL. Generation 9 will tell us for sure if this is their direction. I bet it is.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 11, 2014

Email: Ys games that were on sale on Steam

Master Malstrom,

Have you ever considered trying the Ys games? They’re fast paced, swashbuckling hack and slash games with great music. Kind of like Zelda used to be in a sense. I think they might be up your alley since Nintendo doesn’t want to make this kind of game anymore.
Don’t believe ANYONE who says the Ys games were like ‘how Zelda used to be’. The Ys games existed alongside Classic Zelda at a time. Yet, Ys games never really reached popularity for a reason.
My biggest problem with the later incarnations of the Ys games is that the assets don’t feel integrated. The ‘awesome soundtrack’ sounds like crunk rock to me and could be inserted into any game like Guile’s Theme Which Goes With Everything. If you put the music or art from Classic Zelda somewhere else, it wouldn’t look or feel right.
Play Link to the Past and then play a Ys game. Are they even REMOTELY the same in quality? No.
Don’t listen to gaming forums hyping themselves up. Negative reviews can be just as revealing as positive reviews. Why do the negative reviews of Ys on Steam say? There is a reason why the Ys games were on sale for less than $5.

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