Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 6, 2014

Okada retires from Nintendo

Of course, we’ve never heard of him but we do know Shigeru Miyamoto’s hobbies.

The link.

- Satoru Okada has retired
- he’s the director of Metroid, Kid Icarus and Super Mario Land
- he also created the Game Boy alongside Gunpei Yokoi
- Okada was the General Manager of Nintendo’s Research & Engineering department
- this department was responsible for developing handhelds
- Okada was the chief developer of the Game Boy Color, Advance, Advance SP and Nintendo DS

Do you know a reason why I respect the older game developers compared to the newer ones? Aside from the fact that older devs had to invent the classics that got the newer devs interested, that the older devs weren’t raised on video games, the older devs knew electrical engineering. You had to back then. Today, everyone is all software.

What is interesting about the computer age is how so many people look down on electrical knowledge. How else is the computer going to run without electricity?

 

 

 

Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 5, 2014

The Lost Art of the Turn Based Multiplayer Experience

There was recently a party in my vicinity. Curiously, I brought out the NES, and it was the star of the show. Authentic NES hardware and games! Fun times were had by all.

While the multiplayer games I had such as Rampart, Rescue Rangers, Dr. Mario, Mario Brothers, Double Dragon II, and Contra were well received, what really surprised me was how people wanted to play Super Mario Brothers 3 in turn based mode. This means someone plays a level, beats it or dies, then it is the other person’s turn. Millipede was also heavily played despite the turn based multiplayer. This surprised me.

While co-op multiplayer is very fun, I think people also found it stressful. They always had to perform. Taking turns and watching the other player is something they greatly enjoyed. It is also non-existent today.

Even 2d paltformer games today are all co-op. Games that don’t offer co-op on one TV use Internet multiplayer instead. The turn based multiplayer is completely not represented. Yet, people do want to play it. Why not have an option in a Mario game where one can play co-op or turn based multiplayer? It should be easy to implement. Even a game like millipede was a great multiplayer experience despite the turn based nature. The game is very fast and the other person enjoyed watching the other person die.

Not all games have to be simultaneous multiplayer. Sometimes people like to watch the other player.

 

Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 5, 2014

Email: Hyrule Warriors saved my relationship with my boyfriend!

Hello master Maelstrom

I want to talk about my personal experience with Hyrule Warriors. My relationship with my boyfriend isn’t really in danger hehe. We do a lot of things together like sport and watching movies but we aren’t compatible in video games. It’s not a big deal really, we aren’t ‘’hardcore gamers’’ so we don’t play that often and we respect each other’s game moments.  But last friday he bought Hyrule Warriors and something happened! My Boyfriend is a true Dynasty Warrior fan (yeah it exists). He likes to murder tons of foes and not thinking too hard. I, on the other hand, am not really into gameplay but more into the content. Basically I’m really flexible with gameplay when I like the universe or the story. My Boyfriend only played A Link to the Past because he’s not really into puzzles (I tried to make him play a 3D Zelda game and he had no patience for the block puzzles so he was watching me playing most of the time).  When we started Hyrule Warriors we had both our interest for this game; him with the Dynasty Warrior genre and me with the ‘’not-looking-retarded-Zelda’’ atmosphere. 

We started the game and since I was the DW noob I made the tutorial to understand how the game works. I sucked really hard since it’s so far away from the type of games I usually play but my boyfriend really enjoyed teaching me how to play correctly (and making fun of me because I can’t read the map correctly). He was always saying: ‘’Stop reading the map like you read the GPS! (Yeah I’m bad at this) ‘’ and we were laughing. The first level made a big impression on me because I always wanted to see some life and an actual society in Hyrule (you know, other characters being aware there’s a WAR for once). So I was really invested into this and I was probably in full annoying fan girl mode since I was pointing out all the fan service of this game. But then the roles reversed when we started to deal with ‘’mini-puzzles’’. For example, in the first level you have to beat a dodongo and my boyfriend isn’t familiar with the concept of Bosses in DW neither Zelda stuff in general so all he was doing is hitting the dodongo and he didn’t understand why it wasn’t hurting him. So now my Zelda knowledge became useful to the team and I explained he had to make him eat a Bomb.  You’d be surprised of how often that situation actually happened so far. There’s a level with the eye statue shooting lasers and I had to teach again how to get rid of it. Then the Gohma boss appeared and I was mocking my boyfriend because he didn’t understand he had to shoot the super obvious flashy eye (I understand why it’s not common knowledge for everyone but in this case it was more about getting my revenge!). So we both played that game in 2 players’ mode for hours, him as Link and me as Sheik and we really had a good time; we were two 30 years old folks acting like 10 years old and it was really fun to share a common video game moment!

The review you posted earlier gave the point of view of a single player DW outsider. Mine is more about the enjoyment you can have when you share the game with someone.  I can’t wait to replay that game with my boyfriend again and if anyone here has a sweetheart or even a friend/family member interested into the Zelda universe, I’d say it’s a good game to try. Heck it’s better than Aonuma Zelda games in my opinion! 

What a refreshing email! Zelda is ripe for co-op multiplayer especially the earlier Zelda games. But Aonuma Zelda design doesn’t allow co-op multiplayer. Talking to weird NPCs and doing ‘puzzles’ just doesn’t work.

It’s good that Hyrule Warriors includes co-op multiplayer. I wonder if the other Dynasty Warrior games do.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 4, 2014

Amiibos as cartridges

I’m not a fan of the Amiibos/Skylanders/etc. thing. Then again, I’ve never been a fan of Pokemon either. But there is something very interesting about Amiibos.

They remind me of game cartridges.

What was a game cartridge? They were little chip boards containing software and hardware wrapped with a very appealing aesthetics (the cover art). You would place the cartridge in and play off it. You could trade cartridges and all. Cartridges are so much fun to collect.

Could Amiibos become a type of futuristic game cartridge? There are already little chips inside those Amiibos. Why can’t an Amiibo serve the same function as a game cartridge? The figurine also increases their aesthetic value beyond that of cartridges (which, lately, is an increase in quality as we have seen nothing but decline: cartridge -> disc -> download).

“But Malstrom,” says the reader, “the Amiibos are to be used by many in a game. We never had game cartridges stack into other game cartridges. We never had game cartridges serve as character additions.”

But we did with the Sega ‘lock on’ technology of Sonic and Knuckles. Cartridges obviously can’t do the Amiibo job very well, BUT THEY TRIED BACK IN THE 16-BIT GENERATION.

Nintendo is looking for ways to make games more special. The way to do this is to go the opposite way of PC gaming with discs and downloading and give us something more tangible. I need to touch it. I need to hold it in my hands. Most important of all, I NEED TO OWN IT. No one will collect anything if it requires an internet connection to work.

Imagine if Amiibos came with Virtual Console games. The size of the games are very small and can easily be put onto the little statues (hell, they were put on the 1980 and 1990 cartridges of so long ago). A Mario Amiibo could come with Super Mario Brothers. A Donkey Kong Amiibo could come with Donkey Kong arcade game. You get the picture. Those Amiibos would be selling like wildfire. They could also be a type of ‘account system’ in that people could use them on future game consoles without having to buy Super Mario Brothers all over again. We could also sell them and trade them. This would be good value for Nintendo to use their classic games on.

I can imagine a future where all games, including indie, would be sold in such manner. The only downside is that a collector of video games would be indistinguishable from a collector of toys as the games would resemble the toys. Still, I think it is a cool idea.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 4, 2014

Email: Why they missed the Wii’s revolution

Because it was gloriously gamey, the SJW loathes all things gamey they want enlightening social messages delivered with as few player inputs as possible, their ideal game is Gone Home a game so devoid of gameplay that Myst laughs at it.
Of course they will ignore the Wii and the other older massive mainstream consoles because it torpedoes their narrative, it’s probably why they like to call this Gen4 of gaming acting like gaming started with the PS1/N64.
They aren’t happy with having some tiny niche where they all play ” enlightening” games they want the entire industry to convert or be made examples of.Anyone on the fence over this needs to realize that SJWs are the reboot of Jack Thompson and are absolutely convinced that everything they deem wrong with modern society can be blamed on video games thus the existing market and the consumer of it must be destroyed.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bx–6EmIIAAammK.png

Ten years ago the above from Anita’s mouthpiece would have come from Thompson or some politician hoping to get the family vote. The only smart thing they’ve done is not start with the same sort of assault against violent games but I’m sure it’s in their long-term plans.

 

I just want fun games to play. It’s all I’ve ever wanted! Instead, we get all this junk…

 

Master Malstrom,
 
You may have heard that Koji Igarashi, the producer for most Castlevania games following his breakout title Symphony of the Night, has followed in Inafune’s footsteps and left Konami to try and create an indie studio early this year. But that’s not what I wanted to tell you.
 
In recent interviews conducted with IGA, including a GDC talk which he gave on the retrospective of heading the development for Castlevania titles, he revealed the following:
 
In Japan there were lots of games traded into game shops the day they came out,” he said, before adding that he wanted to make the value of games closer to that of films, which lasted about the same amount of time, but cost about a sixth as much.
He then looked at Zelda for inspiration, as that game had a lot of exploration and backtracking that would increase the play time. Iga decided to add experience points and a light RPG system to incentivise retreading the same territory many times.
<…> He further noted that there was no internal codename for this sort of genre at the time and the studio simply called it a “2D exploration action game.”
Source. Emphases mine.
 
Experience points and a “light RPG system” on a sidescrolling action game? Sounds like not merely any Zelda. Heck it sounds like Zelda 2, the “black sheep” of the series.
 
Here is another excerpt where he talks about making more “2D exploration action games” with his planned company:
 
“In my heart, I really wanted to create a Legend of Zelda style game. But I suppose that when you turn Zelda into a 2D platformer, yes, it resembles Metroid.” When I mentioned the connection most likely stems from the fact that Symphony of the Night uses a map that looks remarkably similar to Super Metroid’s, he laughed. “I thought it was because of the game’s super jump, which is very similar to Super Metroid’s.” 
 
Source. Emphases mine.
Think about it. The inspiration for one of the greatest entries in the series was created when someone saw a business-related problem, thought outside of the box and employed a simple design methodology used by a game series whose modern entries no longer apply said methodology!
I really don’t think we would have gotten a masterpiece like SotN, largely regarded as the mainstream breakout title (or a “cop-out” in the eyes of hardcore Classicvania fans, depending on who you’re talking to) for the Castlevania series, if he had based it on newer Zeldas. And if that were the case then what of Metroid?
 
Nintendo really needs to get its act together. If they continue circling their wagons in defense then I’m calling the end of an empire.
.
This is an excellent email! You uncovered the ludology origins of one of the classic games. You have done more in one email than most game journalists have done in their entire careers.
.
Someone at NOA (who I know have an unfortunate person monitoring this site) needs to give this email to Aonuma or Miyamoto. What they think is Zelda is not Zelda. I do agree that Symphony of Night feels closer to a Zelda experience. The other handheld Castlevania games (GBA and DS) are also in demand and have a good resale price.
.
Aria of Sorrow (GBA) is going for $43. The Double Pack is going for $67. Think of it. $70 for a GBA game!
.
The DS Castlevanias aren’t going for as much. Around $20 to $25. It’s still holding its value. I expect it to only go up though.
.
Symphony of Night is currently selling for $51. The game has retained its value.
Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 3, 2014

Email: Glorious hardware software intergation!

People have been wondering why the new Smash Bros. can’t use the 3DS’ bulky right circle pad addon for quick smash and aerial attacks well worry no more because Sakurai  has spilled the beans:
“Supporting the CCP requires the use of some of the CPU’s processing load. From the information received during the development of Kid Icarus: Uprising, this is a quite large load at around 5%. Kid Icarus: Uprising and Smash both use the maximum capability of the device, so we had to abandon the idea of CCP support.With the New 3DS, we were able to support the C-Stick as the processing power is increased and it is not a peripheral device.”

The 3DS is just one huge ongoing mistake.

 

The successor to the 3DS is really going to show us where Nintendo goes next. If Nintendo intends to share home console and handheld console assets and programs, then the next handheld needs to make a huge jump in power capability.

 

I haven’t been saying much about GamerGate because there isn’t much for me to say. I feel I’ve already done my part to help better the Gaming Revolution (and it is a revolution!).

Due to unhappiness of gamers, Intel has dropped the marketing campaign for Gamasutra. The article in question was this one.

The rhetoric of the SJWs is very interesting. They attack ‘hardcore stereotypes’ while they say we need more of whatever they are peddling. In many ways, the rhetorical spear they are thrusting is similar to the rhetorical spear of the Wii Revolution. Yet, it is entirely off.

Nintendo was never interested in attacking gamers. Why would they do that? They are a game company after all. Nintendo never said ‘gamer doesn’t exist’ but said their mission was to ‘make everyone a gamer’. It was GAMER EXPANSION. It was to INCREASE the number of gamers throughout society. And when this occurs, the social stigma of gamers decrease because more and more society plays the games. Instead of Nintendo trying to compete for the shrinking pie of the established market gamers, Nintendo increased the pie by making ‘new’ types of gamers. This was a brilliant business move and is THE WAY how to increase the Gaming Revolution.

The Gaming Revolution began with PONG because the business model began with PONG. The Gaming Revolution increased with the Atari Era and then grew with the NES Era. Until the 16-bit generation, gaming was not about competition as it was about market expansion. This doesn’t meant that market expansion didn’t continue in some ways, but it meant that the gaming business became defined by ‘Console War’ of company A outselling company B. It got our eyes off what was really important: the gaming revolution. The gaming revolution is to make everyone a gamer. It is to create new types of games never seen before. Your favorite games are going to be the gaming revolution type games.

In the most absurd thing ever, traditional gamers swallowed marketing that ‘new market gamers’ were not gamers and were set to destroy all of gaming. Out of the three 7th Gen consoles, two did the core games and the third did some core games. Yet, the new market was going to destroy all of gaming! It was the stupidest thing ever. Hardcore gamers were going batshit insane. The success of Wii Sports didn’t harm any other game. People buying Wii Fit didn’t invalidate other types of games. It is just that Wii Sports and Wii Fit are good for different type of people. More and more people were becoming gamers.

The Social Justice Warrior thing going on is exactly what the hardcore feared. Social Justice Warriors want to remove the word of gamers and games. They don’t want games. They want ‘culture’ (defined by them). And they ARE attacking your games.

Let’s look at Leigh Alexander’s piece a little closer:

Yet in 2014, the industry has changed. We still think angry young men are the primary demographic for commercial video games — yet average software revenues from the commercial space have contracted massively year on year, with only a few sterling brands enjoying predictable success.

It’s nice that they have finally come to express that the game market is shrinking, but this shrinking is due to poor macro-economic forces and due to the lack of game expansion by everyone including Nintendo.

It’s clear that most of the people who drove those revenues in the past have grown up — either out of games, or into more fertile spaces, where small and diverse titles can flourish, where communities can quickly spring up around creativity, self-expression and mutual support, rather than consumerism. There are new audiences and new creators alike there. Traditional “gaming” is sloughing off, culturally and economically, like the carapace of a bug.

Clear… how? These are assertions with no meat.

This is hard for people who’ve drank the kool aid about how their identity depends on the aging cultural signposts of a rapidly-evolving, increasingly broad and complex medium. It’s hard for them to hear they don’t own anything, anymore, that they aren’t the world’s most special-est consumer demographic, that they have to share.

This is an excellent example of projectism. The author describes herself.

But it’s unstoppable. A new generation of fans and creators is finally aiming to instate a healthy cultural vocabulary, a language of community that was missing in the days of “gamer pride” and special interest groups led by a product-guide approach to conversation with a single presumed demographic.

Don’t you mean the OLD generation? This was the 1980s. What was the demographic of Pac-Man? Or Super Mario Brothers? Or Legend of Zelda? Or Tetris? The reason why Nintendo boldly went the path they did with Wii wasn’t due to new market data but due to OLD market data. Nintendo figured that if games could reach a broad audience like that before, they could again if they were made and marketed correctly. Hence, the Wii phenomenon.

Now part of a writer’s job in a creative, human medium is to help curate a creative community and an inclusive culture — and a lack of commitment to that just looks out-of-step, like a partial compromise with the howling trolls who’ve latched onto ‘ethics’ as the latest flag in their onslaught against evolution and inclusion.

They think they are sooooooo smart. And they think you, the lowly gamer, are soooooo stupid. Note the tone. Why, you guys are even against evolution. But it is not evolution of what she suggests but revolution. She wants to destroy the definition of games and gamers. That is not evolution but a complete destruction of what was before. This is cultural Marxism on the march.

If these people were half as bright as they think they were, why did they miss the Wii phenomenon? You know the actual gamer revolution? They speak for being ‘inclusive’ but where were they when gaming tried to be inclusive with the Wii?

Inclusive, to them, is actually the opposite. They don’t want whatever they’re peddling to co-exist with gamers. They want to destroy gamers. They want to remove the word of gamer, to remove the world of gamer.

Developers and writers alike want games about more things, and games by more people. We want — and we are getting, and will keep getting — tragicomedy, vignette, musicals, dream worlds, family tales, ethnographies, abstract art. We will get this, because we’re creating culture now. We are refusing to let anyone feel prohibited from participating.

No one is stopping them to make whatever they want. However, the market chooses to buy what it does. People make these… ‘software experiences’ … all the time. They don’t sell. This is why the games that come out fit the formulas they do.

These obtuse shitslingers, these wailing hyper-consumers, these childish internet-arguers — they are not my audience. They don’t have to be yours.

And apparently Gamasutra isn’t Intel’s audience either.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 2, 2014

Where has Malstrom been?

Where has Malstrom been? Oh noes!

He has been driving across Houston everyday. Houston is very large. The traffic is worst in the nation with the exception of LA. There are certain areas that are booming, and I want to ride the boom. I am also in the process of moving.

I did have a strange experience at a Gamestop with a woman hitting on me (I was shocked to even see a woman INSIDE Gamestop!). I went in to get gifts for the nephews. The girl was a female employee. She was a little too happy to see me. I asked her, “You must see lots of strange guys come in this place…” which she laughed and said yes. I got the impression that she intentionally chose to work Gamestop in order to meet men (women do this all the time in their choice of employment). She hasn’t been happy with what comes into those doors. Real men don’t hang out at Gamestop. They just don’t.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 2, 2014

Email: Hyrule Warriors Review

I’ve played a few hours into this game and it’s weird … I’m surprised
at the fact that I can’t put it down. I wouldn’t call it a great game.
It’s an OK one. The thing I was most interested in was massive battles
where Link is surrounded by hundreds of bad guys. Even before they
announced this game I was thinking that battles like that are exactly
what Zelda needs. In Aonuma Zelda you can just run past the enemies on
your way to the next puzzle. How great would it be if there were lots of
enemies that you had to kill or they would kill you first?

Well, this really isn’t that game. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It really isn’t anything more than you should have reasonably expected
it to be. I have never played a Destiny Warriors game but I’d heard they
were repetitive. But I was not prepared for what it’s really like. You
literally run around mashing two buttons … the only variety you get is
that you can mash button A one, two, or three times before you mash
button B. What a disappointment! Zelda has always had combat that is
more sophisticated than this. With one sword button you can jab, slice,
chop downward, do a swinging jump. Not in Hyrule Warriors. Once I
finished the first level I was wondering “what was I thinking spending
$50 on this?” (I had a coupon)

It turns out you need to give the game a little time. Now I’m going to
take a second to point out one of the most important aspects of a game,
one that a lot of games get wrong. The first 15 minutes have to capture
you. Nintendo and Miyamoto in particular are great at this. In a Mario
game, on paper it would make sense to hold back the raccoon tail or cape
until you’ve progressed in the game a while. But you always get those in
the first level. From there you are hooked. This is also why Final
Fantasy games often have you controlling super powerful characters in
the opening of the game, to give you just a taste of what is coming
later. The best of all time is Link to the Past’s castle raid/princess
rescue during a pounding thunderstorm, with music that is only used
during this part. I’m sure you have examples too.

Hyrule Warriors doesn’t do this. It sucks to run around a super easy
mission doing the same attacks over and over as you find the next
highlighted bad guy. Only once I got 5 or so missions in, and lost, did
I realize that there is some interesting strategy. It reminds me of
Onslaught mode in Unreal Tournament where you capture spots on the map
so that your team can spawn there. Capturing a spot makes it easier to
take over the next one connected to it, until you finally reach the
base. In this game you don’t manage any other units so it’s really all
about deciding where you are going to help out, since everyone else
kills about 1 guy per minute and you can kill 300 in that time. That
part of it is pretty fun. The mechanics of actual combat are kinda
secondary to that, at least so far. It does expand in depth but I still
don’t have more than a couple attack options per character. Either way,
you can still run right past enemies as the point isn’t to prevent you
from getting anywhere, the point is that you have to kill them to
complete objectives. Hardly any enemies really feel dangerous. In this
it really is nothing like Zelda, or at least nothing like an ideal Zelda.

And it really is just a Dynasty Warriors game with Zelda. I wouldn’t
even call it a Zelda spinoff. The merge of the two series was by no
means seamless. At least that Zelda Crossbow game felt like it could
have been part of a larger Zelda game. Here, the Zelda items (bombs,
arrows) are clunky, ineffective, and really just work like keys to get
you past barriers. The characters are way too damn chatty (in a cruel
joke, “Hey listen” is back), and the new characters are pretty out of
place. The main one is ripped straight out of Final Fantasy X land with
a stupid 12-piece outfit and even flashes a peace sign when she performs
her special move. Instead of fruitiness intruding into our
western-fantasy-based world, it’s anime. Oh, I forgot the villain with
the mega tittz Jennifer Lopez dress with a v-neck that plunges to her
crotch. Yes, women dressed like that in feudal castle settings all the time.

I think what this game really is, is a testament to the power of player
development and strong content. Even in a game that feels mediocre, you
always have this feeling that if you play one more half hour, you’ll
unlock a cool new character or weapon or attack combo. That is right in
Zelda’s wheelhouse. If you take that feeling of progression and layer
Zelda stuff on top of it, it can still be pretty enjoyable. I do kinda
hope the game does well and that it makes Aonuma take notice. Something
like that. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to complain too
much–the rest of the Wii U library has not exactly blown my socks off.
3 stars.

 

Thanks for the review. I get the impression that the game is more ‘addictive’ than fun. But addictive is good too. The ‘getting new stuff’ makes you want to keep playing.

Speaking of Mario and the cape, the cape was not given to Mario in the first level. You had to get to Donut Plains to get the cape (World 2 essentially). What was given in first level was Yoshi.

Hyrule Warriors sounds like it has the issues I have with modern games. It relies on the addiction of ‘getting stuff’ as opposed to the play. I love Millipede for the NES because it is fun to play. There are no achievements to be unlocked.

Games seem to be no longer about gameplay but about watching bars fill up. It is even making me long for the ‘cinematic games era’. Sigh.

 

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