Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 25, 2015

The New! Unreal Tournament looks impressive

Do we need game companies? What about game developers? After all, the first games were made by gamers for gamers. There was no such thing as ‘industry’.

After seeing and participating in the birth of various game genres, from Warcraft 3’s Tower Defense to DOTA, to the various mods of Unreal and Quake, and so on, it very much is possible for gamers to simply make games for themselves.

I still play UT99. I haven’t tried the New! Unreal Tournament. It looks very good.

Hey! It’s Facing Worlds. Yes, we are still playing the same goddamn map over fifteen years later AND WE LIKE IT!

I think Free Games are a huge threat. “But Malstrom, free games cannot compete with profit games.” I think there are so many games out there, they all run together, and so many of them suck.

The thing is, I think Free Games is going to devour the Western style of games. But Japanese games will stay whatever they are. The difference is that Western style games tend to revolve around arenas while Japanese games are more linear. Both have their pluses and minuses. For example, Asteroids is Western style arena but Gradius is a linear game. While Western RPGs are ‘open world’ because they are arena based, the linear JRPGs are could innovate in ways such as script telling as we saw in the 16-bit RPGs.

Epic used to be really big in encouraging community driven modders. Epic also made available for free all their additional maps they made for UT. It’s interesting to see this all evolve.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 25, 2015

Email: Miyamoto Lets It Slip

Master Malstrom,

For many years, you’ve said that Miyamoto has a sick obsession with 3D. It looks like the man himself finally admitted the same. In a public forum, no less!
During a press event at E3 where, children are apparently allowed now, Miyamoto proudly proclaimed that the favorite of his titles was, surprise, Super Mario 64. You can see him positively gushing over the 3D aspects, as he talks about how fun it was FOR HIM to work on.
In the same segment, he discusses how he hated working on Mario 3, talking about the process being “too much work.”
What I found interesting was the difference in reaction from Tezuka, who noted he enjoyed working on Link’s Awakening, due to being able to bring the Zelda 1 & 2 teams together, for a dream-team project, and to “make a really fun game.”It’s a very real contrast that highlights exactly where Miyamoto’s priorities are, and have been for years.


Those who have been reading for a while get it, those who haven’t think I’m plain nuts (hahahahah). I mean, c’mon, the proof is that we went DECADES without a new 2d Mario game. Nintendo makes the greatest thing since sliced bread and then suddenly stops making it. And then they become UPSET when NSMB and NSMB Wii sell so well! Hahahahaha.

Nintendo and its audience are not on the same page. Nintendo wants to go one way, the fans the other. Nintendo knows this which is why they do so much ‘fan service’, but yet they still aren’t giving what the fans REALLY want.

How would you guys like a fully fleshed Super Metroid-esque game for the home console? Orrrr….. would you like Galactic Federation Force for handheld? Yeah.

Anyway, what is charming about that video are the kids. Video games really are about the kids. The Hardcores tend to forget this. If there is one thing I hope never changes at Nintendo is making games that children and families love.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 18, 2015

Email: StarCraft II

I’ll cut to the point here — not only is Metzan unable to write a sci-fi story, he was unable to recognize the best character in StarCraft. Blizzard even retconned that character.
That character was Magistrate, Executor, and Cerebrate. Maybe you know who I’m talking about?
Early in LotV, Artanis issues the order for the Executor to commence the attack. “Are you talking to me, Artanis?” I think, excitedly hoping blizzard makes a reference to the best character ever, before girltoss jumps in. They give us no reason to care about her.
Besides that, I have to disagree with you likening StarCraft to Star trek. Of course star trek’s writing declined; there was at least one startrek show running continually from the late 80’s to the early 00’s. They were running out of ideas.
A comparison to star wars is much more apt. After a long hiatus between releases, a new trilogy comes out that doesn’t match the originals tone, that leaves less to the imagination (compare midichlorians to zerg “essence” garbage), and that gets the look wrong.
Boy did the get the look wrong with terran and zerg.
Between hellions being go karts, ravens being drones, and the ghost’s canister rifle being replaced with a generic sniper rifle, terrans felt very modern warfare. Also, compare, say, the terran victory screen marine to the new marine. Instead of a strong industrial look with canister tanks on the front, we get warhammer 40k, a much more generic future look. They also changed the adjutant from a human-skinned cyborg to a robot (even the one in the story that was supposed to be from the first game!) And that erased the cyberpunk influence from the game.
The zerg lost their crunchy, creepy sounds and got a lot of poopy sounds. The zerg before were one part bugs and one part body parts (evolution chamber was a heart, mutalisks were flying intestines). They erased that and made them more buggy. Compare the lame spine crawler to the sunken colony. Look at the hatcheries. Compare the creep tumor to the creep colony. They meticulously undid the earlier inspirations. Where are the cerebrates?
They even changed the main color of the zerg from the fleshy beige color to purple, probably to make it more evil. They did, however, upgrade the hydralisk to HD perfectly.
The protoss they mostly got right, probably because it was fantasy-inspired. The stalker was a massive downgrade from the dragoon, though the dragon was sort of replaced with the immortals. The twilight archons were glowing holy dudes instead of silhouettes pulsating with power overwhelming. The reaver was cool, but was replaced with the equally cool colossus.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to see what will happen with StarCraft 3. Maybe since two underperformed 3 will take a purism approach and resemble 1. Maybe we’ll never get a 3. I think it’s safe to say that by the time 3 comes out (if they even make a 3), it will be made by a very different blizzard, just as 2 was made by a very different blizzard than 1.


I think you are perfectly correct in your comparison to Starcraft 1. I remember hearing the South Koreans’ reactions to the game. One would go to a cybercafe and try out the game. When returning to the front desk (or whatever), they would say, “It’s so… disappointing. All this flash and smoke.” “Everyone is saying that.” Those were my immediate thoughts too, but I had faith that Blizzard would correct the problems. The original Starcraft and Warcraft 3 didn’t get good until their expansions.

Starcraft 2 is too fast. I despise the mechanical nature of the game with constant larva injections. The Zerg are no longer an aggressive race but a reactive one.

There will be Starcraft 3 but it won’t be Starcraft 3. Warcraft 4 was World of Warcraft. Warcraft 5 was Hearthstone.

This site translates some of Sakurai’s interviews and details his criteria for third-party characters in Smash. Here’s the criteria:

“Manga characters will not join the battle (obviously).

  1. While it’s true that we’ve added characters from other companies,

It’s not going to be anyone and everyone.

Smash is a game that’s made from everyone’s effort.

  1. Both companies have to want the character to join the battle.

I need them to let me take charge of the character.

In order to fit the character into the world of Smash, I need them to allow me some artistic license.

  1. The character must carry game history with them.

Besides that, it might be something like a courtesy to include a character who has the experience of being on a Nintendo platform.

It seems that the only real criteria is that the owners of the character allow Sakurai a good deal of artistic licence (given the sort of game Smash is, that’s reasonable) and that the character needs to carry “history” with them. Given that, I’d say the current 3rd parties in Smash:
Ryu from Street Fighter
and now Cloud
all fit those criteria.
The artistic licence part is not something to ignore either–given that Sakurai is Japanese game industry veteran, it makes sense that he would have a lot of connections and friends in many notable Japanese game companies. I imagine having those sorts of connections can make the legal and creative parts of getting third-parties into Smash a great deal smoother.
I think you’re also ignoring the fact that a lot of Smash fans grew up on Nintendo and Playstation systems, which tended to be dominated by Japanese games. Western games come from a PC tradition. A lot of fans of Japanese games are simply not interested in Western games or characters, and thus don’t request Western characters. And Sakurai does take fan requests seriously. Little Mac, for instance, was added purely due to Western fan requests–the Japanese didn’t even recognize him! That’s what Cloud is–a fan request. He’s been one of the more popular requests since third-parties in Smash became a thing.
My point is, I don’t think Cloud being in Smash is some conspiracy to export Japanese culture–it’s just fulfilling a fan request.
PS: There actually is Western character in Smash already–Diddy Kong, who was created by Rare.
PPS: I actually agree with you that Nintendo is trying to export the current culture of Japan. There’s one point I’d like to make on that regard. When I think of Japanese culture, I think Samurai, bonsai gardens, woodblock prints, Kurosawa films, etc. That sort of stuff has never been particularly popular either, but at least it has value. Modern Japanese culture is completely degenerate–every anime and anime-esque video game from Japan nowadays is practically soft-core porn, and it’s always filled with a really effeminate “cuteness” that’s always more annoying and unnerving than cute. Really, the only way I think Japan can survive is there is a total crackdown on Japanese “culture”.


Your  link says:  “In Brawl, Sakurai said he hoped to include certain important game characters who had appeared on a Nintendo console as a “courtesy” while still maintaining the freedom to alter said characters for the needs of Smash.” After E3 2006 with the Snake reveal, Sakurai also said in an interview that a criteria for third party characters is that they have a game on the Nintendo console. Snake had Metal Gear with the NES (as well as some games on the Gamecube). Sonic was selling best on Gamecube anyway.

But the actual reason why Snake was added was because Kojima asked Sakurai to do so. These guys are all buddy buddy there. This was not a market decision. This was a ‘my friend wants it, so OK!’

The reason why I point this out is to highlight that they would do the same for their ‘other friends’ in Japan.

Even back when the Wii was released, Iwata defined one of Nintendo’s mission statements to be to export Japanese culture to the world. This ignores the fact that most of Japan’s video game culture was designed in a way to appeal to the West. Donkey Kong comes from a Western movie of King Kong. Space Invaders comes from Star Wars. Mario is a plumber from Brooklyn. Metroid is from Aliens. Etcetera.

PS- Diddy Kong doesn’t count as it is Nintendo’s IP. Miyamoto was a producer on Donkey Kong Country if I remember correctly.

Remember PlayStation All-Stars Battle-Royale? Sony made their own Smash Brothers. Clearly, Sony saw Smash Brothers as a ‘Nintendo character game’ and spent millions to make their own game. Cloud could have come from fan demand, but that still doesn’t make business sense to Nintendo to include him. He comes from Sony’s game. The FF7 Remake is exclusive to PlayStation 4.





Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 18, 2015

Email: Cloud

“You do not understand, reader. Cloud is Final Fantasy 7, yes? Final Fantasy 7 is EXCLUSIVE to Sony platforms (yeah, there is a PC port and maybe some other ports). In addition, Final Fantasy 7 is being REMADE which will be on non-Nintendo systems. We all know Smash characters serve as a form of advertisement for the game. Marth advertises Fire Emblem. Lucas advertises Earthbound. So why the FUCK would Nintendo be advertising a hardware selling game that is available for their competitors and not Nintendo? WHY!?”

You took the words right out of my mouth. I immediately thought the same thing.

When people talk about the third party exodus during the N64 era, Final Fantasy VII is always mentioned as the epitome of that. It single-handedly represents third parties giving Nintendo the finger (a now long-standing tradition). So why in the hell is Nintendo allowing Square to put Cloud in Smash Bros.? The game was never released on a Nintendo platform, and Square has NEVER put a main Final Fantasy on a Nintendo home console ever since the N64 was released. It’s like Nintendo shaking hands with the devil on stage (EA) just to get betrayed again. Is Nintendo that desperate for these dumbass third parties to like them?

I liked it better back in the day when they were referred to as Nintendo “licensees” and had to compete with Nintendo’s high quality games.


This does not match Nintendo’s business interest. There has to be something else going on here. My guess is ‘Japanese Pride Parade’. It could be something else.


Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 18, 2015

Email: My experience watching the Nintendo Direct live

I was in the Twitch channel and paid some attention to the chat. What
I noticed was:

– A constant spamming of “Melee HD”, “Sunshine HD” and “Mother 3” from
hundreds of people. These are what the fans want (and aside from
Mother 3, I don’t know why), but Nintendo’s having none of it. Mother
3 is being released on the Wii U only in Japan and it’s unlikely to
ever come anywhere else, despite Lucas being featured in the Smash

– People despise Amiibo. There’s no question about it, because when
Nintendo added “be sure to get these Amiibos to unlock more features!”
in every damn thing they showed, there were cries of “RUINED” all over
the chat.

– The Cloud reveal was kept to the very end to make everyone forget
about the rest of the lackluster show, because Nintendo knew that most
watching were ADHD 4chan regulars. And it worked because everyone was
freaking out… everything else was forgotten at that point. Never
mind that FFVII will never actually come out on a Nintendo system.


Someone must be buying those Amiibos. Notice how Nintendo says ‘need more profit’ and not ‘need more gamers’ like in Generation 7. Nintendo does not want gamers like you and me, reader. Nintendo wants gamers who think the Gamecube games are amazing and wants more of that. Nintendo’s plan seems to be siphoning as much profit from this smaller number of gamers.

Nintendo no longer talks about market-share. Why not?

Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 18, 2015

Email: Now you’re just making things up

“Another big revelation was hearing Miyamoto say how much he hates Zelda II and thinks Super Mario Brothers 3 has ‘terrible level design’.”

The former is a gross exaggeration that you’ve been repeating for far too long and it’s time someone calls you out on misinforming your readers. Shigeru Miyamoto has *never* said that he hates Zelda II. Far from it, in fact, because prior to Ocarina of Time’s development, he was working on a new version of Zelda II with Yoshiaki Koizumi (OoT’s character designer):

Koizumi: It was true of Shimizu-san as well, but I really liked Zelda II: Adventure of Link

Osawa: So much that you wanted to make it yourself?


Koizumi: Yeah. You might say that, but before Super Mario 64, I had actually been making Zelda II: The Adventure of Link in polygons with Miyamoto-san.



And here’s Miyamoto’s latest word, to date, on Zelda II: Adventure of Link:””I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever made a bad game, per se, but a game I think we could have done more with was Zelda II: The Adventure of Link,” he said.”


He doesn’t hate it; he doesn’t even call it a bad game. He’s disappointed that he couldn’t do more with it, which I think is natural considering how misunderstood the game is by hardcore gamers these days.

The other half is just a flat-out lie: Miyamoto has never said anything remotely like “Super Mario Bros. 3 has bad level design” and you know it. I used to be able to find intelligent critiques and analyses of Nintendo’s games and business decisions. You were always highly critical of Nintendo’s developers, but you were always honest and fair, citing interviews that show just how full of it these “game gods” are. But I fear you’ve run out of new reasons to condemn the likes of Miyamoto and Aonuma, and have resorted to inventing new “facts” and exaggerating old ones.


That’s a nice try. Nintendo’s business is dependent on GAMES. If the GAMES do not sell, then the CONSOLES do not sell. If the GAMES do not sell, then the MERCHANDISE does not sell. This is not hard to understand.

But yet it is! Take a look at this thread at a Gaming Message Forum. I feel like the Wii U is more deserving of the sales that the Wii had… :(

Anyone who was paying attention, as well as ever reading anything on this page, knows full well why the Wii succeeded and the Wii U did not. It is not enough to take Nintendo at its word. We must watch Nintendo’s actions.

Nintendo had a smashing success with the 7th Generation. No one denies this. So why did Nintendo design a handheld around 3d (3DS) and 3d games? That is the TOTAL ANTITHESIS of their mission in the 7th Generation. Why did Nintendo discontinue the Wii direction but made the Wii U with the fatass controller? Even worse, the branding was so identical to Generation 7. 3DS from DS. Wii U from Wii.

“Nintendo just had bad marketing and was stupid about the similar branding.”

No! Nintendo is many things, but they are not stupid. The branding is confusing, but it was intentionally intended to confuse. The myth, and one that I once bought into, is that Nintendo makes whatever they think the market wants. This is not true. Nintendo wants to make whatever it wants and have the market want to buy it. This is true throughout the Game Industry. Game developers want to make whatever they want and have the public buy it. To make what the market wants is a type of EA hell where you are just making sports games or stuck on an endless franchise. Nintendo will give the market their franchises (Mario, Zelda, Yoshi, etc.) but refuses to give them the gameplay the market wants. You do not get to tell Nintendo what gameplay you want. Oh no!

At this point, you might think, “Malstrom, this is crazy talk. Where is the business analysis?” This is it. Nintendo wants to be a developer centric business, not a market centric business. This is why they have no sales in the market.

Nintendo LOVES 3d. They LOVE LOVE LOVE it. They even made the Virtual Boy (which Miyamoto still does not think was a failure). Around the Nintendo 64 period (Generation Five), a series of lies began to be repeated as truths about Nintendo. Here are a couple of them:

Mario 64 was a huge success.

Mario 64 sold worse than any other Mario game out there. Aside from North America, Mario 64 failed to sell the hardware. The reason why the game reporters of the time kept parroting the success of Mario 64 was because there was no real business context, Nintendo wanted to make believe Mario 64 and their 3D was so amazing, and Nintendo’s competitors were more than willing to encourage Nintendo to keep making games that don’t sell their own hardware.

When NSMB DS and NSMB Wii became such massive successes, Nintendo was shocked. They were depressed, even angry. In one of the Iwata Asks, Miyamoto said he didn’t want to make another 2d Mario and Iwata said, “Oh, you’re going to make this game.” Why would Iwata say that unless there was developer resistance?

Since then, Miyamoto’s mission was to get 2d Mario fans to play 3d Mario. Miyamoto’s interpretation was that 2d Mario fans did not like 3d Mario because 3d Mario was ‘too hard’. In Japan and Europe, where 3d Mario doesn’t sell well, an included tutorial video tape came with Super Mario Galaxy 2 instructing people how to move around and jump. It was hilariously bad. Mario in 3d Lan/World shared so many NSMB themes and designs because Miyamoto was intentionally trying to get 2d Mario in. With the 3DS, Miyamoto thought “Finally!” he could get people to play 3d Mario.

In the worst prediction of his career, Iwata predicted Super Mario in 3d World would skyrocket the Wii U to incredible sales heights. Just no. It didn’t happen.

Nintendo is on record for dissing Super Mario Brothers 3. The Mario music maker only thinks the SMB 3 music is all wrong except for the ‘athletic’ theme. (This was said in the Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary interview). Miyamoto replayed SMB 3 and said, “Is this all!?” scoffing at the short stages. Yes, Miyamoto, that is all. 2d platformers are more fun when they do not have ‘midway points’ and keep going on and on and on. The fact that SMB 3 keeps being seen as direct competitor quality wise to Super Mario World points to how great SMB 3 is. If an 8 bit game can compare directly to a 16 bit game, then that 8 bit game is pretty damn good! (In hilarious fashion, Miyamoto and all do not understand why we like SMB 3. They thought it was because of the raccoon tails so they put Tanooki suits all over the place in Mario in 3d Land.)

Keep in mind it is not the THEMES and CHARACTERIZATION of the classic games that Nintendo dislikes. It is the GAMEPLAY itself. The greatest mystery in gaming was that Super Mario Brothers was the BIGGEST thing ever to hit video games, and Nintendo just stopped making it for DECADES. Why? They simply did not want to make it. It’s that simple.

We’ve been waiting for more classic Zelda gameplay goodness. But we will never get it because Aonuma hates Zelda gameplay as he literally said in the GDC 2004 speech.

And for those who want more Super Metroid gameplay, too bad. Sakamoto doesn’t want to make it. Instead, he wants to make games like Metroid: Other M.

There are two types of Nintendo fans. There are the N64/Gamecube/Wii U ones and then there is everyone else. Nintendo wants to make games for the N64/GAmecube/Wii U type fanbase and wish to expand it. They want the old fanbase to go away or convert. Sakamoto blamed the failure of Other M on Metroid fans ‘expectations’ of what a Metroid game should be. It’s the fans’ fault!

The Wii wasn’t just about expanding the number of gamers. It was about expanding the number of Nintendo gamers. What type of Nintendo gamers? The N64/Gamecube type gamers. The Wii games were supposed to lead gamers to buy Aonuma Zelda and 3d Mario. However, that did not happen. The new gamers bought 2d Mario and Mario Kart instead.

The 3DS was about making 3d gaming into the mainstream. It’s as simple as that.

Wii U was about converting Wii type gamers into Gamecube-esque type gamers. It’s as simple as that.

Generation 7 success really went to Nintendo’s heads, and they thought they could ram the type of games they wanted to make at the market. If the ‘casual market’ is so stupid, why are they not falling for Nintendo’s branding tricks with the 3DS and Wii U? It is because they are not stupid. Wii offered a simple controller. Wii U offered the most obtuse and bloated controller ever made in a game console.

Zelda 2 was the black sheep of the Zelda family.

Where is the origin of this? I cannot find it anywhere despite it declared as ‘truth’ and ‘gospel’.

The truth is that Zelda 2 was a blockbuster hit, extremely well received, people drove to different states in order to get it, and competitors copied its gameplay. This is not how black sheep games act.

While I cannot confirm the origin, I suspect the game media kept reciting it over and over as fact because they recite Nintendo developers’ opinions as facts-that-cannot-be-questioned. It was likely Miyamoto who originated that Zelda 2 was the black sheep and has been repeated by everyone ever since. Unfortunately, Miyamoto knows shit about why people buy his games which is why Nintendo has so many failed consoles.

Games are like babies to their game developers. No one says their baby is ugly. Miyamoto saying Zelda 2 is ‘not a bad game’ is him saying ‘it is not a good game’ in a diplomatic way. If Miyamoto truly cared, he could have ‘done more about it’ right now. Zelda 2 never got a 16 bit game (neither did Kid Icarus sadly), so I wouldn’t mind seeing a return of Zelda 2 gameplay. He’s freaking Miyamoto. If he wants to do ‘more work’ on a game, he can. He can re-release Zelda 2 the way he wanted it to be. Call him out on his statements.

I know he doesn’t want to revisit it. “I do not like revisiting old gameplay,” he says. However, he LOVES revisiting old gameplay when it cames to 3D GAMES.

I point all this out to show why Nintendo is in the mess it is. Business analysis in gaming means game analysis. The reason why Wii U and 3DS aren’t selling so hot is because of the games. I remember the Gamecube Era. Everyone said, “But Gamecube’s games are so good! It must be some other reason!” No, it is because the Gamecube games SUCKED. Also, a big factor is lack of third party support. I do not mean this by how everyone else does. When people say ‘third party support’, them mean GTA games and Call of Duty. What I mean is that you never know where the next game will come from. Therefore, you want AS MUCH support possible. GTA 3 was a huge hit for PS2. But GTA 1 and 2 kinda sucked. Call of Duty 2 did very well and got more popular with each iteration afterward. But Call of Duty 1 was a PC game. Minecraft was an indie PC game before it came to consoles and did extremely well. Nintendo approached Generation 7 by throwing as many games at it as possible. It is also why the Virtual Console for Wii is just so damn good compared to the Wii U.

What are Nintendo’s intentions in Generation 9? We need more info in order to find out. So far, I’m worried that Nintendo has gone off the rails into a ‘Japanese Pride Parade’ type mentality.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 17, 2015

Emails: On Western characters that could be added to Smash

That post stirred up many emails. Let us go through some:


Greetings Malstrom

I’ve looked at your comments about Western characters for Smash 4

I heavily agree that Smash Bros is now becoming an anime Japanese swordsmen celebration. I can think of a lot of characters made for a Western audience with unique movesets.

Solid Snake from Metal Gear

Snake is an ideal but unique ‘Western character’, he was designed by a Japanese man and caters to the Western audience due to its military themes.

Frank West from Dead Rising

Frank was created by Capcom to target an American audience starring a strong, American protagonist in a game with zombies and uncovering a conspiracy from an American government.

Albert Wesker from Resident Evil

Wesker is a villain, (something that Smash fans are in a high demand for) and he’s from a game series that is [now] focused on shooting zombies.

Also, as a certain reader stated, these people aren’t just ‘generic white dudes’, they have personality and a huge following from the fans of those games. They also have great potential for movesets.

Also I know Snake was already included once in Brawl but he seriously needs to come back just for the sake of having more Western characters. Also, I know that Snake was made by a Japanese man but he has that Western appeal as mentioned before.

A reader


You do not understand, reader. Cloud is Final Fantasy 7, yes? Final Fantasy 7 is EXCLUSIVE to Sony platforms (yeah, there is a PC port and maybe some other ports). In addition, Final Fantasy 7 is being REMADE which will be on non-Nintendo systems. We all know Smash characters serve as a form of advertisement for the game. Marth advertises Fire Emblem. Lucas advertises Earthbound. So why the FUCK would Nintendo be advertising a hardware selling game that is available for their competitors and not Nintendo? WHY!?

We already know Nintendo has been lying to their audience. At first, Smash was about Nintendo characters. Then it became about characters that have appeared on a Nintendo platform (Snake and even Sonic). Heck, Sonic sells best on Nintendo platforms anyway and Sega doesn’t make hardware anymore. Final Fantasy 7 isn’t just a game from the PS1 Era, it is a game COMING OUT TODAY ON THE COMPETITORS’ PLATFORMS.

Based on this, Nintendo could just as well put in Smah characters like Master Chief from Halo, the Uncharted people, Kratos from God of War, etc. What are the fucking rules? Nintendo doesn’t seem to have any.

Except there is one consistency Nintendo is doing. All the characters are Japanese cultural exports. It isn’t about Cloud, it is about Japan. It isn’t about Snake, it is about Japan. It isn’t about Sonic, it is about Japan. I wish Nintendo would just say, “Smash isn’t a celebration of video game characters. It is a celebration of Japanese video game culture. It’s all Japanese Pride baby!”

The issue is not ‘what Japanese characters have Western appeal?’ The issue is why are there no non-Japanese characters there in the first place? Video games has characters made from all over the world. What is with the Japanese Pride Parade? The investors need to ask, “Why isn’t Nintendo’s mission to make profit? Why is Nintendo putting ‘pride’ before ‘profit’?”

The irony of your rant is that many Japanese seem to hate that Nintendo is putting Cloud in Smash Bros. Apparently they feel FFVII is more popular in the West (it is) and could barely give a rat’s ass about him. But you didn’t know that, did you? You just saw a character with spiky hair and anime eyes and said “Those durn Japs are at it again!”. The more your rant about this issue, the more out of touch you seem. I mean, you actually, without a shred of irony, claimed that Jazz Jackrabbit and Dizzy belonged in Smash Bros. As if anyone in Nintendo’s intended audience knew who those characters were! As if there were some relevance, either current or nostalgic, to Nintendo in fucking JAZZ JACKRABBIT.
You’ve officially lost it.

The emailer says I have ‘officially lost it’ multiple times a year. And what is wrong with Jazz Jackrabbit? He was to the PC as Sonic was to Sega or Bonk to Turbographx-16 or Mario to Nintendo. Now that I think of it, Smash could use some Lemmings!

What the Japanese people feel is irrelevant to the discussion. Final Fantasy VII is the best selling Final Fantasy not just in the West but in Japan as well. If Smash had another FF character, how about the Black Mage from Final Fantasy 1 or the Moogle from Final Fantasy 6? Why have a FF character that is part of a FF game that never came out on Nintendo’s hardware? There is so much smoke here, you know there is fire.

Another couple of characters that would’ve been great for Smash are Crash Bandicoot and Spyro. Both were loved back on the original Playstation. Activision has already collaborated with Nintendo for the last Skylanders as well and hasn’t been able to use Crash for anything, so there wasn’t much of a barrier for Nintendo to use those characters. Plus it would’ve been a giant middle finger to Sony for letting those beloved series go neglected for so long.

Hell, even different Final Fantasy characters would’ve been better. Would anyone be complaining if dark knight Cecil were in Cloud’s place? How about Terra, for all the whining about female characters? I’m betting that Nintendo did this not only for Japanese-centric reasons, but to gain favor with Square Enix for helping promote the FF7 remake coming up. Seems to me that Nintendo is starting to play the same game as the other two in wooing big 3rd parties to their system in some way. I even like Cloud and I think this was a mistake Sean. There is no reason for that character, being an icon of Sony era Final Fantasy, to end up in a Nintendo game. It reeks of behind-the-scenes dealing in my opinion.

I’m going to split this emailer’s second part into another email (not shown above).

You ask the right question: why is Nintendo advertising Sony’s system seller? I don’t think it is behind-the-scenes dealing so much as a ‘pride parade’.

To use a Star Trek example (god I love doing this), in DS9, Worf asks Dax for her opinion. She declines. “Tell me, he says.” Then we hear this:

The truth of the matter is that Japan is dying… and that it deserves to die. They do not have children. They keep entering recession after recession and have been totally eclipsed economically and culturally with South Korea. Their ‘cultural exports’ have been utter crap lately. What is the last great Japanese video game that took the world by storm? Can you name one? The only one has been Nintendo with Wii Sports, Wii Fit, and Nintendogs… all of which are completely devoid of Japanese ‘culture’. In Generation 7, longtime game reporters noticed the downfall of Japanese creativity and have written much on it. There is a reason why Square keeps remaking old games and why even Nintendo keeps remaking old games.

If you have to celebrate one’s culture, then you are probably losing it. Smash is becoming a museum with the headline: “Remember when Japanese gaming was cool?” Because it certainly isn’t cool now. Japanese games don’t sell in the West anymore. At least, not on the level they used to.

Another email:

The prince from the Prince of Persia series

Guybrush Threepwood from the Monkey Island series

Tommy Vercetti from GTA: Vice City – oh noes, he is white and has a gun. And more personality than most of the characters yet seen in Smash

Ezio from Assassin’s Creed 2

The Lost Vikings

Super Meat Boy

Isaac from the Binding of Isaac

Pitfall Harry


I don’t play much World of Warcraft, but I’m sure there are some well known NPCs you can pull from that game.

Tali from Mass Effect

Ratchet and Clank

Jak and Daxter

Sly Cooper

Garret from Thief series.

The weaboos are like the “hardcore gamer” in that they are ignorant of anything outside of their japanophilia and console nostalgia. For the “hardcore gamer” it’s anything before Halo. I read an article at some game site where the writer said that Japan invented the RPG. A paid writer printed this! LOL and facepalm worthy stuff

On a side note: why do people keep writing “RPG game” recently? Role-playing-game game? I see this more and more. Gamers are bad with language.

I like the Guybrush suggestion. The point is that there ARE Western made characters out there. If this was about deal making, then there would be a priority to put Western characters in Smash because Nintendo BADLY BADLY needs Western third party support. The last time I can think of a Nintendo home console having Western third party support had to be SNES Era or maybe early Gamecube. They didn’t support the Wii for sure.

Hey there master malstrom,

I just got to date with your posts and the one about western characters in smash was interesting. When you mentioned that Smash was a japanese brothers fest…well it has always been that way. But having western characters would be awesome!

On the other hand, which ones? An emailer just sent you an email about and I read your answer. That’s a huge list of western characters you suggest and I have to admit that many of them , I never knew about them and the others I just forgot about them. Anyway…something you missed or may not know is that Sakurai has a criteria to add characters at the smash brothers roast: should have been originated from a videogame. Not a cartoon or movie or else.
2.It should have appeared in a Nintendo console

Of all those characters you mentioned, the only ones that fit that criteria are:

Jack Jazzrabbit
Earthworm jim
Mortal Kombat characters
Ms. Pac-man
Spy hunter
Lara croft

Considering that Smash Bros. is, for better or worse, a fan-service fest, the only ones fans would like are Mortal kombat, lara croft and earthworm jim. Ms. pac man may be created by midway but it belongs to Namco nowadays and kinda useless with Pac man there. The rest…well nobody cares about them anymore. Sad but true, because I like earthworm jim a lot.

The rest: minecraft, star craft, berzerk, larry and alice never appeared in a nintendo console game. Neither Lollipop chainsaw which is actually japanese, not western. And Transformers started as a cartoon.

(of course, if one of the winners in the smash ballot is Goku, as many fans apparently voted for…I guess they will have no choice but break that criteria…Dear God I hope not!)

Yeah I know what you are thinking: Cloud doesn’t belong there because Final Fantasy 7 was never released in a Nintendo game console. Well it KINDA did:

far fetched? you bet! but it fits the criteria.

Take care!!

You’re right about Lollipop Chainsaw. It was made from Japan. That means Nintendo might actually put it into Smash, right!? Hah!

The addition of Cloud is revealing that Sakurai is full of shit about his ‘criteria’. I know people keep wanting to defend it and are trying to rationalize an answer, but there is none. The only one I can think of is ‘Japanese Pride Parade’. I believe Nintendo’s mission statement is to, in addition to everything else, export and celebrate Japanese culture.

Remember Miyamoto dissing other games by saying, “What is that? It looks like a PC game!” PC games look better than console games, so why does Miyamoto say that? It is because Japan is not about PC gaming (South Korea loves PC gaming). PC games = Western gaming. Besides, the console games today are PC transplants anyway.

Take a look at this box art. Nintendo just HAD to include Tingle:

“It’s a handheld game. We can get away with it!”

That’s all Nintendo cares about anymore. Getting away with something the market doesn’t want.

Oh, and I’m sure you saw the new Dragon Quest game announced in the Nintendo Direct. Gotta push that Dragon Quest!

The biggest revelation about Nintendo I had was seeing Aonuma’s 2004 GDC speech where he says he HATED Legend of Zelda and Link to the Past. He hated the gameplay. He liked LTTP’s cutting the grass and sprite work. Another big revelation was hearing Miyamoto say how much he hates Zelda II and thinks Super Mario Brothers 3 has ‘terrible level design’.

Everything you love about gaming… Nintendo hates it. Nintendo doesn’t just hate it, THEY HATE YOU. It is because of our existence, they have to keep going back to it. Nintendo never, ever wants to make another 2d Mario again. Yet, because of us, they have to make them. Sakamoto blames the failure of Other M on Metroid fans expectations that Other M be a ‘Metroid game’. Oh, those dirty, evil fans! We keep ruining their creativity and ‘big ideas’!!!


Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 16, 2015

Email: Western characters for Smash

Since you’re upset that the most iconic Final Fantasy character is in Smash and there’s no “western” characters. Who would you pick? When I think of current Western game characters that could be in Smash, all I can think of are generic white guys with guns or blank slate characters you make like in Skyrim. But please enlighten us with the creative popular characters western devs have given us.


I have to laugh at the thought of Japanese ‘characters’ as not being blank slate or guys with guns (or in this case, swords). Pac-Man is a blank slate. So is Mario. So is Link. Hell, none of Nintendo’s characters even ‘talk’.

You want Western characters? Here you go:

Minecraft Steve is more popular than Mario at the moment.

Earthworm Jim is still awesome.

Jazz Jackrabbit





Sub-Zero or anyone from Mortal Kombat. If they have Ryu, why not a character from Mortal Kombat? Everyone knows that Mortal Kombat was the main competitor to Street Fighter 2 back in the day and is a franchise still going on strong today. The reason why it will never be included is because Mortal Kombat is Western. ONLY JAPANESE IS ALLOWED IN SMASH.


Ms. Pac-Man is made from Midway I believe.

Joust bird and knight would be PERFECT for Smash. But it is American, and Nintendo already ripped off Joust for Balloon Fight.

Spy Hunter car was fucking awesome.

Worms would make a great addition.

Alice from American McGee’s Alice.

Qbert would be PERFECT for Smash.

Evil Otto from Bezerk.

Leisure Suit Larry Collection Series.jpg

Can you imagine Leisure Suit Larry in a Nintendo game!? hahahahahah

Juliet from Lollipop Chainsaw

Transformers have been in numerous video games. And they are American. Japanese like Transformers too!

Lara Croft


No white guys mentioned except for Minecraft Steve and Leisure Suit Larry, but they are so absurdly cartoon that you might as well say Mario and Link are white dudes.

The problem, emailer, is that you never fucking looked. You just ‘assumed’ and didn’t even do a minute of research. All the characters above are famous and recognizable, every single one. Some may be before some people’s time like Evil Otto. There’s TONS of characters out there.

But I want to spotlight the fact that Nintendo is intentionally only choosing Japanese made games into Smash. It’s becoming clear to me that Nintendo is no longer a video game company but a Japanese Pride company that sometimes makes video games. Nevermind the fact that all of Nintendo’s characters became popular because they were based on Western archetypes (Mario – Western plumber, Link – Tolkien Fantasy, Pit – Western religion as there are no angels in Asian religions, Samus – from Aliens, and so on…).

It would also be enlightening if someone asked Nintendo this directly. However, Nintendo no longer seems to talk to the press. They just make Nintendo Direct videos behind walls to protect them from scrutiny. Miyamoto does not have to face the crowd of disappointment that he had to when Wind Waker was showed off, now does he?

Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 16, 2015

Blizzard needs to fire their writers

See this video? This is how it sums up the experience of playing Starcraft 2:


This NASCAR crash video is strangely far more entertaining than it has any right to be, but Starcraft 2 is, in its entirety, a big fucking multi-car crash like in this video. Starcraft 2 is SO BAD that it is MORE ENTERTAINING examining the crash than actually playing the fucking game.

“But Malstrom,” you say, “Starcraft 1 didn’t have a great story either. It was good then because you were younger then.”

No, I was old then too. I’d say Vanilla Starcraft was pretty awful in spots especially with the lame Protoss and Tassadar. What was cool was Brood War. Here’s how it went:

Starcraft 1 Vanilla:

Terran – Help Arcturus overthrow Confederacy, by using the Zerg to do it, and establish Terran Dominion. Sarah Kerrigan gets captured.

Above: I forgot how political Starcraft was. This is a VERY GOOD video, good speech writing, and brilliant use of imagery and sound filtration when heard by the Zerg or Protoss.

Zerg- Kerrigan is reborn as Queen of Blades. Kill bunch of stuff as Zerg. Invade Aiur.

Above: Creepily silent but shows Zerg’s victory over Aiur. Well done.

Protoss- Deal with Zerg invasion of Aiur. Tassadar kills himself to take out Overmind. Roll Credits.

Above: This ending sucks, but at least it is more than how Starcraft 2 ended.

Story was lame. But it was all fresh. Now look at Brood War:

Protoss – Escape to Shakuras. Use Xel-Naga Temple to cleanse Shakuras of Zerg.

Above: This is a nicely done ending. I really like the use of sound in this one especially when it cuts out for the explosion and the ‘ding’ zoom in with Artansis’s surprised face. Note how Artanis emotes more emotion in this scene than the entirety of Starcraft 2’s campaigns. The Protoss in Starcraft 2 just stand around with glowy eyes.

Terran – Fleet from Earth arrives (!) and has Duran (Narud).

Above: Clearly inspired from Starship Troopers. The video is tongue in cheek, but it is important to remember FACTION PERSPECTIVE. This is from the UED’s perspective. In Starcraft 2, there is no more Faction Perspective, just some random ass characters going EMO between missions.

Zerg – Kerrigan kicks everyone’s ass.

Above: We have TWO endings here. We have Kerrigan arising as Queen of Blades. OK. But what is more interesting is with the UED fleet. We witness something that we never see in video games: tragedy. (I will explain what tragedy is because Blizzard writers have no fucking clue.) The UED commander commits suicide after talking about how his pride consumed him.

Definition of a Tragedy: A tragedy is not ‘bad stuff happens’ and ‘people die’. If a cute girl in pigtails walks in the middle of a road and gets killed by a car, that is not a tragedy. What creates the tragedy is when the mother cries out as her own mistake of not watching the girl and blames herself. THAT is the tragedy. In the Brood War ending, the UED facing defeat was not the tragedy. It was the commander expressing how pride killed him, Stukov, and the mission. THAT is the tragedy. Starcraft 2 doesn’t even approach this level. The two closest times is in Wings of Liberty when Tychus says he made a ‘deal with the devil’ and has to kill Kerrigan. But Tychus has no choice as his suit is a bomb to him. The other is Artanis in Zeratul’s ‘prophecy’ bemoaning that they killed Kerrigan and, thus, allowed Amon to win. “How could we have known!?” But Artanis could not have known so there was no tragedy. In fact, no one makes choices at all in Starcraft 2. The Xel-Naga is the puppet master tricking everyone with prophecies . LAME.

Yes, I have completed all of Starcraft 2. Now that it is all done, we can judge the three campaigns. The story sucks. It really, really sucks. It really shows how uneducated the people at Blizzard are. Do these people read anything other than comic books? Are they capable of reading at all? And why didn’t the Strike Teams catch this shit?

Some notes I wrote in the midst of playing:



LOL to the Zerg rampaging across the cosmos in the last two parts. Let’s just go attack Aiur now.
Oh shazam! Zeratul appears from nowhere! And Zeratul, instead of being a badass, just goes on making looney prophecies.

The reminder that Zeratul accidently revealed the location of Aiur to the Zerg is good. Otherwise, I thought Aiur invasion was cringeworthy especially at the end. OMG, hydrids coming all over the place. Oh, Zeratul, you were so right!

Oh no! Protoss going nuts! Zeratul doesn’t ‘free’ Artanis, Zeratul is removed from the stage because what other point is there? This is the end, so why does the game need prophecy maker? Babylon 5 this is not where the prophecy seers had to live through their prophecies.

-Terran Land-

Raynor, give us the keystone (MAGICAL ARTIFACTS).
Raynor: “OK.” LOL.
I love how Mobius Foundation, a bunch of scientists, are able to overtake the military. WTF type of story is this?

Artanis, you are now Dark Templar. GAG ME.
“Zerg cannot have Shakuras. I know. Let us BLOW IT UP!” WTF? What is this, a Star Trek reboot? And how does any of this hurt Amon whose armies are endless?
And what happened with the Xel Naga Temple? I know the two crystals from Brood War are mentioned but that was just a lamppost to keep fans from freaking out that the fucking Xel Naga Temple doesn’t do shit without the two crystals (which were not present). So how’d it blow up? Xel Naga Temple, in Brood War, destroyed the Zerg without destroying the planet. Why not do the same? This story is so damn dumb.

Now, let us go to an ancient Protoss place that no one goes to. Oh, hi crazy enemy Protoss.
Fenix is back! This should be very easy to do, but they completely fucked it up. How do you fuck up Fenix? Yet, Blizzard managed to do so. Fenix is a ‘copy’ of his personality stuck in a robot. I AM NOT JOKING. Worse, the mission after you primarily play with the ‘phoenix’ plane units.
And this is one of my favorite lines from this expansion: Artanis: “Fenix, you appear to be troubled?” How does a fucking robot ‘appear’ troubled? Stupid Blizzard writers.
Artanis: “I must do this alone!” Fuck you, Artanis!


Alarak is awesome because he is voiced by Q (deLancie) and that he doesn’t act like a faggy Protoss. I’m sorry, but words cannot express this. The Protoss are just too damn lame. It’s like they are all saints or something. Alarak is the only interesting character in the entire campaign. I’m serious!


“Quick! Everyone cut your hair!”


This is so awful, so terrible, I cannot express how bad it is. Apparently, a Xel-Naga was behind the prophecies and was puppet master to our heroes the entire game. Kerrigan then needs to consume the Xel-Naga to gain its power and then kill Amon. Kerrigan becomes an Angel of Light, a type of Starchild. She apparently takes Raynor at the end.

Blizzard has no understanding of why people liked Starcraft lore. There were no flaws in the Starcraft 2’s aural and visual art. The flaws were in the story. I hear the Blizzard president loves Star Trek. He must realize that Star Trek became super lame at the end before its death because the writing got very weak. This is where Blizzard is at now. Starcraft might have been Star Trek or TNG (or my preference: DS9), but Starcraft 2 is clearly a Voyager in lameness at beginning but at the end we get the terrible Enterprise. All the writers need to be fired.

And where were the Protoss heroes from the last mission in Zeratul’s prophecy in Wings of Liberty (in the last mission)? What happened to Earth? Nothing fucking makes sense.

Did Artanis speech right at the final battle really preach about diversity and ‘uniting as one’? RTS games thrive on faction perspectives. In Starcraft 2, there is no faction perspectives because there are no factions. There is Everyone Versus Amon. Oh, and everything is done for FREEDOM. The writers think they are so clever, but the concept of freedom is submitting oneself to nature or human nature (hence ‘natural rights’). Kerrigan stopped the cycle for FREEEEEEEEEEDOM! But wasn’t that what Amon was doing? Did Kerrigan do what Amon was doing? WTF!? The story is too awful!

Blizzard needs to die.

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