Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 22, 2017

Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be released on the NES

That is what it says.

Nintendo says they will put out a free rental virtual console game for each month that has online multiplayer. No one is asking what type of games Nintendo would put up.

The biggest 16-bit multiplayer games already have Switch incarnations. Street Fighter 2 and Bomberman have their Switch version so I doubt it would be those games. Mario Kart is already represented too.

It wouldn’t be a licensed game like a cartoon show or something with Tetris in it (e.g. Tetris Attack) or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (owned by Konami)

The multiplayer games are rather limited and seem restricted mostly to co-op.

Super Dodgeball. Jackal. Contra. Life Force. Snow Brothers. Marble Madness. Ice Hockey. Mario Brothers. Zombie Ate My Neighbors. NBA Jam.

Yeah, there are many more, but I am trying to think of what Nintendo would think is a good idea to demo for their new service. My bet is that they will do Ice Hockey or Zombie Ate My Neighbors.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 22, 2017

Email: Switch sales/Nintendo profits

Sean- If the switch is not quite as popular as the wii, as you predict, and let’s say, sells approx 60-70 million units during its lifetime, is that a “big enough” hit for Nintendo? I.e. Will it be profitable for Nintendo? For 2011, the first year of an annual loss for Nintendo, it sold approximately 28 million systems (wii, ds, 3DS).

We need to know what the costs are. Is the Switch hardware profitable for Nintendo? I should hope so with the prices they have on these damn accessories.

We do know from Nicalis that the cost of manufacturing a Switch cart and box is about $5. Hence, Binding of Isaac + Expansions = $35 + $5 for manufacturing = $40 Retail price. The vast amount of profit is going to be selling software.

Wii Sports being bundled with Wii at the start was disliked by NCL (though it paid off in sales so they said nothing) since it removed the most profitable aspect of the system (the flagship game) from the purchase. Third parties didn’t like Wii Sports either because they would buy the Wii and already have a game. They didn’t have to buy a third party game. Some gamers say they didn’t want Wii Sports included, and they should have the option to choose what software they wanted.

NOA and NOE got flak for the Wii Sports and Wii bundle unbelievably.

I do not have a problem with Nintendo jacking up the price to sell product at profit. This actually gives me a feeling of ease. When a company sells a product at a loss, they will find ways to make it up which is not something the consumer will like.

I consider the 8-bit and 16-bit consoles and games the gold standard of quality. Give me hardware that behaves as consistently as that, with games that are as high as quality in content, on cartridges, and I will be very happy.

Image result for snes and games

Above: Still better than AAA gaming of ‘Game Industry’s Finest’.

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Above: Contra 3! Fuck yeah!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 21, 2017

2 million Switches!

Nintendo says that 2 million Switches will initially ship. This means around 600,000 for the United States.

The Wii also had the first initial shipment be 2 million.

The Wii U shipped more at first (and Nintendo got burned which is why they are scaling back).

What is interesting here is that Nintendo got smart and is doing the launch in March. It never made sense to do a launch in November since the initial shipment would sell out anyway. It is essentially wasting a holiday’s sales on pre-orders.

Switch is going to be supply restrained until the 2017 holidays. Nintendo is making them as they did the Wii initially.

Image result for wii sales at launch -u

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 21, 2017

Switch sells out in Japan in minutes

But “it don’t mean anything” because initial shipments are easiest to sell. True. And “we won’t know what actual demand is until December 2017.” True.

And until then, it SELLS.

Many gamers in Japan have been left without a pre-order for a launch day Nintendo Switch, which has caused the reselling market in Japan to explode with resellers in Japan already selling the console on Amazon for double the price of the retail price.

We can hear it all now: Wii U sold its initial units well too. This all means nothing. Yada yada yada.

A real analyst puts out different scenarios for the future. One scenario may very well be that Switch follows the path of the Wii U. The question is that why aren’t the other scenarios considered?

The only scenario that is impossible is a Wii like trajectory. The reason why this is impossible is because the 2006 economy is not present. The necessary positive macroeconomic forces are not around at this time (this could change).

When we look at Zelda games, what are the break out hits and social phenomenons? I can only really think of the original Zelda and possibly the following three. Ocarina of Time most definitely. But since then? Zelda has sold well, but it was never a barn burner.

I think it is a mistake to automatically assume Breath of the Wild to follow the impact of past Zeldas. What if Breath of the Wild is a breakout hit like, say, Ocarina of Time? What if BoW “Wow!” has an impact of, say, Grand Theft Auto 3? “Not probable.” Most certainly not probable. But it is not impossible. Even I knew Twilight Princess wouldn’t hit it that big. But BoW “Wow!” has a quality element that could catch big sales fire in the West as Skyrim, Witcher 3, and other such open world games have done. The fact that BoW “Wow!” is only being discussed in a closed ‘only Nintendo Zelda fans will buy it’ certainly isn’t being analytically honest.

Generation 9 looks like we are going to be a fight on the definition of video game value. I think Western AAA games have low value because their graphics age fast and their gameplay has low replayability. Meanwhile, I think a game like Super Bomberman R has very high value for the same reason why Super Bomberman on the SNES has high value and commands a premium price despite decades after release (around $40 for a loose cartridge).

Let us put forth a scenario that the Switch sales are very strong. Not Wii insane, but very strong. There are going to be analysts and Hardcore Gamers who will be baffled. With the Wii, they just said ‘gimmick’ and ‘casual gamers’. both of those cannot be explained for any Switch sales. All they have is to say the Switch’s hybrid nature gives it and the software all this additional value. Nintendo may even start to believe in that too.

But what if the games have that 16-bit value? Is Super Bomberman R a high value game? It is if you are familiar with the value of the SNES Super Bomberman. If all you know is an Xbox Live download of Bomberman, then Super Bomberman R will confuse you. Do turn based JRPGs like Octopath hold value? They do if you are a SNES fan.

“But I hail from Europe where NES and SNES were not big over here. Why do I want the Switch and games?” Clearly your value spectrum matches that of those gamers.

Two things I am observing about the Switch software. One is that the software seems to be deliberately multiplayer (I am Setsuna adds on multiplayer) which seems to be laying down the groundwork software for Switch’s paid online (which may be better than we think due to all these low expectations the hate fest brings). Two, the Switch software may be trying to get back that ‘high value cartridge’ that the 8-bit and 16-bit had.

Take Super Bomberman R. Aside from the multiplayer, there is a robust single player that can be co-op. There is also some sort of in game currency that must unlock something. Point is, there is content in the game.

Take Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. With all the DLC and battle mode added, this is the most content packed game I have seen in a LONG time. What a great deal if you didn’t have the Wii U version!

Take Disagea 5 Complete. It has all the DLC. It’d take 100 hours to go through all that. High content game perhaps.

Take Binding of Isaac. The PC price for the game and expansions is $35. The Switch game will be $40 (extra due to manufacturing). If you value BoI, this is a high value physical game card.

Take Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Every Zelda game offers a good serving of content. But this Zelda may be going beyond what we are used to in terms of content. No one, not even the haters, will say Zelda BoW “Wow!” is a low content game.

What has me excited about the Switch library that I think many observers are missing is that I see games that are ‘high value carts’. The ports have all the DLC. Games like Dragon Quest Heroes I and II are TWO games in one! I think the multiplayer of Bomberman and Tetris is infinite so I see those games as having high playable value. I am not seeing low value games in the launch line up. This is why some people think the Switch line up is the best ever. (There are few low value games like Let’s Dance, 1, 2, Switch, and such. But there are so many others people want to BUY.)

We have made the mistake to assume the consumers who buy Nintendo consoles have the same value spectrum as those who buy PlayStation or Xbox consoles. Take a game like Sonic. Sonic sells the best on Nintendo consoles because Sonic is seen as an old school game. The AAA Gravy Train games do not sell as well on the Nintendo console not because of competition from first party Nintendo games but because the Nintendo gamers do not value AAA Gravy Train games.

So should the Switch sell well, we will see a war break out over the definition of value in video games. Already, I am seeing much freak out and ‘run around in circles’ behavior over the Switch as it is weeks from launch. What are they going to do a year from now? If Nintendo can turn that disaster known as a 3DS into something meaningful, it is going to be much easier with the Switch with all Nintendo development going to it (and some for phones). Add in the Vita pipeline of Japanese third party games, and you have a clear winner on your hands.

The more the analysts talk and Hardcore Gamers run around in circles, the more this feels like ten years go. Feels like old times already.

Above: Go to 2:20. “Feels like old times already.” “Old times!”

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 20, 2017

A Message from the AAA Gravy Train

Image result for matrix agents

Above: The AAA Gravy Train

How are you, gentlemen! We have commandeered the Malstrom site to bring you an important message from the Game Industry. We are here to educate you on the Switch and its games.

First, you need to be informed that the Switch is TERRIBLE. The hardware is AWFUL. It is extremely expensive at $300, doesn’t include a game, and has optional accessories that cost even more money! The Switch cannot compare with the PlayStation 4 in graphics and speed or to modern PCs.

Second, you need to be told, repeatedly, how terrible the Switch online is. Even though the online service isn’t out, hasn’t been detailed, and that the console isn’t out yet, we are already telling you that it is BAD BAD BAD. How dare Nintendo make an online service in the first place! Whatever Nintendo makes, it is going to be bad. We don’t have to wait for details.

Now we will go through the launch library and tell you why no games are coming for the Switch.

BreathoftheWildFinalCover.jpg

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

This is a Wii U port. It doesn’t count as a game.

 

1, 2, Switch

Party trash. Doesn’t count as a game.

 

Skylanders: Imagineer

Kid’s game. Doesn’t count as a game.

 

Just Dance 2017

Party trash. Doesn’t count as a game.

 

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The Binding of Isaac Afterbirth +

Can be bought on the PC. Doesn’t count as a game. “Doesn’t this invalidate all the Western AAA games as they can be bought on the PC?” Shut up!

Super Bomberman R (artwork).jpg

Super Bomberman R

Bomberman used to be cool until it the franchise became Nintendo exclusive. Now Bomberman sucks! What a piece of shit game! OMG, those graphics are shit! That gameplay is shit! I don’t care if the value of SNES Bomberman games are high, this game has no value because it is not AAA. Do you hear me??? ONLY AAA GAMES CAN HAVE VALUE!!!! Burn this game in fire! Not a real game!

 

Fast RMX

A Wipeout clone? We all know Wipeout or F-Zero clones are not real games.

Redout

Same applies to this. It’s like a 1990s futuristic racer. Not a real game!

 

I am Setsuna

Port of an existing game. Not a real game.

 

Snipperclips

Have you seen the graphics on this? It could be done on a 16-bit system if not 8-bit. Not a real game.

 

Has Been Heroes

Not AAA. Gameplay mechanics too different from normal. Therefore, not a real game.

 

Shovel Knight

This? Not a real game.

 

Constructor HD

Old PC port. Not a real game. “But what about the old PC ports on Xbox and PlayStation?” Quiet!

 

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Wii U port. Cannot count as a game.

 

Rime

It was a real game until the company acquired the IP rights from Sony. Then it became a Non-Game. Just like that!

 

Puyo Puyo Tetris

A port. Not a real game. It’s not AAA! *gasp*

 

Arms

What shit is this? No one wants this 1990s style arcade like game. What is the sequel going to be? Legs? Sorry, not a real game!

 

Disagea 5 Complete

Port. Cannot be considered a true game.

 

Sonic Mania

Sonic games are not longer considered games anymore.

 

Splatoon 2

Nintendo’s shooter isn’t dark enough and doesn’t have blood and guts. Where is the mature storyline? Not a real game!

 

Skyrim

This game is about six years old now. Therefore, it is no longer a real game.

 

Fire Emblem Warriors

Fire Emblem franchise games are not truly real games.

 

Super Mario Odyssey

Another Mario game. “See? You called it a game.” But it is Mario which negates any AAA premise. Therefore, no game here!

 

Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom

What shit is this? It ain’t AAA. Not a real game!
Xenoblade Chronicles 2

It may say 2017, but we will say otherwise and declare it will never be released. Therefore, no game!

 

Dragon Quest XI

It may release in Japan. Therefore, it is not a REAL game. Only real games are released in America.

 

Dragon Quest Heroes I and II

Did you see how much better the graphics of the PS4 version are? Therefore, this is not a real game for the Switch.

 

Ultra Street Fighter 2

1990s type games do not count as real games. Sorry.

 

On behalf of the AAA Gravy Train, we are proud to inform the Beautiful Reader that the Switch has…

0 games!

That is correct. Switch is launching without ANY games. What was Nintendo thinking?

If you disagree with this, you will be reminded of it in every Switch mention you make. If you want to buy a Switch, you are a dearranged fanboy who drools on himself. You don’t want to be a de-arranged fanboy, do you? Of course not. Therefore, you must refuse to buy the Switch and pledge yourself to Western AAA Gaming only for now on!


OK guys, Malstrom here. I finally got control of my blog post. Thanks to the public service announcement of the AAA Gravy Train, I am going to cancel my Switch pre-order and immediately buy a PlayStation 4 and some Western AAA games.

AAA Gravy Train: “Those are the ONLY games!”

Yes, yes we got that message. Thanks.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 20, 2017

Email: A Surprising Conversation while Pre-Ordering the Switch

Greetings Master Malstrom,

Just thought I’d share an interesting conversation I had with the Walmart employee I pre-ordered my Switch from this morning.

First, there were actually two employees I interacted with in the electronics department today, one man and one woman, both, and I’m terrible at estimating ages, probably somewhere between mid-thirties and mid-forties. I was surprised at how they both knew exactly what the Switch was, and in fact were even each excited for the system, themselves.

The interesting bit came from the gentleman employee, particularly as he talked himself through budgeting to get a Switch pre-order of his own. It was apparent that he’d be stretching to afford it in the time allotted by Walmart layaway to finish payments, April 1st, but his thirst was real, nonetheless. At the same time the logical half of his brain was making the argument that he didn’t really need the Switch right away, as he was still very satisfied with his current console. What “current console” was he referring to, you ask? Why, none other than the NES Classic!

This of course began a quick conversation about the NES Classic and it’s continued lack of availability. I learned that this particular Walmart had only seen about twenty-eight NES Classics come through it so far, which really shows how limited the supply has been. (This is a Walmart Supercenter in Plano, Texas.) When I mentioned I’ve yet to see any of the systems in the wild, he chimed in that they’ve never actually been able to put any of the systems out for display. Rather, the customers “Meet me at door [to the back of the store]” to buy them.

Again, just thought I’d share; hope you enjoyed it.

– A fellow Lifelong Gamer

The Switch will not be a Wii U!

The AAA Gravy Train is really angry at the Switch. “OMG, fanboy posts everywhere!” A new console is coming out within WEEKS dumb fucks. Of course people are going to be excited for it (and this goes for any hardware).

The anger is a really good sign. Note that the AAA Gravy Train wasn’t angry at, say, the Wii U. They were laughing and joyous. They want it to fail.

I was there when the Wii rose to heaven (as you may have been too, the glorious reader). Wii sales did not take away from PS3 or Xbox 360 sales. Yet, the more Wii sold, the angrier and more spazzed out the AAA Gravy Train became. The question is… why?

We should distinguish between East and West on this. The East AAA Gravy Train doesn’t care what platform succeed so long as there is a platform to sell its games on. The West AAA Gravy Train irrationally does care. Why?

To those that say, “Master Malstrom! You should be nice to the AAA Gravy Train. They may put their games on Switch.” They may, but it will not be their choice. The Spirit of Trip Hawkins lives in them.

When the NES was selling left and right, Trip Hawkins, the founder and president of Electronic Arts, refused to port any EA games to the NES. “The console will crash just like the Atari 2600 did!” No one was saying that Electronic Arts should abandon the PC market and make their games for consoles. They simply said to port some existing EA games to the NES. After all, EA games were ported to other various PC platforms.

But Trip Hawkins was completely irrational. “No! Never!” The Board of EA then told Hawkins that if he didn’t put games on the NES, he would no longer be president of EA. So Hawkins took off his shoe, pounded the desk with it, and did submit to sell some ports. But Hawkins put his own plan in motion.

Looking to the next generation, Hawkins had EA backwards engineer the Sega Genesis and told Sega that that unless EA was given a sweetheart contracting deal to put out more games, EA would put out games for the Genesis regardless of the license because EA could get around the Genesis’s engineering. Sega agreed. And this is where Madden and the other EA franchises were born.

The point is that Western AAA Gravy Train will always be hostile to Nintendo platforms. AAA Gravy Train doesn’t want to compete against Nintendo software. They know that if Nintendo hardware becomes widespread, as the NES and Wii did, the Western AAA Gravy Train will be forced to put software on it due to their shareholders demanding them to make money.

Time wise, it feels like the early 1980s. The AAA Gravy Train thinks that everyone loves them because of their PC game sales and are laughing off this terrible hardware on a market that just crashed: the NES. People forget that the reason the NES did so well is that it went after an overlooked market: children. Children did not use PCs.

The Switch seems to be targeting the overlooked market of lifelong gamers. Is this the wrong path? No. The wrong path is for Nintendo to try to get AAA games like Sony and Microsoft. If AAA games were so great, the PSP should have outsold the DS and Wii shouldn’t have done as well as it did.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 19, 2017

Lifelong Gamers

If we divide gamers into three groups

-Hardcore Gamers

-Former Gamers

-Non-Gamers

This is from a Gen 7 context. A Gen 9 context might be:

-AAA Gamers

-Lifelong Gamers

-Non-Gamers

Lifelong gamers tends to be a better description for those that were once called former gamers. Lifelong gamers points that they have been playing games for several decades. And I prefer AAA Gamers over Hardcore Gamers. It seems more accurate.

OK, I am going to go back into retirement. I have too many things to do. As the Switch nears within weeks (!), I’ll pop up again soon.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 19, 2017

Redout looks interesting

 

This looks like a really meaty game similar to F-Zero GX. $35 on PC which means it will likely be $40 on Switch.

“This is an indie game…?”

Yeah.

“Then it is not a real game. Only real games are AAA games!”

Image result for hardcore gamer loser

Above: AAA gamer

I really like these indie games coming out on carts for the Switch. While I may not get something like Binding of Isaac, having it in a physical medium is very compelling.

Indie Gaming >>>>> AAA Game Industry gaming.

At least indie games do interesting things and take risks. Did you realize that FTL is now 5 years old? And it is still imminently replayable. Can any AAA game say that? No!

My game buying plans are Zelda, bomberman, then Kart and Tetris. I’ll let the dust settle before I choose what else to get next. The Switch is not cheap and buying it and a couple of games is easily putting you $500 in the hole. I need to back off for a second and not splurge.

Too bad there are all these games I want to pick up.

AAA Neckbeard: “Not a real game!”

They’re just pissed that Bomberman is now exclusive to the Nintendo platform!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 18, 2017

Email: Open world 2D Mario?

I know you mentioned about how Nintendo should make an open world 2D Mario. How would that work. Wouldn’t that just turn Mario into Metroid?

I just like to hear how an open world 2D Mario would work.

 

Image result for super mario brothers 3 world 5

Super Mario Brothers 3 was close on breaking into open world. Notice how in World 5 how you would climb the tower up into the clouds? It is all interconnected!

Related image

There are scary similarities between Zelda 2 and Super Mario Brothers 3. Both have an overworld map. Both are side scrollers. Both have you gain items. Both have dungeons you need to defeat before you move on. Both have monsters that move around on the overworld map.

One way could be to make the SMB 3 overworld map free form without the lanes. I don’t think random monsters would work in 2d Mario, but it is an idea. SMB 3 did have ‘cities’ such as the toad houses as well as castles. SMB 3 is almost a 2d Mario RPG!

One interesting thing about SMB 3 is that it gives the illusion of being open world. When you go down a pipe, it switches to 2d game mode where you actually have to jump on the pipe and go in. What if the stages weren’t segmented? What if they were all streamed together? the backtracking issue would be solved by the warp pipes. Instead of warp pipes sending you FORWARD in the game, they would send you BACKWARD in case you wanted to explore somewhere.

The stages in SMB 3 aren’t huge but they are ‘wide’. They don’t feel like Metroid to me. There is much to explore!

2d Mario Open World would be 2d Mario without level breaks. It’d be a huge connected world. I don’t see why 3d Mario can be ‘sandbox’ but 2d Mario can’t.

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