Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 29, 2021

Email: An insightful review of the original LOZ

Hello Malstrom,

I came across this guy’s review of the original Legend of Zelda and thought you might appreciate it. He was born in the early 90s and his first Zelda game was basically Spirit Tracks, but he fell in love with the original. Two things that stand out from the review for me: first, his recognition that the game was meant to be played with the manual and was not meant to be ridiculously obtuse. Second, and kind of in the same line, the player is guided by patterns–that is, when something’s off, it’s a good clue that something is there to be found.

Anyway, let us know what you think.

What? A young person figures out that one should read the manual!

Shocking… I tell you.

Even in my real life job with technicians and engineers, they, too, have difficulty understand that it is a good idea to read the manual.

His experience is not too much different how we experienced it in release.

“This game shares more DNA with Dark Souls than later games in the Zelda series.” Hahaha. If he investigates, he’ll end up running into the Aonuma issue.

“You need to get to zero input lag. The game will feel so much different.” BAM! I’ve said myself in my NES Reviews, on the ‘about’ page. You’ve got to get rid of the lag. NES games are incredibly nuanced. Just think of Battletoads turbo tunnel. HOLY MOLY, that can only be done with solid, solid input!

“You need to change your mindset…” This is why emulation also fails. It’s hard to focus on one game when you have thousands of games available.

“It’s not really a puzzle game, it’s more like a survival game.” THANK YOU!

Did you hear that, Aonuma? Did you? No, you will ignore that and keep making more PUZZLES AND CHARACTER ARCS, OMG! Metroid is the same way too, but nooo, Sakamoto wants ‘character arcs’.

He comments on the boss screaming from rooms away. Yes, it is soo cool. I try to put that into my own game.

“Knowledge is power.” Yes. That is why I subscribed to Nintendo Power. hahaha.

“The more you learn, the more you earn.” Yes. This seemingly childish game is actually very responsive to those of higher IQ. Today’s games aren’t like that.

“The Legend of Zelda is pretty rad.” It’s why it shared a breakfast cereal with Super Mario Brothers.

Can’t wait to see his take on Zelda II.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 28, 2021

“A Shitty Product for Shitty Customers…”

So I got my game appraised and the reply was…

“A Shitty Product for Shitty Customers!”

I smiled, thanked the appraiser, and skipped out.

“But Malstrom,” cries the reader. “Are you not devastated that they called your game ‘shitty’? And that only ‘shitty people’ would like it?”

Not at all! I know my game is shitty compared to 4k AAA quarter billion dollar budget games. My game’s budget can be found in the cushions of my sofa! Haha.

I say to people, “Toyota did not come to America with Lexuses.” They started with the Corona. Then they brought over better cars eventually going up to the Lexus.

What do you call a ‘shitty product for shitty customers’? THIS is called disruption. Disruption, everyone’s favorite buzzword, is being used incorrectly. But as a ‘shitty product for shitty customers’, this is totally the definition.

Now, one cannot say whether my game is ‘disruptive’ or not because it isn’t on the market. The people who would be interested in my game are not those who would be interested in AAA “OMG 4k!” games. In fact, those who would be interested in my game would be those that the Game Industry has written off entirely. They’re older so Nintendo doesn’t want them, they’re too smart so they won’t fall into the ‘microtransactions’ trap, and they’re too obstinate.

I have absolutely no idea if anyone will ever purchase my ‘game’. But I do know that the game is focusing on values that other games do not have… including most indie games.

But let’s look at disruption from a game development point of view. Game development is being massively disrupted lately. Massively.

I do not need a million dollars to make a game. Thanks to new technologies, and these include legal technologies such as variations in copyright law, I can utilize a whole host of art, sound, and music without actually making it myself or hiring anyone to make it. I can leverage those game assets. Some of them I buy. Those who sell those assets will be making more that way than if they used it exclusively for one game anyway. It’s win-win for everyone.

Before, if my game required a flower, I would pay an artist to make the flower. But now there are tons of flowers out there on the Internet, free to use. So I just use a flower of my own choosing and credit the artist.

One of the big barriers to game development is the audiovisual assets. In fact, it is probably the biggest barrier. The market and generations are defined by ‘audiovisual’ upgrades such as ‘HD’, but they are not defined by ‘programming’ upgrades or ‘gameplay’ upgrades.

Of course, there are many ‘game editor’ programs out there now, many of them for free (including the Unreal engine).

Not anyone can be a game developer. It is still extremely time consuming and very technically orientated. However, many of the old barriers have been removed.

Have you noticed the indie games are getting ‘better’ and more impressive? Like the rebar market for steel, they know if they keep improving their audiovisual assets, they will eat away more into the Game Industry’s tiers. The top, top tier, the AAA tier, can and will be totally disrupted.

THIS is the solution to problems like Activision-Blizzard or the Game Industry’s ‘slave labor’ work environments. The solution will not be legal or political. The solution will be market disruption.

Why should a game developer work so hard to make Bobby Kotick wealthier? Why shouldn’t the game developer focus on his or her own fortune by OWNING the product?

“But Malstrom, some people just want to work on their craft.”

This can be done contractually. The map maker of Octopath Traveler was a contractor. The soundtrack of Octopath Traveler was a contractor. They are both beautiful and better done than anything I’ve seen from the ‘Game Industry’ if ever. A game like Octopath Traveler was very revolutionary but far more than its ‘visual style’. Even little people like me could possibly hire the composer of Octopath Traveler to make music for my game (though I’m sure he’s become very expensive!). This wouldn’t be the case for the composer for Final Fantasy 6 (Uematsu) who was in-house.

The solution to the Game Industry is to destroy the Game Industry. We do not need an ‘industry’ to make a game. We need passionate gamers. We do not need Bobby Koticks. We need game developers.

“Your game is shitty and is for shitty customers.” Thank you! That is the definition of disruption right there!

My game probably won’t even make it to anyone’s radar, but let us review some games that were declared ‘shitty’ for ‘shitty customers’:

Super Mario Brothers (“Kids were the shitty customers.” “WTF was with that background music?” “Real games use joystick!”)

Tetris (“Just a bunch of blocks.” “No scrolling.” “Where’s the story and characters?” “Only middle aged moms would like this shit.”)

Dragon Quest (“Real RPGs are on the PC.” “WTF is with these limited controls?” “WTF is with these shitty cute monsters?” “An RPG for families? Talk about shitty customers!”)

Minecraft (“What a shitty looking game.” “No story! Where’s the scripting?” “Only shitty people on the PC are buying this garbage.” “It’s not on Steam. A game has to be on Steam to succeed.”)

You get the idea.

To take the idea of Dragon Quest, the concept of a console RPG wasn’t that appealing to the West during the 8-bit era. Who liked Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior 1-4 on the NES? Eccentric gamers. They weren’t big sellers. But those games got *better* and more unique. How did you like the RPGs during the 16-bit era, reader?

“I liked them quite a lot, Master Malstrom!”

Indeed. The question of the quality of the game is determined by the customer. If shitty customers like these shitty games, then they found value in them. And those shitty games will become bigger and better with them taking away the ‘money rich’ customers.

What is exciting about the ‘disruptive’ products isn’t so much of the toppling of the industry but that the products end up servicing customers who aren’t being serviced. IN EVERY CASE, THEY WERE CALLED TOYS.

The PC was called a hobbyist toy… until it took over the world.

Remember the giant brick cellphones of the 1980s? Yeah.

Big companies passed on the telephone because it seemed more like a toy.

J.P. Morgan was the first person to wire his house with electric lighting. His dad, the banking tycoon, scolded him and said electricity was nothing but a toy!

The myopia of ‘shitty’ product and ‘quality’ product was defining value through the financial lens instead of the customer lens. It is customers that make a company, not financial flow. To say otherwise is like saying rivers do not flow from mountains.

Focus on making a profitable product to customers and the cashflow will come. Focus entirely on the cashflow metric and watch the customers disappear.

Customers are the reason why your product exists!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 26, 2021

NES Review: Marble Madness

Marble Madness NES Prices
Released 1989

What is this!? It is the port for the arcade game, Marble Madness! How does this game fare today? Let’s find out!

Above: This graphical style remains beautiful to this day.

Marble Madness is an isometric game about rolling a marble into the goal. In some ways, it’s like a precursor to Monkey Ball. But what makes Marble Madness more than that is the isometric nature of the game and the 8-bit physics which can be delightful or evil depending on your skill level.

The game is all about a race against a timer. When you complete a level, the excess time you have is added on to the next stage. This means the key to advancement isn’t so much as completing a course as it is squeezing every second out of the early courses.

There’s some technique to Marble Madness. The courses offer branching paths for you to take, granting replayability, and choice. More importantly, you’ll have to figure out how to deal with each part in a quick and decisive manner to complete the course. There will be traps and even enemies after you.

Marble Madness, in some ways, reminds me of a shmup. The levels do not change. Everything is highly dependent on your ball control. As you chip seconds away from each stage in repeated playthroughs, you get further later on.

The stages are really varied. Stage one is a simple practice stage where you can quickly get a feel for the controls. Stage two is the ‘vanilla’ stage. Stage three is the intermediate stage with vacuums and other things. Stage four is the aerial stage. Stage five is the SILLY STAGE where the stage and physics are inverted. You travel faster going uphill, and you can kill all the enemies by touching them (except for the flying birds!). The last stage is a space dungeon type with randomizing floor patterns. Nasty stuff.


This game is actually challenging and is definitely ‘NES hard’. The game isn’t broken. The controls are actually really tight.

The controls are so good, they offer an option for either 90 degree movement or 45 degree movement. I play with 45 degree movement since the board is isometric so the D-pad is aligned with the board. Most of your movement will be diagonal. Hitting one direction to go diagonal is easier in 45 degrees than hitting two directions on the d-pad to in the 90 degree mode. The controls do take practice however.


Marble Madness is graphically interesting even today. In the world of 3d, games such as this will never be made again.


This game has incredible music. Listen!

Above: I still say ‘wow’ to this song.
Above: Odd time signatures… I love it!


Most people who play Marble Madness today don’t get used to the controls and write off the game. That’s a damn shame. Even back in the day, this game was quite popular.


This is one of the NES games I keep returning to again and again. I’m giving it the most prestigious of awards, the Malstrom Award, the beloved ‘10’. Now I will explain why…

Above: I think 45 degrees is easier control option.

This game may be challenging, but it is very short and snappy. This game will not waste your time. I deeply appreciate that today. I can play it for a few minutes, die, and move on. But the repeated plays come through having it in my NES rotation.

Unlike games of today, it is not a game you sit there for weeks trying to play over and over. It’s a game you keep in circulation as most arcade games were played.

Above: Interesting trivia. Who knew the designer of Marble Madness also designed the PlayStation 4?

Can we talk about how beautiful this game is? The isometric designs are worthy of famous paintings. In fact, the game’s art was inspired by the painting of endless steps that go in different directions.

The music is very well done with this and sounds AMAZING on the NES. The sound effects are also right on.

“But that dying sound is annoying, Malstrom!”

Stop dying to make it go away!

Oh yeah, there is TWO PLAYER CO-OP! It’s a sweet feature that gives more replayability to Marble Madness.

Most important of all, this NES version of Marble Madness is the best version. Here’s why…

Marble Madness was ported to every platform. But much of them are lazy ports.

This Sega Genesis may seem strong at first, but that music is gross.

This is the arcade game. But after playing the NES version, the arcade game version just seems… blah.

Gameboy port is shockingly well done. Even the music!

While there are many ways to play Marble Madness, I find that I prefer the NES version. The arcade version has the trackpad which is really laborious to use. The NES version wasn’t just an arcade port, it got souped up by Rare. Production values were added. I think the NES version is phenomenal and probably the best due to Rare’s upgrades.

Above: The inspiration behind Marble Madness?

Like all Malstrom Award games, the reader may be confused. The answer is to not think and to just play them. And keep playing them. And it will make sense. Marble Madness is one of those games that is best sipped, not swallowed, over a long period of time. It’s a beautiful game, even today, and the music never gets old. I do admit I owned this game back in the day.

And I still play it today.

Score: 10

Above: Marble Madness is one of the most interesting of the NES games…

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Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 26, 2021

NES Review: R.C. Pro-Am

R.C. Pro-AM NES Prices
Above: 1988

Ahh, another NES classic. Does this game stand the test of time? Let’s find out!

Above: Rare is strutting their 8-bit stuff with this art and music.

This is what we played before Mario Kart… except this game was single player. In this game, you go around the track trying to be in the top three places. If you are fourth place, it is game over. You can obtain weapons such as guns to shoot the other racers.

This game revolves around track memorization. As the game goes further, the player must be able to hit arrow turbo marks in order to keep up.

As you go further, your car gets ‘upgraded’. However, I’m not sure about how effective this all is as the computer opponents get faster with each level as well.

You are able to obtain weapons similar to Mario Kart. You can fire a missile, drop TNT bombs, and create your own oil slicks. The game moves very fast so it is tricky to time it right.

For NES racing, you’re not going to get too much better than this. The reason why games like F-Zero were such a big deal when the SNES launched was because it completely DESTROYED the best racing games on the NES (one of which was RC Pro AM.) Ever since Super Mario Kart, arcade racing has never been the same.

Rock and Roll Racing is a much better version of this style of racing.

I find the controls to be frustrating. I do love the track mini-map as I actually use it during the game. This game is very fast which is extremely fun and extremely frustrating.

I think this game was popular because of the lack of quality alternatives. Ever since racing games have gotten so much better over thirty years, it’s not surprising why you don’t see this played today. Even RC Pro Am II is an improvement over this one.

Above: SNES Drunk sees value in the first game’s simplicity.
Above: Classic Game Room points out how R.C. Pro-Am is the precursor to Mario Kart


RC Pro Am was a great game during its time. But the way I review things here is not to view the NES games in a closed vessel. The NES games are compared to every game out today. Don’t forget there is a Genesis version of this game which fans should check out.

Do you really want to play RC Pro Am today? Most likely, you’d rather play something else. A 16-bit racer. Or a 3d racer. I’m not a fan of the ‘3d revolution’, but 3d adapted well to the racing genre.

2d racing has its strength in its intensity. But it has a major weakness in being unable to really see the map and upcoming turns.

Score: 7

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Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 26, 2021

NES Review: Battletoads

Battletoads NES Prices
Released 1991

Could this be one of the great classics of yore? Does it survive repeated playthroughs? And most important of all, does it earn the Malstrom Award, the most prestigious award in all of gaming? Let’s find out.

Above: I’m more interested in the series being about the Dark Queen. ‘Hubba hubba’!

Battletoads is a very famous game, so I doubt there is much to describe about it. Battletoads, released in 1991, has slick visuals and production efforts, perhaps some of the best on the NES. The sound effects and graphics are still just as impressive to this day.

The gameplay is a brawler. And what is strange with Battletoads is that the game doesn’t want to be a brawler. Like a crazy person, the game keeps trying to be something other than a brawler. Some people may point out that the variety makes Battletoads good. Others might argue that the so-called variety is nothing but spectacles to cover up bad gameplay.

The game starts off simple enough. The Battletoads drop down onto a surface of the planet where they have to beat up giant rats and walkers. Only at the boss at the end with the first person perspective, the game is as you would expect.

In the second stage, the Battletoads are going down a cavern with a long rope. They can move up and down easily enough, but not left and right. Enemies begin to get instant death abilities such as the birds that can cut your rope!

In the third stage, after some beating up, the Battletoads take to turbo racers and race down the cavern dodging walls and jumping on ramps.

Fourth stage is in ice cavern throwing snowballs, fifth stage is surfing, and so on and so forth.

Let me say that I OWNED Battletoads and bought it when it was released. I do not know what happened to my copy. It somehow disappeared. I probably lent it to someone who didn’t return it. Jerk. I have been playing Battletoads longer than most people reading this have been ALIVE. Having been playing it off and on over the decades, I can finally say some things with finality about this game.

Above: Classic Game Room says Battletoads is a NES technical marvel. But as we approach half a century later, does that matter anymore as a value?


Battletoads is the most overrated NES game.

Despite the spectacles, the gameplay is really poor. The reason why I define it as poor is because there is no variety within that gameplay. If you do not do X at Y time, you lose. Contrast that to a game like Super Mario Brothers where there are many ways to get through a stage. Battletoads gives no such option to the player. Because of this issue, there are a number of ‘bottlenecks’ in this poorly designed game. The most infamous is the turbo tunnel sequence.

Forget the turbo tunnel. Even the first two levels are gigantic bores. The first level is fun enough. There are cool things like using the walker’s leg as a weapon or to scarf up flies that come by.

With the second stage, you cannot control your descent. The enemies are annoying, and you cannot move very well. How did anyone think this was fun?

As the game goes on, the gameplay doesn’t improve. It just gets faster. You either hit the buttons in the exact order at the exact time, or you are stuck.

The more I play this game, the more I hate it. And what is with the goofy toads? Everything in this game is inconsistent and goofy as hell.

I do like the production quality. I LOVE the Dark Queen. She’s the hottest NES character by far. But the giant rats are stupid. The insane inconsistency of gameplay makes this game rely entirely on the spectacle. Repeated replays, which this review format does, cannot factor in spectacles because all spectacles become ordinary with repeat plays.

This is a very strange game where the graphics, sound, production quality, polish, and controls are all there… but the gameplay isn’t. It feels like I’m playing a hollow shell of a game. It’d be like a Mario game where he only jumps in the first stage and then does something else in every other stage. “So like Super Mario Land?” Hush, reader!

The novelty of Battletoads makes it intersting, the gameplay of Battletoads will keep you away.

Score: 7

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Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 26, 2021

Email: GoldSilver IS realtime synced, like Animal Crossing

This is a followup to my last email where I talked about pokemon gold silver and its day/night system, I want to clear up a bit of miscommunication. 

Plenty of RPGs before pokemon G/S did the ingame time thing with day/night, but in those games a day would last like 30ish real minutes, and had nothing to do with what time it was in real life.

GoldSilver works like Animal Crossing time does, it is is synced to your real life 24 hour cycle. If you turn the gameboy on at 7:30am real time, it will be 7:30am in Pokemon Gold or Silver. If you turn off the Gameboy and then turn it on 13 *realtime* hours later at 8:30pm, it will be 8:30pm ingame, just like with Animal Crossing. THAT is what set apart pokemon’s day/night system from other RPGs, and was the reason I was writing to you about it. You said you didnt know any game that did that besides Animal Crossing, and I think Pokemon may be the only series that does (although unfortunately only a few games in the series use the mechanic to affect the world/gameplay, in most games it just changes the lighting and music of places. I havent played in years though so I cant speak to the more recent games). 

Gold and Silver (and Crystal) did this by including a real-time internal clock in the game cartridge. Later games just used whatever their system’s internal clock said.
I know you dont like pokemon and I dont expect you to start playing it because of this, so I guess it’s a trivial point. But at least there’s one game out there with realtime synced time that’s about fighting and catching monsters, instead of talking to neighbors and paying off debt. For kids this made the games much more immersive, like they (okay, we) were really connected to the game world. 

P.S. I decided to do a quick search before sending this to see if any other games do the real time sync. Nintendogs, Seaman (that SEGA game) and something called Cozy Grove (I think it’s an Animal Crossing clone?) do it. Meh. All life sims. Disappointing. 

I don’t know. Seaman could be *very* entertaining.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 26, 2021

NES Review: 1943: The Battle for Midway

1943: The Battle of Midway NES Prices
Released 1988

Ahh, here is a blast from the past. 1943! I think everyone from the NES Era remembers this game. But how is it today? Let’s find out!

Above: This game has such a strong theme. We didn’t really notice how inaccurate it was, historically, to have an airplane shooting lasers back in the day.

This game is SUCH an improvement over the terrible 1942. I remember always renting 1943 back in the day. I think everyone rented this game. Today, I own it, and it is with my other 50+ NES games.

Here are my impressions after repeated plays:

-Holding down fire button doesn’t work. You must hit the button repeatedly. This tires you out faster. Get out a controller with turbo capability!

-The upgrade specs at the beginning of the missions makes this version of 1943 unique and some needed replayability. It’s fun!

-Music is ‘dynamic’ and will become annoying when you’re about to die. The music is much better than 1942, but the music can become ear splitting.

-A ton of flicker.

-While this is a shmup, the gameplay is too convoluted. You have ‘energy’ which counts down (or if you get hit it goes down). At zero, you have ‘death music’ and next hit will kill you. The weapon upgrades also count down in time you have them. If you do not kill enough targets, the game loops around and repeats until you do!

-Despite the graphical flicker and sound/music annoyances as well as the odd gameplay mechanics, this game is surprisingly addictive and remains fun to this day.


This game was a ton of fun back during the NES Era, and it is still fun today. It is strange that I don’t see shmup fans talk about it much (while they fall over themselves over Gradius). I’ve noticed that shmup fans tend to not like games that are ‘too popular’ which is why.

The problem, of course, is that there isn’t much reason to play it today. I don’t mean a better port of 1943, though the NES version is quite unique. I mean 1945 or 16-bit or 32-bit or Strikers series type games with the ‘WW2 plane that apparently shoots laser beams’ genre. I think that game would do the job better than this ancient NES title.

I remember renting this game often back in the day. I remember it a perfect rental game. I never had any inclination to buy it though (though I did ten years ago). I enjoyed playing it repeatedly, but I also enjoyed walking away.

And yes, I find this game to be ‘better’ than NES’s Gradius. 1943 is more ‘interesting’ than NES Gradius. And NES Gradius is not the best port of the game. If I compared this game to a better port of Gradius, then Gradius would be much better.

1943 is an innovative little shmup. It’s a cool game, but it would be considered more ‘average’ shmup today.

Score: 7

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Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 26, 2021

NES Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES Prices
Released 1989

Could this be a hidden classic on the NES? Let’s find out!

Above: This game has some snazzy production values and interesting game design!

This is a popular game during the NES for the obvious reason why. But even beyond the cartoon, we should remember that there were many other games licensed after cartoons. These games didn’t sell at all. Such games include the terrible X-men. I’m going to go on a limb and say this game sold well because it did some really cool things.

First, the production values are amazingly sweet for this time period. It has the slick music and sweet character graphics. What is really amazing is the differentiated gameplay based on which turtle you are playing at the time. Most games at this time period didn’t have that level of detail.

So I play the game repeatedly. And I can come to only one definitive conclusion…

This is the most uneven game I’ve ever played.

On one hand, the game is ingenious with its slick music, dialogue/tips, and being able to choose any of the four turtles. Each turtle is very unique as their weapons do different damage, fire differently, and have different speeds. The turtles can fire in all four directions.

On the other hand, the controls aren’t there. Flicker is rampant. The enemies disappear or re-spawn due to scrolling. Instant deaths are everywhere.

On some way, this game is extremely fun. But on another way, the game is extremely irritating. On one hand, the game gives you choices such as which turtle to use. But on the other hand, much of the levels are linear.

This was a very popular game for its time. I doubt many people beat it though.


People keep calling this game ‘underrated’, but I think they do that to justify their misspent youth on this very uneven game. Yes, the game has value in that it is different from other turtle games that came out afterward. After the arcade game, every turtle game had to be a beat-em-up. This game is more like a platformer.

But it is WAY too even to ever call this game ‘good’.


The problem isn’t that the game is hard, it is that it is broken. This comes from the time period that games were shipped out much sooner than they should have been. The controls aren’t there. The instant kills are plain stupid.

And yet, the game keeps calling me back. It is that mix of overhead and sideview exploration with choosing multiple characters that is very interesting. But the game is infuriating as hell which makes me put it away.

Score: 6

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Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 26, 2021

NES Review: Excitebike

Excitebike NES Prices
Released 1985

It’s another ‘black box classic’. Could this be a game to stand the test of time? Will you come back to it again and again? And most important of all, does it earn the Malstrom Award, the MOST PRESTIGOUS award in all of gaming? Let’s find out!

Above: Get excited!

There are three modes to this game. Selection A, B, and Design (where you can design courses but cannot save them). Selection A is that you are on the course by yourself. Selection B you are with the other racers.

A button goes while B button overheats your bike.

This game is dependent on track memorization. Keep playing and timing your jumps well, you will head ahead in the pack.

This game is surprisingly sophisticated for a 1984 title. It is easy to see why it was so popular back in the day. The game revolves around its wonky physics when many games didn’t use physics back then. This game was pre-Super Mario Brothers after all.


I do think this game is very much overrated. 3d did one thing well: racing games. Why anyone would play Excitebike today and not a modern incarnation of racing is beyond me. Hell, even Road Rash on the Genesis completely wipes the deck with Excitebike. Excitebike’s charm is in its primitive 1985 nature.

But the charm isn’t lasting. You’ll play Excitebike for a little while, maybe smile some, but quickly put it away and not return. There’s no reason to return when there are better alternatives to racing on bikes in the past thirty years.

“But Malstrom, 2d gaming!” I think that’s a reach. Excitebike is a very sophisticated game, but similar sophistication is in modern titles today. This is why Excitebike loses its appeal, I believe, when compared to every game out there today and not just on the NES platform.

Many black box NES games are overrated, and this is one.

Excitebike is a fantastic game for 1985. It is NOT a fantastic game for 2021 or beyond. Great NES game, but not a great game in the library of all games made.

Score: 7

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Hi Master Malstrom,

I wanted to point you to this video/article about Warcraft 3 Reforged’s botched release.  I’m sure nothing in the article would surprise you.  

Warcraft 3 Reforged saddened me in general because Warcraft 3 was/is one of my favorite games.  It’s probably in my top three for time spent for a game.  I haven’t played WC3 for several years though.  I almost bought Reforged but never did for two main reasons: (1) I saw Youtubers such as Grubby show lots of issues with Reforged, and (2) my understanding was that the Reforged client or something else about it ruined many custom games so the custom games were no longer playable.  In addition, while the new graphics were “shiny” at first, after a while I preferred seeing the old graphics. 

For me, the custom games were one of the reasons I spent so much time playing Warcraft 3.  At the end of my WC3 “career” I didn’t even play the actual melee game at all, I played custom maps such as DotA, Uther Party, the various tower defenses, etc.  

P.S.    I’m looking forward to your RPG whenever it comes out.  My only main concern is that you’ll end up doxing yourself.  I’d hate for you to end up stopping your blog because of external pressure.

I found the regular game to be very awesome but also loved the custom maps. I think the regular game suffered in multiplayer because it was too complicated. Too many mages with buffs and debuffs plus having to fight creeps for experience.

I had a ton of fun playing 4 vs 4 or 3 vs 3 because it added some simplicity and added huge battles. You could do more crazy things like run around with mortars behind enemy lines and just level enemy bases.

We all have our favorite custom maps, but mine seems to be an odd one: Fulgore’s Epic Castle Siege. I guess I like being able to command the enemies and all. Something about that was crazy fun.

I believe much of the custom maps were developed because people didn’t like or didn’t cope with the regular game.

Damn, Warcraft 3 had soo much as a package.

-Single Player campaigns. HOLY SHIT! And they are still fun to play to this day!

-Multiplayer. So much fun! 1 vs 1 to team based games!


I was a HUGE modder for the original Red Alert and later for Commander and Conquer 2. I did some modding work for Warcraft 2, and I did make a gigantic campaign for the original Starcraft.

I did make my own Warcraft 3 custom maps. It believe this was when I shifted from RTS development-minded to RPG development-minded. My Warcraft 3 maps were more like RPGs! Hahahaha!

Such a damn shame with what happened with Reforged.

I thank you for interest in my game. It means a ton. I’m not worried about being ‘doxed’ because, honestly, I don’t think anyone really cares about *me*. I’m not like an ‘Asmongold’ type character. I’m just someone writing into the void wondering why the golden quality of video games seems to have went away. Where did the magic go?

“You’re aging. That is all.”

No. Games stayed magical. Maybe it was the technological leaps. There was something magical about going to VGA graphics (OMG!) or SVGA (OMGWTFBBQ!). And can you guys believe the sound card!? Or the D-pad? Or Gameboy? Or 16-bit graphics? Oh man! Even though I don’t like the 3d obsession, those consoles were bringing new stuff.

I feel like everything has been swallowed by the ‘Game Industry’. No one is interested in playing games today. Everyone is interested in making MONEY off of games. This includes game makers, game commentators, game reviewers, etc.

In the past, a game was made because people wanted to play it. Today, that same game won’t be made because “It will not sell X amount of copies.” And so we get no experimentation, no new genres. All we get are remakes and ‘recombining’ of old genres. It’s lame.

I’ve never assumed anyone would ever care who I am. But who I am doesn’t change the validity of the words on the page, does it?

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