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.
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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.
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Play Link to the Past and then play a Ys game. Are they even REMOTELY the same in quality? No.
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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.
Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 11, 2014

Shovel Knight isn’t fun

I’m through with Shovel Knight. This game isn’t fun.

“Why is it not fun?”

The game is very annoying. I’m not having fun with it. The biggest problem is all the mid-points. This gives the developers time to put in more bullshit. By bullshit I mean annoyances like the Ninja Gaiden ‘birds knocking you off platforms’ bullshit. The people making this game aren’t interested in making a fun game. Throwing around mid-points everywhere followed by Bullshit is not fun. The fact that there are so many mid-points screams ‘not fun design’. If you want an early example of this in the game, go to the second or third stage where the game keeps turning everything dark. You cannot see the platforms or enemies except when lightning flashes for a second or two. What type of bullshit is this? This is 80s obtuseness, not fun game design.

A more fun way is to give the sense of progress by the player conquering . For example, if the stage is a castle, it should look like a castle in many ways. The player should know he is going through the Hall, the Kitchen, the Armory, or wherever else. It gives a sense of progression. In Shovel Knight, the castle is nothing but a space dungeon with castle trimmings. Here is a mid-point followed by annoying bullshit screen. Oh, and if you die in a bottomless pit, your money just hovers above the bottomless pit. You can’t get that money back because you have to die to get it (which means more money flying).

I had other people play the game, and I watched them struggle even in the beginning stage. It’s not that the game is hard, it is that it is that there is tons of annoying bullshit in there. (And the stages are SO LONG! Why are the stages SO LONG!???)

If you are going to make a retro-esque game, get the GOOD stuff from the 80s and not the BAD stuff. The BAD stuff includes the ‘Ninja Gaiden birds knocking you into bottom-less pits’ as well as the 8-bit color palette.

Games like Zelda 2 were actually FUN. Yes, they had 80s obtuseness in them. Those stupid bubbles could hurl you into a bottom less pit. But they weren’t frequent in the game. You could also grind in the game which made bosses and enemies very easy. You could bypass nasty lava rooms by turning yourself into a fairy (and bypassing locked doors as well!). The point is that you had OPTIONS.

I consider Shovel Knight to be more related to the Mega Man 9 type way of gameplay than the Mega Man 2/3/Super Mario Brothers 3/etc. type gameplay. This is not a good thing.

Shovel Knight isn’t an old school game. It is a hardcore game using the ‘fad-of-the-time’ of 8-bit graphics and mechanics. AVOID.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 8, 2014

Email: Every indie game is like Aonuma Zelda

Sean,

There have been a bunch of Indie games “free” for Playstation Plus
users recently. Lone Survivor, Stealth Inc, Vessel, Thomas Was Alone,
and a whole lot more. I’ve tried a good number them, and they are
virtually ALL Aonuma Zelda games minus the combat. That is, they’re
just sequences of rooms where literally all you do is move blocks to
the proper spot, hit switches in the right order, and put the correct
maguffin on the the right pedestal. What makes them OMG AMAZING is
they typically have some pretentious “arty” aesthetic and a
self-indulgent story with a “dark” twist that “makes you think.”

Few if any of these games are commercially successful. I typically
find the puzzles trivial and solve them within a matter of seconds.
Even when I don’t, just hitting the switches in some natural order
usually gets me through. The idea of a small, low-budget platformer
appeals to me, but these developers need to start looking at Super
Mario Bros instead of Skyward Sword for their template of a good game.

This is exactly right. ANYONE can make a puzzle game with artsy-fartsy styles. I can get that “entertainment” anywhere. This is why I don’t think Aonuma has any talent… at least not at game making. Maybe ‘team leading’ or whatever else he does behind the scenes. The Aonuma games are just terrible and absolutely wretched. Why else did Majestic bomb? The only reason why Aonuma has lasted this long is because much can be hidden inside a familiar IP. Everyone WANTS to believe the Aonuma games are ‘real Zeldas’ but in their heart they know it is not. Zelda games are AMBITIOUS games for their time. Zelda 1 was ambitious. Zelda 2 was ambitious. LTTP was ambitious. Ocarina of Time was ambitious. Aonuma Zelda is just amateur hour indie game design wrapped in a high budget Zelda IP.

If you took away the Zelda IP and big budget, would anyone like the Aonuma Zelda games? Raise your hand if you would. I mean, there are some people who genuinely like games like Okami (without being told it was ‘good’ by a game journalist or a gaming message forum). But sales matter and these games aren’t selling.

Aonuma does the same damn thing with each new preview of a Zelda game. “Here is Zelda 1. We would like to get back to the spirit of the original Zelda.” Then in the end, the Zelda game may have a ‘tribute’ to it in terms of a sound effect or art, but it is nothing at all like Zelda. Aonuma hates Zelda. Why should any of it influence his game design?

Buying Aonuma Zelda because THIS TIME the Zelda will ‘be good’ and be ‘getting back to the roots of Zelda because of X’ is like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football. Aonuma, being evil like Lucy, takes the ball away. “Tee hee!”

What Aonuma is doing is trying to establish Zelda as ‘his game’. Unfortunately for him, no one associates Zelda with any of his games. Zelda is Ocarina of Time. Zelda is Link to the Past. Zelda is Legend of Zelda. Zelda is not Skyward Sword. Zelda is not Spirit Tracks. Zelda is not Wind Waker. This is why the ‘teasing’ of ‘This new Zelda will get back to the roots of Zelda with X feature,’ is to buy time hoping that one of his Zelda games ‘sticks’.

If you don’t believe me, look at Sakamoto and Metroid: Other M. Other M was not Metroid. But Sakamoto wanted it to be Metroid. Sakamoto intentionally marketed Other M as if it were the spiritual successor to Super Metroid. The end sequence of Super Metroid is the intro sequence to Other M. It was an intentional lie to make you all buy Other M and then ‘be surprised as you greatly enjoy Sakamoto’s astonishing new direction for Metroid’. That is what he was up to. And that is what Aonuma has been doing for years. Sakamoto’s intention was revealed because he pulled too hard too soon. Aonuma isn’t allowed to go totally wild… just yet. He is still trying to get everyone to get on board with ‘his genius’.

I love how Aonuma just ‘declares’ how Wind Waker re-release confirms how everyone has ‘accepted’ that Zelda. No, it hasn’t. The sales show it hasn’t. And we know the real plan was that the Wii U was to be selling MUCH better than Gamecube and for Wind Waker HD to be re-released and become MORE popular than Wind Waker GC version so Aonuma could then boast about how people have accepted Wind Waker as the re-release outsells the GC version. But, nope, that is not the case. Yet, Aonuma will say it anyway.

These people are megalomaniacs.

Above: No! Completely wrong!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 8, 2014

Automation will have an impact on the Game Industry

At Wal-Mart when I was picking up some food, I go by the video game section (checking supply, everything is ‘sold out’ including Wii U), I see that Wal-Mart has set up its own Minecraft stand. In other words, Minecraft has the same amount of shelf space as an entire console library. In this space, they offer Minecraft Xbox 360 discs, Xbox 360 and PS+ cards, all to download the Minecraft.

Minecraft is the biggest, most influential game to come out in a long time. Minecraft has changed how gaming does its business (selling alphas) and changed the indie game scene. The sales of Minecraft cannot be denied. It is not at the level of Super Mario Brothers popularity but it is still extremely high and dominates the hearts of children. Minecraft is Nintendo’s biggest problem right now as the game is available on Nintendo’s competitors and is more appealing to kids than Nintendo’s first party games.

What I find intriguing about Minecraft is that it embraces automation in terms of procedural generated worlds. Ahem:

“But Malstrom! Procedural generated worlds cannot have the same impact as one made by a Human hand piece by piece.”

Before I address that, I’d like to point out two other big hits in the indie scene: FTL and Terraria

While the above is one person’s Terraria world, the point is that every world is different and randomly made.

Having someone embrace their ‘creativity’ to hand place each item and thing in the world would take forever and be very expensive. Ironically, it is what the player does that is hand generated while the game world is procedurally generated.

“So what are you getting at here, Malstrom?”

Aren’t video games themselves a form of automation? Nintendo and others say all this BS about video games being ‘creative’ and offering ‘surprises’ and doing ‘stuff we’ve never seen before’. But that’s not the case. A video game cannot sell unless it replicates the logical and ordered universe we experience from this world.

Kids play capture the flag in real life. But a video game offers an automated capture the flag. You play the game, but you don’t have to do the hand by hand things like run around outside. It’s all been automated.

Games like Civilization are automations of board games.

In fact, the games you think are probably all ‘hand carved’ are more likely to be generated by automation. Take Star Control II:

 

The great Star Control 2 map was actually randomly generated. The creators then went in and hand altered a few things here and there.

While I’m not sure if it was machine generated, there are interesting results when the world is made first and then the game makers had to figure out a way to fill it up. We got games like this:

Ultima 7 had so many ‘empty areas’ because the developers were struggling to fill the world up with stuff. Richard Garriot that everything should be ‘hand crafted’. Using later technology, Origin was able to ‘hand make’ each area and then late connect them together into a world. The game we got doing that was this:

I think hand generated has been greatly over-valued when done by developers. When it is the player who does hand generated stuff, it becomes cool. Minecraft was procedurally generated yet people hand made a ton of stuff. The creativity wasn’t in the ‘developer’ but in the player.

Video games have turned inside out. The normal is for the player to be the creative, imaginative force in the game and the game developer to be the one who creates the automated machine. What we have now is that game developers keep trying to be the creative, imaginative force in the game, hand crafting everything, which leaves the player a game experience of dull automation. “Go to the next checkpoint for the next script sequence.”

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 7, 2014

How Nintendo just sold me on Bayonetta 2

by including Bayonetta 1 ON A DISC. Two games in one? I’m there.

I really wish more games did these type of things. I really liked how Unreal Tournament 2004 included all of Unreal Tournament 2003′s content in it. UT2K4 just FLEW off the shelves.

What I hope Nintendo realizes is that…

1) Gamers tend to be collectors. We buy a game hoping to play it for a long time. Those who buy a game and sell it to Used Game Shop are ‘hardcore scum’. I’d much rather buy a game at full price and WANT to keep it. Bayonetta 1 on a physical disc goes a long way to that end.

2) It’s easy to write off a sequel when you haven’t played the earlier games. By including Bayonetta 1, it is much harder to ignore Bayonetta 2.

3) 2 games for the price of one is a very good value.

I actually decided to look at all the Wii U games I would want to buy and calculate all the prices. I included one Wii U controller and the console itself ($300). I did not include bundled games. Super Mario U and Luigi U are not included in the $300 console price. I used real current prices from what I saw on Amazon.

Of everything added together, the total was $1114. Not too bad actually. Most of the games were third party games as well. “Did you include Pikmin 3?” No. Who do you think I am, a Gamecube fanboy? “But what about Wind Waker HD!?” Aonuma can go jump into a lake. I don’t buy trash. Actually, the third party Wii U games are ridiculously low in price which make them a better bargain than the Nintendo games. Really, Nintendo? $50 for Wii Fit U? That price should be cut in half.

The biggest hurdle is getting the hardware and a few games. No one wants to get a console and just get one game. So you have $300 +$60 +$60 starting out and $50 if you want that ridiculously expensive Wii U controller too. $470 starting out. Yikes! It’s just too expensive.

I really wish the hardware was cheaper and the games full price. The NES sold for $100 in 1987 which is $209 adjusted for inflation. For that $209, you got Super Mario Brothers/Duckhunt, two controllers, and a light gun. The $50 for the Wii U controller just SUCKS and is taking the cost away from a software title that would have been bought instead. I don’t see why the controller is that expensive.

I do plan on picking up a Wii U sometime in the future. Probably around when Splatoon comes out. Hopefully there will be price cuts somewhere so I can spend more money on SOFTWARE instead of the fracking hardware. And frack the prices on controllers! “Oh, we want the Nintendo console to be local multiplayer console! BTW, controllers cost $50 each.”  Frack!

Here’s an idea. Have a wireless version of the Four-Score using today’s technology and have WIRED very basic controllers (think SNES type without any rumble or motion sensing). It would be like four controllers bundled in the Four-Score. Since it is all made cheaply, it could be $50 total. Also bundle a four player game with it.

I know my NES and SNES controllers use ‘less technology’ than today’s controllers. Yet, I still use them after 20-30 years. They still last. Controllers have really overshot the job they are intended to do.

Compare the Wii. Wii was $250 with Wii Sports included (the most awesome game ever!). Wii Play was $50 and came with Wii Play (omg Tanks!). You’re at $300 already with two controllers and two games (yeah, you need another nunchucka but those aren’t expensive).

Come to think of it, where is Tanks as a downloadable game? I want more tanks!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 6, 2014

Email: Teddy Ruxpin!!!

OH MY GOD ! TEDDY RUXPIN ! This bear gave me nightmares for years when I was a child. And I’ve been searching for its name for so long now ! Thank you for remembering me this. (And I’m French, so yes, this bear was an INTERNATIONAL plague to the children of the world).

It sure was a dark age…

This blog helps people in ever strange and surprising ways.

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