Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 20, 2015

30 minutes of Brinstar music

You know you need it.

“Let’s take off our nostalgia goggles for a moment and call Super Metroid what it really is: an embarrassingly easy game.”

The emailer is referring to something I said YEARS ago. Super Metroid was not my first Metroid. It was my third Metroid after the original and Metroid II. I considered Super Metroid an embarrassment because of how easy it was. I only rented it and never bought it (until it fell down to $20). Metroid II was unique in that it was a Gameboy game. It couldn’t do much. But Super Metroid couldn’t hold a candle to the majesty of experience that the original Metroid was.

When people play the original Metroid today, they find the mechanics crappy and the game super frustrating. These complaints are valid. However, EVERY GAME back then has those issues. Metroid came out in 1986, nearly THIRTY years ago. The original Metroid should not be compared to Super Metroid or to games made in 2015. That’s silly. Look at the games before it and during its time. There is no comparison. The original Metroid was a HUGE game compared to the others. It was very mysterious and a work of art. The endless corridors and the brutal difficulty just add to it. If you use a map, the game becomes straightforward and somewhat easy. However, if you do not, you’re in for a very brutal game that will wipe the paint off your Dark Souls.

I think Super Metroid gets slightly challenging only with Phantoon. Other than that, the game is a cake-walk. The reason why it has aged so well is because the game asks very little from the player like modern games.

The article talks about playing a script. That is obvious with the final boss, but I don’t see it as that. I think Sakamoto is a hipster type who loves being ‘ironical’. Playing Super Metroid is like watching Sakamoto jump out of the bushes and go boo as if he thinks he is getting a rise out of you.

“Ohhhh, the lab blows up. YOU DIDN’T EXPECT THAT DID YOU!”

Yeah, I did, Sakamoto. There were no enemies in it.

“Ohhhhh, old Tourian comes to life with enemies. YOU GOT SURPRISED! ADMIT IT! YEAH!”

Oh yeah. I never expected enemies to attack me at old Tourian. You are such a mastermind, Sakamoto.

“Ohhhh, the Chozo statue comes alive to kill you. YOU GOT HAD! ADMIT IT! ADMIT IT!”

So surprised! Oh, me. How can I contain myself?

“Ohhhh, in Wrecked Ship, the Chozo Statue carries you to the underground place. You couldn’t have seen that? Could you!?”

Yawn.

Super Metroid is filled with such moments. I just found them lame.

In the game’s defense, here are the moments I was genuinely surprised:

-Falling down a long shaft to meet the bird that does the power jump. It is near the beginning of the game. You dash down a hall of blocks but accidentally fall down a huge shaft. Whoops. Then you meet Big Bird.

-Super-bombing the glass corridor in Maridia. That is a classic moment there. I love how it shatters. I did not expect that.

-Electric shocking the Maridia boss with your grapple beam if you grapple an electrical conduit. This was really cool.

Super Metroid felt like a retcon of the original Metroid. Where were the Metroid evolutions? Baby Metroid was just a giant normal Metroid which was lame. Queen Metroid seemed so much more terrifying in Metroid II.

Super Metroid’s wall jump was not done well. It is very annoying to use.

The Super Missiles and Power Bombs act more like keys than anything else.

The Xray vision slowed down the pace of the game.

What Super Metroid did right was correct the flaws of the original Metroid design (I think adding in a map was a good idea as well as being able to charge up missiles and power because, fuck that, it took forever to grind it up in original Metroid).

Super Metroid had brilliant, and I mean brilliant, graphics and sound. The music is divine. The power fantasy was also still intact.

The grapple beam is incredible.

Screw it, let’s post some Super Metroid music.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 19, 2015

Email: FPS

“This would also explain why I cannot play First Person Shooters with a controller. I need a keyboard and mouse.”

I am happy to hear you say this.  I absolutely cannot stand dual analog for shooters of any kind.  I despise the control scheme with all of my hatred.  As the industry keeps trying to ram this controller down my throat I keep protesting by refusing to by any such games.  Even though the industry was presented with a much better solution on consoles by and through the Wii Remote (and even, apparently, the PS Move), it went “hardcore” on us and ultimately ignored these control schemes once the Wii passed and Sony stopped paying developers to support its then-new motion controller.

So even though Killzone 3 on the PS3 supported the PS Move, Killzone on the PS4 did not.  And then we had assholes like EA-developer Dice proclaiming that these controls were “gimmicks” and that Battlefield would never support motion controllers.  Well Dice can go fuck itself.

Hell, even Splatoon doesn’t support the Wii Remote!  You have to use the GamePad!  Nintendo can go fuck itself too!

I wouldn’t mind seeing you slam dual analog more often.  The control scheme sucks and deserves to be relegated to the “classic controller” status it received on the Wii.

 

Keyboard and mouse FPS games are also much, much faster paced. No matter how good Dreamcast players got at their version of Quake 3, they couldn’t compete with keyboard and mouse PC players.

 

 

Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 19, 2015

Nope, can’t stop playing Heroes

At least there is finally a new trailer for Open Beta.

Oh, that Nova skin! The feminists are going to be so pissed. Social Justice Warriors can have the bikini skin Stiches. I’ll take more such skins for Nova:

Above: Patriarchy on display as Nova is dressed up in a skimpy Roman garb that has no relation to actual Roman clothing except to highlight her boobs and thighs. Incoming killjoys will protest these polygons

Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 19, 2015

The Backwards Bicycle applies to video games

This would also explain why I cannot play First Person Shooters with a controller. I need a keyboard and mouse.

Readers, you know this to be true. You know ‘getting good’ at a game isn’t a matter of knowledge but of understanding… about getting your brain to ‘rewire’ itself towards the game.

Looking back, the most popular games were very simple like Pac-Man and Super Mario Brothers. But once our brains were wired to them, only then could they become more complicated.

The process of re-wiring our brain to get good may be the true magic of video games. Think of Wii Sports which was a magical experience when you first played it. Or think of Super Mario Brothers with the D-pad. Or your first arcade game. Perhaps the Backwards Bicycle has discovered that ‘early magic’ of video games.

And yes, welders are smarter than engineers.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 19, 2015

Heroes of the Storm goes into Open Beta

This means everyone can now play. The perception is that Heroes is a very ‘casual’ game that is ‘very easy to learn’ and requires ‘no skill’. This isn’t the case. The game definitely has a skill ceiling, and it will take hundreds of games and months of play to ‘get good’ at the game.

Thankfully, you are reading Malstrom’s page. So if you follow these tips, you will NOT SUCK donkey balls at the game. Here we go:

Tip 1: Play the AI

Don’t be the idiot who goes to Quickmatch. Heroes is a very team based game. One retard on your team means defeat. A new player doesn’t understand the maps or the game’s dynamics. Stick to the AI.

The most important thing of AI games is to learn your hero’s mechanics. Every hero is a little different.

When to leave AI games

During an AI game, do you totally dominate and feel it is so easy? Then you might be ready for Quickmatch.

During an AI game, do you die? If you are dying at all, don’t go to Quickmatch. You aren’t ready. If you are dying to the AI, you aren’t ready for Humans.

Tip 2: Get all heroes to Level 5

Gold comes from four places in this game:

1) Leveling up your profile

2) Playing games (more with stim pack)

3) Leveling up your heroes

4) Doing daily quests

#1 is finite and will run out once you hit level 40 which happens fast.

#2 is a joke, even with a stim pack, as you won’t be getting much gold at all for playing games.

#4 is the most reliable way to get gold. Just do your dailies. Do them in AI games if you have to. Even if you are pissed off at the game and want a break, just do your dailies and go back on being on break. You’ll be wanting that daily quest gold.

#3 is that leveling heroes will give gold at certain levels. At level 5, you will get 500 gold.

While getting gold from leveling a hero to 5 is good, the real reason to do so is because it gives you experience with the hero. Heroes of the Storm is about heroes fighting other heroes. You cannot fight a hero decisively until you know how they work. Ignorance of their abilities will get you killed.

An even more important of leveling a hero to level 5 is for you to ‘shop around’ and ‘try out’ all the heroes. Every week, more than half a dozen heroes will be on free rotation. Keep trying new ones.

Don’t buy heroes when you start. You need to try them out first. I do not mean ‘Try Mode’ which is a distortion because Malfurion-bot heals you to make you think you are invincible. Level 5 makes you play enough games where you get a good sense of the character. Some heroes I started, I HATED. But when I got them to level 5, I found out how they worked well and LOVED them. Other heroes I liked well at first but hated once I got to level 5. First impressions are all wrong in this game.

When you have a hankering to play a hero (you already leveled up to 5) who isn’t on free rotation anymore, that is a sign for you to purchase that hero. Do you know why, dear reader? It is because of Tip 3 which is…

Tip 3: Play a hero you enjoy playing and stick with it

The purpose of the game is to have fun. When you are in Hero League and need to pick a character to round up the team composition, sure, you may not pick what you want. But that is a different environment and is about competitive play.

I recommend picking a character you like and sticking with the character as you level it up (instead of leveling tons of other characters not counting the new ones to level 5). The reason why is that by playing lots of games, the variable of your hero doesn’t change. You learn to deal with other variables such as your allies different heroes (or their incompetence), the enemy’s heroes, the different maps, and so on. Changing heroes is changing roles. You’re better off to stick with one for a while.

The heroes I recommend for newer players would be ones like Valla. Avoid more complicated heroes like The Lost Vikings, Illidan, Abathur, and Kael’thas. Some heroes, like Tassadar, say ‘Very Hard’ but are actually very easy to play.

Vallas are also the ‘easy, cheap, fun’ hero without stigma from other players. Nova players, which noobs love to play, have a ton of stigma against as does Gazelowes and Abathurs. If you choose one of those heroes, be aware that your allies will think you’re a noob-let.

For my own story, I fell in love with Jaina, and she was my first level 10. She just ‘clicked’ with me. This was before she became Tier 1 and most played in Hero League. I’m pretty good with her as I can consistently get 0 deaths in games along with doing great damage and team fight contributions. The enemy freaks out if you get to level 20 without any deaths. I had an Illidan chase me across the map despite his core being exploded because it was so important that I had to die. He didn’t catch me and his core blew up. hah!

My skill with other heroes vary. Some, I am very good with. A few, OK. Some, I am TERRIBLE at. Does this mean that I am good? That I suck? No. It just means I know where I am good at and where I am bad at.

Tip 4: Soak Lanes

Making kills and avoiding being kills is very important. But what is more important is that those two take a backseat to SOAKING versus FEEDING.

Soaking means you are GAINING EXPERIENCE.

Feeding means you are doing something that GAINS EXPERIENCE TO THE ENEMY TEAM.

What does this mean? Experience gain means going up in levels. Why does that matter? It matters because the higher level you are, the more powerful you are to lower level heroes, to minions, and to mercenary camps. Minions and Mercenary Camps do not level up so they just get weaker and weaker to your awesome-sauce. However, the enemy team does level up.

The larger the level gap between you and the enemy team means the easier it is to KILL or BE KILLED. If the enemy has a level or two on you, it is easier for them to kill you and it is easier for you to be killed.

Level gains also grant new talents. Never engage an enemy team if they are a talent ahead of you. The big milestone is Level 10 when the team gets ultimate abilities.

Also, deaths only matter in two ways:

1) A death removes the player from the battlefield temporarily.

2) A death gives the enemy team experience.

Early in the game, #1 is not applicable. The death timer will be a few seconds. Winning team fights at level 5 doesn’t mean much. It gives you some experience, but that is all.

#1 will make or break a game after level 15. When the death timer becomes 60 seconds or 80 seconds, a dead hero means the game suddenly becomes 4 vs 5. Because of this, in late game always stick together as a team. I can’t stress this enough. Don’t be that idiot who pushes a lane by himself and gets devoured by three to five level 20 heroes and then the game is lost because it becomes 5 vs 4 for a minute. What happens is that more allied heroes will die because of those numbers and it snowballs to the end of the game. And it was all caused because you were too exposed, died, and lost the game.

Divide it in two ways. Levels 1-10 to 10+

In Levels 1-10, SOAKING becomes more important than making kills. Every lane should have someone in it. Leave only to do objectives but come back. You only gain experience from minions when they die near you. You actually don’t have to kill them. This is why it is called ‘soak’ and not ‘lane clear’. Some heroes are not good at laning. Some heroes are. The point is to soak the experience. The Lost Vikings can split up as three and soak all three lanes if they want. They may just sit in a bush, but it will work.

After level 10+. soaking isn’t as important. However, it doesn’t become unimportant. Winning team fights become more important because of the rise in the death timer.

Also, go with the flow of the team. If you’re new, just follow someone else. Doing things on your own will almost always lead to your death or to problems. Doing things with the group will almost always lead to winning team fights and doing things right. Heroes of the Storm is not a game for individuals to shine. Sorry.

Tip 5: Look to Top Players for Talent Guides and Tier Guides

When you are new, it is better to trust someone who does nothing in their life but play Heroes of the Storm. The talent guides they put out can be used so you get a basis of how not to suck with that hero. Then, you can make your own choices about the talents and all. Some heroes only have one talent build to make that character viable (such as Chen).

I also recommend watching top level games or streams to see how the game is supposed to be played.

Remember that the most important skill in this game is not mechanics (like in Starcraft 2) or strategy but in teamwork. This is a team based game. Don’t be selfish and leave your ego at the door. If you are getting stomped, do not despair. Comebacks happen very frequently in this game.

The most common mistakes I see are…

….not soaking the lanes properly.

….dying constantly early on because someone didn’t master the mechanics of their hero in AI games first.

….not grouping up at the End Game and allowing yourself to be picked off. If you die at Endgame, you better bring an enemy hero with you or you are hurting your team big-time.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 14, 2015

Nintendo badly needs Sports Psychology

Nintendo has recently announced the return of Nintendo World Championship Event (or whatever it is called). Go to the Nintendo page to find out more. There is a silly skit with Reggie. I enjoy the skit, but it becomes more distracting than anything. I also think it is a business mistake to use real people as ‘characters’ such as “Reggie” or “Miyamoto” or “Iwata”. The reason why is that “Reggie”, “Miyamoto”, and “Iwata” will grow old, retire, and die. But Mario, Link, and Samus do not age (thank God Samus does not age. The Perfect Woman!!!!). This is why I so love the Dos Equis ‘most interesting man in the world’ marketing because while the actor may grow old and die, the character is eternal. This is why I dislike celebrity endorsements as well. The celebrity may go to jail or say something stupid.

That said, I have been wondering what has been missing at Nintendo lately. I then thought of an Iwata Asks interview long ago when Iwata interviewed someone at Nintendo who went over to Capcom to help make the Capcom Zelda games. Iwata asked, “How was it working with Capcom?” I’ll never forget the answer. He said: “They are different from us. They are much more sporty.”

Sports Psychology is an interesting concept when it comes to video games. With something like E-sports, it is not the video game that is relevant but the sports psychology of the players. When playing these games, the sports psychology is fun. By sports psychology, I mean the ‘sporty’ type behavior. It is a game. There are winners and losers. There is sportsmanship.

While I think many of the E-Sports game scenes can be ridiculous, the sports psychology is not. It also highlights perhaps the true reason why the NES Era of Nintendo is my favorite. It is the only period where Nintendo embraced sports psychology.

Nintendo Power used to have top scores in the magazine during the NES era.

tetris evets kainzov

The highlighted name above is actually Steve Wozniak (of Apple fame) who spelled his name backwards. It’s true.

(NOTE: the arcades were about sports psychology especially with their HIGH SCORES)

Make fun of The Wizard all you want, but it very astutely encapsulates the Sports Psychology of the NES Era PLUS pointing out that kids (and adults) play video games for a source of agency. The main character in the movie had a health condition so he couldn’t play normal sports. It is why he played video games.

I can’t chase a ball like a dog in football or baseball anymore. I prefer video games.

The entire ‘Console War’ mentality is also a type of Sports Psychology. Everyone is rooting for their ‘console company’ like a sports team.

One thing sorely lacking from the SNES era was that sports psychology. The sports games were on Genesis and SNES players just stayed by themselves playing adventure games. N64 had some of that Sports Psychology with games like Golden Eye. The reason why Nintendo cannot do FPS games is because it cannot do sports psychology. It is why Splatoon is destined to flop.

Remember the above? Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out is not about Little Mac or the mechanics. The game is about Sports Psychology even though it is single player.

There was another game Nintendo made that was about sports. Do you remember what it was, reader? Oh yes…

Sports Psychology was part of that secret sauce of Wii Sports. Wii Sports Resort didn’t really have it aside from sword fighting. 3d Mario and Aonuma Zelda lack Sports Psychology which might be why I despise the games so much.

If Reggie is thinking like I’m thinking, he is going to be the announcer dude at a NEW video armageddon where the final game will be something brand new. Video Armageddon would also be a great way to showcase a brand new game.

Will he do it, reader?

Will Reggie give us ARMAGEDDON?

Our bodies are ready.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 13, 2015

Nintendo’s upcoming E3

I’ve been so busy, I forgot about E3. I’ll be back later in the day so I have to see after-the-fact. Commentary will follow.

I don’t expect anything. The big piece of news is 3DS successor or the NX. I doubt there will be news of that at E3.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 13, 2015

Splatoon… the upcoming dud…

Nintendo’s marketing is terrible. This commercial is atrocious.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 12, 2015

Sheldon, Intel, and Heroes of the Storm

What is going on here!????

That Blizzard marketing money is going crazy…

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