So many people do not know these secrets. Does the reader?

I knew because I subscribed to Nintendo Power! Playing with power meant I needed my power mags. Oh yeah.

Super Mario Brothers 3 is the best video game on the NES, hands down. I’d say it is one of the best video games ever made. It is still replayable, so many secrets, has amazing multiplayer, the best lore, and whimiscal as hell.

Every time I see this intro, I smile.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 14, 2016

NX won’t be backwards compatible

“How do you know that, Malstrom?”

If Nintendo is spending time and money porting Smash 4, Zelda U, and other games like Splatoon and Mario Maker to NX, then backwards compatibility will not be there. Why would Nintendo spend money to port these games when backwards compatibility would do it for them? Twilight Princess was a new game, not a port of an old game.

Anyway, it is very difficult to do this blog now. It is difficult to look at my email. I have been doing this a long time. But writing about Nintendo is depressing these days. There is nothing newsworthy to talk about. Zelda U all for E3? Lame. No NX news forever? Lame. What am I supposed to say?

Oh, look at that NPD and the falling sales rates. Looks like Macro-economic conditions to me.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 4, 2016

Destruction of Nate Silver

Why aren’t you guys quoting Nate Silver anymore? Because he’s a crock.

He hasn’t been ‘mistakenly’ wrong. He has been wrong again, and again, and again. Check it out.

Everyone is going to be looking at the Trump vs. Clinton general election from the prism of 2000 battleground. “First, let us give these states to Clinton, those states to Trump, and focus on the one or few battleground states.” 2000 was close because both candidates sucked. Gore? Bush Jr.? 2004 was also close because both candidates sucked. Bush Jr.? Kerry? 2008 was completely misread by people since 2006 was misread by people. Democrats won control of the House in 2006 due to conservative districts punishing Republican GW Bush Administration by voting for the Democrat. After all, Obama campaigned on lower taxes, stronger military, etc. Carville hilariously wrote a book saying that there would be 40 more years of Democratic control. 2012, you have Obama vs Romney, a terribel candidate.

Here is why 2016 won’t be ‘close’ in the perspective of 2000 type ‘battleground’ scenarios and ‘ground game’ crap.

First, I think we are in a Re-Alignment. I know this is said every election, but we are due for one. Liberal and Conservative alignment is dead. What is happening is a Globalist vs Nationalist alignment. Republicans would be very smart to have Trump help undergo the alignment of Republicans into Nationalists. The Democrats, especially with their super-delegate bullshit, are delaying their inevitable re-alignment into a Globalist Party. They will get there, but it may be a shellacking for a general election or two in order to get it.

Second, most people reading this site have never seen a true landslide election. The strangest general election ever was Carter’s. Reagan and Nixon won 49 states in two of their elections. The point is that the 2000-ish ‘this is going to be CLOSE and battleground states OMG’ type thinking may not apply here. It could very well be a blowout. Trump, like Reagan and Nixon, will get Democrat votes. Laffer, from the infamous Laffer’s Curve, predicts Republican candidate to win 47 states. He predicts this because he has seen Nixon and Reagan elections because in those cases the Democratic Party put up a ‘machine candidate’ who just royally sucked. Hillary Clinton royally sucks. I think she is the worst (electoral wise) candidate the Democrats could have chosen. They could have put in anyone else.

Third, Hillary Clinton will be the first time we have ever had a female Presidential candidate. How will people respond? I do not think they will respond well. So many women do not want a female president. We have had two instances of female VP picks. Mondale in 1984 (lost 49 states) and McCain in 2008 (big loss). Cruz had Fiorina as a VP pick before Indiana primary and Cruz got blown out. Inside the beltway thinking says it is good to put up female VP candidates, but the public doesn’t seem to agree. Based on this, a main female presidential candidate will likely be blown out.

Fourth, Hillary Clinton has the most baggage I’ve ever seen a political candidate have. It goes beyond the emails and money cheating. I am talking Monica Lewinsky and all the other bimbo eruptions. Many young people did not live through that. They will be shocked that Hillary Clinton stuck by and allowed Bill Clinton to humiliate her again and again. I expect young feminists to vote against Hillary Clinton because of that.

Fifth, Hillary Clinton is seen as ‘status quo’. With so many Americans upset at the direction the country is going (polling wise), I think this will be an anti-status quo election.

Sixth, this is extremely important and will not be mentioned anywhere. Pundits think Hillary Clinton is ‘popular’ because Bill Clinton was ‘popular’. The truth was that Bill Clinton was never popular. Did you know that Bill Clinton never won a majority of the vote in either the 1992 or 1996 elections? He won majority of electoral college votes, but he couldn’t get the majority of the popular vote. In 1996, he got 49% of the vote. In 1992, he got 42% of the vote. This happened because of a third party candidate called Perot who got, astonishingly, 20% of the vote in 1992.

Seventh, the pundits will have tunnel vision because they believe that unfavorable ratings are equal. They are not. Most presidential candidates try to appear as the hero. Trump, in a most brilliant move, is trying to appear as the villain. This is why the media cannot stop reporting on what he says. It is why he loves being the ‘great villain’ with GOP against him, conservative pundits against him, Democrats against him, etc. The more Trump is attacked, the stronger he gets. Trump isn’t running as a hero or as a moral saint. This is why his unfavorables are so high but he keeps winning elections. In other words, I think Hillary’s unfavorable numbers doom her but Trump’s unfavorable numbers boost him. Trump isn’t seen by his supporters as a candidate, he is seen as a murder weapon. The supporters wish to use Trump to murder the political class and destroy them as they believe they have been destroyed by their policies. In 2020, when Trump runs for re-election, Trump will reverse this and run as the hero which will leave the 2020 candidate in the dust acting like he (and it will be a male Democratic candidate in 2020) prepared to go ‘more villain’ to answer 2016’s surprising Trump win. Trump will play the devil in 2016, the angel in 2020.

 

Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 4, 2016

Starfox Zero Honest Game Trailer

It sums up my feelings on the game.

Nintendo doesn’t understand Starfox. They think Starfox 64 is great and brilliant (it wasn’t). The SNES Starfox was pretty cool with a rad soundtrack. N64 was OK at best. After that, Starfox became the suck. The worst was Starfox Command for DS (so terrible!).

The puppets are OK. The voice acting is atrocious. The graphics are atrocious. The game screams LAME and STUPID. Starfox Zero looks like something that should come from a Burger King kid’s meal.

BTW, if you have to ‘learn the controls’, then the controls are bad. It is as simple as that.

You didn’t have to ‘learn the controls’ for Wii Sports, did you?

You didn’t have to ‘learn the controls’ for Super Mario Brothers, did you? Many of you learned that at five years old!

Miyamoto thinks he is some sort of genius, and the game developers there are likely all making their own little ‘part’ of the game which is why it all comes across as non-unified and lame. Remember, Miyamoto delayed this game. In this game, the game delayed is a game bad forever.

Starfox was about being cool. This is cool. Nintendo doesn’t know what cool is.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 4, 2016

Now things get interesting…

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 28, 2016

Nintendo NX to be out on March 2017

Here’s a story on it. What does this mean?

Kiminishi says the delay is to make sure NX has more games. But why not show anything NX at E3? Wii’s controller was revealed at TGS 2005 while the console was revealed at E3 2006.

There’s a simple explanation to this. This is why you are here anyway.

The success of the Wii and the DS really made Nintendo think their shit didn’t stink. But stink it did. The 3DS and Wii U launches were terrible. So now we are in a situation opposite of last generation; Nintendo is overly cautious.

This is beyond the games.

Nintendo is scared about talking about the NX. Kiminishi even says the concept is not like a normal console. Since the Wii U was not explained well at all, Nintendo will not talk about the NX yet. Too much could go wrong in the PR side here.

I still guarantee the HARDWARE of the console will be shown. During Wii U’s reveal, the console was not showcased so everyone thought the Wii U was just a controller. Iwata had to be photographed with the console and had the photo released on twitter in order to say, “Yes, there is a new console here.”

What is so strange is that Nintendo did a GOOD job explaining the Wii. Nintendo did a good job even with the DS. Do you know why I think that is? This guy:

Reggie Fils-Aime - Game Developers Conference 2011 - Day 3 (2).jpg

People joke how Fils-Aime “My body is ready” is nothing but a suit, has no real control, but Reggie was paramount in communicating the value of the DS and Wii. Iwata only talked broken English and didn’t make much sense. Miyamoto could only act like a clown. It was Reggie who effectively communicated it.

“Master Malstrom, it is uncouth to talk about kicking ass and playing the strong-man.” It got your attention back then, didn’t it? A similar approach has apparently worked for the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

I am sick to death of the chicken shit coming from Nintendo. Who the fuck watches these Nintendo directs? What connection does NOA have with actual society?

Nintendo cannot fuck up the NX launch. Fucking up the NX launch will probably eradicate Nintendo from the dedicated hardware market entirely. The DS and Wii was Nintendo being an Asian tiger pouncing from the shadows. The NX, so far, is Nintendo being a pussycat. This is what we should call Nintendo now. Pussycats. (The employees do like photos of kittens after all.)

Nintendo seems so scared right now. They are scared of their own shadow. They weren’t scared at all in 2005.

I strongly suspect that Nintendo doubts the NX, itself, will appeal which might be why they are doubling down on software. Nintendo has launched other consoles with little games. My favorite was the SNES launch. But oh, what games! Super Mario World! Yamauchi had such faith in Nintendo’s games. Today, no. Remember Iwata’s absurd prediction that Super Mario World 3D would rocket the Wii U to the stratosphere? Yeah. There has been no true killer apps on the Wii U. It’s Nintendo’s games that doomed the Wii U.

You live by the games, you die by the games. If your console ain’t selling, it has to be the games. If Nintendo is going for a mass library approach, which I suspect, it is going to shove as much as it can out there.

It’s pretty pointless to speculate what is going on internally with Nintendo. I just find Nintendo’s performance to be very disappointing. It’s like the company is facing Japanese-rot that the rest of the country is having.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 26, 2016

Blizzard responds to the Vanilla Servers

Blizzard speaks! Here it is.

The ‘pristine server’ sounds like the Blizzard guys wanted to offer SOME sort of positive solution to this issue instead of a PR with just bad news that the community doesn’t want to hear. Blizzard knows pristine servers isn’t what people want, but Blizzard wasn’t going to make a PR statement without something.

Twitter sends mail to your mailbox when someone mentions you on twitter. Mike Kern, apparently, has been mentioning me on Twitter. Mike Kern was the former Blizzard developer who has, lately, been very vocal on this subject. Since I was born and raised before the Internet, I try to spend most of my time outside it. I stay away from social media like a plague, and I half-ass update this blog. Hey, this site has been around for nearly ten years. Most things on the Internet do not last that long.

I know you can link the tweet images and all, but I’m just going to copy and paste what is being sent into my email. Here is what Mike Kern is saying:

I’m not holding vanilla out as “better” as it had a lot of issues. Not sure what “agenda” he’s accusing me of. @TheCronoLink@SeanMalstrom

Most game developers and even ex-developers have a low profile. Usually, they are probably too busy. When I see one so vocal about something, someone trying to sign petitions and all, I begin to go “Hmmm…..” This issue also entails a pirated server which, by everyone agrees, was right to be shut down. Most game developers I know are pissed off that used game sales even exist. What I’m seeing is people anxious to brush aside the pirate server issue so they can swing a bat at Blizzard for the issue of vanilla servers. I just find it unusual behavior for a dev or ex-dev to be doing this. But hey, maybe in social media this is more common, and I haven’t been aware of it.

The tech support costs are way overblown. GM costs are much higher, already scale with users. @BIG_PartyPanda@TheCronoLink @SeanMalstrom

Wouldn’t the tech support costs only grow with time? Vanilla WoW is ten years old. In other words, Vanilla WoW was designed to work on the majority of computers ten years ago. But computers today are not ten years old. Computers today are present or a few years old. Blizzard games tend to be very hardware orientated. How would Vanilla WoW perform, for the mainstream of users (not pirate players who are very savvy), on modern Windows 10, modern Direct X, modern GPUs and processors? And as time goes on, Vanilla WoW will be fifteen years old and then twenty years old. Wouldn’t the technical costs only grow with time? I don’t think WoW issues can be as easily solved with a DOSbox type emulator.

I dislike how realism is being taken away from the discussion. Even if all lights were green to launch a Vanilla WoW, it would not be done because Blizzard is months away from launching Legion expansion. Imagine if I demanded Nintendo launch a retro game console right now despite them being months away from talking about NX. Everyone would think me insane. Realistically, Blizzard would only launch a Vanilla Server at a DIFFERENT time than a WoW expansion. The best time would be the time between expansions. The WoW playerbase would go to Vanilla instead of some other MMO before returning to WoW.

One possibility could be to simply port all the content of Vanilla WoW, complete with the rule sets, to the current engine. There would be UI changes, of course, but anyone who played Vanilla WoW knows that the UI sucked and everyone used mods for their UI. Remember, it isn’t the game engine of Vanilla WoW we want, it is the content and experience. You don’t see Ultima 7 players pissed off about using EXULT, do you? No, they’re ecstatic that it exists.

Looking at Mike Kern’s twitter feed, it’s clear he keeps framing it as ‘This would be profitable, they would have no reason not to do this.’ What many people don’t know with business is that the goal isn’t actually profit, it is customers. If you are a salesman making sales but telling the customer the wrong thing, you’ll be canned. Since Vanilla WoW cannot have content updates, what exactly is the upside in making customers with this? The entire reason why Burning Crusade exists is because Vanilla WoW, by itself, cannot hold customers for very long.

The question should be not to frame Vanilla WoW to be profitable but how Vanilla WoW can LONGTERM create more customers. With this in mind, a more interesting solution presents itself.

I like the idea of a Parallel WoW or Instanced WoW. Since WoW’s launch, the dungeons and raids are instanced. You walk into a dungeon and the dungeon is literally created just for your party. No one else on the outside can enter that dungeon unless they join your party. The same goes for raids. With Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard did instanced quests. So why not an Instanced WoW? You speak to Chromie or some NPC, and you have the option to transport back in time to Vanilla WoW. In this Vanilla WoW, you start a new character that plays just in that universe set by Vanilla’s rules. Perhaps guilds would be universal over both. I’m sure there are technical issues why this is problematic, but I think an Instanced WoW would work best for the goal of creating customers. There would only be one WoW version then. Vanilla WoW universe would work great as a content patch during the doldrums of an expansion. It also would allow Blizzard to update the character models as well as reuse old ones. It’s a win, win situation limited perhaps by the technology at the moment.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 24, 2016

Email: NX and ARM practically certain

AMD has previously gone on record saying that they had two upcoming semi-custom deals, one being for x86 and the other for ARM, and that one of these two were not gaming related:
http://www.kitguru.net/desktop-pc/anton-shilov/amd-could-power-yet-another-gaming-device-chief-financial-officer/

Well, we just found out today that the x86 deal is the one that isn’t related to gaming:http://anandtech.com/show/10268/china-calling-amd-forms-joint-venture-for-x86-server-socs-in-china

That means, of the two, it’s the ARM deal that is related to gaming.

Unless Nintendo does something unusu like not using an AMD chip (which would be very unusual due to their history together), then I do believe it’s practically certain that NX will be using an ARM-based chip from AMD.

 

We will soon find out.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 24, 2016

Email: The Blizzard backlash and Nintendo lukewarmness

Master Malstrom,

I’m sure you’ve heard about the massive internet backdraft that happened to Blizzard within the past week regarding the Nostalrius private server, so I’m not going to repeat it all here. YouTubers, bloggers, redditors, streamers and lapsed WoW players are all up in arms. Heck, judging by the sizable response this is probably either the straw that breaks the camel’s back, or a massive heel gambit by Blizzard to market their increasingly irrelevant product (WoW) right before the movie and the expac come out.

But what bugs me is why Nintendo DOESN’T get this sort of reaction from customers. It’s almost as if everyone just ignores the fact that Nintendo is happily screwing themselves and their lapsed customers over and has forgotten that this company from Japan once created a culture shock that impacted the whole world. The closest thing I’ve seen is the Alison Rapp issue–and it frankly doesn’t even come close because that one is a Culture War debate, not an issue of whether or not their products are still up to par.

 

Nintendo is not known for responding to fan feedback. Blizzard, however, has a long history of responding to fan feedback. That is the difference.

I think the ‘Blizzard backlash’ is inflated because of the nature of investing DAYS, not hours, of your life on a private WoW server that is Vanilla hard (who would be so STUPID to do this?) and be ‘shocked’, ‘shocked’, that all that time and effort just disappears. Blizzard is blamed because of the cease and desist. There are cease and desist orders all the time. Nintendo does them too. The big difference is that Vanilla WoW demands total investment of your life (!). Someone presses a few buttons and BAM, all that life energy is gone down the tubes. I believe THAT is what is amplifying this. If it was a private Diablo 1 server, you wouldn’t hear anything.

I want Vanilla Servers as does everyone I’ve talked to (who doesn’t share same gaming interests as I do, they are more ‘mainstream’) does as well. But as they told me, “I’m not stupid to invest the time on an illegal version of the game on a private server where there is no true assurance over my account and character.” I’d have to agree.

Blizzcon will shake out the news over Vanilla servers. Anyone expecting anything this year, especially with the launch of Legion, of Vanilla servers is crazy. We’re going to have to wait.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 24, 2016

Email: The joy of HOTS

The DotA vs HOTS discussion is identical to the uproar over the new Doom
game that was recently in open beta.

Oldschool PC gamers were expecting this game to be just like Quake 3 and
Unreal Tournament, and were furious that it features weapon loadouts
instead of weapons spawning around the map, and no “skillful” movement.
This wave of negative reception was reported on several websites.

I found this really strange because I LOVE the new game. It’s like they
took the old arena shooter formula and chopped away all the bullshit
until only the pure addictive fun was left. You don’t constantly get
into unfair fights because you don’t spawn with a pea shooter. Movement
is fast without rewarding players who have too much time to practice
exploiting physics bugs. And there are some really fun power-ups that,
while they may be overpowered, are fun to use and have such limited
amounts of use that you won’t spend much time fruitlessly dying to them.

Gamers often rant about how game developers should be listening to
players more. I actually disagree with this because 99% of the voices
represent a tiny, overly obsessive portion of the gamer population.
That’s a shitty way to do market research. Blizzard ignored that noise
when creating HOTS and look what it brought them.

 

I don’t think that is a good comparison. HOTS never said it was going to be sharing the mechanics of original DOTA and doesn’t even call itself a MOBA but a ‘team brawler’. There is no marketing push trickery here. The truth about the MOBA fans is that they play MOBAs because RTS games were too complicated. Warcraft 3 was a very, very complicated game with four races where you would control a base, army, and up to three heroes each with various items. A MOBA is simply controlling one hero. EASY PEASY. It is the definition of ‘casual’. Compare Warcraft 3 to Warcraft 2 and you can see just how VASTLY more obtuse and complicated Warcraft 3 is. (When RTS games first came out, they were the ‘casual’ too because of how simple they were compared to turn based strategy war games. Kids grew up with RTS games and considered it the norm and that they had ‘elite skillz’. They didn’t.) HOTS will most likely end up being the MOBA corpse eater because MOBA players will get older, realize that spending an hour per game is a huge fricking waste of time, and then go to HOTS for that itch. But enough of that.

I have a huge problem with EA’s Master of Orion. It says Master of Orion but doesn’t play like it. Video game brands should be bound to certain gameplay, not to certain aesthetics and settings. When you see a ‘Metroid’ game, what do you expect? Other M? Federation Force? No, you expect something like Super Metroid or Metroid Prime. There’s a disconnect between the companies and the gamers here.

The game has ‘Doom’ as the title. Just ‘Doom’. So, quite understandably, people are going to expect ‘Doom’ to play similar to original Doom. When it doesn’t, they cry foul due to the marketing trickery. It would be like a Zelda game where instead of RPG open world mechanics with a guy killing monsters with a sword, the guy would have no sword, use puzzles, and operate a train. No company would be so stupid to do something like that.

Right?

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