Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 15, 2017

Sega Does What Nintendon’t

Can you imagine if we had something like this for classic 2d Mario, Zelda, or even Super Metroid? Switch third party games > Nintendo first party.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 15, 2017

Email: Why some people actually think BotW is a terrible game

The problem is that the generation today grew up with Wind Waker,
Twilight Princess, etc… and (I feel old) it even seems particularly
rare now that Ocarina of Time is mentioned. Never mind the games that
came in the land before time like the NES Zeldas, Link to the Past and
Link’s Awakening.

To them, the game being about “the story and the characters” is what
Zelda is, which of course is what Aonuma Zelda is, with the actual
game play (besides puzzles) pretty much being an afterthought behind
the story he wants to tell. Classic-style Zelda is utterly strange and
foreign to them, and BotW’s (somewhat) return to it is just way too
different. They’re too used to the Zelda formula being like this:

– Long intro / tutorial sequence
– Game being in a straight line from beginning to end, where you go to
one dungeon, get the item and use it to beat the dungeon’s boss and
access the next dungeon, and repeat until the game is over
– “Story”

I played Wind Waker through for the first time last summer, 100%, and
boy am I probably never going to play it again. It paints itself as
the successor to Ocarina of Time even in-game but it’s anything but.

You’re probably right, emailer.

The issue is that the open world games (what Zelda used to be) are kicking Aonuma Zelda’s ass in sales. Skyrim sells. Zelda doesn’t.

Nintendo wants Zelda to sell again. All this is quite logical from a business point of view.

If we had more Aonuma Zelda, the Zelda franchise would be over. BoW “Wow!” saved the franchise.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 15, 2017

Email: That Destructoid article is hilarious

I’m laughing hard reading that article. Seriously, look at this argument: “how often are you actually rewarded significantly for a long, tough climb?”. Does this guy also want a reward for walking to the right in Super Mario Bros?
Then there’s the part where the guy gets all defensive and starts listing counter-argument for any argument that people may have. It’s simply hilarious.
He’s free to like the Aonuma-Zelda formula (who am I to tell people what to like?), but there’s one very hard-to-deny truth regarding Breath of the Wild: It made people start caring about Zelda again.

On a slightly different note, let me recommend an article that counter some points made by that guy: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-07-27-zelda-breath-of-the-wild-archaeology
This article talks about how Breath of the Wild doesn’t tell you a story through NPCs and cutscenes, but instead puts you in a world that is filled with history and landmarks that have actual context.

 

We’ll see how Zelda BoW “Wow!” ages over time, but remember this:

Classics are never appreciated in their time. If you could go back in time, how would you think of the classics when they came out? Zelda BoW “Wow!” has many of the markings of a classic because we just become obsessed over the game for fun and for many hours. Classics tend to do that before we call them classics.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 12, 2017

Email: Two Questions

Hello Master,

I have two questions. Feel free to answer either one or another, both or none.

First:
I just saw that documentary by Jeremy Snead, Video Games – The Movie, released in 2014. The documentary is just plain common sense. I saw nothing there that I didn’t already knew. But, while I was watching, I wondered: if the ‘crash’ of the video games happened because Atari and other companies were releasing a streak of games with super-rushed development and with the lowest quality, and nonetheless pumping them so much with heavy advertising… What I mean is: this whole Atari situation wasn’t unique in the history of games. The stream of shitty games would be repeated later a couple of times. So what changed? What is preventing the industry from suffering another crash? What I know is the AAA industry is playing very safe with their games, but what must be considerated is the fact that consumers today are kind of… educated. Back in the Atari days, the consumers didn’t think twice in boycotting that mess. Today they’re always giving second chances to The Game Industry.

The Second Generation of consoles introduced changing games on a system (e.g. cartridges). But it was the Third Generation of consoles that introduced lockout chips for non-licensed games (e.g. Nintendo).

Behold the Atari 2600.

Image result for atari 2600

Above: Behold it reader.

Since there was no lock-out chip, anyone could make games for the system. Everyone began to make games because it was so much cheaper and quicker to make them than, say, today. Also, video games were becoming a cash cow in 1981 and 1982. Colgate, the toothpaste company, made video games. Quaker Oats, who made oatmeal, made video games. Everyone was making games. Retail got flooded by the garbage. Customers went away due to the shitty games. Retailers were stuck with all the crap.

It would be better to say the retail market for video games crashed in 1983. Arcades and PC gaming were going fine. Nintendo saw the arcades doing well which gave them the courage to enter the U.S. market.

Image result for rob nintendo nes

The purpose of R.O.B. was to sell the NES to retailers as a ‘toy’ as opposed to as a video game console. Once retailers were convinced the NES was a viable product, Nintendo dropped R.O.B. altogether.

Nintendo had the NES lock out all non-licensed games. Nintendo also imposed a publishing limit of five games a year per company. It’s incredible to think of how fast games could be made back then. Since games were not well understood, a company manager would want as many games pumped out as possible as there would be more ‘assets’ and more ‘irons in the fire’.

There has been other crashes before. I think one large one in particular is the multi-media consoles such as the 3DO, the Apple Pippen, the CD-i, and so on. This was around 1999-2001. It also marked the end of Sega as a console maker too as Dreamcast stopped in 2001.

There hasn’t been a ‘felt’ type of crash like 1983 because retail is becoming less important with each year, and it is more of an investment, in both money and time, to make a video game. When a game bombs, we see it marked down. But when a game sold online bombs, we know not! That is part of the significant change.

 

Second:
What are your thoughts on all this heavy talk about “game narratives” and how “game narratives” are “the motor of game evolution!”, as if the fact that Nathan Drake from Uncharted can now convincibly shed some tears on a cutscene, it automatically means that the game is better now than when the technology didn’t reach that level of realism.

I personally think that we always were capable of fully immerse ourselves on a game. Because the real channel that connects us so deeply to a game aren’t the graphics [at least not them alone, or not them as the core channel], but the channel is our imagination, the player’s imagination. Someone on the movie above said that that was what Nintendo perceived by the time of the industry crash, that we needed characters to really like and really immerse into a game [that’s why it would focus intensively on “character-based games” like Mario, Zelda and Metroid]. What to say about that? When games like Minecraft and GTA [which no one gives a shit about the main characters] are still a hit?

Thank you for your amazing work. It’s really inspiring.

Greetings from Brazil and sorry for any English errors.

 

Lately, I’ve been looking at the NES era in a new light. Nintendo made many new games/ips back then. Why did Super Mario Brothers 1, 2, 3, Legend of Zelda (and Zelda 2), and Metroid succeed in capturing the imagination and sales while other Nintendo games didn’t? Why didn’t NES Golf light up the sales charts? It wasn’t just adventure games that did so well, but why those games?

Nintendo’s analysis is due to characters. After all, Miyamoto designed Mario to be Mr. Video Game like how Mickey Mouse is everywhere in animation. Is Mario, Zelda, and Metroid successful because of Mario, Link, and Samus?

If that is true, then why didn’t Kid Icarus do better? Even with Pit brought back for Smash Brothers Brawl, the 3DS Icarus game didn’t exactly light the charts. Nintendo focusing on the character of Pit did not do it.

Even if Metroid: Other M had flawless execution, why didn’t that game do better? Is it true that people like Metroid because of Samus Aran? If so, then we all should like a game where we explore who Samus Aran is.

And as you state, no one cares about the characters in Minecraft or GTA.

If we want to see where video games are going generations from now, say in Generation Fourteen, we need to look at the prior generations. Where is the movement? Is there a long-term trend?

One thing that is becoming abundantly clear is that, like an amoeba, game genres coalesce and cannibalize one another. Adventure games didn’t die. It is just that every other game absorbed the job that adventure games did which meant adventure games had no role left. Adventure games with their storylines, characters, lush graphics, and adventures existed in a time of very primitive gaming  As a game, such as RTS or FPS, got more advanced, they could have lush graphics, storylines, characters, and adventures. There was no reason to play the adventure genre.

You can see it happening now with the MMORPG. The traits of the MMORPG are now being inserted into every online multiplayer game. Soon, the MMORPG genre will lose its purpose.

I believe the last game genre will be the ‘world’ genre. I do not mean ‘open world’, but in full simulation of a world. It originated with the very first Ultima. There is a world. You are in it. Over time, I expect this genre to cannibalize all the other genres. Look at Star Citizen, only a clue of how an Origin game today would be designed. Star Citizen is a ‘universe’ game that has ship combat but also MMORPG gameplay including FPS gameplay (!).

Super Mario Brothers, Zelda, and Metroid all have on thing in common: they are open world games in the 8-bit sense. By open world, I do not mean the cliches we use today. I mean they are simulations, universes in themselves, where the player can do different things to bend and break that universe.

Zelda is self-explanatory. But the same development staff made Super Mario Brothers at the same time when making Zelda. In Super Mario Brothers, you can choose your path. You do not have to stomp on the goomba. You can avoid the goomba altogether! You can even skip stages! By definition, Super Mario Brothers is linear, but the way how the game works is non-linear. You can play the stages in so many different ways. This was not like Donkey Kong or Mario Brothers or Popeye. The Mushroom Kingdom was a WORLD, a UNIVERSE to live in. Metroid, of course, also feels like its own self-contained world.

No one felt like Mach Rider was a self-contained world. Or Kirby.

People go, “Wow! Open world Zelda, Breath of the Wild, sells the hardware!”

But when have open world games NOT sold Nintendo hardware? If you consider Super Mario Brothers, Metroid, and Zelda to be open world-ish, it is easy to see why they fueled NES sales. Mario 64 is loved not because the game is in 3d but because it resembles an open world for Mario to be in. Zelda: Ocarina of Time makes the reader think he or she is in a world. “What about Wii Fit and Wii Sports?” Well, you got me there.

I think the growing ‘world’ genre will destroy ‘narrative’ gaming just as swiftly as Minecraft crushed all the ‘story’ based child’s games.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 8, 2017

Promethium is the spiritual successor to Uridium

Take a look at Promethium, a new game coming to Switch.

Above: Ooohhhh. Aaaahhhhhhhh.

I immediately thought of Uridium on the Commodore 64. Seeing Braybook at the end confirmed it.

“But Malstrom,” cries the innocent, little reader, “What is going on here? What is with another 2d shooter? OMG.”

There is a profound difference between JRPGs and Western RPGS just as there are with Japanese Shmups and Western Shmups. Japanese shmups are like Gradius and R-type with you navigating a level. Western shmups are arena based. The most famous ones are Asteroids, Geometry Wars, Smash TV, Robotron, Uridium, Star Control, and the first commercial video game: Space War.

A very bad port of Uridium was released for the NES under the name The Last Starfighter. Mindscape was lazy so they bought the license to the movie and slapped it on a 1984 Commodore 64 game.

Andrew Braybrook was a genius. Commodore 64 games do not SCROLL especially with parallax scrolling. The sound effects are just awesome. Uridium has the intensity of Defender. People who hate Uridium, but say they like shooters, are people who actually suck. Uridium was hardcore back in the day as was Defender. The game flows much like Defender.

Uridium was a great game back in 1984. Will a Uridium successor be a great game in 2017? Probably not.

Andrew Braybrook was responsible for creating one of the five video games I keep going back to again and again: Paradroid.

Above: One of the top five games Malstrom cannot stop playing

What doesn’t get through the video is the sheer addictiveness of the gameplay and the immersion. The humming of the background and sound effects really bring you inside the ship. I also get scared to death going around 600+ robots as they dart around and start attacking! Paradroid would make a great rogue game with procedural levels today as it only had one life in the original. Too bad Braybrook is programming for an insurance company today. Not everyone becomes a Will Wright or Miyamoto.

“Fuck you,” says the reader. “Why am I looking at this shitty Commodore 64 game called Paradroid? Why you waste my time, Master Malstrom?”

It is because Paradroid has the transfer gameplay.

“So what?”

It is the basis of Super Mario Odyssey gameplay.

“What!”

Good artists create. Great artists steal.

Under the pen name of Cory Arnold , Aonuma wrote an article on why Zelda: BoW “Wow!” is a terrible game. Let us see what he has to say.

This is The Legend of Zelda, and a large part of a Zelda experience is the story and characters.

No, it isn’t.

Memories, which feel very much like audio logs, show a snippet of Link and Zelda’s travels 100 years ago.

No, they don’t.

Do I even need to spell out how much more interesting Tetra and the King of Red Lions are? She’s a fucking sassy-ass pirate and her dad is your guffawing boat. Breath of Wild wishes it could have even a drop of that kind of personality.

No, it doesn’t.

mini-games are bland and pointless

When have they not been?

Fighting the same things over and over in a massive world isn’t fun, it really isn’t.

RPG genre disagrees.

I don’t know why Aonuma is writing articles on Destructoid attacking his own game. Maybe he wants to make more Aonuma-ism games instead.

“Marvelous!” cries Aonuma.

Exactly.

Above: What Zelda *was* before BoW “Wow!”

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 6, 2017

Dragon Quest Builders 2 coming to Switch

Third parties saving the Switch from boring N64 Remastered Nintendo games like Super Mario Odyssey.

This really shows that Minecraft is one of the most influential games ever made. I’d say Minecraft is on par with Tetris at this point.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 4, 2017

Question no one is asking…

We know NES Mini was always sold out. SNES Mini will sell very strongly too.

Now here is my question for the delightful reader. *Ahem*

Delightful reader!

“Yes?” yawns the reader.

If basic NES and SNES games constantly sell out today, can we correlate that such market hunger was a large part of why the Wii sold?

*The reader blinks.* “I never thought of that possibility.”

I bought the Wii mostly for the Virtual Console. I can’t be the only one.

“But I think you correlate things you wish to be true.”

Oh, what a saucy reader! Let us try this: the NES Classics line for GBA sparked strong software and hardware sales.

“It cannot be denied.”

Then we must assume that these classic digital re-releases ARE moving the hardware in significant volumes.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 4, 2017

Arcade Stick for Switch

HORI Nintendo Switch Real Arcade Pro V Hayabusa Fight Stick Officially Licensed by Nintendo - Nintendo Switch;

Is it worth $150?

For me, the answer is no. I’m not *that* into fighting games. And I prefer shmups better with controller. However, the reader may love fighting games. Who am I to tell the reader what to buy?

What I really want is a good cheap D-Pad controller for Switch.

Someone make that, please.

Are Neo Geo games worth it?

I am all for buying physical over digital, but the Neo Geo games on Switch I will make an exception on. The reason being is the extreme costs for physical Neo Geo systems and games. Even an everdrive for Neo Geo is like $500. At this high price point, you might as well just buy the games you want digitally.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 1, 2017

Email: Nintendo is stealing 2D Mario assets again

Well, Nintendo is up to its old tricks again. It’s using the old 2D Mario art style to promote the new 3D game.

This artwork looks like it’s right out of the late ’80s/early ’90s.

http://nintendoeverything.com/nintendo-releases-new-super-mario-odyssey-wallpaper-game-rumored-to-have-at-least-seven-kingdoms/

Why not just make that ‘large world’ 2d Mario game with rich, distinctive worlds using top graphic and sound assets we always wanted? Why is Nintendo so gung-ho on all of us to play 3d Mario? It isn’t like Japan loves 3d Mario. America is the region that 3d Mario sells the best. So what gives?

Just wait until Nintendo starts doing their advertising campaign. It is going to be as big or larger than the Switch promotions we saw during launch. Nintendo is going to blow so much marketing into Oddyssey.

I’m more excited by third party games on Switch. Skyrim on Switch will be fun.

I think I’d rather buy a 2DS XL and NSMB DS 2 to avoid the 3d Mario garbage.

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