Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 18, 2018

Email: E3 and questionable Nintendo decisions

Hi, Sean

I think Nintendo made some weird decisions regarding the E3 games that were presented and the lineup for the remaining of the year. First up while I have never owned a Smash bros game, I was thinking I would buy one this time ( I probably should have bought Brawl, but never got around to it). After the reveal I am not so sure anymore. I agree with previous reader who commented that game should have new worlds put into. Also it seems to me that they are putting way too many characters in the game, especially third party. I know fans want this, but do all these characters fit into this universe. One thing I noticed when I was watching the e3 direct is that the game looked pretty ugly. Maybe this is just me, but I am not a fan of the art style. Especially when BOTW and Mario Odyssey look so good. I mean compare the Smash trailer to Dragon Ball Fighter Z that game looks really nice. I also don’t understand why the decided to put a Fire Emblem game in 2018 lineup. The game has niche fan base, its not as if the game will sell really well. Plus Fire Emblem Warriors released not so long ago.

Sean, I was wondering what you think of Star Fox being added to Ubisoft’s Starlink. I understand Nintendo doesn’t really have anything to lose by letting Ubisoft borrow a declining IP. While I think the game looks interesting, the toys to life makes it doa for me. Of course it is not targeted to my age group. When Star Fox Zero released, I remember reading that Miyamoto thinks that Star Fox is a game in which they like to put experiments in. I think the reason Star Fox games have not sold well is not because there isn’t any demand for them, but because Nintendo’s mad scientists keep putting crazy experiments in the game. While I have not played Star Fox Zero, I remember watching Miyamato’s walk through tutorial of the controls, which were much too complicated and even had me confused. Why cant we have choice in how we play. Even after hearing about the bad reviews for Star Fox Assault, I played the game. The first level was in space and I thought well this not bad, it;s actually good. Then got to the ground level where you have to play in a third/first person mode. In a few levels I went from tight controls to horrible controls with wonky camera issues. Why cant Nintendo make a Star Fox game void of their experiments but filled to the brim with choices. How bout using BOTW’s template and making it open world. And the player gets to decide which control style they want and how to play. For me I always want to be in the arwing, no landmaster or chicken walker for me. Also given the game is based off of Star Wars, why not bring in more type of ships.

Given that another mainline Zelda will not be coming for several years and the high attach rate of BOTW why not make good expansion content for the game. I have been recently playing Hyrule Warriors, there are some very interesting enemies in the game why not bring them over to BOTW, or bring a new area to explore, new characters to play. Or how bout new dungeons and you can take real world examples for ideas. Such as ancient Mayan underwater caves with their own mythology, or Indian caves which have drawings of a huge war that took place in ancient times. There are very many real world examples. Or they could release the original Zelda with BOtW systems and physics. This is what Nintendo used to make BOTW. This is really easy money for Nintendo, is Nintendo too lazy to bring these ideas to fruition.

I also wanted to speak with you on Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze. I have only played the first two levels so far. I agree that the game is challenging, but I think its challenging in cheap ways. At least that is how I feel of what I have played so far. For example I noticed there are levels in which there are no barrels for Diddy, Dixiy, or Cranky. So much of the time I am only playing with DK and his two hearts. In theses areas I can only get one of the other Kongs, if I have the banana coins to buy them from Funky. I don’t know if this how it is for the rest of the game. But I don’t like that I have buy Dixy. Mainly because Retro has made DK noticeably heavier than in the original DKC games on the snes. I don’t understand why Retro has not brought back character switch mechanic, that is present in the original game. While I understand your view that the control layout is not the best, I think they are way way better than the horrendous crippling motion controls. One game I would recommend (some one might have already made this recommendation) is Celeste. The game is challenging and fun. I wonder if a game like this existed in the past. It’s in same genre as Mario brothers but plays differently. I do wish they would release a physical version. I recommend a good dpad, the Wii U pro controller works well.

I think the Switch currently is very similar the Vita. Great hardware, but lack of quality games. We were promised we would get more games given Nintendo would only need to develop for one platform. So far its seems very inconsistent, last year was great, but this year and the particular this year’s lineup could be similar to the drought years of the Wii era. The difference between the Vita so far is the tremendous Indie and third party support. I think when we get a better look at the new Metroid and 2d Mario, we will get a better idea of which Nintendo we will see for the rest of this generation.

I think Switch hardware has issues.

I think DK: TF is insanely overrated (but I already wrote a Wii U review on it). What I dislike is how there are many online ‘serious’ game reviews that are similar to mine. Gamespot’s original review on DK: TF. Frenzied fans are forcing the reviews into a very similar collective. No one wants to defy the hive. I can defy the hive because there is no revenue stream for this site.

Nintendo’s approach to making games is similar to making toys. Star Fox is something they just ‘paint over’ any toy idea they have. I think they should just make new IP for their new ideas and refine Star Fox as a Wing Commander / Freelancer type game.

Starlink is interesting, but I do not like the toys.

I think they should have saved much of the Smash Brothers info for its own special broadcast. E3 is general. I’d rather see previews on new games.

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Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 17, 2018

Email: E3, laziness, The Last of Us 2 and Donkey Kong

Dear Master Malstrom,

E3 showed that Nintendo has definitely gotten lazy with the success of the Switch. I think one of the reasons for this is the huge glut of digital games now available on the Switch eshop. If not for the eshop, Nintendo would probably feel a lot more pressure to get more games out. I don’t mind too much as a good number of games on the eshop are far more interesting than the big releases (and cheaper, too). But Nintendo is foolish if they are counting on indie games to sell their hardware. And we know that Smash doesn’t move hardware, so what is going to provide momentum for the Switch?

Smash as the big holiday tentpole game is fine.

My problem is that Zelda: BoW “Wow!” established the Switch platform as an ‘open world’ platform. Some games helped fuel this fire such as Mario Oddity and Xenoblade “Big Pyra Boobs” 2. But that was 2017. There is absolutely nothing for these gamers except a Xenoblade “Bigger Pyra Boobies” 2 expansion and some Octopath Travelling.

People want games that push the frontier of gaming… such as Zelda BoW. Mario Kart, Smash Brothers, and Mario Party iterations does not do that. Octopath will not do that (as Octopath is almost retro).

What exactly is the Switch? Nothing more than a platform to port consoles games so you can play them portable?

Where is this additional software pipeline now that Nintendo only has one console to deal with?

The reader continues:

 

As for the rest of E3, I don’t get why Microsoft said that were working on a new Xbox. If you had just bought an Xbox One X last November, wouldn’t you be pissed off? Does anyone in the industry remember what happened to Sega? And the low point for me had to be the cinematic lesbian kiss scene from The Last of Us 2. Who in their right mind thought this will sell the game to the mass market? These game developers really do live inside a bubble.

Microsoft wants to assure everyone that they are going to continue the hardware business. There was much question due to the new CEO’s perspectives and Microsoft’s moves of putting all its games on The Cloud. You don’t need to buy an Xbox to play Xbox games now.

In the end, I was happy that we finally got an arcade port of Donkey Kong which I’ve been wanting for years. However, when I started playing it, I was shocked to discover how hard the game is. In the first very game I played, I couldn’t get past the first level despite having six lives! I felt pretty ashamed. lol

Noob.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 17, 2018

Email: E3 has always been about the industry

To be fair, E3 has always been directed at the industry (not only game industry), it’s only recently that they started opening it to the public.

I was thinking about about how companies like Nintendo and EA barely care about E3 now (they pretty much only put something there to say they weren’t absent). My conclusion was that E3 has been gradually losing its meaning. Like I said before, it was directed at the industry before, not the public. But why was it that way? Because in the past, we needed to rely on magazines that covered the industry to know about the new technologies, but now with the internet being so easily accessible the companies can announce their new stuff whenever they want, however they want. No need to depend on a convention anymore just because you know there will be journalists there.

Nintendo seems to have noticed this already (which is why they do the Directs now, which is a better format than conferences), but some other companies are still sticking to traditions, which is why we see them announcing games that will only come out in 4 years (because they feel forced to show something at E3).

Bullshit.

An Expo is to publicly reveal your games. Public = gamers.

After E3 2006, the whiners didn’t like the public at E3. So they got rid of the public. E3 became less and less relevant. E3 is now open to public only because Penny Arcade Expos are taking the excitement away. The PAX IS about the public.

Fuck the Game Industry. Customers are your kings, not this incestrious little ‘pat a cake’ little club you guys have made.

I know there are a lot of people writing to you, Master Malstrom, and how they didn’t find any games at E3 they wanted to play.

I largely agree. But there is one game I do want to play. No Gameplay was shown, but I am excited anyway.

The Game is Cyberpunk 2077. It is based on the Cyberpunk 2020 Pen and Paper System.

It was created by Mike Pondsmith who is also working on the Video Game.

It’s a Roleplaying game set in a science fiction world full of cool technology, violence and 80s style Visuals.

It seems very close to the Pen & Paper Game from what was shown behind closed doors.

It will be a PC game and will be DRM free since it was developed by CD Project Red (same company as behind GOG).

And it just looks great. The trailer for the game unlike other E3 trailers shows off the World of the Game instead of “Story” and “characters” and it looks great.

I just wanted to offer something positive for the E3 and maybe interest you in a game that you may have overlooked.

Wish you the best and thank you for doing what you are doing

Best regards,

The Reader

Mike Pondsmith talks about the world of Cyberpunk:

 

The E3 Trailer:

 

Yeah, I am looking forward to Cyberpunk 2077 as well. I hear great things about Witcher 3, but I just never could get into the character or story of it. (I own Witcher 1 I believe.) I’m not going to role play as a man with white hair. I’m not that old!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 16, 2018

Email: These games suck! Let’s make our own!

Hello Master!

I was thinking about this year’s E3, which was the worst I can remember. I was thinking about how come they haven’t shown A SINGLE game that I wanted to play. And it came to me, even stronger, the feeling that I should be doing MY OWN games if I want them to exist. Sony won’t make them. Microsoft won’t make them. Hell, even Nintendo, who should make them, won’t make them.

So to hell with all these fuckers. I will be acquiring the skills needed to be a game developer. I already have some of them. I will be my own Nintendo from now on. Nintendo is my competitor now. Just wait.

Maybe some other reader of your blog feel the same as me. Let’s make our own games. To hell with The Game Industry. Take them down, I tell ya! Don’t buy anything from them anymore, invest on being your own Nintendo. This is my manifesto.

Historically and even today, the video game market is extremely competitive and stressful. The founder of Nintendo of America, at the end of Gamecube era, said ‘fuck it’ and retired in Hawaii. “This market is too stressful!” he would say. This also explains why the classic games were so good. They had to be.

I get the sense that Nintendo, and most of the Game Industry, wants to put a stop to the ‘terrible stress’. They just want to chill, pretend they are creative geniuses, and make games. I really get that sense from Nintendo these days.

If Nintendo streamlined their development and only is making games for one console, how could they show so little for E3 2018? They showed MORE when they had TWO consoles to make games for.

“Smash Brothers, Malstrom! OMG!”

Smash Brothers is soooo amazing, it didn’t save the Wii U, did it? Nooooope! I don’t like how Nintendo is putting all their eggs into the Smash basket. Switch is made up of adventure gamers via sales of Zelda, Mario, etc. Where are the adventure games?

Why an expansion to Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and not, say, an actual expansion to Zelda: Breath of the Wild (put on its separate cart)? They could re-use the engine and even some of the assets. Hell, they could make a new Metroid type game using Breath of the wild engine. The sheikah slate physics are already in the game such as spheres rolling, bomb blasting, and so on. Maybe Samus’s morph ball can be upgraded to be the new type of ‘mount’ to tranverse distances? The game already has lasers and shit.

To make a video game, you need good technical skills to program it, and artistic skills to give it beauty and sound great. But I believe there is another skill that I do not see games today have (that they used to have).

If you ever encounter computer scientists, they all seem effeminate in a type of ‘super ego’ way. They think they are the smartest people around (they aren’t).  They say ‘tech’ and thinks it means only computers (it doesn’t). These people are not down to earth.

In the past, the game developers were down to earth. I criticize Miyamoto only because people see him as a GOD. He is not a GOD. He is a mortal person. But Miyamoto is very much down to earth (most of the time).  Guys like Richard Garriott, once he became rich by selling Origin to EA, ceased to be down to earth.

The problem these days in video games is the content. The graphics is fine. The programming is fine. Even the gameplay is largely fine. But the content is terrible.

How does one create quality content? When you look at quality content creators, such as famous writers, you find that they had very interesting lives where they did different things and traveled to different areas. With their ‘book’, people use that to create tv shows (Game of Thrones, Altered Carbon), movies (so many are from books), and even video games (e.g. Witcher series).

What I find fascinating is if you remove these books and prior classic media to force these ‘brilliant’ and ‘genius’ technicians of programming and art to make their own stuff, the result is absolute disaster. They do not know how to make their own content. They only know how to steal or ‘remaster’ old shit.

Content creation is a reflection of the person. Anyone can have technical skills, but very few people can create quality content. Consider Miyamoto’s ‘happy clouds’ and ‘happy bushes’ (yes, I know they are the same). The point is that defined Mario’s content and no one, then, or even now, thinks in those terms. It is a reflection of Miyamoto to have ‘happy clouds’.

So when I see video game content that is post-apocalyptic, gray, swirling around the anti-hero, I think to myself, “These developers are not people I want to meet!” As human beings, they are shitty people.

Why are there so many shitty people in gaming today? Because there is money, and it is seen as a legitimate industry today. But go back in time before. The reason why video games had so many ‘good people’ in it because there was no money, it wasn’t legitimate, and it was seen as a career death sentence to ‘make video games’.

Related image

If the video game industry was like it is today, people like Iwata above would never get into it. The game industry is full of assholes who make asshole moves.

“Why are gamers online such assholes?”

Because it is a reflection of the game’s content? They didn’t use to be this way. Online gaming in the early 1990s or 1980s had people much nicer. The reason also may be the IQ requirement was much higher. As soon as online gaming and Windows got combined, BAM, did the kiddies and toxicity truly begin.

Image result for miyamoto smoking

Above: Miyamoto says “I would never get hired at Nintendo today.”

When I play many games today, I get the sense that there are assholes on the other side of the developer glass. It is why I stay away from most AAA games.

If you want to make your game, go make it.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 16, 2018

Email: E3 is not fun anymore

The emailer is right: E3 is just damn boring nowadays. That’s the sad truth. E3 is no longer a “gaming fair” but and “industry club”. All the conferences are boring and overstuffed with weird directions and style. Bethesda trying to be funny. Sony being “progressive”. MS just proving that without third parties is nothing. Nintendo being Nintendo, showing what they want when they want.

I am interested in Smash Bros. but as an emailer pointed. It’s just a mash-up of past games. There’s nothing interesting about it. Of course, it has a huge user base and I guess the reason they are releasing now is to push their online service. The games they shown were “good” but you are right. People who bought a Switch got it for games like Zelda, not for Fire Emblem or Dragon Ball. I am not saying they shouldn’t make those games but I mean.,.was it too hard to show Smash AND another cool game, like the goddamn Metroid Prime one they shown last year?

Then again, Nintendo has stopped putting all their eggs in their basket at E3. In the last 4 years or so, they just show (and hype) something and the rest during the year. Like the Switch announcement. They could do that at E3 but instead they did it on November and January. It’s obvious that E3 is not as important as it used to be for them.

And seeing the boring and pretentious conferences form the other companies, there may be onto something.

Take care!

I really think you are correct about how shows like E3 are more about ‘industry club’ instead of ‘gaming fair’.

The ‘game industry’ is an incestrous circle where they care about their reputations, their ‘next jobs’, and they want everyone else in ‘the industry’ to think they are brilliant, wise, and creative.

And to the great unwashed masses out there? They don’t give a shit what they think.

Does anyone at E3 care about the opinions of the stay at home housewife, or the career woman, or the average teenage or the long houred working adult? No.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 16, 2018

Email: E3 Thoughts

Is this a clear sign the whole industry is headed for a collapse? It’s not just Nintendo, though more thoughts on them in a bit. Looking at the gaming forums – the left wing one and the right wing one – the general consensus seems to be that pretty much every conference was lackluster. That Microsoft won “by default” at best. I saw the thought that someone about age demographics, but if that were the case, I think I’d see more than viral shills on the forums saying how great individual E3 conferences were. When you look at these games, sure, games like Fortnite are phenomenons (and it was actually Nintendo’s only good move making sure this game was made available on Switch literally today) but 2-3 games do not an industry make, and most of the games shown are trailers for stuff that may not even be out next year, and people are seeing through it. And most of the games are part of the same mono-genre that’s starting to get boring. If they’re even actually games – most of what we are seeing are bad movie trailers. I saw two different samurai movies that I guess you interact with at some point. Sony, EA, these companies keep trying to push games as (B) movies, ignoring that industry is headed off of a cliff as well. Like lemmings I guess. Does anyone think that stuff is actually cool? If these companies are starting to lose the gaming forums – both the left wing and the right wing – then things are more dire than they might think.

The AAAA tier is way too expensive and time consuming. The 9th gen dudebro boxes – Xbox One X and PS4 Pro – have been boring and they want 10th gen? I’m thinking as the hype machine continues to wear down and the industry has less to hype, people will gradually peel off until these AAAA games collapse under their own weight. There’s a lot of hope for “next gen” but even then people are getting cynical about. Most of them realize that instead of tight gameplay, 60 frames per second, etc, they’re going to get more bad movies with bigger gurps per second (or whatever technical term people want to use) and dlc/microtransactions/lootboxes.

Ah, back to Nintendo. The joke has been that Nintendo is great at software, bad at hardware, and should go third party. Right now, though, the truth is the opposite. The hardware team did a masterful job on the Switch and the software side has fumbled the ball at the 10 yard line. There was nothing exciting shown for 2018 unless you’re a Smash fan – and even some of them feel that this Smash is a rehash. On top of that, Namco is making Smash. So what are Nintendo’s teams even working on? They have one platform to develop for and very little to show. A Pokemon spinoff and the latest Mario Party. And nothing. This would’ve been the perfect spot for 2D Mario or something to keep momentum going. In some ways this is worse than Wii Music because at least you could understand Nintendo’s thinking of “expanding the definition of gaming” with that piece of software even if it was a complete dud. Here? Are they doing anything at all? It’s not even arrogance, it’s incompetence.

(Actually, given the NES and SNES minis – you could argue the hardware side of Nintendo is on a roll right now).

I think you may have said it best. The passion is gone.

Maybe there needs to be a crash and a reset in gaming. The 1983 crash gave us Nintendo. Maybe another crash can usher in another golden age of gaming.

PS4 and Xbox 1 and Wii U are 8 Gen. Only Switch is Gen 9.

To those who do not want Switch to be Gen 9, it may be better to think of Switch as primarily being a handheld despite what Nintendo says (“it is a home console so you can pay $60 for the games!”). Switch and 3DS share a 100% market domination for dedicated handheld console gaming.

The gaming forums are really where the old geezers are hanging out. The youngsters seem to be on the youtube or other social media. Go to any gaming forum and you will see posts talking about dealing with their kids and shit. Come on, no gaming forum talked like that twenty years ago. Even when the Wii launched in 2006, every gaming forum didn’t understand Nintendo trying to make games for people who have ‘busy lives’. Today, they all understand it.

I’d say gaming will become lazier and ride the coattails of macro-economic boom of the economy. I enjoyed the recession in the part that it forced game companies to put out better games with more content).

E3 doesn’t show gaming’s collapse. E3 shows E3’s collapse. E3 just doesn’t matter anymore.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 12, 2018

Email: Becoming to old for E3, or E3 losing touch

Maybe it’s because I work two jobs and don’t have all the time in the world to be hyped for video games anymore, but I find myself becoming extremely annoyed by the fact that the majority of trailers show little to no gameplay. Its all just cinematic nonsense. And the gameplay that is shown gives so little detail it’s pointless to show it.

The climax for these presentations has not becoming showing the games, but trying to continue the hype train for these games. I also understand that game development is expensive, but how can games that were teased last year still have no gameplay to show? No metroid gameplay at Nintendo’s showing is a slap in the face.

For many of the biggest titles that were hyped going into E3, we haven’t moved from square one. It’s as though nothing even happened. I’m not going to preorder games that may be months to a year away when there’s not even gameplay to show.

I suspect the demographics for gaming are changing. More on this later.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 12, 2018

Email: I HATE Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Hello Malstrom,

I must be honest, seeing this game feels like a slow motion trainwreck. Watching it, I thought it was a neat idea, then I kept seeing the same things, over and over and over. I just kept saying “where is the new stuff?” The new stuff never came. It is quite literally the same content. I wanted to like it, but I have to ask my self “why should I buy this game.” I own Melee, Brawl and Wii U. So why do I want to play a “greatest hits.”? There have been so many complaints of all the ports on Switch yet Super Smash Bros Ultimate is just that, a port.

A big reason though I’m writing to you (and I’ll think you’ll understand) is I truly feel like Super Smash Bros Greatest Hits is missing the point of Smash Bros. Its about Nintendo. And not just Nintendo characters but Nintendo WORLDS. Sakurai however sees it as being about Characters, which is completely different. So when he made a “new” game, he thought “Oh, Smash is about characters, so here are all the characters.”

So now that Smash is about “Characters” anything can get added without a consistent throughline. I expect there will be more non-Nintendo stuff. But really, I want a game that celebrates Nintendo. That was a big draw of Smash Bros.Nintendo has released a lot of interesting games since the last Smash but you wont see them in this one (when that use to be the case). But they don’t want to do that because you have to get creative and have to be limited. There has to be some personal restraint. You have to balance big name characters with smaller characters. But Sakurai doesn’t want that and wants playtime with all the “characters.” He doesn’t want to try and add other Nintendo worlds. Just add characters. Its like having cake every day. Eventually, you get bored of cake. It may also explain why the last game was so lackluster when it came to modes and stages.

I expect that as time moves on, people will like this game less and less once the hype goes away. There won’t be anything new. There won’t be anything interesting or different. I expect the people who will love this game will be the people who loved the last game. Breath of the Wild was a massive hit because it questioned the old ways and looked back to its roots (exploring an overworld, fighting mosters, ect). Smash Bros Greatest Hits seems like its only listening to its most die-hard fans. If we are to look back, this will be the beginning of the decline of the Smash Bros series. It needs some new blood (Sakurai can go make something else if he’s really that creative) and it needs to look back and celebrate Nintendo again.

2018 looks awful for Nintendo to be honest. The one shining beacon was Xenoblade 2 which is getting a new story WITH a physical release. I’ve already put a ton of time into it (especially as Nintendo isn’t releasing anything else) so I’d rather have this than Smash Bros.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Also love your stuff on the Carnivor diet. I’m trying something similar with the Weston A Price diet (basically trying to eat like primitive tribes, big focus on animal fat).

I wrote my E3 post before reading this email. Does it not sound like the emailer bought the Switch to get immersed into a fantasy world and games like Mario Party and Smash “Every Character Is Here” Brothers doesn’t do that job?

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 12, 2018

Email: Nintendo’s E3 was lame

No interesting announcements. No Metroid Prime 4 or cool new games. No Retro Studios. Just stuff we already knew about. What a bust.

I’m interested in the third-party stuff that wasn’t really discussed such as Doom Eternal, Trials and Monster Hunter. Hell, maybe even one of those realistic racing games such as Dirt.

Do other people actually believe that Nintendo’s first-party stuff is good this year, because I don’t see it.

Nintendo is not interested in making more games for you. Nintendo only wants to ‘check those boxes’. In E3 2019, wait for the fitness and health games to come out. More boxes checked! Watch and see!

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