Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 28, 2017



Nintendo seems to be positioning the 2DS/3DS as the juvenile console. Switch may be too much for them with all its detachable parts.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 28, 2017

Email: Super Mario maker

I don’t know if you have played the Mario maker game on 3ds/Wii u or not. But if that game came to switch it would be ok. As long as you look up the world’s online you can find super Mario world sequels and stuff created by fans.Usually labeled with their own names and 1-2 1-3 etc.

I remember Tezuka said When Mario Maker came out he realized something looking at the past games and said he had a new direction for 2 d games he would show off in a couple of years. Do you think 2- d Mario will be the next BOW for Nintendo after Mario Odyssey?


NSMB was based on the idea of ‘level design’. I think it is because elder developers didn’t want to make the games but did so anyway because it would be a good way to introduce ‘level design’ to the younger developers.

I have zero faith in Tezuka to make a decent 2d Mario.

Super Mario Brothers and the Legend of Zelda share the same developers and same development time cycle. The two are spiritual brothers. Mario 1, 2, 3, and World had a huge appeal of ‘exploring a world’. The appeal was not ‘OMG level design!111!!!’ Some of the levels are not well designed. But what mattered was the player believing they were exploring Mushroom World (or Dinosaur Land).

I would imagine Super Mario Brothers to be a vast overworld and that the game is about exploring that overworld. This would get to the true classical nature of Mario than whatever the hell Nintendo has been doing lately.

One interesting thing about the Mario games is that everyone played them differently. Some went to warp zones, some didn’t. Some went down the green pipe, some didn’t. Some got the power-up, others did not. Some confronted the monsters. Others avoided the monsters. No two games of Mario are the same.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 28, 2017

Email: Trouble ahead for Sony and Microsoft

Master Malstrom,

I was reading this Forbes article and for the most part it had the usual “blah blah Switch is underpowered and can’t play AAA Western games blah blah” until he got to a very interesting point in his thoughts:

“Maybe a few can cross over, but the majority won’t, and the Switch will almost certainly be 95% The Nintendo Show, as usual. That’s fine and could definitely work out for both them and Switch owners, but that nagging longing is still there that either Sony and Microsoft should be doing this too, or that somehow these games should be able to brute force their way to Switch, even if in reality it’s nowhere near feasible.”

It boils down to this point earlier in the article: “I want to play all the games like this. ALL the games.”

It’s dawning on a few people that Sony or Microsoft should be doing this or wondering why for all the horsepower they have they don’t.


The next generation of children grew up playing mobile. If you go to game forums like NeoGaf, it is full of threads of old geezers who say, “How do I find time to play when I have a real job and/or family to take care?” Young people do not talk like that.

Sony is going to make a successor to the Vita or they are going to slowly exit the console business. The home console has become obsolete by the Switch.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 28, 2017

Email: Zelda final battle different opinion


I just finished Zelda myself recently so I was finally able to read up what others thought about it. I played through the whole game without ever looking or talking to anyone about it so my experience may have been quite different from others who played alongside their internet communities. I haven’t yet seen any talk of the game aside from your page (yours is the most mobile friendly to read on the bus) so I may get things wrong.

From some of your posts, I played very very differently from you and in my opinion some of your worse experiences did have other ways that you didn’t consider. For example, the Ganon fight: To me,the Ganon fight is the manifestation of an “advanced enemy” that requires you to know the advanced combat techniques of the game. I consider it a good fight.

In the middle of the fight, Ganon is surrounded by a red armor that blocks all attacks. There are a couple of ways I noticed to break it – one is to do a last-minute dodge while it uses a small attack against you. The red armor actually goes away for a split half a second right after it attacks, where you can use your “slow motion” to attack it while it is vulnerable. The last-minute dodge is an advanced timing technique that lesser players cannot use effectively, because they’ll get hit when they dodge too late.

The second way to hit him is to shield-parry the laser beam Ganon fires from his Samus arm cannon. Parrying the beam returns it back at Ganon which knocks the red armor out of him for a good couple of seconds. Parrying is an advanced technique that most players will probably not use. And parrying beams isn’t something unique to this fight – experts at fighting Guardians (without the cheat-mode arrows!) are well acquainted at beam parrying, because it’s the most effective way of dealing damage, and it looks and feels amazing. If you miss your shield parry, your shield is destroyed in one hit! Even if it’s at full durability with enhanced durability!

And additionally, when it uses its flame axe against you, it leaves a lot of fire on the floor which creates an updraft. This may be what you substituted with the gale power, but I didn’t know how to use it so I ignored it – I’d love if you could mention how you used the air time to hit Ganon exactly.

Anyways… Imagine my complete surprise when I saw you describe the fight as a grind fest of waiting for your abilities to come back so you could use them. That’s a miserable fight if I ever imagined one. Thank god I didn’t have to go through that. I didn’t even notice that the abilities can help in that fight, as I almost never used them in the whole game… I’m absolutely certain that you’ll have more fun with the game if you forgo special abilities and elemental weapons and try to “force yourself” to use the combat system.

Anyway, I noticed similar differences between my experience and yours in other places you didn’t like. I suggest you try other solutions if you find yourself annoyed, you may be surprised positively. For example I saw you mention that the game is forcing the dungeons on you, but that’s not true… you can actually go to fight Ganon without completing any of them. Since you don’t like the dungeons, you can forgo them in future playthroughs.

I actually want to try beating the game without doing any of the dungeons. Trying to defeat Ganon from full health with shield parrying will be great. By the time I was done, I only had 3 shields left from all my failures! Haha. I also want to play the game without eating food mid-combat, I feel like it made the game too easy using “brute force” combat.

By the way, there are some shrines I absolutely loved and was saddened I didn’t see you mention them (maybe you didn’t do them? I recommend it). In particular, Eventide Island (the south-easternmost island), the three overworld mazes, and the entire Hebra mountain range flooded with shrines in tough locations were all a lot of fun. I will admit that I got all 120 shrines and liked them, so I may have different tastes from you, but I think you’ll like those specific areas.

Sorry for the long email, thanks for reading.


My problem with the final battle isn’t that it forces use of the ‘special abilities’ from the dungeons. Yes, there are alternative ways to do the same thing. My problem with the final battle is that its experience is entirely independent of your journey through Hyrule outside of the Divine Beasts.

Let us say you got every shrine, tons of korok seeds so you had tons of weapons and shields, tons of food prepared, you upgraded your armor at the fairies, etc. etc. etc.

So what?

None of it truly matters in the final battle.

This is also a key reason why the dungeons (and many of the shrines) fail. The dungeons have literally no enemies (aside from a few eyeballs or little guardian robot). There is absolutely nothing to prepare for with the dungeons. In RPGs, a dungeon is a death march of distance. How long can you survive? If you go too far, can you return to the surface without dying? Hence the word ‘dungeon crawl’.

The ‘dungeons’ are a different game. I am not saying they are ‘bad’ dungeons. I am saying they are not dungeons at all. It is like LucasArts threw in one of their puzzles into the game. It destroys the game’s momentum and is universally despised. If anyone liked this method, there would be different market reaction to the last TWO DECADES of Zelda games.

Hyrule Castle is how a proper ‘dungeon’ should be. Hyrule Castle was also the only ‘dungeon’ in the game that actually fit the game. Link could climb and use all his abilities. Link could NOT climb in the shrines or the Divine Beasts. How fucked up is that? “This is an Open Air game.” “Not uh uh uh! Everywhere except shrines and divine beasts. We insist you do the puzzles our way. Tee hee hee.” To those that say you can do some of the things multiple ways, that may be true, but the developers are literally changing the gameplay rules on you in a way of ‘developer cheating’. This ‘developer cheating’ is ‘bad developer’. It would be like a level in Super Mario Brothers said, “You cannot have Fire Mario because that would break our level design.” Wrong. You’re just a shitty developer. You don’t change the gameplay rules on the player.

I maintain Nintendo has some shitty producers behind the Zelda franchise. I believe this person is Aonuma who does not understand Zelda and has never understood it. Breath of the Wild’s success shows that my interpretation of Classic Zelda’s historical market success was the correct interpretation. Zelda has the DNA of the PC RPG, not the PC Adventure game. More like Ultima, less like Monkey Island. And by saying that, a reader would probably squeal, “I love Monkey Island!” which is why the adventure game genre is so robust and best selling and not a died out ashpile of a bygone era, right?

The ending of Zelda BOW “Wow!” betrays the RPG. The RPG is about your character progressing. But little of that matters at the Final Battle. Sure, you may have some extra hearts and all, but so what? The very last battle when you are on a horse is comically bad. Why not just put Link on a moose instead? Why put Link on anything? No, Nintendo randomly broke all game logic so they could create a picturesque ending of Link riding around on a horse shooting light arrows at ‘beast ganon’. I object to the breaking of the game logic, the breaking of the immersion. If I was in the basement, why am I on a horse in Hyrule Field with no explanation?

Breath of the Wild’s strength is in its logic. You cut down a tree, it falls down logically. You throw a bomb in the river, the bomb rides the current logically. The entire Hyrule Castle was logically done. But the final battle betrayed that logic.

Imagine a Mega Man game’s final battle gave you a ‘super weapon’. It betrays the logic of that game since the entire point of Mega Man is to gain new weapons and use them through your long ordeal journey through Wiley Castle. For the game to just hand you a weapon, indicating to you that it is the right one to use on Wily, takes away player interaction. What is left for the player to do? Just figure out the pattern.

RPGs are not about ‘figuring out the pattern’.

I think parts of BoW “Wow!” were made separately and then slapped together. The final battle looks like it was made separately. The shrines and dungeons seemed like they were from another team altogether.

The ‘final battle’ of a RPG is how your character that you have progressed deals against the last adversary. But aside from a few things, it doesn’t matter as your character progression has no change on the battle. Everyone’s battle with Ganon is essentially the same. Period.

I have zero interest in ever defeating Ganon again. It’s the same damn thing again. Very disappointing.

In fact, I didn’t like any of the boss fights in the game. They are nothing but timing and positioning. Why can’t I poison the boss? Or set the boss on fire? Or freeze it and shatter it? Why make a game with many possibilities but disallow possibilities with the boss? Inconsistent game design.

I would just go to youtube, find out the pattern, then I would just do that and beat the boss on first try saving me a ton of time. Why shouldn’t I do that? It’s not like I have any other choice to respond to the boss. I either play it the developers’ way or I die. That simple.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 24, 2017

Game of All Time is about to be released…

No, I am not talking about Mario Kart 8.

“But Zelda BoW ‘Wow!’ was released a month ago!”

I am not talking about Zelda either.

“What then?”

Puyo Puyo Tetris.

Look, Switch is handheld. Tetris goes with handhelds like bacon with eggs.

Puyo Puyo Tetris qualifies as a Malstrom ‘perfect game’ meaning it has incredible multiplayer and incredible single player. The single player story is nine hours long (!) not counting the other single player modes.

The physical version of Puyo Puyo Tetris on Switch is a limited run, so get it quick before it becomes a collector’s item.

Meanwhile, here is this review.

Above: So much more fun than Western AAA gaming. Girlfriends and wives will love it!

I expect to be playing this game for the next thirty years. I do still play NES Tetris, Gameboy Tetris, the Dr. Marios, and so on.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 23, 2017

Beaten Zelda Breath of the Wild 90 hours 65 shrines

I climbed on top of the Hyrule Castle and came in from above hahahah. Sure enough, there is a Korok seed on top. What I like about Hyrule Castle is that you can use all your abilities there including climbing. Fantastic place, that Hyrule Castle.

Above: Music to the best ‘level’ in any Zelda game. The level (not the music) surpasses Zelda 2’s Great Palace in awesomeness.

Fighting Calamity Ganon occurred as I would expect it with one thing I didn’t suspect: the abilities you gain from completing the Divine Beasts, not the lasers themselves, are pivotal for the final battle. Even the updraft you get from Rito is, by far, is necessary to hurt Ganon. I spent more time running around in circles waiting for the stupid abilities to refill themselves than I did anything else!

Because of this, I consider the Final Battle to be a Big Fail. It is overly complicated, not very satisfying to fight, and too much reliance on the ‘special powers’ and not on my own wits and preparation.

About 2:50 of that video is what I imagined the Final Battle to be. Calamity Ganon is Tetsuo from Akira. The children helping you are the Divine Beast spirits. Keneda shooting beams of light from his motorcycle is Link shooting beams of light from his horse.

The Final Battle is style over substance and is a tribute to anime. The final blow is complete in that style. Very disappointing.

There was no Triforce at the end. Only a mural on the wall in the castle. No Triforce! And this is a Zelda game? Where is the Triforce? Why is the Triforce barely mentioned at all?

I think of Old Spice at the Final Battle where “I’m on a horse” comes to mind. How did I get here? Why am I on a horse? Nintendo: “Style over substance.” “It’s anime time.” Apparently so. So lame. So disappointing to an otherwise incredible game.

The ending is lots of piano and risk-lessness. I was hoping Zelda would sacrifice herself or something. But that would be taking a risk. Does Zelda even give you a kiss? Nope. She keeps ordering you around. It’s not like you returned from the dead, traveled the world, tamed the four Divine Beasts, and destroyed Ganon. No. You are still a servant. Fuck you, Zelda! And your bad voice acting!

I’ll need time to digest the game more.

I do want to return to Hyrule and complete some things. Perhaps I’ll take up the DLC since this game is worth $80 for the value it gives.

Hyrule Castle is amazing because everything you’ve done in the game, all your preparations, are in play. Calamity Ganon is such a letdown because your preparations don’t come into play in that battle aside from the Divine Beasts. The final final battle is a joke where it is a lovefest to anime in complete style over substance.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 22, 2017

Email: Aonuma Style

The emphasis in the email below is by the emailer.

Hey Master Malstrom –

So – after finally prying the Nintendo Switch from my son’s hands for a few hours, I’ve FINALLY had a chance to mess around with BoW… …you’re not kidding when you append ‘WOW!’ to that title. Holy crap – I’ve spent several hours on this game already, I don’t think I’ve covered more than 10 millimeters of the map, and I’ve accomplished almost NOTHING!!! And yet, I can’t put the damn thing down!

Anyway – that’s not why I’m writing you as I’m sure you’ve had enough Zelda impressions to last a lifetime, at this point. The reason for this email is because, after finally having an opportunity to engage with the Switch I decided to check back on your blog and get a fresh look at your current mindset (when last we spoke, you were spewing FIREBALLS at Nintendo!) – and as expected, like me, you have a much more positive outlook. Distrustful, yes – but optimistic, which is cool and very much in line with me! The post that really hit my ‘funny’ the hardest though, was that one with the Aonuma Style video – oh man, I think I’ve watched that video about 250 times now!!! It just so PERFECTLY describes everything wrong about the direction Zelda has gone over the past few decades and I can’t help but laugh my ass off, every time I restart that video!

While doing my daily refresh of that video though, I happened across this gem:

Here’s Aonuma attempting to play Majora’s Mask on a 3DS (a game he created), and failing at it miserably! Oh my, this might actually be funnier than the other video – there are an inordinate amount of nuggets to be derived from this clip, but nothing more telling than watching this idiot fail time and time again for five minutes and then have him end the video with “It works better than you’d expect” – the ultimate lack of self-awareness. He not only doesn’t have a clue what ‘fun’ really means, but he SUCKS as a gamer and is in utter denial about how CRAPPY his games really are!

You’ve said, “Developers don’t make games for gamers, they make games for themselves” probably more times than I can ever count – which really is a profound statement, on so many levels… …and here we have evidence of a guy who can’t even play the damn game, he created for himself! If that isn’t proof of how much he sucks, then I don’t know what else would convince you.

Keep up this FANTASTIC blog! When it comes to analysis of the video game industry, I have found no better resource that is as informative as it is, entertaining – so, thank you!!!!! GREAT WORK!!!!

That video of Aonuma being unable to play his own game is hilarious. I’m glad you enjoy the blog.

Here is some Aonuma Style for you! (And no, people, I didn’t make this video! I don’t know how to make videos. That is why I make a blog.)


As the trumpet blaring the ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ or Christenson’s ‘disruption’ strategy as a context to understand the DS and Wii, I have been astonished at how gamers flatten the mountains into plains by saying, “Casual gamerz!!!11!!!”

So how do they explain Switch’s success? Did the ‘Casual gamerz’ come back?

And how are ‘Casual gamerz’ buying the handheld Switch since all the ‘casual gamez’ are on smartphones?

Do these people even think? They do think. But they think like dogs. They see the world only in a couple of colors.

In this ‘explained’ video, the commentator says Switch sold only due to ‘incredible marketing’. Really? ‘And Zelda hype’. So Zelda wasn’t actually good? Zelda was just hype?

‘Can the Switch keep selling?’ ‘Yes’ *shows picture of Mario Kart 8* “But what about 2018? What about 2019?”

The goal posts just keep being moved back. No matter what Nintendo does, even selling out of Switch systems and selling more Zelda Switch games than Switches, Nintendo is doomed! Doomed!!!!

They have no reason, no logic, no train of thought. They are the brilliant ‘elders’ who, hundreds of years ago, you asked why the water disappeared from the bowl over a couple of days would answer: “Because the spirits drank it!” The actual answer is evaporation. They would refuse this answer. It is too complicated. Spirits drinking it sounds so much better!

“Marketing did it!” “Zelda hype did it!” “But we gotta wait for 2018 and 2019!”

You see, dear reader, in the commentator’s context no one likes the Switch or Zelda. We are all buffoons who fall for ‘hype’ and just mindlessly buy the hardware and game.

“It sounds like he is describing the hardcore gamer.”

He is! He is describing himself! That is his only context so he projects it.

This video is a little better. The ‘brilliant commentator’ says the future is mobile, and the Switch has re-imagined the game console (all true). “But hardware doesn’t matter without software.” It is the 101 rule for game consoles. Software sells the hardware. Yamauchi: “Famicom is just a box people buy to get to Mario.” He says everyone is buying the Switch for Zelda.

But why is Zelda good? He doesn’t go there.

In 2008 or so, I began to openly attack Nintendo’s software direction with Mario and Zelda (I wasn’t the only one). If you remember the Zelda DS games, I wasn’t too happy with them. Neither were most people. Why can’t we get back to what Zelda actually was? I would keep posting the Nintendo Fun Club issue of Legend of Zelda of Nintendo explaining what Zelda was: a ‘best of both worlds’ game of PC RPG (i.e. Ultima, Wizardry as those were the PC RPGs of that time) and arcade gameplay. There were no mention of ‘wacky NPCs’ or ‘puzzles’.

“Don’t talk about this,” readers cried. “Go back to talking about Nintendo’s business strategies.”

Nintendo’s software quality IS the Nintendo business strategy. The hardware and IPs do not sell without quality software.

Based off of correcting ONE GAME, Zelda, by making it more like the original Legend of Zelda in spirit, rocketed off a new console and sold tons of Zelda copies. This is what Nintendo wants. This is the purpose of First Party software: to sell the hardware.

Imagine if Nintendo corrected other software titles such as Metroid or Mario.

Mario Kart has always been healthy. I didn’t like the lack of true battle mode in Mario Kart 8 on Wii U, and I suspect Mario Kart is getting more convoluted and away from the joy of go-carts, but Mario Kart is fine. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will sell Switches fine.

Will Metroid be fixed?

I still consider Mario IP to be broken. NSMB DS (terrible game, but the thirst for 2d Mario was real) and NSMB Wii (better, but no adventure in that game, terrible aesthetics) was the high point for Mario lately. Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 sold some but were duds. Mario in 3d Land/World were duds. NSMB Wii U was a dud. Nintendo is on the right track with Mario Odyssey to make it more ‘adventuresome’. However, 3d Marios have a terrible track record for selling hardware. I would prefer a AAA 2d Mario. Or bundle all the NSMB games in a new All-Stars package in HD format.

I was doing technical work today, and I had goggles on my hat. I looked in the mirror, and it looked like I was Mario Odyssey hat. This is Miyamoto-ish industrial design. The eyes on cap are goggles on cap. The eyes even look like goggles!

The more I work in industrial settings, the more I feel I can think like Miyamoto! hah!

“I am too good for industrial knowledge,” snarls the snotty reader.

It is the secret to Miyamoto. Miyamoto’s college degree was industrial design. Did this save Miyamoto from being an artsy fartsy snowflake like all the rest? Either way…

Image result for shigeru miyamoto

Miyamoto had to know Industrial design in order to make a living. It was good enough for him. So it is good enough for snobby game developers too who think such things are ‘beneath them’.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 21, 2017

Kamiko coming to Switch!

Whatever this is, it looks more interesting than Western AAA gaming!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 19, 2017

SNES Mini?

If a SNES Mini does come out this holiday season, it seems the job of it is to boost the IPs on it and to keep such IPs current.

Nintendo’s response to the NES Mini shortage with the SNES Mini is to charge MUCH MORE for the SNES Mini. Would you pay $100 for it?

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