Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 4, 2015

Is the IQ of gamers falling over time?

Let’s consider.

In the past, there were three distinct forms of video games. There were arcade games, PC games, and later on console games. Console games are games that are unable to be played on PC and the arcade. The first true console game would be the original Legend of Zelda. It was too elaborate to be an arcade game, but too fast paced to work on the PC. As Nintendo Fun Club Newsletter revealed the game, it was the ‘best of both worlds’. While many pre-16 bit games were arcade ports or PC game ports, many fully fleshed console games came to be. You couldn’t play Super Metroid in the arcade. But it doesn’t work quite right on the PC as well.

What IQ is there needed to play a video game? Very little in fact. This is evident in that children playing video games. PONG does not require a high IQ. I’ve noticed the lower the IQ a game has, the more it grants in ego or false accomplishment.

The home console games lost their edge when the Internet allowed all maps and hints to be easily revealed.

Today, console games are something else entirely. They are like PC games stripped of all mechanics and gameplay. I find most console games to be unplayable today.

But with the PC, did PC games cater to lower IQ people over time? We have gone from Apple IIs to Commodore 64s to IBM clones all the way to smartphones. Since it required more money to buy a PC back in the day and more time to set it up, one could make the argument that IQs were higher back then for PC gamers. But then again, PC games haven’t exactly been simplified. A MMORPG is far more complex than the early RPG games. Starcraft 2 is far faster paced than Starcraft 1 and Starcraft 1 wipes the floor with Warcraft 2 in its complexity.

One thing I don’t remember is people spending so much leisure time playing video games. The largest, beefiest games then were games like Ultimas or Civilizations. But compare Civilization 1 and 2 to 3, 4, and 5. It takes a week to play one game of 3. It wasn’t that way with 1 or 2. An Ultima game can take a good month, but it was not that different from an early Final Fantasy game in time usage. It was a meaty open world game. Ultima Underworld was amazing. But the game did not go on forever like Minecraft.

Then there are the smartphone games. No one will argue these smartphone games are the epitome of IQ. But it is not evidence of lower IQ.

What I believe is happening is not that games are dumbing down or that gamers are getting less IQ over time but…

Gamers are becoming less and less interesting as time goes on.

And do you know why, fair reader? It is because as gaming, as a leisure time, grows and swells to occupy people’s time, they have less time to do other things and become interesting.

Gamers used to be prolific readers. This is why adventure games were popular and why early RPGs had mountains of text in them. There used to be big beefy manuals. Today, gamers are not stupid because they do not read, gamers simply devote more time to gaming instead of reading (or whatever).

Gamers of the past used to go on more real life adventures. The Atari 2600 did not keep guys from meeting girls. However, World of Warcraft does.

Another darker way to look at this is that as a people who are getting poorer in society. With inflation adjusted, the minimum wage of the 1970s would equal the purchase power of $25 today. As people become poorer and poorer, they spend more and more time inside the Virtual World.

Is gaming becoming the medium for poor people? Look at your popular streamers. They can barely afford their rent. With things like Free-To-Play becoming more prominent, it is harder to hide the fact that to be a gamer is to be a poorer person. The hardcore gamers are the most uninteresting because their life achievements are Virtual World achievements.

And the big reason why commercials wouldn’t work in gaming is because gamers tend to be too poor to afford anything.

Gamers do have to eat and drink. Hence, this is why the marketing is doritos and mountain dew.

The growth of gaming in a person’s week of time comes in part of the decline of television and other hobbies. Games can still be interesting why television has become terrible. Even many books have become terrible so why read them? People tell me, “Malstrom, the gamers are not going to the woman. How do we fix this?” I say to them: “Why assume the problem is with the gamers? If a flesh and blood woman cannot compete with a video game, then something tells me there is a big problem with the woman. Is she fat? Does she have a crappy personality and not fun to be around? These would all be reasons for gamers to keep gaming.”

While gamers have increased their gaming and have become less interesting, the alternatives to gaming have really gone to the crapper and become uninteresting.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 4, 2015

Email: “Thief vs. AAA Gaming”

A video essay. I don’t agree with every point he makes, but he makes many good points. Namely, that modern game developers add in certain popular game mechanics without thinking about what their impact on they would have (like mini-maps or quest markers), modern AAA gaming’s obsession with “empowering” the player (a game is about what the player CANNOT do just as it is about what the player can do), and other things.

 

There is a much simpler way to look at this.

The first few Thief games were designed for PC. Thief 2014 was designed for console. End of story.

Now it is time to make a very controversial statement. I’ll save it for the next post.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 3, 2015

Email: Link is “not masculine”

I caught this recent interview between IGN and the director of the Zelda: Four Swords 2 game. If anyone needs another example that a) Nintendo doesn’t understand their own IPs nor their fans and b) Nintendo is obsessed with their “Vision”, here it is:

IGN: I guess I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t express some slight disappointment with that, especially because there is a Zelda outfit Link wears in the game. It just feels like it’s one step closer to giving the Zelda series’ female audience the chance to explore that universe from another perspective.

Shikata: Understood. I understand what you’re saying, and just as general information, we do have a lot of female staff members who are playing this game and enjoying it. It doesn’t seem to be a big issue to them. They still are getting emotional investment in this game. And to be honest, Link isn’t the most masculine of guys in the world, depending on how you want to project yourself into the character.

If they’re already giving players a cutesy wardrobe of dress-up clothes, how hard is it REALLY to add in female characters? Oh, you can sure dress up like a bomb-Link or a Goron, but it would break the expertly crafted storyline (lol) if they allowed you to be a female.

What really takes the cake is Nintendo responding “Link isn’t the most masculine of guys in the world” to why there aren’t women. As if they’re admitting “Link is an effeminate sissy, so it’s pretty much like playing a girl, right?”

I would be zero surprised if playable Zelda shows up in the next mainline Nintendo game, and then Nintendo will expect us to be surprised and impressed. They did the same thing with Peach: it was “too hard” to add her moveset into NSMB U (even though Luigi U had totally different physics….) but she showed up in Super Mario 3D World just fine.

 

What other perspective could there be? Nintendo already made a Princess Peach game where Peach saves Mario.

The real reason why people want to play Zelda in a Zelda game has nothing to do with ‘her perspective’ but everything to do with more gameplay options. Zelda uses arrows and spells. Adding in Zelda is like adding in the Wizard to Gauntlet or the amazon in Golden Axe.

Nintendo is responding to a crazy person here. What other perspective could a ‘female’ have? Does playing Metroid with Samus somehow make that a different perspective since Samus is a girl and not a guy? These crazy people suffer from a type of political cancer to the head. All they see is politics, and they cannot get away. They probably even politicize their dinner!

One of the big changes with Zelda is who plays Zelda. Girls did not really play Zelda back in the 8-bit and 16-bit generation. Now, girls did play Ocarina of Time and some of the other Zeldas (though I have hear girls, like everyone who thinks Ocarina is the bee’s knees, totally hate Wind Waker. Those who like Wind Waker are probably younger than 20 at the moment).

We can’t get a Zelda where Link becomes a badass with a sword and rips through enemies because Nintendo fears that might alienate the female demographic. This might explain why Link has been so wussified lately. NPCs talk to him about feelings to NPCs and performs ‘puzzles’. In the past, NPCs would give the clue and shut the hell up because they are NPCs and do not matter.

What will Zelda U contain? Probably some girl stuff. By girl stuff, I mean Facebook stuff. Link will probably grow a farm and raise vegetables like farmville. Link will also gather apples and give them to a NPC to make that NPC’s feelings happy.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 3, 2015

Email: 4-player versions of Dr. Mario and similar

My parents love games like Dr. Mario and Tetris, games that I call “puzzle-arcade” (so as to differentiate from “puzzle-adventure” like Myst and “puzzle-Aonuma”).

However, other than several verities of Tetris, (not including Tetris Attack / Panel de Pon) I literally know of only one to three (depending of how you define it) other “puzzle-arcade” games that have 4-player support:

– Dr. Mario 64

– Nintendo Puzzle Collection [updated versions of Yoshi’s Cookie and Tetris Attack / Panel de Pon; includes Dr. Mario 64] (Japan only, GameCube)Am I wrong, or is there simply a lack of”puzzle-arcade” games with 4-player local multiplayer that aren’t named “Tetris”?  Please enlighten me Master Malstrom!

(home console is preferred even if it’s Xbox, PC is OK, arcade might be possible with MAME, and handheld could be difficult even with emulators)

 

What you say sounds right. I can’t think of many 4 player Tetris clone games.

One you should consider is Puzzle Bobble. The DS one was great. Bust-A-Move (it was called) on the DS supported six players.

 

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 3, 2015

Reggie talks about E3 2015

This doesn’t work. The reason why is that Reggie cannot represent himself, and he is using too much ‘shop talk’. Reggie Fils-Aime is Nintendo. He cannot be ‘independent gamer’. No one really cares about Reggie’s feelings, about what he finds enjoyable or not enjoyable. I only care what I find enjoyable and not enjoyable as well as other gamers. Youtube personalities I also don’t care about since E3 is such a more closed event than it used to be.

Reggie, if you have to say Nintendo is ‘special’, then it isn’t special.

The shop talk I mean is Reggie referring to the ‘showfloor’. No one sees ‘show floor’. We just think of games. We don’t think in those marketing terms.

But as I’ve said in the past, I don’t really care about Miyamoto’s field trips or what gives developers ‘inspiration’. As far as their games are concerned, I haven’t seen any real inspired titles since the 16 bit era. It’s the same game over and over again. I do not care what gives Nintendo developers ‘fun’. I only care what gives ME fun. I only care what gives other gamers fun.

Yeah, I’m selfish. But I’m also the only one paying.

Nintendo World Event was a success because it revolved around gamers, not around developers.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 2, 2015

Email: The Cult of Miyamoto is unraveling

http://fortune.com/2015/06/23/shigeru-miyamoto-wii-u/

Interesting interview.  Once again, Miyamoto blames the failure of the Wii U on everything but the GAMES or even themselves.  We customers didn’t “understand” what they were trying to achieve.  Which is funny seeing as they did such a bang up job of unveiling the Wii U that they had to show a picture of the damned console after the fact because people weren’t sure what the Wii U was.  So whose fault is that, Nintendo?
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What I do want to comment on is that in some places I’m seeing this article being linked to, like Gamefaqs, I’m seeing a lot comments that are along the lines “Thank God!”  “He needs to not be involved with the hardware, stick to making games.”  Some are even going further and stating that he’s past his prime and needs to move on.  And those sentiments are not just reserved for him.
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The overall tone on such forums towards Nintendo after their Direct is quite NEGATIVE.  There’s lots of criticism and anger towards Nintendo for the dearth of software and overall just “meh” presentation.  Normally the “hardcore” Nintendo fans would try to shout down and drown out those sentiments.  But it’s not happening this time.  There’s more voices of discontent joining the choir.  And because Nintendo put their developers forth as the face of the company and IPs, they are now bearing the full brunt of responsibility in the eyes of gamers.  The door swings both ways and it’s hitting them in the face.  I think you said that the reason we don’t see Sakamoto anymore is because of how he put himself out there for Other M, that there was no way for him to avoid blame for how disastrously that game turned out.  Team Ninja made sure to point out that all the critical decisions in the game came from him and they followed his orders, despite objecting to them.  There was no way for him to avoid blame for the results.  Maybe this is why we aren’t seeing anymore Iwata Asks interviews.  People are seeing who it is to blame for their games turning out poorly.
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I am curious about him saying he’s “not actively involved” with the development of NX.  Was this planned all along, or is something happening within the company that has him saying this?  This is only a few weeks after their Direct, and there’s no spinning how poorly received that was.  Could the poor reception finally be lighting a fire the company’s ass and have them pushing for some changes in the status quo internally?
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I do agree with your sentiment that it was stupid to put Miyamoto and the other developers out there as the face of the company, because now these people are going to become pinatas for their customers anger for failing to deliver quality games and hardware.  Contrast with the Bethesda unveiling of Fallout 4, and all they do is talk about the game and show it off and all the cool new neat things you can do in the game.  People can’t really attack the spokesman because he isn’t putting himself out as the “face” of Bethesda or Fallout or The Elder Scrolls.  He’s just letting the games speak for themselves.  Nintendo needs to go back to doing this.  Unfortunately, the quality of their games has bombed to the point that the poor reception to their Direct speaks for itself.

 

Here is how things went from what I know.

NES, SNES, and N64 were Yamauchi led. I imagine Miyamoto was a big part of the N64 too by that time.

Gunpei was huge factor behind the Gameboy. I know that Gunpei was a factor behind Virtual Boy, but we know Miyamoto was also a big advocate for Virtual Boy too.

I am not sure where the DS came from. What part did Yamauchi or Iwata have in it? We do know that the DS was deliberately done to check the PSP. Sony beat Nintendo in home consoles, why not in handhelds? It is no doubt that the DS was largely made (third pillar and all) to be a counter to the PSP.

I know Iwata had a big part with Gamecube, and I am sure Miyamoto and the rest did too. Gamecube represents the same ‘faster and better’. NOA also likely had a big factor in the N64 and Gamecube.

We do know that the 3DS hardware design was largely affected by Miyamoto. Investors wanted Miyamoto involved because they keep hearing he is such a genius! The 3DS was a disaster. Its 3d display made the device not likely for younger kids (a large Nintendo market). Miyamoto was also said to be the one who put the ‘slider’ in place of the D-pad.

In the Iwata Asks interviews, I got the impression that Iwata was letting Miyamoto do anything he wanted.

The Wii was never said to be a Miyamoto invention. What was said was that a ‘young person’ came up with the idea of a single handheld controller. But Miyamoto’s ‘idea’ was to be able to connect other devices into it.

Nintendo was very open about the Gamecube disaster. They admitted that it did not work. Iwata, at the time, also blamed lack of third party support on the timing of the Gamecube’s launch. Gamecube launched a year later than PS2. This is why it was deliberately done for the Wii to launch exactly when the PS3 did. It is why Wii U launched earlier than PS4. Iwata thought the third parties would get used to such hardware and stay. Wii U proved him wrong.

I’m mixed about NX’s direction. Getting Miyamoto away from it seems acknowledgement that Miyamoto does not have the Midas touch. However, Miyamoto blaming ‘tablets’ for everyone ‘not getting’ Wii U seems ridiculous. Is this a Nintendo problem or a Miyamoto problem? I’m thinking it is a Miyamoto problem. Nintendo acknowledges the disaster called Virtual Boy even if Miyamoto still thinks the Virtual Boy is awesome.


Above: Hidden video of what goes on at night at the Treehouse

We really have to see what the NX is. We had the Wii-mote controller revealed before the Wii. We have nothing to go on for the NX except the account system plan with DeMa (or whatever its name is).

Did you know that Nintendo loves EA?

Oh yes.

Nintendo thinks EA has the coolest business model. This is one reason why Nintendo was so excited to put EA front and center during the Wii U announcement. Nintendo loves how EA can make the same sports games over and over again. Nintendo wants to be like EA in this.

Yes, it is all true.

But when you analyze fan reaction to Nintendo, it is clear fans are not being in a backlash due to ‘Nintendo trying something different’. Nintendo fans even love the Virtual Boy. They do! But the thing about Nintendo fans is that they are NOT fans of EA. Now, why is that?

Are there any fans of EA?

EA was voted in some magazine to be the worst company every to exist in two years in a row. Gamers despise EA’s business model practices. Sports games buyers and Call of Duty clone buyers are not the most savviest of gamers.

Nintendo’s gaming output might as well have been farmed out to EA. Metroid Prime Galactic Federation sounds like what would happen if EA got hold of the Metroid license. The NSMB franchise, including 3d World and 3d Lan, seems what would happen if EA got hold of the Mario license.

It’s not the IPs or the ‘game concepts’ Nintendo fans are backlashing against. They are in a backlash due to the EA style business model. The games coming out look soul-less, cheap, and have absolutely no point. They seem like games manufactured off an assembly line. “Here comes another Paper Mario handheld RPG.”

Have you noticed all the ‘developer interviews’ and commentary when new games are introduced? It is amazing because games used to have no such introduction. No one knew who Miyamoto was. No one knew who the developers were. All we knew is that the games were coming. They might as well have fallen from the sky.

Where did this come from? It didn’t matter. It was a Mario game.

Where are the developers? They are all missing!

Now, I know these are TV commercials. However, the point is that these games did not need developers to speak out for them. Why is that? What is the point of having developers speak up about their game?

It is to combat the perception the game was made from an assembly line.

Nintendo fans are incompatible with EA’s business model. Nintendo may find generational editions of Smash and Mario Kart to sell well, but it isn’t exactly moving new hardware. Mario Kart Wii cannot compare to Wii Fit or Wii Sports or Super Mario Brothers. Donkey Kong Country probably did more for the SNES than Super Mario World did which is very telling.

Nintendo’s business model also feels like it is stuck in the 1990s (in the bad way). Why would anyone want to purchase the console hardware to play such uninspired crap?

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 26, 2015

Game journalists don’t even try anymore

Take a look at this from Kotaku:

Blizzard has announced that this July it will release three missions that act as a prologue to Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void. Whispers of Oblivion is a three-mission arc that tells the story of Zeratul, a character we’ve only met through Heroes of the Storm,Blizzard’s moba.

Zeratul was a main character in Starcraft: Brood War and in Starcraft 2 and both expansions. Zeratul has always been a very popular hero. A simple google check will easily identify this.

So fans are having fun with this. They’ve mocked Kotaku with their parody.

BTW, I now own ALL heroes in Heroes of the Storm. I think I bought the Nexus Pack and a couple of heroes that were on sale. Gold gain will get most of what you need.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 26, 2015

Email: Miyamoto and puppets

Miyamoto has explained the 3D obsession.  It’s because he made puppets when he was a kid and it reminds him of that.  This also explains why he hired Aonuma.

“And then we came to the 3-D era of video games, and when I was younger I used to enjoy creating puppets and doing puppet shows, so this was like doing puppet shows in a 3-D video game space. So I found that even as time progressed in my career as a video game designer, I still kept encountering all the things that I loved when I was younger. So I truly feel fortunate to have found them.”

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/06/19/415568892/q-a-shigeru-miyamoto-on-the-origins-of-nintendos-famous-characters

 

Miyamoto is richer than fuck. He even has a dog farm where he breeds dogs (or some other animal). HE CAN BUY WHATEVER HE WANTS.

I’m sick and tired of this ‘tortured artist’ routine he pulls. No one is stopping Miyamoto from doing anything. Not financially. Not in the company. Not the investors. No one.

Since Nintendo has been going back in their past and looking at things like World Championship of Nintendo 1992, perhaps they will also go back and realize that Miyamoto’s face was not the face of Nintendo. No one knew who the fuck Miyamoto was or really cared. Mario was the face of Nintendo.

Nintendo used to be the House of Mario.

Now, Nintendo is the House of Miyamoto.

This is a big, big problem. Mario does not age. Mario does not get sick. Mario does not retire. Miyamoto will age, get sick, and retire. It is inevitable. Yet, some moron at Nintendo thinks it is a good idea to tie up Nintendo’s… ‘soul’… into one of its members. Nintendo has made many great games without Miyamoto.

When Miyamoto does step down… because he is made of flesh and not a god of sunbeams and rainbows… how is Nintendo going to represent what it is?

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 26, 2015

Email: Chibi Aonuma Zelda

That new 3 player Zelda game is just a quick way for Nintendo to re-use the Link between worlds engine. Using Chibi links guarantees no sale

Nintendo loves re-using their engines!

 

 

 

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