Posted by: seanmalstrom | December 10, 2016

Email: When Zelda Went Wrong (and How)

Master Malstrom. An enthusiastic hello from a few-years reader, first time inquirer. Thanks for putting up your email address the other day.

You’ve talked a lot about Zelda these last few days. It was your opinions on Zelda that brought me here three or so years ago. Maybe more like six. Was Skyward Sword out yet… I can’t recall.

Digression aside, I must say that I agree with most of your sentiments as they relate to Zelda.

And Mario. Metroid, too.

Alright, Nintendo in general.

But Zelda. I have been thinking lately of where it all started to go wrong with Zelda. I remember playing Link to the Past as a kid and Ocarina around the same time. I didn’t play the NES originals until the GameCube Special Edition Collectors Disc. We had a NES when I was young but somehow not those games. I love those games. The first five trump all.

But I loved Wind Waker, too. It was why I bought the Nintendo LunchBox to begin with… but I was, like, 12 or something. It was great in a lot of ways, but it wasn’t ‘cool’ like Ocarina was. I couldn’t share the experience with friends. I was the only one who wanted to play that one.

But I did want to play it. It was Zelda, no denying that. It had treasure-hunting, fun sword combat, cool items, good music, world building (the quality of which is debatable), and it tried new things. Why did it suck so much? Aonumisms?

I think a very interesting project would be a retrospective of the entire series as a means of pinpointing not only the points where Zelda strayed from what it should have been, but also where it could have implemented change for the better.

When did the series become about puzzles? It’s been argued that the first game was puzzle-oriented from the get-go, but that’s not right. The first game required problem-solving. Its puzzles were really trial and error using various tools. I can’t kill Dodongo with my sword, maybe I’ll try a bomb. There might be a room behind this wall, maybe I’ll try a bomb. Nothing I do hurts this Digdogger, maybe I’ll try this flute. There might be a dungeon under one of these trees, maybe I’ll burn this whole forest to the ground.

The first game is combat mixed with trial and error. It’s the pure Zelda experience. Ganon’s dungeon is a mindfuck but we don’t equate it with puzzlemania. It’s a labyrinth. You’ve mentioned the importance of the labyrinth dynamic before.

When did story start to become a problem in Zelda? Was it best when it was relegated to the manual? Or was Link to the Past’s approach best? Or was Ocarina of Time the pinnacle, with its more cinematic storytelling approach? Personally I think Ocarina nailed it. There’s an interesting story but the time between dungeons isn’t so long. Majora’s Mask is where we started to have to wait such a long time to reach the first dungeon. In the first game, you can find that first dungeon in five minutes and less.

Is Ocarina the falling off point? Or was Link to the Past? Or was Link to the Past even indicative of Zelda becoming something else?

Each game after Ocarina is notable for at least trying new things. Some of these new things were good. Some tried too many new things, and when the things that didn’t work were exposed as not working, most of the good things were dropped too.

Majora’s Mask had scheduled NPC’S. This was dropped and never used again, rather than being improved on.

Wind Waker had boat travel and deep sea treasure hunting. The Great Sea was boring, but why didn’t this boat travel and treasure hunting mechanic stay in a smaller capacity? If new Zeldas allowed the player to travel the ocean around Hyrule or Lake Hylia or some rivers with a boat and find treasure or secret islands, that would be great. Rather than improving the Great Sea concept by scaling it back, they abandoned it altogether. But, it had value. That value was just overwhelmed by tedious, poorly executed design.

And then we have new things being tried that don’t work but get kept anyway.

The Stamina meter in new games is awful. If you constantly have to slow down when you want to speed to the next fun thing to do, there’s too much ground to cover between fun. I dream of the return of the Pegasus Boots. So much of gaming nowadays is just walking. In that respect Ocarina was the falling off point. Why spend five minutes crossing an empty field? A horse is a good solution for that but why the Stamina meter on that, even way back then? You don’t run out of gas in Grand Theft Auto. You just don’t. Why? Because Fun trumps realism. Every time. Give me my fucking Pegasus Boots.

Another thing is setpieces. Little games-within-games. Forced stealth sequences fall under this. Even as far back as Ocarina’s ‘sneak into Hyrule Castle’ sequence (made much worse in Wind Waker’s opening no-sword turn-off-the-lights opening ‘dungeon.’ Great atmosphere, but poor game play and silly monsters and next to no combat.). It’s just tedium. At least Ocarina’s version was short, so more acceptable. Stealth in Zelda could work – if you’re avoiding an enemy that would kill you easily. Or if you could steal. Or even of there was some optional sidequest involving staying hidden or eavesropping. Why divert the games like this in the middle of the action? Especially bookended with long story sequences?

I can’t possibly cover everything wrong with modern Zelda right here, right now. I didn’t touch on Twilight Princess and beyond. Nor did I touch on many of the Anime / Aonumisms, or the chaos that is the modern Zelda universe, or the lack of magic and importance of combat, and yet look at how long a read I’ve created. There’s just so much to consider. Can it be saved? I’ve loved Zelda for about 20 of my 26 years and I’m just not excited by Breath of the Wind.

Apologies for meandering. All the best from one Master to another.

You make an interesting point about the stamina meter and Pegasus boots. I understand the climbing aspect of BoW needs it, but why do we need stamina in other things? Is Aonuma afraid of speed?

In Zelda 2, you can keep jumping up and down. Oh noes! Needs a stamina meter! It’s so silly.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | December 10, 2016

Email: Let’s talk about a silly question

MasterStrom

Although it can be obvious I still want to poke fun at this topic. That is despite the political pressure, we still have not seen any serious effort to make an “ugly” or overweight hero or sex model in any from of entertainment. It seems humans of all walks of life just cant get over their instinct. We just cant make a fantasy about overweight being sexy. Such thing just won’t sell I suppose. And did you know that Marvel just dig their own shit hole by confirm to the demands of SJW, sales slump, they wonder why all the SJWs and open minded people aren’t buying.

Entertainment is show business.

Show business is about being INTERESTING.

Beautiful people are INTERESTING.

Hence, more beautiful people means it is INTERESTING.

There was a TV show that tried to use ugly people with Freaks and Geeks. Ugly people are not interesting to watch. Hence, the show failed.

“Malstrom,” says the reader, “does that mean you are interesting because you are beautiful?”

No. I am beautiful because I am interesting.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | December 10, 2016

Email: Some thoughts on Zelda

Hey master Malstrom
One thing to note about the zelda bird species, they are actually the zora (!?), aounuma made them descendants of the zora on wind waker… yes, that’s right, on the zelda where the world is covered in water, the aquatic species evolved into birds…

I’ll probably get zelda BoW, I am aware that characters in the game will most likely suck, but with an actual overworld I don’t think it will be worse than skyward sword, man that zelda sucked, the only zeldas I haven’t finished are that, majora’s mask and the one with the trains, I miss the enemies from the NES ones, their designs were extremely simple, just animals with weapons, however, the moblins looked like giant bulldogs with weapons, its funny how even Ganon, basically a blue giant pig, was extremely menacing, meanwhile, every new zelda, moblins get worse, pretty much devolving into cartoonish cavemen, each one more ridicule than the last.

It’s a shame they won’t have more than 1 town in BoW, it was cool going from town to town on Zelda 2, I think it’s ridiculous how they just won’t let go ocarina of time, that and how now every zelda must have a place in that convoluted timeline, just adding to the mess that is, they shouldn’t be treated as sequels/prequels, they should just make a new zelda with the core basics of the story and do it differently, just like how link to the past was to the original zelda, just a remake, but that won’t happen anytime soon if ever, such a shame.

Finally, I don’t care what miyamoto and others say, Zelda 2 is the best zelda (currently replaying it on my nes classic), it has the greatest combat mechanics of all existing zeldas, skyward sword had potential here, but they screwed up, no progression in enemy reactions, the only way the increased difficulty was making their block hurt you, and that was as far as I could get.

I might be going at this the wrong way. Instead of blaming an individual like Aonuma, perhaps we should blame his ‘culture’.

Japanese ‘culture’ is just crap. Where are the great Japanese cultural exports? All you have is anime (lol) and video games. Which type of video games? Ones that celebrate western culture!!! All the ‘Japanese’ centered culture games were kept in Japan!!! Whenever Japan tries to sell their Japanese Culture video game, it goes down in flames. Right, Okami?

I do find ‘Japanese maddness’ entertaining, but it is not marketable. Hello, Reggie Fils-Aime, reading this post. You thought people importing Ouedan meant they would love Elite Beat Agents. Nope!

Is there any ‘Japanese cultured’ game that is mainstream in a Western society? Don’t say Space Invaders as that was based on Star Wars.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | December 10, 2016

Email: Ummmm

Hey, Malstrom

Young, hot women run the other way if you play video games in general, I don’t know why we’re splitting hairs about anime.

Video games are expensive (money not spent on her), take a lot of personal time (time not spent on her), are make believe (you could be out working and making her more money) and don’t confer any coolness or social status (to make her look better among her peers without actually having to do anything).

Some guy playing video games isn’t going to be seen as strange to women today (depending on the game). But I say anime is still a major red flag to most women. I think this is showing up with market movement as men, in their choice of games, wants something that is more ‘manly’. There is also a fun correlation of death of game genres when they adopt anime.

The shmup was extremely popular. The shmup was so bad ass to perfection that it got a little bit more bad ass which inverted it, flipping the scales, to a cute-em-up with shops full of anime girls and anime girl logos.

When Tetris games, once all the rage, went anime, they were done.

When adventure games, once all the rage, went anime, they were done.

Now we have platformers, once all the rage, all going anime. They will be done.

JRPGs, once all the rage, went anime. Who cares about the JRPG today?

Anime, the ‘apple of culture’ from the Japanese Tree, swings and dances to the tune of consumers wanting to be ‘more cultured’ and Japanese makers wishing to ‘export culture’. The problem is that anime is poison. The entire culture of Japan is rejected left and right by all places of fertility. Japan has no fertility, no births, just a dying nation, males who refuse to be men and females who refuse to be women. It is great offense to nature itself. There is a reason why you see fertile consumers react with horror to anime while the infertile ones, the Otaku and Bronies and all, are attracted to it.

“This is ridiculous!” cries the reader.

It may be. But it may not be also. Video games are consumer spending. Consumer spending largely revolves around men and women being what they are. There is a reason why sexy women grace products. Men do not buy expensive cars just to go from point A to point B.

What everyone needs to come to grips with is that Nintendo IPs are not a celebration of Japanese culture but of Western culture… something Miyamoto and others are very quick to try to deny (but too late! Old interviews reveal it to be the truth).

Donkey Kong- King Kong, a Western movie.

Mario- Plumber from Brooklyn. Blue-Collar Worker. Mario is the ‘every man’, almost the opposite of a super-hero. Instead of a superhero in the real world, Mario is the normal blue-collar worker in a fantastical world. What is this fantastical world? The Mushroom Kingdom is Alice in Wonderland.

Zelda- Based on Western RPGs which were based on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, a Western work based off of Western mythologies (which may or may not have parallels to Eastern mythology). A guy with a sword and shield, in celtic wonderland, trying to save the princess. We clearly know this. Zelda 2, which Nintendo intensely hates, is a celebration of the Sleeping Beauty western myth theme. Ocarina of Time, the idea of going back and forward in time, is a Western concept. In Western civilization, time is linear. Outside the West, it is more circular.

Metroid- Based off of the movie Alien and Aliens. Android in a Metro. Metroid.

“But Malstrom! How dare you say this! You have no proof that the Western market rejects Japanese culture such as anime.”

Look at the 1980s and 1990s. Look at all the games that stayed in Japan. They stayed in Japan  because they were too ‘japanese’ and thought to not sell in the West. And you know what? No one from the West is interested in those games even today aside from passionate fans.

An Eastern developer has to make sure the game can fit the entire world and not be too anime. The Western developer, however, can just go with what he thinks is cool and have the game sell everywhere. Blizzard made Starcraft with the intention of being cool and as an homage to sci-fi (I know, I am part of a group listed in the Special Thanks in the credits). Much of Starcraft was inspired by Starship Troopers. Despite how ‘American’ Starcraft was, it became a massive hit in South Korea.

Nintendo games become massive hits in the West only when they are devoid of their Japanese culture. The more Japanese culture that is in it, the worse the Nintendo game does. Cell-shaded Zelda. Metroid Other M. Anime galore.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | December 4, 2016

Email: The Zelda Universe has become crap

Zelda is crap because its world is crap. The games have broken continuity. Simply making it “open-world” isn’t going to fix that the world itself sucks.

The universe of Zelda has gotten lamer and lamer for the most part over the various installments. I loved OoT but then Majora’s Mask comes out and for some reason I never found the interest to even try it out. And that was the first game Aonuma was put in charge of. Then Wind Waker gets made, and once again I have zero interest. Later I give the game a chance only to give up on it when I realize that PLAYING the game is duller than watching paint dry. Twilight Princess comes out and I give up very early on because of that awful beginning part of the game. Skyward Sword was a joke, and even stalwart Zelda fans hated it.

It’s fine if Breath of the Wild PLAYS well, but if the content sucks, then the WHY of the game is greatly hobbled. Do I care about saving Hyrule? The Hyrule of the older games, absolutely. The world of the newer ones, not so much, because I don’t care. I agree that accordion bird is lame. The various animal races are lame, but I think they are lame due to execution, not because that they are animals. There should be more humanoid races in Hyrule. Skyrim has a lizard race, cat race, three or four races of elves, and several races of humans.

I do agree with the games being made like anime. The thing is older anime didn’t used to be this weird back in the day (sometimes but not even to the degree that it is now). I remember you saying that the old developers came from real world experience, the new generations go straight from youth to making games and usually have nothing interesting to add as a result. This would probably by why we keep getting anime crap.

There was an old Playstation game called Vagrant Story made by old Squaresoft. The game had a very heavy Midieval influence. The developers went to France and studied the architecture of cathedrals and catacombs, wine, and a bunch of other stuff. The translation was interesting because the dialog was done in Shakespearean English. I would consider it an overlooked gem for the Playstation (but not easy to learn or play, it’s kind of like Dark Souls).

Are we getting people like that making Breath of the Wild? Even with the Monolith guys working on it, probably not. Xenosaga was pretty anime, and Xenoblade the same. People don’t want Zelda to be “dark” so much as they want it to stop being lame. A big problem is the bad guys in most of the games have sucked. Badly. In Skyrim, Alduin mocks you as you watch him resurrect a dragon. At the start of Dragon’s Dogma Gregori rips your heart out after he’s laid waste to your village. The enemies in both of those games, even the humdrum ones are scary and evil looking. In real life you wouldn’t wanna run into these things. If the accordion bird was real would your first instinct be “I am terrified of this.” or “Is there a sports team missing their mascot?”

We don’t know if it’ll be good or not, but we saw the direction that Other M was going with Fusion. Zelda needs people who like the old games running it, and people who understand fantasy helping them to craft the world. I have a feeling that people will play BoW enticed by the open world, only to lose interest when they realize that the world isn’t worth exploring.

BTW, you should totally play AM2R if you haven’t. If Nintendo had taken it as it was and put it on the eshop, I’d have paid money for it gladly. It’s very well-done, and it’s clear fans that understood what made Metroid, Metroid made it.

The hits to this page skyrocketed with my reactions to the Zelda trailer and gameplay videos. I am astonished at what people respond to. Much of it, I suspect, are shocked and outraged Zelda fans. An earlier email is a guy wondering how I can say such things. Where is this coming from? Your email is an illustration that there are many people out there that are of the same wavelength as mine. The major difference is that I am much more moderate. I complain about Zelda because I care about Zelda. The other people, the ones you do not hear from, are completely lost or near being lost. This emailer above says he didn’t even bother playing many of the recent Zelda games. I thought Twilight Princess was cool except for the beginning part (though even then I have to ignore the Aonuma-isms such as that stupid mailman).

Yes, the content is the issue. But how do we deal with it? Ridicule. I know of no other way.

I love the premise of Breath of the Wild of what they showed at E3. I love the future tech with those walker guys that shoot lasers. I love your little tablet. I like the towers. It’s cool.

What I DON’T like are the NPCs, the moblins, and the ‘personalities’ Nintendo chooses to infuse them with. They make me uncomfortable.

Why does anime make me feel so… odd? Take a look at this meme:

Shade, Dank Memes, and Never: Anime MARRY AND REPRODUCE NEVER Put on ur reality shades. ~Tittymcquire

Anime is extremely stigmatized in the West. If a young, hot woman finds out you like anime, she will likely run from you. It is that bad.

Japan is having a fertility crisis. Could there be a connection?

Posted by: seanmalstrom | December 4, 2016

On emulation of video games and the video game industry

This is a great GDC talk. Go watch it and be amazed:

 

What the GDC speaker wonders about is why does the movie industry re-release all its movies but the video game industry doesn’t? I know why.

The truth is that no one wants to compete against the classics. What game maker today wants to compete against Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers 3, and the rest of the greats? A huge revolution would occur if old games remained in print. It would force the game industry to make DIFFERENT games and/or make BETTER games. The game industry doesn’t have the talent to do this. It is extremely hard to make a video game, let alone a fantastically great video game. If gamers find out that the old games are better, they stop buying the Game Industry crap and become a bunch of Malstroms.

Also, emulated old games makes the audience want to get the actual hardware. It leads them back to the old consoles. Retro game stores will confirm this. When a game is re-released through emulation, sales spike for that game in its original form. Emulation sparks sales for the retro versions. I, myself, would not have bought a Turbografx 16 had it not been for playing Turbografx 16 emulated games on the Virtual Console. The Virtual Console led me to the actual hardware.

Preserving online games and online communities is an interesting question and requires a very interesting answer. (I do not know the answer.)

I also like his idea of preserving more than just developer commentary but including the marketing and even consumer reactions. I wonder if 20 years from now, when the Wii turns thirty, if someone tries to contact me to talk about the Wii’s market splash. (yeah right) I do think the spotlight should be on the gamers and not the developers though. The gamer’s context is what fascinates me, not the developer’s context. In the end, the game is defined by the gamers.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | December 3, 2016

TG Review: Parodius Da!

Note: The review was done on actual Turbografx 16 hardware with no emulation. This game is also imported from Japan.

Image result for parodius da pc-engine

It is Parodius Da! Is this game a sustaining classic? Does it stand the test of time? And most important of all, the question everyone wants to know, will it earn the fabled Malstrom Award?

Above: Parodius Da! gameplay

Parodius Da! has a subtitle: From Myth to Laughter.

How does Pariodius Da! stack up to the other versions? The Super Nintendo version is the closest to the arcade port and has an additional bathhouse level. But the PC-Engine version is very good port too and has its own bonus level (better than the SNES version as the SNES level is mostly empty space). Unfortunately, the fifth and eighth levels have been cut.

Parodius Da! is an extraordinary game. The game begins with several options including an EASY, NORMAL, or HARD mode (so everyone can have fun). You can choose four different ships. Here they are:

You have the Vic Viper whose power-up options are the same as in Gradius. You have Twinbee from Konami’s other game. There is an Octopus and a Penguin, apparently different mascots of Konami, who have their own different weapons. All in all, this is fantastic and gives the game tremendous replay value. I love all four choices and cannot say which one is better. There are also special bells you can get which power up your ship in other ways such as making your ship REALLY BIG and invincible!

It is really hard to talk about shmups in a review since, as you know, you shoot things and dodge things. What is there to discuss? Let’s talk about the enemies. In Parodius Da!, the game has very interesting enemies because they are all intentionally absurd such as this catboat below:

screen shot

Above: catboat

What really clicks with Parodius Da! is just how much detail is in the game. When you kill the piggies, the goddess cries.

screen shot

Above: she cries when you kill her piggies

Details abound like this throughout the entire game. You want to keep replaying it to find them all.

Parodius Da! is a very meaty shooter. It is arguably one of the best shmups on the PC-Engine (which is saying much with a system flooded with shmups). While this game may be the harbinger of the cute-em-ups, the game is as solid and meaty as any classic Gradius title.

The music is great too. Did you know Parodius Da! has tracks of Tetris and Mario Land in it? Well, it doesn’t, but those tracks are based off of the same classical music. Many of the tunes of Parodius, which sounds to me like they copied all the songs, are from famous classical music songs.

Above: Nice warm PC-Engine 16 synths…

This is a fantastic game, and I am stunned to see no video reviews of it on Youtube. There are many playthroughs, but there is little reviewing about the game (aside from some whose language I cannot understand). Perhaps it is the PC-Engine version of Parodius that is why it is being missed as the game has been ported to other systems.

I keep coming back to this game again and again. It sounds great. It plays great. It has high replayability. There is one major flaw that really ruins the game: the gradius power-up system. The game is great until you die the first time. Then… you want to turn off the system. Happily, the Konami cheat code works in this title so you have another go at it with full power-ups. There is also some strange pausing before the gigantic bosses appear. This game is fantastic and a must buy if you do not mind the gradius power-up system.

——————-

Disclaimer: The ‘quality’ is gauged only by how often I return to the game. TG16 games are not isolated; they are compared to every other game out there. A game can be ‘bad’ and keep me coming back. A game can be ‘good’ that I never want to touch again. Irrational addictive-ness, which defies quantification, is the only element examined here.

Intro

-TG 16 Games Reviewed So Far-


Malstrom Awards: 
(Addictive and Awesome even today, they refuse to age. Score of 10)

Devil's Crush Coverart.png
Devil’s Crush [$68] Imaginative sound and gothic theme. You’ll keep coming back to this one.)


Galaga ’90 [$34] (Purest shmup I have ever seen. This will still be played 50 years from now.)

game Cover
Final Soldier [$30] (Good music and polish, easier difficulty, multiple powerup options. laser bubbles! Consistently fun.)


Parasol Stars [$85] (Better than Bubble Bobble. No one realizes how legendary this game is… yet.)

Image result for r-type pc-engine box
R-type [$40] (Never gets old because it can never be beaten. Fun to try here and there.)

game Cover

Salamander [$40] (Challenging and addictive. If you like NES Life Force, you will love this.)

Soldier blade boxart.jpg

Soldier Blade [$100] (Consistently fun, great difficulty balance, perhaps best shmup on system and of all time)

Honorable Mentions: (Good games that are flawed or gameplay has suffered aging. Score of 6-9)

(9) Blazing Lazers [$37] (Inconsistent quality, long stretches of boredom, yet fun to return to again and again)

(9) Gomola Speed [$15] (Snake meets Gauntlet. Genre defying. Gameplay hurts hand.)

(9) Parodius Da! [$45] (Amazing attention to detail, great replayability, but the Gradius power up system is no longer fun)

(7) Alien Crush [$22] (Interesting, addictive, but flawed. Good to play as a break to Devil’s Crush)

(6) Bonk’s Adventure [$33] (Meh platformer oozes incredible charm)

(6) Dragon Spirit [$30] (Jurassic atmosphere is charming. Sluggish controls, hard-to-come-back after dying)

(6) Super Star Soldier [$73] (Extremely generic, obtuse challenge. Solid gameplay. Extremely over-rated. No personality.)

(6) World Court Tennis [$16] (Most interesting RPG on the TG 16. Seriously.)

Don’t bother: (Not fun to play today. Score of 5 and below.)

(5) Gradius [$30] (Four options can cause slowdown, but this arcade port remains difficult and very nostalgic.)

(5) Military Madness [$44] (Overrated, dated gameplay, repetitious, dull colorless setting of the moon)

(5) Neutopia [$76] (boring, bad game design, can’t hold a candle to Zelda, fire wand is only thing going for this game)

(5) Raiden [$72] (Overrated, more frustrating than challenging, no 2 player mode that was in arcade)

(4) Bomberman [$40] (dull and boring, totally surpassed by its sequels on this system)

(4) Boxy Boy [$27] (Solid puzzle game, but it gets stale fast. Contains level editor.)

(4) Ninja Gaiden [$80] (Compared to NES: worse sound and controls, terrible parallax scrolling. Nothing to see here.)

(4) Space Invaders [$12] (Arcade and Plus mode. Plus mode is cool but the game is still dull, dull, dull.)

(4) Shockman [$110] (Cool graphics and vibe, no polish, and frustrating gameplay. Play Mega Man instead.)

(3) Moto Roader [$17] (5 player party game, great upgrade system, terrible core gameplay. USE HANDLE B!)

(3) Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition [$20] (2 button controller is terrible for 6 button game. Good luck getting a 6 button controller.)

(1) Keith Courage in Alpha Zones [$10] (The 16 bit version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.)

Posted by: seanmalstrom | December 3, 2016

Email: I just don’t understand you…

…and it’s driving me crazy.

I’ve been a reader of yours since this blog’s inception, and even before that when you posted your Birdmen and the Casual Fallacy essay on your old website. I’ve enjoyed your writings on Zelda throughout the years, from your impressions of Twilight Princess, while you were playing it, to your posts about the missing/crappy mythos in more Mario and Zelda games.

But lately some of your posts seem to be missing something: an air of reasonableness, of sophistication. You’ve long identified yourself with the Most Interesting Man in the World, but these types of posts come across as knee-jerk reactions from someone who is just being angry for anger’s sake–quite unlike Mr. Dos Equis. I used to be able to shrug off such posts, but since I still enjoy most of the content you put out on your blog, it’s frustrating when I come upon a post where you just seem to be angry about Zelda for no good reason. That’s why I’m writing this response to your recent post about the new Zelda trailer.

I have a full time job, and sometimes my posts appear when I am most sleepy and most loopy.

But yeah, I am pissed off about Zelda. I feel a constant ‘war’ against why we liked the original ones. I despise the anime influence, the ridiculous story crap they put in, and how they have turned the game into something completely different. Nintendo fans may be excited for Zelda, but not the gaming community. Other games have replaced Zelda such as the Elder Scroll Series as far as console gamers’ desire for an adventure game.

 

You write that the NPCs will probably be a bunch of retards, and go on to talk about the writing in Ultima VII and how they brought in a professional writer to write the NPCs. Your distaste for the NPCs in Aonuma games is nothing new, but you’ve never bothered to say *why* you think the NPCs is his Zelda games are retarded.

Wrong. I said there is a Giant Bird that plays an accordion. Look at the gameplay video. I don’t know or really care what the name of the Bird Race is, but there is a Giant Bird that Plays An Accordion. This is STUPID. Show that to any gamer without the Zelda rose-tinted goggles and they will also say it is stupid.

Zelda team is famous for doing bad, bad designs. They thought Wind Waker’s art style was a ‘fantastic idea’, and continue to believe so and go against market wishes despite what the market tells them.

The market says, “We like games like Skyrim,” and Nintendo appropriately says, “Let us look at Skyrim in how we can make the next Zelda.” This is what people really responded to well with the BoW reveal.  But now we get the other crap like a Giant Bird Playing An Accordion. Why is this even in the game? I have a hostile reaction just to it, and I am sure other gamers will as well. It shows me that Nintendo Treehouse are completely out of touch as they are the ones who should say, “Hey, this is ridiculous.” But no. They were the ones who thought the Wii U library killer-app was going to be The Marvelous 100 (or whatever that Platinum game was).

 

If you were just dumping on Wind Waker and its silly, cartoon-ish cast of characters I could understand, but there’s no Tingle in Twilight Princess, no goofy, bright-colored, weirdos in Ocarina of Time. And the NPCs in Majora’s Mask *do* have schedules and I would say most don’t seem two-dimensional (especially considering the stakes: everyone’s lives will end in three days if Link doesn’t do anything!). It’s not Shakespeare, but you don’t want Shakespeare, you want Hyrule. You want it to feel like a real, lived-in place, and OoT, MM, and TP more or less do just that.

Then you go off about the ‘animal’ races in Zelda. They’re stupid, you say. The people who make them are stupid, even. Why? I’ve read everything you’ve ever posted on Zelda, and I don’t even know. I’m 100% with you on the lack of Zelda II-esque towns in 3d Zelda, but it’s almost like you expect Nintendo to *not* make fantasy races for their fantasy video game series.

It’s a giant bird playing an accordion! WTF!!!

You write: “The developers are not geniuses with their ‘creativity’, they are creating garbage with these ‘races’”

I don’t know who said they were geniuses, but with creatures like Zoras and Gorons Nintendo is only borrowing from real literary mythology. Instead of mountain dwarves we get Gorons. Instead of mermaids and mermen, they give us Zoras. Forest fairies became Kokiri, etc. And now this new Zelda has some griffin/harpy-like species, and you lose your shit.

Why? You don’t owe me an explanation–you don’t owe any of your longtime readers anything–but it’s worth pointing out that you’re not explaining yourself very well at all.

Nintendo doesn’t give a shit about Western mythology. They are either going to pull stuff out of their ass or base it off of some Asian mythology. I do not mind that when done well.

Look, I LOVE the early Final Fantasy games with their mythos. But people at Square thought they were geniuses and went off the rails. They made Final Fantasy Spirits Within movie which nearly destroyed the company. They make atrocious modern Final Fantasy games which have lost the luster and appeal of what made the series great in the first place. Zelda is in the same place.

Zelda used to be the GOLD CARTRIDGE game. Now, no one cares about Zelda except for Nintendo fans (all those who bought a Wii U).

 

Why do “these stupid bird people and other animal races do not belong in Zelda? Why don’t they make sense? I’ll even grant that the Koroks were dumb and that those stupid little furry things in Skyward Sword were annoying as hell, but what are you even saying when you say that a race of bird people seems out of place in Zelda? It begs the question, what is Zelda to you in the first place–not the gameplay, but the mythos? Does Nintendo have to stick to stock genre characters like dwarves and trolls for you to be happy? I don’t think a Lord of the Rings-inspired Zelda game would be terrible by any means, but what fun would it be if Nintendo never tried anything different (yes, if Nintendo reigned in their ‘creativity’ we’d get fewer freaks like Tingle, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water).

Because they look stupid.

 

“And these ‘races’ seem to move like anime characters.”

Lately you’ve come to use ‘anime’ as a catch-all for Japanese weirdness which you hate, but 1) elsewhere on the blog you’ve celebrated Japanese weirdness in games, and 2) not all anime is shitty. The latter should go without saying, but still, you act as if you know for a fact that every anime out there is terrible, like they’re all a bunch of stiffly animated creepshows starring hyperactive teenagers with spiky hair, and… they’re not. While there’s a lot of truly, truly, TERRIBLE Japanese animation out there, logic dictates that out of thousands of Japanese cartoons out there, some of them have to be good, and that they don’t all look the same or suffer the same quality of animation. (Incidentally, the guy who designed Mario, Princess Toadstool, Link, and a bunch of other original Nintendo characters, Yoichi Kotabe, was hired by Miyamoto because of his work on anime).

But what does it even mean to say that they “move like anime characters”? Most NPCs don’t move around much at all, but for the ones that do, at least their movements make sense. Gorons lumber around because they’re big and slow. Bird people stand like people or fly like birds. I don’t know what you expect from Nintendo.

Western gamers will not buy a game if it is too Japanese influenced. Most gamers do not like anime. We like the DISNEY-esque cartoony design, but not the ANIME-esque design. Remember, anime was inspired from Disney cartoons (true!). I love old school Mario, but I have a problem when he becomes ‘anime’ like.

This is all just a silly teaser so nothing really matters. But I am not excited about a giant bird that plays an accordion. It feels like this game wasn’t made for my enjoyment but made for the developers’. Tingle is another great example of this.

And no, I never, ever drink the Hype Kool-Aide.

The game will be good or not when it is out. Arguing about it now is like arguing over Shrodinger’s cat before we take it out of the box. Let’s just see what comes out of the box.

 

Fair point about the airship, but we don’t yet whether the bird people are the ones flying it. It’s probably a spacecraft, anyway. The trailer seems to imply that it’s the one spreading those guardian robot things around.

In short, your rants about Zelda and your rants about anime are perplexing and frustrating to read because of how emotional you seem to get over these things without really explaining the why and the how you come to the conclusions you do. And I say that as someone who’s been reading from the beginning. Maybe I need to go back and re-read some old posts of yours; sorry if I’ve missed something. Even if you never respond to this, I’ll remain a fan of yours till the day you finally quit. Your commentaries are like a drug, and whenever there’s Nintendo news I keep on coming back for a fix.

Look at Metroid, OK? Metroid was a great series. A fine series. We all loved Metroid. We may have argued about which game was better, but we all believed in Metroid and glad it graced our lives. But what was the influence behind Sakamoto’s Other M or Federation Force? Anime. It is clearly anime. In Federation Force, I do not care about a ‘soap opera’ between the bounty hunters (as that is what Federation Force ends with).

Just as Western developers want to be movie directors, it seems these Japanese developers want to be making anime. Well, go make anime. Just leave it the hell out of our games. I do not want my game to be a movie. I also do not want it to be an anime.

How much ‘story’ has Metroid really had? None, really. The more ‘story’ guys like Sakamoto put in, the worse it got.

I think it is the same for Zelda. The more ‘story’ and ‘dialogue’ they put in, the worse the game gets. Can someone show me a great Zelda dialogue or story scene? The best dialogue comes from the NES games which are rampantly quoted.

I am not saying Zelda developers are bad story makers. I am saying they are no story makers at all. They have no talent for it. They need to stop. Like Metroid, the ‘story’ should be in its environment, in its ambiance. I do not want or need your stupid story scenes. They are ‘anti-gaming’ because there is no interaction from me, the player.

I still love BoW but I am still extremely guarded against it. I do not trust Aonuma. I’ve never seen someone so arrogant. “Let’s make a Zelda about trains because my child loves trains.” Iwata was shocked. “Let’s do more Wind Waker art style because FUCK YOU Western Market!”

There are people who are far more ’emotional’ about what I talk about with Zelda and Mario than I am. I’m giving voice to those ‘disinterested consumers’ because they do not appear on gaming message forums.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | December 3, 2016

New Zelda BoW gameplay

What is this!? Let us look at it together, reader.

5 seconds in…

Aww geez… There are two ways to look about Bill Trinen who is dressing like a grandpa and beginning to look and sound like one. If the video is trying to use Trinen to resemble what most Zelda fans look like, then this works. However,  I think people are forgetting that even though this is gameplay trailer, this is still a work of broadcast. Look, I had a problem listening to Iwata’s broken English as a native English speaker. I shouldn’t have to listen to that. But the question is obvious:

Why are we looking at Bill Trinen?

You cannot go to Gamestop and buy Bill Trinen. Bill Trinen is not the product. Bill Trinen is also not a model. Why not just have footage of the gameplay and spare us looking at these Nintendo employees? When a car is being marketed, they do not put old dad up there. They put hot female model instead if they put anything.

I have a problem with Miyamoto and others jumping in front of cameras all the time. We’re interested in the game, not in the developer… or the marketer… or the guy who drives the boat that takes the Nintendo products  across the Pacific ocean.

The game is the product, not Nintendo employees. So why is screentime wasted on looking at these fools?

30 seconds in….

There is a Big Bird playing an accordion. God damn it, Aonuma. You keep putting in shit like this. No one thinks this is interesting or funny. It is just crap. Sheer crap. I do not like Big Birds let alone when they play accordions. Fuck these crappy characters. They should call Aonuma’s games “Link And The Crappy NPCs”. It is like Aonuma has no idea how to make a decent NPC.

42 seconds in…

Did you notice the poem? Look at Aonuma go!

Where the dragon’s mouth meets the serpent jaws,

A shrine sleeps in the forest with noble cause.

If you are trying to pull off Iambic Pentameter here, Nintendo, please stop.

1 minute in…

“Ohhh! Look how the enemy took seven of his hearts! This game gonna be like Dark Souls, yeah man.”

Dumb ass hardcore gamer there. Big attacks do not matter because Link just eats food and is healed.

End of video…

Geez, Bill Trinen is dressing like grandpa!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | December 3, 2016

New Zelda BoW Trailer

What should we make of this?

Well, it is a trailer. We play games, not movies. A demo to play is the equivalent of a movie trailer. These game teasers are really ridiculous in terms of interactive entertainment.

The village looks boring. NPCs will probably be a bunch of retards. Do they have schedules?

The Legend of Zelda, the NES game, was based on the open world RPG of PC games. That PC game (there were several in that time) was largely Ultima 3.

Image result for ultima 3

Image result for ultima 3 map

Now here is where it gets interesting. Zelda Breath of Wild is looking for inspiration from Legend of Zelda which took inspiration from Ultima 3. But the Ultima series has many amazing innovations that many games haven’t picked up on yet. Keep in mind that Ultima did invent the MMORPG as well. Ultima IV for the virtue system, Ultima V for the schedules and tight storyline, Ultima VI for a one world map (no town map or dungeon map, all on same map interconnected), Ultima VII for its interactions, etc.

What I would like to see are schedules for the npcs. Sure, they might wake up and go to sleep, but are they truly three dimensional people? Ulitma VII pulled this off by hiring a broadway scriptwriter to write the dialogue for the NPCs (and it is truly immersive). The NPCs will mostly be cogs in a wheel.

“Why do the NPCs matter?” the reader asks. Well, you cannot be the hero without them, right? What exactly are you going to save? The NPCs of course! The more developed and interesting the NPCs are, the more of a hero you feel for saving them.

I have a problem seeing that little rustic village and then seeing super technological airship. Come on! This worked out well in Final Fantasy 1 because only a few parts of the world had high technology, and it was all from a collapsed civilization. There was an airship, but you dug it up. In Final Fantasy IV, the high technology was integrated with some of the towns (Baron which used its Red Wings to attack other city-states). Final Fantasy VI integrated high technology quite well.

Then there is this guy:

Why is Falco in a Zelda game? When I see this, I think this:

Image result for big bird

I really, really, really  hate the animal races in Zelda. Why aren’t the humans in tribes? Nintendo can’t pull it off, that is why. Now we are stuck with all these stupid furries. One great thing about Zelda 2 is that there were multiple cities. Ever since then, there is largely just one town in a Zelda game. I do not care about the animal races. They are stupid. The people who made them are stupid. The developers are not geniuses with their ‘creativity’, they are creating garbage with these ‘races’. And these ‘races’ seem to move like anime characters. So terrible!

Imagine watching M*A*S*H and Batman comes running in (the terrible Batman from the 50s show). The audience would be jarred. Batman does not belong in MASH’s universe. It doesn’t make sense. In the same way, these stupid bird people and other animal races do not belong in Zelda. They don’t make sense. Any moron would know this, but Nintendo loves employing morons and promoting them so they make Wii Us that blow up and cost Nintendo billions.

And what of the female character that is probably Zelda: The Transgender Version? I think Link should start wearing dresses at this point. (No, don’t link me pictures to pantless Link saying he does!)

Is Zelda cross dressing again? Am I the only one tired of Zelda cross dressing? She did it in Ocarina of Time as Sheik. She did it to be a pirate in Wind Waker.

“Well, what ARE you saying Zelda should be doing, Malstrom?” fumes the reader. “Are you saying Zelda should be barefoot and pregnant?”

YES! Hell, YES! ESPECIALLY when she is captured by Ganon. Can you imagine Ganon breeding with Zelda to create unholy monsters that you have to hunt down and kill? That’d be more interesting and more mythic than anything else that has ever come out of Zelda.

And it worked for Princess Toadstool.

What about the airships? Well, we’ll see what they do. I do not like how the Big Bird race runs around in airships. Why don’t they FLY? THEY ARE BIRDS, AONUMA. BIRDS! What would birds need an airship for? Are the Zora going to have boats now???

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